Diversity Woman Magazine

SUM 2019

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

Issue link: https://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/1130254

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Page 23 of 51

We Mean Business > 22 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N S u m m e r 2 0 1 9 d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m Getting the feedback from the team has enabled me to to overcome my battle with imposter syndrome. Expressing vul- nerabilities is something that, over the last year or so, I've gotten more comfort- able with, and I also see the team come together more because of it. DW: When you started college, did you know what you wanted to do for a living? SM: No! I went to college initially for speech and language pathology. For my practicum, I thought I was going to be in an elementary school, but I was placed in a nursing home. I went to my mom and said, "I can't do this." And she said, "Look, you've got four years, so whatever you need to do, you need to figure it out and graduate on time." I changed my major to business administration and then had a series of [diverse] careers that made me wonder, "Why am I in this spot in this mo- ment in my life?" As I sit back and think about where I am today, every single experience has led me to be the successful leader I am today. I'll give you a couple of examples. When I graduated from college, I started at IBM. At that time everybody was dabbling in IT. I was a self-taught units programmer. My team was responsible for publishing the products and prices using units program- ming to shop IBM.com in the late 1990s. I wasn't professionally trained as an IT per- son. It was just something that I did with some friends on the side, and it landed me a gig that was very well paying. Fast- forward to today: I have a team [of profes- sionals] in compliance intelligence—data scientists, programmers, and business analysts—to provide the enablement for our ethics and compliance programs. I didn't know then that I needed to under- stand the software development life cycle and the QA testing related to software, but it prepared me to have intelligence-based conversations about the work that my team is responsible for. I did a stint—when our IBM jobs were outsourced to India and I was trying to find my way—in banquet sales. Little did I know that at one point I would be in management consulting and would need to know the tools and tricks of the trade for sales. Little did I know that the strate- gies I use right now in my role, when I'm responsible for bringing people together each year in a multiday forum at a ho- tel—and create an experience that leaves them inspired, engaged, and aligned with our strategy—require understanding how food and beverage works, how hotels op- erate. We don't have a meeting and event services group at Kaiser Permanente. Be- cause of that earlier experience, I was able to negotiate with the best of them when it came to getting the best deal for our team. DW: Much of your work revolves around risk management. How did you learn that skill? SM: My risk management experience came when a key regulation was intro- duced in the early 2000s. I was in account- ing, and the headquarters of the organi- zation that I was involved with needed someone to help start up regulatory func- tions with an internal audit at the head- quarters. I knew accounting and had an understanding of controls. My husband and I moved to Dallas. at's where the risk management work started. DW: What career advice would you give new college graduates? SM: Stay connected to the relationships you've made while in college, whether through a fraternity or sorority, or anoth- er organization, or with your classmates. Graduates say, "Well, I need to build my network," but there can sometimes be a tendency to discount the network you've built over the last few years in college. As you advance, those people are going to ad- vance too, so they can help support you. It's important to stay connected as you continue to nurture those relationships because you may need to lean on them as you continue to grow. Also, be open to new experiences, espe- cially if they are off plan. You have to have that openness and willingness to have those experiences even though they can take you out of your comfort zone. DW: What books are you reading or what books would you recommend that focus on leadership and career advancement? SM: Brené Brown's e Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You ink You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. As leaders, especially as women and women of color, we believe we have to be so strong because there aren't many of us at the top, and we want to put up this fa- cade that we have it all together. is book really spoke to me, and there have been lessons I've learned about lead- ing this team in this industry. We're taught most times to be perfect, and this book al- lowed me to release some of the need for perfection I had going on throughout my career. One of the things—she calls them guideposts and there are many through- out the book—focuses on cultivating laughter, song, and dance, which connects back to the joy I find through music. DW Janell Hazelwood is an award-winning me- dia consultant, traveler, and journalist who covers minority entrepreneurship, women's issues, and lifestyle content. Be open to new experiences, even if they are off plan ... have that openness and willingness to have those experiences even though they can take you out of your comfort zone.

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