I participated in a Role Model Program. The program is created by the New York Coalition of 100 Black Women. They collaborated with L’Oreal USA. A group of college students would get the opportunity to have a mentor to shadow in their respective field. We had workshops on etiquette, “dress for success” and social networking. There was a panel discussion on work politics and managing your finances.
I had the pleasure of having Cecilia Nelson from L’Oreal USA as a mentor. She works with the diversity and inclusion team at L’Oreal. I had the opportunity to shadow her. Therefore, I was introduced to the communications department at L’Oreal.
I sat down to speak with Mora Neilson, the AVP of L’Oreal Paris Marketing and she told me about her experiences in Marketing. She showed me the board “Women of Worth.” The “women of worth” are women who dedicated their efforts to making a difference in the lives of other women. L’Oreal honors and celebrates the efforts of women from various countries.
I spoke with Matthew DiGirolamo, the Chief Communications Officer of External Communications at L’Oreal. Matthew was an English major with a minor in Women’s Studies. He’s passionate about literature, communications and issues that pertain to women. Prior to coming to L’Oreal, he worked for non-profits in LA. He was involved in women’s organizations. As the chief communications officer, he emphasized his strong work ethic as what led him to his role.
“At any moment, anything could be taken away, you have to keep pushing” – Matthew DiGirolamo.
How to Combat Discrimination & Sexism
Discrimination was a topic at the panel discussion. The panel discussion included Terrie Williams, an author and publicist. Dominque Hart, a founder, and CEO of an advertising agency. Edward Bullock, VP of diversity and inclusion at L’Oreal. Raven Robinson, past Role Model participant and the founder of a public relations firm.
The panel discussed how to approach situations that make you uncomfortable in the workplace. You may find yourself in a situation where due to your race or gender, you are discriminated. You may be taking advantage off or not being acknowledged. The question becomes, how do you handle this?
Address the Issue: It’s essential to speak up and be honest. If your honesty is not welcome, consider whether that’s the environment that you want to be in. Hart commented on being in a situation where she would be in a meeting. She would get hit on or wasn’t taken seriously. However, she would always address the issue. Address the unwanted flirtatious remarks in or outside of the workplace. Her honesty was appreciated because not many people would be direct.
Exhibit Excellence: The way we carry ourselves, the way we present ourselves to the world is important. Other people may look at you and have their own biases but you have to be able to do work that is excellent. You have to be able to deliver. You shouldn’t allow others to accept or buy into a negative stereotype of a race or gender.
“When you get give, When you learn, teach”: You have to give back at the end of the day. If someone takes the time to support you, to mentor you, do the same for someone else. Pass the information on.