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Sultana Khandakar

Exercising Your Voice to Build a Diverse Culture

Earlier this month, Turbonomic launched DevelopHer – our first Employee Resource Group. To celebrate the forming of this group, we hosted a Launch Event across all our global offices. The event was a resounding success and a major milestone for Turbonomic, showcasing our continued efforts and investment in Diversity and Inclusion.

The theme of our launch was Exercising Your Voice to Build a Diverse Culture, featuring keynote speakers Jennifer Heard, SVP Cloud Partnerships at Turbonomic joined by Jennifer Trzepacz, Operating Partner and Chief People Officer at Wildcat Ventures. Jennifer Trzepacz and Jennifer Heard, both highly accomplished IMG_4585women in their field, shared their experiences climbing the corporate ladder and valuable advice on how women can find and exercise their voices in male-dominated industries.

A key topic of discussion with our panel was the significance of finding people who can elevate your voice, while distinguishing between mentors and advocates. Jennifer Heard summed it up perfectly: “In your career as you’re developing your experience and your brand, you need to find both mentors and advocates.” Mentors and advocates are two different things, Heard explained. A mentor is important for certain points in time. They tend to be subject matter experts who help you gain a particular skillset. When seeking out a mentor, you should have a specific purpose and a clear goal in mind. On the other hand, an advocate is someone who watches you throughout your journey, has always been a champion, and someone who can be a reference for your success. Alongside mentors and advocates, Jennifer Trzepacz (JT) mentions the importance of also having role models, her personal role model being Michelle Obama. 

Another valuable piece of advice we received from both panelists was to “be comfortable with the uncomfortable.'' Adapting to new environments at different stages of your career is essential for success, and file-55-1a key mindset to keep in mind as you face new challenges. Jennifer Heard suggested that we, “Speak up, don’t ask for permission. Your voice is equally important… think about the words you use, because first impressions can last forever.”

Hyper-growth industries can often foster a competitive culture, especially when it feels like there are a limited number of opportunities. Particularly in this kind of atmosphere, JT emphasized the importance of women helping women. JT recommended that women “use your voice, be strong for yourself and for others, advocate for other women, and include women in conversations.” When finding your voice, ensure that you are using it not only for yourself, but also others around you. 

When asked what tools and tactics the panel leveraged as they developed their leadership and communication skills, Jennifer Heard recommended to “pick the right words, be brief, to the point, and be memorable.” JT suggested being authentic, grounded, having emotional intelligence, and “don’t forget that your performance is also your voice.”

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Turbonomic would like to thank Jennifer Heard and Jennifer Trzepacz for their time, commitment to empowering women and for sharing their expertise as members of our panel. Regardless of gender, we’re confident that the Turbos who attended learned so much from our panelists. We’re excited to leverage these insights to continue to foster a culture of inclusion and belonging.

A huge thank you to the DevelopHer Co-Chairs and Board Members, DevelopHer Committee Members, Office Managers, Executive Sponsors and our IT Team for ensuring the success of this event. 

For more on DevelopHer, please read our blog post here and stay tuned for upcoming events!