lindy k. lee-lovell
September 20, 2011 § Leave a comment
Very tired. Just came back from being pep-talked at a conference? powwow? self-help symposium? hosted by the Los Angeles chapter of WTS. This wouldn’t usually merit the attention of a post. But today when I walked in there, ready to share with the multitudes my usual number of cock-ups, tongue-slips, and slam-bang quips about the vagaries of L.A. traffic, I saw an unusual sight. A tiny Asian-American woman stood at the podium. She was so short you could only see her head and the upper half of her torso. Though she had been 28 years on the job she looked like a student. Yet with her round face and short stature and voice that cracked like an adolescent’s she was the second-in-command of Caltrans District 7 — the second largest in the state. Chief Deputy was her title. Compare her to the man from Jacobs who made me feel minnow-slight — dark evaluating eyes, an obtrusive foreign accent, a forceful way of speaking. What did Lindy K. Lee-Lovell talk about? Well, she talked about making it. She made no mention of her own status — as a woman, as an Asian American — being several degrees removed from the Caucasian and male-dominated center of her chosen industry of work. She talked mostly about cataloging one’s faults and learning to overcome, minimize, or supplement them with friendly sales or HR personnel. She presented to the room a taxonomy of her best traits and her worst. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, she called them. She made a joke every other minute, most of which provoked only a smattering of laughter throughout the room. She said it took her ten years to make the leap to management. She had almost given up.
One suggestion of hers that I liked was the slide about identifying your best traits and areas of expertise, and then increasing your influence in the community by teaching those skills, or growing those traits, in others. Increased visibility will cause others to come to you, and perhaps view you as a figure of authority.