Yessenia Morales for Women's History Month

March 23, 2021

Video Transcript

Speaker: Yessenia Morales, VP, Global Partnerships, Kinesso & Co-Chair, IPG Women's Leadership Network

Why is Women’s History Month important to you?

Yessenia Morales: Women's History Month, such an important time not just for women, but for everyone. And it's such an important time because we're looking to reflect on all of the hard work, dedication and perseverance that women have provided in the course of history. And at this time, it's not just a point of reflecting and looking back, but also we're at the point to ideate and to innovate and to think about what's the next generation of women going to look like. This is the point in time where we as individuals, can make a change. And so for me, a few of the things that I have partaken in Women's History Month is participating in International Women's Day. I challenge my entire organization at IPG to build a more inclusive workplace for women of color. It's important that we build a foundation in a path for this marginalized group to grow. And it's important that we continue to elevate and amplify this message by creating resourcing that's available to this group by providing them the opportunities to sit in leadership roles across the organisation by continuing to build upon the foundation of our talent pool and ensuring that they have the tools necessary to continue to exceed in their their rules. And so for me, that's a personal topic of passion. I'm a woman of color myself, and it's important that I continue to pass along that message within my organization. We have a lot of work to do in this space, but it's important we speak about it. So why not use this time during Women's History Month to do that? Additionally, I participated in a panel with the Female Quotien to speak about women in tech and how critical this time is. This is in an industry that's predominantly dominated by men, and it's important that we provide the tools necessary for women to grow into the space. That starts with STEM programs. That starts with technology in schools, intermediary, in high school, even in college. And it's important that we continue to speak on these topics. And this is for me why it's so important to touch on this during Women's History Month.

Which woman in history has inspired you? What advice do you give women starting out?

Yessenia Morales: So who's the woman that inspires me most? You guys may probably know her. Her name is Frida Kahlo. Most people know her as being a Mexican artist, and that's absolutely true. But the reality is she's also revolutionary. She created change during a time where it was absolutely unheard of. She never took "no" for an answer. She always stood her ground, kept her level of integrity and made sure that she was given the opportunity. And even if she wasn't, she made that opportunity for herself. And for me, that's important as a woman of color in this industry overall. It's important that even if the path is not created for you, you create one for yourself. You put yourself out there. And as far as the advice that I would give to women that are looking to enter the technology space: It's going to be a hard journey. I won't deny that for you. But the reality is it's possible. I'm living proof of that. And it's important that you again create a path for yourself. Learn about the space. Understand where you think you can create, change and start to really dig into that opportunity. Start to look into opportunities for internships. Ask if someone can be a mentor. Look into the industry itself and do some research for yourself. And you'll have a better understanding of what exactly happens in the technology world. And for you, I wish you luck. I have confidence that the next generation will be the leaders of technology for tomorrow.

What is the most important diversity goal for you and your organization?

Yessenia Morales: So what's the largest diversity goal that I'd like to see in my organization? I touched on this a little bit earlier to say that I want my organization to build a more inclusive workplace for women of color. And they've taken a huge stride in doing so. Our organization has publicly announced what our leadership role looks like at the ethnicity level. And that was critical. It was a critical moment in time because our team and our organization took the responsibility to understand where are we flawed as an organization because no organization is perfect. But the fact that they were willing to do that and hold themselves accountable and responsible, they definitely created change. I can guarantee that. Further beyond that, they provide a resource into the teams to have a better understanding of where is the dynamics. Where are the voids that we need to fill in with people of color? And so for me, I'd love to see an organization, not just within my own, but generally speaking, where there's leadership, executive board members, who are at least 50% of people of color. It's important that these organizations are reflective of society. We live in such a diverse world. Yet a lot of our leadership and organizations do not reflect that diversity. And so how do we continue to amplify that? I think it starts from the ground up. It's about bringing in the right people and the right talent. And that's not just based on the color of their skin or what their background is, but truly giving them an equal and unified opportunity to be in the same leadership roles as their counterparts. That's not a huge ask. It's just an opportunity for them to be able to excel in their path and allow for that talent to continue to grow. And even for those who are in organizations that are with people of color, how do we start to build upon that and create a pathway for that person or that individual to be able to get to that point of the leadership, the C suite, the board room? I think we start with having the conversation. I think we start to really think about: Does our oganization reflect the world? And if the answer is "no", it's important that you start to look at where are you flawed. Is it starting with the talent pool? Is it starting with the resourcing? Are you providing enough education for them to be able to excel into the next phase of their role? And if not, now is the time to make the change. We've had this conversation for absolutely way too long. I myself have participated in panels now for quite some time talking about the very same topic. I am trying my best to make that change within my own organization. And I challenge each one of you as well to do the same. Make sure you create that space because I promise you, including that diversity, would only help you achieve your goals that much more.

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