Most women have dealt with a “mean girl” or two starting from their first day of school. Unfortunately, some of those mean girls grow up to become mean women – and some of those mean women become mean co-workers. In my career thus far, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of amazing women, some of the most caring and intelligent women on the planet. Up until a few years ago, I couldn’t relate to the “mean girl” stories I heard about happening in the workplace… but then it happened to me.
My dad played tennis in the Marines, and growing up he took me and my brothers to the park and taught us how to play. This was one of the ways we spent quality time together. Years later, The Williams sisters hit the tennis scene and I remember how excited I was to see two black girls with beads in their hair disrupting the game.
I don’t know if my dad had the same intentions as their father Richard, but one of my brothers did go on to play collegiate tennis. When my youngest brother became the break out star of the Harts kids; he started to invest in his success and planned on going pro.
Did you know that our CEO, Minda Harts, has a podcast? It's called Secure The Seat, and is in its second season. Secure the Seat is about women of color in the workplace — what does it take to secure a seat at the table, and once you do, how can you bring others along with you?
I spend a lot of time flying for work, and overhear a lot of conversations. Not long ago, I overheard a passenger talking about regret, and how it's a silent killer. That statement about regret immediately teleported me to 2013, when I had one of the toughest years in my career to date. I’d made a decision to work somewhere that paid extremely well, but no amount of money had prepared me for how difficult that year would be. When I thought back on it, I felt like I wasn't strong enough, wasn't good enough, and was clearly a bad decision maker. I prayed. I cried. I tried so many things to make myself feel better. I felt like I was the furthest thing from perfect!
When things go wrong or do not go as planned, why is our first instinct to put ourselves down?
In early July, we hosted our monthly Slack chat and talked about office best friends. It was a good conversation where we talked about the highs and lows of having friends in the office. (If you aren't in our private Slack group, send us an email and we'll add you so you can access that conversation and participate in the next one!)
As a follow up to our conversation in Slack, we asked others about their office best friends, both past and present…
I am constantly thinking about how to amplify the voices of women of color in the workplace.
The Memo is the foundation, and my upcoming book, The Memo (which comes out in April 2019), and podcast series, Secure The Seat, are other layers of amplification. I not only get the opportunity to tell my story, but I have the privilege of telling stories of other women of color I’ve met over the years and what it was like for them to “lean in.”
Often, I sit back and think, God must really have a sense of humor, because I never saw myself advocating in this way.
I am a HUGE fan of my local public library. It’s a treasure trove of information and entertainment: there are books, movies, storytimes for kids, language classes, passes to visit local attractions, access to language learning, info for small business owners, author talks, technology classes, and more. I cannot say enough nice things about the library.
Almost three years ago, I decided I needed something more out of life.
I wanted to lend support to other women striving to obtain their career goals, and I felt like my experiences up to that point would be able to lend a diverse voice to the career development conversation.
I have to be honest, I wasn’t 100 percent sure how I would do this, or what it would look like.
We've all met people who we are certain that we will not like or get along with - based on the clothes they are wearing, how much they remind us of someone else we had a bad experience with, etc. And as women of color, we have stereotypes thrust upon us regularly.
"Grace Makes Room For Space" was one of the most popular articles on our blog from 2016. It speaks to the need for us to not judge a book by its cover, and to allow for the space for others to surprise us.
For those of you who may have missed it, we're republishing it today.
Sometimes all the positive self-talk in the world doesn’t change the fact that some situations leave us stuck. During these times, despite how much perspective we try to have, we just can’t help but feel wedged between a rock and a hard place. If you’ve ever found yourself in this position, and chances are if you’re alive and reading this right now you have, then you’ve experienced that sinking feeling of running out of options. Rather than give you a pie-in-the-sky approach to managing those feelings or improving that situation, we have another alternative – surrender to what is.
Each minute of the day seems to bring on another (heart)breaking news story, and I start to wonder, does self-care come at a cost? In the media, we constantly read about attacks on black women like Sandra Bland and Chikesia Clemons. Women, and especially women of color, have had to start multiple hashtag movements to rally and get some respect around here for ourselves and for each other.
Part of self-care is doing temperature checks on ourselves, as well as checking in with and supporting the other women our lives. Just because we see our friends posting “lit” pictures of themselves, doesn’t always equate to what’s going on behind the scenes in their minds and their real lives.
Two months after graduation, I landed my first corporate job with visions of a meritocracy that offered equal opportunities to ascend towards the C-Suite. Instead, I was greeted with something different. I experienced discrimination and isolation that my university did not equip me to overcome; that I learned by trial and error.
In 2013, Sheryl Sandberg inspired all women to *Lean In*, yet, failed to address what leaning in is like for black and brown women. There is an extra socio-economic and systemic layer of glass that women of color must chip away at before they reach the ceiling in Sheryl’s book.
This Women's History Month, we salute the amazing women who have paved the way for us -- those who have graced our history books as well a the hidden figures who helped to create a better world for us all. This month, we celebrate the amazing women of our past as well as our present and future.
Here are eight women of color currently making history!
A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with a colleague and we both remarked on how hard the past month had seemed. Many of my other friends felt the same. I saw a similar sentiment shared online. So many people seemed weary near the end of January (most of the complaints were that January was “too long." Now we're all watching February fly by!).
WAKANDA. WAKANDA. WAKANDA.
Let’s get into IT!
Before some of you start to panic, today’s MEMO does not include any spoilers, so you can rest easy if you haven’t seen the movie *Black Panther*.
I have so many questions about Wakanda. Most importantly, is the Wifi better there? Because if so, I’m packing up my French Bulldog Boston, and we are on the first plane out of JFK! But in all seriousness, I truly enjoyed the representation of beautiful black men and women in the film.