Juanita Coley: Thank you so much Ebony for being with me today. Tell us a little bit more about yourself. Introduce yourself. Tell us more about you.
Ebony Langston: Thank you for having me. I was backstage jam into the intro. So, I’m super excited to be here Juanita, so I am Ebony Langston, and I am the executive director of licensing and operations at TTEC. I work within our healthcare vertical. And I partner with clients to provide a combination of digital and people solutions to optimize sales and customer service.
Juanita Coley: That is awesome. That is super awesome. And I’m so excited. So, wasn’t pre-planned like this. I think about things a lot I’m always in my head. And so, I was thinking about how fitting it was that it is, Women’s History Month, is it today or is it yesterday, and my days get mixed up?
Ebony Langston: It was yesterday. Yesterday was International Women’s Day, but the whole month is a celebration.
Juanita Coley: Is a celebration right. And so, I thought it was so fitting to have you on this week on this episode, because I’ve been just watching your career, we used to work together and most people don’t know this. So, I’ll kind of give the backstory, we work together at UnitedHealthcare. Some while back when I was running the Command Center, and I was just always interested in how you lead the team; how responsive you were to our requests in the command center and just working together in so I have been following you since then. So, I’m just so impressed with your career, how you’ve been able to navigate the corporate ladder, and corporate structure, and all of those good things. So, it’s women’s History Month. So, you ready to do this?
Ebony Langston: I’m ready. And I have to say, I remember those days, anyone working in Caucus, and you’re nothing without your workforce team. So, I need to hold it down for us.
Juanita Coley: It was some fun days for sure. Alright. So, let’s get into it. I know you said you are over licensing, you’re the executive director. But tell me a little bit more about what that role does at TTEC.
Ebony Langston: Yes. So, I play a dual role. So, part of my job is within operations, part of it is within licensing. So, within the licensing team, I manage the group that helps people gain a new career within the healthcare licensing space. So, me and my team run what’s called the College of Insurance at TTEC , where we help people go through the process to get their residential health insurance license, we support several different licenses, Health Insurance, Property and Casualty, and Claims Adjuster licenses. So, if that’s the career you’re interested in, we’re here to help support you through the entire process of training, applying with the states, and then ultimately getting you on a program to support one of our clients in those areas. And then on the operation side, as I said, I work in the healthcare vertical, and I partner mainly with healthcare payers, in their strategies around new member acquisition, retention, and services. So, I partner with them to help identify opportunities for optimization in the sales process and the customer experience and to gain as many members as we can each enrollment season.
Juanita Coley: That’s phenomenal. And it makes me think of a question that I wasn’t thinking of earlier. So, I’m just going to go right into that question. How do the College of insurance and all of those things that you’re doing on the recruiting and the learning side and making sure that you have the right people in the right places and all of those things? How does diversity play a part in even the training curriculum that you’re creating, and the product, or the service that the consumer gets on the end? Like the end game, Okay, well, we have this type of trainer or we have this type of diverse training program and so because of that we get this type of result. Do you see a difference between you leading that program, the result that you get?
Ebony Langston: I think from a training perspective, thinking about diversity, the whole bonus of having a diverse workforce is that you have a diverse set of perspectives and thought experiences. And from a training perspective, when you’re leading a group of people, you also have to remember that you have a diverse set of learning styles. So, we try to incorporate within the training, different types of learning methodologies. Some instructor-led, some self-paced, some what we call real play bots, where people have the opportunity to practice on their own. It’s about putting in different types of learning opportunities that might match different learning styles. So, people don’t get bored in their experience, especially in our College of insurance, I have a great manager who’s super creative, her team is always coming up with new ways to present what can be very dry material at times. But to make it exciting, again, appeal to those very different learning styles. I think it’s key when you’re thinking about training new hires.
Juanita Coley: You tapped into something really good there, you said, to be able to present material that can kind of seem dry, I think having diversity in the training program, the training material, the training leadership, just the whole gamut. Being able to have a diverse sphere of that allows us to be able to then get a product in or service that is going to be a representation of a diverse consumer base. And how you train that I’ve never thought about diversity from a training perspective. Having the instructor-led, because you’re right, people do learn differently. And so, by having that diversity and training, you’re able to connect differently with have material see being different to the person that you’re training, I think that’s important. Yes, that’s good stuff.
So, I was reading an article from Mercer, from 2020. And it said that only 2% of executives are African American, as opposed to 85% white counterparts. And so, as I said, I’ve been following your career, I think it’s so impressive what you’ve been able to do. What have you done to become part of that 2%?
Ebony Langston: Yes, I’ve seen similar articles. And it’s just a sad number. And I think it was McKinsey put out a new report earlier this year that indicated on our current trajectory, it would take 95 years for black employees to reach talent parity. And it boggles the mind as things have changed, and opportunities have come, we still have so far to go. So, in my career, I would say, one, I’ve been very fortunate to be around a lot of good leaders who had a vested interest in my success and so I’m thankful for every one of them. And one in particular, that stands out because she helped me change my mindset from waiting on an opportunity to present itself to proactively going out and seeking an opportunity and knowing what I brought to the table and being able to share that value with others around me that were outside of what was my normal scope, finding those opportunities to share value, and bring value to the organization in other ways.
And so that was a mindset shift for me that I didn’t have to wait around for people to give me an opportunity, I could proactively seek out and share with people what I could do. And so, I’ve kind of taken that and raised my hand whenever I could to have an opportunity to help contribute more in my current role and things outside of the organization, what some may think of as extracurriculars, but people have to remember you get a lot of visibility in those extracurricular type of activities, and any chance you get to share your thoughts and what you can bring to the table to someone who’s outside of your normal vertical. You should take advantage of that. Having mentors along the way has been important. And then having sponsors so everyone should have both mentors and sponsors in their camp. Mentors help you bounce ideas of off and share their experience or how they may have solved certain problems. But a sponsor is someone who’s helping you and pulling you up along the way. So, seek out a mentor and a sponsor.
Juanita Coley: It’s so many, I’m not going to be able to let you just go so. So, many gems just right there like three, that’s just notable one, you said that you had a mentor and that they were vested in your success, you had to do a mindset shift that not waiting on the opportunity to come to you, but creating the opportunity and showing the value. And that made me think about something I used to always tell my team or I just say a period. But I remember specifically saying this to the individual before, you can judge me on my leadership later but someone told me one time, that’s not in my job description.
And I was so flabbergasted because I always say, well, it’ll never be in your job description, because I don’t know if you can do what it takes. And so, I always think about things that I’ve done, you say you did a lot of extracurricular things, showing value, finding things, okay, what can I do? How can I show more and more value? A lot of times, that means that you have to go outside of what’s in your job description so that they can even see that it’s a need in the first place. And when you begin to do those extracurricular things, then your employer or it’s almost like when you think about entrepreneurship, a good entrepreneur they just saw a need, and they feel the need. And then they made a business model out of it. And so, the same thing in the career. So, you said that that was a gem. So, you have to shift your perspective on that.
Ebony Langston: You do and it’s a balance because you don’t want people taking advantage of you doing everything for free. But you have to find opportunities and take opportunities to do more than what’s expected for people to know you can even do that thing. Otherwise, how will they know?
Juanita Coley: Now, how do you do that? How do you do the balance? I raised my hand all the time. I am an extremist. So, I’m either hot or cold. I struggle with the balance thing. So, how do you do the balanced part where you’re not doing too much? Or you’re not being taken advantage of because they just know your service Sally. You going to do every single thing. You got to go above and beyond and not be recognized and compensated for that. But you do enough to let them know, I do have this skill set. And I can add more value than just the service role I could be a leader.
Ebony Langston: That’s a good question. It’s a really good question. I think the answer is at the point, it stops mutually benefiting you as well. So, if you’re providing your value your services outside of your scope, you are getting something out of that, too. You’re getting visibility, and you’re getting learning opportunities, hopefully, you’re getting to work with new people. So, you’re sharpening those skills and your team building. And I think if there becomes a point where you stop learning or benefiting from those activities, then you raise your hand and say I can’t continue doing this without some sort of formal official role change, or find another opportunity to do something then.
Juanita Coley: That is a tough one. Because I think that’s so good because you are learning, while you’re adding value. I think when you’re doing new things, you are learning, you’re developing a skill set. And so, I think that is good wisdom and practical wisdom that at the point that is no longer I’m not learning anymore. Like you couldn’t do this without me in this role, that I’m unofficially in. And so no longer am I learning I’m running the team or I’m running the department without any sense of title or position or whatever, the compensation. And so, I’m not learning anymore.
Ebony Langston: It’s hard, I wouldn’t say I’ve nailed it every time but I think that’s it when you start benefiting.
Juanita Coley: I wonder what the general public thinks about that. I got to do some kind of poll now. Now I want to know the answer to that question from other people, and if you guys are tuning in live, definitely let us know at what point do you stop. Because I’m big, I’m a big advocate for add value, find the purpose in it. And when you find the purpose, then Chase purpose, pay will come, that’s a byproduct of just being valuable. But again, I am extremist so I will be two years into a project because I’m chasing purpose and look up and be like, yes, you how it is I’ll do the role. I’m fine.
This is crazy stuff. So, the Mercer study that I was asking the question about was talking about how African Americans make up the majority of support roles. And I think that goes to what you’re saying is that show we’ll add the value, but we have a hard time drawing the line and transitioning into the, I think I’m good to lead now. Or no, I’m good to lead and having those tough conversations. And doesn’t even have to be a tough conversation. Why can’t we just be in the roles that we’re supporting or we’re running anyway? What have you done in your career? I’m interested in your career, what have you done? Because, again, it’s 2% that make it to these executive roles. And so clearly, you’re doing something right.
Ebony Langston: Yes, that is such a complex question and answer, because I think there are so many institutional things wrong, that are contributing to that phenomenon. You do see a lot of black employees in the frontlines are very early, team lead supervisor, tight levels of leadership, particularly in industries like retail hospitality, contact center, and then the ability to move up does start to slow down. So, I think, again, I talked about having mentors and sponsors, and from an individual level as far as what you can do without changing the challenge in the institution, whichever one should do.
It is having those mentors and sponsors in your life, particularly a sponsor, because as I said, having a sponsor is someone who can evangelize on your behalf, who is sharing your value with other people on your behalf, and helping you to build that story in that narrative in that personal brand, throughout the organization or industry that you’re in. So, I encourage people to seek a sponsor and someone that they trust, who will speak on their behalf for them and help them get that next opportunity. And I think each one of us in a leadership role can do the same for someone behind us, it’s reach down and sponsor someone. So, I challenged everyone if you’re not sponsoring someone today. Make that your goal before the end of the month.
Juanita Coley: Yes. And you all heard the challenge now, Sponsor somebody. And so, this was one of my questions. But now I’m intrigued I’m in the zone now. What are some of the quality traits of a good sponsor? If you’re actively looking for a sponsor, you find a sponsor like; I need someone to advocate on my behalf I have this skill set. What are the risks to a sponsor sponsoring someone if they haven’t vetted them fully? I have so many questions on that now.
Ebony Langston: No one is going to sponsor you if they don’t know you and your work value. So, I think the risk there is very minimal because you are putting your name and your reputation on the line, partly for the person. So, you don’t want it to be someone you just met. It really should be someone you have a relationship with. And I say as far as picking a sponsor or reaching out to someone asking them to be a sponsor on your behalf. I will pick someone whose leadership that you admire who has the skills and qualities that you admire who you’ve seen them in action, and appreciate their value that they’re bringing to the organization, and ask them to help you do the same.
Juanita Coley: That’s super good. Let’s move to this next question I had around customer service. So, one of my questions about customer service is, I’ve found even from just being a customer myself and calling different customer services is, I’ve noticed sometimes, and not all the times, but I’ve noticed probably more than not, that a lot of times, there’s a disconnect. And I don’t know if I pick up on this quickly because I’ve been in the call center industry my whole life. But I’ve noticed that there is a disconnect between what the Customer Service Rep is saying, and their protocols, they have to follow with the questions and all of those different things that they have to do to authenticate me or whatever the case may be, to the need that I’m calling in as a customer and what I’m looking for, there’s a lot of times- a disconnect.
I don’t know if that is due to poor training, lack of diversity in training, and them being able to pick up on okay, she’s calling for this and wanting this. But my question is, how important do you think diversity is in not only the frontline of the customer service rep, but also, the leadership that is now leading that team coming up with the job aids coming up with what the protocols are for dealing with escalations and the training and all of those different things? How important is that to get the result, to me, the customer?
Ebony Langston: It’s so funny, you say that I think anyone who’s worked in contact center industry, anytime you have to call or reach out to someone, you’re the worst critic as experience. But diversity in that team who are handling your customers and your consumers is really important. And I think the situation that you described, as far as the kind of there being a disconnect, maybe in the automated process, or what the requirements are for that employee to ask you to move you through the process is because there hasn’t been a regular audit by senior leadership as far as what the customer journey is, and should be.
And potentially not surveying their consumers and customers enough to understand what their pain points are.
But assuming that your employee base is a representation of your consumer base, that’s a really valuable pool of knowledge there who can help identify where some of those pain points are, as well and provide those process improvement opportunities to the customer journey up to leadership. So, I think if you have a diverse population of employees in that frontline, that certainly is a pool of knowledge and opportunity for senior leadership to get down and talk with and get their feedback on what the customer journey should be.
Juanita Coley: Do you think that that’s happening enough? Well, I’ll ask that question, do you think that that’s happening enough that yes, we have that very diverse frontline, but is leadership asking enough questions of hosting enough team town halls, and different things like that to say, what is the customer journey? Are they listening to the speech analytics, and are they listening to these different things to say, okay, well, what is happening? Why is this call taking so long why is it that this certain demographic always have customer complaints? Do you think that that’s happening enough in the leadership side of the contact centers?
Ebony Langston: I think it’s happening more and more; I can certainly speak to what’s happening within TTEC and hearing from the people who engage with the consumers. The most is a priority and we go through regular practice solution sessions where we’re engaging the frontline staff. In those discussions on how can we make this journey better? I think they’re probably some industries doing it better than others and more often than others. But I do think it’s happening more and more with the leadership and the mindset of the clients to listen to the frontline staff is opening more and more.
Juanita Coley: Can you tell me about a time when a lack of diversity resulted in poor customer service and a time where maybe good diversity resulted in connecting with customer service better and having a better customer experience? I’m just thinking about, our UnitedHealthcare days or any of your other days, and leadership, where you can see, we had a very diverse team, we were prepared for this. And this is why we got the result that we got, or not?
Ebony Langston: That’s a good question, what comes to mind immediately is some of those examples that we’ve all heard of where a company’s marketing campaign kind of fell flat or was overtly offensive to people and you can tell that they did not have the right people in the room to discuss before they sent this plan out. But I think specifically in the contact center space, I’ll use the kind of Medicare area that I work in mostly as an example because we have a very diverse group of people who are serving those members. And I’m thinking about this mostly from an age diversity. So, we have very young people who are just getting out of high school or college who just got their license, who are starting their first job, we have people who have been retired for a while, and they are that Medicare population.
And so, it’s great to have that mix of people on the team, because those who are a little bit older can help share what the potential experience of that Medicare beneficiary is to those who are younger, and those younger can bring some of their experiences in dealing with growing up in a more digital age, to those who are older. So, I think that a mix of experiences helps lead to a better customer journey, a better customer experience. So, when you don’t have that, you certainly risk the chance of someone having a poor experience, just because, if I’m 20, and I haven’t had Medicare before, I don’t hang around with grandma as much, especially in the last year, we haven’t been able to get as close with people, I don’t have that empathy that could create a poor experience.
Juanita Coley: That’s crazy that you use that example because I was thinking about that same example because I think when we talk about diversity, we have to move beyond just talking about color as diversity, there are so many different things that are diverse about us. We have age, we have experiences, we have different backgrounds, it’s more than just color that makes us diverse. And so, I was thinking about that when we have a workforce that is full of, 20-year-old or 30-year-old, or 40-year-old, and I’m calling about Medicaid, or I’m calling about Medicare. You’ve never had to experience that, you can’t even understand why this would be so detrimental or so important to me outside of the textbook, outside of what you went through in training, and you understand the product and or service.
And so, if we lack diversity in leadership, if my leadership doesn’t understand, we don’t have a diversity of age, diversity of thought, diversity of gender diversity of all these different things, then it’s hard for that to trickle down. Because one of my old bosses, use to say everything rises and falls on leadership. And so, I think that’s so true, that if the leaders aren’t diverse and which is why I think this is becoming more and more of a challenge is because the less we have diverse leadership, then the frontline is only going to mimic or show up in what they’re saying in leadership.
So, I think that’s super key.
Tell me as a leader in call centers, and even at TTEC , what are some of the things that you’ve done to ensure that your team was diverse? I know, you spoke about how your journey has been having a mentor having a sponsor, but what are some of the things that you’ve done to ensure that, we have diversity in age diversity in thought, diversity in color, diversity in all of these different things, because it can be so much to just constantly be thinking of, what are some of those things that you’ve done?
Ebony Langston: So, I think there are two steps to that one is having that diverse workforce, and one is having an inclusive culture and environment because you can have the most diverse workforce out there. But if you’re not creating an inclusive culture, and where people feel comfortable being their unique selves, you won’t be able to take advantage of that talent that you have that diversity of thought. So, one is working with your talent management partners to help define the type of candidate that you want and as much as possible, stay true to that, even if it means delaying the decision a little bit and getting creative about where you’re going out to look for talent.
I think the other thought process that people are going through right now is not relying so much on experience, but on the capacity to learn and the propensity to be able to do a job, that opens up your candidate pool to be able to consider some people that you may not have considered before if they have the acumen to learn the ability to learn versus coming in with the experience, you can take advantage of the talent that you weren’t able to take advantage of before. And then as I said, once you get that talent in the door, have an inclusive environment so that people want to contribute. There is a shift for organizations, I think, who are committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, which is shifting from that traditional mindset of interviewing people, so that you identify if they fit with their culture, versus creating a culture where people feel comfortable adding value to.
Juanita Coley: Okay, so we are going to back this up quick, Ebony. Wait a minute. So not only diversity, but I think when we talk about this conversation of diversity, equity inclusion, I think we kind of glaze over the equity and inclusion part. And I have to raise my hand that I’m guilty of that as well. So, just tell me more about this inclusion piece and people being comfortable to represent. And is there an invisible line where it’s like, well, you can feel comfortable just don’t feel this comfortable? To me it’s the small things, I’m always impressed that you wear your hair naturally is in this fro-state and it’s like, okay, Ebony I see you. I see you being Ebony.
Ebony Langston: So, to that point that I remember the first time having the conversation with myself where I was not going to straighten my hair to go to work that day. They’re going to have to love it. My name is Ebony. You going to get all of this, Ebony today.
But those are little things that I don’t think people think about as far as bringing your whole self to work. I had a 20-minute conversation with myself many years ago about whether or not I was going to straighten my hair to go to work that day.
But just having a diverse workforce is an asset and you have to take the next step to create an inclusive culture. And I think you do that by including multiple people at multiple levels in the conversation, creating a safe place where people can share their ideas, or raise their hand to participate in something. And if it fails, treat it as a learning experience instead of something detrimental. And continue to encourage people to share their perspectives and experiences and encourage people to listen to other people’s perspectives and experiences.
Juanita Coley: Encourage people to listen to others and say encouraged, I strongly suggest that you listen to others. Anyway. That’s so good. Just the inclusion piece in that, being comfortable that just makes me think of, when we talk about diversity, and we talk about inclusion, and all those different things, and I’m wondering if and this is more, so just an outwardly thought question. I’m wondering if that’s one of the struggles in these bigger companies is how do they keep the brand in tact in how do they keep certain compliance things if they are including things that may be on totally different spectrums of inclusion, so it’s one thing to say, I’m not going to straighten my hair today, it’s another to say, I believe in nudism, I’m going to come to work naked today, and I’m being extreme.
But I’m being extreme on purpose. But if that’s a belief and that’s faith, how do I as a company, encourage diversity and inclusion? And say, well, you cannot straighten your hair. But no, you got to put on clothes to come to work, again, and I’m being extreme, and I’m doing so on purpose. Because I wonder if that’s one of the challenges with fully embodying the diversity and inclusion conversation and why. Remember, at the beginning of our conversation we talked about it will take another what you said 95 years for us to get to a place of full diversity and inclusion. And where we’re represented, is that one of the struggles that we struggle with, making sure that there’s a balance and we’re not being extreme, as companies and brands? So, that’s a question. Probably a bigger question for another time.
Ebony Langston: I do think some companies probably do struggle on how do you allow people to contribute without completely shifting the brand? And I don’t have an easy answer for that. But it’s a challenge everyone should embrace to continue to move the needle on having an inclusive culture.
Juanita Coley: The other thing that you said that stuck out to me so much in that question was part of the inclusion is part of that recruiting process and thinking about beyond just the experience, and maybe the degrees and all of those things, but the capacity to learn and want to know. I think about when I first learned workforce management, I was a Call Center Rep. I was in my teens; I spent my entire career in workforce management. And I picked up a book, it was a blue pumpkin manual. So, I am dating myself. But I picked up a blue pumpkin manual and start reading and it was like, I think I can do this. This is super cool. I was intrigued by the manual.
And so that’s how my workforce career started. I picked up a workforce manual, which is now variant, and started reading it and wanted to learn more about the configuration wanted to learn more about workforce management. And from there, my whole career has been in workforce management from working in call centers, as a workforce manager, and building workforce management teams to moving over to the technology side and implementing. So, I’ve built this whole career just from my inquisitive state of wanting to learn more. And so, I think that is a gem that companies have to move from more than just okay, what is your experience in? Or what does your degree look like to do you have the capacity? How do you judge that as an executive leader, when you’re looking and you’re interviewing people, what their capacity to learn and instructs themselves?
Ebony Langston: Difficult questions. You know that’s a good question. I think there’s certainly thinking about that, and kind of a more traditional way, there’s certainly assessments out there that people can implement that help you identify an affinity towards a certain thing and affinity towards sales or service, or something like that, or the cut the ability to process language or process numbers. And certainly, tests like that help identify the capacity. And I think also just when you’re in an actual interview with people asking them about their past experiences, not what a particular product or knowledge, but as you did pick up a book to learn something new, and then applied it. Providing those kinds of examples, I think is how you start to judge that ability.
Juanita Coley: Yes, that’s good. I think we have to do more of that. And as I said, I think that was key for me when you said that. Because even as I’m hiring a solid rock myself, we help with call centers, I’m always thinking about how do I make a good hire, what are some of the things I should be looking for, we have a very diverse team. And the ability to learn and structure ourselves to go into new territory. And I’m always saying that to the team, we have to stretch we can’t get comfortable just knowing what we know, because the technology, it’s always constantly changing. So, that’s kind of one of the things that we look for when we’re hiring is the ability to change and adapt to change in all of those different things. So, this is an easy question probably for you. Again, I told you, I’ve been following you for some time, I see that you are the founder of “You Deserve You”. Tell me more about that. What do you do what You Deserve You? Why is that important to you?
Ebony Langston: So, “You Deserve You” is my executive health coaching practice. I started that last year. And I did that after kind of going through my health challenges, my journey where outwardly I was doing well, I was moving up the ladder, I felt terrible the whole time, for several different reasons. And in 2015 finally got to a place after having my, fifth or sixth surgery in 10 years, where for the first time in my life feeling good and quote-unquote, normal. I used to be in the hospital and tears down my face, with the doctors asking me if I was in pain, and I’m saying no with tears down my face because I just didn’t know what normal was supposed to feel like as I got to this place of really starting to feel better and normal.
And I took that and started to read and learn more about biohacking and optimizing your function and using nutrition as a tool. To do that. I think we underplay how important it is to fuel ourselves appropriately for our bodies to function optimally. And so, “You Deserve You” kind of came about as my mission to help women, particularly career corporate entrepreneurial women, who were in a similar place to me where you’re going all the time, and maybe your health is in the background, you’re not focusing on it to shift that mindset. Again, that to be able to bring your best self to the world, you have to take care of yourself first. And to have your body function optimally, you have to feel it appropriately. So, I like to say that we create high-performance bodies for high-performance women.
Juanita Coley: I love that. And I think that you tapped into something there, which made me think of another question. Ebony, going to be like, I’m not playing with you today. Listen, no, seriously, you made me think of something interesting. So, one of our goals at Solid Rock is to normalize women in Tech and WCM leadership roles. And because you don’t see it a lot, you will see a unicorn every once in a while, prance across the WFM platform or WFM tech world, but it’s not often. And I wonder if it’s because we don’t take as much time to self-care and care of ourselves, you will more often than not see, men, they’re going to get their gym time and they’re going to get their self-care time in, it may not look like ours, but they are going to do what they need to do for themselves disconnect, whether that’s going to play golf, or whatever the case may be, whereas we won’t do that as much or as often. And I wonder if that plays a point in how we show up in leadership roles, or not show up in leadership roles? What do you think?
Ebony Langston: I think there’s a couple of things, I think women naturally take on that caregiver role. And so, I think many women tend to just put everyone else first to make sure they’re taken care of before taking care of themselves. And I think from a corporate perspective because even though again, we have made inroads, there’s still a gap that needs to be filled. Many women feel they have to work that much harder every day to be seen, than maybe their male counterparts, that again, it starts to manifest itself in sacrificing your wellness to achieve this next goal. And there are several studies, it is the opposite. Fueling yourself adds to your cognitive ability or can take away from your cognitive ability. So, where you’re grabbing that bag of chips, to not be hungry could be harming you, because you’re going to get me on a tangent now. Industrial oils and inflammation in the brain and all that kind of stuff. Again, I think women just tend to naturally put everyone else first rather than themselves, and I want to help them shift that.
Juanita Coley: That’s really good Ebony, I could go on and on, on that conversation. But to be respectful of people’s time, I won’t but I’ll end it with this. You drop some really good notes and things that are gems, that I wanted to kind of just restate just because it doesn’t take much though, for my mind to be like, that’s awesome.
But you talked about finding a mentor, and how a mentor and a sponsor aren’t the same things, a sponsor is invested in advocating on your behalf and the mentor is more somebody you look up to you can learn from and things like that, but a sponsor is going to take that active role in helping to pull you up and go alongside you on your journey to the next level. So, I thought that was key. And then you also talk through inclusion. And I think as we have conversations about diversity, equity, inclusion, that a lot of times those latter two, always get glossed over.
At least, I think I’m guilty of that. And I think that inclusion is super important. How do we show up as our authentic selves? How do companies create an environment that encourages that? I think that’s the conversation that we have to keep having, and then being comfortable showing up as ourselves. That’s important. So, you drop that gem, and then the capacity to learn something, I think we have to take an active role, when we talking about moving that needle from 2% to 3%, to, 50%, taking an active role to show value, I can do this and actively not waiting for an opportunity to present itself to us, but then saying, I can show value and I can add value here, but then also having that balance to where it’s not five years, I’m showing value, I’m adding value.
The last gem, that I’ll leave with is, because I asked, how do you know when you’ve shown enough value? And you still haven’t gotten recognized, and you said at the point to which is no longer beneficial to you anymore, it’s not mutually beneficial. Because when you are in that role of adding value, you are as you said, you’re learning and you’re getting something out of it as well. But when you’re no longer I’m not getting anything, I’m not learning, then that’s when you have to kind of make some more assessments.
So, those are some really powerful gems.
Tell us where can we find you, follow you, find more about the “You Deserve You” and become a part of that. How can we find out more about that?
Ebony Langston: Yes. When people can always follow and connect with me on LinkedIn, I’m always open to making new connections. You can learn more about TTEC at ttec.com. And then You Deserve You at youdeserveyou.com.
Juanita Coley: Absolutely. Well, thank you so much, Ebony, for hanging out with me today. I appreciate it. As always, it’s so good to connect with you. As I said, I’ve been following you from the UnitedHealthcare days. So, super cool to connect with you.
Ebony Langston: I’m so impressed and seeing your journey seeing all this black girl magic happening over there. This has been a great time great experience. Thank you for having me.
Juanita Coley: Absolutely