A Conversation with Sitel’s Black Leadership
Introducing our Listen to Lead & Learn series, where we bring together members of the community to continue the conversation around diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This time, Sitel’s Black leaders share their stories of success, challenges and personal triumph.
For many leaders, discussing race in the workplace hasn’t always been easy. But, we are living in a pivotal moment in history where we have the power and the platform to use our voices to break down barriers and make real change. At Sitel, this means speaking up, taking action, empowering voices and making time to listen and learn from each other.
Sitel’s Listen to Lead & Learn series is part of our commitment to a diverse and inclusive future, through a collection of blogs, interviews and virtual events aimed at sparking meaningful conversation, change and inspiration. To kick-off this series, four of Sitel’s Black leaders share their own unique challenges on the road to success and discuss ways to make a positive impact in our communities.
- Mike Small, CEO of Sitel Americas
- Monti Becker Kelly, VP, Business Development
- Beverley Bridges, VP, Account Management
- Maryanne Vasquez, VP, Business Development, Americas
Watch the conversation below:
When it comes to building a path to success, our participants emphasize the importance of taking advantage of opportunities. In practice, this means voicing your goals, making a plan, identifying your strengths and networking. Beverley shares her experience as a Black woman and stresses the importance of taking advantage of every opportunity presented, taking a seat at the table and always having something to contribute to the conversation.
Growth is also an essential part of developing in your professional role – and to do so, it is critical to build a support system that can help mentor and develop you.
Find your culture fit
Within every organization, the most important aspect – whatever your role – is to understand the organization’s culture. To be authentic as a leader and thrive, you have to be committed to a brand’s mission and embrace its culture.
Individuals that want to grow within an organization should ask themselves the following questions as it relates to a company’s culture and values: “Do I belong?,” “Am I free to voice my opinions?,” “Is it a penalty-free environment?” This is a critical step in mapping out your path to success.
Another key to leadership and fostering diversity is being a great people manager. This means understanding people’s roles and passions, asking for their opinions and getting them involved.
Create a space for connection and conversation
Mike speaks to the importance of listening to your employees. It’s essential that companies provide a platform to connect individuals, leaders and resources – especially in times of heightened stress and emotion.
The death of George Floyd sparked outrage and grief across the country. At Sitel, we held listening sessions with our employees to simply check-in and create a space for connection and conversation.
For Monti, it’s about continuous education and finding creative ways to promote discussions. In a piece she wrote for Black History Month, she emphasizes the importance of recognizing diversity, celebrating achievement and providing inspiration for everyone in the organization – each and every day of the year.
The future of diversity and inclusion in the workplace
To wrap up the discussion, we asked our participants about the future and ways to move forward.
According to Mike, one thing companies can do is take a hard look at their entire organization from a diversity lens – assessing current programs and initiatives to see if they’re driving its purpose. A good way to gauge if they’re working is to ask yourself, “Can we be doing more?” If the answer is yes, tackle it like you would any business problem – allocate time, budget and resources and make it a priority.
For Beverley, it boils down to encouraging diversity of thought and opinion. We do this by finding ways for the entire organization to be part of the conversation.
Maryanne stresses the need for understanding and visualizing what you want, and using it as self-motivation to make it happen. This includes identifying the tools and resources needed, surrounding yourself with people who are like-minded and, of course, joining a company whose culture is aligned with where you’re trying to go.
Watch the full conversation here.