Meet techfrederick Task Force Member, Jonathan Pernell
As techfrederick continues to honor Black History Month, we honor the contributions of African Americans throughout history, as well as, celebrate the hometown talent within our own community.
In July of 2020, techfrederick formed a Task Force of passionate local tech leaders to address the barriers to access and advancement that our underrepresented groups are facing here in Frederick’s local tech industry. The Task Force is creating programs which will engage underrepresented youth and connect Frederick technology organizations.
Each week of Black History month we will be honoring the hard work and commitment to the Task Force while celebrating the incredible local talent and accomplishment within our area.
Take a moment this week to get to know Jonathan Pernell…
Vice President of Federal Solutions
What services does your organization offer?
Yakakbod is a Frederick, MD based company focused on technology that supports the Federal and US Defense Intelligence agencies throughout the country. The company’s highly secure knowledge sharing platform allows customers to rapidly utilize secure & customized business process applications. Some of the common applications include asset tracking, outreach management, project management, secure case management, insider threat, and risk & compliance management. The platform allows for real-time collaboration, secure file sharing of sensitive info, very granular access controls, end-to-end encryption, and an API for integrations with enterprise tools. The company has deployed in a variety of networks and is accredited for use on JWICS, NSAnet, C2S, AWS GovCloud, and other private cloud environments.
What motivated you to join techfrederick’s Task Force?
I’m a true believer in everyone playing a part in helping us all get along. This includes better understanding of each other while appreciating our differences. TechFrederick’s key leadership team has a heart to be very inclusive and from the beginning I’ve noticed a variety of ways the organization has tried to make all feel welcomed. Specifically, this Task Force allows me to take part in addressing ways to overcome some of the negative impacts of systemic racism, and how it keeps some people from having leadership opportunities in the technology community.
Name a person in history who has inspired you and why?
As a West Virginia University alumnus with two daughters I love the story of Katherine B Johnson. The NASA mathematician overcame so many obstacles and stereotypes. As a black female genius that was handpicked to be one of West Virginia University’s first black students for a new graduate program it’s very inspiring that while she was a genius supporting in the background her expertise was used to calculate the 1969 orbit to the moon. In short, by most counts she wasn’t very significant on the surface but she was used to help our country successfully complete one of the greatest space missions in history.
Do you have a favorite book that has helped to develop your career mindset and/or leadership style?
I have four that play an integral part on the regular. First and foremost, the Bible has helped shape my whole person and I rely on the Holy Scriptures on a daily basis. The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass has really helped to provide a context of perseverance as a black business professional in a world where people may not always be overly accepting. Douglass’ remarkable demonstration of someone that was once a slave to not only escape that life but also have great success as an abolitionist, public speaker, and businessman is an amazing feat.
Two books that have helped me in sales and business are 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, by Steven Covey and How To Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. Each of these four books continue to help me strengthen my core being.
Tell us about one of your favorite Quarantine pastimes or new hobbies.
It’s not new with the pandemic but I do enjoy and appreciate just getting outside even more. Any and all opportunities to do things that keep me active while not requiring long extensive periods of mask wearing. This includes: hiking, cycling, golfing, and long walks in the city. During these cold months I’ve enjoyed roller skating again, but we do wear our masks the entire time when going to the roller skating rink. I think that getting out to exercise and getting closer to nature is especially important to stay grounded and not be overcome by things like the pandemic and/or the political news of the day.
Stay tuned all month long to meet all the talented tech leaders serving on the techfrederick Task Force!