Interview Carrie Bernans in Black Women to Know: Tech Titans

By 5/01/2023 06:31:00 PM , ,

For a groundbreaking digital cover – “Women to Know: Tech Titans” Edition, and, owned by iONE Digital, partnered to feature 8 Black women in tech, making a difference in their communities and across industries.

Being a women of color who also loves and uses technology, I was beyond excited to first see the cover and information and then get an opportunity to interview one of the amazing women - Carrie Bernans (Actress, Stuntwoman, Filmmaker, Venture Capitalist).

Carrie Bernans is featured on the cover along with industry powerhouses including

  • Bozoma Saint John (Hall of Fame Inducted Marketing Executive, Author, Entrepreneur)
  • Angel Rich (Founder/CEO, Credit Stacker)
  • Michelle James (Director of Culture & Community Marketing, Instagram and Facebook at Meta)
  • Kelsey Davis (Founder/CEO of CLLCTVE)
  • Mattie Reynolds (Lead Technical Talent Acquisition Partner)
  • Rachel Spivey (Director, Stay and Thrive Team at Google)
  • Kimberly Bryant (Founder and CEO Ascend Ventures and Black Innovation Lab/ Founder of Black Girls CODE).

Read on to see what Carrie shared during our interview. Cause you know I had to ask All.The.Questions!

Becoming Part of Women To Know: Tech Titans

Carrie Bernans: Basically they reached out to my team, they were interested in me joining, because not only am I an actress and stunt woman, that knows the technical aspect of film and tv.

But I also invest in tech through startups, as well as built my own startup in the text space when I was 18.

I was interested! We just had to make sure that the dates aligned. I'm expecting a baby any moment now, so I wanted to make sure I could fly to New York. I was literally in New York for like 24 hours, because I was working on another project back here in Los Angeles.

It was an incredible crew of majority African-American Caribbean black people.

Impact of This for Her and Other Black Techies

Carrie Bernans: It means a lot, honestly. For myself, I work really hard since I was a young child, and I never really look for recognition as far as like you know, being on a cover of magazine or getting awards and stuff of that sort. I felt like I've accomplished a lot in my short, like 30 years of life.

But sometimes we don't sit back and realize how much we've accomplished. Sometimes we can get on this train of just waiting to level up, in the next thing and then the next thing and then the next thing.

It made me really just take a moment in, and to be like, wow, I've actually done something and I should be proud of it.

Carrie Bernans: And also it makes you want to give back even more. I'm already a creature of reaching back and bringing someone up, as I come up. Because I believe I wouldn't be where I'm, if it wasn't for other people that took the time to mentor me or to offer a word of advice etc.

Then the women that I met, I didn't know them personally, though I heard of some of them before, but we were able to connect more offline, and off of this project, and we're going to work on some incredible things together.

Carrie Bernans: Also seeing black women at tech space is very a minuscule thing, I mean it exists but on a comparison to the white males or Asian males in the tech space, it's a big disparity.

So I think that it also motivates and inspires other people, especially the younger generation, that is looking to get into the tech space. It's a very inspirational moment.

Process of Transition from One Field to Another

Carrie Bernans: When I decided the corporate world, just wasn't for me, but I still love the aspect of having the entrepreneurship, being driven working in the tech field. I was like, how can I combine these two?

So as I went ahead to Hollywood Los Angeles to chase my dream with acting in entertainment, I was like, even if I can't spend 8 - 12 hours a day, working on some new tech project, what projects can I invest in that align with my vision of what I would like? Whose board could I serve on, you know?

Carrie Bernans: How can I also maybe a co-founder and help them raise equity in order to make this project happen? And I wanted to focus on minority projects. So, a lot of the projects I invest in are either women-owned or black-owned. Really just minorities. I'm targeting people that I really want to support and see more of.

Experiencing and Overcoming Challenges as a Black Woman in Tech

Carrie Bernans: There's so many different challenges, I think you have as a woman of color. For one, I've been to 19 plus countries. And I speak six languages. And I would say just a general overall, no matter what business I have done from entertainment to tech, there's this perception, especially in foreign countries.

They already have this perception of black women, and in most cases, they first off look at them as a woman. And unfortunately, women are not like the first people that people respect.

They respect them in a way of like, oh, you're a woman you can have this seat. But as far as negotiating on deals they think like, where's your boss? I am the boss. Oh you're the boss? Yeah. I'm the boss.

Carrie Bernans: Or they over sexualize things. I realized that people have this ideal of these sexual fantasies. So they're doing business with you, but then they're also like, is it true.....? I'm like, what the heck, we're talking business here, like deals negotiations.

Lay boundaries right on the front end! You know, we live in a society where you shouldn't have cover up in this way or do this in that way, but one of the things that I do believe is that, unfortunately, it's first impression and it's an impression that people are going to take.

Carrie Bernans: So I keep a very business. I will wear pants or if it's a skirt, I wear it a little longer. I'm not coming there to go on a date with you. I'm coming there to do business with you, and I want that on the front end.

Then secondarily, if someone says, you know you're beautiful or something, then I'm like thank you, you're looking nice yourself. So you know this deal is blah blah blah.

I just re-circle the conversation back to focus on the deal, so it's not being rude or intrusive, because that's the other thing. Then the guys, all of a sudden they seem like, oh my god, this girl is such a blah blah blah or she's so rude or whatever can't take a compliment.

Carrie Bernans: So I'm just like, oh thank you. You know, you stay a professional.

And another way is just have someone come with you, even if they're not 100% in the business with you per se, but they're just the person to be there. So they know it's two because they're rarely going to say something if someone else is there.

Support for Entrepreneurs

Carrie Bernans: Entrepreneurship is already so challenging. I think that as much research as you can do, and groups that you can connect with outside of just being alone.

Because yes, as an entrepreneur you're on a solo journey, but at the same time, you do find those communities and teams. And at the end of the day, if you want to go further, you go further with a team and you have to learn how to build that.

And even if you don't have the money and resources to do that right away, you just have to find that free community on Facebook or network.

How to Self-Care

Carrie Bernans: Lately. I think like the last like couple years, I've been finally getting massages, that I tell people to get themselves. And I've been taking a moment and taking a day, and sometimes I will just say, I am rushing to get, like, all of this done, and I'm trying to fit this in and put that in, and sometimes, I just have to be okay with saying, it's gonna take two hours.

Because I have to take, like a deep breath and a break, or I'm gonna break. The reality is, a tow truck can't tow itself, you know, and it may help everyone else, but you do have to take a moment back and take care of you.

And I enjoy traveling, although I travel mainly for like work and stuff. I like to take a day or two, while I'm working and explore around and just be like, all right, it's Cary's day. Let's be free.

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