Podcast: Women in Comms Spotlight – Verizon engineer on the value of being a 'relentless doer'6/9/2021
Raelyn Thomas, principal engineer of Project Management & Implementation for Verizon, joins the podcast to discuss the obstacles she overcame as a minority woman in the telecom industry to land her dream job at Verizon. Thomas says her commitment to being a hard worker or "relentless doer" and her focus on what she can control in her career has been foundational to her success.
"The tech culture is doing a decent job with shifting its mindset around women being a part of its industries and becoming leaders and decisionmakers within it," says Thomas. "But, there is still is a ton of work to be done around adjusting the way we think about women in the workplace and creating flexibilities around a working woman's responsibilities."
It's still very challenging for women to balance work as well as taking on many caretaking responsibilities in the home and playing a large role in caring for children as well as extended family, says Thomas. There is immense pressure on women to balance the demands from their careers and personal lives, and tech companies need to provide employees with the flexibility to succeed at home and in the workplace.
Thomas also shares how her career and outlook has been molded by both good and bad leadership at work, the importance of identifying and learning from strong female role models and how women can avoid "downplaying our capabilities and responsibilities" by making their successes more visible to leadership.
"In the Hawaiian language, there's this word called 'pilina' which means association, relationship and connection," says Thomas. "It's a really important value in the Hawaiian culture where our relationships and associations must be the biggest priority in our life. I maintain a strong pilina with past and current colleagues and I strive to build new ones in my current role. People matter to me, and your network opens doors and opportunities."
Thomas leaves listeners with a few final pieces of professional advice as well as a few book recommendations – "Never Split the Difference" by Chris Voss and "How to Lead When You're Not in Charge" by Clay Scroggins.
— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading