Enterprise Technology Trailblazer Kalina Bryant ’14 Featured in Forbes 30 Under 30

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Saint Mary’s alumna Kalina Bryant ’14 was recognized on Forbes’ 2022 30 Under 30 list in the Enterprise Technology category for her methods of generating millions in revenue and pioneering inclusion for people of color in the tech industry. As the founder of podcast and coaching platform UnapologeTECH, with experience in hyper growth tech companies, Bryant wears many hats and wears them particularly well.

“I like to look at myself as a leader, a curator, and trailblazer in the enterprise technology sector, especially being a woman of color in a leadership role,” shared Bryant. “I really focus on making sure that I close the equity gaps within women and people of color, and also just making sure that I continue to be an activist for underrepresented groups.”

“I am a brand strategist and customer experience leader. I curate programs to really illuminate the voices of companies’ most strategic and viable customers, and I use a relationship-driven playbook,” she added. 

Bryant founded UnapologeTECH as a podcast in 2020 when she was working for a hyper growth tech company and noticed how the lack of representation negatively affects people of color and women. 

“During that time, the George Floyd killing happened. I didn’t know how to embody all of the different emotions that were going on there. I was also the only African American leader at the company at that time. I was a global director and was in marketing and had to put on multiple hats on how my company stood against some of the unfortunate circumstances that were happening in America. Usually, I was OK with being the spokesperson for a company, but for the first time, I realized it was taking a toll on me. So, I actually sat down, and I wondered how many other women and just people in general that were from underrepresented communities were experiencing this.”

Since then, Bryant has expanded UnapologeTECH into a community platform that provides coaching for BIPOC women and allies in tech. “What UnapologeTECH offers is an opportunity for you to be successful, be unapologetically yourself, and actually receive the equity that you deserve by having resources given to you that, unfortunately, sometimes aren’t communicated when you’re in those interview processes or when you’re going after a new leadership role,” described Bryant. 

“UnapologeTECH is committed to providing those resources, whether it be coaching, whether it be an online community, or whether it be listening to women that have successfully done it on the podcast, and they really showcase how they did it step by step, and what were their trials and tribulations, and how they actually got through them.”

Bryant attributed Saint Mary’s liberal arts tradition and unique academic experiences, such as Collegiate Seminar, for strengthening her problem-solving skills and building her confidence to ask difficult questions. “I would say Saint Mary’s allowed me to challenge so many different things and actually be OK. I was in a safe space where it was OK to challenge things, and I think that this is why I’m able to continue to challenge the status quo inside the tech industry, inside Silicon Valley.”

When she first attended Saint Mary’s, Bryant thought she wanted to be a nurse, but when she took courses like Psychology Professor James Temple’s Social Psychology and the late Ethnic Studies and Theatre Professor Reid Davis’ Interactive Theatre, she discovered she could make a career out of her passion for inclusive excellence.

“I’m not a coder, but I am a coder to dismantle the disparities that I see inside Silicon Valley, inside the tech industry. I figure out where problems are, and I figure out ways to challenge those problems and obviously outline ways to fix them so the next generation doesn’t have to experience some of the things that I've seen.”

What advice does Bryant have for women of color at Saint Mary’s interested in a career in tech? “Similar to Saint Mary’s, you enter to learn, but you exit to serve. When we really think about those keywords as women, that’s how you’re going to be successful in the tech industry. You have to break barriers. In order to break barriers, you have to be OK with being uncomfortable, and you have to be OK with trying different things and OK with failing. When you fail, you succeed, and I think that you actually carve out the authenticity of yourself.”