By being excellent, you enable others to be excellent. This mindset has fundamentally changed how I approach work, how I empower my team, and rings true at every stage of career development and in building my businesses (The Goods, previously Innerspace.io, and now growing Vetster.com).
What do you want our readers to know about you?
I am a great example where experience has superseded education. I like to show people who you can specialize in being a generalist. And that it’s never too late to evolve, change your mind, and give back to your community.
- I have a PR diploma (I dropped out of my BSc). I have worked exclusively in tech for 19 years. I have been a PR person, a marketer, led product, led data science, built sales pipelines, and established professional service organizations. I am now an operator. Who would have guessed?
- My own relationship with women, and existing power structures has changed. In the early days I adopted behaviors and worked within those power structures to my own advantage. Now, I recognize I was upholding those systems. I made a huge effort over the last 10 years to change my views in that regard, and to work differently with teams to create ownership roles while ‘flattening’ the hierarchy. As I like to say… no internal empires.
- Volunteering is underrated. Whether it’s a simple coffee/networking/mentorship conversation that you can do to give someone safe space or advice, or a more formal relationship with an organization. We in tech are incredibly privileged, and have so much knowledge that others can use. We must share to further democratize opportunity to people in our communities.
What would you like to see more of in the workplace?
More is more. Like love. But because we think of the power of our own purview the idea of giving up a responsibility to someone else can induce fear. Rather, we should become comfortable with the idea that more people, doing more things, means we ourselves can find more success, and build more effectively as a collective. This applies to our own work and roles/responsibilities, to diversity and inclusion, to the kinds of partnerships and opportunities we create.
What characteristics and/or qualities do you admire in the women you work with?
Women willing to learn. It’s a vulnerable thing to identify an area where more knowledge is needed. But the habit of learning is critical to establishing a good work ethic, to being curious, which leads to creativity, which makes for fun and being a good teammate. I seek out women who are willing to be brave, who protect their teams, and those who will get in the mud as much as the boardroom.
What advice did you wish you were given earlier in your career?
Your work is not your value. I still struggle with this one. But after experiencing burnout (not the I’m tired kind, but the medical intervention and lots of therapy kind), I advocate for mental health and wellness in the workplace. It’s critical to longevity in one’s career, to retention, to satisfaction, to overall happiness. It requires discipline and habit building to create balance and for high performers or workaholics (hi me!), it’s incredibly difficult. And no, it’s not taking a vacation. Sometimes that’s the worst thing you can do. But uncoupling your worth and identity from your employer/title/role while still finding satisfaction in what you do, is life changing.
What is one example of a positive, memorable experience you’ve had in your career?
When I learned that by helping a colleague restructure how they worked, giving them flexibility, and coaching their career development they were able to pay off their debt and buy a house. Something they couldn’t have achieved had we asked them to perform a rigid 9-5 job due to personal challenges. It nearly brought me to tears. To realize that something so very small, that just needed a little creative thinking to support a team member, led to huge personal success for them is one of the most memorable moments for me.
How do you think companies can better support women in the workplace?
Companies need to provide safe spaces for vulnerability, empathy and communication.
Good leadership takes effort. It can be very difficult. That difficulty is universal, but sometimes for women it can be particularly tough as women take on (or look for) more senior roles. Partly because we don’t have many role models we can learn from, partly because the traditional power structures we emulate were not created by women or BIPOC, and partly because many of us have truly fought and earned what we’ve achieved which means your colleague is also fighting for those same hard earned experiences. This can create an environment where women forget we can unburden ourselves from this competitiveness or politicking. We can throw it out and create something new for ourselves. That our relationships with each other do not need to look like the relationships of men in business. And communication is key to that.
But in order to foster this change, companies need to establish vulnerability and therefore safety within their culture. When that security exists, people are supported, they operate out of safety rather than fear, they can lead with their own empathy, and extend that leadership to their teams. I believe if that can happen, all women as well as BIPOC will step forward more, they will take on more opportunities, they will grow their careers, they will be received, and they will be asked to contribute.
Why are you fabulous?
I’m ever evolving, ever learning, and ever honing empathy.
Do you have a mantra or quote that inspires you?
Excellence leads to excellence.
Where can people find you online?
thegoods.io, @g00dsie and LinkedIn.