Terra, Operations Manager in Las Vegas, US
All too often, Terra had to hear the sentence “You are not experienced enough” when applying for her next career step. Just to be 'experienced enough' to onboard the selected candidate into the job she was rejected for. In an honest conversation with her manager, he unpacks the real reason: "You are a woman and you are African-American. If you want to be selected, you have to work double as hard and bring double as much to the table". She changed companies and now works at DB Schenker. For the first time in her life, Terra feels like she receives the respect and acknowledgement she deserves. Terra shares her troublesome journey in climbing up the career ladder. She reveals what kept her going for more than twenty years until today where she can finally say “I have the job of my dreams.”
I won’t let anything stop me!
Terra shares her rocky journey climbing up the career ladder
Hitting your head against the glass ceiling
Terra Goodum is currently employed as Operations Manager at Schenker Inc. in Las Vegas. Her supervisors describe her as very gifted and energetic which is reflected in her employee survey results, too. Not only does Terra receive the highest scores, but she is known to drive productivity and embody strong leadership. Her supervisor Javier Lozano recognizes her potential and gives her space to grow. Javier admires: “Terra has vast knowledge plus when things get rough, she joins breaking the boxes.” However, she has been rejected several times when it came to promotions at former companies and hit her head against the metaphorical glass ceiling which is known to keep women away from managerial positions. Terra’s personal experience: “The higher you go the less females are present. Or simply - you may be the only female.”
Turning rejection into celebration
Would you believe that on one occasion, Terra was rejected three times before she finally got the job as Operations Manager. She can still vividly recall this time in her life in 2015 as if it was yesterday. Once the position was posted, Terra was 100% confident she would get the role: “I have more experience than anyone else in the team, my numbers are the best – I am the ideal candidate.” Terra says that the position had been given to less skilled candidates twice. She even had to train the men. After both had failed, Terra could enter. The very simple explanation of her then manager was: “You are a woman, you are black. You know you have to work three times harder than any male to stand out.” According to Terra, he would have given her the position but was stuck in a racist company system.
Admirably, she did not get bitter but better from the comment and turned rejection into celebration. Her motto in life is “Take every no and turn into something positive.” Terra believes that there is nothing that you cannot accomplish if you put your mind to it. Thus, at the age of 45 she decided to return to school. Now, she holds three Master's degree in Business Administration all with honors. It has been quite a challenging time but gave an extreme push to her self-confidence. Terra confirms: “I knew what I had inside of me. Now, I have the written proof. No-one can take this from me. I earned it and I am worth it.”
Out of the ashes comes victory
And she needed this confidence. Being the only woman in her team, she has often been confronted with the situation of not being heard. At weekly team meetings, everyone could share their ideas except for her. The teammates just skipped her and instead talked to her supervisor who then asked her being the expert. “You know, there is no comfort zone for me. I had to change from quiet to outspoken.”
“My worst day at DB Schenker does not even compare to the best day at every other job I ever had.”, she states. Our Operations Manager Terra leads her team of 55 colleagues by example. She wants to change the situation for the better and mentors women to move up the career ladder: “I definitely have some super rockstars in my team and am looking out for their careers.”
Terra’s message to you is: “Go out there, speak up and grab a hold of what you deserve. A position should not be decided by gender but by talent. Don’t let anyone stop you!”