Brianca German Williamson
The NPD Group
1 year in the industry
Brianca German Williamson
Tell us about your career so far.
I have spent most of my career in the fashion industry – including six years at NPD – working with some of the world’s leading fashion brands. Since joining NPD, I developed a love for market research, but about a year ago I wanted to take on a new challenge in a new industry. Given the growing role technology plays in the fashion industry, especially in the shifting retail environment created by the pandemic, I saw an opportunity to take my unique and creative perspective over to NPD’s consumer technology team. With the background and knowledge I’ve gained since coming into the industry, I have been able to help my clients uncover opportunities to grow their businesses or find cost savings.
Describe your current role.
I am an account manager in the consumer technology practice at The NPD Group. In this role, I help leading brands and manufacturers grow their businesses by identifying opportunities and challenges through data analytics. I’m also passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), especially within the corporate environment. At NPD, I have cultivated that passion by helping to create and sit on NPD’s DEI Advisory Board. I have also helped charter our Black Employee Resource Group, of which I currently serve as the co-chair, and I work with a small team created to provide pro-bono consulting to Black-owned businesses.
When it comes to diversity and inclusion, how is the CE industry doing both historically, and also in the past year?
The lack of diversity in tech is a conversation I was very aware of as an outsider to the industry. The technology itself was proof of the lack of representation and care with the issues we’ve seen around facial recognition and algorithms that perpetuate harmful stereotypes and disproportionately harm Black and Brown communities’ economic opportunities, as well as their physical and psychological safety. It’s unacceptable for an industry that is responsible for molding our future. But in the past year, I have noticed a lot of announcements of newcomers of color coming into the tech industry, myself included, and it makes me smile. As we keep our eye on the retention of these newcomers, we’ll know how the industry is faring with inclusion.
What could the CE industry do to improve diversity and inclusion?
A key indicator of diversity and inclusion within a company, or an industry, is what we see at the top level. What’s the makeup of their executive board? I’m proud to see women leading in CE companies, and the executive teams are more culturally diverse than those I saw in the fashion industry. But, it is disappointing that I don’t see myself, a black woman, prominent in this industry.
What would you tell non-black professionals in the CE industry who want to support the inclusion of black people in the industry?
If I’m cooking a meal with someone and a fire breaks out in front of me, they could do one of three things: run away screaming, stand near the door and say, “I’m here for you, let me know how I can support,” or run over and help me put out this fire! When black people speak out, we potentially put ourselves at risk. We can lose our jobs or have our opportunities limited because we make someone feel uncomfortable. Take time to listen to black people, believe them, and dive into the multitude of resources available at your fingertips, thanks to the CE industry. Tap into your privilege and help prop us into leadership positions where our voice and perspective can build a better technological future.
What’s your favorite gadget right now?
My Apple pencil. I feel like my iPad is useless without it!