Pay it forward!
I have been fortunate enough to have supportive managers early in my career who coached and mentored me well on how to think about future roles. Today, the notion of ‘jungle gym’ is one I share with those I coach or mentor, using my own career path as an example. I call it the ‘jungle gym’ because of a number of roles I took upon while establishing my career, where I deliberately took lateral moves over upward to gain experiences in different disciplines. Doing so gave me the opportunity to learn, challenge myself, expand, and acquire new skills — all of which have enabled me to build acumen, choose better career options, and ensure career longevity. This also allowed me to navigate the glass cliffs and the glass ceilings in my career.
Working in the IT&T industry especially a decade ago meant that I was often the only one woman in client presentations or meetings. And when I first switched from marketing to sales, I experienced first-hand having to act in a certain way or be excluded or overlooked, and the disappointment when I found out that my salary was less than my male co-workers who were doing the same job. However, despite this, I was grateful for having worked for leaders (both female and male) who were also role models, and who became my sponsors and mentors. These leaders used their positions as platforms to drive change and make their work environments inclusive and diverse.
Leaders cast a long shadow and to me, paying it forward in supporting female talent to advance their careers or enabling them to lead has been a long-term personal and professional commitment — it is also deliberate and purposeful on my part and I do this through:
Coaching: I make the time for informal/formal coaching/mentoring female talent that is focused on a goal or a specific situation.
Advocacy: Over the years, I have developed an informal network of talented women leaders and IC’s that I connect with. Whenever I can or have the opportunity, I advocate for them may it be career or business opportunities, or a public recognition of what they do or their contributions.
Practice and discipline: Diversity of thought is a lens my team and I consistently pivot on whether we are recruiting or brainstorming while we actively challenge each other on potential bias(es) in our thinking.
With the rate of technology innovation, there has never been a better time to be in the field of HR and Talent Acquisition than now. Processes that have not evolved for decades such as CV screening which have been fraught with bias can now leverage leading edge technologies that make talent assessment (external or internal) fair and bias-free. I am very fortunate and grateful that I work for a company whose mission is to move the needle across all areas of diversity (gender, race, social economic, etc.) and in helping everyone find their place in the right company and the right role – in a fair manner.