Speaker: Lourdes Charles, AVP - Product Marketing Management, AT&T
Why is Women’s History Month important to you?
Lourdes Charles: Women's History Month takes me back to my youth, takes me back to spending time with my grandmother, who was not able to get an education and ultimately had to stay home to raise a family. It also takes me back to my mother, who was able to get an education and became a teacher. But ultimately had to give up that career, once she got married, to raise her family. And now I look at it, I see myself, their daughter, their granddaughter, able to accomplish both a professional career and also raising my family. I find that to be a success story so far. But we still have a long way to go because we still have quite a few of us who are not getting the opportunity to really sit in the corporate boardrooms, or who are sitting at the table to help make the decisions that drives movements and changes in the world and also in corporate America. For this month, really, my goal is to continue to do what I do, which is to continue to support women, to continue to help them make the right career path, the right career changes, and also to help them to understand that they need to continue to balance out their personal and their corporate life. You don't need to give up one for another. You can have both. You just need to learn how to prioritize. So really, that's what I'm hoping to continue to spend this month. And also the rest of the year. And also the future years to come, to help other women.
What is the most important diversity goal for women in your organization?
Lourdes Charles: The most important diversity goal for women in my organization is really asking women to bring themselves to the office right. We have a lot on the personal side that are critical for business success: our ability to adapt to changes, our ability to manage conflicts. We get conflicts all the time at home with our kids. Our ability to prioritize our day to day daily task, right. Our ability to establish new goals for ourselves and also for our children. These are all critical skills that we have that are also just as pertinent in the business environment, in the work environment. And when you overlay our technical strength and our technical skills, that basically tells us that we are a big asset for corporate America. We are a big asset for the industry, for the businesses holistically, right? So really its know our values, know our worth, and as part of that, by bringing ourselves to work, we can continue to demand and push for equal pay, equal opportunities. So really, it's getting equal opportunities and equal pay, by us, bringing ourselves to work and to support the organization in terms of being more successful.
Which woman in history has inspired you the most, and why?
Lourdes Charles: There are many women who inspired me, but I'll probably keep it more on a personal level. I mentioned my mother and my grandmother earlier. And I also would like to say that my Aunt, Anne Marie Doricent, and hopefully you're listening to this, who greatly inspired me. She navigated the U.S. immigration policies. Trying to understand them while working as a home health care aide in the U.S., to bring my mother and her kids-- me--to the U.S. to give us this opportunity that's available. And that actually puts me where I am here at this stage in my career and in my life. So I am amazed at what she was able to accomplish with the limited knowledge that she had of the U.S. immigration policy. But, yes, she still did it because she had goals and objectives that she wanted to accomplish. And I'm really thankful for that. The other person that I can think of is the very first woman engineer that I met. And that was my cousin. I was in my early teens back in Haiti, and I met her when, she, I thought she was going to a civil engineering school, as for to be a civil engineer. And I had met quite a few men who were engineers in my family, but no women. So, she greatly inspired me to want to go to become an engineer and to get a degree in electrical engineering. So yes, these are women without, at times, their understanding of what they've accomplished that have had significant impact on my personal goals and objectives, in addition, to have inspired me from a career and professional level. So, thankful for these women to have been in my life. Thankful for the path that they've made for us and the path that we look to continue to make for others in the future.