How These 9 Companies Are Celebrating Difference This Autism Awareness or Acceptance Month
You've met some of them—maybe they're your family, friends, classmates, or coworkers, or perhaps you identify as neurodivergent yourself.
You may have recognized that some neurodivergent people are exceptionally skilled, excelling in things like pattern recognition and mathematics, and that those skills deserve to be celebrated, as the Harvard Business Review did in their report "Neurodiversity as a Competitive Advantage" in 2017.
But whether highlighting the significant contributions that neurodivergent employees have made or just honoring who they are as people, we wanted to take a moment this April to share some ways that industry leaders are marking World Autism Awareness Month.
We also want to acknowledge that Autism Speaks, the organization that began World Autism Awareness Month in the 1970s, has had a complicated relationship with the autism community. (Here's a good guide on that context.) We recognize that some prefer to celebrate Autism Acceptance Month, or to align with other organizations' World Autism Awareness activities, like the UN's.
However you decide to "Celebrate Difference"—the Autism Society of America's theme for April 2021—this month, PowerToFly and these 9 companies are celebrating right along with you!
Sharing inclusivity, not stereotypes, at Raytheon Technologies
"Raytheon Technologies and our Raytheon Alliance for Diverse Abilities (RADA) Employee Resource Group (ERG) is committed to trying to bring focus on invisible disabilities, as they are among the most misunderstood. Autism/neurodiversity isn't a mental illness and we recognize how important it is to bring awareness, be inclusive of everyone and avoid stereotypes. During Autism Awareness Month RADA is featuring a multi-regional presentation about Autism Awareness & Acceptance, as well as neurodiversity overall. The presentation is focused on educational information, including what Autistic people want in terms of inclusion and meaningful work, as well as dispelling common misconceptions."
Learn more about Raytheon Technologies.
Hiring a world-class workforce at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
"The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency recently launched the Neurodiverse Federal Workforce (NFW) pilot program, a collaborative effort between NGA, MITRE, and Melwood. The NFW pilot aims to help government agencies hire neurodiverse talent for U.S. Federal Government agencies. 'NGA mission success is contingent on a world-class workforce with a wide diversity of opinions and expertise,' said NGA Deputy Director Dr. Stacey Dixon. 'Neurodiverse talent can bring new perspectives to the NGA workforce and make important contributions to the mission.' The pilot is a great learning opportunity for NGA to continue to grow and improve our first-class workforce."
Learn more from the podcast "The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency Takes Workforce Diversity In A New Direction"
Learn more about the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
Supporting each individual's preferred environment at Elastic
"We distribute anonymous surveys that allow anyone, including neurodiverse folks, to address potential barriers that we should address.
Our accessibility working group acts as an employee resource as well as an equity-seeking team that works to create and develop a disability inclusive workplace at Elastic.
The majority of our Elasticians work from home. Our hope is that this empowers neurodiverse employees, including those who may be on the spectrum, to have more control over their environment so that they can manage noise and light sensitivity, control their personal space, and manage their own schedule to reduce anxiety."
Learn more about Elastic.
Pioneering neurodiversity at Freddie Mac
"Freddie Mac values the insights and different perspectives that result from employees bringing their authentic selves to work. Our Office of Inclusive Engagement works with several organizations to identify qualified candidates, consider them for suitable roles and pair them with mentors who can help them adapt to an evolving new normal. In 2020, we evolved our neurodiversity internship initiative into a more robust training, education and hiring process called 'Neurodiversity at Work' to directly place candidates with Autism Spectrum Disorders into full-time roles."
Learn more about Freddie Mac.
Decoding inclusion at MongoDB
"MongoDB supports the neurodivergent community through interview accommodations, providing new hires the opportunity to select equipment and denote special requests, and onboarding checklists broken down into useful sections. To raise awareness about neurodiversity in the workplace, we have a learning and development (L&D) platform which has content on collaborating with different working styles. Our L&D Program focuses on building skills in managing teams inclusively. We also host Decoding Inclusion, a series of events aimed at building community and sharing foundational knowledge about D&I topics, including neurodiversity, to further our understanding of differences."
Learn more about MongoDB.
Encouraging allyship at Folsom Labs
"At Folsom Labs, we are passionate about building a culture of acceptance and inclusion. Our goal is not just to spread autism awareness but to strive to be allies and elevate the voices of those with disabilities. Now more than ever, this is important as many are facing the added weight of mental health and wellness challenges due to the pandemic. Encouraging allyship throughout the community and building a culture where everyone can thrive are at the forefront of our current initiatives. We are proud to celebrate Autism Acceptance Month — to set a stage where we can celebrate our differences and continue to create a space of inclusion and support."
Learn more about Folsom Labs.
Recruiting for diverse problem solvers at Dell Technologies
"Dell's Neurodiversity Hiring Program provides professional development training, internships, and full-time career opportunities for neurodivergent job seekers. The program rethinks the traditional interview process by removing barriers that may limit an individual from fully showcasing their skills and capabilities. Additionally, program participants benefit from job coaching and mentorship provided by our community partners and True Ability ERG members.
A variety of critical positions across the company have been filled through the program. In doing so, we are bringing in diverse perspectives for problem solving that have helped us differentiate ourselves within the marketplace all while cultivating a culture of inclusion."
Learn more about Dell.
Supporting professionals with autism throughout their talent journey at Deloitte
"At Deloitte, everyone contributes to our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Our inclusive culture, empowers all of us, including those with diverse abilities, to connect, belong, and grow. Deloitte's Autism@Work program supports our professionals with autism throughout their talent journey. A customized, autism-friendly assessment process helps draw out our candidates' strengths. Our employees have an internal Coach, an Onboarding Advisor, and access to external job coaching. Our Onboarding Mentor/Buddy Program pairs professionals with autism with other Deloitte colleagues/allies. Through Neurodiversity Training, our professionals can help support and manage our differently-abled professionals. We also have our Abilities First Business Resource Group for people with disabilities plus allies."
Learn more about Deloitte.
Sharing stories to support awareness at Lockheed Martin
"Lockheed Martin shares employee stories internally to help others understand Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and hosts internal events to support ASD awareness and education. The Able & Allies business resource group, whose mission is to build an environment that empowers employees with disabilities, has recently partnered with ASD advocacy organizations to offer resources to assist with managing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic with persons who have ASD and their families. Missiles and Fire Control (MFC) is a member of the Florida Ability Inclusion Network and strives to educate employees and leaders on disabilities and recommend best practices to promote a disability-friendly workplace."
Learn more about Lockheed Martin.
10 Full-Time Roles You Can Do Remotely! [Updated Sept 2021]
[This article was updated September 20, 2021]
Work-from-home jobs sometimes get a bad reputation: low pay, repetitive work, micromanagement... the list goes on. But if one good thing has come out of 2020, it's that it's redefined working from home. Remote work has come a long way, and the opportunities to work from home in 2021 are more promising than ever before.
If you're like me, and freelance, task-oriented remote jobs like article writing, data entry, transcription, or professional survey taking (yep, that exists), aren't your thing - don't worry. There are more full-time remote opportunities than ever before that offer you the freedom to manage your own time, the security of consistent monthly income, the support of a team, and the promise of growth. In fact, we've got close to 5,000 on PowerToFly.
So, if you're looking for a remote opportunity in 2021 that will push you to develop professionally, look no further than our list of the 10 best work-from-home jobs. And by best, we mean fun, challenging roles that will help you grow, while making a respectable income.
All the jobs listed have average salaries between 45 and 119k, and have average or higher-than-average growth potential (based off of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' predictions for growth from 2018 to 2028 and/or LinkedIn's 2020 Emerging Jobs Report).
10 Best Work-From-Home (Remote) Jobs for 2021
Jobs sorted from highest to lowest average salary. (Salary data taken from ZipRecruiter, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and/or the U.S. BLS depending on availability and specificity to remote roles.)
Who It's Good For: Detail-oriented stats masters skilled at identifying and understanding trends.
Why You Can Do It Remotely: With more data than ever before at our fingertips, companies know the value of hiring folks who know "big data" as more than just a buzzword. True stats buffs are hard to come by, so expertise often outweighs location.
Growth 2018-2028: 30.7%
Average Annual Salary: $119,000
Who It's Good For: Self-directed (and disciplined) coding enthusiasts who love problem solving and having the freedom to work whenever they feel most focused.
Sound Like You? Check Out: 4,000+ Software Developer/Engineer jobs on PowerToFly and be sure to check out this Q&A with software engineer, Kasey Champion to learn about her experience working at a fully remote company and get her tips for acing technical interviews!)
Why It Can Be Done Remotely: Arguably, not only can programming be done remotely - it should be! Why? Writing code requires undisturbed blocks of time rarely found in traditional workplaces.
As computer scientist and entrepreneur Paul Graham observed in his essay on makers' vs. managers' schedules:
" Most powerful people are on the manager's schedule...But there's another way of using time that's common among people who make things, like programmers and writers. They generally prefer to use time in units of half a day at least. You can't write or program well in units of an hour. That's barely enough time to get started."
Office culture was designed with managers' schedules in mind, and thus makes adhering to a maker's schedule extremely difficult. Remote work, alternatively, is much more conducive to this. After all, it's a lot easier to snooze your Slack notifications than it is to ignore your boss literally hovering over your shoulder.
Growth for 2018-2028: 21%
Average Annual Salary: $111,781
3.Designer (Web, Graphic, Product, or UI/UX)
Who It's Good For: Designers who do their best work independently or from the comfort of their own home.
Sound Like You? Check Out: Remote Design Roles
Why You Can Do It Remotely: No doubt there's value in brainstorming with your team, but once you know the needs of a project, most design work can be done independently and then shared. With tools like Zoom, Jira, and Slack, it's easier than ever before to share your work, get feedback, and hit deadlines. (And, like programmers/developers, designers are also more likely to benefit from a maker's schedule!)
Average Annual Salary (for UX Design): $98,816 according to data from ZipRecruiters
Average Median Salary (for Graphic Design): $50,370 in 2018, according to the U.S. BLS (not specific to remote roles)
Who It's Good For: Anyone who loves big-picture strategy and building products that users will love.
(If you enjoy more nitty-gritty task oversight, consider project management instead — both roles can be done remotely! You can learn more about the differences between the two PM roles here.)
Why You Can Do It Remotely: As more and more software engineers and other tech professionals work remotely, it only makes sense that the PMs coordinating with them work remotely. If you're a virtual communication wiz comfortable communicating online and using tools like Zoom, GitHub, Jyra, Slack, and Asana (the list goes on...), then you're all set!
Annual Growth: 24%*
*Based on expected growth for Product Owner from LinkedIn's emerging jobs report. The BLS doesn't currently track growth specifically for Product Manager positions.
Average Annual Salary: $81,149
5.P.A., Nurse, or Nurse Practitioner
Who It's Good For: An experienced medical practitioner ready to swap 12 hour shifts for a more flexible schedule.
Why You Can Do It Remotely: New technology is changing the way healthcare is delivered. You can provide wellness and medical education, patient-centered care, and treatment virtually, all while collaborating with a multi-disciplinary team of engineers, physicians, and medical assistants.
Growth for 2018-2028 (Nurse Practitioner): 26%
Average Annual Salary (Remote Nurse): $73,374
Who It's Good For: Top-notch communicators (writers) who can explain complex topics succinctly and clearly. (It's helpful if you have expertise in at least one technical subject.)
Sound Like You? Check Out: Remote Technical Writer Jobs
Why It Can Be Done Remotely: Like programmers, technical writers are makers - they need large, undisturbed blocks of time to create content. Technology and the nature of remote work can help ensure writers are able to communicate efficiently with their teams and organize meetings when they'll be constructive, not distracting.
Growth for 2018-2028: 8%
Average Annual Salary: $68,,454
7.Customer Success Manager
Who It's Good For: Good communicators who love helping others and problem-solving.
Sound Like You? Check Out: Remote Customer Success Roles
Why It Can Be Done Remotely: Most customer service needs can be met over the phone and online. With a computer and good internet connection (and enough patience), you can handle all your customers' needs from wherever you are.
Growth for 2020: 34% annual growth rate (The BLS doesn't share data specific to customer success, but thanks to the growth of SaaS, Customer Success Specialist made LinkedIn's 2020 list of the top 15 emerging jobs)
Average Annual Salary: $67,371
Who It's Good For: Folks who are equal parts creative and analytical.
Sound Like You? Check Out: Remote Marketing Manager Jobs on PowerToFly
Why You Can Do It Remotely: Analyzing industry trends and crafting strategy can be done from anywhere. And with teams becoming more and more spread out, you can coordinate cross-functionally with sales people, engineers, and more using Zoom, Slack, and other online tools.
Growth for 2018-2028: 8%
Average Annual Salary: $62,788 (according to data for remote professionals from ZipRecruiters)
Average Median Salary: $134,290 in 2018, according to the U.S. BLS (not specific to remote roles)
Who It's Good For: A people-person skilled in market research, project/time management, and negotiation.
Sound Like You? Check Out: Remote Recruiting Roles
Why You Can Do It Remotely: As remote work takes off and fully remote teams become more common, it only makes sense that recruiters at these companies would be remote as well. Although recruiting saw a dip at the start of the pandemic, the number of remote recruiting roles is steadily increasing as companies ramp back up their hiring goals—we have hundreds of open remote recruiter roles on PowerToFly!
Growth for 2018-2028: 5%
Average Annual Salary: $59,474
10.Sales Development Representative
Who It's Good For: A self-starter with previous experience or an interest in Sales, or anyone who's just starting out and eager to prove themselves!
Sound Like You? Check Out: Remote SDR Roles
Why You Can Do It Remotely: You don't need to be in a particular location to make sales calls, deliver pitches, send follow-up emails, or manage your sales team. And if you have to fly from an office to meet a client, you can just as easily fly from your hometown.
Growth for 2018-2028: 5%
Median Annual Salary (not specific to remote) for SDRs: $45,937
Interested in one of the roles above? Check out these resources for landing your dream remote job and get ready to reap the full benefits of remote work in 2021 - doing what you like, where you like. Good luck!
[A version of this article was originally published on Dec. 19, 2018]
Speakers will include Simone Biles, Brene Brown, Glenn Close and Laverne Cox
PowerToFly is proud to join the Pennsylvania Conference for Women as a community sponsor and is happy to share a registration discount code with the PowerToFly community.
The Pennsylvania Conference for Women is a non-profit, non-partisan, one-day professional and personal development event for women that features more than 100 renowned speakers sharing inspirational stories and leading seminars on the issues that matter most to women, including health, personal finance, executive leadership, small business and entrepreneurship, work/life balance, branding and social media marketing, and more.
This year's conference will be virtual and will be hosted on November 10th, 2021.
REGISTER FOR THE SUMMIT HERE. PowerToFly community members can receive a $25 registration discount with code 2021PASO.
Speakers will include:
- Brené Brown, researcher and storyteller
- Glenn Close, award-winning actress, mental health advocate, and co-founder, Bring Change to Mind
- Laverne Cox, award-winning actress, producer and equal rights advocate
- Simone Biles, most decorated gymnast of all time
- Susan Cain, author, Quiet
- Dolly Chugh, author, The Person You Mean to Be
- And many more
💎 "What can I do to stand out from other candidates?": Almost all applicants have asked themselves this question before a job interview.
📼 When it comes to learning how to set yourself apart, there's no better resource than tips from a recruiter! Watch this video to get super valuable insights from Steven Burleigh-Sheard, Associate Director of Talent Attraction, and Violet Rylo, Talent Acquisition Manager at Kinesso.
📼 After watching this video, you'll have all the tips and tricks to stand out from other candidates during the application process at Kinesso—from the moment you find your ideal job scrolling through Kinesso's company page on PowerToFly to the last interview with a hiring manager that will (fingers crossed!) offer you the position. Steven and Violet offer advice on how to prepare questions, structure your answers, and demonstrate your skills to stand out from the crowd.
📼 Ready for even more insight on how to stand out from other candidates? First things first, it starts with your resume. When recruiters look at a resume, they look for the experience you have, what you are doing currently, and what successes you've achieved. Make sure that all of this is clearly highlighted. Other things to include could be your hobbies or activities. Do you volunteer? Are you a mentor? Are you a leader anywhere else, like a sports club? These are not just great examples of you as an individual, but also transferable skills you could bring to Kinesso.
Last-minute tips to stand out from other candidates
Another important thing to consider: Be mindful of Kinesso's culture and values, like how the company encourages diversity through thought, ideas, and experiences. And one last tip before you enter your interview: You may get nervous; everybody does. Just be you!
🧑💼 Are you interested in joining Kinesso? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to know Steven and Violet
Steven Burleigh-Sheard is a global talent acquisition manager/full cycle search consultant and headhunter specializing in all technology, digital innovation, and transformation product and services talent acquisition solutions. He's experienced in recruitment, procurement, compliance, and governance within diverse and challenging technology environments. Advising and guiding organizations through workforce planning, recruitment cycles, and strategic innovation. He's a strong communicator who can reach all candidates and client groups, continually generating candidate and client attraction exceeding expectations in a global capacity. An active member on the DE&I Council to represent T.A. in a worldwide degree while supporting ERGs.
Violet Rylo is driven by an exciting company mission with an eagerness to find top talent for a growing organization. When it comes to recruiting, thinking of creative ways to build pipelines with top quality and unique prospects is what she loves to do most. She has a consistent track record of sourcing, recruiting, and closing talent for roles at all levels.
More About Kinesso
Kinesso is fueling a sea change in the marketing industry. Not an agency, not quite a consultancy, not just experts in data or tech. Kinesso was founded by IPG on the belief that marketing ultimately delivers better business results when all parties benefit. When marketers can act on connected data. When people feel they're being treated like human beings. When brands know their message isn't getting lost in all the noise. It all starts with the flexibility of an open platform. One that allows Kinesso to integrate with the very best technology and data providers, to bring the right solutions together, and to make them actionable for marketers in all the ways that matter. Kinesso powers connections. Not just clicks. As a marketing intelligence engine, Kinesso helps brands connect with the right people and drive meaningful outcomes. The company's connected suite of applications leverages proprietary, patent-pending technology, machine learning, and leading data sources, including Acxiom. Together, these elements can help marketers create memorable experiences for the right people – and help their brands reach new heights.
Stephanie J. Larosiliere has a career she enjoys in an industry she didn't even know existed when she was a kid—and the resilience to stay in that industry, even when she looks around and doesn't see many people like her in her field.
She has her grandfather to thank for that.
"My family has greatly affected who I am today, and my journey," says Stephanie, whose grandfather emigrated from Haiti to Michigan in the early 1950s to pursue a degree in agronomy, where he was the only Black man in his program. "Nothing I could go through today could come close… this helps to drive me to fight to be represented in spaces where I may not be welcome."
We sat down with Stephanie, whose long career in financial services has led to a role as the Head of Municipal Business Strategies & Development at investment firm Invesco, to talk about her personal and professional journey. Read on to hear why she decided to pursue a career in financial services, and her top piece of advice for other people who aspire to find success in a field they have to navigate on their own.
Paving the Way
Faine Jean-Baptiste, Stephanie's maternal grandfather, and his class at Michigan State University, then Michigan State College, where he ultimately received his degree in Agronomy from what was widely regarded as the best such program in the U.S. Photo circa 1953.
Stephanie's parents were born in Haiti. She is a first-generation American, but thanks to her grandfather, her family already had a history of attending American institutions of higher education. When it came time to decide what she was going to do with her life, Stephanie says she felt she had "no choice but to continue the legacy."
"Being Haitian I've always known that I come from a brave and bold people that established the world's first independent Black republic. Haiti has a very rich history; that history gives us a sense of ownership over our being, over who we are, and that has resonated in the way that Haitian people engage in the world."
Stephanie sees that ownership in her grandfather's story. He came to the U.S. when he was 45, a married father of seven daughters, and was the only Black man in his class. "There was somewhat of an audacity on his part to think that he could leave Haiti and go to Michigan. And why not?" says Stephanie.
Why not, indeed?
Stephanie asked that same question of herself when it came time to plan her own career.
No one in Stephanie's family knew anything about financial services. She only found out about the industry through the cooperative learning program offered by her New York City high school.
Through the program, she was matched with a company during the summer between her junior and senior years of high school. Stephanie was matched with JP Morgan, and stayed working with them through her senior year, switching off weeks at work and at school.
"As a 16-year-old, I knew you went to the bank to deposit money, and that's it. I'd heard of trading, but I didn't quite connect how that even worked," says Stephanie. She soaked in everything she learned on the job—especially when it came to the incoming class of post-college analysts.
"These were people who were five years older than me. They were not so old that it felt like a far reach. I remember looking at them and saying, 'I want to do what they do,'" says Stephanie.
So she kept working for it. When her manager at JP Morgan asked her to stay on during college, Stephanie withdrew from the out-of-state school she was planning to go to and enrolled in a NYC program so that she could stay employed during undergrad.
"Now that I think about it, I have no idea how I did it, but I worked 40 hours a week and I had a full-time schedule at school," says Stephanie, laughing. "I just ran around the city. I would take early morning classes, go to work, take evening classes, get home at 10, do my homework, and get up and do it again. It's the benefit of being 20 years old. And I would do this all in heels, which is insane to me."
Stephanie's hard work paid off. After finishing school, she was offered a full-time role at the bank. She was proud of what she'd accomplished, but it didn't come easily, and entering the world of full-time work in financial services was a whole new challenge.
"Not only was I a woman, a Black woman, but I was also the child of immigrants," says Stephanie. "I always feel like I don't belong here. I happened to have broken my way through to get here, but I'm not the person that is supposed to be here, based on how this normally goes."
Two things have helped Stephanie deal with those feelings. The first is remembering her grandfather's story.
"Whenever I feel like an outsider, or when someone treats me with less respect than I think they should because of the color of my skin, I think back to him and his bold choice to educate himself in a country that made it clear he was not welcome," she says. "He was so brave to do this and it makes me wonder how much he dealt with as the only Black man in his class. Nothing I could go through today could come close… this helps to drive me to fight to be represented in spaces where I may not be welcome."
The second thing is leaving environments she felt she couldn't change.
Finding a Place to Grow
Stephanie stayed at JP Morgan, and later JPMorgan Chase, for six years. She struggled with figuring out how to take up space, especially when an early manager told her that she was too outspoken. But Stephanie realized that was more of a comment on the manager's leadership skills than it was something for her to deal with. "I have always made it clear that I had a voice. I have value to add. I've made it my business not to let people quiet me and silence me in rooms where I feel like I should be speaking," she says.
When Stephanie realized risk management wasn't for her, she decided to switch to a smaller firm. That was "less of a rat race," she says, but also felt like a fast-path to "a cushy life and a mediocre existence." So she went back into big banks for a job at Goldman.
"My time there molded me and shaped me a lot into the person I am today," she says. But her time there wasn't without its challenges: "There was a hierarchy in place. You know, 'you don't speak before your boss' kind of thing. Although I loved the company, my career path felt unclear, and I knew it was time for a change."
When an opportunity at Invesco came up, Stephanie took it. She hadn't heard of the standalone asset manager, but was interested in the opportunity, particularly in the chance to do something completely new to her: be client-facing. When her boss's role, which required plenty of client interaction, opened up, Stephanie decided to go for it. "I kept thinking that if I have to report to someone new, I'm always going to know that I could've been that person, but because I let fear stand in the way, I'm not," she says. So she overcame that fear and now is both a senior client portfolio manager and head of a team of product managers and client portfolio managers covering the Municipal Bond business.
And she gets to do it in an environment that really works for her.
"Invesco has been extremely supportive of me, and of women in general, having a voice. That's not something that I necessarily had in my previous roles," says Stephanie. "At Invesco, I feel like I have much more ownership of my narrative than I ever had, and that has allowed me to progress in the way that I have in the last decade."
Looking back on her career, Stephanie has one piece of advice for others who are trying to build a career that fulfills them, especially in places they don't feel welcome: you don't have to have all the answers.
"People assume that I have a very specific vision," she says. "A lot of the time, I just know what I don't want. And by knowing what I don't want, it allows me to see the things that I want. So those things kind of shine a little bit brighter, and help to attract me to the things that make sense for me."
No two days look alike for Lockheed Martin's Diversity and Inclusion Analyst, Ashley Lovett. "I like variety," she says. " If I have the same routine every day, I can easily get bored."
Whether it be restructuring her work day or switching up her workout routine, Ashley always looks for a way to spice things up. "Maybe I'll go running with my dog or go to the gym and do yoga or spin classes," Ashley explains. "It just depends on the day."
Her desire for variety is also what made her want to participate in Lockheed Martin's HR Leadership Development Program, a three year rotational program for early career professionals that provides a well-rounded introduction to different human resources functions.
We sat down with Ashley to learn how her drive to step out of her comfort zone helped her land her dream role and to hear her advice for recent college grads ready to step into the professional world.
From Undergrad to Lockheed Martin
In college, Ashley joined a co-ed professional business fraternity called Delta Sigma Pi. Unlike your average sorority or fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi was focused on business development for students. "A lot of the pledging process had to do with networking, meeting executives, and doing company tours," Ashley explains. "Funny enough, the very first company tour that I did was actually at Lockheed." Little did she know she would eventually start her professional journey there.
Throughout her four years of college, Ashley participated in courses, events, and initiatives put on by the fraternity and even went on to bring in new members as Senior Vice President. "That was by far my favorite role that I held within my fraternity because it had to do with our recruitment strategy," explains Ashley reminiscently. "I absolutely loved recruiting. I'm really thankful for that opportunity because it ultimately led me into HR."
Ashley's newfound love for recruiting led her to pursue an internship at Lockheed Martin. "Through that internship, I got to learn more about talent acquisition, and I was able to start making a network within the company, meeting mentors and other interns that I still connect with today." She continued with the internship her last two years of college and transitioned directly into a full-time role at Lockheed Martin upon graduation. "The transition from college to professional life wasn't as challenging as I thought it might be because I knew who to go to and I had already learned key things about being a recruiter," says Ashley. "I didn't skip a beat."
The three-year HR Leadership Development Program Ashley is doing is designed to meet the current and future expectations of the Lockheed Martin human resources team through rotational job assignments. "Going into this program has been such an amazing opportunity," elaborates Ashley. "We get to touch a lot of different things within our different HR functions and centers of expertise , so I'm constantly learning something and getting pulled into a new project. "
Ashley has quickly learned to embrace the learning curves that define the experience. "We rotate roles once a year, so as soon as you get your bearings and hit your stride, it's already time to move out of that role," she says. "Starting something new is a little bit nerve wracking, but having great leadership helps me navigate areas that are outside of my comfort zone."
Ashley is currently completing her first rotation as a Global Diversity and Inclusion Analyst. Her days are a mixture of team meetings and strategic work, such as completing key deliverable tasks for her director, delivering on our key diversity strategies and initiatives, and putting together executive level presentations. "None of my days look exactly the same," says Ashley, which is just the way she likes it.
In January, Ashley will transition to a new role as an HR Business Partner and serve as a liaison between the business client group and human resources. "I'm excited to learn about a whole new business area and step out of my comfort zone again!" she says.
Advice for Overcoming Challenges as a New Grad
Ashley's transition from college to the corporate world has been relatively smooth, but each learning curve has come with lessons that she'd like to share with other recent grads:
Actively combat imposter syndrome. Walking straight off campus into a corporate office can be intimidating and imposter syndrome can creep in. "Sometimes you get in these nice big roles and you're the most junior employee in the room and you think, 'oh my gosh, what am I doing? Why did they choose me? Why would they do this?' And you forget about everything that you've ever done," explains Ashley. "You have to catch yourself and remind yourself of the reasons why you're here. You are awesome and you are capable."
Sometimes, of course, that's easier said than done, so Ashley has a hack she likes to use when she needs a reminder of what she's accomplished: she reviews her self-curated "success file." "If anyone ever emails me with positive feedback, I go ahead and pull that into my success file," she explains. "If I have a bad day, I'll go in and remind myself of those wins."
Use your voice. When you're the most junior employee in a meeting, your instinct might be to stay quiet. "Something that I definitely had to work on this year is making sure that I speak up and use my voice in any meeting that I'm in." Instead of staying quiet, Ashley recommends challenging yourself to make a contribution to the conversation. "Make sure when you're going into meetings, you have an objective. And even if it's just one small thing, try to bring something to the table," she advises.
Keep your priorities straight. "When you come into a new role, you want to fix everything, you want to take on everything, and you want to say yes to everything," explains Ashley. "And sometimes you can get overwhelmed, you can spread yourself too thin." Coming fresh from school, it's easy to become overly ambitious and bite off more than you can chew. "I've definitely had to learn to try not to boil the ocean and get myself too worked up on too many different deliverables at once."
Navigating priorities can be difficult early on, so Ashley leans on her mentors for clarity. "Mentorship has completely changed my career and I am so thankful for all the mentors that I have within Lockheed," says Ashley. "Find someone that wants to take you under their wing. Someone you can learn a lot from," advises Ashley. "They really can help guide you through your career and after some time, if appropriate, they can become your sponsor and advocate on your behalf."
Want to join a company where you can try new things? Check out Lockheed Martin's open roles here.