Pledge 1%'s #WomenWhoLead series celebrates female leaders who are paving the way for the next generation. While our featured leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and industries, they are united in their efforts to promote equality for all women in the workplace. We’ve asked them to share a bit about their journey to success, as well as lessons they’ve learned along the way.
What is your current role? Briefly describe in 1-2 sentences.
I am a member of the leadership team at a technology consulting and services firm. Most of the work I do fills the space between business and technology in the form of CIO advisory, product owner, and project management office services. I work closely with several practice areas, including our Salesforce practice.
This year's International Women's Day theme is "Embrace Equity." What does this mean to you? How can we build workplaces that are more equitable and inclusive?
I think the technology field has reached a stage where most people appreciate difference more than same-ness. What remains to be addressed are assumptions that lead to hidden barriers. Equity to me means that we dispel assumptions and remove the hidden barriers to success. We can't assume that a coworker appreciates our jokes, or that a single parent would prefer a lighter work assignment, or that an older colleague wouldn't enjoy a rowdy after-work happy hour. We just need to open the conversation. Fostering an environment that promotes communication and curiosity will lead to a more equitable and inclusive environment.
Do you have any mentors or role models who have helped you on your personal journey?
When I started my career in technology, there were so few women working in tech that it was hard to find someone who could relate to my experience. Cindy Shirk was one of my first mentors at Deloitte and later at Perot Systems. Ann Michele Bowlin has been a long-term mentor/friend/role model. I owe a lot of my leadership style and professional growth to both of these remarkable women.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Don't listen just to be ready to reply -- listen in order to understand.
The past few years have brought many new and unprecedented challenges. What keeps you motivated or inspires you to stay optimistic?
I'm sort of a perpetual optimist by nature. When I find it hard to keep going, though, I think about the thrill of learning something new, the joy of building something good, and a sense of purpose in my community.
Pledge 1% helps companies of all sizes and stages leverage their assets for social good. Why do you think it's important that companies prioritize social impact? Do you have any specific stories or examples from your work or colleagues you can share?
Companies have influence and power -- they cannot avoid having a social impact. By choosing to prioritize social impact, they can intentionally focus the energy of their company towards social changes that align with their values. Our organization has chosen to focus our energy on addressing hunger. I love the personal happiness that volunteering brings, but the collective "feel good" that we get from volunteering together is multiplied joy.
If you could describe yourself in one word what would that be and why?
Positive -- I try to find the good and I don't give up easily.
Do you have any unique or useful life hacks to help get through your day?
It's not fancy, but I use a paper planner so I can sit quietly without digital distractions and lay out priorities and goals each day.
Do you have any go-to apps or tools use love to use?
Mural was a life saver during the pandemic for facilitating virtual discussions and I continue to use it now.
What are you looking forward to this year? Are there any goals (personal or professional), activities, or experiences you are excited about?
I really missed being able to travel during the pandemic. I'm so happy to be travelling again, both for work and for fun. This year, I'm planning several short trips with my husband to get back out and explore.
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