Our upcoming Changing the Conversation event on October 25th features a presentation and panel discussion with leaders in business and the Diversity & Inclusion space, and we’re excited to feature each in a spotlight series. We’ve asked our presenter and panelists to describe a career challenge that he or she has overcome, to provide a piece of advice to his or her younger self, and to discuss what allyship means to him or her.
Our first spotlight in the series features presenter Mary Pharris, Director of Business Development and Partnerships at Fairygodboss. To hear more from Mary and learn about the evolving landscape of male allyship, join us on October 25th at 6:30pm!
Describe a challenge that you’ve overcome in your career.
When I was just starting my career, I had a lot of trouble voicing my opinion or pushing back on managers. I've gotten more comfortable with it over the years, but as someone who generally dislikes conflict, I have to remind myself that I was hired for a reason and that my opinion is valued. And just because you disagree or have a different perspective doesn't mean you're wrong or that your idea is bad. I'm also really appreciative to work in an environment that encourages feedback and is supportive of collaboration!
What piece of advice do you wish you could give your former self?
Don't take everything so seriously and enjoy the moment. It's ok to not have a five-year or even ten-year plan—set goals for sure, but take life as it comes.
What does allyship mean to you?
Allyship to me means elevating and supporting those around you, and using your voice to support others who may feel voiceless. I was at an event recently and one of the panelists said that it's important to take a look at the room, determine who's missing and invite them to table. That to me really sums up what it means to be the best possible kind of ally and to make sure diverse perspectives are represented, supported and encouraged.