Women’s History Month has been celebrated in the United States every March since 1987. It gives us an opportunity to celebrate women’s accomplishments and the many ways in which women shape life in and outside of the workplace.
In the time since last year’s blog on Women’s History Month, Seismic has continued to deepen its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Our Women’s Community of Belonging, Seismic Sisters, was formed in 2021. The group meets on a monthly basis to discuss women’s experiences as tech professionals. Each month, a different Seismic Sisters member leads a discussion on a topic of their choice.
For Women’s History Month, Seismic Sisters has led several activities to educate employees, and have some fun while doing it. This month culminated in a Women in Leadership panel discussion, featuring leaders from within the organization.
Highlights from the panel discussion
The Women in Leadership panel was made up of several global employees, including Seismic Vice President of Product Marketing Eve Alexander, Director of Solution Consulting Jeannine Butler, Senior Vice President of Sales Nadia Rashid, Vice President of Strategic Alliances Preseetha Pettigrew, and Vice President of Web and Content Rekha Thomas.
The panel discussion covered several topics, including their career paths, the importance of mentorship, work-life balance, and combating imposter syndrome. Here are a few highlights!
The importance of mentorship
Support, encouragement, and mentorship were recurring themes throughout the panel discussion. Each of the panelists shared their stories about how they navigate being a woman in a male-dominated industry.
Panelists shared how they’ve grown throughout their journeys as a result of guidance from male and female colleagues. Preseetha Pettigrew shared the story of a mentor she met early in her career. “At the start of my career I had a mentor who gave me support and guidance on how I could amplify my voice, deal with obstacles, and I’m really grateful for the support he provided. He saw that gender has nothing to do with the skills you have to do a job.”
Panelists also discussed the importance of being a mentor to others. Jeannine Butler noted that “As leaders, we have power, influence, and authority that the people who follow us don’t. Our responsibility in making a difference is to use that power for good – not just with our own outcomes in mind, but also having the good of others who will come after us in mind. It requires that we have one foot in the present and another in the future.” She added that her own manager champions the same ideals. “My current boss spends every moment of her day advocating for her teams. She lays herself down to be a bridge that we can cross and her team is fiercely loyal, deeply connected, and ever-growing.”
Mentors and allies in the workplace can take different forms. Eve Alexander noted that she has mentors who help her become better at her craft, professional development, and advise her during challenges. “Mentorship is a daily activity. I’ve built mentorship relationships as mini-mentorships. It’s not one mentor with a capital M. I have different people who I can go to for different things.”
How to manage work-life balance
Managing teams and strategic priorities can limit the time available to pursue passions outside of work. A recent PEW Research poll found that 56% of women said they do more household chores than their spouse or partner. And, among mothers, 74% said they do more to manage their children’s schedules and activities than their spouse or partner.
Two panelists who are parents discussed the importance of managing work-life balance.
As a senior vice president of sales, Nadia Rashid’s job is demanding. When she first started her career, she recalled feeling a need to always be on, even when she was off on vacation. “COVID forced me to say it’s time to prioritize what’s most important, and for me it’s family.” This understanding has shifted the way she manages her team and workload. “I now have priorities where I do need to shut down at times and I want to empower my team to make decisions on their own. Work-life balance is having a clear understanding of what is important right now.”
Rekha Thomas echoed her sentiment. “Work-life balance is more like a pendulum. Sometimes there are responsibilities at work that swing you in one direction and, other times, there are personal commitments that swing you in the other direction. The key is to try not to swing so far to one side or the other that you can’t get back to equilibrium.” She also shared five practices she follows to find equilibrium:
- Be flexibly prepared
- Know when to zoom in and when to zoom out
- Celebrate smaller successes
- Be vulnerable and know when to ask for help
- Give yourself grace
Combating imposter syndrome
The panel discussion wrapped up with questions from the audience. One question, in particular, stood out: How do you silence the voice in your head, practice kindness with yourself and deal with imposter syndrome?
Jeannine Butler shared her own story and experience. “It’s something I have to practice every day because I haven’t mastered it. I practice gratitude on a daily basis. I include myself in appreciation for the progress I’ve made. I reflect on it and rehearse it. So that when I’m up against a challenge or I feel like an imposter, I look back at what I’ve done and recognize that if I made it that time I can do the next hard thing.”
More Women’s History Month at Seismic
This month has been a great opportunity for Seismic to come together as a company and celebrate one another. If you’d like to learn more about how we celebrated Women’s History Month, check us out on LinkedIn.
We’re always looking to hire the next wave of women in leadership at Seismic. If you’d like to join our team, check out our careers page.