My interview with Marietta focuses on authenticity – being who we really are in all walks of life.
For many women, including me, shedding the mask to be our authentic selves, especially in business, isn’t always easy. Women more than men are taught from an early age to “fit in”. Be nice, include everyone, don’t get too big for your britches.
For those of us who wanted corporate careers for ourselves, we were signaled subliminally or told directly, that to succeed in a man’s world we had to be like the men. That meant dressing like them too! As you’ll hear in Marietta’s interview, in her first stint at IBM early in her career, she wore ladies Brooks Brothers suits, white shirts and wing tips like the guys.
Authenticity is a word thrown around a lot but what does it really mean. There are varying definitions like something proven to be real or legitimate but I like this definition best.
Authenticity is about presence, living in the moment with conviction and confidence and staying true to yourself. An authentic person puts the people around them at ease, like a comforting, old friend who welcomes us in and makes us feel at home.
Being who we are and standing strong in our personal power is tough when faced with pressure to conform. Yet, living and leading authentically, as Marietta does, naturally draws people to you. Authenticity isn’t something you can fake, though many people do try. We can feel it when people are being true to themselves because they exude self-confidence, passion and trustworthiness. As a leader, bringing your whole self to work, inspires your team to follow your lead.
During the interview with Marietta we…
Talked about her passion for non-profits such as the Posse Foundation and why it is important to her to give back to her community.
Her career progression working in high impact roles in major technology companies and what her role at IBM entails.
What Marietta means by authenticity and why it is important, especially as an executive leading teams.
Talked about the “authentic Marietta”. We also talked about whether or not we can learn to “let go” and be our authentic selves if we choose too.
Finally, we wrapped up talking about when Marietta might have tried to lead as someone other than her “real self”, and what happened as a result. Her answer might surprise you!
As we celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History month all throughout March, be inspired by women all throughout history who had the courage to live authentically and change our world for the better!
Listen and enjoy the interview!
Or listen to the interview on the podcast page.
My guest today is Marietta Davis, VP North America Communications and CSI, IBM Global Markets. Marietta is a seasoned sales executive with an extensive career in the technology industry holding high impact positions at IBM, Lotus Development, Ameritech, and Tata Consulting. I first met Marietta in her role as Vice President of U.S. Dynamics at Microsoft Corporation. The highest ranking African American in North America, Canada and Latin America, Davis led an organization of more than 400 sales, marketing and technical experts serving Microsoft’s business customers with Dynamics ERP and CRM Solutions. While at Microsoft, Davis successfully managed and grew multiple businesses to $1B and triple digit growth milestones. Her diverse leadership portfolio extends to mentoring strong leaders into key roles and acting in an advisory capacity to incubation and small startups.
Marietta gives back in a number of ways and currently sits on the National Board of Youth Villages, a private nonprofit organization dedicated to helping emotionally and behaviorally troubled children and their families. Recently inducted into the Spelman College “Game Changer” Hall of Fame for her work in 2015, Marietta is also a sought after speaker on leadership topics and is a published author, writing for the Huffington Post and Thrive Global.