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PROS

Interface is a podcast where we connect technology and culture through conversation. Interface is brought to you by EMPOWER at PROS. EMPOWER is dedicated to attracting, developing and retaining Black talent at PROS. PROS helps people and companies outperform by enabling smarter selling in the digital economy. read less
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Episodes

Navigating the Tech World with Curiosity and Courage feat. Dana Morrow Branch
13-03-2024
Navigating the Tech World with Curiosity and Courage feat. Dana Morrow Branch
In this podcast episode, hosts Jennifer Plummer and Matthew Negron interview Dana Morrow Branch, Senior Vice President AI Platform Risk Management at Bank of America. Dana shares her journey into the tech world. With over two decades of experience in technology, from software development to AI project management, Dana discusses her career trajectory, including her rapid promotions and the leaps she made from software development to risk management in AI, guided by her curiosity and dedication to excellence. Moreover, Dana delves into her involvement in fostering diversity and inclusion within the tech industry, her passion for homeschooling, and the personal rewards of volunteering. The discussion also covers the significance of continuous learning, the future of AI and risk management, and the importance of innovative thinking in technology. Furthermore, Dana offers insightful advice for those looking to carve a path in technology today and emphasizes the value of understanding and participating in multidisciplinary projects and hackathons to foster innovation. Notable Quotes “If the job doesn't fit, you create the fit” “…know your job and know everybody else's job around you” “…be a jack of all trades and an expert at all of them” “…careers aren't built on chasing titles. Careers are built on demonstrating value and they, and a need for you in a room”  Heat Check Links The Top 3 Resume Mistakes Costing You the Job Reddit’s planned IPO share price seems high, unless you look at its AI revenue  Contact Dana Morrow Branch https://www.linkedin.com/in/dana-morrow-branch Contact the Interface Crew interfacepodcast@pros.com Jenni Plummer  Siara Barnes  Matthew Negron  (00:00) - Meet Dana Morrow Branch: A Trailblazer in Tech(02:33) - The Unconventional Path to Tech: From Lawyer Dreams to Tech Reality(04:53) - First Steps into the Professional World: Challenges and Triumphs(09:25) - Navigating Career Growth: From Software Engineer to Senior Vice President(14:47) - The Essence of AI Risk Management: A Deep Dive with Dana(21:28) - Career Advice for the Next Generation: Embracing Change and Continuous Learning(27:44) - Reflecting on the Journey: The Value of Being in the Room(29:41) - The Power of Curiosity and Practical Experience(30:10) - Maximizing Opportunities: From Observing to Leading(31:14) - Building a Diverse Tech Workforce: Strategies and Successes(36:08) - The Heat Check: Hot Topics in Tech and Culture(36:26) - Resume Mistakes to Avoid for Your Dream Tech Job(40:16) - Reddit's IPO and the Future of AI(45:03) - Innovation and Learning: The Impact of Hackathons(55:56) - Closing Thoughts and Future Endeavors
Technology Leadership Masterclass feat. Kelsey Ruger
28-02-2024
Technology Leadership Masterclass feat. Kelsey Ruger
In this episode, our hosts Jennifer, Matthew and Siara engage in insightful dialogue with Kelsey Ruger, the Chief Product and Technology Officer at Hello Alice. They dive into topics such as the synergy of being leading both product and technology teams, the value of investing in becoming a good leader, and the importance of learning how to operate in the business world while specializing in technology. The Heat Check segment introduces listeners to several conspiracy theories surrounding this year's Super Bowl game and a special Black History Month tribute to Doug Williams, the first black quarterback to play in and win a Super Bowl game.00:00 Introduction and Guest Background02:28 Kelsey's Journey into Technology06:10 The Importance of Breaking Things and Learning07:10 The Evolution of Technology and Its Accessibility08:35 Transition to Chief Product and Technology Officer10:18 The Role of a Manager and Leadership Skills10:58 The Cognitive Load of Managing Multiple Teams16:50 Advice for Aspiring Designers and Engineers20:49 Building Diverse Teams and Hiring the Right People23:14 Increasing Black Talent in Technology27:14 Understanding Business Motivations28:31 Personal Experiences in Corporate America29:14 The Burden of Representation30:29 The Heat Check Segment Begins31:26 Super Bowl Conspiracy Theories34:41 The College Admission Game44:35 Black History Month Tribute46:23 Wrapping Up and Guest Contact InfoNotable Quotes“Yeah. I don't think people appreciate breaking things enough. Like when you break it and you have to fix it, you learn a lot. Even if your life is at risk at the moment, you learn a lot about how to get things working…”“…start with making sure the vision is clear. So, if, for example, I want to do a new feature around AI, I'm not going to just go and say, we need this feature. I need to plug it into what our vision is. Like, what is our vision as a company, how this fits with what we said are the particular OKRs we're working on in that particular timeframe, and then make sure that the expectations are clear. Sometimes I will sketch out things or I'll give them an idea, especially if it's something really new that we haven't talked about before. What I do try to avoid is giving them the solution because that's why you hire people, right? Like you don't hire people as an executive to dictate to them, go build this thing that I thought of.LinksMatthew Heat CheckSiara Heat CheckJennifer Heat Check Contact KelseyLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kelseyruger/Instagram: @kelseyruger Reach out to The Interface Podcast Crew at ·        interfacepodcast@pros.com OR·        Jenni Plummer - https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniplummer/ OR ·        Siara Barnes - https://www.linkedin.com/in/siara-barnes-b47a923a/ OR ·        Matthew Negron - https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthew-negron94/
Quality Engineering Insights: An In-depth Talk feat. Bobby Kyle
14-02-2024
Quality Engineering Insights: An In-depth Talk feat. Bobby Kyle
In this episode of Interface, the co-hosts converse with Bobby Kyle, IT advisor at the Central Louisiana Electric Company (and PROS alum!) about his expansive career in engineering and information technology leadership roles. They discuss his path into technology, the impact and implications of emerging technologies like AI, the importance of mentors, and strategies for increasing diversity in tech. He also shares his 'day in the life' of an IT Advisor as well as the distinction between Quality Engineering and Quality Assurance.  00:00 Introduction and Guest Profile01:57 Bobby's Journey into Technology03:59 Quality Engineering vs Quality Assurance06:23 Day in the Life of a Quality Engineering Director14:09 Career Advice for Aspiring Leaders in Tech15:11 Impact of AI on Quality Engineering22:52 Increasing Black Talent in Technology25:32 Expanding Partnerships and Sourcing Strategies27:05 Transitioning to AI and Tech Concerns27:10 Heat Check Segment: AI and Image Manipulation28:20 Reminiscing about Apple Macintosh33:56 Discussion on AI Misuse and Legal Implications37:37 The Business of Netflix and Outsourcing45:21 Closing Remarks and Guest Contact InformationHeat Check LinksTaylor Swift Deep FakeApple Mac turns 40!Netflix: What Happens When You Press Play?  Contact BobbyLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bobby-kyle/Contact the Interface Crewinterfacepodcast@pros.comJenni Plummer Siara Barnes Matthew Negron
Human Centered Design in UX feat. Ayan Bihi
24-01-2024
Human Centered Design in UX feat. Ayan Bihi
In this episode of Interface, the Crew speaks with PROS own UX Design Manager, Ayan Bihi. Ayan discusses her trajectory from studying sociology in France to becoming a UX Design Manager. She shares insights on her work, including the human-centered design strategy, the power of design, and the importance of user-centered solutions. Additionally, the conversation delves into strategies for retaining black talent in tech industries, the value of diversity, and the importance of mentorship.  Notable Quotes“At Concordia University and I took sociology just because I've always been fascinated on how things work. And so, I can be in a public space and just observe people and wonder like, why are they doing that? Or just trying to understand everything. So, for me, sociology was kind of like getting to study the user manual of our societies and understanding why we do certain things and what's the structure and what's the kind of the reason behind it all.” “I'm able to open a pen easier because somebody thought about what would be the best experience for me to open this pen. So I said, you know what, that would be really interesting. Let me explore that. So I decided first before I decided to go full into it, I took a community college course where I was growing up to understand it a bit more, and I decided, okay, yeah, I get this. I like this.” LinksMatthew Heat Check: https://techcrunch.com/2024/01/10/sec-approves-spot-bitcoin-etf/Siara Heat Check: https://podcasts.apple.com/si/podcast/michelle-obama-how-to-stay-with-your-partner-when-they/id1450994021?i=1000640876432Jennifer Heat Check: https://link.hbr.org/view/654aa89aa426663d33230514k6rf8.6ovs/3bd05a5c Contact AyanLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ayanbihi/Ascend UX Podcast: https://ascendux.simplecast.com/Menstrual Care Website: https://www.arum.care/  Reach out to The Interface Podcast Crew at · interfacepodcast@pros.com OR· Jenni Plummer - https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniplummer/ OR · Siara Barnes - https://www.linkedin.com/in/siara-barnes-b47a923a/ OR · Matthew Negron - https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthew-negron94/ Chapters01:17 Introduction and Guest Presentation02:28 Starting the Conversation03:27 Guest's Origin Story07:36 Transition into UX Design09:45 Role as a Design Manager12:40 Understanding User Experience Design15:12 Advice for Aspiring UX Designers21:30 Balancing Naivety and Planning in Career Progression24:52 Increasing Black Talent in Technology26:31 The Impact of Diversity in the Workplace27:03 Personal Experiences and Challenges as a Black Woman in Tech28:22 The Importance of Diversity in Thought and Innovation29:08 Exposing Black Talent to Tech Careers through Externships30:25 The Power of Networking and Mentorship30:52 The Externship Experience at PROSE34:06 The Importance of Human Connection in a Virtual World36:06 Heat Check: Hot Topics in Tech and Black Culture50:20 The Importance of Walking the Walk in Diversity and Inclusion
Glass Ceilings and the Power of the Pivot feat. Dr. Cheryl Swanier
24-08-2023
Glass Ceilings and the Power of the Pivot feat. Dr. Cheryl Swanier
Join the Interface Crew as they sit down with Dr. Cheryl Swanier, Computer Science department chair for University of Massachusetts Amherst and Founder and CEO of Swanier Consulting LLC. to discuss her early tech career experiences facing corporate glass ceilings and how it led her to a career pivot into education where she flourished. Dr. Swanier illustrates how she navigated her own imposter syndrome after being presented with a career changing opportunity and how facing racism in the workplace has shaped her career and inspired her community outreach efforts encouraging Black women in tech and teaching kids from underrepresented groups how to code. Notable Quotes"…the reason I transitioned from corporate to K-12 is because I felt like I had reached this glass ceiling. It was always my aspiration to become a CEO of an organization, but I quickly realized that…organizations really weren't for Black people in the early eighties or the mid-nineties." "I went to my interview, and I was extremely nervous…they did offer me a position but not that of department chair because I really didn't show forth the confidence and enthusiasm to get that (department chair) position." "I tell my students to follow your dreams and pick and choose your battles. Make sure you don't put all your eggs in one basket."  LinksJennifer Heat Check: https://newsletter.pragmaticengineer.com/p/twitter-vs-instagram-threads-two?utm_source=post-email-title&publication_id=458709&post_id=133515172&isFreemail=true&utm_medium=email Siara Heat Check: https://www.cnn.com/2023/04/12/tech/fbi-public-charging-port-warning/index.html Contact CherylLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cherylswanier/ Reach out to The Interface Podcast Crew at ·        interfacepodcast@pros.com OR·        Jenni Plummer - https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniplummer/ OR ·        Siara Barnes - https://www.linkedin.com/in/siara-barnes-b47a923a/ OR ·        Matthew Negron - https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthew-negron94/
Empowering Underrepresented Communities - Journey of Building Bridges to Tech feat. Goldie Powell
22-05-2023
Empowering Underrepresented Communities - Journey of Building Bridges to Tech feat. Goldie Powell
In this episode of The Interface Crew, Goldie Powell joins the show to discuss her journey of empowering women and underrepresented communities in technology. As a woman of color who faced challenges early in her career, Goldie shares how her experience in Corporate America inspired her to make a difference for others. Listeners will gain valuable insights from Goldie's personal story and her expertise in the tech industry. This episode is a must-listen for anyone who wants to learn more about how to create a more inclusive and diverse tech industry. Notable Quotes "There were silent expectations. When you're hired, you are expected to know how to do this job yet when you ask questions 1 question may turn into 2, 3, or 5 questions…This is where I think there is a lot of disconnect from college into Corporate America." "I wanted to help Black women; people who look like me. I wanted to help boost their confidence early so when they are sitting in the same seat I was, they don't feel as uncomfortable as I felt." Links·        Siara Heat Check: https://www.emergingtechbrew.com/stories/2023/04/25/adobe-initiative-ai-images?cid=31280730.462313&mid=dd55ea1dbeaec357e0585e40148dcc20&utm_campaign=etb&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_source=morning_brew·        Jenni Heat Check: https://www.wired.com/story/stack-overflow-will-charge-ai-giants-for-training-data/·        Mattie's Heat Check: https://techcrunch.com/2023/04/24/snapchat-sees-spike-in-1-star-reviews-as-users-pan-the-my-ai-feature-calling-for-its-removal/  Contact GoldieLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/goldie-powell-97301a176/Website: https://www.cybercreationz.com/, https://cybercreationztech.org/ Reach out to The Interface Podcast Crew at ·        interfacepodcast@pros.com OR·        Jenni Plummer - https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniplummer/ OR ·        Siara Barnes - https://www.linkedin.com/in/siara-barnes-b47a923a/ OR ·        Matthew Negron - https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthew-negron94/
From Engineer to Entrepreneur: The Journey of SpenDebt feat. Kiley Summers
26-04-2023
From Engineer to Entrepreneur: The Journey of SpenDebt feat. Kiley Summers
The Interface Crew sits down with Kiley Summers, electrical engineer by trade and founder of SpendDebt, to discuss how he landed in engineering and how the desire to create the life he wanted for his family and becoming debt free led him to launch SpinDebt his consumer debt payment company, SpendDebt. Notable Quotes "Exposure expands expectations…""…being in the boardroom, being in student council as a young kid or over Girl Scouts…maybe they don't get it right, but that's okay to not get it right. What's important to me is that they have confidence.""Keep going. Use the tools and fail fast!""If you don't step into what you are called to do, you can make a whole generation miss their blessing."Heat Check Source Links·        Jennifer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGAgxozNWFE&ab_channel=ByteByteGo·        Matthew: https://www.technologyreview.com/2023/02/15/1067904/ai-automation-drug-development/Contact KileyTwitter: https://twitter.com/spendebtSpenDebtInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/its_spendebt/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/spendebt/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kiley-summers-49b11a41/Website: https://www.spendebt.com/ Reach out to The Interface Podcast Crew at ·        interfacepodcast@pros.com OR·        Jenni Plummer - https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniplummer/ OR ·        Siara Barnes - https://www.linkedin.com/in/siara-barnes-b47a923a/ OR ·        Matthew Negron - https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthew-negron94/
CuSTEM Journey feat. Engineer and Podcast Host Andrew Baines
27-03-2023
CuSTEM Journey feat. Engineer and Podcast Host Andrew Baines
Episode Title: CuSTEM Journey feat. Engineer and Podcast Host Andrew BainesThe Interface crew sits down with Engineer and founder of CuSTEM Journeys Podcast, Andrew Baines, to chat about how to deal with nay-sayers and how his career as an engineer helped him start podcasting and become a diversity focused recruiter. “…we need to encourage and push our students and the kids from our communities to do more than what’s just typically expected. If I would’ve just said, “Yo, I’m gonna go walk on at JUCO and go try to play ball there, nobody would have blinked an eye.”“if you’re giving advice, you definitely have to know the individual. Where is their head space at? What is their awareness of what they are about to do? I definitely think transparency and helping the person understand what are the next steps needed to be successful on this journey.”“Let’s create systems or opportunities or opportunities within our organization so that we can train the next batch of talent we need for the problems we have we have currently.” Links·        Siara Heat Check: https://techcrunch.com/2023/03/09/apple-launches-its-new-classical-music-streaming-app-for-pre-order/?utm_medium=TCnewsletter&tpcc=TCdailynewsletter ·        Jenni Heat Check: https://wix-ux.com/when-life-gives-you-lemons-write-better-error-messages-46c5223e1a2f ·        Mattie's Heat Check: https://www.pcmag.com/news/accessibility-and-ai-microsoft-details-its-plans-for-a-more-inclusive-future·        Jenni CuSTEM Journeys episode: https://youtu.be/ELFk6btkM5k  Contact AndrewCuSTEM Journeys Podcast: cuSTEM journeys - https://www.custemjourneys.com/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrew-baines-85763848/ Reach out to The Interface Podcast Crew at ·        interfacepodcast@pros.com OR·        Jenni Plummer - https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniplummer/ OR ·        Siara Barnes - https://www.linkedin.com/in/siara-barnes-b47a923a/ OR Matthew Negron - https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthew-negron94/
Funding Future Founders feat. Foresight Co-Founder and CTO Charlotte Clark
08-03-2023
Funding Future Founders feat. Foresight Co-Founder and CTO Charlotte Clark
Episode Title: “Funding Future Founders feat. Foresight Co-Founder and CTO Charlotte Clark”Charlotte Clark is the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Foresight, a company helping small businesses get educated and raise the capital they need to make their dreams a reality. The Interface Crew chats with Charlotte about her journey into technology, her experience at MIT and how she took the leap to quit her corporate job during the global pandemic and dive into entrepreneurship. She shares lessons she’s learned along the way about herself and what it takes to lead tech start up.Highlights“If I hadn’t been in that incubator, it would have taken me a really long time. I think I am a recovering perfectionist, so I probably would have attempted to make things really perfect. At this point, I’ve rebranded myself 3 or 4 times and I’ve changed my website multiple times…it’s just a part of the entrepreneur process…”“[overcoming roadblocks] I think it’s really about figuring out how do I feel about what I’m doing, who I’m working with. …I’ve worked with clients and things did not go well and I have to reflect on…am I setting up the right boundaries for myself and how I work with clients.”“I think [Chief Technology Officers and Chief Product Officers] need to be technically in one person because sometimes priorities have to just be, ‘Does it work? Are our customers satisfied?’ and then technology becomes second.” LinksContact CharlotteInstagram - https://www.instagram.com/tryforesight/LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/charlotte-a-clark/Website - https://www.tryforesight.ioMedium - https://medium.com/@charlotte.a.clarkHeat Check Links:Charlotte: https://www.businessinsider.com/venture-debt-vs-venture-capital-startup-advantages-2022-12Siara: Rihanna Performance; Sheryl Lee Ralph - Lift Every Voice and Sing; Chris Stapleton – USA National AnthemJennifer: Big Tech diversity efforts stall as industry endures mass layoffs -  https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cubWFya2V0cGxhY2Uub3JnL2ZlZWQvcG9kY2FzdC9tYXJrZXRwbGFjZS10ZWNo/episode/aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cubWFya2V0cGxhY2Uub3JnL3Nob3dzL21hcmtldHBsYWNlLXRlY2gvYmlnLXRlY2gtZGl2ZXJzaXR5LWVmZm9ydHMtc3RhbGwtaW5kdXN0cnktbWFzcy1sYXlvZmZz?sa=X&ved=0CAUQkfYCahcKEwigtobfgcr9AhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQaA2Matthew: https://twitter.com/rgiii/status/1624844834333921280?s=46&t=I5r8zBv1XJrNLTbEoblNKA Reach out to The Interface Podcast Crew at ·        interfacepodcast@pros.com OR·        Jenni Plummer - https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniplummer/ OR ·        Siara Barnes - https://www.linkedin.com/in/siara-barnes-b47a923a/ OR ·        Matthew Negron - https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthew-negron94/
From the Desk of a CTO with Marcus Manning
20-07-2022
From the Desk of a CTO with Marcus Manning
Episode 9 Show Notes – From the Desk of a CTO with Marcus Manning NOTE: This episode was recorded on November 15, 2021After visiting his father’s work at NASA, Marcus Manning, CTO at Smart Financial Credit Union, was intrigued by computing. He built his first computer at 16 and went on to get a degree in computer science. Being a people person, once he started working, Marcus realized he would like to marry the technical side with his people skills. He went into network administration which led to an opportunity in a leadership role - that is where his journey started as an African American leader in the IT industry.  Marcus, a great story teller, shares his experience on becoming an executive and a technology leader.  "In order for technology to be a value to any organization it needs to be properly articulated”“... help the business connect the dots”“... bring your true authentic self with you everywhere that you go, including the workplace”“... I think others perception of you is important... Not [to] change who you are, but you need to know, especially at the executive level, … what message you’re sending and you need to know how that message is being received and the only way you can know that is through feedback”“You have to be able to adapt to change”“... learn the business as much as you can”“... let’s make DEI a year end goal... You put metrics and goals around everything else you want to accomplish. Why can’t we put metrics and goals around DEI”“there needs to be a [formal] mentor / mentee program”“Volunteer for projects and volunteer for things outside of your normal scope”Links:·        https://www.linkedin.com/in/marcus-manning-7133b92/ Reach out to The Interface Podcast Crew at ·        interfacepodcast@pros.com OR ·        Jenni Plummer - https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniplummer/ OR ·        Siara Barnes - https://www.linkedin.com/in/siara-barnes-b47a923a/ OR ·        Matthew Negron - https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthew-negron94/