“It all relates back to storytelling… If somebody doesn’t understand the story, then you haven’t done your job as a storyteller”
BY DYLAN MANN-HAZELL
Reesa Graham, Analyst for the Tech Team at Blackstone, spoke to myGwork about how her lifelong love for theatre and her passion for technology intertwine, and how the data industry relates directly to storytelling. She shared her unique story, describing the roots of her love for technology and teaching, and the role Blackstone plays in supporting her as a member of the LGBTQIA community.
As a theatre enthusiast with a master’s degree in the field, Reesa didn’t initially anticipate becoming a tech analyst. However, her natural talent for using technology and her ability to simplify complex concepts for others propelled her into a role where she now thrives. Reesa’s journey into this field began as a temporary administrative assistant at Blackstone during her time in graduate school. Supporting various teams, she eventually found herself working as the assistant to the CTO of Blackstone’s Alternative Asset Management business. Their immediate connection and seamless collaboration surprised both themselves and their colleagues.
“We’re so similar that two months into working with each other, one of our coworkers that I had known for a long time asked me, “How long have you been supporting him?” and when I said just two months, she said “You interact like you have worked together for ten years!’”
When Blackstone consolidated their technology division, Reesa moved to the tech team. Despite not initially considering herself a “tech person” until a friend gently reminded her not to unfairly compare herself to tech geniuses, Reesa quickly discovered her aptitude for technology. Her passion for data and desire to simplify processes for others made her a perfect fit for the Technology Training team.
Perhaps unexpectedly, her background in theatre played a crucial role in her approach to technology and teaching. She explained how storytelling lies at the heart of both disciplines, understanding the importance of conveying information in a way that others can understand. Leveraging her background in theatre, Reesa brings a unique perspective to her role as a tech analyst, enabling her to connect with others and make complex concepts more accessible.
“It all relates back to storytelling. The driving force for me is ‘How do you tell this story?’” she explained. “How do you tell the story in a way that other people understand? If they don’t understand it, what’s the point of telling it?’ If somebody doesn’t understand the story, then you haven’t done your job as a storyteller.”
Beyond her professional life, Reesa’s personal journey of self-discovery has been significant. As a high school student, during a panel on LGBTQIA representation where she was asked to get involved as an ally to debunk stereotypes, Reesa had an epiphany. Just moments after stepping off the stage and giving her talk, she confided in a friend, realising she was bisexual.
Even in her adult years, Reesa’s LGBTQIA journey is expanding and changing, recently embracing her identity as a demi-gray asexual, biromantic person. This discovery came after her asexual friends pointed her in the right direction, offering words of advice when she described her experience.
As well as support outside the workplace, Reesa has found a community within Blackstone too, through the OUT Blackstone affinity network. Blackstone’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion network provides a safe and inclusive space for LGBTQIA individuals and allies within the company, as well as organises events and panels, and educates employees on queer history. Reesa truly appreciates the open environment at Blackstone, where Pride holds a special place in the company, showcasing the firm’s commitment to acceptance and celebration.
“One of the nice things about Blackstone is that it allows you to just be you and just be queer and live and go to work,” said Reesa. “I love that Pride is one of our biggest events. A lot of senior leadership take part, and it’s always a big deal.”
While Reesa values Blackstone’s inclusive environment, she also recognizes that the fight for LGBTQIA equality extends beyond the workplace. She discussed how the LGBTQIA community’s focus should also protect and expand rights for trans individuals so that everyone in the community can feel seen and achieve true equality.
Combining her love for theatre and her talent for simplifying complex concepts, Reesa has become an invaluable member of the tech team at Blackstone. Her role extends beyond her professional growth as an analyst, as she actively engages in Blackstone’s LGBTQIA community, advocating for inclusivity and equality.
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