Women’s History Month: Meet Kate Baldwin
In honor of Women’s History month, we’d like to introduce you to some of our exceptional women leaders.
What Is Your Role at Milestone?
I am a Senior Solution Architect, and I have been working with Milestone since November 2012.
A Woman Who Inspires Me Is…
Ruth Borger was one of my bosses when I was freshly out of University at Michigan State. At the time, she was the Vice President for Government Affairs and College Advancement. Ruth was a presence and a force. She was brilliant, caring, fair, had flair, and was stylish as she did it. It was exciting to see someone who could encompass all the facets of being a professional, a leader, a woman, and owning it. I just thought, “Wow, I want to be like that when I grow up.”
Something You Might Be Surprised to Know About Me Is…
One unique thing about me in my career is that I’m not afraid to do any grunt work. As a woman working in technology, doing the grunt work allowed me to set myself apart.
The fastest way to set yourself apart is to do the work that no one else wants to do, and you’ll be surprised there’s a never-ending list of things that no one else wants to do.
What Advice Would You Give aspiring female leaders?
While I may see all my colleagues as equals, they may not see me the same way. The most significant piece for me was realizing I might go into interaction without malice or judgment, just asking for something I needed. But how someone may perceive the ask may have filters.
So, always be prepared for the lens someone else might see you through. It takes an extra level of communication, effort, and thought. It creates an extra layer of complexity in what should otherwise be basic day-to-day work.
Why Do You Think We Need More Women in Leadership?
Women are as brilliant and capable as men, and diversity and experience are hugely beneficial for achieving any project or organizational change. In addition, there’s the insight that having a diverse variety of leadership provides.
How Important Is It to Lift each other up?
I think it is important that we lift everyone up. One of the big things that women can do with each other and for marginalized groups and minority groups is to hear them, engage with them, highlight them. If you hear a colleague who makes a comment or suggestion that goes unnoticed in the room, you as a leader can call out that person and say so and so had a great idea. So why don’t you tell us about that again?
By making room for individuals to contribute, share, and be both seen and heard. That’s certainly something that we can do for each other or for anyone who has good contributions that can make the business stronger the projects easier why not, right? It seems so obvious that we have the strength and capability to help each other and coach and mentor each other.
What Advice Would You Give to Women Thinking About Their Careers?
Know your worth, then negotiate your salary. If you are in an organization that isn’t enabling your success, then leave. Break up with them. You don’t have to stay somewhere where you are not supported. You must be ready and willing to self-advocate through your career.
I’ve had great longevity with Milestone because they have recognized my contributions, empowered my career path, and supported my advancement. They trusted and believed in me, and there is a foundation of mutual respect in the folks I’ve worked with and the leadership within Milestone.
What’s Your Women’s History Month Message?
I often see folks who may be scared to admit they don’t know something. Be upfront about what you know and don’t know, and you can learn the things you don’t know. Then, at the end of the day, if somebody wants something and goes for it, I will tell them, “You got this!”
Everybody has different struggles, whether they don’t have the time, the money, or the support. Everyone will have a mixture of things they could lean on and say, I can’t do that because of XYZ. But, if you choose to go for it, that’s where growth happens – in those challenges – when you are reaching for new things. You must trust that you can achieve that point. You can learn; you can do the job. It’s within your capabilities. And you must be willing to put in the extra time to learn what you don’t know. Get a mentor or a peer and do the research; anybody can do those things. YOU GOT THIS!