The Power of Mentorship and Inclusion During Black History Month

Sponsored by Seagate Technology

Laurie Webb

Photo courtesy of Laurie Webb

Fairygodboss
Fairygodboss
April 22, 2024 at 10:43AM UTC

As Vice President of Legal at Seagate, Laurie oversees a broad set of areas, including employment, data governance, SEC reporting, compliance and ethics, and government relations.

In her 25 years of practicing law, Laurie has worked at a law firm and has also been in-house at both tech and non-tech companies. Her first in-house legal position was with a large tech company, where she forged a long-lasting and meaningful relationship with the chief legal officer, who became a mentor and friend. 


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We recently caught up with Laurie for her insights on the importance of values and the power of mentorship. 

Laurie, can you share how mentorship has added — and continues to add — value to your career? 

The relationship with my mentor has been so significant for me because it started early in my legal career and has endured. Through my mentor, I was able to see what was possible in the competitive and dynamic Silicon Valley ecosystem. He became my professional North Star because throughout his own career he has remained true to his faith and personal values.  Whenever I have faced consequential challenges or I have had to make tough choices, he has supported me. Sometimes he provides guidance; sometimes he simply listens as I work through issues. I now try to pay it forward.

Seagate is a company guided by three core values: integrity, innovation, and inclusion. Laurie, what do these values mean to you, and why are they important to you both professionally and personally?

When I think about integrity, I think about how it’s reflected in my actions each day and in the decisions I make. We can see in our corporate initiatives that the company is serious about fostering a culture where all of us are respected and treated with dignity. I’m inspired by that. 

Our senior leadership team is very focused on inclusion and diversity, which are particularly important to me as an African American woman. Last but not least is innovation. I try to be innovative in how I think so that innovation is reflected in all aspects of my life, both personal and professional.

You mentioned that Seagate’s value of inclusion is particularly important to you as an African American woman. In what ways does Seagate enable a culture of inclusion, and what advice do you have for other African American women in the workforce today? 

I have only been here at Seagate for approximately two years, and in that time, we have provided bias awareness training, held multiple discussion forums and participated in community activities that foster a culture of inclusion. These activities move us in the right direction, but inclusivity has to be reflected by everyone, so we still have a lot of work to do.

My advice for African American women is the same advice that I have for all women in the workforce: be brave. Do not get discouraged when others do not recognize or acknowledge your presence or value. Use that resistance as fuel for your effort, and continue to believe in yourself and know your own value.

February is Black History Month in the U.S., a time to reflect on the significance of Black history in the American story. What does Black History Month mean to you personally, and who are your role models in the Black community? 

I see Black History Month as a time each year when we recognize African Americans who have made noteworthy contributions to the world. I get inspiration from an endless list of historical and current African Americans, including civil rights leaders, political activists, scientists, inventors, entrepreneurs, educators, scholars, novelists, playwrights, journalists, artists and athletes. They each have changed America in productive or beneficial ways. 

By celebrating Black history, we celebrate determination, sacrifice, leadership, perseverance and achievement, which are common threads that run through every community. For some people, it serves as an opportunity to learn, and for others, it is a reminder of the individuals on whose shoulders we stand.

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