In 2004, the Texas Diversity Council presented the first Women in Leadership Symposium in San Antonio. The goal was to create a home for discussion of issues that women face in the workplace.
Four years later, its success prompted the National Diversity Council to make the symposium a national event. This event is now hosted by diversity councils nationwide, and Louisiana is one of those states. The symposium will take place on April 19 at 8 a.m. in the LSU Student Union.
Although more than a month away, The Louisiana Diversity Council has already begun picking its speakers for the Symposium. Once selected, the speakers then pick from a slate of topics, selecting one that strongly resonates with them.
Among the speakers at this event will be Yvette Marsh. For the past three years, Marsh has been the senior director of talent management for the LSU Foundation. Before that, she worked for 10 years as the LSU director of Training and Development and IT.
Despite her background in human resources, Marsh, like many people, did not always know what would be her path in the future.
“After I got my undergraduate in business, and I was in graduate school, I didn’t have any succinct, definite position, job or even field that I really wanted to work in,” Marsh said.
Marsh continued, saying this lack of plans really worried her at first.
“At the time, I always thought that there was something really wrong with that,” she said. “I thought I should’ve had a plan that was mapped out, every second, every minute, towards some ultimate goal.”
Looking back on it, Marsh noted the way she handled things were much better than she thought at the time, which led her to choose the topic: “All of the things you can do to best prepare yourself for when the opportunity comes.”
“In hindsight, I think it’s ok to not have it all figured out,” Marsh said. “However, you should be prepared for the opportunity when it presents itself. I felt I was prepared.”
She elaborated, explaining how being prepared brought her into her field.
“I sort of fell into this field of human resource management, but it was because someone presented me that opportunity, and I just took the opportunity,” she said.
Marsh stressed that one very important aspect in preparation is establishing connections.
“It’s one of the most valuable things that one can do to prepare themselves when the opportunity presents itself,” she said. “There is not a single connection I’ve made that hasn’t served me well.”
For Marsh, it did not take longer than a second to accept the invitation as a speaker for the event.
“I didn’t hesitate,” she said. “It’s just so important to not only see women succeeding in workplaces that typically have them in the minority, but to also see them sit front and center in an environment like the symposium, to specifically speak on what their path was like, to talk about their struggles and accomplishments.”
Photo by MTS Photography