Join Megan Holston-Alexander for an in-depth discussion in this video Staying true to yourself as a leader, part of Women Transforming Tech: Voices from the Field.
- Okay, let's hear the first question from Nefetari. - In the beginning of your career, you have hopes and ambitions of how you're going to transform the industry you're in. How are you able to stay to your true north now that you're more advanced in your careers? - That's a great question. I'm happy to take that. I think as I was having my career journey, I think early on as I embraced, you know, taking on risks, maybe I was a little bit shy, or you know, I would step back and think twice, but as I was growing and self-reflecting, I made it a point that, you know, embracing change is actually a good thing. It shows, your, you know, strengths, but also you might have failures, but it helps you to become more resilient. So that was one thing, and my true north is actually being uncomfortable, and getting good at it, right? Another thing, as I was growing in my career, often I would find myself to be the only female leader in the room. And I would love to see more women in tech, and I made it a mission and a passion for myself, whichever role I took in different industries and companies, like really driving that, and I focused on three areas. One is, of course, hire, which is attracting the talent. I work at Facebook, and I do a lot of events, which is women in operations, and that is a means to be present, right? Becoming the role model for other women in tech. And often we forget the keep and grow part, and those are very, very fundamentally, very important things organizations to be doing, and if I reflect on my true north, I do invest in mentorship. I do invest in, you know, making sure that I'm coaching young engineers early in their career. But also, female managers, which are in their mid-career, which is where they are like struggling, how do I find my true north and move on? So, I feel these are very important aspects. I am blessed to have the opportunity to influence in the industry, not only in my technical world, but also something I deeply care, which is diversity and inclusion, and I'm really thrilled to be here, to be part of this panel. - Yeah, I know lots of companies now are focusing on the hiring piece, but like you pointed out, retention is so important because that's what is going to keep women growing and in the industry. - I'll weigh in a little bit on that because this is something I am passionate about. I think all of us agree, like representation matters, right? Like, the more we see people like us, the better we're going to be. And to me, as I kind of get older, I try to change careers and things like that, it's good to have your focus on two things, right? Like, treat everything as a learning journey. As long as you think I'm learning something from it, even if you fail, even if things don't work out, you get something that you can take with you. And I think the second thing, and this has been such a great example of it, is relationships, right? No matter what, wherever you go, if you can make connections, I say this in every place I go to. Like, the industry'll change. Companies you'll change, but the two things you'll take with you will be reputations and relationships. So, if you focus on learning, and focus on connecting to people, I think you'll have won already. - Yeah, I heard a really interesting saying a few months ago. It was, "It's not who you know, it's not what you know, it's who knows what you know," which I thought was such an interesting way to put for relationships.