Diversity & Inclusion, Entrepreneur, Founder, Lady Bosses, Technology, Women in Business, Women in Tech

Career Conversations with Shaniqua Davis, Founder & CEO at Noirefy!

People tend to like people that are similar to them! It is no surprise that when Shaniqua was applying for jobs, she found out that the job market was extremely bias. Recruiters tend to navigate towards candidates with names that are easy to pronounce because it reminds them of their background. Shaniqua Davis created an app to solve this problem.

Shaniqua Davis is the CEO and Founder of Noirefy, a digital global platform that connects diverse professionals to corporations. She left her job in 2016 to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan! 

She shared her career journey with LFE:

What  sparked your interest in tech? 
I’ve always had a passion for tech. It was something about having the ability to connect with anyone or anything at any time! You just needed the right tools and resources to make it happen. I remember receiving those AOL internet disk at my grannies house, disconnecting the house phone (and getting yelled at), and waiting for the dial up to connect me to the other side. I was hooked, the rest is history.

Do you have a technical background? How did you conceptualize your idea for noirefy?
I do have a technical background. I studied Media and Information Technology at Michigan State University with a focus on computer science. My studies at MSU taught me the foundational work of what was needed to code but I learned most of my coding working on my own. I would pick up small projects and start developing mini sites just to get experience on the coding side. This really helped me build my skill sets to eventually take on larger projects and build the site for Noirefy.

I conceptualized Noirefy when I was sitting at a friends house on Groupme. I started to notice that a lot of the people within these groups relied on each other for info pertaining to new careers or advice. I started to think about the current tools that existed outside of communication apps at the time and I couldn’t think of any. From there, I realized that I could be the person to create this community and that’s how Noirefy was born.

What is your favorite about your job?  And the most challenging? My favorite thing about my job is the people I work with and help. They have shown me over and over again that this mission is bigger than myself. I am 100% happy with everything I’ve been able to accomplish and happy that I’ve been able to be a source of inspiration to others. This keeps me going when things get rough! 

Noreify  has a very powerful mission and it is  making tech more inclusive. How do you get investors do believe in your brand? This is something that I’ve personally decided to venture away from. Raising capital is hard, raising capital as a black woman is even harder. I was able to raise capital last year and I’m thankful, however it was one of the most exhausting times of my life. Although our mission is strong I felt the consistent doubts of 90+ investors trying to downplay the value of diversity over and over again. I understand that this is a battle that most individuals face when raising capital so I won’t single myself out as someone who experienced this solely.

My personal goal right now is to focus on revenue, partnerships and growth. Once I feel comfortable here I’ll open back up the investor floodgates. 

What was your first round of seed funding like?Terrible. lol

What does diversity and inclusion mean to you? Diversity and Inclusion means having representation across the board for everyone. My focus with my company is on Ethnic and minority diversity first because this is an area that I feel most have tried to drown out in the workforce landscape. We have also made it a mission to focus on other areas of representation including gender, sexuality, and veterans.

Who is your career crush?My career crush will forever be Oprah. What can’t she do? I admire her fight to become the woman that she is and to stay on top. I aspire to be like her everyday.

I hope I don’t let her down (fingers crossed)

What advice do you have for young women who want to start their own company? My advice to young women who want to start a business is to just do it. Figure it out along the way and learn from it. Don’t fear failure, embrace it!

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