“A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there”
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
Hey! I am Naomi Thomas, and I am a Business Management Major and Computer Science minor. My passions revolve around managing startups, educational technology and web development. I find great pleasure in motivating young women to pursue nontraditional careers in STEM.
Fun Fact: I am a huge Nicholas Sparks fan and hope I can finish reading his collection of novels within the next few years.
What # would define your life journey?
As tempting as those filters may be when applied to selfies, hashtag no filter should also have presence in everyone’s life. In my life, I’ve found it vital to be myself, and not allow others to make me change who I am based on what is “cool” or “normal”. Pursuing a career in the tech industry opened my eyes to how many of my peers found it weird or distanced themselves from me because I didn’t fit in.. I chose to be transparent, and not disguise who I truly am because someone may think I am too much of a “nerd” or “geek” to be their friend. When you live life with #nofilter, you allow others to accept you for who you truly are and not what you think they want you to be. It is then you will find yourself surrounded by a group of friends/family that will support you all the way.
Favorite website / app:
I love using Trello because it organizes my work, goals, and pretty much all of my life. I also find it useful that it integrates with Google Calendar.
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted (if any):
My mom is my biggest inspiration and supporter. As the Director of Anesthesia at a busy Endoscopy center, she supervises 3 other physicians and 35 nurse anesthetists. Her life is proof of her work ethic and she is still one of the most humble people I know. I am motivated to succeed as she has and I know that I can always count on her. Even when I face the stress of life’s obstacles, I am comforted by her advice and support to keep moving forward. “You can do this Naomi!” Thank you mommy️ ❤
Song that makes you want to dance:
Consideration – Rihanna ft. SZA
Technical challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
In 2015, I founded a nonprofit student project at UNC Greensboro called MyTechLife. MyTechLife strives to bring cutting edge educational technology into the hands of 3rd-12th grade students, teachers, and parents. The goal is to encourage an overall career interest in computing but with a particular emphasis in increasing the number of women and minorities in STEM career fields.
During the Fall 2015, I hired and managed 15+student educators and volunteers from various institutions in the Triad area, and hosted an 8 weekend workshop series in partnership with Betaversity, a mobile prototyping lab company. It proved to be a lot more complicated and hectic than I predicted, but I was able to successfully coordinate and market the events as well as recruit over 100 students and teachers in the Greensboro community.
I also found it challenging to find funding to cover the cost of running the events and to purchase the very expensive educational technology products like Lego Robotics, Sphero, Osmo, etc. Fortunately after much diligence, I was able to raise over $30,000 in sponsorship funding and grants, and was able to hold fun and informative events for over 100 elementary, middle, and high school students in the Greensboro area. I often get emails from my former students regarding when the next MyTechLife event will be and also advice on pursuing computer science and technology as a college major.
In 10 years, I see myself as a Product/Project Manager at a tech company. My dream is to lead the teams that create the next big technologies. As an entrepreneur at heart, I also see myself CEO of my own company.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
I spend a lot of time planning my education and my life so that I will have direction and can achieve certain goals. While I think it is extremely important to make plans, I understand that not everything will go as planned. This took me a while to realize, and it is amazing to see how something I really wanted to happen didn’t, but in the end doors opened for even better opportunity. Always remember to control the things you can, but don’t freak out if you don’t get what you expected out of it. Everything happens for a reason, so stay positive! 🙂