March is Women’s History Month and March 8 was International Women’s Day. At UKG, we celebrate the successes of our amazing female U Krewers all year long, but this month we are pulling out all the stops. Our employee resource group FIRE (Female Inclusion, Resilience, and Excellence) Up has some incredible programming to elevate and empower our U Krewers in March — including multiple guest speakers, a roundtable with UKG leaders, an event for female vets in the tech space, and events focusing on women’s health and financial wellness, to name a few.
We’re also excited to share a Q&A with our Group Vice President of Relationship Management, Jane G. Jane is a member of three of our eight ERGs, including FIRE Up, BUILD (Black Upcoming Individuals in Leadership and Development), and ADAPT (Accessibility and Disability Allies Partner Together).
Tell us about yourself and your role at UKG. I joined UKG in 2017. My wife and I live near the beach in Charleston and enjoy Friday morning surf sessions and dinner outside at any one of the Island staples near the beach. We have several rescue animals and I am on the board of directors of our local animal society. At UKG, I lead a global team of about 350 people focused on the retention and long-term success of our customers.
What career advice would you give to your younger self? Ask leaders you respect — especially if they manage a different part of the business than you — if you can join their team meetings. Make time to do it, so you can learn from their leadership styles and learn about other parts of the business. Be curious about all aspects of the company and build your network while you learn.
What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the workplace and how have you overcome them? I have been fortunate in both the places I’ve worked and the generation I am a part of, being on the more progressive side of this issue. That said, I once had a senior executive at a different company ask me privately during a female leadership panel whether I thought there was “actually a wage gap” between men and women. I was in my early 20s at the time and I felt as though I couldn’t respond truthfully for fear of disagreeing with what I assume was a position that women don’t really get paid any less than men.
What has surprised you most about working at UKG? Even after several years at the company, I am still surprised by just how much collaboration is valued over competition, no matter where you operate in the ranks. In many companies, competitiveness and politics are parts of the culture. At UKG, people are rewarded for helping others or their team achieve success more than (in my opinion) they are rewarded for achieving their own individual success. This breeds an environment of mutual celebration and support that is unique and surprises me every day.
What makes you feel supported at UKG? I was recently leaving a meeting when one of our C-level executives stopped me to talk. He was asking my advice about an upcoming company event and wanted my opinion about inclusivity at the event. Then he asked if it was ok if he asked me some questions about my experience being a part of the LGBTQ+ community at UKG. I was touched by the sincere and genuine interest this senior executive expressed — he was asking so that he could continue to foster a culture at all levels where people feel supported and included. UKG is truly a special place to work and it comes from the top.
Is there a UKG program that has impacted you, or that you find motivating/encouraging? I have so many more programs to explore, but one that comes to mind was my participation as a mentor in our BUILD mentorship circle. I spent a couple hours a month for eight months with four other BUILD members, following a mentorship curriculum that allowed us to share our unique experiences in work and life, learn about our aspirations, and help each other with advice and support. I am a more thoughtful leader — and a little smarter — because of the opportunity to have those months of interesting conversations with colleagues I wouldn’t have met otherwise.