This Verizon Leader Makes Sure Women Don’t Have To Fend For Themselves
Miriam Meijers is a tough-talking, no-nonsense manager of sales operations for a wide swath of Western Europe at Verizon, but don't let her impermeable outer exterior fool you. She's just as forceful when it comes to advancing women's careers and diversifying Verizon's workforce overall as she is about acting as the results-driven glue between Verizon's business and sales departments.
"Diversity is the key to having a successful organization. You'll have a more balanced view of the world and good insight into your customer base, because your customers are diverse as well," Meijers tells us. "Women have great listening skills, and that's something that's needed."
Meijers actively contributes to the diversification of Verizon as a board member and vice president of Verizon's WAVE program (Women's Association Verizon Employees) for EMEA, where female leaders organize efforts to assist Verizon employees with professional development. Meijers explains, "We're giving women tools to develop themselves, but it's also about shared experiences. I always used to be one of these women who let others fend for themselves. 'There's a special place in hell for a woman who doesn't help other women.' I thought, that was me. I've always been a giver, but I'd never sought out women."
Through her work with the Cherie Blair Foundation, Meijers continues to expand on her new-found passion for mentorship. There, she partners with female entrepreneurs in developing economies access the skills, technology, networks and financial services they need to become successful. "I've been assigned a mentee in the Philippines," Meijers beams. "She started a business selling strawberry jam and cashews from her own home. She was able to build a relationship with local stores and she registered the company. We work together to see how we can grow her business, and that's very rewarding."
With past lessons fresh in her mind, Meijers is working to make sure other women at Verizon and beyond start their careers helping each other. "I would start seeking out coaches, mentors and sponsors early on in my career. In order to get ahead, you need all three of them. I've got so much experience. I think it's important to share so other women don't make the same mistakes that I've experienced."
Like what you hear? Check out Verizon's open roles here.
Women Founders & CEOs Share Their Tips
If you're anxious about looking for a new job right now, you're not alone. We've talked before about how you can land a job in the midst of COVID-19, but today we wanted to share advice from some of the experts who spoke at our inaugural Diversity Reboot Summit.
If you're struggling with perfectionism:<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="824ce73e30a279a266a5dd91047dd6f5"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/y58Luzbv_vw?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><em>Reshma Saujani is the Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, the international nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and change the image of what a computer programmer looks like and does. Since her viral TED Talk, "Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection" resonated worldwide, Reshma has been on a mission to inspire women to leave socially-ingrained perfectionism behind and rewire themselves for braver, bolder lives. Reshma talked with Zeryn Sarpangal, Chief Financial and People Officer, Code For America, about how women can work to be brave, not perfect, as they look for new opportunities. </em></p>
If you're looking to pivot into tech (and land a remote job):<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="80353e84513d2d043db309aaa94d457a"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZaPMxG_5C40?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><em>Adda Birnir, CEO of Skillcrush, shares her tips for getting the skills you need to land a remote job, even if you don't have a tech background. Skillcrush is an online tech-education company that helps their women make a career change into tech. </em></p>
If you need an inside connection:<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e38baadbe67361bff0eb4b95a5d2ade3"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/gjK8kjosZe8?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><em>How will we connect with others professionally as social distancing continues? During this session, Kristy Wallace, CEO of Ellevate Network; Natasha Green, Sr. Local Communities Manager at AnitaB.org Initiative; and Dee Poku-Spalding, Founder and CEO of WIE (Women: Inspiration and Enterprise) share their expert networking advice with Organized SHIFT CEO Landi Spearman.</em></p>
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