In her career with Intel, Nemata Blyden has proven a knowledgeable leader in hardware and software product execution. And it has become her mission to help others like her find success in the tech industry with a recently established endowment at UC Riverside.
Blyden, 34, has held a variety of roles and worked with teams worldwide. Before she found her niche in product marketing, Blyden was a sample planning manager, where she helped bring new products to launch, and a technical program manager supporting various projects for the company.
“I’m a big proponent of working with our customers,” she said. “I love my product marketing engineering role because I have to have a technical understanding of our client products, what the customer wants, and how they can utilize our products to optimize for their businesses.”
“I KNOW IT TAKES A VILLAGE, SO IT’S PART OF MY NATURE TO NOT TRY AND DO EVERYTHING ALONE.”
“I learned as an engineering major that some things are really hard to do by yourself,” said Blyden, who is from Sierra Leone, West Africa. “I know it takes a village, so it’s part of my nature to not try and do everything alone.”
Her advice is to not be afraid to reach out to a person you would like to have mentor you. Be specific with your ask. You can target mentors for areas you’re looking to grow in or focus on a new skill you would like to develop, she said. That’s what helped her transition into product marketing.
“Mentors and sponsors can help you learn from their journeys, avoid mistakes they’ve overcome, and help you navigate new ones,” she said. “I am super grateful for all the support my mentors have given to me to help me reach my goals.”
Blyden also mentors young people of color as they enter the workforce and through the early years of their careers. She is passionate about expanding African and African American representation in the tech industry and recently started an endowment fund for STEAM students at UCR. The Support Motivated African-Ancestry Representation in Technology, or SMART, Scholarship Fund will help support African and African American students in a variety of disciplines find a path into technology careers. She knows from personal experience that undergraduate and graduate internships are helpful ways to get started in the tech industry.
“An internship jumpstarted my career,” she said. “Having that little bit of industry experience can make all the difference on a resume. It can make the transition from graduation to first career positions easier.”
She notes internships can offer insight into career paths that might not have been obvious in school.
“Your STEAM degree can be utilized in an assortment of tech roles that we may not think of immediately, like public relations, marketing, and many others,” she said.
Accordingly, Blyden has included an internship as recommended criteria for the SMART Scholarship Fund applicants, a plan that will also give SMART Fund donors a UCR talent pool to choose from for open career and mentorship opportunities in their own industries.
“I want to help fill the pipeline of African ancestry and Black representation in tech, and help students make the transition from college to a career seamless,” Blyden said.