In honor of Women’s History Month, celebrated throughout the month of March, we spoke to a few of our incredible women leaders here at Vector Solutions, getting their thoughts on women in the workplace, leadership skills and styles, and what kind of advice they have for the next generation of women leaders.
Meet Jenny Fergason, Vector’s Vice President of Program Management. Jenny joined Vector in 2005 and currently leads Vector’s Customer Success Teams.
Question: How should women support other women in their organizations?
Answer: I think it’s incredibly important to build relationships with other women in an organization and be available for each other. Be a safe space for other women to share their experiences - both good and bad, and most importantly, find women who you can vent to and that can vent to you. Raise up those women when you have the opportunity to do so and be an advocate for the women in your lives.
Question: How do you balance career, personal life, and passions? Is there such a balance?
Answer: There is such a balance, but it’s taken me until the last 2 years to find the balance that works for me and my family. Once I had kids (my eldest is 8), I stopped prioritizing myself - which led to that feeling of being overwhelmed and not able to find that balance without a sense of guilt. Surprisingly, it took a pandemic for me to find time for myself. I now get up at 5:45 during the week and workout with a small group of neighborhood friends. In doing so, I’ve found a group of women who support and push each other to do the hard things and to be better every day. I then take that same mentality into my work day and into my family time. It’s really true that the more you take care of yourself, the more energy you will have and the better work you will do.
Whenever I start to slip into that feeling of guilt for taking some me-time, I remember two quotes from one of my favorite Peloton instructors, Robin Arzon which are “Self Care is not Selfish” and (when speaking to your children) “Your Mama’s a Mama, but she’s also a hustler!”
Question: Describe your leadership style and how you “lead” others.
Answer: I once did a DiSC assessment and my personality style was identified as an “advocate.” I approach leadership in the same manner. I strive to be an advocate for my team and lead by example. I enjoy getting into the weeds with my team and coaching them through new situations. It's very important to me that my team feels like they have a voice and that they are involved in the decision making process.
Question: What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
Answer: First and foremost, don't compare yourself to other women - you will end up feeling inferior, which serves no one. There is plenty of room for multiple women in leadership and it’s not you vs. her. Support other women in their professional journey and build relationships with women with big aspirations. Surround yourself with women who inspire you - even via a podcast or following someone who inspires you in Linkedin. Stay true to yourself and speak up!
Always be learning.