Women Of The C-Suite: “Your female traits are not weaknesses — they are your biggest assets”, With Christina Beavis

A women’s insightfulness, sensitive nature and self-awareness are of huge benefit to businesses. These are the traits that make us better leaders. For years I felt like I needed to hide those parts of my personality. It took me years to realize...

“Your female traits are not weaknesses — they are your biggest assets. A women’s insightfulness, sensitive nature and self-awareness are of huge benefit to businesses. These are the traits that make us better leaders. For years I felt like I needed to hide those parts of my personality. It took me years to realize the value and unique perspective that I brought to the business. Qualities like leadership, emotional IQ, multi-tasking and problem solving skills cannot be easily replaced or taught.”

I had the pleasure of interviewing Christina Beavis, Chief Operating Officer of Vox Populi Registry. Internally, Christina is responsible for the day-to-day leadership and general management of the company. Externally, she helps brands effectively engage in honest dialogue with their customers, eliminating brand dissonance and challenging brands to bravely face their customers and ‘own their sh*t’.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Honestly…the economic crash of 2008. At the time, I was a successful business consultant. I made the choice to take a proper maternity leave when I had my third child and gave up my client base. The recession hit and unfortunately consulting work was no longer paying the bills. I started working with Momentous in an entry level position just to pay my mortgage; through smart and hard work, I was able to advance to where I am today. It’s interesting how the seemingly negative things in life can lead to something much more positive.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

Moving to the Turks! Five years ago, I was provided the opportunity to move my family to the Turks and Caicos Islands. Initially, we committed to staying for 2 years, but it’s been such an eye-opening experience that we can’t see ourselves leaving.

On a professional level, we had the opportunity of creating an agile, remote working team — our hiring is no longer restricted by geography. And no one complains about team retreats at office HQ!

On a personal level, avoiding long commutes and the slow-paced way of life has created more time to spend with family and friends. And of course, there’s the beach!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I remember it clearly! Early in my career, I was working for a strong female role model. Unbeknownst to me, I had a habit of rolling my eyes at her. I was completely unaware of this behaviour.

People are often unaware of how they are portraying themselves, and as a leader, it’s important for us to nurture and help our employees understand and overcome their weaknesses. It was difficult for me to be continually reminded about this bad habit, but the feedback was communicated authentically, from the heart, respectfully and with very positive intentions. I learned a lot from my managers approach in this scenario and I certainly wouldn’t have grown as wisely if it wasn’t for her.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Our motto is ‘own your sh*t’. We are obsessively dedicated to eliminating brand dissonance. We help brands engage in honest dialogue with their customers as we firmly believe that brands who are afraid of feedback will fail. In this digital age, you can no longer hide from your mistakes — you must recognize your faults in advance, be the first to vocalize them and proactively leverage the situation as an opportunity to create customers for life.

We create innovation through feedback; constructive customer feedback can lead to innovation by collecting and managing criticism to know how and where to invest energy and resources in the future. A progressive feedback platform can help you improve products or services to better serve your customers, and inspire new ideas from the people who are directly connected to your brand. A .SUCKS domain is a useful tool to funnel criticism to one location where you can react and manage it accordingly.

The philosophy employed by our brand is the same I have held throughout my career, it makes for a seamless fit and simple conversations with customers.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We are working on establishing partnerships with software companies that can provide a prefabricated, intuitive platform for businesses to gather feedback. Brands are often ready to embrace the .SUCKS philosophy of ‘owning your sh*t’, the one issue they face is that the barrier to entry can be time-intensive — they need to design the feedback forum, UX, dev, etc. I’m very excited that soon we will be able to offer them an integrated solution so they can truly embrace listening to their customers without the added investment of setup time.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

The key is to create an environment based on trust, dependability, appreciation, fun and growth; these traits cannot be forged, they must be genuine to be effective. Lucky for us women, these traits are much more inherent. Early on in my management career, I discovered the book “The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team”. The premise is very simple but it has brought to light many critical team building concepts for me. If you are lucky enough to build a team that can operate at a high level of autonomy, you can accomplish anything.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

Build a great team under you. After all, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. At some point you will reach a level where you cannot do it all. You will have to relinquish control and put trust in your team. I highly recommend that you build strong leaders beneath you. You should be choosy and handpick them. Never feel threatened when one of your team members is better than you; this is a reflection of your leadership. I am always looking to surround myself with people who have skills that I don’t. Never feel like it is a sign of weakness to ask for help from your team — once you have a solid team, get out of their way. Set clear objectives and let them run with it. If you have the right people, they can handle whatever you send them.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My first boss was a woman who molded me into who I am today. Without her belief in me, her tough love, her incredible example, I would not be the confident independent woman I am today. She instilled a work ethic in me and taught me to believe in myself. She modelled the characteristics of a strong female leader: true authenticity, care for others, brutal honesty, and personal growth. I’ve yet to meet a person so dedicated to building their team members into being the very best individuals they possibly can be. She believed in me and invested in my growth on a daily basis. Most importantly, once I had reached the full potential I was going to with her company, she encouraged me to move on.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Living on an island puts us in a very intimate position with the ocean. Over the years, I’ve personally seen the degradation of the sea resulting from improper waste management and lack of effort and caring in implementing eco-friendly solutions to business operations. The reefs, the beaches, the marine life, even the people of the island have all fallen victim to these poor choices.

Vox Populi is an affiliate company that lives under the Momentous Ltd. umbrella, along with several other small businesses that operate on the island of Providenciales. It has always been in my nature to take an eco-friendly stance, this approach resonates across my daily personal and professional responsibilities. As someone who is ultimately responsible for day-to-day business operations, I have made it my mission to implement as many green initiatives across the various local Momentous businesses, with each action taken towards preserving the sea.

What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

  • There is gender disparity in the workplace. It’s so ingrained in our culture we can’t escape it. I‘m guilty of it — to my own detriment. Don’t use this as justification for not advancing professionally. Accept it and move on. Advocate for yourself and demand the respect and roles that you’ve earned. I’ve had to deal with the inappropriate behavior and advances, being spoken over in meetings and having others repeat my ideas as their own. This made me subconsciously believe that I wasn’t worthy of a C-level position. Once I overcame this internal belief and promoted my worth, my career exploded. I was also lucky to have leaders who believed in my abilities before I even did.
  • Be authentic in every moment and through all of your actions. Don’t lose sight of your beliefs, despite instructions or advice given to you by others. Trust that your instincts will guide you in every situation — ingenuine responses/behaviors may end up resulting in your team losing trust and respect and ultimately losing yourself in the process. In a past experience, I was given very poor direction from a superior on what to say to reprimand an employee. I listened and acted, even though I didn’t believe in this approach. It was completely ineffective and ultimately led to a poor relationship with this employee. If I would have handled the situation in my own way (in my own words), I would have generated a more positive outcome and leveraged the situation to grow the employee. Never act in a manner that is not in alignment with your true self. You can still come to the desired outcome of a situation without compromising who you are and your core values.
  • Your female traits are not weaknesses — they are your biggest assets. A women’s insightfulness, sensitive nature and self-awareness are of huge benefit to businesses. These are the traits that make us better leaders. For years I felt like I needed to hide those parts of my personality. It took me years to realize the value and unique perspective that I brought to the business. Qualities like leadership, emotional IQ, multi-tasking and problem solving skills cannot be easily replaced or taught.
  • Don’t choose between family and career. You can have both. Take it from me, I have 3 kids, 2 dogs and a wonderful husband. It is not always easy to balance a career and family. The values of hard work and perseverance that your children will learn from your example is worth it. It also helps to have an incredibly supportive partner.
  • Own your s**t. Being able to own up to your mistakes, taking responsibility and using them as a learning opportunity is a vital characteristic that frankly most companies could learn from. But make sure that you also allow your team to learn from their mistakes. If you create a transparent, open, and safe environment where people feel comfortable bringing up their mistakes, your entire team will learn from them.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

This is not a new idea, but one that I am truly passionate and angered about. Frankly, the amount of food waste in North America is horrendous. Companies with policies against donating spoiling food or untouched leftovers should be ashamed. Throwing away good food when there are people starving is atrocious. Rather than disposing of perfectly good food, grocery stores and restaurants should be partnered with local shelters, schools or other associations who can make use of this food before it actually spoils.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

From the great Stephen R. Covey: “Seek first to understand then to be understood”.

Far too often, people are listening to speak, not to understand. Sometimes the best thing you can do as a leader is to shut up and listen. Listen with the intention of truly understanding — this does not mean just hearing their words. You need to look beyond their words, put yourself in their shoes and really try to understand their perspective — particularly when you don’t agree with them. I’ve learned that by stopping to truly listen with empathy you can take your leadership to a whole new level.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

LinkedIn — https://www.linkedin.com/in/beavischris/ | https://www.linkedin.com/company/dot-sucks/

Twitter — https://twitter.com/beavischris | https://twitter.com/dotsucks

Thank you so much for these inspiring insights!

Originally published at medium.com

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