Verizon Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are a great forum for our employees and just one of the many benefits of being a Verizon employee. They promote inclusion while celebrating diversity. That couldn’t be more true when Verizon Business Group leader Tami Erwin, one of the highest-ranking female executives at Verizon, recently held a Real Talk Session with our Women’s Association of Verizon Employees (WAVE) ERG at our Reading UK location.
Tami shared her career path and her leadership role. She also discussed the challenges of diversity and inclusion at Verizon. Here are some key takeaways from the conversation.
- Don't be afraid to have tough conversations. It’s important to your team, shows your support and that you care.
- Take risks. It's important for women to take risks and step outside of their comfort zone. Figure out what you love to do, acknowledge that you can do what you love and declare it can be done. It is better to have taken that risk than to regret your decision not to in the future.
- The way you show up each day matters. You don’t have to be perfect at everything all the time, but your attitude and the way you show up and present yourself matters.
- Build a support system. Women should have a network of sponsors, mentors and a board or advisors who can assist them with decisions. It’s key to have a balance of people in your life who will keep it real.
- Understand unconscious bias. We all have an unconscious bias - learned stereotypes that are ingrained and unintentional - and it can influence our behavior. Verizon offers unconscious bias training and other organizations should provide it if they don't already have it. Tami Pointed to events such as the 2019 MAKERS Conference that have been a key driver in the women's movement. These events raise the bar but there is still so much to do.
- Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. You will see the most growth and development during these points of discomfort. Be curious and remain a student in your field. There is always something new to learn.