The holiday season is a time of reflection for many of us. It’s not uncommon for leaders to look back on their accomplishments, goals and challenges as the year comes to an end. The WICT Network asked three leaders what they were grateful for, and below these industry professionals share their thoughts regarding their mentors, up-and-coming leaders, skills they’ve taught their peers, and more.
Toria Lee, Charter Communications Regional Operations Center Supervisor, says she’s had several mentors, but one instantly came to mind. “This is someone more focused on the HR side of things, but who I still work with side-by-side. She has been my guide since my start with the company and she has shown me that just staying consistent and going after your dreams and goals will allow you to expand and grow,” says Lee.
After spending 14 years at her company, Lee says she’s thankful to have such a strong relationship with her mentor. “She’s shown me that no matter what position I’m in, I can move up to where I want to be. She’s motivated me to step up and get out of the box to show who I am as a person, and I’m thankful to her,” adds Lee.
Comcast Cable’s Business Information Systems Supervisor, Dana Harper, aspires to obtain some of her mentor’s best qualities, which include being passionate. “She’s always striving to do the right thing, especially when it involves our customers and end-users,” Harper says.
Harper’s other notable mentor, a former manager, taught her the importance of effective communication. “He always put emphasis on rapport and checking in with people to make sure they know you’re available to help them, which was super important to him,” recalls Harper.
Her third mentor came as a surprise, according to Harper, shortly after she joined her company 10 years ago, when a vice president of another one of Comcast Cable’s divisions approached her. “She introduced me to The WICT Network. It was out of the blue, but she got me involved and showed me why it was so important,” says Harper. “She was trying to help me out and get me more involved to further my career and my life. We still keep in touch and I’m very thankful for her, especially now, and being on the Philadelphia chapter’s board I always give her the recognition in starting my WICT journey.”
Mentors often get recognition for aiding their mentees to their next step, but fellow co-workers can also take center stage in helping leaders succeed.
“There’s one individual I’ve enjoyed working with since I’ve been with Charter,” says Jamie Dinwiddie, Leadership Facilitator with Charter Communications. “This person exudes authenticity and resiliency and I’ve watched this individual overcome obstacles. People have not always been receptive of this particular leader’s approach, but I love her ability to course-correct and be humble. With her, it’s not all about what she may not have gotten right, rather it’s about how can we move forward and this has been impressive and inspiring to me, to be able to solve problems and overcome obstacles.”
Lee says that she has a team lead who’s like her “right-hand man.” “He’s my go-to person and helps me with keeping the team going. He also makes sure we’re all on the same page,” says Lee. She notes that they often communicate when they’re presented with a new procedure to ensure they’re “in the know.”
All three leaders highlight a few of their notable acts and skills they share with their teams and staff.
“I try and encourage everyone, regardless if they are on my team, to get involved in whatever aspects work for them,” Harper explains. “Your job is just a part of your life, but I encourage them to view things as a whole so they can get involved or attend seminars, so that maybe they’re a little happier at work and the company as a whole is a little happier.”
Dinwiddie says her flexibility and openness to learn is shared with her team. “I think others learn why they should give people the benefit of doubt [from me], and I think being authentic and opening up attributes to this,” she says. “I’ve found that sometimes people will say, ‘oh it’s not personal, it’s business,’ but I disagree; it’s very personal. People spend the majority of their time at work, so being able to authentically build relationships and learn about one another so that we can get the work done the best way possible is what I hope people learn from me.”
Lee says that she focuses on educational opportunities when sharing her skillset with staff. “I’m showing them that there’s always opportunities to learn. I’m involved with several other parts of the company, mainly with The WICT Network, which gave me the opportunity to step up and learn more about leadership and job knowledge,” explains Lee. “Showing them this opportunity inspired others to want to do the same thing.”
“I’m so grateful for one of my one co-workers, says Harper. “She has the most amount of determination I think I’ve ever seen in one person. We’ve implemented a new reporting system and she has immersed herself and has driven herself to know everything about it. And a part of it is her nature. She just wants to learn and be able to help the end users. I admire that she’s always willing to work with people.”
Dinwiddie says she’s most grateful for the opportunity to be herself.
“I’ve always heard some people have ‘the work me and the home me’ – people do a lot of code-switching, particularly minorities,” Dinwiddie says. “We’ve learned to code-switch over the years and most work environments haven’t always been inclusive and accepting of your full self.”
She notes the saying that we should ‘bring our whole selves to work’, but a lot of environments aren’t always conducive, and fortunately her company enables her to bring who she is to work. “I don’t feel limited, I feel like I can be myself and can share my ideas and that they are well received and welcomed and I don’t have to put on a façade,” Dinwiddie shares. “I can literally be who I am and who I’ve been created to be.”
“I’m thankful for giving my team and co-workers the opportunity to show their skills and knowledge; by giving them opportunities to show how they can take the lead on a special project, not just coming to work and clocking in and out, it gives them the opportunity to step up, make decisions and take the lead on things so that they can grow into being a future leader,” says Lee.