Pivot Towards Success with SAP’s Judith Williams

Oct 28, 2020

Have you ever chosen a path that you want to follow and set out with a determined commitment only to realize somewhere along the way that your just not enjoying it? What do you do? Do you keep going or do you make the tough decision to change directions even if there are sunk costs?

In this episode, Judith Williams, Head of People Sustainability and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at SAP, shares her perspective and important life lesson she learned on the economic principle of “sunk costs” and how it can also be an important career strategy. Judith shares her story of deciding to make a career pivot, leaving her well-established career as an academic professor to becoming a change agent in the world of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Judith has been at the forefront of the culture change movement in technology and entertainment –with a deep focus on analytics and strategies to identify and disrupt bias in social systems and corporate culture. 

Prior to joining SAP, she ran an organization which consults with start-ups, venture capitalists, and accelerators on embedding diversity and inclusion into the foundations of their organizational cultures. 

In addition, Judith also served as the Global Head of Diversity for Dropbox and was also a Diversity Programs Manager at Google where she directed the unconscious bias work stream, and built strategies for recruiting, retention, and advancement of the company’s technical employees.

Highlights:

[02:57] Judith’s story
[05:52] Understanding sunk costs
[07:43] Making the decision to pivot
[12:02] Gaining clarity on your strengths and competencies
[17:35] Overcoming your fears and limiting beliefs
[19:48] Judith’s success habits
[23:40] Building a strong network
[27:46] The impact of COVID on underrepresented groups
[29:57] Opportunities for women of color
[32:09] Staying ahead of the curve
[34:19] Accelerating your success 

Quotes:

“Do the tasks you enjoy the least earlier in the day, and afterward, the tasks you do enjoy doing become a reward.” - Judith Williams

“When you first join an organization, it is more important to listen than to talk to understand the lay of the land.” - Judith Williams 

“Look for opportunities to show your value, but also look for opportunities to highlight the value of others.” – Judith Williams

“Make sure that your work is visible. And as you grow in seniority, your job shifts to include making the work of your team visible.” – Judith Williams

“Talk about your work like you're your own best friend.” – Judith Williams

About Judith Williams: 

Head of People Sustainability and SVP, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, SAP SE

Judith has been at the forefront of the culture change movement in technology and entertainment – with a deep focus on analytics and strategies to identify and disrupt bias in social systems and corporate culture. 

She joined SAP in September 2018 as Head of People Sustainability and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer leading both diversity and inclusion and business health programs at SAP.

Previously, she ran an organization which consults with start-ups, venture capitalists, and accelerators on embedding diversity and inclusion into the foundations of their organizational cultures.

Judith has also been instrumental in the development of the ReFrame Project, a partnership between the Sundance Institute and Women and Film. The project addresses systemic barriers in the Hollywood ecosystem, and encourages gender parity at every level in film, TV and media. 

Prior to that as Global Head of Diversity for Dropbox, Judith was responsible for all diversity and inclusion programs, as well as corporate social responsibility. Her efforts increased the pipeline of women and underrepresented minorities at Dropbox, creating a more inclusive corporate culture and forming deeper ties into the communities where the company operates.

In addition, Judith was the Diversity Programs Manager at Google where she directed the unconscious bias work stream, and built strategies for recruiting, retention, and advancement of the company’s technical employees. She was instrumental in implementing Google’s widely praised unconscious bias training program which was the first to call out hidden prejudices as a major contributor to the systemic lack of diversity in the tech industry.

Judith lives in San Francisco, CA.

Links:

LinkedIn: judith-michelle-williams-55751a

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