Epsilon believes in the value of everyone's voice and story, especially those that are not always amplified. These collective voices are what set us apart, drive our journey and help us win. Earlier this month, Epsilon was invited to participate on a panel at the National Diversity and Leadership Conference highlighting women in leadership.
Led in conversation by moderator Linnet Carty, Director of Inclusion & Community Engagement at the Professional Golfer's Association of America, Epsilon's Jen Mahone-Rightler, SVP - Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Corporate Social Responsibility and Wellness Programs was joined by:
- Mecca Mitchell - SVP, Inclusion & Diversity at Burlington Stores, Inc.
- Vivian Greentree - SVP, Head of Global Corporate Citizenship at Fiserv
- Renu Nagpaul - Director, Client Services at Pyramid Consulting Inc.
The discussion focused on the how each panelist paved their own way towards leadership – noting the barriers they faced and the delicate balance between how society categorizes women and the skillset required to navigate the nuances of those multifaceted roles.
As a woman of color being new to the MarTech field and new-ish to Epsilon, it was encouraging to hear the lessons and advice from women in leadership as I continue my career journey. Here are some of the gems I took from the conversation:
Master your craft and know your truth
When asked about the characteristics of an influential leader, the panel unanimously agreed on courage. Mecca noted the importance of mastering your space of expertise and being courageous in wielding that mastery. Jen highlighted the courage in finding your truth and the balance of knowing when to share it.
It is one thing to go into an intimidating room and know your stuff but going into that same room with your personal truth and a master level of knowledge unlocks a different level of power.
Make space for others and find diversity in your support
The panelists discussed the role of mentorship and sponsorship in their careers. A key theme was the consideration of who is and who is not at the table. There are times when someone will notice you should be at the table and make space for you. As a leader, there is an obligation to provide those same opportunities for others. Dr. Greentree asked listeners to embrace when space is made and to remember that we deserve to be at the tables in the rooms of opportunity.
In finding those who will support you, Epsilon's Jen Mahone-Rightler, provided a valuable suggestion:
“I surround myself with both men and women in these roles (mentorship). Diversity of thought and leadership perspective is important. We have to hear how men see us in order for us to enter into rooms to know what their expectations are, not that we have to adapt, but it is helpful in order to engage.” - Jen Mahone Rightler
Jen and Dr. Greentree reminded us to arm ourselves with as much perspective as we can and internalize that we belong.
Foster an environment of shared change and open minds
The panelists also discussed how best to advocate for unpopular ideas. The takeaway from the group was that the difficulty lies in asking people to recalibrate their way of thinking, but change happens when it becomes the responsibility of everyone. Socializing the hard work takes the heavy lift from a handful of people and turns it into an easier lift for a lot of people. Renu highlighted that keeping an open mind is the key to working towards this shift:
"Unapologetically ambitious." - Mecca Mitchell
As the conversation was coming to a close the panelists spoke about the meaningful changes they have made to become better leaders. Mecca urged us to stop apologizing and use that energy towards ambition. Jen shared that she now approaches work and her life in the same way- by centering how she wants her and her family to be treated and working towards the restoration of humanity and civility.
The idea of being unapologetic and living (and working!) towards your ideal state of being can be hard concepts to internalize, but also can have a huge impact on your growth towards becoming a good leader.
Epsilon is proud to be an organization that allows its talent to design their own paths, while growing with the organization. Find out more about how Epsilon supports their employees here.