Just like the trailblazing women she credits as examples of determination and dedication, Yanna Wilson-Fischer provides an every day example of excellence to everyone around her.
Whether it is teaching her young son to be fearless about exploring the world by taking him on business trips with her, sharing insights with younger colleagues on salary conversations, or having the fortitude to show up every day at work as her best self, Yanna is a confident leader who believes developing and sharing a versatile set of experiences, skills, and expertise has been critical in propelling her career forward.
Read on as she shares more about what has been important to her career in the interview below!
Finish this sentence: I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for ________________.
The fearless women who believed in me. Most specifically I credit my mother, who worked tirelessly for the United States Postal Service and retired after over 30 years of employment. She instilled in me determination and dedication. I’ve also been extremely fortunate to work for a diverse cast of female trailblazers who forced me to find my voice. I appreciate all of you!
Resumes highlight professional and educational achievements. Which one of your life or personal experiences deserves to be on your resume?
Having my son, now 21 months old, was the most significant milestone of my life. Following a five-month maternity leave, I returned to a company with a new CEO and a lot of pressure on my region to perform. I had two international trips scheduled from New York City to London in both October and November. Since I was nursing, I made the tough decision to take my son with me on both occasions. I had very little insight into what to expect and how to prepare. It was challenging, but in hindsight absolutely worth it. Hopefully this set a foundation for him to explore the world without fearing the unknown.
What qualities do you look for when hiring someone on your team? What qualities do you avoid?
Depending on the role, versatile experience is important. While I appreciate specialists, the work of generalists can be overlooked and undervalued. Speaking from personal experience, it has been incredibly advantageous to understand analytics and operations, but then swiftly shift to writing a creative brief and building social media strategies. In addition to that, flexibility and calm collaboration are important, especially in the new working era of video relationships.
“Versatile experience is important. While I appreciate specialists, the work of generalists can be overlooked and undervalued. Speaking from personal experience, it has been incredibly advantageous to understand analytics and operations, but then swiftly shift to writing a creative brief and building social media strategies.”
What’s one piece of career advice you wish you could give to your younger self?
Speak up. Your ideas have value.
Which three books, podcasts, or new sources do you think everyone should read? Why?
I’ll do one of each!
Book – Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution. Regardless of political stance, this is a great guide to empower you to take action to improve the America we know and challenge the status quo of our political landscape.
Podcast – NPR’s Louder Than A Riot. This podcast launched October 8th with a very interesting theme. This podcast traces the interconnected rise of hip-hop and mass incarceration. Hosts Rodney Carmichael and Sidney Madden investigate the criminal justice system through the experiences of rap artists.
News Source – The Week magazine and theweek.com. I’m genuinely a big fan of the brand I work for. The Week makes sense of the news by curating the best of the U.S. and international media into a succinct, lively digest. It’s exactly what’s needed to stay accurately informed.
Diversity, equity and inclusion is front and center right now. How do you express your commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in your personal and professional life?
I support numerous non-profits and independent community organizers who are doing work on the ground. The Bail Out Project, to name one organization in particular, has a phenomenal National Revolving Bail Fund. It is a critical tool for preventing incarceration for black mothers and combating racial and economic disparities in the bail system. Supporting an organization like this means more mothers are home.
I also find it increasingly beneficial to participate in a diverse range of mentor and mentee relationships. For example, I’ve provided successful guidance on negotiating salary and have received guidance on efficiently working within a global organization. To provide that type of support for young people based on my experience is life changing for them.
Most importantly, showing up everyday as my best self is my greatest contribution.
What’s one tangible step every employer should take to help build a more representative organization?
Employers should set goals. This doesn’t have to be for hiring. Some ideas are: hosting consistent cultural events, holding company wide meetings with open discussion on the issues, and ensuring all employees fit with the mission of representation and inclusion.