According to Microsoft, a Power Platform Consultant is responsible for creating and configuring apps, automation, and solutions. Here is Paloma’s story in this field;
Hi Paloma, I am glad to finally share your story with the world. Forgive me for not giving up, haha
Hi Winnie, no problem at all. Thanks for considering me. And thanks to Foutse for nominating me for this feature.
So, for the sake of our audience, who is Paloma?
My name is Djike Paloma Elza, from Douala, Cameroon. I currently work as a Power Platform consultant at Micropole, a low code technology developed by Microsoft that enables métier to build applications with very few to no lines of code and is supported by artificial intelligence. As part of my job, I help myself and other people to get the best out of new technologies.
Wow! This is a whole new thing I am learning today! How did you end up in a tech environment, and as a Power Platform Consultant?
I was born in Douala, Cameroon, and was raised by my mother who did her best for my brother and I to choose uprightness and education. I used to give my teachers a hard time in primary school, asking the “why’s” and “how’s” of things. With my questions, I would often interrupt classes for several minutes until everything was clear in my mind! In secondary school, I had a hard time navigating my first crush, a father I wished was there, and the pressure of always being on top that I was putting myself through. My favorite subjects were Mathematics and English and as a result, I was doing good in them.
Then I went to college at the Catholic University of Central Africa in Yaounde and learned social sciences and management during my first year. As I was having my first internship in a bank, I was involved in a mission that made me realize how useful and life-changing STEM could be for business. That first experience inspired me to pursue my studies in quantitative techniques such as statistics, computer simulations, and optimization models applied to management and later on Information System Management.
I then had the chance to combine my passion for technology and fashion as I started a retail business in Douala. In the meantime, I was concerned about giving back and created with my long-term friend Tania Nzekou, an association dedicated to education for younger ones named “Thousand Daisies”. We aim to help juniors with school education, education to citizenship, and self-awareness. I must say that we all learn together!
In 2019, I was enrolled in a two-year program combining management and Artificial Intelligence at Skema Business School which led me to France and China. Then I held a product manager position in a Medtech company that has built a platform to assist ophthalmologists with cataract surgeries, based on an artificial intelligence algorithm.
It’s been uplifting to study and work with people of different cultures as I believe diversity is an asset to society. My entire journey has been a strong foundation for my growth in tech, which has led to my current role as a Power Platform consultant.
Let’s talk about some of the challenges have you faced along the way
I am always stressed out with exams, especially when I must reach a score to validate a test! I have already taken an exam twice in a row so I could reach the score I wanted.
So far, what I have found the most challenging is dealing with administrative procedures in every country I’ve lived in. I can tell administrative slowness is a drawback to entrepreneurship, studies abroad, and professional insertion. It can be partially overcome with digitization, and I would be delighted to be involved in related projects in the future.
You have just pointed out a challenge that most of us would be “shy” to talk about! How do you get yourself to move forward when the challenges hit?
It is a blessing for me to have incredible role models. The resilient, loving entrepreneurial women in my family that I can look up to and my brother that is building his career as a software engineer in Cameroon are some of them. Their experiences remind me that success is at the end of endurance and doing things with love. But also that I can’t fail unless I stop trying so I keep trying no matter the outcome.
These last years have also brought awareness to the fragility of life as things changed unexpectedly with the pandemic. Keeping the faith and the vision helps me move forward when there seems to be no way out.
Tell us about your most prestigious achievements so far
What I am proud of is the ability to give back and keep sharing what I learn through volunteering. As a child, there were people I used to admire for their values and advocating. That inspired me a lot.
Having a little one that claims to be inspired to try his best and take his studies seriously is the greatest I can achieve. At the same time, it encourages me to stay on track.
I also consider it a success to be able to create along with other people solutions to our matters. For instance, I had the chance as part of the DEMOLA program, to build an application for UCA (Université Cote d’Azur) to improve the experience of students with disabilities. It connected students so they could assist each other when needed.
Who is Paloma outside work?
Outside work I am passionate about many things: fashion, law, cooking, music, cleaning, sewing, and hairdressing. I wish I had enough lives on earth to fully enjoy each of them!
As to social interactions, I feel more introverted and I observe a lot. I try to understand the people and the environment. There is always a lot going on in my mind, so, I enjoy both interactions and the lonely place.
What’s your favorite quote?
“The summit is what drives us, but the climb itself is what matters” ~ Conrad Anker. The contracted form could be: “enjoy the process”. As most of life is about being in a process of something, we better do it!
Word of encouragement for a young girl in STEM
I would encourage a young girl in STEM to be willing to learn from others and share the knowledge. That is how we challenge ourselves, improve, and evolve as an ecosystem. It is also important to follow our hearts because passion produces work and resilience.
You have taught me something new, Paloma! It’s my first time hearing of a Power Platform consultant and I have you to thank for that. Thanks for sharing your journey with the world.