International Women’s Day: Girls Should Never Give Up
March 11, 2021 |
3 minute read
“What do you want to be one day, Jean?”
“Mommy, that’s easy. I want to be CEO!” (7 year old Jean)
Little did I know, the path to success is nothing short of...well, not easy. Every journey to success has its own story rife with challenges. These unique experiences can be a blessing in disguise not only for the adventurer, but for the broader community as well.
While we all face unique obstacles on our journey, there are some that may be particular to one group but spare others. In light of International Women’s Day, I’d like to share a bit about some that are unfortunately all too familiar to women (and girls), and how we can take these obstacles and turn them into opportunities for success.
Although I have not made it to CEO (yet!), the lessons learned from the challenges I’ve faced along the way have had a profound impact on my journey. These lessons will also have a lasting impact on how our society evolves, and how I can hopefully contribute to help.
I was considered ‘less than’ and unable to go very far in life by my Father because I was a girl. Influenced by that assumption, my Father decided to move back to China when I was young, leaving my mother and I behind in the United States.
My mother, with no education in hand, had to take on 3-4 housekeeping jobs in order to make ends meet. It was embarrassing at that time, but now I am nothing less than proud. It was also then that my #nevergiveup attitude began to form.
I later got accepted into a top-tier high school, but was nearly going to give up the opportunity due to the high tuition cost. Luckily, an anonymous benefactor paid for the tuition. On the day of my high school graduation, it was revealed that my benefactor was my middle school principal who believed in me and wanted me to never give up on my goals.
After graduating from UC Santa Barbara, I decided to move to Shanghai to gain some global work experience. Since I did not have any connections there, it was difficult to find a job, so I taught English in the beginning. I would commute 1.5 hours every day and was paid the equivalent of $14USD an hour while my male counterparts were getting paid $42 USD an hour.
However, I did not want to give up on why I was abroad and I capitalized on every opportunity I found, until I eventually landed a job at one of the Big 4 Consulting Firms.
I had the opportunity to work directly with the Leader of the Asia Pacific Region who believed in me even before I did, and, from him, I gained a lot of invaluable experience. However, due to the nature of my role, my young age, and also the culture, there were many instances where my consultation would be ignored or needed to be repeated by my male counterparts for it to be accepted.
Those interactions made my desire even stronger, and I was later awarded the Global Customer Experience Award. Despite the recognition, even when I was handed in my notice one of the last statements a Senior Partner made to me was, “Good decision (to quit), it is about time you get married and have kids. You’re approaching 25.”
I moved to Boston 6 years ago, taking on a Customer Success Manager role at a telecommunication start-up. I am now a Senior Director at Cybereason, and have the opportunity to lead a team where we support each other. Although equality issues in workplaces for women have generally improved over the last few years, there is still a great deal of room for improvement.
So, does the goal of 7 year old Jean still hold true? Yes, but it has evolved. I aim not only to be a CEO one day, but more so, I intend to be a conscious leader who can positively impact each unique journey and be a force in ensuring that we are working towards more equality each and every day.
ABOUT Jean Lethuillier
Jean Lethuillier, Senior Director of Customer & Partner Success at Cybereason. She has years of experience as a consultant, practitioner, and Customer & Partner Success. Her mission is to drive high customer retention, expansion, and satisfaction alongside Channel Partners. Prior to joining Cybereason, Jean was a Senior Consultant at PwC in Shanghai, a Strategic Customer Program Manager at Fuze, and a Director of Customer Success at Kununu.
About the Author
Jean Lethuillier is the Senior Director of Customer & Partner Success at Cybereason. She has years of experience as a consultant, practitioner, and Customer & Partner Success. Her mission is to drive high customer retention, expansion, and satisfaction alongside Channel Partners. Prior to joining Cybereason, Jean was a Senior Consultant at PwC in Shanghai, a Strategic Customer Program Manager at Fuze, and a Director of Customer Success at Kununu.