“What are your thoughts about the future of the HR industry?”
That was the question that stumped me during an interview for my first leadership role in HR. I still remember it so vividly like it was yesterday. After getting the courage to go directly to the VP of HR and ask for an interview, you can imagine how much I prepared and practiced everything from my walk to my handshake to my eye contact and of course my interview questions. I went into the interview with a calm confidence and everything was going exceptionally well until Bob asked me three very pointed questions:
- “What are your thoughts about the future of the HR industry?”
- “What do you think women’s role need to be in shaping it?”
- “What will YOUR role be in shaping it?”
I was completely caught off guard because no one had ever asked me these questions before so I was completely unprepared to answer them. Luckily, I managed to fumble my way through with what must have been a decent answer because I got the job.
This was my first real lesson in truly understanding that simply loving HR and wanting to help people succeed wasn’t enough. I had to have an opinion about what it takes to win in the industry AND have the courage to share it with others. This also taught me that as I was making the shift into leadership, my presence, my voice and my opinion mattered now more than ever and Bob was challenging me to step up in a way that would make a difference. After I settled into my new role, Bob told me that it wasn’t uncommon for people to be caught off guard by those questions and he urged me to get crystal clear on my answers to all of them as they would be the driving force for how I would not only ascend on his team but also as a leader.
I realize that I was fortunate to have my first leadership experience in HR was led by someone who really cared and it helped to shape who I am as a leader today. I didn’t get everything perfect, but I eventually figured out the answers to all three questions and through experience and my fair share of mistakes, I became clear about my path to success and I was committed to doing whatever it took to make it happen. In fact, by the time I hit my 7th or 8th year in HR, while I worked for several companies, I never had to do the traditional ‘job hunt’ again.
As we head into the second quarter of 2017, I have a different but equally important question for you:
Are you willing to become unrecognizable to yourself a year from now?
If your answer is ‘Yes’, I’d love to help you make it happen.
You’ve probably noticed that there is an uptick of women who are being celebrated for doing some amazing work and while I’m extremely happy for and celebrate them too, it doesn’t erase the fact that there is still a disproportionate number of women who are tired, frustrated and ready to tap out due to fighting an uphill battle with things like gender bias, lack of mentors and sponsors, being caught in a double-bind and unfortunately that nasty thing known as the imposter syndrome. Couple all of this with the fact that when I think about all of the people who were instrumental in my success, it’s disappointing to say that there were very few women helping to show me the way and it’s even more disappointing to say that there were no Black women in that equation.
This is a sad reality for me and a lot of women I speak with and it makes me even more committed to do my part to create a new story. It’s why I wasn’t surprised when I heard Mellody Hobson say that she has encountered powerful women of color who say their afraid to vouch for other minorities due to fear that they will fail and their failure will do damage to their credibility and reputation. It’s things like this that make it increasingly difficult for women to get and sustain their seat at the table over the long-term.
So back to my question…
Are you willing to do what it takes to be unrecognizable to yourself a year from now?
The reason why this question is so important is because on the other side of all of the frustration of feeling stifled, a recent study by the Center for Talent Innovation revealed that there are five fundamental things that black women want most:
- the ability to flourish
- the ability to excel
- the ability to reach for meaning and purpose
- the ability to earn well
- the ability to empower others and be empowered
If any of these things line up with what you truly desire as a leader, I’d like to invite you to join me in my next Leadership Brand Accelerator which is designed to help you tap into each one of the five fundamentals.
Elevate360 is a 90-day exclusive and creative experience designed to help up to 10 women leaders design a game-changing leadership brand.
Key components of the program include:
A one-day LIVE intensive in Phoenix, AZ to kick things off and set the foundation for our next 90 days working together
A proprietary Leadership Branding Assessment
Elevate360 templates and worksheets
A structured and proven process to guide your learning
What we’ll cover:
(we’ll go deep in these five core areas where new and emerging women leaders struggle most)
IDENTITY CRISIS: You feel really uneasy about what you’re putting out there as your leadership brand and messaging. You are not getting the recognition and respect you deserve and you’re not projecting an image that supports your desired level of leadership.
VOICE CONFUSION: You have not been communicating with authority in your area of expertise and it’s impacting your ability to be seen as an influential leader.
VISIBILITY PARALYSIS: You are laying low and staying on the sidelines and this is preventing you from being respected for the value of your contribution.
LACK OF BRAND AMBASSADORS: You have not developed key relationships with people who will champion, support and help move your agenda forward.
ROI & CREDIBILITY CREATION: You’re unable to articulate your value proposition and position your expertise in a way that prevents commodity treatment and compensates you very well.
*Leverage my 20+ years as an HR Executive with in-the-trenches experience
*Connect and collaborate with a group of like-minded women leaders
*Generate new ideas to increase your credibility and position
*Brainstorm in an intimate, creative environment
*Get a clear vision and strategic plan for your brand
*You’re done feeling frustrated and you’re ready to take your leadership to the next level!
*After spending more than two decades as a Human Resources leader, it’s quite possible that I have personally experienced and worked with women with similar challenges as you. This experience (not theory) allows me to intimately know what’s required for you to succeed at navigating the organizational landscape.
Is Elevate360 right for you?
Elevate360 isn’t for everyone, but if this sounds like something you’re interested in, let’s have a brief conversation to ensure it’s a fit with what you’re hoping to accomplish and more importantly, if I’m the right person to help you.
Click here to schedule your free consultation.
“My work with Felicia gave me the strategies I needed and the confidence necessary to position myself to be chosen over my competitors!”
I received a clear sequence of learning modules related to everything I needed to know about getting respected and rewarded for my work. Felicia had an incredible way of helping me see and understand the big picture and breaking it down into a smaller, more tangible way for me to connect it to my work. All of her assignments were actionable with an immediate impact! -Malissa Green