Cox Enterprises
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If you’ve ever streamed TV shows or movies, used a home security system or simply connected to the internet at home, you’ve used the kinds of technology that Kenisha ‘Kasey’ White helps build every day.

Kasey, Sr. Director of OSS Technology at Cox Communications, orchestrates the portfolio of software that makes these kinds of connections possible for Cox customers.

An employee of Cox for 11 years, Kasey has been able to flex her muscles in both the technology and leadership spaces, creating meaningful change in the broadband industry and serving as a role model for other women with STEM ambitions. In this Q&A, Kasey shares the experiences and lessons that helped shape her into a capable and caring tech leader.

Tell us about your background. Did you always know you wanted to work in technology?

Kasey: My professional background before Cox was in banking and finance. I worked at Wachovia Bank while completing my undergraduate degree at Georgia State University and my MBA at Keller Graduate School of Business. During my graduate program studies, I began to get excited about e-commerce, project management and organizational behavior. At the time, I wasn't clear how my passion and professional experiences would converge, so I maintained my current path with finance. Unexpectedly, years later, a friend of mine introduced me to a Cox employee who knew of a need for contractors in IT. I decided to take a chance and, with the help of some amazing people, was able to secure a contractor position as a Senior Business Analyst.

You took a leap of faith with that role… how did it turn out?

Kasey: The perfect career refresh had converged and was realized. Years later, I had the opportunity to become an official Cox employee. Since then, I've had an array of experiences focused on improving the user interface for both customer and employee platforms. So many opportunities unfolded for me because I took a chance.

Why did working at Cox appeal to you in the first place?

Kasey: Working at Cox was primarily appealing because of the culture. I genuinely enjoy meeting and being around people. As an individual and as a leader, my natural inclination is to assess how I can serve the needs of others. The Cox culture is a perfect fit as it's built on the premise of family and promoting family values within the marketplace. The heart of the Cox family is evident in the business culture as leadership is committed to growing talent, enabling individual creativity and driving results — all while continuing to build for the future. I feel like I have a future with Cox.

Can you share your perspective as a woman in tech? What challenges have you encountered, and what have you learned?

Kasey: The challenges of women in technology remain a phenomenon. Although I have experienced many, it is work-life balance or “the parenting trap” that stands out to me. In 2017, my husband and I received the long-awaited news that we were expecting our first child. As you can imagine, this was a super exciting time for us. However, I'd just taken my first leadership role as an IT Manager in October 2016. As much as I relished in the moments of joy for my daughter to be, I spent equal amounts of time stressing about how I'd continue to excel at work and still be present for my child and husband. 

What did you do?

Kasey: I shared my concerns in conversations with female mentors and even some of my male leaders within Cox. The common message from each of them was: Cox is intentional about promoting work-life balance, and you will be supported. In fact, my male VP is the perfect example of fostering workplace flexibility as he's primarily responsible for getting his kids to and from school. Cox employees can arrange flexible work agreements within teams and have the benefit of unlimited paid time off.  My biggest learning through this challenge was the importance of sharing. I was able to develop confidence in my leadership’s support to be the best employee, mom and wife. As a woman, I can have it all! My job is to forge allies and help pave the way for other women.

Let’s talk more about forging allies and building connections. What advice do you have to share on this topic, specifically for someone who is interested in becoming a tech leader?

Kasey: As a Girl Scout, we'd sing a nursery rhyme called, “Make New Friends but Keep the Old.” As a child, my mom taught my brothers and me two key lessons: don't burn bridges, and always say please and thank you. As a member of the corporate marketplace, I've learned that relationship building is central to success. When I think of my life journey and compile these lessons together, the message for me is to not just build relationships but, rather, to build and leverage them. As a woman, I like to feel connection and depth. Therefore, my goal is to bring that connection and depth into each relationship to create opportunities for learning, greater success, new relationships and vulnerability where appropriate. How you show up matters, and, hopefully, the reward is valuable for all those involved sooner or later.

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