Judith Harrison: Take Charge of Your Career
In episode 19 of the Coffee Break w/ NYWICI podcast, we caught up with Judith Harrison, Senior Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion at Weber Shandwick. Harrison, who is also NYWICI’s incoming president, chatted candidly about creating her own role, her favorite mentor, and much more. Here are some of the key takeaways from the interview that you can apply to your own career.
Become an expert
When Judith decided she wanted to work in diversity and inclusion (D&I), she began by doing a lot of research. “I was studying what the companies in the Diversity Inc. Top 50 were doing,” she says. “I was going out and talking to D&I leaders and calling them up saying ‘I want to start a D&I program – can I talk to you?’” She’d then write long emails to her manager on the subject—which eventually led to her company creating a new role focused on that issue for her.
Listen to Judith’s interview at Coffee Break w/ NYWICI
You can be both nice and assertive
Harrison says she learned so much from her late mentor, who had been Elizabeth Taylor’s publicist. “She was the epitome to me of smarts, of grace, of assertiveness. She showed me there is no contradiction between being a lady and being assertive.”
Embrace your inner diva
Judith believes that all of today’s technology demands make it impossible for work/life balance to exist. “There’s never that perfect balance and we need to be comfortable with that discomfort,” she says. “In my mind, the key to handling that is self-care. Our first job is to take care of ourselves. We deserve it and it’s important, period.” She recommends setting up calendar invites for self-care so nothing else gets in the way.
Judith says she learned so much from her late mentor, who had been Elizabeth Taylor’s publicist. “She was the epitome to me of smarts, of grace, of assertiveness. She showed me there is no contradiction between being a lady and being assertive.”
Put your well-being ahead of your career
The best advice Judith ever got was “to believe in myself and trust my gut about what was right for me.” She once left a job that was making her physically ill—without a backup plan in place—because she knew it was the right choice for her health.
NYWICI creates leaders
“I am so incredibly honored [to be the incoming President],” Judith says. “This organization is phenomenal in terms of genuine generosity of spirit. We’ve done a great job of invocating the value of giving back to the next generation.” With regard to NYWICI scholarship winners, she adds, “I enjoy watching these young women grow and flourish.”
Thanks to Judith Harrison for being part of the podcast! To listen to all the episodes of Coffee Break w/ NYWICI, visit nywici.org/podcast.