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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. ​

Obama to Trump: We're Supposed to Stand up to Discrimination and to Nazi Sympathizers

To voters: You can make sure that white nationalists don't feel empowered to march in Charlottesville in the middle of the day.

CLICK ON DETRIOT

Former President Barack Obama kicked off his campaigning for November's midterms, on Friday afternoon, and took jabs at President Trump and the spineless backbones of his Republican constituents.

Obama spared no expense rebuking the administration's actions that have emboldened racists.

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Time Warner: The New York Latino Film Festival, Presented by HBO, to Kick Off Opening Night with Icon Ruben Blades and The Documentary "Ruben Blades is Not My Name"

The nations' leading Latino film festival, celebrating its 15th anniversary, will be held on August 22 – 26, 2018 at various theaters around New York City with films featuring notable stars such as Gilberto Santa Rosa, Brian Kaufman, Liliana Biamonte, Residente, Bryshere Y. Gray, Mekhi Phifer and many more.

REUTERS

Originally Published by Time Warner.

The New York Latino Film Festival (NYLFF), the nation's largest and most diverse Latino film festival, and a touchstone of the nation's thriving multicultural cinematic movement, kicks off its 15th edition on Wednesday, August 22nd with the New York premiere of the film "Ruben Blades Is Not My Name." Directed by critically acclaimed director, Abner Benaim, the film stars Ruben Blades, Sting, Paul Simon, Residente, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Larry Harlow, Andy Montañez, Ismael Miranda, Junot Diaz, Luba Mason, among others. The star-studded documentary offers an intimate portrait of Ruben Blades, revealing the artist's struggle to come to terms with his legacy and influence in elevating Salsa music to an international scale.

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Citing Trump, Some Republican Women to Vote Democratic in Ohio Election

In interviews with a dozen women, mostly Republicans, in the Midwestern state's 12th Congressional District, several said they would buck their voting habits to support the Democratic candidate on Aug. 7.

Democratic candidate Danny O'Connor meets with campaign volunteers ahead of a special election in Ohio's 12th congressional district in Dublin, Ohio, U.S., July 15, 2018. / REUTERS

(Reuters) — Becky von Zastrow often votes Republican in her affluent central Ohio suburb — but her dissatisfaction with U.S. President Donald Trump has convinced her to back the Democrat in a special-election test for both parties next month.

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Serena Williams' Iconic Wimbledon Run Makes Her a Champion for Working Mothers

Top executives tell DiversityInc they can relate to the tennis star's return after a difficult childbirth and then missing an important milestone in her daughter's life.

REUTERS

At Wimbledon, Serena Williams, playing only her fourth tournament after returning from childbirth, reached the finals. Though Williams ultimately lost to Angelique Kerber of Germany, she climbed 153 spots in the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) ranking, putting her at no. 28 in the list published Monday.

"To all the moms out there, I was playing for you today. And I tried," Williams, 36, said on Saturday. "Angelique played really well."

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Another Woman Comes Forward to Accuse Russell Simmons of Rape

"It was like being attacked by a flabby walrus," Alexia Norton Jones said.

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons has again been accused of rape.

Alleged victim, Alexia Norton Jones, granddaughter of book publisher W.W. Norton, has given a largely first-person account published by Variety on Tuesday.

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Warner Bros. Partners with LAUSD, Young Storytellers and Ghetto Film School to Create Two New In-School Programs

Launched under the Studio's social impact platform, WB Good, the 10-week programs have been piloted in 16 middle and high schools across Los Angeles

Originally Published by Time Warner.

Warner Bros. Entertainment has partnered with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and nonprofits Young Storytellers and Ghetto Film School (GFS) to create two new in-school programs, Story Lab and First Cut, designed to cultivate the next generation of storytellers and filmmakers. As the first new programs launched under WB Good, the Studio's social impact platform, this public-private partnership offers participating students the opportunity to gain hard and soft skills pertinent to the entertainment business, as well as unprecedented access to the industry. The announcement was made today by Kevin Tsujihara, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Warner Bros.

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Black Women Slam Top Democrats for 'Failure to Protect' Maxine Waters — a 'Shero'

The leaders expressed "profound indignation and deep disappointment" with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer over failure to protect Waters from the Trump administration's attacks.

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Top Democrats, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, are under fire for their lack of support for Rep. Maxine Waters, who spoke "truth to power in challenging the Trump Administration to do the right thing by ending a 'zero tolerance' immigration policy," according to more than 150 Black women leaders.

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#BeingAPoliticianWhileBlack: Woman Calls 911 on State Rep. for Canvassing in Neighborhood

"I asked to meet my constituent who thought I was suspicious, but she was on the road by then," Oregon State Rep. Janelle Bynum said on Facebook.

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State Rep. Janelle Bynum said police were called on her while she was going door-to-door to canvas in a Portland, Ore.-area neighborhood — her own district.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Bynum shared that a resident called 911 on her as she knocked on doors and talked to residents. The lawmaker, a Democrat who's running for re-election this fall, said the caller thought she was suspicious because she spent too much time typing on her cellphone after each house visit.

"Live from the mean streets of Clackamas!" Bynum wrote. "Big shout out to Officer Campbell who responded professionally to someone who said that I was going door to door and spending a lot of time typing on my cell phone after each house — aka canvassing and keeping account of what my community cares about!"

Bynum included the hashtag: #letsbebetterneighbors.

A Clackamas County deputy pulled up to her around 5:10 p.m. on Tuesday while she was taking notes on her cellphone from a conversation, "with someone at the second to last of about 30 homes on her list," according to The Oregonian/OregonLive.

"I don't believe this," Bynum, 43, said she thought when the officer approached her.

When he asked if she was selling anything, she told him that she's a state legislator out canvassing. This was the first time someone reported her to police. In 2016, Bynum won the election to the state House of Representatives.

She said the deputy told her a woman called 911, but the caller's race was unknown. Bynum wanted to meet with the woman, but the deputy said she wasn't at her residence.

"It was just bizarre," she told the newspaper. "It boils down to people not knowing their neighbors and people having a sense of fear in their neighborhoods, which is kind of my job to help eradicate.

"But at the end of the day, it's important for people to feel like they can talk to each other to help minimize misunderstandings."

Bynum's Facebook post comes at a time when there's been multiple reports of authorities being called on Black people only trying to do their jobs. For example, in Southern California, a resident called 911 because a Black firefighter was working in the neighborhood. And in Tennessee, a white woman called authorities on a Black real estate investor for taking photos of a rundown house for which he had a contract to repair.