LaToya Elder Moore: Her Tech Unicorn
By Keisha Mitchell
The world can be a scary place, and trying to navigate one’s career trajectory can be even scarier. Without a guide, or experience it can often be difficult for women of color-and Black women in particular- to see the forest for the trees. The details that lead to things like 6 figure salaries, work-life balance, and the dissolution of imposter syndrome can often feel like hidden treasure or a pot of gold buried at the end of a mythical professional rainbow. But have no fear, Her Tech Unicorn is a mentorship and coaching agency that seeks to change all of that for Black women in tech and is helping to change the narrative (and compensation) of one of the most undervalued identities in the industry.
Created by Latoya Elder-Moore in 2011, Her Tech Unicorn gives Black women real world tools for not only career cultivation, but holistic wellness as they climb the corporate ladder. For Latoya’s claim to fame to be showing other women how to navigate the financial jungle gym of FAANG (an acronym that stands for America’s five largest companies; Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google), she surprisingly had little to no help in the beginning of her own foray into the field.
As a 20 year old native of Buffalo, New York, Latoya didn’t know much about transferable skills, or the difference between non technical and technical positions, she just knew she wanted to make a change and aspire to more than than typical trappings of those in her immediate environment. Her forward facing motivation (which she unashamedly admits was largely financially motivated) really had a single agenda: Find the best environment, learn as much as you can and use that to build a bridge to the next destination.
She explains “I [didn’t] have any guidance in tech as far as mentorship in the tech space that I [could] kinda mirror after. So it was basically ‘alright, this is a means to an end for me and I think I can make the money that I want to make, so this seems like a good route.’ No, I didn’t know there was strategy I needed to apply, no I didn’t know there were transferable skills; I just figured out this was the route so let me figure out how to do it.” Utilizing her first role as a partnership manager at a healthcare company called Mckesson, she became a sponge soaking up experience and expertise that led her to Aetna, then Amazon and now at Meta (formally known as Facebook) where she is currently a Partner Solutions Manager.
Though her road hasn’t always been smooth -she too has encountered struggles centering identity politics, microaggressions, and lack of confidence- Latoya says she realized the wealth of knowledge and things she’s learned were not just for her benefit alone, but for the greater good of the community she represents within the tech space: “I remember when I first started working and I thought to myself, ‘I wanna be the CEO of this top tech company, or a leader of this organization’ and now, throughout my journey and throughout these years not only am I not interested in going in that direction, but what I’ve been able to collect is all the wrongdoings and all the backward systems and backward processes that hinder our community. I didn’t know these things until I was in these spaces and started asking myself why can’t we put more black butts in seats? I didn’t realize it was chipping away at me until one day I woke up like ‘I don’t wanna do this…what I need to be doing is giving back to my community on how we can navigate these spaces in order to be successful.’ I am supposed to be the Teacher for everyone else.” And it’s teaching, and the empowerment that comes from knowledge and support that Latoya gifts all of her students through the Her Tech Unicorn academy.
With full membership access to her programs and quarterly workshops for only $59 a month, Latoya offers resources and coaching on everything from LinkedIn optimization to mental health resources and takes all members on a quarterly all-expenses paid career retreat where Women network in fellowship, share ambitions, and work to heal traumas that obstruct true security in themselves and in turn, their work environments. Latoya doesn’t see herself, or Her Tech Unicorn slowing down anytime soon and in the future intends to build a network where every woman can be her own boss and fully assume the role of leadership in their highest capacity, whether they choose to manage and mentor other members or not. Certainly, as the playing field continues to be leveled and Black women join the ranks of tech workers in every tier possible, Latoyas’ ultimate goal of seeing others that look like her secure the bag will surely be realized.