Vincient Bookerpicked himself up from losing his job to become an HR Analyst in Financial Services. He gave us great advice on how to overcome adversity, especially while moving towards more inclusion and diversity in the workplace. If his name looks familiar it is because you read about him in last week’s Mentor Monday.
Diversity and inclusion does not just happen overnight. To encourage growth, Vincient uses himself as a guide and mentor who can build and influence others. For his efforts to be successful, he says that "you must hold yourself to the highest standard".
“Tenacity, willpower, and self-determination have been my mantra for years. No one can take away your resilience and self-motivation, but you. Be flexible, resourceful, but always be authentic. Take ownership over what you do and own it. Seek to analyze and understand what and why and how you do what you do with the mindset of improving things. Create pathways and opportunities via your success that creates avenues for others to continue your great work. Be an asset focused on gains in perpetuity instead of a liability.”
That is a lot of great advice to take in, let’s unpack how to actually do this.
Think of being on a flight, you have to help yourself before you can help others. Vincient tells us, “a big part of how I envision success is being a resource to other people, being in a position of power to be able to affect change and manipulate situations for others benefits.” Once you get there, it is important to help others and accept help from those who give it to you, “I’ve had mentors and people look out for me and I think just the power of goodwill can go much further, it’s one of those intangible assets, because it's intangible we don’t really think about it. But in a nutshell, I think and believe as we move up the ranks a big measure of success is really how much of my own success can I use to help someone else out?” This doesn’t mean going far out of your way, Vincient says, “It doesn’t have to be anything extreme. I think in most cases institutional knowledge is so valuable.”
This leaves us wondering what it would look like in the real world. On a day to day basis how does this affect large corporations and the individuals who work for them. Lucky for us, Vincient works for a company that employees about 3,400 people.
"I think overall, we have a lot of work to do in the marketplace because at a lot of companies I have worked at it is interesting to see like mid-management with decent numbers in terms of diversity and inclusion but I don’t think that really matters for the entire C-suite and a majority of senior managers, VP’s, and managers are mostly white men. That is nothing against white men, I just think that companies that talk about diversity and inclusion but it is not reflected at the top. I think that is just lip service.”
This may seem easy. But Vincent warns us to remember that, “in a nutshell businesses, while they can have a social nature, a majority of corporate America they’re in it to make money. So I think all diversity inclusion methods should always keep in mind the strategic goals at hand. There are some firms that are so accustomed to churning and burning new employees every 2-3 years but they are not understanding that their reputation. I think a low risk program that can have a lot of benefits in terms of filling entry and mid-level jobs with young and emerging talent can really have a strategic concerning effort around these entry-level rotational programs.”
“So my advice to any young person... is to always remember the business case. So if you know that you have done the research and you can make a good supporting and compelling case for why having diverse experiences to bring to the table, and not just for lip service, but to actually resource ideas for efficiencies and growth and emerging markets. If you can do that in a compelling way, there is no business leader that won’t listen to you. Don’t be afraid to speak up when you are in front of that audience and have that opportunity make sure you take full advantage by being precise and proficient. That can happen at the intern level as well.”
Vincient shows us that big corporations chiefly want to make money but the people there often want to see diversity and inclusion. The way to make this possible is to show that D&I leads to more moneyfor companies. Programs like The Mentor Method exemplify this idea!