Yohance Barrett

Yohance Barrett is a director within CGI’s U.S. operations, serving as a project manager supporting state and local government clients. As a “people person,” Yohance enjoys building relationships, be it with clients, colleagues or in his community. He finds inspiration in seeing the meaningful impact of his work and is a passionate advocate of advancing representation in the workplace. 

Yohance, let’s begin by hearing how you got started at CGI. 

I hoped to find a job where I could connect with people. A former colleague at CGI told me about an open position, so I did some research. The company’s values of respect, objectivity and integrity, and corporate social responsibility really resonate with me. At the time, I didn’t have much IT sector experience and I was excited about the opportunity to gain expertise in a global company and to work with clients directly. 

Congratulations on recently reaching your 10-year milestone at CGI. Can you share how you feel about your career journey here?

It’s been amazing. I started as a consultant assigned the task of becoming an inventory subject matter expert and implementing projects for our clients. Among other things, this role allowed me to learn about technology; I learned about functional design, table configuration, and integrated system testing. I also learned how to demo the solution and present it to the client before “go live.” It also taught me a great deal about building trusted relationships with our clients.

At one point, I was offered the opportunity to be a project manager for a real-time interface implementation. I’ll always remember that project. The client specifically requested that I be onboarded as project manager because of my expertise and previous experience working with his team. We completed the project on schedule to a very happy client. It helped me gain confidence as a project manager. Today, I am proficient in delivering ERP (enterprise resource planning) software projects, but the learning never stops, and I learn a bit more with each project.

Recently, I was promoted to director. When I joined CGI, this was my career goal and it’s rewarding to be recognized with this title, which demonstrates trust in my ability to continue to do work that benefits our clients and all CGI stakeholders. Throughout my career here, I have been guided by our Dream: to create an environment in which we enjoy working together and, as owners, contribute to building a company we can be proud of. I really feel like I’ve lived up to that dream!

Can you tell us about projects that challenged you and were truly innovative over the years?

Yes, I can think of two innovative projects that I’m quite proud of. I functionally created an inventory mobile application, which three clients are currently using. The app offers the full inventory functionality of our solution CGI Advantage on a handheld device, helping clients process their inventory transactions efficiently and saving them time and money every day.  

I also co-lead a data ethics workshop for clients in the U.S. My colleague and I developed the initiative after attending a diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) event in our community and were inspired to spread the word about bias-free data. 

Fast forward a few months, we now hold workshops in partnership with LATech4Good, a community organization, to help our clients rethink how they deploy their tools and applications. One of the key aspects is ensuring data and design incorporate equity and ethics. It’s not a purely technical topic; however, it’s an important one that enables us to support our clients every step of the way. I also partner with LATech4Good at the University of California in Los Angeles. Putting time in a project like this really inspires me. 

It sounds like DE&I is a topic you feel strongly about. Can you tell us a little bit more?

As a Black man in the technology sector, I appreciate CGI’s commitment to DE&I. I feel very strongly about the importance of representation in the workplace. When the workforce is diverse, people encounter others that they probably would not even know if not for the circumstances of a job putting them together. When you work side-by-side with someone from a different culture, it becomes easier to understand that person as a human being rather than a stereotype.

Yohance on an ATV at the beach

You certainly sound passionate about everything you do. Does it in any way hamper finding the right work-life balance?

I work hard, but I’m able to maintain the right balance with my personal life. If I have personal engagements, I don’t feel pressured about fitting these into the workday. Everyone here understands that our health and well-being come first. Outside work, I find time to stay active. I go to the gym, spend time with family, read books, and enjoy watching sports and movies.

We loved hearing about your story. Thank you, Yohance, for sharing your inspiring career journey at CGI!


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