Can you give an example of support or inspiration you’ve experienced in your career?
I feel very blessed that way. I’ve had throughout my career in critical times, terrific mentors that gave me that needed helping hand. One example is when I was just out of school, in my first job as an assistant, there was this woman – which later I learnt was an award-winning editor – that pointed me out of the crowd and gave me the job as her assistant. She was very hard on me, was patient with my immaturity and taught me great skills that I use to this day. One of the key things she did was she gave me credit for my work which helped me jump quickly from assistant to editor to post-supervisor. This seemingly small action was a key step in the journey that I have been on to date. If she hadn’t done that I think it would have been much more challenging to succeed and progress in that environment because it was a true boy’s club.
What biases have you experienced in your career and how have you overcome them?
Of course, I have experienced biases throughout my career. Being a woman, a brown person, gay, originally coming from a developing nation, Trinidad and Tobago and even having curly hair. We all have biases and experience biases. I am aware of probable biases against me but don’t let them stop me. It is my nature to note and just keep moving forward. I started my career in the film and TV industry and I did feel the glass ceiling framed by biases around my ambition to be a producer in a male-dominated environment. There were subtle and not so subtle reminders that I was not part of the boys’ club. I remember a moment in a conference, looking around the room with over 300 people and noting only one or two other brown women, it was a little daunting. Really the strength to forge forward was from my family, my parents, my aunts, my cousins and growing up in an island in the Caribbean where I was told I could do and be anything. And, that I have been fortunate to have mentors, women, that like angels at key moments where I felt overwhelmed that took me under their wings. I’ve also realized that it matters where you work. When I had the chance to make choices, I would choose to work in situations or companies that give priority to non-discriminatory and inclusive policies. When I joined the LEGO Group a huge contributing factor was the clear goal, desire and reputation of fostering an inclusive workplace.
What’s something you’ve learned during the COVID-19 pandemic you would have never expected and what advice would you share with other women?
My main learning is that there are different types of work that thrive in different scenarios. For task-oriented work video conference is very efficient however collaborative work is challenging, tiring and takes longer over a video conference versus just working as a group with a white board, stickies and a carafe of good coffee. And, secondly to be adaptable and gentle with your team and with yourself. Find adapted ways of healthily working and accept the limitations as this is a marathon not a sprint and will continue to be a challenging situation for most of us for the next foreseeable future.
What advice would you give to this generation of girls about how to achieve their goals?
I’ve noticed a greater proportion of young women taking a stand for who they really are and saying: ‘this is who I am’. If I could give advice to my young self it would be don’t waste any energy trying to conform, you only have so much time and energy – and this may sound like a cliché but it’s what I truly believe – is that despite the biases that you may come to experience in your life, don’t be afraid to just be your full self. Sometimes people are afraid of bringing their full self to work, maybe because they are afraid of losing their jobs or dealing with conflict but then reflect maybe this is not the place you should work if you cannot be your full self.
A diverse and inclusive LEGO GroupIt is our ambition to build a truly diverse and inclusive organization that helps us reach and inspire all children, regardless of who they are or where they come from.
An empowering partnershipRead about the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) set by UN Women to guide us on our journey of equality and inclusivity.