Jennifer on how she shows up for others as a leader
In honor of Black History Month, we interviewed leaders in our Cara community, as they reflected on being a Black leader and what this month means to them. Today‘s leader is Cara Associate Board Vice President, Jennifer Harper, Veterinary Talent Acquisition Partner at Ethos Veterinary Health.
“Every year there are things that I continue to learn about black history. On top of that, I feel like I’m still trying to help people adjacent to me understand the history and how it’s woven into everyday life. Sometimes it’s difficult to celebrate when you feel deficient in what you know, and especially what others know. There’s mixed feelings, because it’s the shortest month out of the year and it’s not as well known as it should be. However, it’s still nice to see how far we’ve come. A lot of my media and my social feeds are very pro-Black, and it’s really nice to have that space online.
“My style of leadership as a queer, Black woman shows up to people differently. Everyone has a different perception of what leadership looks like. It can look like a cis-het white male, who has powerful connections and can secure millions of dollars in sponsorships. Or it can show up as someone like me, who operates on a smaller level of influence, in my communities and in my circle.
“It’s important to have representation. Because we exist right? There are purple unicorns out here. Everyone should have a space. I hope that my actions and how I show up, especially at Cara, can inspire someone similar to be comfortable showing up as a leader in that way. It’s great how diverse the Associate Board is this year. It’s a great group. I’m nervous yet excited to lead the charge in reaching our goals. I’m staying positive and have high hopes.
“I hope that my actions and how I show up, especially at Cara, can inspire someone similar to be comfortable showing up as a leader in that way.”
“We should recreate the kind of diversity we have on the Associate Board in every space. It starts with opening up your candidate pool and looking outside of the applicants with the typical experience. In my case, I’m the only black person on my team and got hired as a recruiter with no industry experience. So, in two years, I was able to find this super niche position, because they opened themselves up to not just veterinary specific recruiters. It’s really simple if you want it to be.
“It’s important to recreate the kind of diversity we have on the Associate Board in every space. It starts with opening up your candidate pool and looking outside of the applicants with the typical experience.”
“You can start by educating marginalized communities about these jobs. People don’t even know it’s an option. Representation in the workforce and leadership looks all kinds of ways and shows up in all types of ways. I’m really glad that I found a space at Cara that has let me grow as a leader in a way that’s specific to me. I advocate for underrepresented groups all the time in a natural way. Hopefully people can see that and resonate with my style of leadership.“
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