Tech CEO, Joy Kirven, tells us how the decision to attend one event changed her career path and kickstarted her entrepreneurial journey.
I’ve always been a curious, imaginative, and energetic individual who doesn’t fear doing things differently. I believe that’s why others have placed me in leadership roles throughout the years. I never desired to be a leader, but opportunities kept presenting themselves, so I always accepted the challenge and just took the bull by the horns.
Growing up I didn’t put much thought into my own character qualities: honest, sincere, positive, great communicator, always smiling. Those were my core strengths and at the time I didn’t realize their value. People and relationships have always been paramount to me. My husband always says, “Joy, you don’t care about making money…you care about saving the world.” The truth is…I want to do both, so that I can do more to help others and myself.
My professional journey began in 2002 as an elementary educator. During my last 2 years of a 15-year career, my passion for technology began to flourish. I couldn’t focus on anything else and desired to learn everything that I could and share it. In 2015 I discovered TCEA, the largest educational technology conference in Texas and knew I HAD to attend. I spoke to my administrator at the time and he hadn’t any knowledge of this conference, so I explained how beneficial it would be for myself and our campus. I asked him if it was in his budget for me to attend. Unfortunately there wasn’t funding. I KNEW I couldn’t miss out, so I fully funded my own trip in February 2016 and attended the following year as well.
Attending TCEA 2016 was my most brazen moment! That week changed my life and enormously influenced my passion for being involved in technology. I felt ignited and began conducting conversations with people about learning new technologies. I felt strongly confident in my skills, knowledge, and the best part was…it didn’t feel like work!
When I returned, I was completely tech focused, began a coding club, and became a presenter at a few technology conferences around the state. In January 2017, during my last school year, 2016-2017, I made the decision to become an entrepreneur in the IT industry in partnership with my husband. In the beginning it was scary, since being an educator was all I had known. Juggling teaching and starting my own business was a little hectic, but it was what I had most desired. My instincts told me this was the right thing to do. I attended a State of Texas HUB event in Austin, TX April 2017 to learn about doing business with our state government. Again, the success of this event affirmed that I was making the right decision.
I officially resigned from my teaching position in June 2017 and became solely focused on Zarcode, LLC. Zarcode specializes in consulting for Big Data, Data Analytics, and Cloud in both private and government sectors.
As I reflect on my decision to begin Zarcode I have absolutely no regrets for multiple reasons. As an entrepreneur and woman of color I’m an influencer for my daughters and my community. I take pride in the work that I do and will continue to do. As Zarcode continues to grow in size and revenue, a huge part of our success is helping others to be successful along our journey. As a Native American, Woman-Owned business I take a lot of pride in being a member of the Kiowa Tribe. I hope to encourage other women to become entrepreneurs like myself, especially in the Native American Community.
The best advice that I can give is to truly know yourself, trust your instincts, focus on your strengths, show up, ask a lot of questions, find yourself a mentor, surround yourself with others who want to see you succeed, and realize that you don’t have to have it all figured out right away. Starting a business takes time, patience, and faith. Finally, pay it forward as you grow and learn as a business owner. When you recognize an individual who possesses leadership qualities encourage them to lead, because they may not even realize their potential.
Joy Kirven is the CEO of Zarcode, LLC; a minority owned consulting company that specializes in improving business processes and strategies through technology. Zarcode’s leadership has over 50 years of consulting and project management experience, and with anationwide team of experts it has the partnerships to craft and implement successful projects from beginning to end. Zarcode works directly with company’s decision makers to find solutions to help manage your organization better. Zarcode is Native American woman-owned and operated.