Employee Spotlight: Celebrating Women’s Equality Day – Lisa Colter
In honor of Women’s Equality Day, we are spotlighting one of our amazing employees, Lisa Colter. Learn more about Lisa below!
What is your role at Milestone?
I am a senior managing consultant and I wear many hats working on the Microsoft account at Milestone. Any given day I can be imaging laptops for Microsoft personnel, assisting with the hiring process for a new team member, presenting a business review to Microsoft Principal Managers, or building a new operations/engineering team. My main focus is overseeing the Microsoft Xbox teams and ensuring we are delivering the high quality of services to our clients while focusing on the business side with clients for additional needs ranging from strategic to technical.
Who has inspired you professionally?
My mom is a pillar of inspiration to me. She grew up with social pressures stating women should not get a college education and was oppressed to reach for certain dreams. My mom built and sustained a business for 40 years, college educated 3 children (2 being girls!) and built a timeless loving marriage and family life. She became much more than just a “housewife” as society set her up to be. She encouraged my sister and I to get a high level of education and aspire to whatever dreams we had and not let social barriers or stigmas hold us back. Many of my management skills are derived from how she ran the family business and they are extremely effective today. I always want to make my mom proud of my achievements and let her know that she gave me the base I needed to be successful. Now I strive to inspire my own daughter to pursue her dreams and not let any society pressures or stigmas hold her back. With more and more women breaking the barriers, I hope my daughter will not have to deal with the same biases I deal with in my career today.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I started playing console games as a kid and my passion for computers and games fueled me to get my Computer Science degree from the University of Washington. I was confronted with the stereotype that computer science was a male dominated field many times, but I pushed forward to start my career at Microsoft and expand my opportunities by coming to Milestone. At Milestone I have had the opportunity to work with some amazing people and be inspired to grow my management skills further and even get my MBA. The inner kid in me is excited to work with the Xbox team and get a peek “behind the curtain” on how a gaming platform works and knowing the release dates of new games or content. My top 5 favorite games are: Destiny, Gears of War, Halo, Division, and Minecraft Dungeons.
As a female leader, what advice would you give to other aspiring leaders in overcoming potential gender biases and achieving career success?
Social pressures, expectations, and what others think can be a barrier to women being successful leaders. Letting these factors impact you can stunt your growth and future and can ultimately make you feel as though you are in a box with limited scope.
- Be true to yourself – Do not try to be what you think others (including society) think you should be.
- Do one thing every day that makes you feel strong/confident – Starting your day off with a tough workout, calming coffee and book, or something that makes you feel centered, strong, and confident will set the mindset for the day and prepare you to deal with stress and pressures.
- Know your supporters – Ensure you have a group of people who support you and can help provide perspective and encouragement on those days when you are faced with obstacles and biases. These people can also provide a safe space to “vent” when necessary.
- Find your voice and passion – Understand yourself as a leader and what you are passionate about whether it is employee development, working with customers, engaging teams in new technology, etc. If you are passionate about what you are doing, it will make it easier to tune out the “haters” and work on achieving your goals. Understand your communication style – speak clearly, communicate with data, and express your ideas fully to your audience.
- Keep adding to your skills – Stay relevant in your area by learning about emerging technologies, key tools used by your client, etc. Adding to your knowledge and skills will keep you up to date with your business area, allow better conversations with employees, inspire others to grow, and build your confidence!
- Do not try to fix other people – You will encounter people who will not treat you with equality or show biases. Remember there will be people that are not able to change their mindsets or behaviors. Accept that you cannot change the other person, but you can change your approach and remain calm and composed. Do not let the first impression be the last impression – people can change, and give them the opportunity to do so on their own and in their own time. This is a tough one, so just keep practicing!
Let your voice, character, and most importantly values guide you to the success you are destined for. I love breaking the expectations mold that society puts on women. I am proud to be independent, inspire others, be a gamer, athlete, manager, friend, wife and now a mom!