Alysia Moulton White has one piece of advice for women just starting their careers: do more than your job description requires. “It is important to not only excel in the functions that are assigned to you, but to recognise that sustained growth comes when you step outside of your comfort zone and challenge your self-imposed perceptions and limitations on what you can actually achieve,” said Moulton White, who is the vice-president of group marketing for Sagicor Group Jamaica.
What would you say is a popular misconception about women in business, and how would you respond to or address that?
That women are emotional leaders, which makes them ‘soft’ and indecisive – that cannot be further from the truth. To me, it is the very thing that makes women great leaders, as is evident across the globe, as more and more women are holding senior positions in leadership. From leading from the front in government, corporate, the arts, sport, education, and so many other fields, the many great examples of women in leadership that lead with empathy and kindness are admirable. For too long, women were made to believe they have to be ‘tough’ to lead and do well, but displaying empathy and emotional diversity is healthy. It is what confirms that we are human, which is especially important in the current business environment. I say the best way to lead is to be your best self and to lead the people in your charge with empathy and emotional awareness.
What advice would you give specifically to girls and women who have set limits for their career goals?
From my own career experience, there were many times people (including myself) would try to place me in a box based on their own personal biases. My advice to girls or women is to never let anyone define who you are. Success will look different for everyone, but you should define your success based on your core values, moral beliefs, ethics, and desired goals. There is no limit to what you can achieve once you set your mind to actively work towards your goals and capitalise on opportunities that will put you before the people that can influence and enable your success.
What is one thing you would have wanted to hear at a low time in your journey?
I wanted to hear it and my support system, my village, said it over and over, “You will be okay.” As a Christian, my faith in God is what keeps me going. There were many ‘low moments’ that could have derailed my faith, but with a strong support system, I was able to persevere. Alvin Day says it like this: ‘Until the day I die, nothing I go through can possibly kill me.’ I believe that.
How do you balance work and your personal life?
I have gotten so much better at this. Admittedly, I was not very good at this for most of my career, but I think I had an ‘aha’ moment a few years ago, and I started to make deliberate efforts to do more of the things I love and enjoy outside of work. Spending quality time with my family, my friends, and my tribe are chief on my list of things I do when not working,
What advice do you have for women looking to grow either their own business or within the company for which they work?
Seek advice, ask questions, and do not be timid about charting your own course. Mentorship is also an important part of growth, and I encourage persons to be strategic and deliberate about mentorship. Reading is also critical and ensuring you select reading materials that are edifying to the mind and relevant to what you want to achieve. There are so many successful people out there who are sharing information via their social media platforms. Ensure you are curating your online space as much as you are curating your personal space with the right people that will help you with your growth. Also, ladies, listen more than you speak.
What’s the greatest risk you have taken as a professional?
Walking away from my dream career (at the time) as a television presenter and producer, without having another long-term source of income. That was a difficult period in my life, but I believe in preserving your self-worth and overall health. I fell in love with marketing and decided to put my master’s degree in communication to work. I was nervous and way outside my comfort zone, but I have no regrets.
Was there a key individual in your life that you would like to acknowledge? What was one of the most memorable things that individual has ever said or done?
My mother, Althea Moulton, is the real lady boss. She has been encouraging and speaking to me strongly for many years. Other than my father, she is the greatest cheerleader. I love that she tells me the truth whether I want to hear it or not!