Women’s History Month is a moment in our year where we get a chance to reflect on women and how they have shaped our lives, our journeys and quite literally the modern world we live in.
Think about all the wonderful innovations we have because of women: The Fire Escape! Thank you Anna Connelly for thinking about the other perspective in 1887 and keeping others safe. Alice H. Parker’s work has kept us all warm and cozy since her patent in 1919 that paved the way for the modern day thermostat and heating furnace. Ada Lovelace infamously invented the first computer algorithm, literally making Convoy possible. And let’s not forget the invention of The Dishwasher, saving our kitchens from squalor (and I’m sure many relationships) since 1887 thanks to Josaphine Cochrane. Josephine, we salute you.
International Women’s Day at Convoy
Here at Convoy, we decided to take a slightly different spin on Women’s History Month and look internally at the stories our own women leaders bring to our community. What are the stories of their triumphs and struggles? What can we learn from their journey?
Fittingly, on International Women’s Day, we hosted 5 small group sessions with women leaders from Convoy. Each, in turn, offering their own candid view on their paths to success and the road bumps they encountered along the way.
Advice from our female leaders
Melissa McCann-Tilton (VP, Global Revenue) is our fearless sales leader and chief! A commanding presence in any room and a stand-up comic at any spare moment, she helped us understand what it was like to succeed under circumstances of adversity.
- Melissa’s advice on approaching problems and achieving results: “People who approach [a problem] with a sense of curiosity and growth are more successful than people who approach it from the perspective of ‘I’m owed it.’”
- On striving for what you want: “Always have empathy for the person on the other side.”
- How to seek a career path and develop yourself: “Find people who are further along in their career than you and ask them how they got there.” “If you don’t have all the answers, it leads you to more possibilities.”
Shweta Narayan (Director, Product), the linchpin of our executive staff, joined us to talk about her winding road and the wisdom she has collected along the way. She shared her thoughts on leadership, supporting women and bouncing back:
- Shweta, reached into her own network when she had a career setback and needed to bounce back, “I relied on my personal support”, she added, “don’t make decisions when emotions are heightened.”
- She also encouraged us to support other women in the workplace, “There’s so much you can get out of supporting each other.” and “It’s just a shame not to join forces.”
Sunny Regulapati (Senior Director, Marketplace Growth), our Womxn@Convoy sponsor and newest mother of the bunch helped paint a picture of ruthless prioritization. Her key takeaways from the conversations were:
- Leadership is all about decisiveness, vulnerability and self-awareness: “We don’t always have consistent direction, so taking action even without all the data or information marks a strong leader.”
- Sunny encouraged the importance of helping other women by not necessarily waiting for the ‘right moment’ to promote them but making it a regular habit to promote them as often as opportunity permits. Sharing positive feedback consistently with each other can also go a long way in building confidence and empowering other women.
Lastly, Kristen Forecki (VP, Supply), our original female leader, Womxn@Convoy sponsor and fiercest ally from the beginning, shared her own story of growth alongside Convoy’s:
- Kristen believes the most important characteristic of a great leader is humility, and the most over-rated characteristic is over-confidence. “When you have true confidence, you’re able to approach issues with a lot more humility and be open to learning from others, and those are the people I think of as great leaders.” She adds, “Be confident in what you know, and then be open to exploring other ideas or learning more.”
- Kristen (like Sunny) also encouraged us to help promote other women in the workplace, “Do it on purpose and build each other up … you can’t go overboard on investing in each other.”
- Kristen is no stranger to career pathing and networking. She gave some great advice about knowing what you want and getting there: “Be clear about what you want, so others can help you find it or help you get there.” When asked about creating a path, she cautioned us to remember that, “It’s often going to be more of a jungle gym than a ladder.”
Thank you to all of our fearless Convoy leaders for their mentorship and guidance. We loved taking a walk in their shoes to understand their history, their journey and how we can support each other during Women’s History Month!