Create opportunities and seize them! That is the overarching message of Juliet Hall as she talks about achieving more in her new book and as a leadership consultant and keynote speaker. I am talking with her about it today. In Own Your Opportunities, Juliet shares her experiences in corporate America to help others understand their strengths, regain their power, and set their goals. In this interview, she explains corporate trauma, how she rebuilt your career, DEI initiatives, and what to expect from her new read.
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Interview with Juliet Hall
When Juliet Hall hit a glass ceiling in corporate America, she opened a window. She pivoted to a new career path and today thrives as a leadership consultant at Juliet Hall INC, speaker, and award-winning author.
In the new book Own Your Opportunities, she explains how she made the career change, self-maximization, and much more. She is an inspiring woman who shares many great insights in this interview.
What does it mean to ‘own your opportunities’?
Own Your Opportunities means acceptance of your human responsibility to take control of and advance your life according to the abilities that exist within you and the resources that are available around you.
I love this focus on the self and taking control! You did exactly that, as you explain in Own Your Opportunities. When did you realize it was time to leave the company?
I knew it was time to leave when my career path had reached a dead end. I was no longer supported to do work that was within my sweet spot, and I was told the likelihood of my dreams did not exist at the company.
And thus, my truest talent within the organization would not be utilized. There was no more space or agency for me to do what I loved to do.
Since then, you have built a thriving platform as a leadership consultant, speaker, and author. What is the main message you share?
I want individuals, especially women, to take control of their own lives. Unfortunately, our world conditions us to live according to a certain track—i.e., go to school, get an education, get a job, get married, raise a family, retire, and die. However, our world really doesn’t condition us to self-actualize.
We are not raised to discover ourselves and what makes us unique—and then, to develop and deploy our uniqueness. We are not taught that we can live a purpose-filled, and even prosperous life, by doing what we love and are uniquely created to do.
And so, my main message is this: Cultivate the seed of your authentic greatness that exists inside of you so that you can live in your fullness and become the person you ultimately were created to be.
To women who do not feel the employer values them, what do you want them to know?
Environment matters. Seeds can only cultivate and thrive in the right environment. Being valued and appreciated is a human need. If that need isn’t met, stress and frustration will always be the result.
This is what I want women to know: You must become your own champion.
In situations where you do not feel valued, here are some options:
—Stay with your employer and discuss with him/her what your needs are. If you are working with difficult leadership, realize that people come and people go—so it’s more important to love your work. That said, take initiative with your boss and share your concerns and your suggestions on how they might be resolved. Realize your employer cannot read your mind.
—Pursue hobbies and opportunities outside of your employer where you can have value and where your value can be appreciated.
—Leave your employer altogether and find or create a space where your talent can be utilized and appreciated, whether that’s through a different employer or becoming self-employed.
Interview with Juliet Hall cont’d.
What do you wish someone had told you when you felt the ‘glass ceiling’ as a woman?
I wish someone had told me to not wait until I had “felt the glass ceiling” before making the decision to leave a company. I wish someone had told me to always think and plan beyond my job. That way, leaving never becomes an emotional decision.
Looking back on your journey as a Black woman in corporate America, what do you wish there was more of? Less of? Are there DEI initiatives you see working?
I wish there were more leaders who kept their word. Leaders with character and a high moral fiber… Servant leaders.
Looking back as a Black woman in corporate America, I wish there were more leaders who took an interest in cultivating and encouraging my natural talent and gifts. I’d seen leaders create roles and opportunities for several white male leaders—that is, they found space for them to stay within the company even if they were underperforming.
That was mainly where I saw inequities within the corporate system—opportunities created for some, but not for others.
In terms of less of, I would say protectionist behavior. In other words, leaders need to be held accountable to high standards and expectations. It is unhealthy and extremely detrimental when organizations protect (cover for, pardon, look away) people who abuse or misuse their positional power, mistreat their employees and are unethical.
DEI initiatives that work generally are those that 1) retain and promote its diverse talent, 2) increase engagement and employee trust, 3) improve a company’s brand image and 4) link to an increase in a company’s financial performance. There are many companies that take DEI seriously and want to achieve those outcomes, but it is a journey.
What does an inclusive corporate culture look like to you?
Inclusive corporate cultures are those that champion all people. And by championing people, leaders are intentional about meeting their human needs: purpose and belonging, growth, significance, feeling valued and appreciated, and having a sense of shared ownership.
Powerful! What do you hope readers will get out of Own Your Opportunities?
I hope readers are encouraged and inspired. I lay out my life so that people will know what’s possible when they bet on themselves. Specifically, I hope readers will be motivated to pursue their own self-discovery and be intentional about their own self-maximization. Living in your fullness is really the only way to live.
Who is this book meant for?
Ideally, Own Your Opportunities is meant for professional women who are 35-55 years old and at a professional impasse. There are spiritual notes throughout the book, so it’s even more ideal for faith-based women. That said, I’ve received positive reviews from men who resonated with the book as well.
As a Black woman, I wrote the book with Black women in mind. However, based on feedback from my readers, Own Your Opportunities transcends race, gender, and age.
Get your copy of Own Your Opportunities by Juliet Hall
Own Your Opportunities is available in hardcover, audiobook, and eBook from any major online retailer, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, and Target.
If you live in the Atlanta area, consider going to the Barnes & Noble bookstores in Buckhead, Cumberland, or Perimeter to pick up a copy. You can also visit 44th & 3rd Bookseller (a Black-owned, independent bookstore) at the Atlanta University Center.
Connect further with Juliet Hall
Find out more about Juliet Hall on her website. Read client testimonials, book her for a speaking engagement, and order the book.
To book Juliet Hall to speak to your organization or group, please get in touch with her here. She is also available for business-related inquiries by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Feature photo: Meet author and speaker Juliet Hall. Photo used with permission