Here’s Your Daily Dose of Career Inspiration! 2 Wipro Women Leaders Share How They Grew

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Karon Delaney-Reed and Genine Mikucki

Photos courtesy of Wipro.

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Fairygodboss
June 23, 2024 at 5:29PM UTC

“Early in my working life, I tried a couple of different ‘careers’ on for fit,” shares Karon Delaney-Reed. From pensions administration to magazine sales, Delaney-Reed tested out different industries and roles to find out what she wanted best. 

Then, when she identified senior roles she was interested in, she “worked to overachieve my objectives and to contribute more than was expected of me,” shares Delaney-Reed. For example, at one organization, in only eight years, she went from Sales Manager to Head of Sales for 50% of a broker network.

Delaney-Reed’s inner drive and passion has stayed with her throughout her career — during which, she always tries her best, works hard and refocuses her priorities after setbacks and roadblocks. One such potential roadblock was becoming a parent. Delaney-Reed recalls that, in the late 1990s, she thought that having a child would slow down her career progression. 

However, this was not to be! Delaney-Reed was promoted the week she returned to work after her maternity leave. This “taught me to be more open to possibilities and not always to ‘believe’ my inner voice, particularly when it is seeking to limit me,” shares Delaney-Reed. 

Today, due to her open outlook, ‘can do’ attitude and focus on overachieving, Delaney-Reed has grown her career to become one of the General Managers (GMs) and Global Account Executives (GAEs) at Wipro. There, she is surrounded by many colleagues who have also taken charge of their professional growth.

One of these colleagues is Genine Mikucki, who recently joined Wipro as the VP Human Resources Leader, Americas, and who is also a mother (Mikucki has two adopted sons and considers becoming their mother to be the greatest accomplishment in her life). Mikucki reiterates what Delaney-Reed says about following your ambition and never giving up on your professional goals.

Further, Mikucki reveals that the following nine values are what enabled her to grow her own career: 

  1. Do unto others as you would yourself.

  2. Treat others with respect and be humble.

  3. Live with integrity.

  4. Be true to who you are and the values you believe in.

  5. Help those in need.

  6. Take responsibility for your actions.

  7. Don’t judge someone until you have walked in their shoes.

  8. Saying you are sorry is not a sign of weakness.

  9. Take time to smell the roses because balance is important.

Here, these two experienced leaders tell us more about managing a team, their leadership styles and more!

Top leadership lessons from 2 working moms.

What makes a good leader? According to Delaney-Reed, a good leader is direct and encouraging. And, importantly, a supportive manager is good at “noticing what people have contributed, acknowledging this and ensuring that they are appropriately rewarded,” Delaney-Reed tells us.

As for Mikucki, she says that her most helpful qualities as a leader are responsiveness, the ability to anticipate and adapt to challenges, admitting when she’s made mistakes, asking for help and making time to think more deeply about the impact of her decisions.

And, what about the skills you need to grow to move into leadership? For this, Mikucki shares five important pieces of advice:

  1. Rely on the power of technology to free bandwidth so that you can concentrate on higher value initiatives.

  2. Don’t underestimate the value of constant and consistent change management and communication.

  3. Reach out to senior leadership for support to help drive your vision.

  4. Find solutions to business imperatives, and stay abreast of the latest trends in the industry.

  5. Lead instead of manage.

As for Delaney-Reed, she emphasizes that to grow as a leader, it’s important to keep your inner critic in check. “I am tough on myself, and I realize that sometimes I need to give myself a break and consciously acknowledge what I have achieved,” Delaney-Reed reveals.

Advice for managing a team.

Managing people — especially if you’re new to it — is not easy. So how can you be sure that you’re supporting your team in the most effective and empathetic way as a leader? To find out, we asked Mikucki and Delaney-Reed how they do just that. 

Mikucki told us to remember that, “everyone brings with them a different set of experiences, skillsets and values.” As such, you should always remember that, “it is most productive to play to a person’s strengths while simultaneously working on their development areas,” she shares.

As for Delaney-Reed, she emphasizes the importance of finding a company that will support you and your leadership skills. Delaney-Reed notes that, while she is an experienced leader, in her nine month at Wipro, she’s managed to grow her skills.

The Spirit of Wipro and their 5 Habits (being respectful, responsive, communicative, demonstrating stewardship and building trust) have helped, both in terms of the values and culture of the company,” Delaney-Reed tells us. Using these company values, she ensures that she is always building trust and communicating with her team and her own manager. 



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