.Hack the Hood believes in highlighting the young people who have brought their skills and passions to our program to inspire others. We're profiling a different young leader each month to share their journey through Hack the Hood and beyond, with Madeira being our April feature.
1. What made you decide to join Hack the Hood (HtH)? When did you start with HtH?
I decided to join Hack the Hood because I was at a point in my life where I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I didn’t really have a clear pathway and I wanted to try something new. Hack the Hood was introduced to me by one of my roommates. At first, I thought it was fake. I had never heard of it before, but I thought it was interesting. I applied for the Spring 2015 bootcamp. I was really excited when I was accepted because it gave me the chance to learn something out of my element.
2. What did you learn that was unexpected? Was there anything that surprised you about the program?
When I signed up for Hack the Hood, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into because I was never really exposed to community that was interested in tech. So everything to me was unexpected, and I loved it. We learned everything from web development, code-switching, microaggressions, and other soft skills - like networking and public speaking. Now that I’m older, I’m grateful to have learned these skills since I’ve been able to apply it throughout my professional journey.
3. What has your journey post- Hack the Hood looked like?
My journey post-bootcamp has been pretty interesting. Not only was I a Hack the Hood program participant, I also had the opportunity to be an employee. I started off as a Junior Instructor and then became their Community Management Assistant. In 2016, I managed our partners in the Central Valley as their Partner Account Manager, and then transitioned into a Project Manager role, where helped Hack the Hood oversee a project with the California Investment Board. My last position at Hack the Hood was a Development Assistant. I’m currently an Office Manager at Kenshoo.
4. What do you do for fun?
I do a little bit of everything. I'm usually spending time with family or making pottery. Oh, and cooking. I also like to create rap songs - I try to mix it up a little bit. I'm always open for an adventure and trying new things.
5. What are your favorite foods?
I would say Indian and Italian food. They’re definitely a must have for me. I enjoy the spice and flavor as well as pasta galore.
6. What are three places you enjoy visiting in the Bay Area and beyond?
I would say for me it's anywhere by the water. I do like spending time around Lake Merritt and just, you know, enjoy the ocean view or the lake view and you know, people watch.
7. Who are your top music artists?
I would say my favorite artist is Quingqi. She’s definitely one of my favorite Bay Area artists right now. You can never go wrong with Toro Y Moi. I also really love the whole OVO crew - Drake, Majid Jordan, Partynextdoor, etc.
8. Who do you follow on insta?
I like to follow thought leaders, people who are trying to speak truth, wisdom, and self-affirmations - like @ethereal.1. I also follow a lot of body positive accounts - like @irisfanene, @officialpiinkdiamond, @curvyjaimee, and @na0__. I follow a few celebrities, but I don’t really pay too much attention to them because there’s not a lot that teach you how to be your best self.
9. Where’d you grow up? What do you like about the Bay Area?
I’m Bay Area born and raised - it’s my playground. I was born in San Leandro, grew up in Union City, moved to Paterson when I was 19, and stayed there for a couple of years. I’ve been living in Oakland for the past 7 years, and I consider it my homebase. I love how you can come into Oakland and it’s so chill. It’s a vibe. People come to have fun and turn up, but you can also see a strong sense of culture, community, and diversity within all the linkups and events. There’s so many beautiful people.
10. What’s something you’d like to see change in Oakland? What do you want your contribution to that change to be?
I would like to see Oakland not be so gentrified. We see so many new buildings being constructed, and we wonder who’s going to move into the area. I want to help keep Oakland’s culture alive - like organizing big community events. The Alena Museum is closing down. They hosted an event a couple weeks ago and there was just so much culture in that room. The art was beautiful. The music was beautiful. The people are beautiful. There were so many talented people who were show support and showcase their own work. You see the culture and the community within that space and you just want to keep that going. You want to keep that alive cause that's what we need, you know? It was powerful to see that.
11. What do you appreciate about today’s technology?
I appreciate that gives you accessability, but I also feel that is can take you away from a lot of things too - like communicating more effectively. Like I feel like technology allows you to get lost in the sauce. I can enjoy the convenience technology brings, but I also feel like because you have this accessibility, you lose sense of connectivity.
12. What type of technology do you wish you had, but hasn’t been invented yet?
I wish there was a type of technology that you can scan over a certain area of your body and let you know what's going on and what remedy you need to fix it.
13. What would be your dream job? What do you want to be when you grow up?
One of my dream jobs would be to work in Operations for a tech company or a nonprofit. Another dream job of mine is to have my own business as a consultant. I want to be a consultant that has a variety of skills from project management to bookkeeping, creative design, and even catering. I want to be able to utilize the skills that I've learned and take that with me.
Photography by Christine Cueto.
Hack the Hood Blog
News items and musings on tech inclusion, youth development, buying local and more.