Be bold for change
In 1988 Tess McGill called her friend Cyn, and the conversation went a little something like this:
“Cyn! Guess where I am!”
Cyn at first stands up, screams and exclaims, “She got out! Oh my god! I can’t believe it – she’s out! She made it out! She got out! She has her own office!”
I’m going to go out on a limb here that you understand the reference to the popular 80’s movie “Working Girl” – or you just Googled it. So, why am I referencing this movie from 28 years ago? Because, it’s International Women’s Day and today is a day to #BeBoldForChange.
Here at World Wide Technology (WWT) women are paving the way for women to grow in technology and business. Just last month at our Global Sales Meeting in Austin, women within the organization gathered for a luncheon to share insights and reflection on their experiences in the tech industry. After listening to the stories of Ann Marr, VP of human resources; Holly Lind, area VP of sales Northern California and Pacific Northwest; Erika Schenk, general counsel and VP of corporate compliance; and Jeree Hanavec, regional VP of global supply chain operations, I think everyone would agree on the feeling we had leaving the luncheon – GIRLPOWER!
In that same month, the women of WWT’s Northern California region also had the opportunity to attend the Watermark Conference for Women in Silicon Valley and we were joined by some very notable women – Condoleezza Rice, Viola Davis and Sheryl Sandberg to name a few.
It is inspirational to be a part of a community that is willing to share their paths to success and offer advice to fellow colleagues. I thought today of all days would be a great opportunity to share some of the key takeaways I got from attending these events.
- Focus on relationships: Don’t worry so much about being “Miss Mayor” who can bounce around the room saying hi to everyone. Focus more on nurturing a relationship and going deeper than the surface. Get to know your customers, partners, peers, managers and anyone else you work with and build a network from there. Relationship building leads to trust, understanding, and can even lead to one of the most powerful movements – advocacy. Confidence in our own self-worth is one thing, but having others support and advocate for you can make a huge difference.
- Know your goals: What are the company’s goals this year? What are your region’s? Your team’s? What are your personal goals? If you don’t know, then what are you working towards? Take a few minutes to ask and learn how you as an individual have an impact on those goals.
- Own your own story – Viola Davis, Oscar Winning Actress: You must be able to own your story, and more importantly you must be accepting of yourself. For women, it is my belief that this is the most challenging trait. We may unknowingly judge other women or constantly feel in competition with one another, but instead, we need to come together and support one another. Let’s not only own our stories, but also be accepting of others stories.
- It’s okay to ask for help: Asking for help doesn’t mean that you are the weak link. There are not enough hours in a day to accomplish everything on our to do list by ourselves. Confident women know this and know when to ask for help. Don’t panic, there is no way to learn and know everything – especially in the field of technology where everything is changing at such a rapid pace. This is why we have experts in different fields. By asking for help, women can join forces and build a pathway to success together.
- Give yourself a break: I can’t stress this one enough! Some of us identify with stress, but we also need to know when to let go and take a deep breath. We are usually our biggest critic giving too many negative reviews, but we need to learn to give ourselves a chance to grow. Taking a few minutes each day to unplug and go on a walk, journal, go to lunch, talk to a friend and not to mention get a full 8 hours of sleep will really do wonders for our mind.
If you’re still with me, you know that Tess never gave up (Yes, we are back to “Working Girl”). She was an executive assistant who worked hard to gain an office at a company she wanted to be with. So my parting advice to you: ask for help, work together, stand confidently, be bold for change and own your story.