Celebrating Black History Month: Remy Carole
Anyone can have a complicated relationship with their identity — it’s influenced and defined in so many ways, whether that’s through your race, nationality, upbringing, or simply other people’s perceptions. Treasury Prime Chief Operating Officer Remy Carole knows this all too well, growing up a biracial son of immigrants in Canada before moving to the United States (plus a stint in Switzerland). He joined the company from design firm fuseproject, where he served as senior program manager on projects for clients including Tile, L’Oreal, and Herman Miller. Prior to fuseproject, Remy held engineering roles at Microsoft, Silicon Valley Bank, and Loop. At Microsoft, he worked on the motherboard design for the Xbox. We spoke to Remy about how his identity has transformed over the course of his life, what he hopes to see for future generations of Black Americans, and his key advice for navigating the tech world as a person of color.
Can you share a bit more about your background and your upbringing?
I’m half-brown and half-Black. My mom is ethnically Indian and was born and raised in Guyana. Her family had migrated to Guyana at the beginning of the 20th century due to indentured servitude. At the turn of the century, when slavery had ended in Guyana, Black people transitioned into being middle class. The English during this time then turned to Indian and Chinese people to come to Guyana to do much of the labor.
My father is Afro-Caribbean and from the French island nation of Martinique. Both of my parents eventually moved to Toronto, which is where I grew up alongside many other half-brown and half-Black people.
You moved to the United States for university and have stayed ever since. Was there any kind of culture shock?
For sure. In Toronto there was an environment in which there were a lot of other people that were like me and in every other place I’ve lived, I’ve had to identify more strongly with one side of my identity than the other. Living in America, I definitely identify more with my Black side, and I think a big reason is that it’s imposed on me.
In the States, I’m not perceived as half-brown and half-Black, I’m just a Black American and that’s how I’m treated. In a lot of ways, it didn’t really feel like a choice. I’m not mad about it, though, because I care deeply about the Black community and have always felt accepted by and feel pride in the community. Overall, living in the U.S. has made me confront and examine my identity more deeply.
As someone who grew up in Canada, how do you view Black History Month?
I view Black History Month as a very American thing, and I think it’s important. It forces everyone to acknowledge every aspect of American history, including the non-white parts of it. Black history is a fundamental part of American history and has shaped this country into what it is today, and I think we sadly live in a time when a lot of people don’t know that, aren’t being taught that, or aren’t willing to acknowledge it.
I do, however, think that Black History Month can be limiting in how and when we discuss Black history and culture, but I also believe it is a lesser of two evils.
Is there a part of Black history and culture that has struck a chord with you?
I think about slavery often because it’s a dynamic that is very difficult to undo. A lot of generational Black trauma and how Black people are treated today stems from slavery — a time when Black people were seen as invaluable and seen as “things” and not humans.
Our community has been struggling to make changes, and while I think we’ve made big strides, there’s also a lot of hardship and strain tied to those efforts.
I honestly have to say that I think we’re a few generations away from really seeing major societal shifts because white people largely remain in power and there’s no incentive for them to change that.
Speaking of the next generation, what are you hoping to see for Black Americans in the coming years?
I hope that future generations don’t have to worry about being feared just because of who they are. When I think about what has been most tiresome and damaging to my psyche is having to deal with other people’s fear. I’ve encountered a lot of people who, particularly when I moved to the U.S., were afraid of me simply because of who they perceived me to be.
You became COO of Treasury Prime in 2022. As a leader in the company, how are you building an inclusive culture?
I’m grateful because Treasury Prime is the best place that I’ve worked where I feel free to be my authentic self and feel supported to be who I am. I think a lot of that is due to putting effort into hiring a team that also believes in having an inclusive and equitable culture.
That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t challenges that I think every workplace needs to navigate. When you’re building a team of people from all across the country, there are going to be differing opinions and perspectives and we’re working hard on building an environment where everyone can feel heard and respected.
And as a person of color, there are simply some things that I feel more comfortable saying to other people of color, and I think that’s okay! That’s a big driver behind why we also recently created employee resource groups (ERGs), spearheaded by Ari.
I also am a strong believer in representation within our company. I think it’s important that we highlight the diversity that is within our collective team, whether that’s sharing stories of our colleagues or encouraging other minority leaders — POCs, women, etc. — to step forward and speak to the broader team. Representation matters.
You came to Treasury Prime after successful tenures at several other tech companies. What would be your advice to other Black Americans and POC looking to break into the industry?
Build relationships. To me, the most important part of thinking about how to develop your career when you are not white is to do the thing that many white people have, and that's relationship-building.
Find allies within and outside your company who are willing to support you and vouch for you. Having these relationships helped me move up in my career, including meeting Chris and Jim, whom I had previously worked with and who brought me into Treasury Prime early on.
Are there any resources that you’d recommend for anyone to learn more about Black History and culture?
The 1619 Project. Watch it, read it, listen to the podcast — ingest it in any way that you can. In my opinion, it’s one of the best pieces of content about Black history.
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