Don’t Make Assumptions
SPECIAL EPISODE: Diversity Matters in the Middle Market. Brought to you in collaboration with the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG). In today’s conversation, we are joined by Ariail Barker, Senior Director of Business Development & Sponsor Coverage with 7 Mile Advisors, a boutique middle-market investment banking firm. She is also the host of the Deal Us In Podcast, which promotes the advancement of women in private equity and finance. We talk about the changing landscape of work and life and how the pandemic has helped people realize that ‘butt in seat’ time is not as necessary as they once believed. You’ll hear about the importance of empathy and advocating for your own group’s needs, and we unpack some of the main misconceptions about women in the workplace and why they are damaging. Ariail shares how she believes having a child can be a huge catalyst for a woman’s career and urges listeners to ignore feedback outside of their chosen circle.
SPECIAL EPISODE: Diversity Matters in the Middle Market. Brought to you in collaboration with the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG).
In today’s conversation, we are joined by Ariail Barker, Senior Director of Business Development & Sponsor Coverage with 7 Mile Advisors, a boutique middle-market investment banking firm. She is also the host of the Deal Us In Podcast, which promotes the advancement of women in private equity and finance. We talk about the changing landscape of work and life and how the pandemic has helped people realize that ‘butt in seat’ time is not as necessary as they once believed. You’ll hear about the importance of empathy and advocating for your own group’s needs, and we unpack some of the main misconceptions about women in the workplace and why they are damaging. Ariail shares how she believes having a child can be a huge catalyst for a woman’s career and urges listeners to ignore feedback outside of their chosen circle.
Key Points From This Episode
- Ariail shares what she has learned hosting the Deal Us In podcast.
- Her observation that work-life is normalizing, but home life is still in a pandemic situation.
- Why there has always been a sense of flexibility built into 7 Mile’s way of doing things.
- How the pandemic helped them to realize that butt-in-seat time is not necessary.
- The importance of empathy and advocating for your own group’s needs.
- Misconceptions about women in the workplace and why they are damaging.
- How having a child can be a huge catalyst for someone’s career.
- The myth of ‘having it all’ and why you have to understand there are trade-offs.
- How the mindset of not internalizing people’s feedback helped her.
- How being happy is the most important thing to bring to your work and family life.
[00:00:02] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to the Diversity Matters in the Middle Market Podcast, where industry leaders share their compelling growth stories and the unseen challenges they have overcome. Our goal is to inform and inspire our listeners to take action and make diversity, equality and inclusion a pillar of your organization. This is a production of the Association for Corporate Growth, ACG and Connection Builders
[00:00:24] AD: Hi, everyone. Welcome to an episode of the Diversity Matters in the Middle Market Podcast. I’m your host, Alex Drost. Today, we are joined by Ariail Barker, Senior Director of Business Development & Sponsor Coverage with 7 Mile Advisors, a boutique middle market investment banking firm. Ariail is also the co-host of the Deal Us In podcast, which promotes the advancement of women in private equity and finance. Ariail shares her thoughts on how we can make a more inclusive workplace by not making assumptions, and instead, listening and having empathy for others. All right. Let’s jump in.
Ariail, welcome to Diversity Matters in the Middle Market Podcast. Excited to have you here today.
[00:01:01] AB: Thank you for having me.
[00:01:02] AD: Why don’t we start off and just get a little bit of background. Won’t you share a little bit about yourself and what got us to this conversation here today?
[00:01:08] AB: Yeah, absolutely. I currently sit in a role at 7 Mile Advisors. We’re a boutique investment bank based in Charlotte, but serving clients globally. In that role as senior director, I oversee our marketing, business development and our sponsor coverage initiatives, which is how I’ve been involved with ACG over the last three to four years, both at our regional Charlotte chapter as well as the larger organization as a whole. In that role, obviously, building relationships and business development is a big piece of that, so I kind of consider myself over here at 7 Mile as the professional dot connector at the firm. As part of that, I’ve had a great opportunity to sit generally on the other side of these podcasts. Normally, I’m actually the host, so it’s nice to be here today on the other side, but I co-host Deal Us In, which is actually a podcast around promoting the advancement of women and private equity in finance. We put that on and with McGuireWoods. Thank you for having me.
[00:02:07] AD: Absolutely, I appreciate you being here. I’m going to talk to our listeners just for a minute. The reason I wanted to invite Ariail on here is, knowing that she has been a co-host of the Deal Us In podcasts and has spent time having these conversations around the site. I know from my own experience of hosting podcasts, you tend to pick up on things. You kind of learn as you’re talking to other people. Really, these are all about having good quality discussion dialogue. I figured what would make a lot of sense here today is, if you could just start with sharing some of your experience around hosting the podcast. What are some of the topics that have come out? What are some of the lessons? We’ll just peel into some of those a little bit more for our listeners today?
[00:02:43] AB: Yeah. The Deal Us In podcast specifically is one that we look at from kind of two different angles. We look at it from the human factor piece of being a woman in private equity and finance. We most recently did an episode talking through how to have tough conversations at home and at work. Because what we’re experiencing and conversations I’ve had with other women is that the working life is starting to return to a little bit of normalcy post-pandemic. We’re back in the office, we’re back traveling, and especially in a business development role, that is kind of shifting back to how it used to be on the road, places to go, having to find childcare.
Whereas, home life is still very much in a pandemic situation. Childcare is not as formalized as it used to be. There are still, many of us dealing with two-week quarantines because someone in our child’s class or daycare has been exposed or had COVID. That’s forcing us to have these really tough conversations at work about needing more flexibility, and at home, needing our partner or our spouse to step up and take on slightly more responsibility around the house than previously. That’s when we’ve had – we’re in the process of planning for another episode about the strengths of women negotiating in M&A setting. That’s one that’s talking a little bit more about hard professional skills and why women actually excel in negotiating even though, so often you hear women are not good at negotiating for a variety of reasons. That’s just kind of a sound bite that we feel like is irrelevant. I mean, it should be wiped out.
[00:04:23] AD: I want to come back and talk on that in a minute. But first, let’s talk about the flexibility comments. Just talk a little more about that. Where have you experienced or what have others shared with you that they’ve experienced? How does it become a challenge in your career? Then, how do we help create an environment to overcome that?
[00:04:37] AB: Yeah. I think, we as in 7 Mile has always understood that everyone needs flexibility to balance work life and home life. I keep hearing this thrown around, it’s not balancing work life and home life. It’s integrating work and home. Pre-pandemic, there was always a sense of flexibility. If someone needed to take a child to the doctor, anything like that, being out of the office wasn’t something that was frowned upon. But that butt in seat time, as any financial services firm knows, was really important. You got there at eight, and you didn’t leave before six on an early night.
I think what we’ve realized is that during the pandemic, that integration is becoming a lot stronger. And that for lack of a better word, butt in seat time, it’s just not necessary. I think the flexibility has to be there, because the world as we know, it is not going to shift back to exactly how it was before. My husband now works from home full time, and so me, working from home is not a great fit, because both of us on the phone all day is kind of tough. For me, flexibility is coming back into the office, but being able to leave early. I think we just have to define what flexibility means for different people and how it’s going to suit them being able to produce the highest quality work for their employer at the end of the day, while taking care of what has to be done at home.
[00:06:07] AD: I want to talk about that from a diversity standpoint, for a moment here. Our whole objective of the Diversity Matters Podcast here is to open up some thinking around where there might be structural challenges in the current workforce, that make it challenging for minority groups to have appropriate representation across the industry. What you just pointed out, which I think is one that anyone who works in professional services can probably admit to, at some level, especially pre-pandemic, there was a butts in seat type of mentality. Most firms that had a lot of commonality across the industry. What you’re describing is, taking for example, as a female in the workplace who may have other responsibilities, that extra flexibility is helpful. But that’s not just for women, that’s for anyone. Understanding that flexibility is part of what can make a better and more engaged workforce in general.
But in particular, if you’re talking about a mother who has a child to take care of, that might also look different than the father who is at work and actually in that situation. This is all about how we – okay. We have to realize that flexibility may not be important to the man as much as a woman and that’s unique to everyone’s situation. But if we don’t create that extra flexibility, then it’s going to lock out whoever might need that flexibility to be successful.
[00:07:27] AB: Yep. I think it all goes back to empathizing. Even if you don’t have the same experience as somebody else, empathizing with their experience, but also it comes back to each individual group has to speak up for themselves. As a woman, I’m involved with the deals and podcasts, because I understand how it is to be a woman in this industry. I feel like people who are from different minority groups, or maybe have a higher stress of dealing with elderly parents. It’s important for them to speak up and really voice their needs. Because what I’ve also learned is, a lot of people don’t know what they don’t know. This systemic kind of lack of diversity, I don’t think it’s necessarily there, because people are, “Oh! I want to keep women out of the C-suite. I want to keep women off of deal teams.”
That’s not the case. It’s that the men who have built these firms, they have a different experience than women. So they are creating a work environment that’s suitable for them, because that’s what they know. I think as different groups of people are forcing their way to the table, you have to speak up about your truth. You can’t just blend in and say, “Okay. I’m going to make this situation work for me.” No, you owe it to the people coming behind you to create a situation that is inclusive for a variety of different groups of people.
[00:08:55] AD: I think it’s a really important point, you said there. You need to – if you find yourself in a situation where there are challenges in the workplace, you need to be a vocal advocate around that to make sure others understand it. Mainly, because the point you brought up, everyone only knows what you know, right? We only know our own lived experiences. This is a comment you had said to me when we were prepping for this recording. You had said that the idea of working dad versus working mom. Just thinking through it a professional services firm and I can only speak from my experiences and some of those I know that are successful leaders and professional services firms.
Those that are typically men and typically white men, if they have a family, they typically have a stay-at-home wife that helps take care of the children. Again, I’m generalizing, not every situation is the same. But if that is a relatively common theme, and I’d ask our listeners just to think about who you know, and I bet that’s a theme that you see. The mentality of that individual male running the firm about flexibility and the need to be able to be flexible to be able to integrate work-life balance and not be in the office all the time might look a lot different than for the mother that is trying to work through that. Is that right to think about it like that?
[00:10:13] AB: Yeah. I think a perfect example is the maternity policy at 7 Mile. There has only ever been one woman ahead of me that had children. When I became pregnant and brought it up, there was no maternity policy. It was do whatever is best for you, which they felt like was very inclusive. It was, you choose. It was very tough to say, “Okay. Am I going to take six weeks? Am I going to take 12 weeks?” I speak about this vocally. I personally decided to only take six weeks. That was a personal decision. I know a lot of people feel differently, but a thing, I feel like I should speak my truth when people don’t want to always take that full 12 weeks. But I was very vocal in saying, “Hey! I think we need to put a formal maternity and paternity policy in place. Because I know there’s younger women in the firm who I hope are still here when they’re having children. I don’t want them to have the same situation where they had to deal with the internal struggle of what maternity policy should I propose to them for me to take, which is just kind of a tough ground to walk.” Again, there was no ill will, no one meant anything by it. It just wasn’t something that they had ever previously dealt with.
[00:11:28] ANNOUNCER: Today’s episode is brought to you by Connection Builders, helping middle market professionals connect, grow and excel in their careers.
[00:11:36] AD: I think that’s another really important point. I’m thinking through my previous experience working in a middle market investment bank, there was no policy around it. It didn’t exist. Your point that you made, the mentality was, we’ll, do what’s best for you. I think that oftentimes, and I think that’s a common theme, especially in smaller firms. That may be coming from a very good place. What it did, if I’m hearing your right is it put you in that position to have to call that decision. Someone may not feel confident enough to stand up for what they fully need or want in that situation, your point is, if you formalize it and put it in writing and make sure that’s there, it prevents that from happening in the future and allows that individual to take the time that’s needed for them.
[00:12:26] AB: Yep, absolutely. I think if you have it in place where people can opt in and not feel like they’re having to ask for it, it just makes it more comfortable, and it doesn’t look like it’s an allowance that’s being made for you, and that you should be grateful for. It’s something that you are owed.
[00:12:44] AD: I like that. I think that’s an important point. By doing that, again, this comes back to you. By structuring that into your company’s policies, into your organization. It creates a culture where someone who wants to start a family and have a child or woman that wants to have a child can feel comfortable knowing that there’s going to be time and space for them to take off and is part of that process. I think it’s a really good point.
Let’s go back and talk a little bit about some of the misconceptions of women. In this, I’m sure you’ve experienced yourself and other guests on your podcast have probably shared some experience around this. What are some of the common misconceptions that exist out there?
[00:13:24] AB: There are a lot, unfortunately. I think this is what we have learned from doing the deals in podcast, is that there’s a lot of assumptions made. I will preface all of this by saying, the worst thing you can do in terms of advancing women or different minority groups is making assumptions. Because I’ve heard just as many stories of women saying, “They assumed I wanted a female mentor and I ended up with someone that we didn’t get along personality wise at all. I really would have preferred a man, but they assumed I would want a woman.” Don’t ever assume would be my first thing here.
But what we have found is, some of those assumptions we hear is, women are not good at negotiating. They empathize too much. They want everyone at the table to be happy. I can tell you, the women I know that are in this industry, they might want everybody to be happy, but they sure want to be the winner and they want their client to be the winner. I think it’s absolutely silly that people think that women cannot negotiate. I think they bring a lot of strengths to the table. In terms of bringing that empathy in, and bringing everybody to a common point where you can actually negotiate and have a conversation. But I think it’s overlooked very often and women are seen as kind of the weak link in those situations.
I think the other one is that women don’t move up because it is too difficult or it not inclusive enough. I do think the pandemic has forced a lot of women out of the workforce and unfortunately, there is no way for a lot of people to manage. But If you look at our industries, specifically, I do think there’s a lot of flexibility that was innately already built into what we do. I didn’t personally see that fallout. So I think that’s another assumption is like, women don’t want to move up because they don’t want that time commitment. Well, that’s ridiculous. No one is working in this industry because they like complacency, or to not be challenged. Again, these things, but they come up and you hear women talk about reviews that they’ve had or discussions that they’ve had with management. It’s kind of insane how many, I’ll use the word again, assumptions are made. I think it starts with women turning around and not making assumptions about the women or the men coming behind them and what they need. But then also, just different groups, just listening. Just listen to what people tell you and take any demographic pieces out of the equation.
[00:16:01] AD: The don’t assume, I think that’s – we know the old adage, why you assume, what happens when you assume, right? That goes both ways. What you’re saying is, as a business, as a leader, as a leader in a firm. leader in a business, I should not make an assumption that because you’re a woman, you naturally aren’t going to be good at this or have a desire for that, whatever it might be. I really want to talk to listeners and make sure you’re really thoughtful and intentional about this one. Because I think a lot of us have a lot of assumptions and preconceived notions of the world that we automatically operate on and they’re kind of like the subconscious bias that we don’t even recognize exist in some of our internal thinking.
[00:16:41] AB: Because you wouldn’t believe the stories I’ve heard of. “I had a child, so my boss assumed I didn’t want the promotion, because I wouldn’t want to take on that responsibility” or “I was pregnant, and so my boss assumed that I didn’t want to move into a job that required more travel.” The assumptions can kind of knock women back in a lot of different ways, which is why I said it’s important to have the conversation and listen, because there’s just as many women out there that you assume. Okay. They’re in their childbearing years, they want to have kids, they want more flexibility. That might not be the case at all. They may be completely leaning into their career and not planning to have children and don’t want flexibility or anything that resembles flexibility. I do think that is a really important point of, yes, I think there’s a lot of women and working moms out there, and we’re trying to have this dialogue. But there’s a lot of women out there that don’t want to be part of that dialogue either, and they don’t want to be working moms. That’s great, too. I think we have to be careful not to become polarizing.
[00:17:49] AD: You said, listen, right? Listen, like go ask questions, listen, be open minded, don’t jump to conclusions and assumptions about how things might be. Again, this all kind of goes back to a little bit of that bias, right? Making sure we all have some level of bias built into us and kind of preconceived thoughts of things. Make sure to check yourself, and question that, and then go and ask others, go and say, “Hey! What do you want or what do you think about this?” So that you can gather those other ideas and create the right environment that becomes more conducive to helping promote and helping bring others up to the table.
Let me ask a question to you about the work-life balance. This is one that there’s a perception and I can speak from a male perspective, working in the industry previously, and what I’ve heard, and seen and just I think the reality in many cases. That if you’re in investment banking, and you go through that kind of that mid to senior career transition, there’s a lot of workload that comes behind that. It’s a very demanding job. There might be this bias that well, a woman who’s having a family isn’t going to want to do that or isn’t going to be able to do that. What do you say to something like that?
[00:19:00] AB: I would say that in most cases, and I’ve had a lot of conversations that have ended like this. That having a child ends up being a massive catalyst to women’s careers. I would be very interested to go back and look at people’s resumes, and match up best years of their career promotions to when they had children. Because I think, a lot of women and I put myself in this bucket, you have a kid and you have so much to prove that this child isn’t going to set you back professionally. I have a one-year-old and in the last year, I’ve hired four people for a team that I oversee. I’ve been promoted. I’ve had the best KPIs of my career. I’m sure going into that, there could have been the assumption of, she’s going to have less time. I can tell you, you become much more efficient when you become a mom. There’s something that turns on and you just get things done quicker. But you also, you do have something to prove. Unfortunately, you do. You have to show everybody that you’re still leaning into your career, if that’s an important piece of your life.
I think the other thing I was bringing up about work-life balance, just speaking to like women who might be listening and don’t have children yet is, the idea of you can have it all is a myth. You cannot have it all. You can attempt to have it all, but you can’t have it all at the same time. You can’t be in a 5:30 meeting, and also pick your child up from daycare. You can’t fly to Dallas for a management meeting, and also tuck your kid and to bed that night. You just literally, logistically cannot do it all, and you have to go into it eyes wide open, that you are going to miss things, There’s tradeoffs. If you decide to be a working mom, you are going to miss things at home. When you’re at home, you’re going to miss things at work. It’s not the end of the world, you just have to learn how to let it go and not worry about what you’re missing. Because at the end of the day, like I said, look back at my last year, there’s a lot of other women that are the same way. Those little things that you’re missing are not the end of the world. It’s all in the aggregate. You’re coming out way ahead, personally and professionally. But you do have to just be aware of it. That’s the case.
[00:21:22] AD: You said, I think two sides of that. For you as an individual, you had to accept that you can’t do it all and just know there’s going to be some tradeoffs. You have to let that go on both ends, on both the family side and the professional side, personal and professional. Knowing that there’s no way you’re going to do it all and pull it all off. At the same time, you said that, because of the life event, the catalyst, you find yourself in a position where you’re more productive, you’re more efficient, you’re getting things done, you’re still accomplishing all of that. You’ve said that the last year, you’ve hired four people, you’ve hit your best KPIs, you’re having career success all along the way. What jumps out to me from that, and I think this is really important. Again, this goes back to don’t make assumptions and make sure to listen, and ask and understand.
First off, success has a lot more to do with personal time management and effectiveness than it does what you actually do, like hours in the day kind of thing. We’ve all been in those situations where we work a lot of hours and all of a sudden, we get the same amount of stuff done in a lot less hours because we had more responsibility put on our plate, right? Exactly what you’re describing. If I’m a leader and I have women in my organization, or someone that is going to be having additional outside responsibilities for whatever the reason might be. But in this context of this conversation, having a child. You have to understand that you shouldn’t jump to a conclusion that person can’t do the workload. They’re all of a sudden not going to be able to keep up or anything’s going to change, and make sure you create that environment to help them with that. But also, I get it. I really liked that idea of the tradeoff.
[00:22:55] ANNOUNCER: Today’s episode is brought to you by the Association for Corporate Growth, the premier M&A deal making community with a mission to drive middle market growth.
[00:23:06] AD: So let me ask for you then, looking back, year end of this now. Congratulations. A year of kind of working through this new balance as catalysts. What are maybe some of the biggest takeaways other than you can’t do it all. But are there any like certain lessons or anything where you’re like, this mindset, or something really helped me get through all this?
[00:23:25] AB: I think for me, it was not internalizing anybody else’s feedback about my life. Basically, your team is your nuclear family. For me, it’s like my team is myself, and my husband and my son. When I was figuring out how am I going to manage all of this. Like I said, I was in the middle of building out a team when my son was born. I chose to take six weeks off, and my son started daycare at seven weeks. Well, for me, I did a ton of prep before he was born. I was on a waiting list for one of the best daycares in Charlotte before we were even married, so definitely before I was pregnant. I got a lot of negative feedback about how could you possibly be sending him to daycare. But for me, that was my team’s path forward, was, I wanted to get back to work. My career was very important to me. I had done the diligence. I knew he was going to be in a very safe, stable environment that was 10 minutes from the office if I had to get there. That was the tradeoff.
I was willing to say, I’m not going to stay home with him, but I’ve done all these things to make sure he’s in a great place and I’m in a great place personally. I look back and I still have a lot of people say like, “Oh! You didn’t take 12 weeks. This magic 12-week number. You didn’t take 12 weeks. You only took six, seven weeks.” Well, for me personally, I was happier at home because I was happy professionally. I think I personally dealt with a lot less postpartum depression issues, because I was using my brain, and I was having adult conversations, and I was very much me. I was me, but with baby Gray. I didn’t have any kind of identity crisis after he was born, because so much of my life was still very stable. But those were tradeoffs. I know a lot of people who say, I’m not setting foot back in that office before 12 weeks. I’m not sending them to daycare before six months. Well, okay. We’ve got three months to make up. What’s your trade off? Are you going to hire a very expensive nanny? Are you going to have family in? It all comes back to kind of how do you make those decisions. I think you just have to make the best decision that you can, and stick with it and not listen to other people’s opinions because there are a lot of opinions.
[00:25:47] AD: I think that’s great advice. Don’t internalize feedback. I want to point out that – and this is some of the reason we’re doing this podcast and some of the reason that I think this matter. I can assure you that if a man has a baby, starts a family and returns to work in less than six weeks, no one is looking around and saying, “You’re coming back to work that early. What are you doing back here this early? You should take this time off.”
[00:26:10] AB: No. It’s, “Where have you been?”
[00:26:11] AD: Exactly. It’s, “Oh! You’re taking six weeks off. What do you need six weeks for?” It’s a totally different culture and mentality around it. But that’s some of the challenge here, underlying all of that, right? Because you, you as a professional not only had to learn how to juggle and balance an entirely new part of your life and responsibility in your life on top of your career. So you’re juggling that, but you’re also dealing with outside forces that are kind of working against you in some ways, right? That the cultural norm is, “What are you doing? You’re going back to work that early.”
That’s a challenge that men just simply do not have to deal with in the workplace, when it comes to starting a family. That affects the way people think and act. Again, I think it’s great. You said, don’t internalize it, don’t let it come in. But when you hear it, I mean, there’s no way that doesn’t like at some level, like you still have to process through it and tell yourself not to deal with it, right? It’s not fun. It’s not like positive and necessarily feedback. That’s unfortunate, but that is the reality. But you’re saying for listeners that may be going through this, just don’t internalize, don’t worry about it. Do what’s best for you and what’s right for you.
[00:27:16] AB: Yeah, it’s your life. You create your own happiness. Other people’s opinions is not going to create your happiness. I think that’s the elusive thing everyone’s trying to find with this work-life balance/integration is, what makes you happy? Well, at the end of the day, if working makes you happy, then figure out how to balance that with your family to where you can spend more time working. I strongly believe that if you are happy, it doesn’t matter if you’re home eight hours a day with your kid or two hours a day, or whatever it is. If you’re happy, and that’s what you’re giving them when you’re present, that’s more important than anything else.
But I do think it’s an important point that you made about, people just – I think a lot of times take it for granted what women are dealing with. I don’t know the percentages off the top of my head. I think one of my colleagues did it as a Deal Us In episode, talking about the percentage of home life items that women take care of. It’s like you’re doing 100% of your job. Then if you go home, you’re also taking care of 95% of the things at the house. Whereas, your husband is doing 100% of his job and he’s dealing with 5% of the things at the house. I think a lot of that is just being aware of what your female counterparts may have on their plate, or your colleagues or someone that works for you. Because it is frankly, very different. I think if we act blind to that, then that’s just silly.
[00:28:37] AD: I’m going to use that to kind of do a recap here. We tie that all the way back to the beginning of our conversation. What you just said there was the importance of understanding that everyone’s got a different challenge, having empathy, and creating an environment that’s best for people. We started our conversation really around the importance of flexibility, creating a flexible environment. Again, having empathy for other people and understanding that needs are different, and that, remembering that you don’t know what you don’t know. That on two sides means that, if I’m a decision maker, I need to be open, and listen in try to understand from other people. But at the same time, if I’m someone that finds myself in a position that I don’t feel like my needs are being heard, I need to be vocal, I need to be an advocate, I need to educate someone on that so that they can understand some of the challenges I have.
Now, this all comes down to again, not making assumptions, making sure you’re listening, making sure that you are really trying to understand the challenges others are having, not jumping to conclusions about what they might want or might not want and that you have that discussion. And listen to really find and design the environment that can be most successful to build that diverse workforce. Then you speaking a little bit for a personal standpoint and from your experience around being a mother, and working and balancing all of this. One, you said, you can’t internalize feedback. You have to do what’s right for you and you have to do what you think is right for you and your family, and what makes you happy and your family to be in the best place, so you don’t worry about what other people say, and you do what’s right for you. But also understanding that there’s going to be tradeoffs in that situation. You can’t do it all. You can’t accomplish everything. If you accept there’s going to be tradeoffs, and you focus on not internalizing feedback and doing what’s right for you, and then you communicate and you hopefully – you work in an environment that has that empathy, has that understanding, doesn’t make assumptions and builds the right flexibility. That’s how we’re going to be successful at it, making sure that we have more women at the table to be representative in this industry.
Ariail, I really appreciate you coming on here today. Again, to our listeners, make sure to check out the Deal Us In podcast, we’ll make sure it’s linked in the show notes below. For our listeners, how can they get in touch with you?
[00:30:44] AB: Easiest way is to find me on LinkedIn and you will probably look in the show notes to see how to spell my first name. There are a lot of vowels. But please, feel free to shoot me a message on there. I would love to connect with anybody that either just wants to kind of talk about their experiences, or always, if you would be interested in being a guest on Deal Us In. Would love to chat.
[00:31:03] AD: Awesome. We’ll make sure that is linked again in the show notes below. Again, appreciate you being on here today. It’s been an awesome conversation.
[00:31:09] AB: Yeah. Thank you so much for having me.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[00:31:12] ANNOUNCER: Thank you for tuning in to today’s episode of the Diversity Matters in the Middle Market Podcast. We hope you enjoyed our content and encourage you to take action today. While no individual will bring all the change necessary, we can all make an impact. If you enjoyed our content, please share with your network. This is a production of the Association for Corporate Growth, ACG and Connection Builders.