Ventera Senior Scrum Master Kim Kusumoto
My family’s roots are from Japan. Some traveled from Japan to Hawaii as indentured servants working in the sugar cane fields, and others flocked to the US to experience new things. Learning more about my family’s story has inspired me to understand that people come from all walks of life and have different reasons for coming to this country. Through various arts like music, food, and dance, I’ve become more open-minded and understand other people’s backgrounds. It has shown me the importance of having diversity in my life, in my work, and within my team.
When it comes to fostering diversity in the workplace, my mantra is to get to know everyone. The first thing I like to do as a team lead is to get to know my teammates through one-on-one time. This doesn’t always require a structured meeting; sometimes, I’ll ping a team member at the end of the day and simply ask how their day was. I share a lot about myself because if I share a lot, others are more inclined to share things about themselves with me. I find this helps us understand each other better as individuals and build on our shared experiences while respecting our unique personalities and backgrounds. Ultimately it puts people in a position to prosper at work.
As a minority, it’s essential to find someone that can play a mentorship role to help you navigate and make the right career decisions. Particularly someone who’s been there and can provide perspective. Especially as a woman. When I started, IT was a very male-dominated space, and while it is moving away from that, it’s still heavily oriented around the male perspective. I began as a technician fixing printers at a small company, and now I’m leading teams for multimillion-dollar projects. I am all about encouraging women’s interest in tech and sharing my story to serve as an example.