WITI Spotlight: Madelyn Smith, Equinix

WITI News Staff

December 15, 2022

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Q: How do you take your whole self to work?
A:
With radical transparency and active self-awareness (even when, especially when, it's not comfortable). That means being really honest with myself, leaders, teammates and stakeholders. I stop to assess: How am I showing up? Are there conflicts and/or distractions – at home or at work – that are creating barriers? And if so, am I addressing in a way that is fair, positive, and productive?

I recently heard a colleague say, "strong opinions, held loosely" and that really resonated. I am pretty direct and have strong opinions, so I am intentional about acknowledging this to ensure I also create space to really hear others. This way I can be myself authentically, but also not scare people away (ha!).

Q: Is perfection possible?
A:
Sure, if you have the right definition of perfection, and that definition is that perfection equals the most optimal yet realistic outcome in light of competing priorities and demands. So, a lot of grace is required, for yourself and for others.

Q: Freedom- What choices did you feel were your own?
A:
This is a hard one, especially with respect to career. Even ones that I feel were my own were invariably shaped by the benefits of my privilege and the limits of various biases, be they gender-based or unconscious. I choose my mindset, which is the most important choice, every minute of every day.

Q: If you could start over, what would you do differently?
A:
At one point, my go-to answers would have been "a different college major" or "not leave the workforce to raise my kids." But now, I would not do anything differently. My degree in English has been invaluable for critical thought, and, as my oldest inches closer to going off to college, I realize those years were better spent than I realized at the time (when, for me, it often felt mind-numbing and very FOMO-y, career-wise). There will always be a path not taken, and I am okay with that.

Q: What was the best advice you ever received?
A:
"You are perfectly capable."

Q: What books are on your nightstand? Or podcasts do you listen to?
A:
I'm halfway through book eight in the 14-book fantasy series Wheel of Time – I love, love, love the mindless escape. Less mindless, I am excited to dig into Dolly Chugh's new book, A More Just Future, a follow-up to The Person You Mean to Be. I am not a huge podcast person, but when I do listen, 90% of the time it's "We Can Do Hard Things." I always hit pause to let some of the thoughts really sink in.

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.


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