Susan Persaud Sykes is a senior manager in human resources and has been with The Walt Disney Company for 15 years. She leads two amazing workforce planning and human resource information systems teams. Her team ensures that our Disney General Entertainment Content employees have the correct status in their systems of record so that they are paid correctly, receive the correct benefits, and all of their information is reflected in our internal systems accurately, among other things. Susan thinks of her teams as amazing translators and thought partners. They get a request and translate it into the system to make things happen to get the desired result.
Susan is also a member of the Multicultural Women’s Network (MWN) business employee resource group (BERG). We recently asked her a few questions about her work with the BERG and her advice for those currently working or hoping to do so with Disney.
What do you find most rewarding about your experience as a BERG member?
Our mission at the MWN is to build a diverse and inclusive professional community dedicated to empowering women.
In general, as women, we have a tendency to keep things to ourselves as we are going through things in life, and at those times we feel like we are the only ones experiencing it because in many of our cultures we are taught to keep things to ourselves. However, when we start to share things out loud, we find that we are not alone.
As a multicultural women’s network, we have each other to know that we are not alone in our experiences and there is some solace in knowing we are not alone. We are a resource for each other because we can share experiences and perspectives to learn from each other to resolve issues, build our network, expand our resources, etc.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” At MWN, one of our greatest resources is each other and we get to learn from each other. One of the most rewarding parts of my role as a BERG leader is being able to help, support, and empower other women at our company.
What does a reimagined tomorrow look like for you?
A reimagined tomorrow for me is one where there is representation and one where we all are able to bring our authentic selves to work and not feel like we have to alter ourselves to “fit in.” I have spoken with so many women at our company through MWN who do not feel like they can share their authentic selves at work and feel like they are held back when they do.
Also, representation is very important and it matters. We all need to see ourselves presented in every part of life (personally and professionally). Professionally, it is important for everyone at our company to see themselves represented in leadership at our company to know that we can aspire to those leadership roles. For me personally, I don’t see a lot of women like me in executive leadership roles at the company. I hope to help further diverse and inclusive representation for myself and others.
What advice would you give to other women at the Company?
I am a single mom of two beautiful and smart girls. They are truly my greatest accomplishment. Based on my experiences, my top two pieces of advice to women are:
- The only person who can sell yourself is yourself. In my culture, I was taught to work hard and you will be rewarded. However, in my career, I learned the hard way that it doesn’t happen that way in corporate America. So, always be prepared to sell yourself because you know your value add and what you bring to the table. It may be uncomfortable for some (including myself), especially in cultures where you are taught to be humble, but it is needed. The more you do it and believe it, it will become easier to do.
- If you don’t try, you will never know. Always go for it, don’t live in regret. Apply for the job new job, ask for a promotion, ask for the relocation, ask for a raise, etc. In general, as women, we overthink. Even if you don’t have all of the requirements for the job, apply for it. A study once found that men will apply for a job when they only meet 60% of the requirements and women only apply when they meet 100% of the job requirements. Let’s get caught up and start applying!
Business Employee Resource Groups (BERGs) are formed around a shared identity, interest, or pursuits. These employee-led groups bring together employees for insights, support, career development, and community engagement. All colleagues are welcomed and encouraged to join.
by Disney Career Recruitment