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Le’shanda Miller is on a mission to be a role model for the youth at the Red Hook Houses

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My name is Le’Shanda MIller and I recently accepted an offer from AWS as a Technical Account Manager.

As a TAM I am a part of the enterprise support team helping customers with operational excellence and making sure that their apps and services work the way they want to.

I would like to thank all the staff at Pursuit who have had any part in my journey. I would like to thank all the staff at AWS who volunteered with the silver linings program, specifically Jeff. I’ve been working towards this goal for a long time and they believed in my talents and skills enough to give me a chance. I would like to thank my peers from Pursuit, Silver Linings, and now working on the job my work colleagues play a huge role in my success. I've been blessed to come across people who are willing to collaborate, help, and mentor without even being asked. A lot of whom we’ve become more than just Fellows but friends and remain that way to this day. And last but not least my family and friends who have been a continuous support.

During my time at Pursuit I worked a full-time job where I had to wake up two hours early because I lived in BK and the job was in Queens. Right after work I would rush to Long Island City to start my real day at Pursuit, I’m sure many nights and weekends Fellows can relate. I called that my real day because I strongly disliked my job, it was a dead-end job we were treated poorly, and even though the job was to service and take care of other people no one checked on my well-being.

“When I started at Pursuit, one of my main driving factors was to get a job in tech so that I would be able to give back to the Red Hook Houses as a positive influence, especially for the youth.”
-Le'Shanda Miller

I was born and raised in Brooklyn NY in the Red Hook projects. Like most NYCHA communities the residents don’t have many opportunities.

Most of the youth don’t graduate from high school or grow up working minimum-wage jobs or become drug dealers. Still today even with all the changes in the community, the number of negative influences in the neighborhood outweigh the positive. When I started my journey with Pursuit one of my main driving factors was to get a job in tech so that I would be able to take what I learned and the opportunities I gained back to Red Hook as a positive influence, especially for the youth. Which is still my goal today.

Learning how to code was challenging and my cohort had our fair share of roadblocks; however, I wouldn't trade that time in my life for anything. There were many times when I got close to tech job offers but it just wasn't the right time I guess. At one point I almost gave up and thought to myself maybe this isn’t for me, maybe I should just stick with social work. But that wasn’t where my passion was and I couldn’t let myself be content with that. My lesson learned: if you want something, go for it and never give up. It's been about 4 years since I started with Pursuit and I wouldn’t change anything about my journey.

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