Black Heritage (or History) Month is an annual celebration held in February in the US to recognize the achievements of the Black community; to reflect on the history, resilience, and their far-reaching influence on the world. During the month of february we interviewed some of our Black@VMware POD (Power of Difference) members. Today, we invite you to get to know Regional Sales Director and member of the Black@VMware POD (Power of Difference) – Shawn Douglas.
VMware Careers: Tell us how long you’ve been at VMware and your journey to joining the company?
Shawn Douglas: I have been with VMware since December of 2015. The journey has been a whirlwind in the best possible way. I have met a ton of great people and served my community in ways I never fathomed. As my career has accelerated VMware has also provided a platform to drive awareness of issues (Diversity and Inclusion in tech specifically) that are very important to me. Having solid company values, and living them is equally as important as the work we do with our customers.
VMware Careers: Share more about your role at VMware, your team, and the impact you make?
Shawn Douglas: I am a Sales Director in VMware’s Commercial field business. As a leader, there are many ways to make an impact on your co-workers. For one, I believe it is your responsibility to set the tone for the team. We must model desirable behavior. The way we interact with our direct reports, supporting staff and customers will be emulated by the members of our teams. I also have the opportunity to reach out and help my fellow employees. It is important for me to show them that someone cares about their success. Most of my personal growth has been through 1:1 mentoring, and it is important that I pay that forward to create the right culture.
VMware Careers: What is a typical day like for you?
Shawn Douglas: As a sales leader, it is my goal every day to spend the majority of my time with my clients, partners, and team members. There are other responsibilities such as forecasting, recruiting and strategic planning that are very important, however, this is a people business. I try to keep that front and center. I find that when I spend time with my team, we all get better and we all stay on mission.
VMware Careers: How do you feel supported as a Black employee at VMware?
Shawn Douglas: Let me start by saying that I certainly feel the support of my fellow black employees as a member of the Black@VMware POD (Power of Difference). The leadership and courage shown by my fellow POD members has been phenomenal. Organizationally there is always more to be done. Diversity isn’t a metric where you can just check the box. We must stay vigilant and look for ways to improve at all times. It’s important to focus on the organizational support and structure from the top down to sustain progress.
VMware Careers: What advice would you share for young black people who are considering a role in tech?
Shawn Douglas: I am very passionate about this topic. Tech is a highly rewarding career choice that doesn’t carry nearly the student loan debt for comparable high-paying alternatives. I do not want to discourage young black people from becoming Doctors or Lawyers, however, if you compare income to investment (time and money) then Tech is a winning proposition every time. The industry is only growing so you won’t find anything more future-proof and future-ready. To speak directly to black youth. Do not sell yourself short. You may not know someone in tech or even in corporate America. Let me reassure you that can be successful and there are people here to guide you, that started out just like you.
VMware Careers: Finally, February is Black History Month, share with us what this means to you personally?
Shawn Douglas: Black History Month is the best chance for us to shine a light on important historic figures from the black community. Black people are part of the fabric of this country and have played a pivotal role in its success. Yet there isn’t always equal representation given to their achievements. I would argue that there is an even greater need for representation of minority groups. This recognition plays a very important role in shaping the perception of black people and even shaping the self-image of black youth. I look back with pride on the achievements of my ancestors. Their strength and courage will be the template for us to build the future together.
Learn more about VMware’s Power of Difference groups here.
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