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About Me

Meet Peta-Gay, a dynamic figure in the world of technology and community leadership. With over 15 years of hands-on experience, she's not merely a tech enthusiast; she's a trailblazer on a mission to reshape the tech industry.


Currently, Peta-Gay holds the position of Global Lead for Community Programs at Google. In this role, she's the driving force behind a portfolio of initiatives designed to advance diversity and representation in the tech world.


Peta-Gay's journey at Google began in the heart of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion division, where she was a founding member and Program Manager for Code Next, an initiative dedicated to cultivating the talents of Black, Latinx, and Indigenous students, empowering them to become the next generation of tech leaders. 


Beyond Google, Peta-Gay is a multi-talented individual. She shares her wealth of knowledge in the classroom as an Adjunct Professor at Pace University's Seidenberg School of Computer Science. Additionally, she's a trusted member of the Board of Trustees for the University – a role that speaks volumes about her expertise.


Peta-Gay's tech journey began as a Software Developer, where she honed her skills in developing web applications. Her impressive portfolio includes contributions to organizations such as the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, NYC Department of Education, New York Magazine, and COACH Inc.


Peta-Gay holds a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Programming from Farmingdale State University of New York (SUNY) and further polished her tech prowess with a Master's Degree from Pace University.


As a proud first-generation Jamaican-American, Peta-Gay embodies the spirit of cultural diversity. A native New Yorker, she spent her early childhood in Brooklyn and Queens and now calls Long Island, NY her home.

My Career Journey

This timeline encompasses highlights from my career. It's a nuanced story of resilience and intentional impact,

from my early introduction to technology to my ongoing commitment to fostering

diversity and representation in the tech industry.


Introduction to Computers

On Christmas of 1994, my sister and I unwrapped a gift from our grandmother—a Tandy 2000 personal computer. My grandmother, an immigrant from Jamaica, had been captivated by the buzz surrounding 'computers' in TV commercials and decided to visit our local RadioShack to put one on layaway. While working tirelessly as a live-in nurse for wealthy families, my grandmother, with unwavering dedication, allocated a portion of her hard-earned money to pay for the computer monthly, ensuring that she could bring it home to us that Christmas. Thanks to my Gramz, I was introduced to the world of computing.


Introduction to Computer-Based Networks

After middle school, I found myself among a select group of students admitted to a technical and vocational high school. Initially, I was accepted into the electrical engineering career track, but later, with a recommendation from my principal and some tough love from my mom, I made a pivotal transition into the Cisco Networking Academy. I'll be honest – I wasn't consistently an A student, but I excelled in my math and electrical engineering classes. At one point, it seemed like I might not graduate due to a history class I missed quite a few days of, but with a passing grade on the regents exam, I secured my graduation. The Cisco Networking Academy became a source of immense joy and motivation for me. I not only learned to build and repair computers but also ventured into the world of building and repairing computer networks. It was a transformative experience that ignited my passion for technology and networking.


Learning to Code

After high school graduation, I made the decision to continue on the technical path and pursued a major in computer programming and information systems at the State University of New York - SUNY Farmingdale. It was during my time there that I enrolled in my first coding class and was introduced to the world of C++. I'll never forget that initial experience. We began the class with roughly 50 students, but halfway through the semester, nearly half of the students dropped the course, leaving me as the sole woman and the only black student. 


In hindsight, I've come to understand the underlying reasons for why this occured. My high school years, like those of many students from marginalized communities, had not fully prepared me for the rigors of coding and computer science. However, my background in the Cisco Networking Academy had endowed me with a sense of resilience. This program had instilled in me the essential skills of debugging, problem-solving, and perseverance, attributes that many of my peers lacked due to the issues around access and equity in education during that time, that still persist today. It became increasingly evident that schools from marginalized communities rarely had access to courses and technology necessary for nurturing interest and competence in computer science.

2004 - 2006


After graduating with my Bachelor's Degree, I embarked on a series of internships with various companies. My first internship was at The City of New York Human Resources Administration, where I designed and developed a 'Selective Case Review' web application for their new 'POS' (Paperless Office System) Project. It was during this experience that I was introduced to the Microsoft .Net tech stack. At Code Street LLC, I learned software testing and assisted with testing and debugging trading system software on several different platforms, including Windows, Solaris, and Linux. During my time at New York Magazine, I shared responsibility for maintaining and updating the company intranet. Additionally, I designed and developed a 'New Hire Form' onboarding web application for hiring managers. At Morgan Stanley & Co, as an Information Technology Audit Intern, I assisted Internal IT Auditors in reviewing, documenting, and testing application controls. I also played a role in the redesign of the company intranet and developed web applications for the company Intranet. These experiences were instrumental in exposing me to various areas of technology and greatly enriched my skill set.


College Drop-out

After completing my undergraduate degree, I was certain I wanted to further my studies in Computer Science. I had my sights set on New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, but unfortunately, NYU felt that my undergraduate studies hadn't adequately prepared me for their graduate program. So, in the fall, I enrolled in NYU's Preparatory Accelerated Course (PAC), a two-course sequence designed to meet the minimum prerequisites for starting a master's degree program in computer science or information systems. Not surprisingly, I excelled in PAC1 and passed with flying colors. However, halfway through PAC2, I discovered I was three months pregnant. Coping with morning sickness and the physical changes that came with pregnancy made it impossible to keep up with my coursework. Sadly, it led to the difficult decision to discontinue my graduate studies.


Junior Web Developer

Two months after giving birth to my beautiful baby girl, and without the benefit of maternity leave, I had to return to work. Through a temp agency, I secured a position with the NYC Department of Education, where I utilized ASP.NET (VB.NET), JavaScript, XML, and SQL to develop various web-based applications. After realizing that I was significantly underpaid for the work I was doing, I decided to part ways with the agency. Subsequently, I landed another temporary role with Coach Inc. In this role, I provided support to several COACH business units by testing, updating, and enhancing assigned web projects. These projects included modernization efforts to convert web apps built in classic ASP to .NET. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my time and role at the company, a decision was made towards the end of my contract to outsource all web development projects to India.


My First Full-Time Permanent Role

While consulting provided valuable experience and exposure, it fell short in one critical aspect – healthcare coverage. As a fairly new mom, the lack of adequate healthcare was a significant concern for me. Therefore, I embarked on a mission to secure my first permanent role. It didn't take long before I landed my first position as a Program Analyst at New York Community Bancorp. I came across a job posting for onsite interviews, only to discover that these interviews were panel interviews. Nevertheless, I excelled in my interview and received a job offer the same day. During my time at NYCB, I gained valuable insights working on web-based banking, mortgage tracking, and loan management systems. However, being the only person of color and one of only two women on a predominantly male team made it a less-than-welcoming environment. It was during this period that I truly understood the importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.


Information Technology @ Federal Reserve Bank

One day, while assisting my younger brother with a homework assignment related to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, I found myself browsing the FRBNY website. There, I stumbled upon a link to their Careers section, which boldly highlighted the importance of diversity and inclusion. Inspired by their commitment, I applied for a technical analyst role. To my delight, I received a callback within a few short days. After successfully navigating several rounds of interviews and undergoing thorough background checks, I secured the role.


At the Fed, my responsibilities expanded beyond that of a programmer to a technologist. Alongside my programming duties, I provided technical support and project management for various large-scale and short-term modernization projects. This included projects like a 6-month transition from an IBM communications platform to Microsoft Lync, Outlook, and SharePoint for an 80+ person department.


The Federal Reserve Bank of New York proved to be and continues to be, the most diverse company I have ever had the privilege of working for. It marked my first experience with a company that had a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) and Employee Resource Groups (ERG). As the saying goes, 'You don't know what you don't know,' and let me tell you, I had no idea about the level of support and opportunities I had been missing out on. The CDO and ERGs helped me find my voice and thrive in an environment that truly values diversity and inclusion.


Black Girls Code

Through my own experiences, I had long recognized the pressing need to create more pathways and opportunities for Black women in the tech industry and education. This realization ignited a deep passion within me, and I was determined to be part of the solution. After conducting research, I came across the organization Black Girls Code. I reached out to the Founder and I discovered that there wasn't an active chapter in New York. With the support of a few close friends, I took the initiative to spearhead the launch of the NY Chapter. Over a span of two years, our dedicated team, with the help of hundreds of volunteers, organized and led workshops, hackathons, and various events, impacting the lives of thousands of Black girls across the tri-state area. Our efforts garnered support from various tech companies and universities, including Google, Microsoft, IBM, Pace University, and NYU. Today, Black Girls Code has a community space dedicated to its program inside the Google NYC campus.


Leap of Faith

In 2012, I finally took the leap and returned to graduate school, graduating in 2015 with my Master's degree from Pace University's Seidenberg School of Computer Science. That same year, I accepted an offer to join the Columbia University School of Journalism as their Deputy Director, and within a few short weeks, I became the interim Director.


Simultaneously, I co-founded Urban Tech Alliance with my dear sisters in tech, Quiessence Phillips and Donna Knutt. Our vision was to forge partnerships that would create an ecosystem to cultivate the next generation of underrepresented youth, preparing them to meet the technical demands of the 21st century and participate equally in the global technology economy. Our organization secured key partnerships, including the Salesforce World Tour event team. We ran workshops for youth at one of Salesforce's largest conferences in NYC and partnered with Qeyno Labs to lead their My Sisters Keeper initiative at the YesWeCode x Google-sponsored My Brother's Keeper Hackathon in Philadelphia. Our efforts reached hundreds of young boys and girls and ignited a passion for technology and education in these young minds. Our organization continued to hold workshops and events until 2016.


Diversity, Equity & Inclusion @ Google

Through my work with Black Girls Code and Urban Tech Alliance, I forged strong relationships with corporate partners and volunteers from those companies. A dear friend of mine, Errol King, whom I collaborated with during the launch of Black Girls Code, secured a position within Google's Diversity, Inclusion, & Governance division. Errol was tasked with creating an initiative aimed at cultivating the next generation of Black and Latinx tech leaders, and he reached out to me to join the team. Initially hesitant due to my new Director role, I eventually decided to leave my position after months of navigating dysfunctional leadership. I pursued the Community Manager role at Google and, following several rounds of interviews and a thorough background check, I became a founding member of Code Next. Code Next is Google's free computer science education program that engages with Black, Latinx, and Indigenous high school students in their own communities, equipping them with the skills and inspiration needed for fulfilling careers in computer science-related fields. To date, the program has positively impacted over 10,000 high schoolers, with over 80% of them pursuing STEM majors at universities or postsecondary institutions.



After having served a number of years on Pace University's Seidenberg School of Computer Science advisory board, I was asked by Marvin Krislov, President of Pace University to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees. After several interviews, in 2022, I was elected to join the board, and I've been honored to contribute to the university's mission and vision for the future.


Global Lead for Community Programs @ Google

In 2022, I welcomed a beautiful and healthy baby boy into the world. Following a well-deserved 6-month maternity leave with full pay and amidst several organizational changes, I resumed my role at Google and received a promotion to lead Google's Community Programs within the Education for Social Impact organization. In this capacity, I oversee a portfolio of community-facing initiatives dedicated to strengthening diversity and representation in the technology industry. As of today, the portfolio encompasses Code Next and Women Techmakers. Google's community programs have reached hundreds of thousands of women and youth around the globe in an effort to make technology and its opportunities more accessible to all.

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