Meet a 'Woman Worth Watching'
August 01, 2017
When you spend time with Shaun Zitting, Vice President Human Resources and Communications for Performance Materials and Technologies (PMT), it's easy to see why she was named one of Diversity Journal's Women Worth Watching.
In announcing the award winners, Publisher James Rector said, “We have focused on many accomplished women who have made significant contributions to their respective organizations. We are convinced that women offer unique qualities, and those profiled [in our] magazine have proven time and again that women are fundamental to leading successful organizations.”
To get to know her better, we asked Shaun to share some insights.
What is your personal philosophy?
Lean into the tough stuff – do the things that scare you the most. They will make you a better leader and human being. Be authentic and vulnerable in your work, learn from experience and be confident, but humble. You’ll encounter plenty of people who may question your value; don’t be one of them. You can’t lead change from the fence – leadership is a full contact sport. Be provocative, flexible and willing to do things differently. If you don’t get the results you are looking for, try something new. Never accept the status quo.
How did you become a leader and how are you sharing your path with other women?
Leadership in title means very little – it’s what you do with it that truly defines leaders. In my experience, leadership takes enormous passion – sometimes working against your preferences – boundless energy, tenacity, humility, empathy, and an endless curiosity about your work. It’s an enormous commitment that should be approached with great care and impeccable intentionality.
What message do you want to give to women moving up the pipeline?
Forget the “why” of why things are the way they are, and aspire to be better than you are today. Over time, you will be in front! No one promised life would be fair, it’s not. Put on your big girl pants and kick some butt.
The most important qualities a woman leader should have are…
There are no “shoulds” in life unless you agree with them. That said, there are a few qualities that have certainly contributed to my success – tenacity, humility, passion, courage and flexibility.
What obstacles did you encounter in your career and how did you overcome them?
I have never thought about career challenges as “obstacles,” but I probably thought they were my fault (i.e. something I could or should have done better or different). I think other women in business suffer from the same disease – we take on more responsibility for what’s not working than we own. Regardless, I’ve learned not to personalize them. I have a “never give up, “bring it on” attitude. I don’t let them see me sweat and if all else fails, I have a big glass of really good wine (after work of course)!
What does diversity and inclusion mean to you?
When you put people together with different perspectives and backgrounds they will invariably create something better than people who think, look and act the same – if you get this right, it can be a huge business differentiator.
Why is diversity important to businesses – what does it really mean and why?
It’s simple, if you want the very best people working for you, the very best people come from all over the world – from different religions, political views, socioeconomic backgrounds, race, gender, sexual orientation, working preferences, and values. If you don’t believe this, you will simply miss out on attracting and keeping the best people out there.
Words I live by…
Do or do not, there is no “try.”