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September 19, 2019
Capital One Webinar Teachable Tuesdays
JESSICA POOLE: I want to welcome you to our -- and we're going to tab this a virtual fireside chat for our Teachable Tuesdays webinar presented by Capital One.
I'd like to welcome everyone. Our topic today is Opportunities and Challenges Faced By Young Women of Color in Athletics Communications.
I'd like to welcome the panel, Romanda Noble-Watson from Claflin University.
ROMANDA NOBLE-WATSON: Hi.
JESSICA POOLE: Chevonne Mansfield from Florida Memorial. Denise Thompson from the Big Sky. And I am Jessica Poole from Florida Atlantic University.
We're just going to dive in. Like I said, we'd like this to be a conversation, fireside chat. The goal of this is to really share advice and situations and serve as resources for each other. I'm going to ask the question to everyone on the panel, and you guys can kind of chime in.
In your career journey, what are some of the challenges you faced being a woman of color in this industry?
ROMANDA NOBLE-WATSON: Me first? Hello, everyone. One of the biggest challenges I faced was working alongside a couple of my men's basketball coaches who really did not understand that, just because I'm a woman, first and foremost, and a woman of color, that I did understand what I was doing. So a lot of times just the attitudes of men towards me as a woman all together.
CHEVONNE MANSFIELD: Yeah, I think being taken seriously early in my career when I was just getting started. I was mistaken for an assistant, a secretary, being the assistant SID. We do the same thing as head SIDs, but just different sport responsibilities. I don't know if that's more of being a woman of color than just a woman, but I know for sure, when I started out, that's what I experienced. Over time, as I got more experienced, that went away.
I think a lot of it also is how you present yourself and how you come across because, if you mean business, people will take you seriously.
DENISE THOMPSON: Yeah, I'll go ahead and add to that. I would say one of my biggest challenges is just based off the location. So right now I currently work in Utah, and schools in my conference include Idaho, Montana, Washington -- states that you're just not going to normally find a woman, much less a minority woman, in these positions. So I think the hardest thing is, in my network right now, I'm the only female of color.
When I go to presidents meetings and I go to the AD meetings, fortunately, there's two of us. So the biggest challenge is trying to convey my message, and when it's time to speak about specific topics or events that do involve diversity and inclusion, that I'm getting them to understand that, yes, I'm saying it because I'm a minority, but it's also because it's on me. If I don't speak on it, is anyone else going to do it?
So the challenge is to say, yes, I have an idea, but to give people more of a background as to how the idea really opens their eyes. And then in this role to have them actually want to go in and make their university diverse when it comes to hiring practices.
JESSICA POOLE: I want to remind everyone to submit questions in the chat box.
Something that I have seen in my journey is being the representative of every single black woman. People are always like, when you say something, it's like, oh, well, that's how they feel. No, that's how I feel, and I think that's hard. I think that, when you are -- don't see someone like yourself or your co-workers or colleagues, you don't see someone like yourselves, you kind of take on the weight of representing an entire group of folks, and I sometimes think that's an unfair -- we're in an unfair situation when it comes to that.
So that's one thing that's been a huge struggle for me, and how I've handled it is always kind of prefacing with, well, this is what I think based on my background and experience, and everyone's experiences are different.
Moving on to kind of a different topic, but similar, what's one piece of advice that someone has given you that's really resonated with you on your journey through college athletics? Anybody?
DENISE THOMPSON: I'll go ahead and hop on that one. I won't say it word for word because I really can't remember. My old commissioner, Andrea Williams, who's now the CFO at the College Football Playoffs, I remember just sitting in my one-on-ones with her, and she was basically, you can't let them see you sweat. Even if you're angry about something, you have to keep it inside. You have to hold that smile and make them think that everything's okay.
I would say it's definitely great advice because I always saw that in her. She could hold herself in such a high position. She was able to always walk into the office and smile, and you never knew she was having a bad day.
So I think sometimes now later on in my career when I'm really having a bad day, I just think about what she was saying. She was like, if you have a smile on your face, there's nothing they can hold against you. They can't say you have an attitude and that you're perfectly fine. Then you walk out, go get that margarita if you need to, but you just have to put that smile on and know that everything's going to be okay.
JESSICA POOLE: That's great. That's really good advice, and that's something that I do too.
ROMANDA NOBLE-WATSON: I'll add to it. I've had mainly male mentors because when I started some 22-plus years ago, I didn't have a lot of women in the profession. But the one, Mr. Ed hill, who's now retired from Howard, he would always tell me to be confident in what you know, know what you know and be confident and articulate the confidence. Let the confidence come out in the way you articulate it. That way no one could question what it is that you're telling them.
And he also said, if you don't know, act like you know, go find out the answer, and come in so that way, if you're questioned again, you would know that answer.
JESSICA POOLE: Mr. Hill with the great advice.
CHEVONNE MANSFIELD: That's right. Mr. Hill was one of my supervisors. He's great. The thing is you've got to be yourself, and we have to own our differences. There was a great quote going around by Jennifer Williams. She's the AD at Alabama State, and pretty much we are different. We know we're different as individuals, being women of color in this field. But the only way we can excel is being ourselves because when you try to front and be someone you aren't, you won't be true in your work or any part of life.
Own our differences. We're different. Diversity is at an all time high now, which is great, and that's pretty much stuck with me throughout my whole career. Just own our differences and be who we are. That's pretty much it. I always tried to live by that even now in my career, especially when I first got started.
JESSICA POOLE: We've got a question. What are your tips to help people recruit and mentor women of color into our business even when he or she is not a person of color? I think that's a great question. What do you guys think?
ROMANDA NOBLE-WATSON: What was the question again? I'm sorry.
JESSICA POOLE: Sure. What are your tips to help people recruit and mentor women of color in our business even when he or she is not a person of color?
ROMANDA NOBLE-WATSON: That's a really good question actually.
JESSICA POOLE: I can chime in a little bit on this one. Go ahead.
CHEVONNE MANSFIELD: Oh, no, I was just going to say quickly, if you're not a person of color it helps to attend webinars like this. Alabama's AD Greg Byrne is a great candidate for that. He intentionally inserts himself into conversations like this just so he can get more information and be aware of what people of color are experiencing in the industry.
JESSICA POOLE: Yeah, I think the awareness is a really big part. I think it's very hard to -- it's hard to connect with someone that is different than you if you don't have some type of basis for what their experience is or could be. I think creating an inclusive environment in which they're not only just there, but able to actively participate and have their ideas and opinions thought of and cared for, I think is a really big factor.
I think, as far as the mentoring goes, mentoring is mentoring. I think that shaping somebody's life, you don't necessarily need to be the same color as them or have the same experience as them, but I think you need to have a level of empathy and understanding and a willingness to learn that I think goes a long way.
ROMANDA NOBLE-WATSON: And I can piggy-back on what you just said. Mentoring is mentoring. I've had the fortunate pleasure of mentoring several different people -- Caucasian male, Caucasian female, as well as black females -- and I truly believe your statement is 100 percent correct, especially in this profession because we all do the same thing, so we just have to guide on according to what their needs are.
If you speak the language, no matter what your nationality is, whether you're a woman of color or not, if you speak the language, they'll follow you.
JESSICA POOLE: Yeah, I totally agree. And speaking of like speaking the language, I think sometimes that's really -- as we move up the ranks or as we're in these situations as women of color, kind of sometimes a little bit on an island ourselves in some instances, how have you guys kind of found your voice? I think that that's a really -- that's a hard thing to navigate as a young professional and particularly a young woman of color in this industry.
I think sometimes it's hard to want to insert yourself in situations because you are knowledgeable, you do understand, but sometimes it's hard just because of some of the obstacles and perceptions. Any thoughts?
DENISE THOMPSON: Yeah, I would go ahead and say that the major thing to me is you have to believe in yourself, and I think, as soon as you believe in yourself, you have to know what it is you're going to do. So I would say -- I wouldn't say I've ever really been in an uncomfortable conversation because I've probably had too much confidence of knowing what my ultimate goal was going to be.
Even when I started out very young in the business, I knew that I did not want to be an assistant director forever, so everything I did was an approach to that. So I learned from people that are doing it the right way. I learned from the opposite of what they were doing, and I think from then, having that confidence but also the willingness to learn.
So if you're willing to learn, you're willing to listen and you have an open mind, I think that's giving you the self confidence that you need to be able to speak up in those situations when you do feel that your voice can be heard and you're around different people, especially higher in the administration, who has now seen your progress and seen your work, and now they're more willing to understand and listen to what you have to say.
CHEVONNE MANSFIELD: Yeah, I think it's interesting because we have to be careful sometimes with black women, and I know you've seen this, but there's the angry black woman stigma out there too. If we're loud or we speak up, we might be labeled a certain way. I think I found my voice, as I worked on it, with people like Romanda, who's been a great mentor to me in the industry, coming up in the business, having people already in that look like me representing. So representation is important. But I've also had great mentors, like Romanda, and also others who are not of color.
So I think I got some more confidence just coming in, getting more responsibilities, and that's how I found my voice. But just to say that part, it's a stigma that unfortunately we're labeled with sometimes that probably no other race has to deal with, and probably Caucasian women don't have to deal with that either.
ROMANDA NOBLE-WATSON: And I think it's super important to go to events like CoSIDA and step off that island, the island you were talking about. A lot of times we're on the island because we choose to be. We're afraid of, if we test the waters, what's going to happen. Don't be afraid to step off the island and seek out others who don't look like you and ask them questions.
If you know you have a desire to be an AD, go ask any AD, hey, what will it take? It doesn't matter if they're -- for me, a historically black college and university, for you guys who work at the more traditional institutions, it doesn't matter. Just ask questions and don't be afraid to step out there.
Getting involved helps a lot. Getting involved gets you a long way a lot of times. It's a sad commentary, but who you know, it's in every business across the board. Who you know will get you a lot further than what you know sometimes. You could be the smartest bulb in the batch, but if no one has ever seen your light, then you're not going to get chosen.
JESSICA POOLE: Yeah, I would agree with that. I want to go back to a comment that Chevonne made that actually leads to a question we have in our chat box. Chevonne said that representation is important. One of the questions we have is what are some ways that entry and mid-level experienced people in the field do at their offices to help build a diverse and inclusive atmosphere. I'll say that again.
What are some ways that entry and mid-level experienced people in the field do at their offices to help build a diverse and inclusive atmosphere?
DENISE THOMPSON: I'll hop on that. While I was at Northern Arizona University, I began a great relationship with the Multicultural and Diversity Affairs offices on campus, and having that conversation with them, even having them come to different meetings we were having as an all staff, and then when we were doing athletic events, keeping that relationship going because they're reaching a student population that is still trying to understand the same things that we are in our office.
But the moment that you can branch those two things together, and even working with different communication and marketing entities on the university side of campus, I think now you're reaching out to much more different people, and you guys are all being able to bounce those ideas off each other.
And I think now that goes back to enhancing your circle, getting other things, and maybe now you are maybe able to learn those things from that side of campus and bring them to your job so that, when you're having your all staff meetings or even district communication meetings, they're able to now bring forth newer ideas that you have, and people will be more equipped to listen for you to be able to branch out a little more.
JESSICA POOLE: Anyone else? Any thoughts?
CHEVONNE MANSFIELD: I think it's important to ensure that every voice is heard. Maybe that means on projects, then you have -- if you're entry level or a mid-level person, that they're in the room planning and ensure that you hear their voice. I know sometimes we may -- depending on the hierarchy, you may not have opportunities to deal with everything, but when you are at the table and you're there to help create something, then make sure your voice is heard for sure.
And if you're a senior manager or a CEO type or the AD, I would encourage you to have those people in the room as well.
JESSICA POOLE: I go back to moving into an administrative role at a senior level this past year. I always think it's really important to make sure that the perspectives of everyone are heard, and so I make it a point to, before I make a decision and before I say we're going to do this or let's go this way, I want to make sure I include the varying voices that are in my office, but also the folks that are representative of our student-athletes and are in the trenches with our students to know exactly -- to make sure we're doing things that are going to be perceived the right way.
And I think just making sure that we're including everyone's perspective, because everyone comes to it from a different way, and all of the perspectives are valuable.
Okay. When is a time that -- speaking of perspective and speaking up and saying things. When is a time that you've had to speak up or take a differing viewpoint in a meeting, in any type of situation, and how did you handle it without getting labeled? Kind of going back to something that Chevonne said earlier, sometimes black women do get unfairly labeled with this angry black woman diatribe.
I know that I, me personally, I tend to say, well, passion is passion. If you're passionate about something, that that's what it is, and I don't think that should be stifled, but I do think that sometimes we get a label unfairly and unjustly.
DENISE THOMPSON: I'll take it. Either my first or my second year as a full-time assistant, and I just kept having this feeling with my specific sport coach that she wasn't taking me seriously, and I felt that the way she was speaking to me and communicating to me was if I was one of her student-athletes rather than a co-worker of hers, and I understand that I was young, but I felt that everything I had done didn't reflect my age. So I just really didn't understand what was going on. And then yes, of course, I heard she had a problem with minority people.
So I just was like okay -- and she's very older. So I was like, you know what, enough is enough. So I got up the courage, and I went directly to her office and said, hey, do you have a few minutes? And I sat there, and I kind of just broke it down to her, and I said, you're treating me like I'm one of your student-athletes, and I'm not. I understand that I'm young, but I'm very capable of doing this job. I'd just appreciate if you treat me like I was a co-worker.
Believe it or not, we were cool after that. We're Facebook friends now. But I think the problem is maybe people are just too afraid and maybe someone else doesn't realize they're treating you that way. So I think that also says you can't think that, because one person has a problem with someone else who might be a minority, then all of a sudden they have a problem with all minorities.
ROMANDA NOBLE-WATSON: And I think that was the key right there, Denise, just going to her head on. Sometimes you can go to the person and say, hey, you don't have to talk to me this way. This is what I'm feeling. This is how I feel. You know, if you have a problem with me, just come and let me know, and we can discuss it. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it's their flaw, not yours, so you have to realize that too.
Some people have those personality flaws or personality traits that's not great, and that's just who they are. At that point, you have to adjust and toughen up a little bit and say, you know what, I've said my piece. They know how I feel. They have the issue and not me. But never be afraid to speak up for yourself. You should never be mistreated, and sometimes you just have to learn to just ignore it. At the end of the day, you have to learn to ignore it because, if you don't, it will drive you crazy.
CHEVONNE MANSFIELD: I agree.
JESSICA POOLE: Well said, yeah.
CHEVONNE MANSFIELD: Nothing else to say. It's sometimes hard to tackle situations like that. I've chose in the past to have an individual conversation, like Denise said, but once you address it, you can at least be amicable and have a good working relationship.
JESSICA POOLE: Yeah. I think it's really important to address it. I think that it becomes like, as Denise said, sometimes people aren't aware of what they're putting out. I also think that sometimes people just don't know what they don't know. So I think it's really important to find the courage to make sure that you're addressing that because, if you don't address it, then you're condoning the action. So it doesn't get better or you don't come to a common ground. So it can create a very uncomfortable work environment for you.
So I think it's really important to find the courage and reach out -- like if you're uncomfortable, reach out to people, resources, and really address it because I think it just continues to be an issue if you don't address it.
We've got a question in the chat box. What's the best way to address micro aggressions that come up in your annual review or assessments? Very good question. I can take this one or at least kick it off.
This is actually twofold and has a little bit of advice. I think an annual review is great, but I think that we should be asking for feedback on a more regular basis so that you know exactly where you are. These type of things shouldn't come up at the review stage, like you should be able to have an ongoing conversation with your supervisor or whoever's doing your review throughout the year. I think that fostering that type of relationship is really important.
But in the case that you do have some micro aggressions or things that come up in that way, first of all, I would make sure that you're really well versed on -- depending on the type of situation, I think it's really important to be well versed on some of your university or conference or HR policies to make sure that what they're saying to you is in line with all of the HR policies. I think that's important. And then it also gives you an opportunity to know what your rights are, for lack of a better word, to have that conversation.
But I also think that education is a really good way to combat some of that, and I think that the more that you can be educational and point things out as you're going along goes a long way. Some people are just going to have -- there's going to be some people that just don't understand. You see that a lot with the generational gap.
A story of mine is my best friend is from Mississippi. She -- her grandmother very much -- she's awesome. Grandma is wonderful. But she didn't have any experience with black folks, and I showed up at her house for a meal, and she looked at me like who are you? But now, as I've just continued to be around her, she'll call me up in Florida and make sure that I'm eating.
So I think it's just people have to come to things in their own time, and we have to respect that too. That's kind of my piece.
Anybody else have any ideas, thoughts? That's a really good question.
CHEVONNE MANSFIELD: It is. Sometimes if you lived a certain way your whole life and you were raised a certain way, and if you've been in a certain area or part of the country, you just maybe haven't been exposed to different things. So I try to keep that in mind. I try to have an open mind if I have a review and there's some micro aggressions going on.
I think what Jess said that it's important to have regular reviews or meet more frequently instead of once a year because you'll be aware of what's going on instead of once a year and you're hearing it for the first time. So if you're a supervisor, you can schedule quarterly meetings, or if you're a mid-level reporting to somebody else, you can request more.
I do think it's important, hey, you come into these meetings and if you know what you're coming into, you can be prepared and speak on your end of that. Besides that, I think it's definitely meeting more and addressing the issues that pop up however you see fit. But you definitely have to speak up for yourself, however it comes up, whether it's once a year or quarterly.
DENISE THOMPSON: Yeah, and I'll go ahead and just add with that, you can always agree to disagree. Hopefully, on the end of everyone's eval, there's a point for the employer as well as the worker to be able to write any additional comments, and I would say, don't be afraid to write a comment that is reflecting upon that evaluation that you had and something that you don't disagree. There's nothing they can do against you. You can write it for them, but at least you know that, hey, I would like to write an additional comment, and you write it based off what that evaluation was.
If it makes you feel better to say, hey, this may have come up. I don't really agree with it, and I just want to add a little bit more than maybe you've already written in your comments section of your self eval.
Don't be afraid, I feel this way and I want to say it, but I won't do it. If you put it in there, it's now in your file, and it shows that at some point in time you did not feel comfortable with something that was said, and now you have it on paper to help you out.
JESSICA POOLE: We have another question from the chat box. We are often told we have to be perfect and twice as good to be accepted, but given that those are unrealistic expectations that add all sorts of stress and trauma for minorities, how do you handle mistakes that are made so that your competency is not questioned? Particularly because your white male counterpart's mistakes are often overlooked.
Well, I did say it was going to be a fireside chat. It's a little warm.
ROMANDA NOBLE-WATSON: Well, I will -- I guess the one way you would handle it is always remember one thing. We're all human, which means you're going to make a mistake. The key is not making the same mistake and learn from your mistake. At the end of the day, people are allowed to voice their opinions. If your supervisor says, hey, you made this mistake. Okay. Thank you for the feedback, and I'll make the effort not to make the same mistake. Because the one thing for sure is you can't take the mistake back. All you can do is correct it.
You can't really worry about the fact that they overlook others -- again, going back to that character flaw. At the end of the day, you only can control what you can control, and I have a statement on my door out of a book that -- I have something that I read. It says, when you try to control everything, you end up controlling nothing.
So what you want to understand is you're going to make those mistakes. Some of them are egregious, some of them are minor. At the end of the day, you're going to make them. You just have to bounce back from them, correct it, and move forward, and just make a concerted effort not to make them again.
DENISE THOMPSON: I'll add to that a little bit. Just understand that, when you're in that situation, that you not feel you're being bullied. I'm going to say that in two ways.
One institution I was at, I just had a fan who didn't like me. The fan was in love with that sport and would continuously just keep writing e-mails to me and my supervisor because he didn't like the slang in which I wrote my football stories. Mind you, it's the same slang that ESPN and everybody else is definitely using now, so I guess I was ahead of the curve. So I had to realize this person, they're just a bully, and they're unhappy, and that's what it's going to be.
Then I went to another institution where it was actually the local beat writer, and he was continuously and continuously writing these e-mails, and I finally had a few conversations with supervisors above me, and they said, Denise, you know what happened is he's applied for your job and he didn't get it. So because he didn't get it, that's why he's feeling the need to continue writing these things.
It's beyond unprofessional, even if you're a beat writer and you wanted my job, the kind of e-mails that he was sending were very unprofessional.
So I think there has to come a time, where we mentioned earlier, sometimes it's not you, it's them. Don't get me wrong. You're going to get upset, and you're going to get riled, and you're going to say why me? Why are you picking on me? Is but at the end of the day, they're the ones that have the issue, and it's not you. When you realize that, that will help you get through a lot of situations because some people just aren't ready for change.
JESSICA POOLE: Yeah.
CHEVONNE MANSFIELD: Yeah. I promise you all that hard work of working extra hard and being perfect because we're in the spotlight because there's not many of us, it's going to pay off down the line because wherever you get to, where you want to be, whether it's a senior position or a bigger school or whatever your goals are, you'll be so much better probably than most people that get to that role because you've been doing a lot for so long and you've been pretty efficient.
I would say that -- it's kind of hard. We all have to do a lot just to be taken seriously, but it's going to definitely pay off for you in the long run. So keep working hard at what you're doing.
JESSICA POOLE: I kind of want to address this from a different angle. I think that we need to take some of the pressure off of ourselves by saying that we have to be perfect and twice as good. Like you have to be good, yes. You have to do your job and do it well and do it to the best of your ability, but you have to be realistic, and you have to -- like if you put so much pressure on yourself, the pressure is going to cause to you make mistakes.
So I think that really you need to put your feet where you are and realize you're going to make a mistake. You're not always going to be perfect, but the goal is to not make the same mistake twice and to grow from your mistake. Don't -- just don't make a mistake to make a mistake. Make a mistake, learn a lesson, and be better the next time. But don't worry so much about what everybody else is doing.
My mom tells me all the time, like stop looking at what everybody else is doing. Everybody else's journey and story is not yours, and you need to write your story. Write your story. You may be looking at somebody's chapter 10 and you're on chapter 5, and you just haven't gotten there yet.
So I think it's really important to keep things in perspective and make sure your journey is about you and not trying to be seen in the same light as your white male co-workers or anybody else, like take control of your journey and be really good where you are because they're not going to get you a job necessarily. They may know you, but you and your hard work and all of the things you're doing right and the networking and the people that you come across and who realize that you're working hard is going to get you to the next step.
So if you focus on the external and the other people, you end up hurting yourself. So I would just caution everyone to really keep your journey about you and not worry about other folks.
We've got another question. How can you aid yourself in becoming more noticeable to senior leadership as you seek promotion if there has never been a person of color at any leadership positions of your department? Another very good question.
ROMANDA NOBLE-WATSON: I'll leave that to the leaders.
CHEVONNE MANSFIELD: I could tell you, being involved outside of my day-to-day job has helped me greatly in my career, groups like CoSIDA and other groups of women leaders. You can start there, and hopefully there's a way you can get involved inside your own athletics department with various committees, but if there's no opportunity there to grow, then there are lots of resources on the outside. You can start with CoSIDA and one of our committees.
JESSICA POOLE: Yes, diversity and inclusion.
I also really think don't -- for example, in a couple years, I'll become the first African American women to be the president of CoSIDA, and like that's awesome, but I never looked at it as that. I just knew that I wanted to be in a position to -- in an influential position and wanted a leadership role and all that. Again, I think make sure that you're blooming where you're planted and being as good as what you are. That's what gets you to the next step.
I think that you have to have allies. We have to have people that don't look like us that can speak intelligently on our behalf and know our work ethic and know all of those things, so I think as everyone has alluded to, getting involved not only in your athletics department but outside of your athletics department is a really big way to network and make sure your name is out there as you continue to go on your journey and your career.
DENISE THOMPSON: I'll add to that a little bit. Make sure you're getting out and introducing yourself to people and that you're not only speaking to administrators and coaching staffs when you need something.
And then always, even with the student-athletes, if you know someone's name, then say it. Say, hi, Jessica, how are you doing this morning? Hi, Chevonne. Those are things that you need to do, and to be able to reach out, especially to the sports you're not working with, how those coaches learn your personality as well, and then they start speaking on your behalf, and you won't even realize it.
So it's like you have to build -- even if you start small and you start building your circle, they're going to realize, oh, she was the person who always asks questions and asks how we're doing.
And then sometimes you go to your administrators and you have to say, hey, I understand that I can't sit in on every meeting, but if there are any meetings related to this topic, I would love the opportunity to sit in and learn and see what you're doing because sometimes they don't know what you're interested in, and sometimes you have to sit there in your evals or in your one-on-ones that you have biweekly or weekly, express what your goals are, and if those things begin to change at any moment, you have to let them know, and hopefully they'll ask you how they can help you with those things.
And I think that's how you slowly maneuver your way around. As you said, just reach out to other people in the business that definitely they can help you.
JESSICA POOLE: I definitely think that making people aware of what your goals are and not being shy about it, really making people aware of what you want to do.
Okay. We've got a couple more questions. I recently graduated. Do you have any recommendations for making my resume stand out?
ROMANDA NOBLE-WATSON: I guess working closely with some of my student interns and having them, the presentation of the resume is really good, but the one thing I would say is once you submit that resume, be sure to follow up. That's what a lot of students coming out today, they'll say, well, I applied for this job, and I applied for that job. And I ask the question, how many weeks ago did you apply? Oh, about four. Okay. How many times have you called since then to even, one, make sure they received your information and, two, just to follow up to see when the position closes and things like that?
So outside of making sure that your resume, it tells your story on paper, just make sure you do the follow-up with that resume.
JESSICA POOLE: Great.
DENISE THOMPSON: I'll add to that, to make sure your cover letter is not a duplicate of your resume. Your cover letter should be telling your story, outside things and traits and using percentages. Maybe you gained 200 followers on your men's basketball account in the one year that you're there. Let them know things that are outside the box. It's two different resumes, but your cover letter is now telling your story, and it's telling your personality.
So when people are going through tons of resumes and tons of cover letters, the last thing I want to read is a dry cover letter that's not grabbing you. We're in communication. We're in the field of speaking our personality, and that's key. So make sure you're doing something to make yourself stand out and separate you from the best.
JESSICA POOLE: I totally agree. The retelling thing is big.
CHEVONNE MANSFIELD: Yeah, and I would say use any kind of examples or metrics whenever possible. Like Denise said, if you helped grow your social media presence, put that into numbers and figures because generic bullets isn't the only way to go on your resume. You want to show how you actually contributed.
JESSICA POOLE: Okay. We've got a couple more questions. Speaking on journey, how do you stay grounded on your journey and the chapter of your profession when your supervisor is forcing to you jump ahead of what you are comfortable with and are able to handle? That's another really good question.
DENISE THOMPSON: Phone a friend (Laughter).
CHEVONNE MANSFIELD: Sometimes you think you're not ready, but you are. Try it sometimes.
ROMANDA NOBLE-WATSON: Just go for it. Maybe they'll see something in you that you don't see in yourself. If they're telling you to move, then chances are they see you're ready to move. They may believe more in you than you believe in yourself.
JESSICA POOLE: So we probably have time for one more question, and I know there are a ton coming in. What we can maybe do is do a follow up, and we can answer them offline.
But we have time for one more question. The last question is how can people of color and allies effectively stress the importance of having visible people of color in the department leadership for student-athletes who are people of color?
ROMANDA NOBLE-WATSON: Wait, say that again. I'm sorry.
JESSICA POOLE: Sure. How can people of color and allies stress the importance of having people of color in the department leadership for student-athletes who are people of color? So basically, how do we stress the importance of having a diverse leadership?
CHEVONNE MANSFIELD: Especially when many student-athletes are people of color, right?
That was one of the main reasons, as a side note, why I came to Florida Memorial. We're an HBCU, and it's important to me that the student-athletes here, who are predominantly people of color, to have that representation like I had when I was coming through the business.
I think it has to start -- it has to be important to the person running the department or that area, but if it's not, then somehow we have to get that message out. I think, if it comes directly from a student-athlete, then that would be impactful as well.
JESSICA POOLE: Yeah. I think it's really, really, really vitally important right now that we make sure that we are -- and I don't want to say demanding because I think that demanding is a really strong word, but making sure that we are conveying the importance of it.
Given the way our society is made up, given the demographics of many of our athletic departments, it's very hard to say -- it's very hard for a student-athlete to be comfortable at places if they don't see anyone that looks like them.
So I think that in positions of leadership, I know that I'm always saying, let's look at it from the standpoint of inclusivity and what can we do to be better? Where are our gaps? Where are our blind spots? I think this is a place where allies and people of color can be resources to athletic directors and conference commissioners, and really this is where you can show some value and say, listen, I think that we're -- this is a blind spot, or we may want to think about this. Or have we thought about this? In relation to the student-athletes we're serving or the coaches we're serving even.
So I think it's really important for us to stand up and make sure that the voices are being heard.
DENISE THOMPSON: Yeah, I'll add to that. People have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable because that conversation is going to make them uncomfortable. They don't want to hear it. But you say, guess what, I'm the only minority, and I'm sitting in this room, and I do this every day.
When I look around and we preach, and we're going out and preaching inclusivity and diversity and I look around and don't see any, I think it's perfectly fine to say, so what are we doing as an institution and a staff -- because it requires our participation first, to encourage this. I think one of the things you can do is also work with your SAC. They're definitely one of the biggest places on campus that view diversity and inclusion in addition to community service. So I think maybe that's the conversation you have with them, those who are supposed to be the student voices who want to get into that.
But I think it's perfectly fine to have that conversation, and maybe you are hopping on different opportunities that may happen, like Spanish Heritage Month or Black History Month and things like that, but I think it's also okay to go ahead and share a story that came through your e-mail. Hey, guys, I thought this was a really good story. If you have time, read it. What are they going to tell you, you're trying to spread diversity? Okay. It's not the worst thing in America.
JESSICA POOLE: Any other thoughts?
Well, this has been -- I had a phenomenal time talking with my friends this afternoon. I'd like to thank our panelists and also thank Capital One, and thanks to Capital One, this webinar will be available on demand this afternoon on CoSIDA Connect. I know there's a lot of questions we didn't get to, so I would encourage you guys let's take it to CoSIDA Connect, and we can answer questions there.
Join us next week for Teachable Tuesdays: New Staff, New Roles. I'd like to thank everyone for joining us and have a great rest of your week.
ROMANDA NOBLE-WATSON: Thanks for having me.
DENISE THOMPSON: Bye, everyone.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports