BLOG: Finding Inner Power and Being a Change Maker

As the United States reaches a pivotal moment with a new chapter opening up for the first female Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, a celebratory energy could be felt during a live discussion specifically for women at the TechServe Connect 2020 virtual event.

Led by ClearEdge Marketing CEO Leslie Vickrey, the conversation was kicked off with a Q&A featuring Chief Human Resources Officer and Counsel at Signature Consultants Candace Whitaker and Oasis Outsourcing President Teresa Carroll. The session then continued with smaller breakout discussion groups for attendees and concluded with final thoughts wrapped in a special toast.

Before inviting Whitaker and Carroll for the Q&A, Vickrey offered some thoughts on the country’s current moment in history while sharing a photo of her and her son at a TechServe Luncheon in 2017.

“My son was born in one of the world’s most powerful nations, but has never had a woman president,” Vickrey said. “We need the next generation to see what’s possible.”

While data findings in demographics and research show some encouraging improvements for working professional women, more work still needs to be done, Leslie added. Both Whitaker and Carroll offered words of advice on navigating the industry as a woman.

“While climbing the ladder, everything feels so critical,” Whitaker said. “But when you leave space to think, you have the ability to think more rationally and gain confidence.”

Similarly, Carroll urged the group to see that giving one’s best effort is always enough.

“There’s always more work to do and there’s never going to be perfection,” Carroll said. “So be more balanced.”

When learning to attain confidence as a woman in the working world, the pair also encouraged the practice of being honest and determined.

“I don’t need to know everything, I just need to know enough to ask the right questions and find the right team for it,” Carroll said.

Whitaker’s suggestions included having intellectual curiosity, creativity in problem-solving, dogged determination and authenticity.

Beyond the challenges women have always faced in the workplace, the fight for diverse representation and inclusion in many industries has been pushed to the forefront due to the civil unrest taking place this year.

When asked about equitable change and how it can be implemented, both offered concrete action items.

Asking HR departments to give demographics and facilitating town hall meetings is one way to start, Carroll shared. She also added that having a diverse set of customers makes having diversity of thought within one’s company extremely valuable from a business standpoint.

For Whitaker, the constant process of educating ourselves on such issues is what will create meaningful change.

After the group broke out into smaller discussions on how to make big outcomes through small changes, they reconvened to share that leveraging a close peer group, practicing saying “No,” and being transparent but not apologetic can be powerful tools for success.

In closing, a toast was made to celebrate the women who have broken through glass ceilings, such as Harris has done, as well as the women who will continue to do so in the future.