A Force for Black Professionals in Tech

Andrea Carlos Miniatur
Andrea Carlos
Published February 20, 2024

When the company he worked for was acquired by F5, Carl Mosby III wasn’t sure what the future would hold. But soon afterward, he saw F5 CEO François Locoh-Donou talk candidly to employees in a fireside chat about the personal challenges he faced navigating his career as a Black professional.

A few months later, George Floyd was murdered by a white police officer, and Mosby watched Locoh-Donou and other F5 employees openly share their experiences about race, inequality, fear, and prejudice as part of a “Raise Your Voice” panel.  

“Watching F5 leaders speak so freely and openly made me feel empowered that I could engage in the same way,” says Mosby, a Solutions Engineering Director at F5. “Our own leaders were taking the chance to be vulnerable. I’d never seen that, and I don’t think many Black people have had that experience in a corporate setting.”

These events had a big impact on Mosby and cemented his decision to stay with F5. They also led him to join F5 Appreciates Blackness (FAB), an employee inclusion group (EIG) at F5 that organized these events.

Today, Mosby serves as the Global Chair of FAB, working with the EIG’s 455 members to create a more inclusive company that promotes the success of Black professionals. “Being a leader of FAB has been super affirming,” he says. “There’s a lot of visibility—but also support, trust, and openness I’d never had before.”

Creating community for Black F5ers

Inspired by the 2018 movie Black Panther, a small group of Black F5ers started an informal email distribution list as a way to build community. By the time Mosby joined in 2020, the group had evolved into an official F5 EIG with executive and company backing. 

Today, the EIG provides leadership and networking opportunities to Black F5ers and their allies. It also works to recruit more Black people to F5, while partnering with the broader community to elevate the representation of Black professionals in tech. 

FAB hosts several speakers’ series and other events throughout the year, many of them marking key dates such as Martin Luther King Day, Juneteenth, and Black History Month in the United States and the UK. 

During Black History Month in the U.S., for example, FAB is hosting weekly events for F5 employees—including a panel of F5ers who volunteer in their communities, a discussion with water safety advocate Chezik Tsunoda, and two keynotes on “Flourishing through Service” with Nigerian-American author Enitan Bereola and “Leadership in Service” with F5’s Chief Information Officer Yvette Smith. All of these events promote the theme, “Year of Service,” which the EIG will continue to highlight throughout the year.   

FAB Global Chair Carl Mosby III and FAB Executive Sponsor Dyana Langley-Robinson introduce the speakers at Black Tech Night, a community event designed to elevate Black representation in tech.

The EIG also sponsors “FAB-U-LOUS Voices,” a podcast featuring the inspiring stories of Black professionals at F5. It partners with other F5 EIGs to host events of mutual interest. And it provides opportunities for all F5ers to learn about racism and eliminate social injustice. 

“FAB offers a safe place to connect and be heard,” says Dyana Langley-Robinson, who joined FAB in 2018, went on to become a FAB leader, and has served as FAB’s Executive Sponsor since August 2022. “It’s also an invaluable place for people to make change, both inside and outside the company.” 

Attracting more Blacks into tech

In addition to supporting F5ers, FAB elevates Black people in the broader community. For example, the EIG helped to organize “Real Talk: Black Leaders in Tech,” an F5-sponsored community event that brought together Locoh-Donou and other leaders from major tech companies, along with guest speaker Trevor Noah, to talk openly about their experiences as Black professionals.

The EIG is partnering with the Seattle Office of Economic Development and tech companies in the Seattle area to host Black Tech Night, an ongoing initiative to expand the number of Black professionals in tech. It also recruits F5 interns at college campuses and holds events aimed at helping students learn about F5 and what it’s like to work in the tech industry.    

F5 CEO François Locoh-Donou (left) joins Langley-Robinson (left middle), Mosby (right), and People Magazine’s Janine Rubenstein (right middle) after talking about his career as a Black professional at Black Tech Night.

Community service is also a priority for FAB, and members are encouraged to volunteer their time. During the holiday season, for example, the EIG partners with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Seattle to provide gifts to low-income families. It also organizes a Martin Luther King Jr. “Day of Service,” in which all F5ers are urged to spend the day volunteering at Food Lifeline in Seattle or another cause that’s meaningful to them. 

“FAB is a passion project for all of the members,” says Langley-Robinson, a Vice President of Global Sales Operation Excellence at F5. “It is such a rare opportunity for employees to be able to apply their unique life experiences in a way that is meaningful both personally and professionally.”

Providing a safe space to overcome challenges

Perhaps most important to its members, FAB offers a safe place where members can navigate challenges and get the career advice they need. “People will ping me and other FAB leaders on email and they’ll just want to talk,” says Mosby. “Without that support, they may respond to situations in ways that negatively affect their career. But having empathy and guidance helps them thrive.” 

The support the EIG offers is also helping to retain Black employees. “A number of people have said to me, ‘I’m still with F5 because of FAB,’” says Langley-Robinson. “There’s a level of trust that comes from having a group of leaders who can understand and appreciate your personal perspective.”

FAB members volunteer their time at Food Lifeline, a food distribution center in Seattle, as part of the group's Martin Luther King Jr. "Day of Service."

A Financial Analyst at F5, Ivan Idro says FAB has helped him both professionally and personally in the three years he’s been a member. On a professional level, the EIG has helped him expand his knowledge about F5 and the tech industry, while exposing him to growth opportunities he wouldn’t have known about.

Personally, it’s helped him overcome the effects of imposter syndrome that he says many Black people in tech experience. “Being underrepresented sometimes jars your confidence and your ability to speak or act freely,” Idro says. “FAB helped me break down these fears and continuously deliver the value that I am capable of, and more.

Ruva Chimedza, an F5 Data Governance Analyst, says, she, too, has turned to FAB to help her combat imposter syndrome as well as micro-aggressions she’s encountered in the workplace. “FAB has empowered me through and through,” she says. “I can be honest about my experience. And I can get honest feedback about how to navigate difficult situations in a professional manner so that I’m not compromising myself personally.”

Chimedza says FAB proactively invests in its members’ success, offering community and a sense of belonging. The EIG also provides the opportunity for F5ers to get to know their Black colleagues and the challenges they face. “Investing in EIGs makes for really loyal employees,” she says. “You’re providing safe spaces for individuals to show up as their authentic selves, which fosters a great work environment.”

Helping F5 be a standout organization

A key to FAB’s success, according to Mosby, is the genuine support it receives from company leaders. “François and almost everyone within the C-suite don’t just give their passive support. They show up to events, they encourage, they reach out,” he says. “And I think when you have that level of support poured into the EIGs across the board, it makes a big difference.”

Langley-Robinson agrees. “We have an executive team with a demonstrated track record of supporting these efforts,” she says. “Having a CEO of color who sees and understands our concerns helps us to remain a standout organization that professionals of all backgrounds and cultures are drawn to and want to be a part of.”

As FAB membership continues to grow, Mosby and Langley-Robinson will continue to elevate the voices of Black professionals—both within F5 and the broader community. And they will foster a safe space where Black F5ers can thrive and be themselves. “FAB members, both Black employees and our allies, are like my family,” says Mosby. “We all support each other and raise each other up. Having that is very empowering, and it makes F5 a better place to work.”

To learn more about F5’s EIGs, please see our Allyship at F5 webpage.