Category Archives: bloggers

What Am I Thankful For? Me.

I’ve seen so much hate, contempt and disrespect lately. Over the last two weeks I’ve cried and questioned everything and everyone. What I’ve come to realize (what i think I’ve always known) is that I can and will do more. I’m demanding that the high standards I have for myself will have to be upheld by those around me and I’m positive that love and kindness is the greatest way overcome hate and indifference. While I could spend the rest of my life reciting what I’m thankful for, right now, in these times it’s who I am and what I believe in that I’m truly thankful for. I’m blessed to have these traits…

  • I am thankful that I know in my heart that I do not judge or have prejudices against other people.
  • I am thankful that I see good in others until they show me otherwise.
  • I am thankful to be a lifelong learner. Not too proud to improve my knowledge and understanding of the things I don’t know.   
  • I am thankful that I can give to others without hesitation. 
  • I am thankful I am empathetic and compassionate. 
  • I am thankful for my dedication to manners and proper etiquette. 
  • I am thankful that I can see pain through the behavior of others and treat them accordingly.
  • I am thankful that I want to hear the stories of others, expanding my understanding of the people throughout the world.
  • I am thankful that I can work hard. For myself, for my family and for others. 
  • I am thankful I can see greatest in others.
  • I am thankful that I feel best being kind, generous and supportive.
  • I am thankful for my dedication to children and young people, understanding that they are the most important.
  • I am thankful for my sense of pride for who I am and where I’m from.
  • I am thankful that I have an overwhelming need to give, receive and surround myself with love.
  • I am thankful that I know how blessed I am. Especially to have my family, my husband David and my daughters. 

It’s moments like these that we see how strong we are and the impact we can have. We are powerful. And in the words of my favorite Marvel Superheroe’s Uncle…”with great power comes great responsibility”
Happy Thanksgiving!

The Talk of the Town…Diversity 

There’s been a lot of discussion lately about diversity within the Pittsburgh workforce, there’s even a survey out there for Pittsburghers to participate in. My thoughts? We don’t need a survey to tell us that our local companies are nowhere near as diverse as they should be. 

I began researching  local organizations when I started my firm in 2011. I’ve researched teams and hiring practices for thousands of Pittsburgh organizations. As an HR consultant specializing in recruiting and diversity, I wanted to know the landscape, especially after being with one organization for almost a decade. What I found was quite disappointing. 

  • Many local organizations have very little diversity among their workforce. 
  • Many local organizations have no diversity among their workforce. 
  • Many local organizations dont’t have a method of recruiting that leads to a diverse candidate pool. 

When it comes to Diversity and Inclusion, Recruiting and Training, I’m confident in my abilities. The “why” behind my findings and the reasons for the surveys and discussions about diversity are very clear to me. My biggest concern is purely, “how long will this trend last?”

From The Oscars to Google people are noticing the lack of diversity and watching to see how companies will address this issue in 2015 and beyond. Unfortunately, unless you’re like me, diversity doesn’t just happen naturally. When I recruit, I’m looking for the absolute best, the perfect fit. I use many factors to determine that, but race, gender etc. are never a factor. For most organizations, from small business and tech to retail and nonprofit, being an inclusive and diverse organization takes work, it needs to be a part of  your organizations mission and strategic plan, not an afterthought.

Locally, there are only a handful of organizations doing it right. If you think your organization has room for growth and improvement in regards to diversifying your team, which most do, start here:

1.) Evaluate your existing team. Be honest. Is it diverse? Who’s missing and why? Are various groups represented? Diversity means not one black or one woman but rather a diverse group of people working in  various levels within the organization. This includes management and leadership.

2.) Ensure your hiring manager / recruiting team is capable of and comfortable with seeking and interviewing a diverse group of candidates for each and every position. According to an NPR story, there’s a new study out from the University of Wisconsin which studied how companies reviewed applicant resumes. In this study, researchers sent identical resumes to companies just changing the name. Based on their own biases, companies showed favor toward resumes with more traditional “white names.” Black resumes received 14% less call backs / interviews. In customer service, this disparity increased to 28%! Does this happen at your organization, the answer? Most likely.

3.) Make sure your organization is utilizing multiple channels of outreach to find the best talent. Recruiters and Talent Acquisition Managers must be engaged, well known members of the community. Every time a client has an open position I can think of at least 5 candidates that can fill the role. Most of them, not looking for a new position but excelling in their current roles. That sort of depth and knowledge comes from networking, community outreach and engagement.

4.) Review the laws around Diversity and Inclusion. Host training workshops for management, ensure all members of your organization are knowledgeable and well versed. I know companies that have suffered greatly due to ignorance and incompetence. The laws protect the organization as well as the candidates and employees.

#DearMe…What I’d Tell My Younger Self

youngleigh3 (2)me in 2000, my first apartment

In honor of International Womens Day this Sunday. I’m joining in on the newest trend, #DearMe. What would you say to your younger self? When I first read about this I thought, “what WOULD I say to my younger self?” I wasn’t quite sure. And, which “me” would I speak to? When I think about my childhood and teenage years, not perfect, but I was okay with myself back then. So I guess I would speak to my 20 year old self, the beginning stage of who I would later become. Me, on the brink of lost naivety. I had high hopes, for myself and for others, and at times, left disappointed. Back then, I thought everyone was about working hard, being successful, having great relationships, and most of all being happy. I was raised by immigrant parents that came to America with almost nothing and worked hard to build a good life. So, once I reached my twenties, I was excited to work hard and build a great life, to continue the path my parents had set for me.

In my twenties I learned that not all people want or are willing to work for a those things. Some take it for granted, and some waste it. When I was a young manager, I couldn’t imagine that someone would have a job and not actually want to do their best every day. It was really shocking to me, why apply for job, go through training, get dressed and come to work when you don’t want to actually do the work? That realization was very disappointing to me and I was constantly trying to encourage poor performers to do better, think about their future and get them excited about even the smallest accomplishment. I drained myself doing this until a mentor I had early in my career explained to me that my success was about helping myself and helping others, but I couldn’t help everyone and shouldn’t try. He explained that not everyone wants to be the best at what they do. He said that although I may want success for others and I may try to save everyone, they won’t all get in the boat. And, that’s okay. Advice I still keep with me today.

I also learned a lot about relationships, especially with family and close friends. These relationships get harder to maintain especially as you get older, and life changes occur. I’ve learned that not everyone is willing to put in the work required to maintain a strong relationship with a brother, sister, cousin or friend. Again, I couldn’t imagine having a brother or sister I don’t speak to regularly or a best friend that I never see, but it happens all of the time. Typically great relationships with siblings or friends seem to happen for those willing to put in the work and fight through the difficult times. We should all focus on maintaining these relationships and enjoy the value they add to our lives. These relationships may seem important in our youth but as we grow they’re extremely important and valuable, but not guaranteed.

Lastly, happiness. It has always been extremely important to me to be happy, positive and maintain a can-do attitude. Not lie to myself when things are bad, but always thinking of my many blessings and determining the path that will take me out of the difficulty I’m facing. I have always tried to pass this on to others and do what I can for those who need me, sometimes to my own detriment. I would tell my younger self to maintain this ideology and attitude but also remember to put myself first, on occasion.

Oh yeah, and I would also tell myself, “Leigh! No matter how much weight you gain when you have your children…do not give any clothes to your sisters! You will get back to your size. Keep your fabulous wardrobe!”

What would you tell your younger self? #DearMe