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Data-driven solution & information experience designer creating impactful, diverse, & inclusive digital experiences. Proud first-generation Caribbean-American.
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May is Mental Health Awareness Month; as such, this is a timely piece.

I always believed I would never untangle myself from what was a culmination of inherited trauma, and my traumatic experiences warped into some deep-sea tentacled beast without a face. What I thought was a life-long battle with this beast only recently became apparent as a life-long habit of suppression.

While pursuing entrepreneurship for the second time and in the process of losing and gaining support, the wave of emotions stemming from attachment, detachment, mobility, and immobility paired with the emotional labor of depressing founder interviews have triggered…

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A Founder’s Low

It’s been an interesting few weeks. Since my previous post on our startup journey, the co-founder became overwhelmed by the fast-paced and various demands from both the incubator and interested parties.

My fearful, repetitive reminders that this work is not like the startups with spacious offices and free snacks, this work is that startup before the startup everyone knows were received but not understood.

Midway through the incubator program, I decided to test the waters with another potential co-founder candidate. I was unsure whether they were aware that the work was not a side-project but a real hustle.

This mission…

A white sign on a wooden window sill that says in black letters, “Turn ideas into reality.”
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Life is strange, and it takes examining your failures to appreciate how chaos, rejection, and redirection are the fertile foundations for becoming a successful individual. We don’t define success as possessing an excessive amount of financial wealth. Instead, success is the ability to look back onto a journey full of relationships, experiences, and changes. Success is surviving even when you wonder if it’s worth it.

There’ve been plenty of times Katharine and I wondered if any of what we were doing was worth it. Both suffering from autoimmune diseases and subsequent illnesses, we’ve had our fair share of moments where…

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“Somewhere beneath the load of the emotion-freezing ice which my life had conditioned my brain to produce, a spot of black anger glowed and threw off a hot red light of such intensity that had Lord Kelvin known of its existence, he would have had to revise his measurements.” — Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

Recently, I joined several Clubhouse discussions unraveling the differences between Africans and descendants of the African diaspora — specifically, African-Americans. It was intriguingly emotional, with all perspectives from the African continent and diaspora justifying generational quarrels between groups with little emphasis on how and why these…

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My recent treatment began to eat at my hair. Combing was painful and resulted in more hair loss that left trails like breadcrumbs throughout my apartment. My shower meditations quickly turned into drills hoping I’d avoid examining the hairballs crowding the drain.

I sought ways to hide from myself and the coworkers I encountered on daily virtual calls. My solution was finding safety and solace beneath a range of colorfully printed headwraps — a familiar retreat from when first diagnosed and experienced significant hair loss then — if not turning off my camera altogether. …

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Throughout my years of experience in employee resource groups (ERGs), when organizations devised structures for ERG development and management, I’ve come to notice behavior quite troubling, in which employees rummage for opportunity instead of change. Such a motive reinforced itself within systems intentionally designed for power-grabbing, validating one’s false sense of importance, and disregarding the concept of intersectionality.

The Power Grab

I initially noticed that race-based ERGs tend to be the only ERGs with a leadership team representative of the identities it seeks to support. …

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I’m usually not interested in celebrity news or gossip, but a recent headline featuring actress Keke Palmer popped up in my Apple News feed and caught my attention. For many, it might’ve been her reveal of struggles with acne, but for me, it was the attention she had drawn to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Illnesses such as PCOS impact many people, but we often don’t hear about others’ experiences nor share our own out of shame or embarrassment.

In my first intro article, “What About The Black ERGs?” I briefly shared what motivated me to become more involved in ERGs…

Two colorful hands clasped together.
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Since I became familiar with the concept of employee resource groups (ERGs) in 2016 — four years after entering the workforce, these groups played a critical role in my personal and professional development and preservation. However, employers fail to realize this is the case for many Black employees — even more so today — yet fail to be intentional with their support.

Support with joining ERGs wasn’t part of the onboarding process and still isn’t for most companies. Upon researching and joining the Black ERG, I found the leadership team rigid in their decision-making and ingenuity. Speaking frankly about diversity…

Tiffany Patterson

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