“I joined Meijer six years ago as sourcing manager for apparel; I didn’t plan a career in logistics. I was initially hesitant to interview for this role, thinking my experience wouldn’t translate to logistics. But I realized if my name is being floated internally, I should be open to having a conversation. Now I realize my skills set and import experience give me a great foundation for international logics. I’m grateful I decided to take a risk.
Early in my career, I thought I had landed my dream job as an assistant buyer for American Eagle Outfitters. I quickly realized I was unhappy professionally and personally — and recognized I was underperforming. I failed the first high profile assignment given to me by leadership and didn’t know how to recover. School had always come easy for me and this was not college.
After that failure, I made the decision to quit the job I had desired since college and without any attractive, long-term career options in front of me, returned home to Illinois, where I found a temporary position in sourcing at Sears. The role at Sears led to an amazing career in sourcing and, ultimately, to my role at Meijer. At 23 I learned hard, but necessary, lessons like interacting with colleagues and establishing positive relationships. I learned that asking questions, even if I perceived them to be 'stupid,' was necessary for me to succeed. That decision changed the trajectory of my career and helped open opportunities I didn’t know existed.
Women of color often face double discrimination intersecting gender and race and ethnicity and are the most underrepresented group in the corporate pipeline. I have tried to navigate obstacles through personal resilience, creating social capital and creating opportunities for myself.
My personal contribution to making gender equality in the workplace a reality involves three principles I stand by. First, candidates of both genders are treated equally in hiring, training and promotion. Second, when deciding employee salaries, I make sure their pay is market-based. Third, I strive to be a role model for other women. In some organizations women, particularly women of color, have few role models to look up to.
If we can be role models for other women, we’ll keep chipping away at that glass ceiling together.”