February 28, 2022
Let's #PasstheMic to Michelle, Scrum Master at Fearless and the Searchable Museum project with the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Hi,

My name is Michelle Adekolu, and I’m a family person, multimedia creative, and alumna of Morgan State University. I am also a Scrum Master at Fearless — a full stack digital services firm in Baltimore with a mission to build software with a soul. I started my career in tech support, and I’ve spent a little over 8 years in the information technology space in various roles. I was brought on to Fearless in the early days of the pandemic, and the company’s been my professional home for almost 2 years. 

In my role at Fearless, I act as the Scrum Master for our Searchable Museum project with the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Our goal on this project is to provide a digital experience for the museum’s Slavery and Freedom exhibition that evokes the same kind of powerful emotional response that an in-person visit to the museum would. This is such an important mission, and the project has had a big impact on me. It’s underscored the importance of access to in-depth African American history — something that goes beyond the prolific mainstream stories and notable figures. There’s so much history that is not taught in the schools or found in easily attainable formats, but the Searchable Museum project is helping to change that. 

  1. What kind of connections are you looking for?


My time in the tech space has highlighted the need for more diversity and inclusion in this industry, which is majority white and male dominated. Having worked in spaces where I have sometimes been 1 of 2 black women (or even people) on an entire floor, I recognize that it can be a lonely space. I want to see more BIPOC people (especially black women) in IT, and I would love to connect them to the many opportunities in this space. So for me, great connections would look like bringing more women of color to information technology, either through jobs or their own tech ventures. 


  1. What do you want people to pay attention to? (text + photo + link)

I want people to pay attention to the growing racial wealth gap in America. Much of this has been due to systemic racial discrimination in the areas of education, home ownership, and pay in the workforce. In America, black men earn 83 cents for every dollar earned by their white counterparts. The disparity among black women is even greater, with them earning only ~63 cents to the same dollar (and I should note: this average can be even lower, depending on the state). 


Information technology is a trillion dollar industry that continues to grow at a rapid pace. However, African Americans only make up 7% of tech workers, though they make up 13% of the US population. And while 80% of black women are breadwinners in their homes, we are the most underpaid and undervalued employees across industries. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Economic racial inequality also manifests in the limited access that black woman entrepreneurs have to funding and capital. I believe that addressing the racial wage gap is a step in the right direction to economic equality. 


  1. How do you think the social impact space can further amplify, uplift, celebrate the Black community (text + specific orgs you want to spotlight)

The social impact space can definitely be a catalyst for change. I believe calling out racial disparities in wages, hiring, and promotions would shine a light of accountability on companies who claim (or desire) to make their companies more equitable and truly representative of the US. Greater racial and gender equality when it comes to pay would result in more money in African American households and communities. This would also have a ripple effect, helping close the racial gap in education, home ownership, and more. 


I am proud to be part of a company like Fearless, which not only recognizes the importance of racial diversity and equity, but  has made a commitment to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce. In fact, one of Fearless’ core strategic goals is to build a workforce of at least  50% women and 50% people of color by 2024, and the company is continuously strengthening its commitment to improving racial equity. It’s easy to pay lip service to diversity, equity, and inclusion, but through these kinds of tangible actions, we can actually start to move the needle on them. 

Want to connect with Michelle? Reach out at madekolu@fearless.tech

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