This fall I had the privilege of representing Samsung’s newest employee resource network, Women in Samsung Electronics (WISE), at a prestigious global leadership conference on gender equality. It was an experience I will never forget.
As a member of the Samsung Customer Care organization, I was lucky to be one of 16 WISE members from Samsung locations throughout the U.S. to attend the renowned annual leadership development conference, in New York City.
Named one of Inc.’s most innovative conferences, the annual S.H.E. Summit convenes to “celebrate and accelerate the global advancement of women.” The October 2017 line-up of S.H.E. Summit speakers included activists, thought leaders and trailblazers like Amber Tamblyn, Dr. Shefali, Claudia Chan, Sallie Krawchek and Jen Welter, to name just a few.
As I listened to these powerful women tell their stories and inspire my own, I asked myself, if these women can come from nothing, hurdle gender inequality and still make it to the top, then why not me? I know I can reach for greatness and, one day, take my seat at the leadership table.
“Together, we’ll increase our visibility, and increase the possibility of men and women working together to change perceptions, evolve the nature of power and build lasting equality.”
At the S.H.E. Summit during those two days, I was lucky enough to learn from women from many different walks of work life who have transformed the lives of women in their respective work places. One by one, these influential leaders shared strategies that have worked for them – and the ones that haven’t – as they’ve aimed to break glass ceilings and overcome challenges to women’s professional advancement. From their poignant messages, one thing was clear: Gender bias is universal. It struck me that the humanity and humility these women all shared are also part of their success formulas. If a leader doesn’t listen to everyone on the team, she won’t be leading for long. I appreciated the demonstrated diversity on the S.H.E. Summit panel, too, and sensed a bond forming among audience members because of it.
In the spirit of sharing the experience with others, here are my takeaways from the S.H.E. Summit:
- Next time you ask yourself, “Can I?” just answer the question with a question and promptly ask yourself, Why not? Also if you’re in a position of leadership, ask yourself if you are pausing to reach back and bring somebody up with you.
- I firmly believe that we must prove ourselves to be worth the risk, and then advocate for ourselves, our abilities, our accomplishments. I will advocate for you and others around me, and I will seek out my own mentor.
- Together, we’ll increase our visibility, and increase the possibility of men and women working together to change perceptions, evolve the nature of power and build lasting equality. I will be a change agent, and seek diversity of thought in those around me, because that’s a framework for education that can happen every day, naturally.
I’ve always had the passion for making a difference, and now, as I carve out my own path toward leadership, I’m grateful to work for a company that really encourages its employees to grow professionally, inspire others and give back. I am passionate about the work I do at Samsung, about our innovative, best-in-class products and especially about guiding my team as they inhabit their best professional selves. Like the leaders we were fortunate to learn from at the S.H.E. summit I will continue to aspire to be a voice and inspiration for new leaders yet to come.
Reena Joseph was born and raised in Abu Dhabi, emigrated to the U.S. for graduate studies and joined Samsung in 2011, where she is Customer Experience Management & Strategy manager with Samsung’s Customer Care team.