Member Spotlight: Kaisha Morton
Since graduating from college in 2012, Kaisha Morton has been on a mission to make an impact.
Kaisha received her degree in philosophy and communication from the University of Maryland, and then she joined Teach for America (TFA). As someone passionate about addressing the equity gap in education, it seemed like the perfect fit. She served her first two years in a middle school in Houston’s 5th Ward.
“I was the only Corps Member at my school, so I had to figure a lot out by myself. But it was the most impactful and truly developmental experience I’ve had,” she says. While the rewards outweighed the challenges, it was incredibly difficult work. “I saw students arrested and became passionate about addressing the school-to-prison pipeline.”
After her second year with TFA, Kaisha applied to law school, intending to become a public defender. But one of her college philosophy professors, now a good friend, questioned that move. She said, “Kaisha, I’m not sure you will have the impact you want as a lawyer.”
Kaisha continues, “I realized that there is so much that happens before a student enters a courtroom and I figured it’d be better to be able to prevent a student from seeing a courtroom rather than cutting down a sentence.”
So Kaisha taught for a third year and forgot law school. She moved to D.C. to do advocacy work in education, but realized she missed being close to students and families. That led her back to schools, as a recruiter for KIPP schools, which attracted her because they had the best data for African American students in D.C.
Tell us how you came to Google and Austin
“Interestingly, there are a decent amount of TFA alums at Google. I received a LinkedIn message from a recruiter asking to chat with me. I knew a few people through TFA who worked at Google and I spoke to one of them who said that Google was (and is) the company that stood behind diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and put action behind words in a way she hadn’t seen before. So I moved to Austin and began working as a Channels Specialist in User Experience Design. My job entailed building a pipeline of candidates. Now I am a recruiter, which is basically the back end of the recruiting process, such as the last interview(s), compensation conversations, and getting approval from senior leadership. Because of the volume of candidates Google has, the recruitment process is split into two phases.”
How is the impact you’re having in business different from what it was in education?
“Given the nature of our work, representation was a top priority for most Ed reform-based school systems and recruiting teams while I was in education. Therefore, I didn’t have to educate my colleagues on the significance of DEI. In tech, I find that people want to prioritize DEI, but they are often unsure of how to approach the work. As a recruiter, I talk about DEI all the time. Tech companies in general have really grown in diversity, but we recognize that we still have more work to do. I’m proud to be part of the change.”
How did you hear about Impact Austin and what prompted you to join?
“When I got to Google, I immediately joined the Women@Google Employee Resource Group (ERG). Last fall, someone at Impact Austin reached out to us and sent an overview of the organization. I saw that the mission aligned with our organization and I wanted to learn more. On an introductory call, I talked about what I am passionate about and someone followed up with me and asked if I’d be interested in getting more involved in things that interested me. I only know one way and that is to always go knee-deep in something, so of course I said yes! That’s how I ended up as the moderator for the Discovery Days session on Issues Facing Central TX Women.” Kaisha also served as a panelist for the Discovery Days session on Corporate Social Responsibility.
What has been your experience with Impact Austin so far?
“It’s been extremely fulfilling! As I mentioned, I had the opportunity to serve as both a moderator and a panelist during the 2021 Discovery Days. I enjoyed connecting with mission-driven women and hearing their stories. I was also recently asked to attend a Membership Task Force meeting so I could share a DEI perspective about how we can have more inclusion. I would love for more women of color to get involved with Impact Austin, as it partners with and supports organizations whose impact is quite diverse. Members have been warm and welcoming and so receptive to new voices – people keep asking me, ‘Kaisha, what do you think?’”
Welcome, Kaisha Morton! We appreciate you for jumping right in to share your passion and knowledge with us. As philanthropists and learners, we’re stronger together!
Kaisha, her husband Avery, and their dog, Alpha