Olamide Olatunji + & She Codes
A tech enthusiast, career changer and sincere advocate for diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, Olamide is making a splash in LA's tech scene. She recently joined the Snapchat team as a release engineer while running a website called & She Codes where she blogs about her experiences as a black woman claiming a seat at the table of tech innovation. She loves Jesus and trap music and aspires to be a mix of Oprah, Remy Ma, Kelly Rowland, and Kimberly Bryant.
What is the best compliment you've ever received?
Someone once told me that my empathy made them feel like I was a healer. It took me by surprise but it was the nicest thing I'd ever heard. I felt like she saw the Jesus in me. I also felt like I belonged in Avatar the Last Airbender.
Where do you thrive?
I thrive in environments where I feel safe enough to be myself. Sometimes that means the people around me are relatable. Sometimes that means one person has shown that they believe in me. Sometimes that means I woke up feeling like Beyonce. In relationships, at work, in community groups or new environments, if I truly feel I can be who I am, it unlocks the best version of me.
What's one bad habit you can't seem to shake?
I like to eat flourless cake from Rustic Kitchen LA in the middle of the night. It's a horrible habit. It's also across the street from my apartment.
What's the best idea you've heard recently?
Bantu!! This is a mobile application that helps black women find hairstylists in any city. When I moved to LA I had to toil for 12 hours just to get some acceptable braids in my hair because I couldn't find a trustworthy hair stylist. I wish I knew about this then but now that I do, I couldn't be more excited to use the app and see how they expand. Every black girl needs to find a trusted stylist when she moves. This app is a game changer.
How do you unplug?
When I've had an incredibly stressful week, I like to do one of two things. One, I like to be by the water super early in the morning or whenever its not too crowded. Every time I stand on the shore of the ocean I think about how someone, somewhere else in the world is standing by the same ocean, letting their troubles be washed up by the waves. Two, I like to be a top a mountain. If I can get to Baldwin Hills or Runyon Canyon and to look out to the city I just feel overwhelmed by the wonder of the earth. I feel grateful to live in such a gorgeous city and to witness the beauty in the works of God's hands.
What's the biggest lesson you learned this past year?
The biggest lesson I learned this year is that discernment and empathy are not mutually exclusive ideas. I think I grew up feeling that I could either be open and empathetic or closed off and callous. I've since discovered that wisdom is where you learn to tread between the two. As I get older I'm learning to be cautious with how easily I give my heart, energy, and time away. I accepted that I can be the best version of myself with people without also being their best friend. I accepted that giving more love doesn't guarantee that person will meet you where you are. I also accepted that as I become more myself, the person I was created to be, I will lose relationships along the way. Determining when to fight and when to accept loss takes both discernment and empathy.