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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
"You are perfectly capable."

Q: What books are on your nightstand? Or podcasts do you listen to?
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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