DiBs: Empowering Me, Myself, and I
On April 11th, we held a panel with DiBs to learn all about how to be authentic to yourself when networking (or in the workplace) with introvert/extrovert personalities. DiBs was founded to bring the value of racial diversity to the forefront of Foster and driven by a sense of community that is always willing to share resources, listen, and support one another.
Meet the Panelists!
First Gen Filipino American
Came for the business program
Big 4 Accounting
Did not like being client facing so switched to legal services
Intern at microsoft as sales enablement
First Gen Chinese American
Parents immigrated in the 90s
Spent 4 years in WA DC and moved here for MBA
Interest in the healthcare field
Interned at BioGen
1st Gen Indian American
Parents immigrated here in similar timeline
Worked in the legal field, realized that he wanted to be more on the business side
Will be interning at Deloitte as part of the strategy team
What part of your personality do you think contributed to your success today?
Angela: extraversion helps in the US business sense, as it rewards people who outreach, network, and are outgoing. It is not the only way to succeed, but it is something that she can leverage and makes her want to be in the business field. And wanting to use her extraverted people skills more.
Zharen: Business tends to reward extraverts more. She is naturally introverted and can be extraverted but it requires a lot of energy from her. It is something that you need to sacrifice if you want to be successful. Empathy and compassion are what got her here today and this is something that helps you relate to others, understand how you are perceived, and how they might perceive you.
Harman: Humor. If you can be more personable with the people you are interacting with, it goes a long way. Assess where you want your limited energy to go. Showcasing humor and personality will help you go a long way.
As an introvert, how would you describe your personality or leadership style when working in a group setting?
Take the facilitator route. It is a challenge to work with different people and personalities. Go into planner mode and think about how one can facilitate each person’s skills, schedules, etc. Harman does a lot of pre-planning before any meetings, has an agenda, and he frontloads the work so he is not overwhelmed during the meeting.
Most people view extroverted personalities as a professional advantage. Have any of the extroverts faced challenges because you are an extrovert?
From an Asian American standpoint, people who are Asian are usually seen as introverted, data analysis leaning, and submissive. That perception and bias from a workplace can be harmful, especially when you first go in. People expect you to be notetakers, put meetings in the calendar, do the numbers. Because she is extraverted, businesses may discount her technical skills as she does not fit the stereotype of what is expected. Also, people do not know what to do with people who do not fit their stereotypes. There are ways to work with these, and a good manager can also help!
John: knowing your strengths and weaknesses despite your internal stereotypes is important to helping with this!
Were you always an ambivert or did your personality change over time and how so?
She just recently realized what an ambivert was. She used to go by the term extraverted introverted. She did not realize how much she loved talking to people where she felt heard and valued. It is important to find a work environment where people advocate for you and give you a voice. She felt silenced in accounting when she was jumping teams, thus didn’t feel like having much to say.
It is often hard to define what “networking” really is, so in your perspective what is “networking” and tips on being successful at it?
Harman: There are two types. One is having a specific goal in mind and reaching out to people to achieve that goal. The other is casting a wide net and reaching out to people to learn w/o a specific goal. Whatever the form is, lay down those expectations with the people who you are networking with. If you make those expectations clear, it sets you up for success and does not waste the other person’s time.
Angela: For undergrads, it can be uncertain and unclear! Even with the second type of networking, to make sure it goes well, keep an agenda in mind when talking to people. Still have specific questions, even if it is vague, as it helps you understand the different routes. It is not enough to go to a networking event. You have to approach people.
Zharen: The learning is the most important part. She doesn’t like to think of it as power dynamics, it is mostly networking because you are curious. We all think we know what we want, but you never know, 10 years from now, someone from a different route might be useful or of use to you. It is important to keep an open mind whatever you do. Don’t be afraid to approach someone, you have something to bring to the table too. People look for new hires because they bring something new and fresh perspectives. Never sell yourself short on the value you can bring someone else.
It is easy to feel the one and done feeling from networking. How to keep in touch and continue relationships?
Zharen: Set notifications on groups of people to reach out to every now and then. If you see things that remind you of them, just say “Hey, I thought of you.” It means a lot when people remember things about you.
Angela: Just think of it as maintaining a friendship. Update them with things in your life.
Harman: You should also be selective of the people you continue these efforts with. Make these efforts tailored to the person. If you connect with people on Linkedin, you can also comment on it until you have a direct message or update to give them.
What should you prepare for coffee chats? What are good topics to bring up during networking that help keep the conversation going?
Zharen: Don’t ask a question that you can find on their website.
Angela: Come with a list of questions but don’t just go down the list. Actually listen and maybe you’ll ask a question that is related to the previous question’s answer.
Harman: You should have a list of questions but you don’t need to follow the questions in order, you should follow the flow of the conversations. Feel free to deviate from the list. Also, be very clear of what you want from the coffee chat. Flow your questions from there and see if they can help you with these goals.
What do you do to manage stress?
Angela: Gets stressed during winter due to seasonal depression thus takes a lot of baths. One thing that is important not to do is doing the medium, like being stressed watching netflix bc you are not working or hanging out with friends. Either be stressed and do the work, or go out and play with friends.
Harman: Struggles a little with stress management. Working out, though annoying, does actually help. Have distractions - he does things like cooking, hanging out with friends, watching a movie, planning out things so you aren’t worried. You can also talk with experts to help you through them. Talk to people about your stress, because people are similarly stressed. It really helps!
Zharen: Find what works for you and stick to it. Her husband asks her if she wants to take a walk, her first instinct is to say no, but when she actually does it, it does help her. Stepping away from the issue helps you understand and contextualize the stress. Hanging out with friends, playing board games, whatever makes you calm.
What do you do to avoid burnout in studying/life/recruiting?
Angela: Doesn’t have good advice lol. Get a therapist that resonates with you. Getting professional help to talk through your feelings or find actionable items will be the most helpful at times!
Harman: Has dealt with burnout. The times when you are least susceptible is when you take things in moderation and plan out things well. It is easy to talk about but hard to do. When you actually manage to plan the fun (walks, coffee visit, games) and work activities, you should make sure that they don’t bleed into each other.
Zharen: What she does is check in with herself and how she is feeling. These things can surprisingly be addressed. Just the little things to help her get through. If she is hungry, she gets food, if tired she takes a nap.