The She-Suite Magazine Highlight
Edwige Robinson is the Senior Vice President for T-Mobile, referring to herself as a STEM warrior as she builds a more diverse and inclusive tech world. While her introduction to the tech world was admittedly a matter of making money while going to school in the United States as an African immigrant, Robinson now serves as a “triple minority” in the tech industry, leading the way for more women like her. She has worked with countless high-ranking executives, led, built, and transformed T-Mobile’s 5G network, and helped create initiatives for T-Mobile to encourage more young adults to work in STEM fields.
While Robinson’s determination to succeed has always been deeply ingrained, she notes that being an alumna of the She Suite Brand Leadership Institute helped her develop stronger interpersonal skills and success strategies as well. “The Brand Leadership Institute revived me with tangible tools to smooth my rough edges and helped me to harness my values. I learned to utilize my uniqueness as an asset and flaunt it with pride. Early on in the program, I noticed a change in how my peers communicated with me and how I was assessing situations. It was uplifting to see results so early in the progress and it encouraged me to keep going through the modules. I felt empowered and respected.”
When asked about her industry influence, Robinson stated, “As a BIPOC Leader, it is my duty to not only educate and care for myself but to support others in my network and community. … I believe in moving through this earth with optimism and true impact to define my legacy. I accomplish this through my community service, serving as the Executive sponsor for diversity ERGs at T-Mobile, and most importantly, walking daily in my heart-centered leadership approach to business and those I serve.” Now, Robinson continues her impactful work with T-Mobile with the Changemaker Challenge, and leading T-Mobile’s student Cybersecurity & Tech Career fest to motivate students to pursue careers in STEM.
- You have a very tech-centric background which is unique since not many BIPOC women hold positions of such power and influence in that industry. Would you say the BLI program from She-Suite helped you to achieve that level of success? If so, how?
The Brand Leadership Institute revived me with tangible tools to smooth my rough edges and helped me to harness my values. I learned to utilize my uniqueness as an asset and flaunt it with pride. Early on in the program, I noticed a change in how my peers communicated with me and how I was assessing situations. It was uplifting to see results so early in the progress and it encouraged me to keep going through the modules. I felt empowered and respected. I also had more clarity about my purpose and impact. My personal brand blossomed, I learned that ‘authentic’ is the only way to be in order to win – nobody can beat you at being YOU. The program encompasses more than just leadership development, though. It provides an opportunity to learn more about yourself, your passions, and your vision for life.
- What was your biggest takeaway from the BLI program and how did that translate into your personal and professional success?
By embracing all of myself with confidence, many opportunities have come my way including working directly with the Chief Technology Officer at Time Warner Cable and other high-ranking executives. I’m fearless, mindful, and no longer doubtful. I’m on the path to greatness; I can feel in my way of being and the impact I am having. This confidence and faith in God helped me with the appointment of my new role as Senior Vice President at T-Mobile. Each day, I have the privilege to put in practice what I have learned with BLI – treating people with respect and dignity while bringing to life outstanding innovation, all of it done with tremendous passion and authenticity.
- As a BIPOC female leader, how do you influence others in your network/community and carve a clearer and more egalitarian future path for them to walk down?
I accomplish this through my community service, serving as the Executive sponsor for diversity ERGs at T-Mobile, and most importantly, walking daily in my heart-centered leadership approach to business and those I serve.
- BIPOC women make up only 3% of the tech industry. Immigrated BIPOC women make up even less than that. Could you tell us what inspired you to venture into the tech industry and serve as an advocate for women in tech as a whole?
I came to the US seeking a better life for myself and my family. I stumbled upon tech (my initial degree was in banking.) However, when I arrived in the U.S., I had to find a way to make some money while going to school. One of my professors shared with us a job ad for manufacturing working on the motherboard assembly line from 3 PM to 2 AM (the third shift, also known as the graveyard hours.) I learned about AC/DC, resistors and transistors, different temperatures to test hardware, how to do audits, etc. I was the only female, but I did not care. I was able to take care of myself and also send money back to the Ivory Coast to take care of my family. It was hard to go to school full-time and work 10 hours after school, but it paid better than working in department stores. So, while I entered the tech field to help myself financially, I quickly fell in love with troubleshooting and uncovering different ways to get things to work. It turned out to be the best launchpad I could have ever asked for. This is why I always tell people to stay open to what life has to offer. You may be wonderfully surprised by the outcome.
Challenges in life are certain, and the tech field is a challenging field. With that said, the reward is life-changing if you don’t give up along the way. You must be prepared to endure and have your mind made up. No matter the challenge, BIPOC women—and the even rarer BIPOC women in Tech—are aware of the challenge lying in front of them and push forward to make space for the next generations. It is my passion and desire to support women with tangible solutions for navigating the process. One piece of advice I always give is the following: advocacy starts with you, you have to be part of your own rescue (smile) and stay ready with the necessary education.
- You are an alumni of The Brand Leadership Institute at She-Suite. With this said, how have you emerged as a leading and influential executive in tech and would you say you derive your sense of purpose from your work or the influence you have on other young women joining the tech industry?
I am an expert Technologist and heart-centered leader, I am led by the grace of God, and have been given opportunities to walk in my gifts. Divine opportunities orchestrated by God met me at the nexus of preparation. I have emerged as an authentic leader because I am aligning my gifts with what businesses need for maximum impact. It all started as a little girl on the Ivory Coast growing up poor and not having much. GOD was and still is my hope and guide. Young women in the tech industry are now part of my purpose, and I seek out opportunities to share with them my journey in hopes of inspiring them. It is important for young girls and minorities to see that anything is possible—and their dreams are valid too.
- You recently posted about the Changemaker Challenge which “is a chance for young people to unleash their big ideas to drive meaningful change in their communities.” Tell us a bit more about this project and how you are helping elevate innovators and young minds in tech through this program?
The Changemaker Challenge is a program of the T-Mobile Foundation. It is a nationwide chance for youth ages 13 to 18 to submit projects that drive social change in one of three key categories: Digital Empowerment, Equity in Action, and a Thriving Planet. Today’s youth are the changemakers of the future, and we’re committed to mobilizing, engaging, and supporting this generation of young leaders to create a better tomorrow. I help to elevate young minds and innovators by amplifying opportunities such as this one and sharing them through all of my networks on social media and my service on Nonprofit Boards. You can learn more about the Changemaker challenge at this link – https://www.t-mobile.com/responsibility/community/education/changemaker-challenge
- On March 4th, you recently stated you will be leading T-Mobile’s student Cybersecurity & Tech Career fest to excite students to pursue careers in STEM. Would you define this initiative as your calling and, if so, what is your overall goal with this initiative in a perfect world?
The Cybersecurity Tech Career fest is meant to ignite the minds of young students and provide them with another option that they never thought about or ever saw themselves as part of. As a leader passionate about inclusivity, diversity, and economic change, I am ecstatic to lead T-Mobile’s student Cybersecurity & Tech Career fest to excite students to pursue careers in STEM. We welcome 100 girls to our campus! Their lives will be changed forever! Through programs like these, students get to hear from leaders in technology as they discuss their real journeys and how they were able to accomplish their goals and get to where they are today on their path to success. “You can’t be what you can’t see.” This Fest is a chance for them to ‘see’ success and to ‘see’ themselves in the women who are presenting.