I wanted to contribute articles that focused on empowering women and sharing their “rise to success” stories, their career tips, and motivation, all while saluting these everyday boss babes out in fields typically dominated by our male counterparts.
When I first started out in the business world, I didn’t have a clear path, but had enough of a drive in me to know I could push through, and create my own opportunities that otherwise would not have presented itself. I was also smart enough at the time to align myself with people who were actually succeeding in the business, thus stepped in Gerry Hyde. This woman attributed to my way of thinking in business then and today. Her mentor-ship was greatly appreciated, admired and respected, and still sought after today by many.
She broke the mold as one of the first women in the role as a Territory Manager that led to her current role as an Account Executive; earning her positions alongside her male colleagues, who till this day, continue to dominate in top ranking leadership roles within the organization. Still evident today are a lack of women in these top leadership corporate positions. These Charts Show Exactly How Few Minority Women Are in Positions of Power. Gerry is proving she is a force to be dealt with, and of value by bringing diversity, and competitiveness to the forefront within the company.
When I first approached Gerry on giving me this interview, she was humbled enough to suggest I should go bigger with my article; not realizing that she represents everyday women in business. I strongly felt she was attainable, and had so much to contribute to up and coming like-minds in the world of business. Her story was a real representation of my purpose and angle that I was going for in this article- everyday Boss Babes in the industry.
Being the ever so busy businesswoman she is, I was able to have a conference call with her. The following contribution was a casual Q&A style of interview with Gerry Hyde. Who is she, how did she get her start in the business, her career tips, and just demonstrating the essence of a true Boss Babe.
Who is this Boss Babe and how she first got her feet wet in the business:
Gerry is currently an Account Executive for the east region. She is responsible for growing the market, increasing sales in an intangible, yet growing American Fortune 500 Corporation. The company designs, manufactures, and distributes engines, filtration, and power generation products.
Gerry Hyde whom is originally from Belize, came to the US as a young married woman and a mother. She humbly started out working within the company as a temp employee assisting as a back-up switch board operator, and managing inventory for a couple of years. As time progressed, she sought after to create her own opportunities and navigate her way through the company.
She advanced her career by requesting to take on more responsibilities, this in turn landed her a role to assist with a territory manager. She was proactive, learning the products and seeking out all levels of education to prepare herself for growth. She had a goal set, and she was persistent. When a door opened for her to step in as a territory manager to the tri-state area, she made her move and has basically been making moves up the corporate ladder ever since.
As an up and coming businesswoman, who guided you along the way; who were your mentors?
This boss babe attributes her climb to success to the owner at the time of the company. His ability to be straight forward about the harsh realities of the business prepared her. He pointed out that she was a woman, black, and from another country, that she would face multiple barriers within the industry- from her peers and possibly customers. This only pushed her to be more persistent and determined to prove she could take on various challenges. This did not deter her from staying focused and sticking to a consistent plan to succeed in her career goals.
Very early on, Gerry recalled that her mother was always her biggest motivator and cheerleader; always helping her to build confidence and reminding her that no barrier was too great of a feat to overcome- even being a woman or being a woman of color. Her step father was just as big of an influence; teaching her strong work ethics, the value in earning things on your own merit and earning respect. To work towards something you put your hard work into will produce greater gains and build your confidence and determination.
Aside from successes, what are some struggles you face in the business?
Customers’ needs. You must have the flexibility to accommodate their needs to keep the business, if this means having to meet someone at 4am, you make the conscious decision that this is what you must do. Allow for flexibility, dependability, following up and consistency in order to beat out the competition. Customers’ feed backs play a role in your financial success, they are what drives the products to move. Once you build a trust with customers, they are most likely to continue their business with you, they will give referrals, and that is how you start to build your success.
Her reputation in staying consistent and providing the ever demanding needs has earned the respect within the industry and earned loyalty from her customers.
What have you learned about leadership along the way?
You must follow your own agenda from the start, do not follow what others are doing. What may work for them will not necessarily work in your favor. Knowledge- always have growth and learn the latest in the business, keep up with innovation. Allow yourself to grow, it will only benefit you and the customers in the end.
What has shaped your style over the years in business?
Develop thick skin. In order to make it you must deal with the harshness and set-backs. You can’t allow the pit falls of the business to deter you from reaching your goals. You have to be disciplined, determined, eager and willing.
Not everyone will be your fan, you will have people who want to see you fail. Being able to push through the negativity and remaining focused in good and bad times in the business will keep you ahead of the game.
Hard work and determination can be consuming at times, how do you balance it?
Finding time, setting time aside with family to recharge. Allow yourself to reset and pause from the daily routines of work. Setting time with family, loved ones. Something as simple as family dinners or game time, as long as your focus is them.
After all, what good is success if you can’t share it with loved ones, with those that matter most. If you burn out in this business, this will only hinder goals you’ve set. You must find balance in work and personal life.
In one word, how would this Boss Babe describe herself?
Stubborn, without that hard headed, fearless sense of myself, I would not have reached heights of success in my life.
Here’s to saluting everyday boss babes!