In honor of Women’s History Month, SEI is highlighting some of our incredible female leaders. In our most recent female leader spotlight, we spoke to Katie Tucker — Managing Principal at the SEI Atlanta branch — to gain insight into the obstacles faced by women in the workplace today. Here’s what she had to say.
When you started your career, did you face challenges to grow and reach your potential? How did you get rid of these barriers?
Early in my career, I struggled to find a company where I felt like my values and passion aligned with the vision and mission of the organization. Growing up, I was taught the importance of a strong work ethic and knew that working hard would help remove some of these barriers — but until there was alignment in values, I would struggle without someone to mentor me and give me feedback. Most of the organizations were dominated by males in leadership roles and I lacked the female mentorship to help me navigate finding a seat and voice at the table. I knew I needed feedback and mentoring, and I knew I would need to find that externally. I leveraged my volunteer community and networking to build and maintain bonds in order to receive that feedback, and I could never have imagined how fruitful that would be. I found SEI through a volunteer relationship and many of the referrals and contacts I’ve made throughout my career have been nurtured organically through community involvement.
Tell us about an experience at SEI when you felt like SEI was different from other companies?
I knew SEI was different when I was able to ‘take the ball and run with it’. If I saw an opportunity and area for growth, I knew that I was empowered to solve the problem and to really act as an employee owner. I continue to see that exemplified every day as SEI has doubled in size while maintaining and building upon that core foundation of culture. I’ve had the opportunity to not only grow personally but lead both our Shared Services organization for the past 6 years, and I am now supporting as Managing Principal locally in Atlanta.
How can men contribute more to women’s empowerment at SEI?
Women can be empowered by others by having a voice that is heard at the table — not just a seat, but a voice. In my almost 10 years at SEI, I’ve been proud to see more female leaders hired externally but also promoted internally as Managing Directors and as a part of Services Leadership. We’ve diversified leadership by promoting and giving opportunities to women. Our next milestone will be to show our continued success by establishing measurement and benchmarks across different demographics.
What excites you about SEI’s focus on DE&I in the future?
I look forward to seeing the conversations continue as many find their voice and comfort as we talk about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. SEI Atlanta fosters an environment where we are continuing to educate others on what DEI is, as well as make diversity, equity and inclusion a part of who we are as an organization. I believe this is key to our success long-term and to continuing to maintain and build upon our culture at SEI.
Is there any advice you would give your younger self or somebody else you want to share your knowledge with?
Be genuine, exhibit a strong work ethic, and bring your true authentic self to work. Be proud of who you are and the journey that you are making, even if that includes lessons learned along the way. Collaborate, give to others and celebrate successes with your team.
At SEI, we are honored to have so many talented female leaders driving the success of our organization and are committed to ensuring that their voices never go unheard. Keep an eye out for more female leader spotlights to come this month!