Throughout February, the U.S. celebrates the contributions of Black Americans who have helped shape our nation and blazed news paths in every industry. To honor Black History Month and the continuing story of Black innovation and resilience, Kyndryl spoke with five employees about personal and professional accomplishments, and creating a more inclusive future. Here are their stories.

Malaika Caldwell

Director and Counsel, Benefits & Compensation at Kyndryl


“Become OK with being uncomfortable. It is during those times where you step out of your comfort zone that you will be challenged and experience the greatest career growth. Pressure creates diamonds.”


My inspiration in life

My mother single-handedly receives all the credit for anything great in me or that I have ever accomplished. Growing up, she poured into me through her words of encouragement, love, books, music and culture. She did not play when it came to my grades — so everything I did was with the thought that I always wanted to make her proud. She prayed me through law school and cheered for me to follow my dreams and never give up.


Journey to the finish line

My greatest career accomplishment was graduating from law school – not only once but twice, all while working full time. Seeing how proud my mom and other family members were to see me walking across the stage is a memory that lives on in my life today.


The importance of giving back

Remember to reach back and pour into others. As evangelist T.D. Jakes once said, “If you have achieved any level of success, then pour it into someone else. Success is not success without a successor.”

Alif McFadden

Director, Solution & Practice Integration Team at Kyndryl


“I believe people are Kyndryl’s greatest assets. Our long-term success is built on the continuous efforts to attract, recruit, hire, train and retain the best and brightest young minds.”


What I enjoy most in my career

I like to get to know each member of my team on a personal level first to build a solid foundation and then move on to more professional career goals. In my role as the Global Co-Chair of the Black Enterprise Kyndryl Inclusion Network (BeKIN), I’m passionate about connecting people and creating an environment where people can bring their whole selves to work. It’s rewarding to provide mentorship to younger KIN members and support those who need it.


The power of mentorship

My proudest moments all center around helping others to grow in their own careers. Be intentional about finding mentors, and remember that you can be both a mentee and a mentor. Going outside of your comfort zone gives you a chance to learn new skills and network with people outside of your existing team.


Lessons learned as a leader

Listening to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches growing up, and even now as an adult, taught me that in order to be a dynamic leader that people want to follow, you have to be a great storyteller. His life showed me that you have to lead by example and be willing to step in and do anything that you are asking others to do, even if it hurts.

Maureen Muthua

Chief Marketing Officer, Kyndryl France


“Become a subject matter expert in something and be really good at it — once you establish credibility, leadership will follow.”


The intersection of customer and brand advocacy

Listening to and understanding customer needs in a specific market is both an art and a science. I’m extremely passionate about unlocking Kyndryl’s brand potential and delivering value for customers.


Championing equality and justice

There are so many leaders in Black history who repeatedly challenged racial violence and the prejudiced systems protecting its perpetrators. Let their legacy serve as a reminder of how far we have come and how far we have to go. We must keep pushing to make the world a better place for the generation that comes after us.


Keep going, keep growing

Plan, re-plan, execute, fail, learn and re-learn — the key to success is to never give up.

Kiara Stohlman

Senior Lead, Business Advisor, CIO Workplace Experience at Kyndryl


“Be open to new and exciting opportunities — it’s essential not to limit yourself. The only glass ceiling is the one you place above yourself.”


Worldwide training, worldwide winning

A career highlight of mine was winning a Sherpa Award for the CIO. I received this award after joining forces with Microsoft to conduct training sessions for Kyndryl employees. Over 17,000 Kyndryls participated in 232 sessions, and training courses were held in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Japanese.


Generational resilience

My grandma, affectionately known as MawMaw, will always be an inspiration. She was born in rural Mississippi and was never taught to read or write. She raised seven kids and pushed for them to get a proper education. She overcame many struggles in life and always did it with a smile on her face and grace.


Perseverance and progress

A defining moment for me as a child was learning about Ruby Bridges. She was the first African American child to desegregate an all-white Elementary School in New Orleans in 1960. Ruby Bridges faced hate and criticism just for learning, but she continues to be a living legend and is now a civil rights activist. Her story taught me that I could persevere no matter the obstacle.

Curtis Jordan

Sr. Threat Intelligence Analyst at Kyndryl


“Protecting Kyndryl and its customers is a role that never gets boring — and I get to do all of it while working with some of the most amazing human beings on earth.”


Leading with kindness

Much of my career success has come from being empathetic and understanding to the people around me — even, and perhaps especially, if I don’t agree with them.


My true hero

My father was such a phenomenal human being. He had the ability to befriend people from all backgrounds and didn’t compare himself, his struggles, nor his victories to others. He also taught me to adjust, adapt and overcome, which is core to who I am today, both personally and professionally. I hope that I can live up to — and someday exceed — the example he instilled in me.


Advice for the next generation

Work hard, master your craft and never stop learning. Replace the word “challenge” with “opportunity” in your mind because many challenges you come up against, one way or another, will prove to be your greatest opportunities.