Angela Harris, M.S. ’08, CPC, CLDS, ELI-MP, paves the way for other technology industry professionals—while bridging the diversity gap—through her coaching services.
Angela Harris, M.S. ’08, CPC, CLDS, ELI-MP, has made it her mission to see a more diverse technology industry.
The first-generation college graduate returned to the classroom to help her do just that, earning a master’s degree in information technology leadership from La Salle. Harris graduated with high honors from the University, including receiving the Academic Achievement Award.
Today, Harris is self-employed as an executive coach for Black professionals in the technology industry.
Harris said that the first thing that attracted her to La Salle was the Information Technology program. She recalls frequently seeing advertisements which sparked her interest to attend an information session.
During her time at La Salle, Harris worked a full-time job while also attending the University as a full-time student.
“Getting a graduate degree was always something that was a huge goal of mine, I just put all my effort into making that happen,” she said.
As a first-generation student, her father always emphasized the importance of getting as much of an education as she could.
Harris said that what she enjoyed most about this program was that it constantly challenged her to be a “lifelong learner and a strategic thinker.”
“The program shifted my perspective on things,” Harris said.
Now, working as an executive coach she said it gives her “the best of both worlds.” She gets to utilize her 24 years of corporate experience while having a hand in helping with the development of the future generation of leaders and technology.
Harris believes that she is helping fill a gap in the industry because Black professionals are underrepresented within the technology industry.
“From a female perspective, Black women only make up 3% of the industry, and that number had remained flat for at least the last 10 years, if not longer,” she said.
In 2020, Harris aimed to help break down the barriers to education through the formation of the Angela V. Harris Scholarship Fund at La Salle.
The scholarship is an annual award of $5,000 to an African American La Salle student with strong academic credentials and demonstrated financial need. The student must be enrolled in one of the full-time undergraduate or graduate technology programs in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. This includes technology certificates (excluding mathematics).
The death of Harris’ father prompted her to start her own scholarship in memory of him because of the impact and support he provided Harris while obtaining her degrees.
“I never want students to hear the words, ‘there’s nothing we can do,’” she said.
One of the scholarship’s first recipients was a graduate student. This made Harris feel like her time at La Salle had come full circle.
“It felt really good to be able to help someone else going through the same program I completed myself,” Harris said.
Harris now sits on the Information Technology Advisory Board at La Salle. On the board, she can interact with students and assist them with tasks like resume building and mock interviewing. She said it’s very rewarding being able to give back and support students who are going through the same program she completed.
Harris is now working on her first book related to workplace trauma and Black women in corporate America. Her personal experience with this topic inspired her to write the book. She hopes to raise awareness of this topic and is looking forward to seeing a change in the future. The book is set to be released in 2024.
“I’m the type of person when I see a need or a gap, I want to make it better for the people coming behind me,” Harris said.