“The opportunity to work with so many great people – our people culture is important to me. I love that we all show up every day with a strong desire to help each other achieve our client goals.”

This is what Internal Audit & Financial Advisory Associate Director, Vanessa, had to say when ask what energizes her about her career. Today, we get to hear a bit more from her, her thoughts on leadership (and the challenges that come with being a leader) and her advice.

On what she’s doing daily to ensure her growth and development continues as a leader:

“I am mostly aware of my developmental areas. I am intentional about what I need to do to be the best version of myself. I focus to make sure that I am refining by reminding myself that each day is an opportunity to be better than the last. The other is I have a strong conviction on excellence – I refuse to settle for mediocrity and I continuously pursue excellence. Because I am not perfect…I don’t always get this right, but I look forward to trying again the next day.”

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Vanessa enjoying the Costa Rican sunset

On the most pressing challenges that leaders are facing today:

“I read an article in Forbes magazine sometime last year on a topic that resonated with me…specifically the challenges faced by female leaders. I recall the viewpoint of ‘Building a Sisterhood’, in summary the article mentioned that as female leaders, we often lack the ability to consistently empower and embrace each other. I remember thinking, “can you imagine a world where we unfailingly demonstrated this behavior?”

The other challenge is centered around much of society’s construct…the ‘get it done’ attitude. To me balancing the ‘execute’ with the softer success elements could at times be difficult. However, we must be steadfast in finding the right blend of performance/productivity…with quality, building relationships, inspiring teams and developing others – these qualities contribute to being a well-balanced leader.”

A person who has had a tremendous impact on her as a leader:

“My mother was a powerful example for me. The resilience she demonstrated when dealing with the challenges of life and the manner in which she pursued success are life lessons that will forever be etched in who I am.”

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Disney fun!

On the key Leadership Principles she has discovered and executed that have contributed to her success:

“I look back to when I joined Protiviti more than four years ago and my list was different then…chuckle. I have grown so much, and I love that I am able to stand back and embrace that growth. My core leadership principles that I imagine contributed to my success are, honesty and integrity, commitment and passion, and the ability to delegate and empower. I teach and challenge my teams daily, encourage my advisees to aim high otherwise they will never know their farthest range…I am confident that in these chapters of my life I am to influence and champion change and I LOVE that Protiviti empowers me to!”

The best advice she has ever received:

“I had the opportunity to meet and spend time with Ursula Burns some years ago and she reiterated the importance of believing in yourself, appreciating and knowing who you are and making sure that you are consistently focused on building your brand with passion. She reminded me that these levels of awareness are the structure of success and most of all inclusive of a mission-driven leadership style.”

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Vanessa and her grandmother

On her favorite thing to do when she’s not working:

“Spending time with my daughter. Most that have met her appreciate the big personality in her tiny body, and her warm and kind heart. We do a lot more of her favorite things…than mine (it’s called motherhood and sacrifice…laughs) including movies, bounce houses, eating and reading. What’s most important for me though is teaching her about life and doing so by lessons and experiences. We spend quite a bit of time creating emergency care packages for the homeless throughout the year and feeding them on occasion at shelters. I do believe that these encounters have created humility in her and reminds me to always have a spirit of gratitude.”

Learn More…

  • Read about Ursula Burns, an inspiration for Vanessa.
  • Get a copy of The Alchemist, one of her favorite books.
  • Gain More Insights from Black History Month Features here.

Hear from Our Team

#MyProtivitiStoryWe believe the best way to understand the core of our organization is through our people. These short videos are a reflection of our people’s stories and experiences.

Join Our Team

We’re looking for more great people – come join us on our journey! For meaningful career opportunities and open positions, visit Protiviti.com/careers.

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