By Elissa Nesbitt
Three simple questions that say a lot about the person who gives a thoughtful answer:
- What inspires you?
- What would you change for women?
- What career advice do you have for young women?
In recognition of International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, we sent these three questions to 19 Xerox women around the world. They work in various roles, and at various levels, in our organization.
The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. We also asked them how they intend to make a difference and pay it forward. Most, if not all, told us they mentor young women—be it their daughters or direct reports. Much of their community involvement centers on educating and empowering young women.
Here’s a sampling of the insights and advice they shared.
3 questions for 19 Xerox women on International Women’s Day: Their inspiration, #PressForProgress, and career advice.
Things that inspire Xerox women? Their daughters, technology and a drive to do better
Alissa Santucci, Environmental Technology Program Manager — Boston, Mass.
Technology and society has progressed exponentially in just my short lifetime. I think about experiences as simple as researching a topic without the internet or getting to a new destination without a GPS. Reflecting on how far we have come and dreaming about the potential for the future inspires me.
Anna Yu, Director, Growth Initiatives, Commercial Excellence – Toronto, Canada
I am inspired by those with perseverance – the mindset of those that continue the journey despite encountering difficulties or obstacles along the way. It may mean that we need to change our course in achieving our objective or the task at hand, but we do not give up and continue to forward our goals.
Pui-Chi Li, Head of Marketing, Middle East and Africa — Uxbridge, U.K.
Every day I am inspired to “do better.” This drives every aspect of what I do for each activity I perform daily, from being a better manager all the way through to being a better mother at home. This has helped ensure I am pushing to be slightly outside of my comfort zone when things are going well, and the perseverance to see through times when things are not going so well. It also drives me to be consciously learning and self-improving, mindful of not only results, but also how things can be done better going forward.
A global day to celebrate women’s achievements
International Women’s Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first March 8 IWD gathering supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Learn more at www.InternationalWomensDay.com.
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Michele Cahn, Vice President, Global Government Affairs, Sustainability, Citizenship & Compliance — Washington, D.C.
Margaret Zanel, Vice President, Commercial Excellence — Toronto, Canada
I have a 14-year old daughter Hailey, and I am most inspired by her, her friends and their generation. It’s amazing to see how we are raising a generation of young women who believe in themselves, and attack life in a way that supports the notion that they can accomplish anything. I am grateful that they live at a time when that encouragement is reinforced by societal norms that are emerging — whether its within their schools, or in the media or our workplaces.
What do the women of Xerox want to change? So many things!
Damilola Ashaolu, Human Resources Program Manager — Norwalk, Conn.
I would eradicate female genital mutilation. There are so many hurdles a girl child already faces – surviving genital mutilation should not be one of them. Most people don’t know that this one event scars a child for life (mentally and physically) and many times results in death.
Alissa (Dr. Jay) Johnson, Vice President, Chief Information Security Officer — Rochester, N.Y.
I’d love to change the openness to opportunities. The struggles of gender and ethnic diversity is not something that we can change at the blink of an eye. We didn’t adopt this type of thinking in the blink of an eye. I’d love to change it quickly — at the blink of an eye.
Lisa Oliver, Vice President, Human Resources, International Operations — Uxbridge, U.K.
Juanita Olguin, Director, Marketing and Operations, Digital Solutions — Norwalk, Conn.
If there is one and only thing I could change, it would be the self-confidence factor, which is something I’ve struggled with personally. Studies show that girls somewhat lose this self-confidence factor during puberty, and during the transformative years and transition from middle school to high school. Each girl and woman should have a very deep-rooted confidence in herself and know that she is worthy (even when emotions or hormones take over), that she is all she needs, that she is part of something bigger, and that there is another woman there to remind her of this fact should she lose sight of it.
Ragni Mehta, Vice President and General Manager, Cut Sheet Business Team — Webster, N.Y.
Opportunity. I want women to feel that they always have choices. Never to feel that they are limited to one path in life, or that there is only one time to take advantage of an opportunity. I want them to feel that they can choose to pursue an ambitious career, or decide to build a family, or do both whenever the time is right for them. I want them to feel that they are in control of their life, and they can do and be whatever they choose.
Garland Nichols, Vice President, Worldwide Information Security — Webster, N.Y.
To have gender equality in the world. For women to have equal rights, opportunities, and be freed from prejudice across the world. Through change and equality, women can have those opportunities to be successful, achieve their dreams, and have the courage and conviction to make their lives better. Through equality, women can be empowered to help their own communities grow and prosper.
If you were to have a cup of coffee with one of these women and ask for their career advice, here’s what they’d say:
Florina Seres, Director, Indirect Channels Business in Central & Eastern Europe, Israel, Turkey, Greece — Bucharest, Romania
First of all, it is important to like your job and the team you are working in. Second but equally important: If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing it right. By feeling that you are a part of a great team, and by putting all efforts into delivering good results all of the time, you will have the feeling of belongingness and personal accomplishment, which secures a great career path and a satisfying professional life.
Sheona Durrant, Head of Service Operations – Uxbridge, U.K.
Say yes to things, even if you’re not sure how to do it. I was encouraged to try new things by a great female manager I had quite early on in my career — be that taking on an extra project, presenting at a meeting, managing someone or trying a new role outside my comfort zone. I didn’t always enjoy it — or get things right — but I always learned something and picked up new skills and knowledge along the way. Having that mindset to accept challenges has helped me to progress in my career.
Valerie Stival, General Manager, France Channels Group – Paris, France
Jenna Kempie, Social Marketing Manager, Corporate Digital Marketing and Communications – Rochester, N.Y.
To love what you do – and do what you love, find a way to combine something you’re passionate about into a career. Also stay curious and embrace the new — change, technology, adventure, and so much more.
Irina Romanenko, Product Unit Marketing Manager — Moscow, Russia
Angie Ballinger, Vice President, Strategic Deal Capture and Global Accounts – Uxbridge, U.K.
Delores Kennerly, Program Manager, Xerox Philanthropy – Norwalk, Conn.
Understand the goals and purpose of your organization. Acknowledge your value and understand how your skills and experience can be utilized. Don’t be afraid to take a risk and make a change. Always looks for ways to do things better. When you find yourself in a situation where you don’t know what to do, ask for help.
Diversity and Inclusion: A Xerox press for progress
The Women’s Alliance (TWA), an Employee Resource Group at Xerox, was founded in 1984 by women who sought to advance the professional and personal development for all women at Xerox. With more than 1,200 members worldwide, TWA has a single vision: That women at Xerox are represented, recognized and valued at all levels of the corporation for their contributions and leadership.
In August 2015, Xerox introduced the Wilson Rule, which requires women and minorities be among the final pool of qualified candidates for every open management position in the U.S. Outside the U.S., our rule requires that women will be among the finalists.
Named for modern-day Xerox founder Joseph C. Wilson, who, after witnessing racial strife in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y., met with the city’s black leaders. Wilson understood that inequality existed, and he asked how he could help. As a result of that meeting, Wilson committed Xerox to a policy of diversity, and it’s a policy that has been affirmed, promoted and improved upon by each and every Xerox chairman since.
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Nearly four decades later, Anne Mulcahy became CEO in 2001. Ursula Burns succeeded her in 2009, becoming the first black woman to serve as CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
Every day we stand behind the women of Xerox, and we are thankful for their contributions to our business, our communities, and our world. Join us, and press for progress.
#PressForProgress, #IWD2018, #InternationalWomensDay