This article appears as part of the Most Diverse Tech Hub initiative and is underwritten by the City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce. It was independently reported and not reviewed by this partner before publication.
The Mount Laurel-based technologist has been at Comcast for over 20 years, working her way up through the ranks to her current position, director of engineering operations. But before joining the Center City-headquartered telecommunications giant, Tejeda was a single mom working in the hospitality industry.
Tejeda held a leadership position at a restaurant, but found herself working almost seven days a week in that role. Eventually, she realized that she didn’t want such a draining lifestyle for herself and her child. She wanted to be more present for her daughter, especially because she didn’t have other support.
Growing a career
Tejeda went back to school, completing two years at community college while continuing to work her restaurant job. In 2000, she applied to be a technical support analyst at Comcast, which got her foot in the door at the company.
Tejeda started at the company when it was a major player in the cable industry, but not yet as prominent in the internet industry. She was offered a job as a network administrator to help build out the internet network in Cherry Hill. Tejeda already had some experience working with tech, but credits this job as an opportunity to learn even more — including about equipment like cable modem termination systems, which are used to provide high-speed data services from cable companies’ headends.
“We basically built out the network” with such hardware, she said, “to get ready for Comcast to be able to support the internet. That was actually some extremely busy and very complicated work, but with all the support that I had, with all the engineers and things that I work with, my technology depth actually got even bigger.”
In Tejeda’s current position, she oversees a team of 14 engineers on the national provisioning team, which works on server builds, deployments, software upgrades, security fixes, in-tool development and custom server monitoring. Over the years, Tejeda said the company has also supported her in pursuing more educational opportunities and training. She hopes to eventually finish a bachelor’s degree in information technology from online school Capella University.
Since 2017, Tejeda has been involved with TECHWomen, an employee resource group focused on women supporting women in tech, as one of the South Jersey leads of the group. She is also a member of the Comcast BENgineers, an organization for Black employees at the company. TECHWomen strives “to connect, contribute and to inspire,” she said, but she values inspiration the most, such as the group’s community outreach to youth organizations in South Jersey.
For the last few years, TECHWomen has partnered with the Camden Dream Center where members teach students in kindergarten through eighth grade how to code. They currently volunteer with these young people for two hours every Saturday. TECHWomen recruits volunteers who are excited to introduce these young girls to technology, Tejeda said, and the mentees are receptive to messaging that they can do anything.
“They’re so impressionable,” Tejeda said, “and they’re so intelligent, so young, and sometimes it takes someone to say, ‘You are enough. You are beautiful.'”
TECHWomen members recently started volunteering with high schoolers at HomeWorks, an after-school residential program in Trenton, where they teach the girls about coding and website development. They’ve hosted three sessions with these girls so far and have been asked back to continue programming, Tejeda said.
“Just the fact that [they have] someone who looks like them to say, ‘Hey, I’ve been here too, you know, and this is how I grew,” she said.
The tech director has also gotten the BENgineers involved with youth outreach. She think it’s powerful to see the collaboration between TECHWomen and BENgineers and how it can help the young people they work with.
In her career’s future, Tejeda wants to continue supporting the team she leads now, as well as the young women she’s met through volunteer work.
“I want children to know, especially the brown girls, that they can have a future and it can be as bright as they want it to be,” she said. “I just want to touch as many young children as I can.”Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2023 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
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