T H E P I V O T
Q: What advice would you give to young professionals or students? Candice: "Never stop learning. You can learn from anyone." Soak up all the knowledge and experience you can. “That’s not my job” is often a missed opportunity to learn and grow. Learn it all, do it all, put in your resume and use that experience to land the next job. Failure can be as great or an even better teacher than success. You either win or you learn. Losing is optional, the only time you lose is when you fail to use that opportunity to learn. Q: A recent survey of ours identified that the #1 reason why there is a decline in minority representation in STEM is related to Imposter Syndrome. Have you experienced this barrier and if so, how did you overcome it? Candice: I admit, I do struggle with imposter syndrome even today. Imposter syndrome for me often feels like thinking that my work isn’t good enough, that I don’t belong in certain spaces, or I don’t deserve something, feeling unworthy or unqualified. I felt imposter syndrome heavily a few years ago when I was asked to serve in a leadership position at church. I had served in several leadership positions years prior in other organizations but many years had passed since then and I had not been in leadership roles in recent years. That and simply feelings of being an imperfect Christian made me feel somewhat inadequate. A friend was upset that I was asked to serve in this position; she felt I was unqualified and lashed out in frustration one day. I was surprised by her reaction but honestly, I didn’t let it get to me too much because I understood her frustration and I had similar thoughts. I remember thinking that night, “What is the truth?”, and I even made a list of my qualifications and accomplishments. Not that God gives much, if any, regard to many of the “qualifications” I remember listing, but the list helped me identify what was true and untrue about the doubts both internal and external. The next day I was over the incident and had momentarily curbed these thoughts of being unqualified. Well it was short lived because my friend called to “apologize” and well, the conversation wasn’t really an apology. She spent an hour and half bringing up anything and everything I had ever told her or posted on social media that somehow to her was proof of how unqualified I am. After that, imposter syndrome set in heavy. It was like it pulled out all of the self doubt I had in me and brought it to the surface. The impact that situation had on me and my feelings of worthiness or lack thereof made me realize that there were things that I still needed to work on and heal from. I ultimately
had to do the work. That work involved therapy, journaling, music (gospel, India Arie, Lizzo, and some confidence building rap), books, and podcasts. I had to be more intentional about what I watched or listened to or even who I followed on social media. Someone introduced me to what is now my favorite devotional called “His Princess: Letters From Your King”. I often gift this to people now. Basically, I figured out what I needed and made every effort to make those things a priority and as unavoidable as possible. It was a process of rediscovering myself and reclaiming my identity. Since we have been in this pandemic, I’ve realized I’ve stopped doing some of these things and the isolation and anxiety has allowed self doubt and imposter syndrome to creep back in a bit. I’m grateful for this question and the reminder that showing up as my best self requires consistent self work.
Q: What keeps you up at night? Candice: Product development!
My suppliers are overseas and the middle of the night is the best time to reach them to discuss orders and review design specs. Beyond that, trying to grow the business and still serve customers well definitely keeps me up at night. I hate when someone isn’t satisfied, when we make a mistake with a customer’s order, when emails aren’t answered timely, or when shipping delays or other issues happen that are beyond our control. Although the issues are small compared to the volume of orders and customers we have, I still seem to agonize over every single complaint. I’m working on hiring and training staff to handle customer service and putting the right procedures in place to improve on what we do and better serve our customers. ▪
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