IT Technical Lead for Oracle ERP and Cloud Applications, Cox Enterprises, Inc.
Youlanda Mack is a Tocqueville Society member and an African American Partnership (AAP) member with the United Way of Greater Atlanta. Her day to day includes managing data and infrastructures that run applications for all Cox companies (CEI Enterprises, Cox Communication & Cox Automotive). As an IT technical lead for ERP and Oracle Applications, she is responsible for the operational support of the PeopleSoft Human Capital Management (HCM) and Autonomous Oracle Integration Cloud Applications. Although Youlanda is quite busy with her professional IT career, she recognizes the importance of serving as a mentor and makes time for the Atlanta community.
Why did you decide to get involved with United Way of Greater Atlanta?
I believe I can help inspire and give of myself for the betterment of people who look like me. Giving back is part of my values, beliefs and it is truly a gratifying experience. The ability to make a difference in someone else’s life inspires me. Seeing disenfranchisement firsthand as a child and in my local community motivates me to contribute to equalizing opportunities for others in need. This can be something as simple as guiding a kid to go to college or guiding a kid to consider a STEM career. I like that the United Way of Greater Atlanta has a large pool of partnerships and relationships to help multiple families that experience personal hardships in life.
Who or what inspires you to give back to the community?
Philanthropy is part of my core to make a difference in the lives of others. I am inspired to give back because I know firsthand the difference philanthropy has made in my life when others gave me an open hand of help. I am a product of the communities that I now give back to and serve through volunteerism, mentorship, and financial assistance. More importantly, I give back because I see a reflection of myself in many of the children, people, and families in the impoverished communities that we service and donate to through the United Way. I have a personal commitment to myself to always give back. It is also an honor and privilege to share my successes and my story to help others know that you can rise above any situation or condition and become who you aspire to be regardless of your circumstances.
Why did you decide to become a Tocqueville Society member?
Becoming a Tocqueville Society member happened by default. As I earn and obtain more financial success, I give more to causes that I believe in like the United Way which supports multiple causes. I truly believe “To whom much is given, much will be required (Luke 12:48)”. I love the mission of Tocqueville Society to lead by example by giving of our time, mentorship, and financial resources. The act of Tocqueville Society members giving at a higher level shows true commitment to uplift local communities, improve their quality of life, and provide opportunities for the betterment of those communities. As we uplift others, we uplift ourselves. I am truly grateful and honored to be a part of a network of philanthropic leaders who encourage and make a difference by providing resources and funding for long-term progressive change.
What is something unique about you that most people would not know?
I used to work two jobs to help pay for my tuition while completing my bachelor’s degree at the University of Houston. One of my jobs was working as a courier for FedEx. The other job was working as a programmer for an internship at the Houston Chronicle newspaper. I was determined to minimize my college debt while attending college and driven to achieve my goal to complete my degree. Sometimes you must do things and treat experiences as steppingstones to get where you need to be. Always remember your circumstances do not define who you are and who you can become. People would also be surprised to know that I used to be a Flight Attendant for American Airlines.
What are the top priorities of your business/industry now?
I would say two key top business industry priorities are customer experience and cybersecurity. We do what we can to improve the delivery of the product or service to the customer in this digital age by responding faster with high quality and agility. I believe it is key to understand your customer by engaging them with conversations and make proper adjustments based on customer feedback. Cybersecurity works in parallel with customer experience by protecting sensitive data, information, company networks, and systems of employees, customers, and vendors from fraudulent activity.
What advice do you have to navigate the COVID-19 crisis (from a personal and/or corporate perspective)?
From a corporate perspective, I take full advantage of the tools provided by my company, Cox Enterprises, Inc. All employees received a free subscription to Headspace. Headspace is an online subscription that offers meditation videos and techniques to combat stress and fatigue which is elevated as a result of the Covi-19 crises. Headspace guides you through meditation and relaxation through breathing exercises. From a personal perspective, I follow the recommendations of scientists and wear a mask in public places and maintain social distancing. Also, I use the delivered breathing app on my apple watch. It works great with an animation of how you should breathe with small and big breaths. You will be surprised how much just intentionally breathing throughout the day will relax you and reduce stress with the apple watch breathing app. Lastly, I must tell you that I have a morning song that I listen to that I play via Alexa, Lovely Day by Bill Withers – it motivates me to have a great day.
Thank you, Youlanda, for your leadership with AAP and the Tocqueville Society. We appreciate the direction and intricate work you do daily to keep IT infrastructures safely operating during the pandemic and beyond.
To get more involved with AAP or with the Tocqueville Society, please connect with firstname.lastname@example.org.