This October, four remarkable women of color from Health Catalyst have been nationally recognized for their excellence and contributions as women of color pursuing STEM. They have made outstanding contributions through their hard work, persistence, and commitment to success. We sat down with award recipient Rashida Toliver to learn more about her background, role, inspirations, and experiences as a woman in STEM. She was awarded with a Women of Color STEM Outstanding Achievement Award (OAA) as a Technology Rising Star based on an employer recommendation. Rashida Toliver is a driven thinker as she applies her thorough knowledge of technology and computer coding to the creation of extensive healthcare web applications.
Will you share some of your background? What are some interests that have motivated where you are today?
I majored in public policy and was originally on track to go to graduate school for cybersecurity. With the height of the pandemic and the effects it placed on attending school and the significant loans that were involved, it allowed me to shift into a more general web development track.
How did you end up in your role at Health Catalyst?
I applied for the women in STEM scholarship that Health Catalyst offered and wanted to involve myself into tech any way I could which led me to going through the Devmountain’s Fulltack Web Development course. After being a part of a creative course that allowed me to stretch my abilities, I was an intern and then got hired full-time.
What about this position are you most passionate about?
I am most passionate about learning about Health Equity as I incorporate inclusive features in the products that I make to provide to various needs.
How long have you been at Health Catalyst?
On August 2nd, it will be a full year of me working here!
Would you share a role model or quote you find inspiring? What about this person or quote inspires you?
During a general meeting one day, one of my mentors was giving me feedback on how I can improve. In giving me constructive feedback, he told me something that will stick with me for the rest of my career. He told me to be fearless— be a fearless coder and a fearless individual in anything and everything I do.
As a woman of color, there is an underlying fear that prevents women from wanting to be bold and make mistakes. There is a fear of not being perfect or not representing women of color well. My mentor’s empowering advice alleviated this underlying burden I was carrying, as I realized that being fearless and making mistakes is necessary in growth and not looked down upon as a flaw. Rather, it is a step that is necessary in reaching success and accomplishing one’s goals.
What advice do you have for other women who are on this journey pursuing a career in STEM?
Don’t let the trap of self-doubt overshadow your excellence and success. STEM in general is a difficult trajectory, so keeping a balanced mind of not letting negative thoughts manipulate your work and success will allow you to keep moving forward.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Live unapologetically and don’t be afraid to share your story and speak your truth. Be loud and proud of who you are.
How does the mission of Health Catalyst resonate with you and inspire your work?
One of the principles of Health Catalyst is following through with what we say we are going to do. Professionally speaking, that is a model that I live by with the work that I put out. No matter how long it takes or the obstacles I face in the process, I am determined to get it done. Acting upon what you say you are going to do builds character and establishes a sense of reliability that others can trust you and value your dedication.
What are you most excited for at the WOC STEM Conference?
Being recognized at the WOC STEM Conference this year has made me excited to learn and network from other women of excellence whom I look up to. Surrounding myself with other goal-oriented women will motivate me to dream bigger and set more goals for myself as I continue to strive for success and work diligently in my career.
Health Catalyst is beyond appreciative of Rashida’s continuous growth and innovative contributions. Join in celebrating Rashida’s achievements by registering now for the WOC STEM Conference here.