International Women’s Day: Q&A with Equifax Senior Leaders Joy Wilder Lybeer and Lisa Nelson
March 8 marks International Women’s Day, a global day of celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.
This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity, which is a call to action for accelerating women's equality.
When we embrace equity, we are professing our intent to be a part of the solution for a more equitable workplace environment. We seek to understand. We challenge. We lead the way with our own actions that foster diversity and inclusion. We embrace change and require it of our company and teammates.
Don't just say it. Think it. Be it. Do it. Value it. Truly embrace it.
People across the world are encouraged to post a photo on social media wearing purple clothing while embracing themselves and using #EmbraceEquity.
Equifax not only supports the #EmbraceEquity theme but furthers it with our Global Women’s Network. The employee network group helps to connect, develop and empower our female-identifying employees and the allies within Equifax that support them. As part of Women’s History Month, the group will have events throughout the month for employees to learn more about embracing equity and identifying unconscious bias.
[RELATED: Women’s History Month: Advancing Gender Equality within Equifax and Beyond]
Equifax’s Joy Wilder Lybeer, USIS Chief Revenue Officer and SVP of Global Partnerships, and
Lisa Nelson, President of Equifax International, are co-chairs for Equifax’s Global Women’s Network. They share their thoughts on IWD, barriers – real and perceived – and advice for advancing women – especially in data and technology.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
Joy: I actually think it is Women’s Day 365! Women “run the world” whether the world recognizes that or not! Having a day set aside helps us all remember that fact and always gives me strength knowing that I am a part of a global group of incredible leaders who are impacting change, Every. Single. Day.
Lisa: It’s a day for everyone to come together and reflect on women's powerful impact on the world. This year's theme of “Embrace Equity,” also reminds me that not all of us start from the same place, so sometimes we need to acknowledge that imbalance and proactively make adjustments with people as we move forward.
How can women overcome both real and perceived barriers in the workplace?
Joy: There have always been barriers. Perhaps there are fewer now than there were in my early career, and we will keep working to reduce those barriers that persist. In the meantime, don’t let the fact that they do become a self-defeating mindset. DO NOT give in to the barriers. Roll up your sleeves and break through them!
Lisa: This is a great question because there are absolutely both real and perceived barriers. I believe many of the real barriers are often driven by the unconscious bias of others and I choose to constructively engage in courageous conversations to raise awareness and break the barriers. As I move into any new opportunity or situation, I am also struck by how my own perceptions can be a barrier. Often, acknowledging how I feel, to myself or with someone I trust, helps me see a situation in a different light which can be powerful in breaking self-imposed or perceived barriers.
What is the most important piece of advice you have been given?
Joy: Go where the MONEY is. Whether you are in a direct revenue generating role or in an enabling role, understand how your company and unit makes money and how you contribute to it. Being financially savvy and conducting your business in a way that is valuable to customers and shareholders is what it is all about.
Lisa: In business, understand how what you do drives value for the organization, quantify it and communicate it!
What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about careers in data and technology?
Joy: I think this is like asking someone whether they would like to work for a company manufacturing horse and buggies or spaceships! Data and technology are the foundational elements for all growing companies. This field offers more opportunity than any other and there are a variety of ways to contribute. I am a liberal arts major and spent half of my career in banking. Now, I am contributing in a meaningful way to a data, analytics, and technology company. You can too!
Lisa: I say go for it! It is an exciting field to build your career in and is crucial to every aspect of commerce in our current world. Some great advice I received early in my career was to choose a field that is growing because with that growth comes opportunities. A career in data and technology will never be dull and can open opportunities to you across almost every industry in the world.
How does Equifax support women in the workplace?
Joy: Women are everywhere at Equifax! Women operate at every level and in every field. Women have any and every opportunity to make a difference here. The company’s sponsorship of so many resource groups is additional evidence. Equifax is run by women and supports women. I could not be prouder.
Lisa: Equifax is committed to driving a diverse and inclusive workforce! Every one of us on the senior leadership team carries an annual objective on this topic. More importantly, I hope colleagues can see our support through our actions. For me, being a co-sponsor of the Global Women’s Network, meeting with teams around the world to talk about the importance of diversity and reminding everyone that it takes all of us – men and women – to drive change is an important aspect of my work throughout the year.
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