Our upcoming Changing the Conversation event includes a presentation and panel discussion with power-house women leading power-house organizations, and we’re excited to feature them in a spotlight blog series. The series asks each panelist to describe a challenge that she's faced in her career, offer a piece of advice to her former self, and comment on why she cares about diversity in the workplace. Our first spotlight features presenter and panelist Ashley Babinecz, Director of Talent Acquisition at AppNexus. See what she has to say below, and learn more about Ashley’s thoughts on diversity recruiting at our event on April 26th at 6:30pm!
Describe a challenge that you’ve overcome in your career.
I changed careers very early on, and that remains one of the most meaningful challenges I’ve conquered. I started my career doing fulfilling work that I really loved, but it was also work that can be isolating and lonely. I realized that for me, at that time in my life, I had very little of myself left over when I got home from work to give to my family and friends. So, I made the really difficult decision to walk away from a career that I loved and had worked hard for to pursue other opportunities. I was so fortunate to find a role at CFW Careers, where I got my start in Talent Acquisition. This line of work has certainly changed my life, and it’s given me the privilege of changing the course of other people’s lives by connecting them to amazing careers while also helping businesses grow and thrive.
What’s a piece of advice you wish you could give your former self?
Don’t underestimate the importance of having both mentors and sponsors, which is my best advice for any young professional, especially women. It can be really easy to get caught up in this idea that you need to achieve everything on your own, or that asking for help is a signal of weakness. For a long time, I found myself caught in that cycle. I think a lot of people learn implicitly throughout childhood and in their academic careers, that keeping your head down, doing great work and not rocking the boat is the best way to get ahead, but when you enter the professional world, you realize that you really need that visibility – you need to make a little noise – in order to be recognized. Mentors can help you work through the fear of asking for help and identify tactical ways to increase your visibility. Sponsors will intentionally and visibly advocate for you by talking about your achievements and connecting you to opportunities that can propel your career forward.
Why do you care about corporate diversity?
This is one of my favorite questions to answer! There are two things that really drive my passion for workplace diversity and inclusion. First, I believe that that connecting talented individuals with opportunity, and levelling a historically unbalanced and inequitable playing field, is fundamentally the right thing to do. Secondly, Talent Acquisition is all about building the best possible teams to drive business outcomes, and the strongest are those inclusive of diverse perspectives. Research has supported time and again that leaders and influencers with a variety of perspectives and experiences make smarter decisions and achieve greater levels of success than does a homogenous set of decision makers. We also know that when employees feel included, they report feeling more team-oriented and innovative.