Randi Gold, senior process analyst, rejoined Blue Yonder (then JDA) about a year ago and shares why she needed to leave in order to find her way back. She found her voice in that time away and shares why it is so important to find – and use it – and to feel empowered and confident in your role and life.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a proud Canadian but I moved to Arizona 12 years ago. I love ice skating – both hockey and ice dancing – and I am fluent in French. I spend my free time with my family at my son’s hockey games and attending the Arizona Coyotes games. I also cheer on my little girl in competitive figure skating. Outside of our ice activities, I enjoy cooking and reading, and enjoying whatever down time I have with my husband and kids.
What was your first job (ever)?
I was a camp counselor at a day camp. I oversaw the day-to-day activities for a group of 5 to 7-year-olds.
What are three words you would use to describe yourself?
Persistent, organized and outgoing.
You rejoined Blue Yonder about a year ago – what brought you back?
I had been with (then) JDA from 2005 to 2015. I took a small break in order to build skills in product management and product operations, but nothing was like Blue Yonder from a culture standpoint. I missed the people. When I saw an operations role posted in product management, it was a no brainer! It was the type of work that I wanted to do in the department I wanted to work in, and I was back with the people and culture that I missed so much.
What are your favorite parts of your role?
Without a doubt, working across all products and with all levels of Blue Yonder product management. I enjoy learning about all segments and strategies. In addition, I get to work cross-functionally and collaborate with associates globally across the organization – from marketing, sales, strategy, services, enablement. I get to be a part of how we all come together, and I get to meet and work without borders. It’s a fascinating POV that I experience a different part of day after day, and I am always learning something new.
Can you point to a critical moment in your career that really made a difference in your path?
When I found my voice. During the time I took away from (then) JDA, I had an opportunity to work through some very challenging situations with very different personalities. I had to develop a strong, confident voice for myself. Having the confidence and the encouragement to take ownership and guide decision making was game changing. At the same time, I also learned how to say “no.” This is important. Finding balance and confidence.
What is the best risk you’ve taken and why?
I moved to Arizona from Montreal. I never thought I would leave Montreal where I had all my friends and family and a decent career starting up, but I took a chance, and found a career I enjoy and found a family at Blue Yonder. Literally – my husband is a former associate and I consider my coworkers and Arizona friends family now.
Have you ever been professionally stuck? How did you become unstuck?
Yes, which is why I took a brief break away from here. I needed a different perspective and a drastic pivot in the direction of my career. To do that I needed to leave, learn, and come back with a skillset as well as a new knowledge and confidence. I had to be willing to take a chance and do something unfamiliar and unknown in an industry I really didn’t know anything about.
What is the best advice you ever received? Who gave it to you?
“Act the part you want to play.” This was given to me by a mentor and former manager who I am still close with today. The idea behind it is that you are not defined by a role description – personally or professionally. Go be who you want to be. Dress for it, act on it. Take on more and be the part. Show what you are made of and force others to see you that way. You are not a role or a role description. It requires confidence, but I have taken it with me everywhere I go when I want to make things happen.
What about your career surprises you?
I didn’t study in the area my career is in and I have historically been a very “fly under the radar” type person. So, I guess it surprises me that a) I am working in an operations role that allows me to engage cross-functionally and lead meaningful projects and b) I suddenly am using my voice with less hesitation. I have had amazing leaders who have gotten me out of my shell and challenged me to do things I never thought I would be doing.
What makes a good leader?
Trust. A good leader trusts that their team knows what they are doing and trusts them to act on it proactively and with good judgement. A good leader can focus on strategy or organizational level goals and knows that they have provided the best mentorship and guidance that allows their team to engage and act confidently in their role.
I would also say communication – feedback, guidance, enablement. Understanding when to step in and when to step back.
What female leaders do you admire and why?
My answer is a little less precise than being able to name one person. In the time I was away, I worked in a highly male-dominated industry. During that time, the product management organization was led by two women – both of whom I got to work and learn directly from. The first person taught me how to be bold and find my voice. She exuded confidence in her knowledge of the business and her expertise in decision making and providing direction. She confidently guided strategy and was the voice of the customer in the face of adversity and to some degree, a group that did not want to take her and the team seriously. The second person never saw a barrier that stopped her. She taught me how to push myself and others. She taught me how to temper frustration and channel it productively. She was regarded every bit as much an expert in the field as any man and drove game-changing initiatives to deliver ROI via enhanced technology solutions.
Have you ever found yourself as the only woman in a meeting? How did that feel?
It happens all the time. It took some getting used to, but I don’t mind it now. I truly feel respected by my male peers. I am not embarrassed or shy to use my voice or provide my input. I think rising above the gender issue and showing the value you add can be extremely impactful and game changing.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to women in leadership?
I can only speak for myself, but for me it is balance. I think it is commonly believed that being a leader is time-consuming, and that in order to be a leader, time and availability needs to be top priority. For me, I have young children. I want to be considered as a leader, but I have also made the choice that I will prioritize time with my children and family, doing what is important to them and being present. For me it is the idea of having to potentially be in two places at once and prioritize that 7:00 p.m. call over bed time or that late afternoon meeting over a school performance. I won’t get this time back, so I have to choose.
What makes Blue Yonder a great place for women to work?
I feel respected across the organization from the top down. I never have to think about having to change my approach because I am a woman. Blue Yonder’s culture is based on a foundation of mutual respect. This is why it is great to be a woman working at Blue Yonder – because it doesn’t change how I do my work or how others engage with me.
What book(s) are you reading right now?
Elton John – Me is next on my list. Talented man, fascinating life.
What’s one fun (or surprising) fact about you?
I competitively figure skated until I was 13 years old. I CANNOT do any of those jumps anymore though!