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I Am L3Harris: Wilma Abam-DePass

Corporate Headquarters
Feb 27, 2024 | 3 Minute Read

My journey through the tech industry has been one of resilience, determination and self-discovery. As a young black woman navigating the complexities of a predominantly white discipline, I faced numerous challenges on my path to becoming a systems engineer. However, through perseverance and a passion for technology, I not only overcame adversity, but I also have become a vocal advocate for change within the industry. 

Finding success in the tech industry was not going to be an easy feat for someone like me. As a young black woman and computer science major with no prior coding experience, I felt like a fish out of water in my college classes. The lack of resources and support only exacerbated my struggles, and I found myself constantly battling feelings of insecurity and imposter syndrome.

I refused to let these obstacles define me; however, and I took matters into my own hands. I sought out support and resources, determined to carve out a space for myself in a field that often felt unwelcoming.
It was through this journey of self-discovery that I discovered the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). After attending meetings and events, I found a community of like-minded individuals who shared my experiences and aspirations. Through NSBE, I not only found support and encouragement but also the opportunity to connect with other black professionals in the tech industry. 

One of the highlights of my journey was being selected to attend the 2023 NSBE conference in Kansas City, Missouri, an experience that opened my eyes to the possibilities within the tech industry. Meeting young black STEM students and professionals from across the country was inspiring and empowering, and it reaffirmed my belief in the importance of representation and diversity in the industry.

It was also at the NSBE conference that I first discovered L3Harris, a company that shares my values and commitment to diversity and inclusion. I connected with black professionals from the company and quickly knew that L3Harris was where I belonged. The genuine interest they took in getting to know me and my background, while also providing valuable advice and support, solidified my decision to pursue a career here. 

Now, as a systems engineer, I am grateful for the obstacles that I faced along the way. They have shaped me into the person I am today and given me the opportunity to pay it forward and inspire others to overcome their own challenges. 

I knew that these obstacles would not disappear, so it was important for me to find a community within the company that was also passionate about building, supporting and participating in inclusive spaces, which is how I found the L3Harris Employees of African Descent (LEAD) Employee Resource Group (ERG). Through attending meetings, connecting with other L3Harris employees and supporting different events, LEAD has provided a sense of home, and I am so excited to continue to grow within this ERG.

My journey is a reminder that with determination, resilience and the support of a strong community, anything is possible. Now, I am committed to using my voice and my experiences to empower others and drive positive change within the industry.

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I Am L3Harris

L3Harris is committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and respect. Hear about our employees’ experiences directly from team members around the world in our “I Am L3Harris” series.

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