From the Q-mmunity
5 key takeaways from Black Women Leaders at Qualtrics
We kicked off Black History Month with a live webinar hosted by Fairygodboss, the largest career community for women. The webinar, “Black Business Leaders: Advice for Women in the Workforce,” centered on Black women in leadership and featured some of our amazing Black women at Qualtrics.
Michaela Seferian-Jenkins, Global Program Manager, moderated the webinar with our panelists:
Lindsay Johnson, Senior DEI Program Manager
Becky Beard, Principal Analyst - Sales Proposals
Eden Spencer, Analyst, Sales Proposals
Danielle Wilson, Sales Manager - Sales Development
These incredible women answered questions throughout the webinar about their experience as Black women leaders in the workforce. While it was difficult to narrow down, we picked 5 of the most powerful and poignant responses to share with you.
How has being a Black woman leader shaped your career journey?
“I think that’s a bit of an easy answer – it informs everything. Everything in my career and everything that I’ve done. I think it’s the lens with which I view myself, the world, and my relationships.” - Lindsay Johnson, Senior DEI Program Manager
What career advice do you have for Black women and all women of color who want to grow in their career, specifically in leadership?
“Just because you walk into a space and you don’t see someone who looks like you or thinks like you, it doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t belong. I think it’s quite the opposite — that you belong even more in that space because clearly there’s a deficit and you’re there to fill it. So I would encourage people to push themselves into new spaces that they don’t always see themselves in, because you never know what will happen.” - Eden Spencer, Analyst - Sales Proposals
How would you describe your leadership and what is the number one thing you hope your direct reports are getting out of working with you?
“My leadership style is still developing, but right now I feel like it’s a tightrope between empathy and accountability. There are times when I’m working with people on my team and I know it’s really important for me to lean into the empathy side of things. Sometimes my role as a leader is to just be empathetic and to reinforce the value that they have as individuals.” - Danielle Wilson, Sales Manager - Sales Development
What career move have you made that you have been most proud of?
“Moving from an independent contributor to leadership. I never thought I’d be a leader and I never thought I’d be a good leader. I didn’t think anyone would trust me with that responsibility and maybe that is linked back to never really having women leadership in my orbit. Maybe on some level I just didn’t even think it was a possibility. But now I’m endlessly grateful that I’ve been allowed to lead my team and I’m proud of myself for stepping up. When the call came down I didn’t second guess it, I was just like, okay this is who I am now. It’s been a learning process and I’m very lucky that my team has been patient while I’m figuring out who I am as a leader.” - Becky Beard, Principal Analyst - Sales Proposals
Fairygodboss has observed that women do not feel comfortable enough bragging or taking ownership of all the amazing things that they achieve, so in every webinar they ask the panelists what achievements they are most proud of. The moderator and panelists all answered this and we’re sharing them here in hopes that other women can feel comfortable sharing their wins.
“I think for me it’s being a first generation female in my family to get a college degree and also to pursue my PhD, without a role model to look to. I’m really proud of that and the support I received along the way. Another thing I’m proud of is just being able to take care of my mom, that’s very personal and dear to me as well.” - Lindsay
“In 2021 I moved from North Carolina to Texas all by myself. I also got my bachelors and MBA in five years as well as studying abroad in Australia. Completing my education in such a short time is something I’m super proud of.” - Eden
“I went from being a teenage mom and a high school dropout to a professional and a leader with multiple degrees. At one point, I thought my life was over — I thought I’d ruined it. I didn’t know then that I’m actually better off than I would have been had life not happened to me. So I’m super proud of that.” - Becky
“I love this question because it’s challenging me even now. I remember doing the math multiple times to make sure I was right, but in my career as a corporate account executive in the South market, I was the most billingest rep during my tenure. It’s been awhile since I moved into leadership, so I’m sure someone has passed me now. But I think recognizing that [accomplishment] is important because we all have imposter syndrome sometimes, particularly as Black women.” - Danielle
“I think one of the moments I'm most proud of is how many products I've been able to help ship at Qualtrics — being able to integrate our customer voice back into our products has made huge adjustments to some major updates that I'm really proud of. And I'm also very proud of being able to be a mentor through Qualtrics as well. I've had my mentees get roles at NASA and one at Qualtrics and hopefully more in the future.” - Michaela
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