How did you start your career in learning?
I grew up in the management consulting industry, working for strategy management consulting firms after undergrad and then continuing after obtaining my MBA from Wharton. As a consultant you are a professional problem solver, but you are also a strategic communicator, a facilitator of solutions delivery and a conduit for transfer of knowledge. As a senior manager, I delivered learning sessions to new consultants, such as strategy 101 and communications effectiveness. However, my first formal foray into learning was initiated when I was asked in as a subject matter expert to deliver a Foundations of Human Resources class for master’s students at New York University.
What attracted you to L&D?
I’m inspired by helping people to become their best selves. As an L&D corporate executive, I have the honor and opportunity to help individuals focus on closing the professional skills gaps that slow career growth. When you are more junior in your career and an individual contributor, the technical skills required to nail your deliverables are very important. As you progress in your career, a different set of leadership skills become imperative — as one begins to lead, motivate teams, inspire others and influence success. My current emphasis is on those leadership development skills.
What’s something every business can do to support an inclusive workplace culture and diverse workforce?
Supporting an inclusive workplace and diverse workforce takes intentional effort. First, D&I must be positioned as a business imperative. The business case should be designed to demonstrate how D&I will better enable organizations to meet their strategic and profit and loss goals. You also need visible commitment from the top of the organization that is driven by business leaders and not just L&D or HR. A culture that fosters courageous conversations and innovative D&I Activations, which are inviting for all, makes a difference. It is important to have representation from various groups but equally important for all to come together to discuss allyship and how we can work toward a sense of belonging for all.
What lessons helped you get to where you are now?
No. 1: Work hard and be all in, every day! No. 2: In undergrad, I majored in business administration with concentrations in finance and marketing. From marketing, the notion of a brand value proposition resonated with me, but on a personal level. Just as organizations define and market their corporate brands, we as individuals must define our personal brands. What do you want to be known for? Define that brand, then market and deliver on your brand value proposition.
What career advice can you offer?
First, be your own boss. Approach every project as if you own it, focusing on value delivery. Next, build a personal advisory board of individuals whose opinions you value and whom you can consult to seek feedback and advice. Third, connect with people. Relationships power everything around us and you must build strategic relationship capital to be successful. Fourth, your individuality, creativeness, energy and authenticity cannot be replicated! Leverage your strategic differentiating factors. Last, lift as you rise — it is important to build the next generation of leaders and share your wins and losses so that others can benefit from those lessons. There is more joy in bringing others along on your success journey.