Q1) Number of years in Management: 7 Years
Q2) Tell us about your path to management:
My path to management started at 12 years old, on the day that I wrote a letter to 10 parents in my church telling them instead of keeping their children at home on Sundays, bring them to my house so I can teach them songs and plays that I wrote. It was 22 years ago in Haiti. Interestingly, all 10 parents trusted me and started bringing all of their kids to my house every Sunday. I was surprised they all agreed. From then on, I started volunteering my name for any leadership positions whether at church or in school, thus starting the train of youngest president or supervisor. My first social work management position happened when I applied for a role I had no seniority for, and I got it. Managing people who believe they were supposed to be my supervisors was the most challenging moment for me as a manager. I think that is one of the reasons I love entrepreneurship, fewer office politics, more of the things I love. Still need interpersonal skills, but 75% of the work is self-management.
Q3) What leadership qualities do you find to be the most effective in reaching your organizational or career goals?
Clear communication, transparency, and delegating tasks.
Q4) How do you motivate your team members?
Acknowledgment and connecting their vision to the organizational goals. When I was a supervisor at a mental health housing agency, I used to sit with each of my team members and listen to their life aspirations (school, work, dreams, etc…), then I used that knowledge to assign tasks. When I contract with people for my company, I look whether their vision aligns a little with mine. That way, they are already self-motivated. Another way is acknowledging team members’ work right when they turn it in and not waiting until a staff meeting or a big event.
Q5) Is there a leader or mentor who has inspired or assisted you along your professional journey?
I have several people whom I consider my mentors, most of them don’t know it. I think citing their names would make it awkward for the next time I schedule that check-in phone call, email, or text. I pull inspiration mostly from women in my environment who are not afraid to be the first anywhere. I have a long list of women who have willingly given hours of their time coaching me how to do things or opening the doors for me to places that would take me years to get.
Q6) How has networking impacted your career?
My entire entrepreneurship journey is based on networking. The thing is I rarely attend networking events. However, I enjoy genuine conversations, and I show genuine curiosity about people’s passions. Active listening is a social work skill that I have used to network. Then they usually ask me about my own aspirations and before you know it they have 2 or 3 people in their network they want to connect me with.
Q7) What are you reading and/or following now (books, blogs, social media groups, etc.)?
I just returned these two books “Email Marketing for Dummies” and “Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media” by Brittany Hennesy.
Q8) What advice do you have for those beginning their professional journey or who are already in leadership positions?
Always take a second look at the things that you are not qualified for. Most of the time, you are. It’s just that whoever wrote the job description was probably not thinking about someone like you.
Q9) Do you have an initiative or project you would like to tell our readers about?
Yes. I just launched my first quarterly box at La Distinction Co called “The Faith and Dreams” Signature Box. It has a faith-based planner that I created specifically for Christian entrepreneurs, a journal, an empowering and unique mug, and a hand-poured beeswax candle. All of which can be found at ladistinctionco.com.
Q10) What do you wish you had known before you started your career?
I wish someone had empowered me to venture on my own earlier. I had a lot of fear about not having someone to supervise me. It took a pandemic to make me realize I can totally do this, and If I fail, I can try again.
Q11)Share a mistake or failure that provided the most growth in your career.
Not relying on the strength of my peers. I experienced a season of intense burnout because I was afraid to delegate. I thought anything less than my personal standard would not cut it. I did not know what it was at the time, but looking back now, I saw so many things that would have been just fine without my presence. This was a valuable lesson learned!
Q12) Where can people reach you for questions (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail address)?
Instagram @patriciamdesert @ladistinctionco or
email anytime email@example.com
*The views expressed herein are those solely of the author and not necessarily endorsed by the Network for Social Work Management.