IN THIS EPISODE . . . .
It can be challenging being a woman of color in a largely male dominated industry. According to research by the Washington Post, only 8 percent of “C-suite” executives are people of color and according to Korn Ferry, women make up only 25% of C-suite executives, with most of them being in HR.
Vicki Wright Hamilton has walked in both those shoes and says she has the battle scars to show for it. However, she was successful in carving out a pathway of hope and shares with us how she survived the challenges of making it to the C-suite, as a woman of color in Tech, and why it is critical for all leaders to not forget to be allies for the next generation.
SDL Media Team
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WHAT TO LISTEN FOR:
- How Vicki set the stage for being promoted every few years during her career.
- A great way to handle push-back from your boss when they don’t agree with you.
- Vicki’s addition to the LATTOYG Playbook
“There are many ways to have success, and don’t let one individual stop you from your growth and development. You just have to have a strategy around it.”
[00:54] Vicki shares her background and the unique nickname her grandkids call her
[03:26] How Vicki struggled to get to the C-Suite
[07:00] Vicki’s entry into the LATTOYG leadership playbook: The power of the advocacy of having professional sponsors
[09:47] Story of Vicki pushing back against her boss which caused her to lose her job (and why she was happy about it
[15:26] Which of the leadership tactics Vicki used and loved
[17:43] One of Vicki’s favorite books: “Play like a man; win like a woman” by Gail Evans
[23:07] The story of how Vicki started her multi-faceted technology consulting firm.
[28:20] Signature Segment: Full Disclosure
[37:10] Signature Segment: Karan’s Take
ABOUT VICKI WRIGHT HAMILTON:
As the Founder & CEO of VWH Consulting, Vicki wears several hats. She serves as a senior technology strategist, change management advisor, and executive leadership coach. She has over 30 years experience and prides herself with having the gift and expertise of advancing technology organizations and people that lead them.
LINKS FOR VICKI WRIGHT HAMILTON:
– Vicki’s Youtube Shows: “Hidden Stories, Healed Now” and Strategic Minds: Making Money Moves”
PEOPLE & RESOURCES MENTIONED:
– Overview: The Lead at the Top of Your Game Leadership Development Experience
– Vicki’s Book: Game Face: Corporate Success Strategies of a Trail-Blazing Tech Warrior
– Book: Brene Brown
– Book: Play like a man; win like a woman by Gail Evans
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR YOU:
– Article: Women C-Suite Ranks Nudge Up—a Tad
– Article: The striking race gap in corporate America
This podcast episode is sponsored by Shockingly Different Leadership, the leader in on-demand People, Talent Development & Organizational Effectiveness professional services, all designed to up-level leader capability and optimize workforces to do their best work.
Episode 4 | The Power of Leadership Advocacy and Allyship in the Technology Industry w/ Vicki Wright Hamilton
Vicki Wright Hamilton 00:00
The thing I am most proud of, though, is I worked extremely hard to get promoted every two years my entire professional career. And I did that because I knew I had to work harder, I had to be better, I had to do more in order to be seen for the technical expertise I can bring to the table.
Welcome to the “Lead at the Top of Your Game” podcast, where we equip you to more effectively lead your seat at any employer, business, or industry in which you choose to play. Each week, we help you sharpen your leadership acumen by cracking open the playbooks of dynamic leaders who are doing big things in their professional endeavors. And now, your host, leadership tactics and organizational development expert, Karan Ferrell-Rhodes.
Karan Rhodes 00:52
Hey there, superstars! This is Karan, and welcome to today’s episode. You know, as a person who’s the bulk of their career was in technology and in engineering organizations, I know how hard it is to be a woman of color in a largely male-dominated industry. And did you know that according to research by the Washington Post, only 8 percent of the C suite executives are people of color? And according to Korn Ferry, women only make up 25 percent of the C suite with most of them being in HR. For employers interested in truly increasing these numbers, a double focus on both company-lead and affinity-lead career progression initiatives for diverse star talent is critical. Vickie Wright Hamilton has walked in both of these shoes and says she has the battle scars to show for it. However, she was successful in carving out a pathway of hope and shares with us today how she survived the challenges of making it to the C suite as a woman of color in tech, and why it is critical for all leaders not to forget to be allies for the next generation. Be sure to listen to her addition to our leadership execution playbook, and my closing segment called “Karan’s Take” where I share a tip on how to use today’s episode’s insights to further sharpen your leadership acumen. And now, enjoy the show.
Vicki Wright Hamilton 02:22
Yes, I’m ready to do that.
Karan Rhodes 02:22
Alright. Well, before we get into the meat of everything, for as much as you feel comfortable, would you mind sharing a little bit about your personal and professional background? Hello, game changers! I am super excited to introduce our guest for this episode, Mrs. Vicki Wright Hamilton, superstar extraordinaire, as you’re gonna find on so many levels. You name it–tech, personal life, executive mentor, sister girl mentor–you name it, she’s that but we’re extremely thrilled and honored to have her on our podcast episode, so welcome Ms. Vicki. And are you ready to open up that leadership playbook?
Vicki Wright Hamilton 03:12
Well, thank you so much for asking, Karan. I think the easiest way to sum it up is I wrote a book called “Game Face by a Tech Warrior” and I truly include a balance of being a professional as well as a personal triumph. I truly believe we’re 180 and we can’t go to work and leave things behind; we can’t come home and leave it behind because it’s still somewhere there. We can compartmentalize, but we can’t do that. So first and foremost, I am a grandmother; my name is BB, I have three beautiful grandchildren. I am a mother of two grown men; I have a daughter-in-law. I am a wife, a sister, and a friend, and I am just honored to be here professionally. I, uhm… you know, have truly created some building blocks for my own business and kind of took it through a growth trajectory once I started my own business after my corporate life.
Karan Rhodes 04:24
And it sounds great. Thank you so much for sharing that. And you’ve had a very diverse corporate career. Now that you do own your own firm and you do a lot of consulting for some major organizations such as Delta and West Rock and you name it, but what the listeners may not understand is that you are also a major player in the tech industry when being a woman and a woman of color in tech was not that common. So, can you share a little bit more about your career journey there?
Vicki Wright Hamilton 04:59
Absolutely. So I am a technologist by trade and during the time I was coming along, you know, we hear about being the only in the room, but it truly was the only in the room. And you were… there weren’t others that looked like you; you didn’t have others to look up to. And I always made a promise to myself that as I grew up the ladder, I would always pull others with me as much as I could, because I wanted them to know that it could be successful too. But through that journey, like any woman and any man, there’s lots of people of color that have challenges, but I went through a lot of ups and downs, uhm… I went through times where they wanted to look at me as somebody just filling a seat. You know, we’re going to have diversity, let’s just put her in a seat now. Be quiet, be pretty, and don’t say nothing. You know, we just checking a box, right? That’s not my personality, and so because of that, it was like, “I’m not here just to occupy a chair; I want to contribute. I want to be part of it.” So, the challenges were bigger, right? Because I was going against the grain of what they really wanted me to do. The thing I am most proud of, though, is I worked extremely hard to get promoted every two years my entire professional career. And I did that because I knew I had to work harder, I had to be better, I had to do more in order to be seen for the technical expertise I can bring to the table, and take the organizations forward. I think one of the unique things that I did within my career is that I marry business with technology. And the challenge is… is there’s a lot of technical people that can only speak our many languages and many acronyms about technology, but have a hard time relating it to business. I was one that could come in and talk about the business aspect, what was happening, and relate technology to it. At that time, that was a big competitive advantage, and it was something that a lot of people do.
Karan Rhodes 07:08
So let me just pause there for a second, because you’re absolutely right. And one of the things you and I have in common is that we both cut our teeth in the tech space. And most people who know me, knew that I was almost 14 years at Microsoft, I’ve been with other engineering firms, and that’s kind of where the industries that I played so it’s very similar to you. I absolutely know what kind of uphill battles that you had to decline, but people should know that you rose to the ranks up to the C suite. So while it was challenging, you did so and one of the things that we both have in common is I did the same exact thing, and trying to do my best to set myself up for some type of promotion every 18 to 24 months as well. And I’m going to ask you a question in a minute about, you know, what were some of the things that you did, or actions or tactics to kind of set yourself up. But quickly, I’d love to share that one of the things I used to do is every performance review, I would always ask the question to my manager of what would it take for you to feel comfortable and advocating for me when the list of promotions come around? Next time around? What is it that you would need to see? Uhm. What type of performance are you looking for? What kind of impact on the business goals do you need to see me make or may help lead? And then, I would document the conversation and email saying, “Okay, this is what I heard during our one-on-one. I want to make sure I captured that correctly.” And I did it not to trap them, but to make sure that they knew I was serious about what I needed to do to help them and the business, and that upon getting that done and executing on that, then I would be anticipating help to the next steps and/or help in that level.
Vicki Wright Hamilton 09:14
It’s interesting that you say that Karan because one of the things that I did as an experience was as I learned because I had bad bosses because that only works as long as the boss you’re talking to is really in your favor. I got sponsors outside with my boss.
Karan Rhodes 09:32
Vicki Wright Hamilton 09:33
I had champions outside that could go in that room and speak the language. So even if my boss would say to me, “This is what I expect you to do.” and I would deliver, I would have to have other contingencies, if you will, that would be in the room who would say “Oh, wait a minute, but she did this for us; she did that for us.” So, it was really about spreading that sponsorship, those champions. So, what you did is absolutely right. And I just tried to take it one step further, because as during my era, during that time, I realized I had to have as many as I could coming into the room. So, that when they got to the table, they said, “Wait a minute, Vicki did this; Vicki did that. We can’t just pass by her.” And when you help somebody else get their objectives, they’re more apt to set up to the table to help you. So, that’s why I tell people don’t think it’s just your manager. There are many ways to have success, and don’t let one individual stop you from your growth and development. You just have to have a strategy around it.
Karan Rhodes 10:40
You do. And, you know, we’re both strategy people so we could probably talk about this all day. But one of the other tips that I, you know, coach my clients, and one of the things I had done to your point is when you have sponsors, you need to help your sponsors understand how to speak for you. So that includes giving them a couple of talking points, bullet points, things that you have done just as quick reminders, uhm, whether it be over coffee or whether it be formalized in a note or email to them, just so that they have the data that they need to feel comfortable in standing up for you that your sponsors… They love you anyway. They’re your cheerleaders, right? But they want to make sure that they’re articulating things correctly, and that they have the facts, right? And it’s up to you to provide that to them versus just hoping that they observe it. Do you agree or no or?
Vicki Wright Hamilton 11:34
I completely agree. Completely agree. Completely agree. And you can’t do it too much.
No, you can’t.
Karan Rhodes 11:52
I’d love for you to share… let’s get this… pull back the layers a little bit. I’d love for you to share a specific instance where, you know, as a leader, you had to make a tough decision, and how did you think through approaching that, and, you know, leading through whatever that initiative is, or whatever it is that you had to do? Can you share an example?
Vicki Wright Hamilton 12:18
Absolutely! I have one story on… that… that I share that I really think was the impetus of the turning of my career because I was going from senior leadership to the C suite. So it was… I was running an organization, and I was an SVP in a… in a particular… in a particular group running all of our global support and project management and application development and land, land, and things like that. And I was doing a performance review for a woman that worked for me, and she was a woman of color, a black woman, and I was talking to HR preparing for this review. And so I told HR, what I wanted to do. I said, “It’s time for her to be promoted.” And it’s, you know, she’s done everything that needs to be done, we need to promote her to a VP. And his response to me was, and this was a man of color as well and so he looked at me, he goes, “No, no, no, don’t do that. Don’t do that.” and I said “Why not?” (intelligible)
Karan Rhodes 12:21
Don’t promote her? Oh my god!
Vicki Wright Hamilton 12:30
Yeah, well, he was Hispanic. And he said, “No, no, no, don’t do that. Don’t do that.” And I said, “Why not? What’s wrong? Why would I not promote somebody who’s earned it?” And he said, “Well, if you promote her, they’re gonna think they don’t need you anymore. And you don’t want to work… you’re… you don’t… you don’t want them to let you go. So if they don’t need her anymore and you promote her, you know, that’s gonna look bad; don’t do that.” And I turned around to him, and I said, “You know what? I’m going to do what’s right and what’s right for the organization, and what’s right for her. And if they feel as though they don’t need me anymore, then it’s time for me to go find another job. You talked about the diversity goals and reaching a diversity goal. You talk about promotion and opportunities and doing that. So if it means I gotta go find another job, I’m gonna… I’m gonna absolutely do it with pride because it gives me joy to reward her as she has earned this.” And he said, “Okay, do what you want to do, but I’m telling you.” Well, she did get promoted.
Karan Rhodes 14:51
Vicki Wright Hamilton 14:52
He was right that they were like, “Well, we got two… we’re too top heavy over here. Maybe we ought to do something.” and then, move me over to the business side to run another business unit. And I knew that they were just putting me in a slot, but you know, I’m a woman of faith and I knew God had my back. Even though I was scared and nervous from the fact that I didn’t know, but I had to have faith to believe; I had to trust that it was gonna be okay.
Karan Rhodes 15:21
Right, it’s just hard sometimes.
Vicki Wright Hamilton 15:23
I get a phone call, and it was an opportunity for COO role. And I was gonna get two things in my toolbox I didn’t have. One, I was going to be on my first board. I was gonna be sitting with the board; have a seat at the table, making decisions. Number one. And number two, I was directly in the C suite; I was working with the president side by side. And I say, these are private investors so I’m gonna get investment experience, I’m gonna get board experience, and I’m gonna work directly with the President. So, I took the role. Now, here’s what you need. I took the role, but I did a sidestep in compensation. I didn’t get any more money; I didn’t get anything else because I knew I was well compensated, but I was going to an organization that would allow me the opportunity to grow and develop. So it wasn’t about the money, it was about the tools in my toolbox to prepare me for the next opportunity so I did that.
Karan Rhodes 20:03
And you saw… and you saw… you saw that potential at that time when that opportunity came.
Vicki Wright Hamilton 20:05
That’s why I made the decision…
Karan Rhodes 20:57
Vicki Wright Hamilton 22:18
That’s why I made the decision. I made the decision because at that point, I was like, “Whatever you do, you got to get something out of this.” So when I started evaluating, either staying in the role they put me in just to be here versus a new role. I always wanted to be a COO, and I was gonna get an opportunity to do it, and it was a way for me to try. Maybe I thought I wanted to, and that ain’t really what I want to do but I could validate, right? So I knew that I was getting something out of it that if it didn’t work out, I was at least getting some tools in my toolbox, and so I did it. I walked in with faith, this is what I’m going to do, and I did it. And because it was privately held, and with investors, I walked in with open eyes. If they ever decided they wanted to sell, then sell the company. And of course, I’m saying (intelligible) stock, and I’m part of this. (intelligible) Who’s really losing out on this deal, right? What does that really mean? And we did sell the company. But that was one of the biggest pivotal moments in my career where I had to be courageous, I had to take the steps. And I think you put it well, leading with courageous agility, out of your book, where you truly talk about doing what’s right but having that courage to move forward.
Karan Rhodes 22:18
Nice, nice. Well, thank you so much for mentioning one of the tactics in my book “Lead At the Top of Your Game”, because one of the questions I was going to ask you is if any of those tactics were very instrumental in, you know, your leadership efforts, and that’s one of them.
Vicki Wright Hamilton 22:18
I got one more.
Karan Rhodes 22:18
And I’m just curious, was there something else that popped out?
Vicki Wright Hamilton 22:18
I got one more of a tactic.
Karan Rhodes 22:18
Vicki Wright Hamilton 22:18
(intelligible) And I said, (intelligible).
Karan Rhodes 22:18
And we’re greatly rewarded for that, I must say it sounds like. That is fantastic. Awesome. So also… so thank you so much, Vicki, for sharing that story., because a lot of individuals aren’t… are nervous or are uncomfortable with being vulnerable but that is a great story because I’m sure that there are a lot of professionals that are in a similar situation that are gonna have to make tough decisions when it comes to promoting and or supporting members of their teams going directly toe to toe with colleagues or peers that have a different perspective than they do, and still standing up for what they believe in while also, you know, keeping goals and business on track. And so you have to be multifaceted as a leader, I think. You think so as well?
Vicki Wright Hamilton 22:18
Karan Rhodes 22:18
Well, can you share um, one of the things we try to do in a podcast is, and you’ve given tons and nuggets already, but if there is one that you just want to highlight and leave as an entry into our playbook or leadership execution playbook, what is a piece of advice or something that you’d like to leave with our listeners that we can add to our playbooks?
Vicki Wright Hamilton 22:18
Well, thank you so much for asking Karan. There is a book called… there’s a book called “Play Like A Man, Win Like A Woman”, and it’s by Gail Evans.
Karan Rhodes 22:18
Wow. I loved it, too.
Vicki Wright Hamilton 22:37
Oh, I loved it, too, and she’s a wonderful author. She has many books out there, but that book gave me a lot of the foundation of understanding how different men and women are, how (intelligible) the game, understand… you know, we always say, you know, I can play the game if I know the rules.
Karan Rhodes 22:38
Vicki Wright Hamilton 22:38
And sometimes the rules are hard to find; they’re not as crystal clear as we would like them. And what she points out is understanding how they make decisions, when they make decisions, the process they go through, how… the people that put around them, the things that happen there, and using your personality, still not losing your authentic self, still not losing anything that you bring to the table. And so it was so powerful for me to go, oh my gosh, I don’t have to lose being a woman; I just need to be able to augment what I have and understand how men does it? What did they do?
Karan Rhodes 22:38
Vicki Wright Hamilton 23:10
Now, I used to get so confused about how can y’all be in this room arguing like cats and dogs and then get on a golf course and go play golf, and say “Hey, man, I’ve been doing this while playing golf.” (intelligible) And you know, really understanding that they didn’t take it personal. They went in the room and said what they had to say. They could fight like cats and dogs, and then they could get on the golf course, and hit that ball, and talk about what they were doing and have a drink, right?
Karan Rhodes 23:11
That’s right, that’s right.
Vicki Wright Hamilton 23:36
I think that book was a great foundation and the tips and tricks in the things that she shares about being able to play like them, but win like yourself and not lose your authenticity. That’s what I would say.
Karan Rhodes 24:39
I love that. So we’re… thank you so much for sharing that book, “Play Like A Man, Win Like A Woman” by Gail Evans; I’ll put those in our show notes. But, I also happen to know that you’ve written a book as well, and I don’t want us to get off this podcast without you sharing a little bit about that as well. So will you share that with our listeners?
Vicki Wright Hamilton 24:58
Absolutely. I wrote a book called “Game Face By a Tech Warrior” as a technologist and a African American woman coming up during the times, I took an opportunity to be vulnerable. I think one of the things that becomes very hard is as professionals, we worry about being vulnerable; we worry that if people find out certain things about us, how will we be perceived? How will we be looked at? Will… will it be used against us? And I want you to…
Karan Rhodes 25:01
(intelligible) Brene Brown, has… has… that’s how… I was gonna say the one reason she’s been successful, but I think that’s what… cause… has contributed to her whole offerings. It’s because it hadn’t really been talked to at a deep level and tied to the business world until she did it as a researcher so you’re absolutely right. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt. Go ahead.
Vicki Wright Hamilton 25:17
But, you know, you’re right, but I think that I wanted people to know, yes, I made it to the C suite. And if I can do it, you can do it too because you see all the glory, but you don’t know the story of everything that went behind it. And that story of all the personal things I had to go through, and I am very vulnerable and raw in a lot of the things that I went through; I didn’t hide it. Yes, I’ve been divorced, you know, yes, I’ve, I’ve gone through challenges. Yes, I had some personal traumas. Yes, but I wanted people to find hope, at the end of the day, but I have to credit that to my mother and my brother because they forced me to tell my story because they said you have something to share. And of course, my attitude was, who wants to read it? Who cares? Everybody has a story. But I will say that after writing the book, not only did… was it therapeutic for me to actually look at what happened over my life. I said if it only helps one person, it was worth it. And I had built a business of many pillars just like a company does. So one of my business tracks is I have a technology business where I provide people in the technology area around change management, on project management, around digital transformation. I have another pillar that actually supports what I do on my first pillar because we talked about change management, you’re talking about what? People. So what allows you to do coaching and development, not only within corporate, but I’ve been able to do a lot of coaching and development for individual leaders, which has really been gratifying in terms of doing that. And then the third piece is of that coaching, is that because I do a lot within businesses and helping them and providing strategy to them, guess what? I’m doing business strategy coaching. So I have new entrepreneurs and new businesses that are coming to me going, “Okay, help me get started. How did you do this?” So it’s really been… it’s really been an evolution of being able to see how I could grow from one to the other and still support. Now, you know, we all have passions, and we all have love, and when I was a little girl, I used to tell my dad, I said, “I know what I want to do when I grow up.” He was like, “What?” I said, “I’ll be on TV; I want to have my own show, and I’ll be a talk show host.” And my daddy looked at me and he said, “I understand all that, but you got a lot of technical brain. And all of us into education in this household, I need somebody to go make some money.” So rather than being starving actor or a starving, you know, host, I need you to take up technology, get into technology. and go make some money. And besides that, I was (intelligible). He was like they wouldn’t put black girls on the screen. We didn’t have (intelligible) that have trailblazed the way. So what did I do? I went into technology, and continued on my technical track of what I’ve done. So now that I’m in my own business, I said, “You know what, I have an opportunity to do a passion.” But I can’t let my passion support my business. How do I do that? So, I have two shows. One of my shows is a lifestyle show of providing hope for people who are… who are facing challenges which do provide a platform and a vehicle that was really to support my coaching. Really it… to help them understand all the elements of what happens in coaching from many different perspectives. It wasn’t just mine. The other side of my platform of my show was to support my business. And it was like if I’m coaching business clients, and I’m doing this, maybe I can provide a platform for other entrepreneurs and small businesses of color to be able to have a platform to explain what they do and share their brand and their business. Because at the end of the day, everything I do is about providing hope, and watching other people grow and develop. And I believe everybody’s business can be a multimillion-dollar business. They just need to be heard; they just need to be known, and I wanted to provide a little bit of a platform to help them to do that. So that’s my business.
Karan Rhodes 30:11
Definitely worth it. And I have been blessed enough to be able to get a copy and I’ve read it and I think it should be in New York Bestseller personally but it really resonated with me. So I appreciate you, your vulnerability and bringing that story to the world. Wow, that’s amazing! Gosh, Vicki, that’s the epitome of someone taking all the skills and experiences that they have gathered throughout their career on the corporate side, and really applying them on the business side of the world. So I know you had a long journey of getting there, but what a gift you’re giving back to the world. So I personally thank you, and I’m sure all your clients thank you. And you know, you’re gonna get a lot more clients after this episode.
Vicki Wright Hamilton 30:47
Karan Rhodes 30:49
All right, well, we’re gonna round out the episode by doing our last segment, which is called “Full Disclosure” and this is just where we ask a couple of quick questions for folks to get a flavor for things that you like to do and what makes your life a little bit more whole, because we’re not only business people, as you said, we live, breathe, we’re human. And I promise there’ll be no gotcha questions. But so my first question to you is, how do you like to decompress? How do you like to decompress or relax?
Vicki Wright Hamilton 31:25
Well, thank you so much for reading it and supporting me. Anybody who knows me knows is one thing I absolutely love to do is dance.
Karan Rhodes 31:34
Yes, you do.
Vicki Wright Hamilton 31:37
(intelligible) That is my number one relief. My second relief is that I also do exercising. I work out five days a week, and it keeps me grounded and moving forward. And then the third thing that I do is daily, every morning, regardless, because I go workout before I go, I set time for my prayer, my meditation, and my thought of just what this day is going to bring and what I’m looking to accomplish. But that’s how I decompress; that’s what I do.
Karan Rhodes 32:11
Absolutely. Let’s see. Also, I want people to understand that there can be life after corporate. And so, I want to give you a few seconds to share what you’re doing now with your firm. Oh, that’s lovely. Thank you for sharing. All right, the next question I have for you, um, what is your favorite drink or cocktail of choice? And I share this because everybody knows me knows I love a nice buttery glass of Chardonnay. But either alcoholic or non-alcoholic, what is your favorite drink of choice?
Vicki Wright Hamilton 32:35
Absolutely. Now, Karan, we can talk about this topic because you did the same thing. (intelligible) So let the audience know you have two women that, you know, of color who decided, okay, it’s time to move on and how do we move forward? (intelligible) back to corporate, but I have to tell you, I never left corporate and said, “I’m gonna go start my own business.” That just was not my thing. I was a corporate girl and I thought I was gonna be a corporate girl. But God gave me (intelligible) and God said, “You know what, I need you to be able to stand your time being caregiver, which means you got to have flexibility. You couldn’t do all the things you needed to do, and working in corporate, so you need to work for yourself.” And what I did was is I started as a solopreneur, just as one. And I said, “Let me understand what I can bring to the table and how I can help.” And then I did whatever company does, I redid my strategy every year, I looked at my growth plan every year, what I wanted to do, what I wanted to add, etcetera. So now it’s been twelve years later in November. Well, when it comes to wine, I love my Pinot. So I, yeah, I love my Pinot when it comes to wine. When it comes to… I also like my coffee, but in terms of the alcohol is Baileys and coffee. That… I mean it’s a combination. Like I get my coffee, I get my Baileys, I’m good to go. (intelligible) as well. I like to drink a lot of tea that help me throughout the day and… and, you know, they… they have all they have so many as you know; you’re a tea drinker. So they have so many different kinds of teas and you can address different moods, different issues as you drink your tea through the day, too, so…
Karan Rhodes 33:27
Wow. That’s awesome! What is one pet peeve that you have that you’re willing to share?
Vicki Wright Hamilton 33:37
Oh, well. I mean, you know, this will probably not come as a surprise but one of my pet peeves is the word of saying “I can’t” and “It’s not possible.” I believe anything is possible that you want to do. It may not be the way you thought it was gonna be, but it’s possible. And don’t tell me you can’t. Anybody can do anything they put their mind to. “Can’t” is not a word in my vocabulary; I don’t understand it.
Karan Rhodes 34:00
Alright, and lessons I’ve learned the hard way and the time I’ve known Vicki she keeps me on task until I’ve, you know, sometimes when I’m thinking I “can’t do it” she’ll be your first cheerleader and say “Yes, you can. It’s just figuring out how to do it.” So she is definitely right about that. Alright, and my last question for you, Miss Vicki, is do you have a celebrity leader or celebrity crush or somebody that you would just love to meet someday either past or present, they could have been living or not living, who is it would have been in your dream person that you would love to meet?
Vicki Wright Hamilton 34:49
Oh my gosh. Uhm, well living, I would love to meet Brene Brown; not living, uhm, oh my gosh, there’s so many that I would love to meet and really get to know. Uhm, I would have to say, uhm, President Kennedy; my mother was on his board and served in the White House, and oh, yeah, she was on his board for the mental retardation. And, uhm, it was, I see all the pictures, and I heard all the stories, I would love to be able to sit down and talk to him.
Karan Rhodes 35:34
Wow, I bet that would be fascinating and it’s an amazing opportunity for your mom as well, gosh.
Vicki Wright Hamilton 35:42
Yeah, she was on his board and known him obviously very, very well, and she was for special education and dealing with… helping with the mental retardation programs and all of that, and did a lot while she was… served in President Kennedy’s cabinet. And so, I would just love to have a conversation with him and… and learn more about him and also hear about what my Mama did. (intelligible) she was with us. Yes, I’d love to have the opportunity to talk to him.
Karan Rhodes 36:53
Amazing. Alright, well, thank you so much, Vicki for your time with… with myself and the listeners. We have received a ton of nuggets of information and if I can just say so myself, you are truly one that is leaving at the top of her game, and we thank you for your time.
Vicki Wright Hamilton 36:53
Well, thank you so much, Karan, for the opportunity, and allowing me to share my story with your listeners.
Karan Rhodes 36:53
Alright, thank you! I hope you enjoyed our conversation today with Vicki Wright Hamilton links to her bio, her entry into our leadership playbook, and additional resources on leadership advocacy and allyship can be found in the show notes both on your favorite podcast platform, and at leadyourgamepodcast.com. And now for “Karan’s Take”. You know, all exemplary leaders are renowned for advocating for deserving members of their professional circles, and today, I want to share three actions you could take to be more skilled at being an ally or an advocate. The first tip is to tell them that you are their advocate. Great leaders don’t make others assume reality, they create and communicate reality. This will help ensure that both parties prepare for deeper, meaningful conversations on skill sets and goals, and that the subject of your advocacy knows that you have their back. The second tip is strategically choose when to give public praise in front of senior leaders. Read the room and choose the best time to exert the power of your influence to speak up for others. Don’t make random comments in a meeting, and when you do choose to speak up, try to tie your comments to a need or pain point that the company is experiencing that the person that you’re speaking about can help solve. And the third tip, prepare for pushback. Be aware that the conversation may be challenging. Your audience may not know the subject of your advocacy as well as you do, or may bring up conflicting data, or firsthand experiences. Arm yourself with your own set of overwhelming facts to win them over. If you want more info on developing stronger leadership acumen, you can find it on our website by using the short link bit.ly. That’s B-I-T dot L. Y. forward slash develop your game bit.ly/developyourgame. Thanks for listening and see you next week.
And that’s our show for today. Thank you for listening to the “Lead at the Top of Your Game” podcast where we help you leave your seats at any employer, business, or industry in which you choose to play. You can check out the show notes, additional episodes, bonus resources, and also submit guest recommendations on our website at leadyourgamepodcast.com. You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn by searching for the name Karan Rhodes with Karan being spelled K-a-r-a-n. And if you liked the show, the greatest gift you can give would be to subscribe and leave a rating on your podcast platform of choice. This podcast has been a production of Shockingly Different Leadership, a global consultancy which helps organizations execute their people, talent development, and organizational effectiveness initiatives on an on-demand project or contract basis. Huge thanks to our production and editing team for a job well done. Bye for now.
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