After earning her bachelor of arts degree in political science from Fisk University, Atkinson followed the opportunities and started her career in finance, as an analyst at SunTrust Bank. “That’s where I found that I actually have a proclivity for data, and information, and for numbers,” she says.
In 1999 she took a job at Dell as a tech support manager but quickly transitioned to human resources. She got a master’s degree in organizational management from Trevecca Nazarene University, and over the next two decades, Atkinson worked her way up from HR operations manager to vice president.
Earlier this year, she joined Dell’s Chief Customer Office organization as the senior vice president for Customer Advocacy, Insights & Analytics, becoming Dell’s only African American female SVP. She and her team are responsible for customer data and analytics strategy, including using data science to improve the quality of Dell’s proprietary customer data, develop products that monetize that data, and address customer pain points.
Here she shares how she made the transition:
1 EXPLORE YOUR OPTIONS
I started to look for opportunities that would leverage my skills. I had an opportunity to see our chief customer officer in action. She was talking about the work that she did in the broad organization and I’m like, well, that’s fascinating. I think my next career should be in the chief cust