April Speight is the CEO and founder of Vogue & Code, a digital platform created to assist tech newbies and aspiring technologists in transitioning into a career in tech. She uses her platform to debunk the myth that you must know how to code in order to work in technology by promoting non-coding careers in tech and featuring first-hand experiences from minorities within the industry.
April entered the world of technology following a pivot from the luxury fashion industry to the world of IT. She has worked with various corporate and non-profit organizations to implement new software and revise their technology strategies. April uses her love of creative thinking to help others solve business problems with technology while creating a welcoming environment for those with little to no technical skills.
Unable to shy away from her love of fashion, April has also created the Culture Shop which features specially curated tech swag to help underrepresented minorities celebrate and promote their current (or new) place in the tech industry.
What does diversity mean to you?
Diversity entails having a collective of individuals with varying ways of thinking and approaching life.
What inspired you to start your current journey?
Honestly, I genuinely enjoy spreading knowledge. Tech is accessible to practically everyone. However, you just need to know where to start. When you lack an understanding of the opportunities that are available to you, you fall short of achieving your greatest potential. I just want to help others avoid falling prey to lack of knowledge so that they have the tools and resources to create new lives for themselves within the tech industry.
Who is your favorite artist?
Rather than having an individual favorite artist, I have a love for any and everything avant-garde. I’m in awe when it comes to anything unconventional – there’s so much beauty in abstract art.
What is one thing you wish you knew five years ago?
I wish I knew that it’s okay not to have all the fine details figured out before making significant life decisions. It took me five years to prepare myself to move across the country. I was under the impression that I had to have everything figured out before transitioning to another state. In the end, I gave up on reaching perfection and moved to California. It wasn’t long until so many opportunities fell into my lap – all while still figuring out life in a new state.
Waiting until ‘the right moment’ has hindered me from turning my life around for the better for so many years. Since moving to California, I’ve learned to take more risks and to just go for what I feel would make me happier.
What is your advice to a young person starting their career or entrepreneurial journey?
Career pivots are inevitable. It’s perfectly ok to wake up one morning and have the desire to start down a different career path.
Which books changed your life?
The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane von Furstenberg and I’ll Drink to That by Betty Halbreich. Both of these women are known for their success in their careers within the world of fashion. However, their auto-biographies humanize them both and provides a glimpse into their personal lives.
Despite so much heartache, heartbreak and setbacks, both of these women have created major names for themselves. It’s admirable and often reminds me that I can get through anything in my life and still come out on top. However, they also remind me that love is important. There’s no reason to travel down your career journey on your own. Companionship is powerful and having someone in your life who truly believes in you is impactful.
Where do you find your inspiration?
This truly depends on what I am creating. However, I have a deep affinity for the 80s! By spending time browsing Pinterest for 80s fashion and 80s artwork in addition to binging 80s movies, I’m able to pull some really interesting concepts out of my head.