Kisha Modica, Gap Inc.’s senior director of diversity and talent management, works with her team to make sure we have the right people in the right jobs at the right time to achieve our goals — and to foster a sense of belonging for every Gap Inc. employee at every level of the company. So we couldn’t help but wonder, how does she do the same for herself? Here’s what she said:
I bring my authentic self to the office every day.
When you join a new organization, most people will tell you that the safe bet is to fit in before you stand out. I believe you exude confidence and gain credibility when you bring your authentic self to work and allow people to fall in love with who you really are.
One of my heroes is Maya Angelou — she was one of the great voices of contemporary literature, and she didn’t get there by hiding behind her shadow or running from her past. She opened up and shared some of her darkest moments with the world. That takes confidence! A favorite quote from her: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.”
I keep in mind that everybody feels like an outsider sometimes.
We’re genetically wired to belong; it’s how we survive and thrive in life — and at work, but I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all felt like an outsider at some point in our careers. Assimilating to new environments, ways of working and cultural norms can be hard. When I sense someone is trying to figure out if they belong, I reassure them that they do. Introducing them to people, seeking their input, amplifying their voice in meetings and mentoring through storytelling are all great ways to reinforce that.
I remind myself that I am not my job.
Some of the best career advice I ever got was not to tie my self-worth and identity to my job title. For me, the rewards are all about fulfilling my life’s purpose of influencing and accelerating the economic and professional trajectory of women, people of color and all people. Sometimes I pinch myself and wonder how I got so lucky to do such important work at a time when the world needs it most.