‘We're Here, We Matter, We Care’: How This Black Leadership ERG Is My ‘Love Letter’ to Black Women

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Lisa Brooks

Photo courtesy of Computershare.

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“I’ve always said that the C in Computershare stands for change because things change around here,” says Lisa Brooks, quality manager for the Communication Center at Computershare’s Louisville, Kentucky office, where she’s worked for 24 years. 

Brooks says it’s the people who, together, create that change and who’ve kept her around for more than two decades. Working together as a unit to achieve common goals is her favorite part of her job.

“[They’re] the reason why I've stayed so long — it’s those relationships that I've built and the people I know I can reach out to and count on to help me when I need it,” she tells Fairygodboss.

But, for as much as they’ve helped her, she’s also helped them. She calls herself the type of mentor “that’s going to give it to you straight and sometimes tell you what you don't want to hear but that you may need to hear.”

As a board member of the company’s Black Leadership Group (a group that helps contribute to Computershare’s culture of inclusivity and equality with a mission to increase representation of black professionals at Computershare through meaningful dialogue); a mentor for Computershare’s first employee resource group, Women4Women; and managing training and quality programs, Brooks offers the Computershare community a lot.

We caught up with her to learn more about what she does for the company, the many ways in which the company has supported her career journey and the many other ways she’s given back by supporting others in return. Here’s her advice for other women wanting to excel.

What is your role at Computershare?

I actually started in the Communication Center and have been through many different parts of the organization’s operations and then worked my way back into the Communication Center in their training and quality programs. I enjoy working with and developing people — that's my passion.

In my role, I get to be really hands-on. I get to work with Customer Care Agents individually, and I get to help them be better by giving them feedback in a constructive way as well as listening to their challenges, which helps them feel heard. That's my strength, my superpower — helping people feel heard and being able to give them feedback that's tailored to what they need to grow. I get to use that in my role every day.

I also manage other elements of quality and work directly with our clients to make sure that I understand their needs. I provide any necessary feedback to our partners in the Call Center to make sure they understand what the client expects, as well. That allows us to really service the client in a positive and constructive way.

Tell me about the Computershare Black Leadership Group

The Black Leadership Group (BLG) is one of Computershare’s employee resource groups, which provide safe spaces for employee-led discussions on all types of topics pertaining to diversity. As a Computershare employee, I am super excited that we have started these groups and, for the past year, I have been working with the BLG.

Our mission statement is to work with Black employees and help them develop, help them understand what is needed from them and their role in their development and help them get ready for other roles in the organization. I'm not going to be here forever, so I want somebody to fill my role. Hopefully in the initiatives that we're doing with the BLG, we can help our potential future senior managers and leaders to understand that they can do this, and that they're ready to step in and fill shoes that they may not have thought they could. I also want to give them a safe space to talk and to create a forum where we can share feedback with our leadership. 

It's very exciting because our leadership is very involved and very engaged and listening to what our employees — and our Black employees — have to say. Working with that sponsorship and that allyship from other employees is important and very helpful.

I'm very excited as we grow, and I look forward to our new initiatives. We have already kicked off our mentorship program, and we are also looking at a new development series that will be coming soon. We have also been running our ‘keeping it real’ sessions, where we discuss topics such as who gets to determine what's professional in 2022, where it was a conversation about old standards versus new standards. We're really excited about that, and there’s more to come.

Why is the BLG important to you?

The Black Leadership Group is important to me because now, along with our other employee resource groups, we have open forums where any feedback is heard and addressed. This is our opportunity to get our voices out there, and that's why this is so important to me.

I’m looking forward to continuing this resource group and then eventually passing that baton on to new members who are just as excited as I am about what this means to Computershare as an organization and also to the development of those employees who are looking to be long-term employees or even short-term employees.

Tell me a bit about Solaris.

I am currently in a Computershare-sponsored leadership program designed for Black women called Solaris. I was so honored to be in the charter group for this program and that Computershare felt that this was something that could help me in my career progression.

I've always felt supported in my career journey with Computershare; people have seen my potential and tapped me on the shoulder to do more. What I'm learning with Solaris is that I don't really tap myself on the shoulder and say, “Hey, you can do more. You could do this. Why don't you reach for that?” Solaris is teaching me that you don't have to wait until someone else thinks you're ready. You have to think you're ready and get ready and reach out and do it.

I'm really excited about this change in perception for myself and not waiting to be tapped on the shoulder. Instead, I’m taking my career into my own hands and making it what I want it to be and not just going where I’m needed. I'm happy that Computershare is supporting that journey.

What’s your advice for other women in the workplace? 

The advice that I would give to a woman just starting out is to be bold. Don't hang back and wait to be noticed. Speak up when you're in meetings, offer a contribution.

Be empathetic; There is a way to be effective but still be empathetic and listen as well as offer solutions, suggestions and ideas.

Be bold, but listen; be able to take constructive feedback; when you're getting feedback, sometimes it's not an emotional discussion, it's an exchange of information with the goal of helping you improve. Be able to accept that feedback in the manner that it was given and learn from it to help your development and help you grow. 

Remember, if you're not uncomfortable, you're not growing; you're staying still, staying stagnant. One thing I love about my current job is that I learn something new every day. I never assume I know everything, although a lot of times I may sound like I know everything. I know what I know, and I also realize that I'm not the smartest person in the room, so I look for that smartest person so I can learn from them. Then, I look for that person who may be struggling so that I can bring them along with me so that we can learn together.

What stands out for you working at Computershare?

What I love the most about working with and for Computershare is the people. I have met so many amazing people, amazing leaders and amazing employees. So many of them are like family to me. At this point, we've been together so long that I've seen employees’ children grow up. I've seen people get married. I've even seen people who met each other at Computershare. It's the people that really make Computershare.

Do you have a standout moment that you've experienced in your role? 

I think my standout moment would be when Computershare’s first employee resource group, Women4Women, went live and they were looking for mentors.

I had never officially mentored anyone before, but I had always been an unofficial mentor. People seem to gravitate to me. I would say hello to someone new and then, the next thing, they would be at my desk talking to me, and I would find myself counseling them or giving advice. So when Women4Women went live, I signed up to be a mentor. It was interesting because I thought, “Oh, this is what I've been doing the whole time,” so it's great to do that in an official capacity. It was great to stand up and officially be there for others, working to help them with some of their challenges.

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