When Shanavier McLemore moved into a male-dominated industry, she struggled speaking up. A workshop restored her confidence.
Changing jobs is a nerve-wracking experience at the best of times. But moving into a completely new industry is a whole other ball game — especially when you’re a black woman moving into tech. That was exactly the situation Shanavier McLemore was facing very recently.
“Historically, the tech industry has been dominated by men and people who don’t look like me. So when I first moved into my new role, I felt a bit uneasy speaking up,” she explains. “I was a newcomer in the tech space, so I felt very timid about sharing my accomplishments.” Her feelings were completely normal. In fact, researchers have found that in situations where we’re in the minority, we’re more likely to be hit by a sense of self-doubt.
But Shanavier also knew how important it was to overcome these feelings if she wanted to succeed in her new field. “Speaking openly about my accomplishments wasn’t something that came naturally to me, but I knew I’d need to learn that skill if I wanted to get ahead.” So when an email came through inviting her to something called #IamRemarkable — a workshop about the art of self-promotion — she jumped at the opportunity. “I was really intrigued by the topic, because it was something I was having to navigate in my new job,” she recalls.
The workshop was everything she needed at that point in time. “It was cathartic. It was such a relief to be in a room where self-promotion was welcomed, encouraged, and being exercised.” she says. After the workshop was over, she knew that was just the beginning. “The workshop plants the seeds that get conversations going on the importance of self-worth and confidence. But I knew that I wanted to play a bigger part in helping women and underrepresented groups get ahead.” So she signed up to become a facilitator.
Since then she has ran five workshops, with a sixth coming up soon. Leading these workshops has allowed her to really recognize — and verbalize — the things that make her remarkable, and put those traits to use by helping others. “I am remarkable because I value human well-being and what it means to lead an impactful life. I believe we can do anything we set our minds to, as long as we cultivate the necessary attitude and skill set to achieve our purpose,” Shanavier says. “I feel privileged to be a part of a movement that’s helping other people do that.”