Can You Bring Your Authentic Self to Work? Three Senior Women Executives Get Personal

Executive women discuss how they have managed to build a viable executive presence and share work experiences.

Photo by Shutterstock


Photo by Shutterstock

Cynthia Marshall, Lisa Garcia Quiroz and Linda Verba are senior women executives who have built successful careers in corporate America. In a recent panel discussion they explained how your authentic self enhances your executive presence at work.

"Executive presence is what I'd call leadership presence," said Verba, Executive Vice President of Retail Operations and Service Recognition at TD Bank. "I think it's about character, I think it's about leadership, it's about communication. It is absolutely something we can teach each and every one of our employees, particularly those that are in unrepresented groups."

Marshall is Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer at AT&T. She agrees with Verba.

"There is a model for leadership," said the former Chair of the North Carolina Chamber. She was the first Black person in the position. "And I think it's around professionalism, it definitely is around character – that's at the center of our extraordinary leadership model at our company."

Marshall said AT&T, and most companies now, understand the importance of bringing your authentic self to work. However, you must keep in mind professionalism and company culture.

She shared a story from early in her career when she wore red sandals to the office.

"I remember my first week in the company, I was a 21-year-old," she explained. "I had a boss who told me, literally, 'Take off those red hooker shoes, and take your braids out.' You know what I did? I went home and took my braids out all night. The sisters in the audience know what I'm talking about."

Marshall grew up in a housing project in Richmond, Calif., and said education propelled her out of poverty. She had to call someone to bring her a pair of shoes because she didn't have any other shoes, besides the sandals, to wear to work.

She believes the person who gave her those instructions had good intentions and wanted her to fit into the company culture. But times have changed since then.

"First of all, a company would not tell me that now," said Marshall who has been at AT&T for 33 years. "And secondly, I wouldn't have responded to it."

Quiroz is Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Vice President of Cultural Investments at Time Warner, and President of the Time Warner Foundation. During her career, she conceived Time for Kids and People en Español. She offered that executive presence can vary from company to company.

"A person with executive presence has to have supreme empathy and understanding of the culture which they're navigating," said Quiroz. "Owing your power -- this is a phrase I've been using more and more around the office, especially with some of the women in the office."

She brings her authentic self to work, though admits that as a Latina there are certain stereotypes she tries to avoid in terms of dress, especially since she and her staff reside on the same floor as the CEO. She strongly encourages them to dress up for work.

"I don't look the part of someone when you say 'American CEO,' even someone in the C-suite," Quiroz said. "So I am extremely conscious of what I wear and how I look."

Wearing an outfit with "TD Bank green," Verba explained that appropriate work attire depends on the situation.

"I am wearing what are sometimes known as power flats because I was walking around New York," she said. "But I will tell you from an executive presence standpoint," she said, as she stepped into high heel shoes, "look at how my height has changed. I know when to wear 'big-girl' shoes and when not to."

Quiroz added, "And I'm only 5-feet-tall so I wear my 'big girl shoes' probably most of the time."

The panel discussion was a part of the 2015 DiversityInc Top Companies for Diversity event on April 23 in New York City. ​

White Woman Who Lied About Being Raped by Black Man Gets Fraction of Maximum Jail Time

A college student in Michigan falsely reported she was raped on campus.

Mary Zolkowski / Bay County Jail

The #MeToo movement has brought a heightened awareness of sexual assault and harassment against women. But when women lie about rape, it makes it harder for actual victims to seek justice.

Mary Zolkowski, who is white, not only made up a story about being raped in a Delta College parking lot southwest of Bay City, Mich., she said a Black man did it, which perpetuates a racial stereotype.

Read More Show Less

AT&T Completes Acquisition of Time Warner Inc.

"We're going to bring a fresh approach to how the media and entertainment industry works for consumers, content creators, distributors and advertisers," said Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T Inc.

Originally Published by Time Warner Inc.

AT&T Inc. has completed its acquisition of Time Warner Inc., bringing together global media and entertainment leaders Warner Bros., HBO and Turner with AT&T's leadership in technology and its video, mobile and broadband customer relationships.

Read More Show Less

Doctors Call for Health Policies that Support Women

Clinicians also need to understand that the unique medical needs for women of color, who have an increased risk of certain diseases relative to white women.

REUTERS

(Reuters) — Making it easier and more affordable for women to access care, and supporting research that includes how treatments work in both sexes, can improve the health of all Americans, not just women, doctors argue.

Read More Show Less

Famous Nevada Brothel Owner Wins GOP Primary

"Donald Trump was the Christopher Columbus for me," said creepy Dennis Hof.

YOUTUBE

An official pimp is now an official state assembly nominee in the Republican Party, which refers to itself as the party of family values.

Read More Show Less

Latino Kids Torn from Mothers' Arms While Ivanka Trump's Tweet Boasts of White Privilege

The administration of "family values" has created a narrative that immigrants are not moms or dads, only criminals.

TWITTER

Families fleeing dire situations are having their children torn from their arms due to a new "zero tolerance" Trump administration policy.

Presidential Adviser Ivanka Trump on Twitter boasted of cuddling her two-year-old son, Theodore. Many thousands decried the tweet as tone-deaf and a cruel comparison. The current immigration polices have emboldened U.S. border agents to take detained children from their parents.

Read More Show Less

Time Warner: The Last O.G. Wins Big by Doing Good

Just in time for the season one finale of The Last O.G., the Turner Blog interviewed Turner veteran Gabby Ballard, senior marketing manager-TBS Brand Marketing, who leads the team responsible for bringing viewers to this mega-hit show.

Originally Published by Time Warner.

The Last O.G. has been on it's A-game since day one with the premiere marking TBS' biggest comedy premiere since 2015. Since then it's kept its roll going as 2018's #1 show among all cable comedies this year and reached a multiplatform audience of nearly 25 million viewers. ICYMI, we said ALL of cable.

Just in time for the season one finale of The Last O.G., the Turner Blog interviewed Turner veteran Gabby Ballard, senior marketing manager-TBS Brand Marketing, who leads the team responsible for bringing viewers to this mega-hit show. Her team and the entire brand marketing group are the hub that brings everyone together for one common goal: promote the heck out of their original series. Mission accomplished.

When asked if she was surprised at the immediate success of The Last O.G., Gabby pointed to the all-star cast of Tracy Morgan, Tiffany Haddish and Cedric the Entertainer, among others, as the reason why they knew they had a hit on their hands before an episode even aired. "This talent has incredible and faithful fandom that we were able to tap into, as well as everyone was cheering for Tracy's comeback story," said Gabby.

She also credits major cross-collaboration amongst the TBS and Turner teams. "We were able to have fun with the creative, such as establishing an amazing in-character social media voice, as well as creating content that was humorous as well as insightful, and create a hosted programming stunt."

Additionally, one of the groundbreaking marketing strateg­­ies for helping the show stay on top of the ratings mountain and entice viewers was to leverage Turner's other great influential platforms to promote the show and make the biggest impact possible. "We kicked the campaign off with All-Star Weekend in partnership with TNT, then on to the NCAA Final Four on TBS, and finally the NCAA Championship Game," said Gabby.

The show deals with some very timely and tough topics like gentrification and re-entering society after serving time. Similarly, the marketing needed to be culturally relevant with nearly every facet of the campaign having an element of social responsibility and giving back linked to it. Gabby was eager to point out many examples.

  • As part of the TBS sponsored New York Comedy Festival, Tracy and Cedric the Entertainer hosted "A Toast to the O.G.'s of Comedy," a night of stand-up alongside an array of young comedians, as well as a sit-down conversation with the comics whom they have inspired. The event proceeds (over $14,000) benefited the Fortune Society, a charity that supports successful re-entry from incarceration.
  • Greyston Bakery, the largest social enterprise dedicated to open hiring practices, partnered with the The Last O.G. to release a custom O.G. Fudge Brownie. The O.G. Brownie was in stores for a limited time in 50 locations and 6 cities nationwide.
  • Tracy Morgan returned to his hometown, Brooklyn, N.Y., to dedicate a newly refurbished basketball court to the community. In partnership with TBS, the basketball court at the famous Marcy Playground now includes new asphalt, fresh backboards and a millennial pink, O.G.-inspired mural from artist ASKEW ONE. Over 800 people attended the dedication/block party which included a DJ, stunt dunkers, lots of family activities and local vendors.

As Gabby so eloquently put it, "Through the themes of 'The Last O.G.,' I think it's beautiful to be able to give back and have people benefit from art. You know what I mean?" Yes Gabby, we totally get it.

Finally, Gabby was asked to give us some insider info of what's coming up for season two. Surely, she had some juicy info just for us…

Her response: "A real O.G. never snitches, but we will have some amazing guest stars and the show will continue the great, unique brand of humor that it's established."

Well played Gabby, well played.

Serena Williams on Postpartum Depression: 'It's a Part of Pregnancy'

After almost dying when giving birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia, Williams is open about the struggle and triumphs of motherhood.

INSTAGRAM

Serena Williams is currently making her comeback at the French Open after giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia, nine months ago. With motherhood, Williams has become an advocate for women's health by sharing intimate details of her personal life including her struggle with postpartum depression.

Read More Show Less