Monique Cadle

Name: Monique Cadle

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Current Title: Associate Director, People + Talent at GRAIL

Prior Professional Experience: Deloitte, Education Pioneers, US Agency for International Development

Education: B.A. in International/Intercultural Studies, Claremont McKenna College; Master of Science: Public Policy and Management - Carnegie Mellon University

What is the most important professional lesson you've learned to date?

Who you work for is just as important as where you work.  I’ve been mission driven throughout my career and while that will continue to be my north star, what continues to hold true is that great Managers have been pivotal to my success and professional development.  A strong leadership team and managers who support my development is also non-negotiable for me.

What has been your biggest professional failure to date and what have you learned from that experience?

I was consulting for a large international sports apparel company on inclusion. I was critical in the design of the learning and trainings we developed for the c-suite and I finally got the opportunity to pilot a new module that confronted the lack of visible diversity in social and corporate spaces, particularly at senior levels of the organization, and I BOMBED the presentation.  I was confronted with a lot of defensive questions from these leaders about why diversity in social spaces had material impact to the business. My responses were “safe” and didn’t confront the hard truth of asking the leaders to question their reactivity to the exercise. I was the only person of color on the team and worried about falling into the “angry Black woman” stereotype when challenging these leaders.  In hindsight, I regretted how I responded and realized that I was uniquely positioned to be the one that could speak from the vantage point of the communities that often don’t have a voice in these conversations. Their reactions and inability to hear my feedback was all the more reason that these leaders needed to have more diverse individuals in leadership roles that could help broaden their perspectives and views.  This experience, along with several others, fundamentally shifted my perspective on how I “show up” at work. I’ve made a conscious decision since this experience to present as my authentic self - woman, LGBT, POC, 1st generation. I bring these identities to work with me each day and this perspective colors how I show up, confront issues, and support the business.

What issues have you dealt with being a woman/person of color in corporate America and how have you overcome these challenges?

Early in my career, I envisioned what it meant to be a Black woman in corporate spaces - how I should speak, think, roles I should take.  I used so much mental energy in filtering my ideas through a corporate filter that I think I hindered my potential because I was not authentically me.  I was being who I thought I needed to be. I learned to take risks, trust my gut, and be me and that’s proven to be exponentially more advantageous to my career and happiness than being something or someone I believe people need me to be.  

What resources, professional or personal, have you leveraged to ensure your career is progressing?

  • The Posse network

  • Carnegie Mellon Grad school network

  • Staying in touch with former mentors, colleagues, and managers from Deloitte, Education Pioneers and all the places these people have moved on it

  • Conferences to support diversity and inclusion and other human capital related topics that I am passionate about

Do you have a mentor? If so, how did you select this person or people?

I have a number of mentors.  I select mentors by looking at the skills that I have the largest deficits in. I then think of the person or people who can help me build or develop that skill. I try to select mentors based on skills I want to amplify that my mentor is advanced in. This has been an important way for me to influence my development and constantly reflect on where I can improve.

What advice would you give a young adult who is about to start their first job post college?

Work hard, trust yourself, and have an advocate that will be honest about how to navigate your career both within the context of the organization you’re in and more broadly.  When you’re early in your career, it's important to “earn your stripes”, despite the focus on this, it is important to treat finding the role/career and company/work like finding your potential partner.  Explore, try new things, stretch yourself. Take calculated risks. A lot of finding “the one” has to do with fit for you, timing, assessing what you have to offer vs. what they have to offer, and having high standards.  Keep that same mentality of what it takes to find the right partner with your career.

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