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When your leaders look like you

  • Posted on April 8, 2022
  • Estimated reading time 2 minutes

Sierra pictured above with her parents and brother.

April 7, 2022, history was made in the U.S.: Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed to the United States Supreme Court, becoming the first Black woman ever to serve on the court once she takes the bench this year. Not only is this a historic moment in the United States, but it’s also a moment that’s extremely impactful to me on a personal level. My last name (until I got married earlier this year) was Jackson. With Justice Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the Court, I’m now able to see myself represented in our government at one of the highest levels – and more importantly, the Black women and girls whose stories are just beginning can look to Justice Brown Jackson’s story for inspiration of what’s possible.

I previously wrote a blog post about the first time I ever met Avanade’s CEO Pam Maynard: I told her how much it meant to me to see someone that looks like me in the highest position at our company, and she told me how glad she was to see someone who looked like me here at Avanade. Over my four years working here, I’ve been so proud to be working under one of the few Black women CEOs, which is even more rare given the technology industry remains largely male-led. Avanade has always been committed to inclusion & diversity, but the strides we've made just during my time here to truly ensure every single one of our people feels included and able to bring as much of themselves to work as they choose have been nothing short of impressive.

While my last name is no longer Jackson, the meaning and significance to me of Justice Brown Jackson’s confirmation cannot be understated: someone of my race, of my gender and with my name has forever been enshrined in our country’s history. I now see myself in the board room and on the Supreme Court. I’m still in the early stages of my career and I don’t know if I’d ever want to be a CEO or a Supreme Court justice, but I’m thankful that I have role models like Pam and Justice Brown Jackson to show Black women, and all women of color, just how far we can go.

Rogerio dos Santos

It was a very beautiful and inspiring post. The importante of see people like Pam Maynard and miss Jackson where they are reminds me a story I've read from Whoopi Goldberg, when she saw Lieutenant Uhura for the first time on a Start Trek show: ";Mom there is a black woman on TV and she is not the maid!!" That changed here life completely. Once I've had also the pleasure to speak with Pam Maynard for a few minutes and was so pleased to see someone with such empathy on her words that I forgot to mention to her what you just have told: how glad and proud I was to work for a company where I could see inclusion and diversity are not just buzzwords. 

By the way, congratulations on your marriage!

April 15, 2022

Sierra Lewis

Thank you for reading and for your comments, Rogerio! It is so true, I&D is more than a buzzword here.

April 19, 2022

R B

This article brought tears to my eyes and goosebumps to my arms. That moment when Justice Brown Jackson was confirmed, my family jumped for joy! I am proud and excited to see what comes next!

April 14, 2022

Sierra Lewis

Thank you for reading!

April 19, 2022

Murielle Diegba

Thanks for sharing Sierra. From my view in France, joining Avanade as an intern and realizing that the CEO was Pam was also really inspiring, I told myself that many things were then possible for me 

April 14, 2022

Sierra Lewis

Thank you for reading Murielle! I started at Avanade as an intern as well.

April 19, 2022

Amy Storey

First, beautiful picture of you and your family. Second, great perspective on the importance of trailblazers who inspire and open doors that people might not realize they can go through.

April 13, 2022

Sierra Lewis

Thank you Amy!

April 19, 2022

Summer Wright

Great article! So true and I'm grateful that my daughters (ages 5 and 3) get to witness this historic moment. Thank you :)

April 13, 2022

Sierra Lewis

Thank you for reading! I'm happy your daughters get to grow up in a world with doors a bit more open.

April 19, 2022

Julenne Concension

Nicely written and so true! We and next generations can never have too many role models around. 

April 11, 2022

Sierra Lewis

Agreed, thanks for reading Julenne!

April 13, 2022

Sarah Heilig

Thank you for sharing your perspectives, Sierra. I can only imagine all the young women you will inspire throughout your career!

April 11, 2022

Sierra Lewis

Thank you so much Sarah! 

April 13, 2022

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