Built for Remote Work: Two CrowdStrike Employees On Why They’re Thriving While Working From Home
Photo Credit: AfroTech

Built for Remote Work: Two CrowdStrike Employees On Why They’re Thriving While Working From Home

As companies move away from the traditional ways of working from the office, they’ve come face to face with the reality that work culture must evolve.

Moreover, because of the massive social and cultural shifts touching every corner of the globe, it’s impossible to ignore the inequalities across corporate America. For Black and Brown people in tech especially, this gulf is even wider due to the lack of representation and opportunity. As such, their input, ideas and opportunities often get drowned out in the corporate noise. 

CrowdStrike is aiming to change that. The cybersecurity leader is amplifying the voices of its employees by making space for them to speak up and create a real impact in the company. This commitment led to the creation of BELIEVE (Black Employes Leading In Excellence, Vision and Education), an employee resource group (ERG) that many Black and Brown employees didn’t even realize they needed.

AfroTech caught up with two of CrowdStrike’s rising stars to learn more about how the growing startup is taking the steps to facilitate growth opportunities for the entire team — from their professional aspirations to how they maintain their work-life balance in the face of the post-Covid economy. 

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. 

Tyler Desiré, Sales Development Representative – 1 year at CrowdStrike

AfroTech: How did you find yourself coming to work at CrowdStrike?

Tyler: I learned about a summer internship opportunity at CrowdStrike in 2019 while I was studying at Princeton. Initially, I was interested in the opportunity to be in Austin, which is a huge contrast from New York, where I’m from. While I was there, I heard the passion pitch: Cybersecurity is the future, not just of tech, but of the world. 

I came back to work for CrowdStrike full time last June. There is a long list of reasons why I’d like to stay at CrowdStrike continually, and the employee resource group BELIEVE has definitely made an impact on my experience here.

AfroTech: What does a typical day look like for you in your role at CrowdStrike? How has that changed since the pandemic hit?

Tyler: Generally, I start my day at 7 a.m. and work until 4 p.m. Every day I start with a general meeting with my team — usually a 15-minute call with eight individuals in the same role as me. Depending on the day, I might have a series of meetings with the reps I’m aligned with. 

Besides sales calls and meetings, I have the freedom to manage my time as I see fit. We always have to keep our sales numbers in mind, and CrowdStrike gives each of us the tools to hit that number honestly.

I think, overall, the pandemic has served as a wake-up call for a lot of people. Work looks different from my parents’ generation — who see working remotely as a “break” — but it can be an opportunity for a lot of people to reconnect with family and themselves or even just reflect on life in its totality.

AfroTech: Any music for the mission? What are you listening to to get yourself hyped up to bring your best self to work each day?

Tyler: Well, I come from a Haitian background, so Kaytranada is number one for me! Right now at the top of my list is anything by Kaytranada, SiR and Thundercat. 

AfroTech: What kinds of problems are you solving on a daily basis? 

Tyler: Ultimately, my job is about relationship building. Whether connecting with my reps, managers or clients, all my projects are aligned around that central task. Some of the biggest projects I’m working on are focused on developing systems that will help me reach my goals and help the business. 

My biggest challenge is making sure I have a clear direction on how I can keep growing within the company — especially since, right now, we are not physically on-site. Still, across the board, managers are supporting us by having transparent conversations to make sure we are aligned with where we want to make our next career steps. 

AfroTech: Can you describe the recently created Black employee resource group, BELIEVE, and the ways it’s empowered you or others in the workplace?

Tyler: When I got here last year, Eric Magee, the Corporate Sales Manager, took it upon himself to get Black employees in the office to lunch together. We had a space to have real conversations about life and work and different opportunities we hadn’t heard about.

Within the last year, CrowdStrike has really been making steps to follow through with a lot of the issues that are important to us. The creation of BELIEVE is a big step in the right direction. With the ERG, we were able to get executive sponsorships for initiatives we were putting forward.

AfroTech: What would you tell any up-and-coming Black and Brown professionals who are looking to break into tech?

Tyler: If you want a job, look for where there’s a need. There is an amazing opportunity to fill a need in cybersecurity. There is a lot of money in tech if you play your cards right. Cybersecurity gives you opportunities to buy stock options, and there’s a tremendous opportunity for wealth attainment.

Growing up, we all hear about basketball stars; we know they are millionaires. But the real wealth is in tech, behind the scenes. When Facebook went public, it created 1,000 millionaires and 10 billionaires. That money trumps basketball, and people can access that. 

In general, there are ways in which we can align the messaging of those opportunities with the values of Black culture. There are endless opportunities. 

Lakithia Carson, Executive Assistant, Intel Sales – 4 years at CrowdStrike

AfroTech: How did you find yourself coming to work at CrowdStrike?

Lakithia: I started at CrowdStrike in 2016 as an Administrative Assistant, then I became a full-time Office Manager in 2017. In 2020, I transitioned to Executive Assistant.

As a millennial, I was looking for a great fit and a great atmosphere; I wanted a place that appreciated what I brought to the table. CrowdStrike was that great fit for me. I knew I was in the right place because the team was so accepting of my afro — the same afro that my church members told me to relax.

AfroTech: What does a typical day look like for you in your role at CrowdStrike? How has that changed since the pandemic hit?

Lakithia: Before the pandemic, I came into the office mostly every day. Since I started working as an Executive Assistant in March of 2020, the timing was actually perfect. It’s been a really great change for me as a single mom. 

Usually, when I wake up, I try to meditate for 10 minutes. I’ll make myself a coffee, then I’ll wake up my daughter and make sure she’s on her Zoom classes, and then I can start my day.  

AfroTech: Any music for the mission? What are you listening to to get yourself hyped up to bring your best self to the office each day?

Lakithia: I’m currently starting off my days listening to Brené Brown’s “Dare to Lead” podcast. As far as music goes, the songs I have on repeat are Anthony Brown’s “Something Good,” Tye Tibbett’s “We Going to Be Alright,” and “I See You” and “I Am From DC” from Candace Dillard. 

AfroTech: What kinds of problems are you solving on a daily basis? 

Lakithia: I support two Sales VPs. I try to provide top-of-the-line customer service, and a lot of my work includes making their lives easier. I manage busy calendars and efficiently handle office tasks.

There are times when there’s just so much going on, and I may have to jump on a call immediately, or there might be a bunch of emergencies when I get up. But, if there are challenges, I’m well supported. All the executives are very fabulous ladies.

AfroTech: Can you describe the recently created Black employee resource group, BELIEVE, and the ways it’s empowered you or others in the workplace?

Lakithia: Initially, I was late getting on board with BELIEVE. As an African American woman working at CrowdStrike, I’ve never felt any different. I’ve never felt excluded.

I joined after talking with a few people on staff who encouraged me to get involved. And since I have, we were able to make some important changes. For the first time this year, we did not work on Martin Luther King Day, which was a big win. So I believe our voice is being heard and that CrowdStrike is really conscious about inclusion.

AfroTech: So with that in mind, what would you say your team does to recognize input from across the company? Do you feel supported? Do you feel like you are making an impact?

Lakithia: Yes, I am well supported by all three of my managers. They are prime examples of exceptional leadership in their rightful way. They encourage me to bring my daughter to work, and there’s never anyone micro-managing. As an employee, they value my point of view, and it’s made me feel supported. 

Especially working remotely, there is always someone available that you can reach out to if you need any extra support. I can always ping them at any time and say, “Hey, I need help” or “Hey, can I just use you as a sounding board?” And sometimes I do that myself — just reach out to someone on the team because they are busy and might need a hand, or just even a therapist for five minutes. So yeah, on our team there’s a lot of support.  

Since getting its start in 2011, CrowdStrike has been expanding its team across the globe and continually striving to stay responsive to global shifts in the workforce. Their mission is to create a strong, diverse, forward-thinking team that is dedicated to a common purpose: stopping breaches. Learn more about CrowdStrike’s mission and how to become a part of the growing team. 

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