Globally, women hold more leadership positions than ever before and have made substantial progress in rising to the top of their fields. While we at Graebel feel encouraged by the changes we’re seeing – and are making internally — there’s still work to do to close the gap. Worldwide, women only hold 29% of senior management level positions. Like many industries including tech, engineering and finance, the global mobility industry has historically been male led. Graebel is fortunate to have talented women at all levels in our company, including in key leadership roles. In fact, over 40 percent of Graebel’s senior management is comprised of women. Supporting and empowering women to leadership roles is a conscious effort we’ve committed to, in alignment with our values of truth, love and integrity — plus, we know that companies with diverse leadership perform better.
To celebrate Graebel’s women leaders and amplify their voices, we’re embarking on a three-part blog series to hear their stories and learn from their experiences. Each blog will interview several women leaders on topics like creating and seizing opportunities and successes, mentorship and how they’re supporting other less-represented types of leaders, and how women have helped innovate and define Graebel and the mobility industry.
For part one of the series, we sat down with Beth Pasiak, senior vice president, client services; Beverly King, vice president, business development & consulting, EMEA & APAC; Kathleen Momberger, vice president, global supplier development; and Michelle Mara, vice president, account management, to discuss career challenges and successes, and how they are encouraging and enabling others to follow in their footsteps.
How has being a woman in a predominantly male-led industry shaped you professionally?
Pasiak: Earlier in my career, as a working mom of three small children, I had to overcome the barrier of others’ assumptions that I could not or did not want to take on more challenging roles because of my home situation. In fact, that’s not how I felt at all. At Graebel, however, we’ve created a place where everyone can succeed no matter their personal ties.
Momberger: I’ve learned that you have to really trust in yourself and your abilities. You have to be willing to push and make sacrifices for what you consider is fair and equitable for you – and for other women. Above all, you have to be kind and you have to be fair. These qualities stand the test of time.
Can you share a challenge you’ve faced professionally and how you overcame it? What was the outcome of the situation?
Mara: At a previous company I was passed up for a promotion where they hired someone with less experience than me — in fact, for someone whom I had actually brought onto the team. I ultimately left because I knew that wasn’t the type of company I wanted to work for. Over time, I realized the unconscious bias that played into it. And it has made it even more evident to me how important it is to hire and promote based solely on talent and skills.
King: I was conscious on entering the sales profession that it is typically very male-centric, especially in the U.S. When you’re the only female going into a room of all, often senior, males, it can be quite daunting. But I’ve learned the importance of pushing myself out of my comfort zone and to speak up for myself in these settings. It’s a female trait not to be over-confident, and a British trait too. I’ve had to overcome these notions to get to where I am. It’s always good to be humble, but it can be even better to demonstrate genuine self-assurance and speak up to get what you need.
How do you see other team members at Graebel supporting each other and creating a path to leadership roles?
Momberger: You’re always better and stronger with a team. It took me a long time to realize the value of this because I always thought in order for me to stand out, it had to be for something I did on my own. But finding your team and building a support system is how we all rise. The folks at Graebel have made many strides to empower women and support each other with all of the opportunities we’re given for success.
King: As women, we have to champion and support each other! I work closely with Monique Castor, vice president, client services EMEA, and Casey Phelps, senior vice president, operations EMEA, (both of whom will be featured in later blogs in this series) and have loved the internal collaboration with those two and others across the wider EMEA team. In working together, we’re able to help our team come up with smart solutions and innovative ideas to drive the best results both for us and our clients. I see great engagement by our senior management team about furthering ongoing internal career development, to help ensure everyone has what they need in order to create a path to succeed.
How has Graebel supported your growth into a leadership position?
Mara: I’ve always appreciated the flexibility we’re given to move around in the company and how we encourage growth from within. Every year I’m always asked, “What do you want to do?” Because people really want to make sure you’re reaching your fullest potential. Graebel offers opportunities for growth for everyone, you just need to make your voice heard and prove you can do it.
Pasiak: At Graebel, we’re encouraged to try new things in order to attain our career goals. And we recognize that it’s our responsibility as leaders to help our teams and understand their career aspirations in order to guide them. And it isn’t just given – it’s your responsibility to take advantage of this flexibility we have and to advocate for yourself when you want to move up in the company or change roles or whatever it may be. Graebel’s people-first philosophy really makes anything possible for anyone. It is one of the many reasons I love Graebel.
We also spoke with Jacquelyn Landridge, vice president, enterprise excellence & strategic initiatives, who will be featured in part three of this series, but we wanted to share her insight as it pertains to this context.
Landridge: As a mother of three, my career has continued to progress while maintaining the balance of meeting my family’s needs. Throughout my tenure with Graebel, I have had some years working in the office full-time, some years working fully from home, and some years that fell somewhere in between. The willingness of Graebel to acknowledge the whole of who I am as an individual has allowed me to contribute so much more than if I were asked to choose between work and family.
We’re honored to have these strong leaders guiding Graebel. Their stories of harnessing their confidence and trusting in themselves and of finding a company that prioritizes inclusiveness and flexibility makes us confident in a brighter future for all types of leaders, at Graebel, in the global mobility industry and throughout the world.
It’s not just up to individuals to realize that future, though. Companies play an important role in that work, too. That’s why, in 2019, Graebel began a DEI initiative that was founded on the principles of building and sustaining a diverse workforce, achieving inclusive excellence, honoring individual uniqueness and providing equitable access and opportunities. While we’re proud of the steps we’ve taken so far, we recognize there is still progress to be made in this journey. By spotlighting some of the women in leadership roles at Graebel, we hope to encourage conversations about diverse leadership and working together to ensure that all feel supported, capable, and understood, every step of the way. Here’s to the world ahead®.