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Join us for this virtual seminar on product management lead by Mala Rajendran, Senior Product Manager for Kohls.
(Register now and watch the training session anytime. You will receive a separate email in your inbox with a link to the seminar after you have completed your purchase. If you would like to access all of our on-demand webinars for free, sign-up for a PowerToFly VIP membership.)
It's Mala's philosophy that if you don't take care of your customers, someone else will. Mala will walk you through her journey from software engineer to business analyst to product manager and share helpful tips such as starting with the customer, how to create value rather than just product and how to become a better storyteller.
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With such undeniable success, we asked the ERG leaders Tiffani Rase (Senior Content Strategist), Josephina Kaiser (Design Systems Designer), Elyse Hunt (Web Producer), and Emily Russ (Support Specialist), to share more about the impact of their work with Divergent Minds.
After many years of struggling with mental health, Tiffani shares how she “had this desire to be transparent about [her] experience.”
“I wanted to chip away the negative stigma that I still had within myself,” she says. “And also share that with a group of supportive people who understood.”
She decided to reach out to colleagues to gauge their interest in an ERG dedicated to employees who are neurodivergent and inundated with positive reinforcement. She took the idea to CallRail’s Talent and Culture team and received their stamp of approval.
“Pretty quickly after that, I reached out to my team to ask if anybody wanted to take the journey with me,” she recalls. “And from there, it moved very quickly. We officially kicked off in January, and we’ve grown a lot since then.”
“We really just wanted to create a safe space for people who are neurodivergent,” adds Josephina, reflecting on the inception of Divergent Minds.
In prior workplace experiences, Josephina noticed a stigma around mental health transparency, leading to fear of judgment. She hoped, along with her co-founders, to minimize fear across CallRail.
“We saw an opportunity to bring more awareness and shed light on mental health in the corporate world,” she says.
Nine months into its inception, Divergent Minds has hosted a slew of quarterly events like conversations with guest speakers and lunch chats around various mental health and neurodiversity topics.
One of their biggest accomplishments was organizing a Mental Health Awareness Month with participation from 57% of the company.
“We hosted challenges like ‘Get Out and Smell the Roses,’ where people went out and posted pictures outside in nature. Then, there was the Virtual High-Five challenge where we gave a little prize to participants who participated the most,” explains Josephina.
Elyse adds that a personal highlight for her was the implementation of a quiet room in the office.
“Our company is fully remote, so three or four times a year, we have an in-person week where everyone comes into the Atlanta office and it can get a little chaotic when suddenly everyone is on-site,” says Elyse. “So we piloted the ‘ChillRail,’ a room where people could go and relax…. It was very successful, so we’re going to have two permanent spaces in the office moving forward.”
Fostering a safe & open culture
The impact of Divergent Minds can be seen in its members’ feedback and the shifts in the overall workplace culture.
“I’ve noticed that other people are just as passionate about this as we are,” says Emily. “It’s removed a lot of the barriers I typically would feel around talking about mental health or having conversations that might be too personal. Now, I have the space to do it.”
“It’s comforting knowing that you’re not the only one who struggles sometimes and knowing there are people who are not ashamed to talk about it openly is refreshing.” – Divergent Mind member
Elyse adds that it's heartwarming to see people’s posts in the Divergent Minds Slack channel.
“Somebody asked a question the other day about a certain medication. And somebody else just posted today, unprompted, a video about highly sensitive people,” she says. “It’s really nice to see our members take ownership.”
With nine months under its belt and years to go, Divergent Minds’ impact will continue to expand — building an even stronger culture of safety and acceptance at CallRail.
“If there’s one thing we want everyone to take away from this conversation today, it’s that you’re definitely not alone. If you’re experiencing an invisible disability, advocating for yourself will always be worth it,” says Emily. “And if you’re interested in setting up an ERG, just do it.”
Below is an article originally published on CDW’s blog. Visit the CDW company page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
Meet Cecelia Myers! As the Vice President of Digital, Cecelia is committed to building a team central to CDW’s digital transformation. With responsibilities ranging from Product Management of CDW.com and Rubi to increasing engagement with digital experiences, she’s proud to work alongside her curious and passionate team, who bring a product mindset and approach to the wider CDW teams.
How it started
Growing up in Goshen, Indiana, as an only child, Cecelia’s first job was as a lifeguard, which she did for multiple summers. During her first job, she learned how to stay focused while being extremely bored — and vowed to ensure her career path didn’t require that skill. “I can safely say it does not. I am never, ever bored,” said Cecelia.
From there, Cecelia attended Indiana University for her undergraduate degree in English Literature, which she swears is unfairly branded as useless. “Quick information synthesis and constructing an argument are underrated corporate superpowers that the humanities does a great job preparing people for.” After graduating, she pursued her Master’s of Engineering, Product Design and Development at Northwestern University. She married her high school sweetheart, who also grew up in Goshen, and has two adorable children, Ben and Phoebe, and an elderly dachshund, Oscar.
Cecelia started her journey with CDW in 2019 leading Product and Design in the eCommerce team. The team has since evolved to become the Digital team and she feels confident that she joined CDW at the right time. “I had the luck of coming to CDW right as we started transforming and investing in our customer-facing digital experience in a big way. It’s been so exciting to watch the strategy grow and give our customers and sellers new ways to communicate and collaborate,” she said.
How it’s going
Since Cecelia joined CDW in 2019, her team has grown exponentially. At the same time, the digital experience has become integral to CDW’s approach to its customers. “The passion and excitement of the Digital, Design and Tech teams is channeled into creating things that are really impactful for our customers and sellers, and I feel lucky to work with and lead such an amazing team,” said Cecelia.
In her professional life, Cecelia is proud to have built and to lead a team where people treat each other with kindness as they push hard to do better things together. She feels that collaboration and camaraderie create a culture where respectful debate and a focus on constant improvement are energizing versus wearing a team down. “I emphatically believe that you can push each other to be better without being combative.”
Personally, she’s devoted time to working with Lymphoma Research Foundation to support their outstanding work in lymphoma research and patient support. While at CDW, Cecelia was diagnosed with lymphoma and continued working through treatment. “Supporting those who find themselves in this situation is something I feel lucky to do, whether through working with LRF, in CDW BRGs or in being a peer buddy for professionals dealing with treatment,” said Cecelia.
Looking to the future, Cecelia is excited to help customers of all kinds achieve more with CDW’s leading-edge digital experience. “We are at a moment where technology will let us do more than ever before, and being at such a fascinating juncture is so energizing,” she said.
Most of us never had the chance to find pleasure in the learning process. But being a student again, as an adult, can actually be fun. With that in mind, we've decided to optimize the PowerUp experience by making it engaging and, most importantly, worthwhile.
Every time you take a new course on PowerUp, you will encounter a dynamic experience with different mediums, approaches, and pathways. On one hand, our original content focuses on developing skills and is organized to take you on a learning journey. On the other hand, you will come across a well-defined structure that is consistent throughout all courses on the platform. This combination of impactful content and cohesive structure makes learning and studying a pleasant experience, not a taxing one. When we learn, our brains appreciate impactful narratives and familiar structures so that we can recognize and navigate the content more easily.
The big secret to becoming a lifelong learner and, most importantly, enjoying the process, is creating pleasurable and rewarding connections during your moments of study. With that said, we've prepared seven tips to help you get the most out of this journey; and hopefully, help you fall in love with studying and become a lifelong learner. After all, learning has no end date. Even after diplomas – from basic education, college, masters, or PhDs — an open attitude toward knowledge is key. So let's dive in!
7 ways to maximize your learning on PowerUp
1. The journey starts with you: Setting the environment
The first thing to do before sitting in front of your screen is to set up a study environment that makes you comfortable. It doesn't have to be anything major. Think of things that you enjoy, such as a cup of tea or coffee, slippers on your feet, incense, or instrumental music. Minute adjustments can make a significant impact in creating a better learning environment. By including this step before taking a course, you are teaching your brain and body to associate learning with feelings of pleasure and ease. The more you do this, the more fear and procrastination give way to eagerness and satisfaction of learning.
2. Pay attention to the course overview
All PowerUp courses start with an Overview page. Look at all of its parts (modules, lessons, assessments, takeaways, resources) and try to make sense of the course structure. What is implied by the way modules are divided? And the lessons within each of them? Try to identify the general messages covered in each of them. The Course Overview and introduction video are like a movie trailer. They give you clues on what’s coming next and why. Although it may seem like a spoiler, this part has a fundamental function in attracting your attention and giving insight into the journey to come. So take some time to watch and think about it.
3. Writing to remember: Take notes
Most of the things we listen to aren’t stored in our long-term memory. As the saying goes: If you don't use it, you lose it. Taking notes is crucial to help our brain remember important stuff. It’s also a good way to start putting what you’ve learned into practice — and it will help you organize your thoughts so you can more easily locate them in the future. Try to make connections to your reality and think critically about what you watched or read.
Good note-taking doesn’t mean writing down everything you hear. Copying down information doesn’t engage your brain and is not a strong strategy for learning and retaining concepts. So write notes in your own words. Or try to do it from memory. If you are taking notes digitally, you can use apps like Evernote, OneNote, or Google Docs to make it easier. And make sure to keep them organized using bullet points, folders, highlighting, or any other strategy.
4. Finding your flow: How to take the course
Now that you’ve set up your learning environment, understand the course structure, and are ready to take notes, it's time to start taking the course. You don't have to take lessons according to our proposed order. It's up to you. Just pay attention to the content map in the course overview. You can decide if the lessons are independent or ordered sequentially. This can change from course to course, depending on the subject.
We strongly recommend that you do not leave the lesson texts and assessments to the end. As you finish each lesson, read the corresponding lesson texts and answer the Knowledge Checks. These steps are designed to reinforce your learning process.
Some lesson texts also link to resources at the end. Resources can have different purposes. Some present more in-depth content on a subject addressed in the video lesson. Others have a more practical dimension, presenting tools, templates for implementing actions, lists, and prompts. Take a look before moving on to the next lesson and assess whether it's the right time to break the course flow to delve into a specific topic or if it's something you can return to later.
5. Keep track of your time
There is no rule or limit for course completion time. Although all PowerUp courses have the same structure, with very similar lengths, the time dedicated to completing a course can vary significantly from person to person. And don't be fooled by the idea that the faster, the better.
The biggest challenge is being attentive as you take the course. With your full attention, the more time you dedicate, the more effective and intellectual your involvement with the content will be. Don't hesitate to watch a lesson video twice if you feel the need, or reread a text, take a detour to research something relevant on the topic, or access interesting references suggested in the video or text lessons.
As long as you stay focused and know how to measure your limits — of time and energy — everything will be fine, no matter how long it takes you to finish.
This is not to say drop out of the course for weeks, as this will hinder your learning. Other than that, take your time. And enjoy.
6. Assessments: Testing your learnings
Many of us get the chills when we hear the word ‘assessment.’ Memories of school days can be traumatic. But don’t worry. The assessments prepared by our team were designed to function as an evaluation instrument through which you can understand your level of knowledge acquisition. Knowledge Checks and Module Quizzes occur at the end of each lesson and each module, respectively. Try to answer without looking back at the lesson. Trust your memory and your ability to understand complex subjects. If you get them wrong, you might want to review and go over the basic concepts to improve your understanding. If you took notes, it might be enough to go over them. If not, go back to the lesson and clarify any questions.
The Final Assessment is more in-depth. If you feel unsure about it, do a brief review before starting. And remember: assessments are a tool for you to evaluate your performance. Don't be too hard on yourself if you didn't pass on the first try. Take the opportunity to understand what you can improve on and expand your learning.
Another form of self-assessment that is of enormous importance within the learning structure of the courses is the Reflection Questions. The idea here is to encourage you to reflect and take notes on applying what you learned — either in your personal life or your organization. We have prepared brief comments to help you bridge the gaps along with the questions. Every question has space for notes, where you can write down your thoughts and ideas at the end of the course. This is another opportunity to use your notes.
7. Make the most of what PowerUp has to offer
In addition to course materials, our platform has a number of features to empower you through DEIB knowledge and skills. You can follow the latest news related to DEIB in the News tab. Our team expertly curates these titles to keep you up-to-date on what has happened in the DEIB world.
The PowerUp calendar is another feature that can be very useful, especially to guide your organization's DEIB programming. You can access the calendar through the Resources Menu and find a complete list of dates related to DEIB globally, access definitions, general information, and related resources. On the PowerUp homepage, you will also find a carousel dedicated to upcoming events and calendar highlights, so you know what's coming up.
Apart from the course resources, we offer you a vast set of resources covering different subjects ranging from reports to templates and short videos called Quick Takes, among others. You can use the search bar and find the ones that most interest you. Many were made in connection with the PowerUp Calendar and courses, bringing essential ideas and information for your DEIB programming.
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We hope you now have a good idea of what awaits you on PowerUp. Now, you can navigate through the platform, take the course of your choice, and make the most of it. Are you ready to become a lifelong learner?