This article is in partnership with Rocket Mortgage®.
When it comes to moving up the ladder in your career, a lot can be said about sacrifice. Add being a Black woman to the mix, and the work you put into achieving the career of your dreams becomes a journey. The end result is working twice as hard to harvest the seeds of success we do plant, if they are allowed to blossom at all.
Someone who can speak to that sentiment is Rocket Mortgage® Technology Team Leader Tamika Webb, whose work in the technology field has been a decade in the making. However, it's only in the last four years that she's been able to see the seeds that she has sown truly bloom.
"I hit so many ceilings to get to where I had to go," she says. "Then I was hired at Rocket Mortgage®, and every year I've been able to do something different."
With the help of the company, Webb has been shown that the sky is truly her only limit. Webb came to Rocket Mortgage® as a Technology Business Analyst, was quickly promoted to a Product Owner, and now holds the title of Engineering Team Leader through the company's Red Door Project, which enables team members to receive mentorship from senior leaders. Webb is working toward becoming a Director of Technology. "It's cliché but it's in the name… Rocket," she reflects. "We move quickly."
Webb shares the importance of maintaining a work-life balance, how she supports her team and the advice she has for aspiring tech leaders.
Look for a company that helps you grow.
"In my 4 years of working with Rocket Mortgage®, I've had the best opportunities to grow. I haven't been told no. Anything that I've thought I wanted to do and I've expressed to my leaders or shown interest in, I've been given the resources to do. They would say, 'Unleash your inner scientist.' That's one of the things that keeps me with the company – the sky's the limit. There are so many resources for us to grow professionally.
"Rocket Mortgage® recently started a program where they're paying for us to go back to school – 100% tuition reimbursement for certain programs. I have my bachelor's degree already and I have quite a bit of student loan debt from that, so to have the opportunity to work on my master's degree for free is amazing. I'm absolutely taking full advantage of that."
Be unapologetic about your boundaries.
"My schedule is pretty hectic because I support a big system that's used across the entire company and you have to keep your finger on the pulse of the business and what the system is doing to make sure we're always providing that value."
"I'm always pulled in a number of directions and there are days where I might work long hours, but I usually try to set boundaries from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Unless there's an emergency, I won't get on a call beyond those times. If someone tries to schedule a meeting at 4:30, I don't take that meeting. I found that when I didn't set those boundaries, I was exhausted. And leadership has been very receptive and encourages everybody to set our boundaries because burnout happens so easily, especially in my world."
"Work-life balance is something I'm really big about maintaining. If It's not an emergency, I am done working. I'm off and doing my mother thing. I have to flip that hat from Engineering Team Leader to now engineering leader of the household. Dinner has to be cooked, I have to sit and talk with my family."
Photo Credit: Rocket Mortgage®
Understand what motivates your team.
"When we were in the office, there were so many fun events that we would do. We had award ceremonies, a carnival, Nerf gun fights. It's very different now while I'm working from home. But as a leader, I try to make sure we have happy hours once a week. I'll tell the team that at 4:00pm, we're done. Let's turn on cameras, we'll play games, let's talk about whatever. It breaks up the monotony.
"I ask my team, 'How do you want to be rewarded?' and 'How do you want to be recognized?' When I was a team member at other companies, we would get rewarded with points, but that's not necessarily what made the most impact to me. So I decided that when I became a leader, I would ask my team members, 'What is it that you like?' Some of my team members like Amazon gift cards, somebody else likes beer. I also have a profile for each of them just to acknowledge their birthdays, their anniversaries, the kids' birthdays. That's the support from a personal perspective that I give them."
Remember: Growth is always a good thing.
"We enable team members to shadow other team members in different business areas and learn what they do. As a leader, I don't want to see my team members move to another team because they're a great asset and we're a family. However, I do want to see them move on because it's all about growth. I'm a big, big, big proponent of growth. If you're not growing then you're dying."
Know that success in tech is about tinkering.
"You need to always have a drive or a passion for tinkering, for problem-solving, for troubleshooting, for creating things. You need to always stay up on the latest technology. If you're a gamer, try creating a game. It's that mindset of always trying to pull some stuff apart, see how it works."
"We have an ISM [or a core belief] that says, 'We'll figure it out,' which is one of my favorite ISMs. You have to be ready to move. You can't just say, 'Oh, I don't know this' and then do nothing about it. You have to go talk to somebody, you might have to Google some things, you just have to be willing to learn. You have to be a sponge in essence."
Be the one brave enough to ask the “dumb” question.
"There are meetings I sit in and they're talking circles around me but I know some basic, intuitive questions and I'll say, 'Hey, let's level-set. I am not an engineer, I am not a coder, so can we break this down so I can understand it?' You need to have a thirst to learn whatever is in front of you so you can be a part of any conversation."
Know that the tech world needs women like you.
"Being a woman in technology can be intimidating because there are fewer of us. I would say to any woman considering joining the field, 'come play'. Don't be scared, don't be fearful, don't worry about the typical stereotypes when you think about technology. The girls are there. We're here, we are. And there's more and more of us being recruited every day. Just come, just apply."
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Featured image by Rocket Mortgage®
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
The first big leap was moving to a new city and getting settled into my new home. The next big leap? Was finding community and belonging. Moving to a new city excited me! I looked forward to having my own apartment, decorating it, and exploring what the city had to offer. I also found excitement in the thought of meeting new people and expanding my connections. When it actually came down to it, I felt nervous. I heard that making new friends as an adult can be hard because we all have different responsibilities and schedules that may not align. I knew in order for me to really feel at home in my new city, I had to create community.
Having a community of people who I can share memories with, lean on in times of need, and inspire each other is something I always valued. I took a moment to truly center in on what I desired from the new friends I would make. Then I realized it all would have to start with me. I had to be centered and confident in who I was to attract who I desired to be aligned with. As someone who moved to a new city and established quality friendships, I gathered these six tips that helped me feel grounded and create community in hopes that it will help you, too.
6 tips to start building community and making new friends in a new city:
Sean Anthony Eddy/ Getty Images
Be true to yourself
Do you know who you are? If someone asked you to describe yourself in three words, what words would you use? In order to develop deep friendships, you must be a friend to yourself first. Know what refuels you and what zaps your energy. Self-study your habits and why you do the things you do. All this will be important to keep in mind when looking to create bonds with others. Every day there’s all kinds of people telling you who you should be, how you should act, or what you should wear. At the end of the day, the only opinion about yourself that truly matters is your own. Spend some alone time with yourself indoors or out at an event you like to truly discover who you are in this season of your life.
Pray about it
Before you step out into the world and cross paths with all kinds of people, it’s important to pray about building your community. God outlines what true friendship looks like in numerous Bible verses such as "Iron sharpens iron." - Proverbs 27:17 and “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. If you desire friendships that last, pray about what you seek in friendship. I remember praying for mentally stable, happy, and whole women who moved through life with abundance mindsets. Take a moment to journal about the community you want to build and then pray on it.
Go to fun events to meet people who share your interests
Most metropolitan cities like Washington, D.C., New York City, and Atlanta are known to have strong young professional communities and events where you can connect with others. I highly encourage you to attend events in or near your community to see what the city is like and meet people. It’s likely that the people at the event have the same interests as you, which is a great way to start a conversation. You can start by searching for events on Eventbrite or following Instagram pages that highlight events happening in your city.
Carlos Barquero/ Getty Images
Accept that you won’t be compatible with everyone you meet
While living in your new city, it’s likely you’ll meet a variety of people. Please know that everyone you meet will not bud into lasting friendships, and that’s okay! You are uniquely created and not made for everyone. Then you’ll meet people who are good for only surface-level connections, and then you’ll have your girls who you can get deep with. I think sometimes people can look down on surface-level friendships, but not everyone needs to fully know you. That’s a privilege to have and to accept within yourself. Continue to check in with yourself and be real about who you crave to spend more time with and who is nice to see for a monthly or quarterly catch-up.
Join Facebook groups & GroupMe chats
If you haven’t used Facebook in a couple of years, it’s time to dust your profile off. Facebook Groups is a great place to join online communities for people who just moved to a new city like you. Typically, you have to agree to the group’s guidelines, and then you can join. For example, you can search for groups in the Facebook app by using keywords like women, Black girl, or [the name of your city] foodies. With the GroupMe app, you’ll have to be invited to join an already existing group. While you’re out and about networking, don’t hesitate to ask if they’re in any online groups/communities they recommend you join too.
Be friendly to folks in your neighborhood
When I first moved to my new apartment, I spent the first week walking around the complex and working in the community spaces to get a better feel of it. I was able to meet people in my neighborhood, enjoy small talk, and learn more about what the community has to offer. Step outside of your comfort zone and work in your apartment’s community space or a local coffee shop to connect with others.
Overall, you may feel alone in your new city, but I guarantee you’re not. There are other people experiencing living in a new city too, and all you need to do is find each other. I hope these tips help ease the nervous feelings you have about building a new community and inspire you to make a new friend today!
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