Whether they inspire us to ignite change, or simply help us understand a unique perspective, the conversations we share move us forward.
As we honour Women’s History Month and the visionaries who have driven progress across history and around the world, we asked four Highspot employees to share their stories. Here are the conversations that inspired them — and the ideas that will move the next generation of change-makers.
On Acting with Integrity
My professor shared words of wisdom with me as I set out to define my future and career after graduating. He said, “Never ever, ever violate your integrity.” I remember smiling and not taking his words too seriously. It wasn’t until I set off interviewing and making my own place in the world that those words started to really resonate with me.
This motto has helped define my professional career, my relationships with my friends and colleagues, as well as the type of wife and mom I choose to be. It is a reminder to stay true to my beliefs and make decisions I stand for. Even when faced with adversity, I have challenged myself to speak and react in ways that I can be proud of in the future.
I’m sure my professor didn’t realise the effect those words would have on me. In situations where I’ve had to have tough conversations, I have reminded myself to act with integrity and class.
–Karishma Patel, Services Executive
On Choosing Happiness
In middle school, I was a cheerleader — and a good one. I loved the sport and the performances. But I never quite felt like I was part of the team – I just didn’t click with my teammates. The feeling stuck with me, and eventually I started to dread going to practice. It was consuming my day.
During a conversation with my therapist, I told him that I was thinking about quitting cheerleading. And, to my surprise, he told me to do it. “You shouldn’t do anything you’re not 100% enjoying,” he said. Following his advice, I left the team and continued to pursue cheer outside of school. And I was much happier.
His words have helped me leave other negative situations too, like all-consuming jobs. Of course, you should always give a bad situation a chance to blow over. But at some point you can and should prioritise your own happiness and do the things you’re passionate about.
–Rebecca Summers, Senior Accountant
On Finding Your Own Path
My parents always hoped that I would marry someone who would take care of me. This expectation is normal in the culture I come from, where uniformity is encouraged, and women often make the choice between having a career or a family.
Eventually, I moved to America for the opportunity to have both. Yet, I still struggled to balance my roles as a person, a woman, a mother, and a wife. There were still expectations and stigmas from my culture that I carried with me.
Through conversations with my female colleagues, especially those from similar backgrounds, I’ve come to see that I’m not alone in this struggle, and that these challenges make me a better leader.
In balancing my dreams against traditional expectations, I’ve learned to blend different perspectives, respect those who disagree with me, and advocate for myself. At the end of the day, don’t worry about what others expect of you. Pursue what you love. It’s your life and your choice — because you define who you want to become, not others.
–Fumiyo Conway-Yasuyama, Senior Software Engineering Manager
On the Power of Representation
In high school, I met my mom’s friend who I considered the pinnacle of success. She had graduated from college and was working at Microsoft. She was passionate about what she did, had bought a house, and was in my eyes, excelling in life.
I immediately knew I wanted to be like her and asked her what I needed to do at college to achieve the same things. Her advice: If I had any interest in computers or programming, I should get a degree in computer science. It wasn’t something I had ever considered for myself — and something many women then and now self-select out of. But I wanted to be like her, so I pursued it.
That conversation set my course for college and my future career. After many years in tech, I look for opportunities to inspire other young women in the same way. All it takes is one conversation to inspire someone to do something they may never have thought of otherwise.
–Kelly Sable, Senior Technical Project Manager
It Starts With Conversation
What conversations have impacted your life? Share your story with us on social media using the hashtag #ItStartsWithConversation — and be sure to check back for more stories from our Highspot team.