Vickie Yakunin, Senior Manager, External Affairs for Amazon in Dallas, is one of the featured speakers at Local Profile’s 20th annual Women in Business Virtual Summit on Friday, October 15. Click here for tickets.
As the Senior Manager, External Affairs for Amazon in Dallas, Vickie Yakunin is responsible for helping our favorite on-demand delivery retailer become the most trusted community partner in this region. Collaborating with nonprofits, Chambers of Commerce and other similar civic groups by means of cash, in-kind support, and education, she wants the community to know they’re not just here delivering packages (although we really love that).
We caught up with Vickie to learn more about her experiences as a successful woman in business. She was honest, insightful, and generous in sharing what she’s learned along the way.
Q&A with Vickie Yakunin
Along the way, was there a woman who mentored you or whom you looked up to? Who was it, and what did you glean from their leadership?
I’ve been fortunate to have great leaders around me throughout my career, but the one woman who really stands out is Milinda Martin. She was the VP of Community Investment when I was at Time Warner Cable and I reported directly to her. She was a fantastic leader in every possible way. One of the key learnings I gained from her was around the art of having difficult conversations. At the time there were members of my team that I had inherited. Knowing that I would need to make changes, she helped me understand how to have that conversation in a way that would help that team member grow in their career and become the best version of themselves.
How can women in business support their fellow female colleagues?
It’s always important to help others along the way. If anyone comes to me, be it a young leader, or someone older than me, seeking my advice … maybe they’re thinking about a career change, maybe they saw a job posting and wonder if I know anyone there, maybe they’re thinking about going back to school for an Executive certificate..whatever it may be, I will always find the time to have those conversations. To be there and help others along the way is critical to advancing women in business. We’re here to support each other.
What unique strengths and skill sets of women are valuable in business?
Soft skills are critical in the workplace. Having a level of emotional intelligence … communicating effectively. Women really corner the market on those things, right?? You have to be confident in your role and prepared for it, but there’s also this other piece of allowing employees to be themselves…really listening to them, always asking for input and feedback.
As a tenured leader, what advice do you have for women just starting out in their careers?
When you’re just starting out, raise your hand for every project you can possibly raise your hand for. Learn as much as possible because that will not only improve your understanding of the business that you’re in, but it will also make you more marketable down the road.
What does that ever-elusive “work-life balance” look like for you?
When I first started at Amazon, one of my favorite videos that I watched was Jeff Bezos’ talk about getting rid of that phrase of work-life balance and instead, looking at it as work-life harmony. I listened intently to what he was saying there and it made sense to me. It’s thinking about bringing the same type of energy to both parts of your life. If you’re happy at home, you’re going to show up happy at work, and vice-versa. It’s creating an environment that offers that type of harmony. Some of the most tangible things that I keep in mind are:
- Know when to say no.
- Build a flexible work-life schedule. Especially in today’s work environment when we have more control over that than ever before…
- Communicate your commitments to others so they understand what else you’re involved in.
- Be ready to adapt to a changing work life because nothing stays static in today’s age. It’s constantly evolving, so I think it’s important to evolve as we go.
Where would we find you on a Saturday morning at 10:00 am?
You’ll find me at one of two places. Either at a Pilates class or walking at White Rock Lake with my ear buds in, listening to podcasts and tuning the rest of the world out.
Meet our amazing Women in Business speakers!
Join us Friday, October 15. Tickets are just $25, click here.
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