Pioneers Need Enablers and Promoters
I want people to be where they want to be in their career. That’s the thought that guides me through my daily interactions with my staff, mentees, and anyone else I meet. Don’t sell yourself short because you don’t see yourself reflected at that company, or in that field, or in that job.
People are often surprised that I’ve reached an executive level within an industry historically dominated by men. I realize it’s statistically less common, but I’m not such an anomaly. I know some very talented women in the supply and distribution industry who have achieved great career success, but not without effort. Growing your career where there’s an ingrained, specific profile, takes seeking out mentors and allies, and wedging yourself into circles where “inviting you” may slip their minds.
To the next generation, I suggest changing your lens. If you don’t see yourself represented in a company or field you’re interested in, put yourself in the frame. That company most likely really needs you. Whether it’s my industry or another, companies are looking for fresh, diverse talent to carry them into the future.
I can tell you that as a senior leader, (surprise!) I don’t know everything. So I cut across generations, levels, ethnicities, and social circles to help me accomplish my goals. To encourage others to be their own advocates in their pursuit of career ambitions, I mentor. I helped found, and serve as an executive sponsor for, the Women’s ERG here at Sonepar USA, and participate in as many panel discussions as I can where the topic is diversity, equity, and inclusion. This is where I want to spend my time. Pioneers need enablers and promoters, and it gives me great personal satisfaction to be the wind in the sails of organizational change.
Right now, I am working with our Inclusion, Diversity, Equity Action Council (IDEA), of which I am a member, to better promote inclusion and belonging at Sonepar USA across our internal and external channels of communication. Like many companies, conversations about inclusion, and the steps needed to accelerate its existence, are very visceral and present. I’m trying to learn from everyone I can how to help. I think companies need to recognize where they are and start from there. Be authentic, be urgent in your efforts, and keep plugging away.
I want people to be where they want to be in their career.