Part V

August 21, 2022

Career Moves

By Jemi Lassiter
Lead with Latisha.jpg

Latisha Roberson used her knack for connecting people with opportunities to reposition her career and launch her own company, Lead With Latisha™.

Photo courtesy of Lead With Latisha™.

It started with a story on Instagram from the handle @LeadWithLatisha: “Where are the stories of mothers excelling in their careers?” (I’m paraphrasing here.) 

 

Career Strategist and Human Resource Professional Latisha Roberson had been inundated with stories of single men and women launching successful businesses or men with spouses and who just so happened to have children (as if they were an after thought) climbing the corporate ladder with speed but… Where were the mothers working in Corporate America? And, what were their stories?

 

According to the 2018 American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, there were close to 23.5 million working mothers with children under the age of 18. More than 75% of them were between 30 and 49 years old, the age range where most people — regardless of gender and race — are at their highest earning potential.   

 

Roberson was asking the question for more than just the desire to hear the stories of successful working mothers, she also wanted to know about their support systems. The mother of an eight year old daughter and two bonus sons, 13 and 18, she knew how difficult the competing priorities of motherhood and a career could be.

“The first couple of years of being a parent, it was tough for me because I was in a very demanding role. I didn’t want to seem weak at work and I couldn’t do certain things”, explained Roberson.

 

While she and her husband shared household duties and the care of their daughter, Roberson said a large amount of caregiving responsibilities fell to her. Despite the demands on her, Roberson tried to fit into the mold of the corporate employee she thought her company required but fell short.

 

“It just wasn’t working for me. I probably could have had a more robust support system but I didn’t want to ask too many people for help”, she said.

 

Adding to her anxiety of being great at work and home was the lack of support she was receiving from her then-mentor and supervisor, a woman well positioned in the company to propel Roberson’s career.

 

“She made it clear that she didn’t understand... whenever I mentioned my daughter she said she didn’t get it”, said Roberson.

 

In addition to a lack of understanding, Roberson claimed that her mentor and supervisor developed a false narrative about her that prohibited Roberson from going up the ladder in the company. She made her own assumptions of what Roberson could handle and the projects she could take on which may have cost Roberson some career advancing opportunities.

The Necessary Steps
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Career Strategist and Entrepreneur Latisha Roberson took matters into her own hands to integrate her career and her personal life. 

Photo courtesy of Lead With Latisha™.

A natural career strategist, Roberson snapped out of trying to fit the mold and immediate changes in all the areas of her life. 

 

First, she got help.

 

“Now, I don’t have any problem with asking for help. I can’t do this alone”, said Roberson eight years into parenthood and thriving in her career. 

 

She required more from her husband. He had to take on a larger role in caring for their daughter and he did. He committed to school pick ups twice a week which freed up Roberson’s schedule to work, cook dinner or to have an hour to decompress.

 

She also got to work building her Mom Tribe, a group of mothers in the same school or camp community with children her daughter’s age. Roberson was among the last in her friend group to have a child and, although she was still close with her friends, she was in a different stage of parenting than them. With her Mom Tribe, she bounced ideas around, scheduled play dates and simply met up to relax and have a laugh.

 

Next, she hired a go-to babysitter. Instead of relying on friends and family for work events or date night outings, Roberson invested in a reliable and trusted sitter with whom her daughter was comfortable.

 

“My support system is very robust now. I’m not scared [to ask for help]. I’m very vocal about it now”, said Roberson.

 

When it came to her career, Roberson made some changes there, too. Instead of switching companies, she switched roles and supervisors. Working with an international firm, she had the freedom and opportunity to make strategic career moves without compromising her health benefits, retirement savings or her salary. With 10 years of experience in Human Resources; six years in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and another three years in corporate brand management, Roberson was hired for her company's Diversity Team. Her new manager was well-established in the firm and a mother.

 

“She’d bring her child and her nanny into the office. She was dedicated to her job as a mother before her job with the company”, explained Roberson. 

 

Her new manager’s example made her confident that she could do it, too.

 

She also had the chance to establish a more flexible working arrangement. Most of her new team worked in different parts of the country… and they all worked from home. In the time of pre-COVID living, this was a dream come true for Roberson and she blossomed in the new working arrangement.

 

Then, Roberson developed connections with new mentors who championed transparency and honesty rather than the concept of work-life balance.

 

“A wise mentor, Marty Rodgers actually, told me there’s no such thing as work-life balance. It’s life integration. You have to focus on integrating everything that’s a part of your life and you struggle when you try to have these separations”, said Roberson.

Latisha Roberson.jpg

In 2019, Roberson, a natural career strategist and connector, became an entrepreneur whose graced stages and screens around the country to provide guidance on how parents, particularly mothers, can navigate their unique career paths.

A New Day

Today, Roberson is on the other side of motherhood; the side where your child is in school, doctor’s appointments are more likely to take place because they are scheduled and not because of an emergency case of strep throat or a sudden ear infection, and the onset of cold and flu season no longer strikes fear into a parent’s heart. (Because daycare tuition is due whether your child is there or not. Because a sick child means not going into the office — or in Roberson’s case, not logging in).

 

She champions women in the workplace, mothers in the workplace and parents in general in the workplace.

 

In addition to leading her own team with her current employer, Roberson runs her own company. Lead With Latisha™  was launched in 2019 after Roberson’s success with helping other people navigate their careers was brought to her attention by a friend.

“I was a natural connector. I was naturally just helping people and my friend said to me, ‘Tisha you know people get paid to do this? You are out here just giving away all this good information. Giving away these connections. Helping these people get jobs. You really need to think about how you might want to monetize that and protect your brand and what you’re doing’”,said Roberson.

 

After a bit of research, Roberson was sold on the idea and established her company.

“With Lead With Latisha™, I take a lot of the experiences I have from working in HR for so many years, to really help women understand how they can rise up the corporate ladder or how to navigate tricky situations that may come up in the workplace and even some of the high points of their career where they need help maintaining those high points”, said Roberson.

 

Roberson approaches each client with a clear vision: tackle the immediate career goal because there is no such thing as a long term career plan. 

 

“Career strategy begins when you set a goal for yourself. For what that next step is going to be. There [are] so many things we can’t control about our careers, let’s focus on the one thing we can control. Let’s figure out what you want to do next. What’s important to you right now and then we can strategize about how to get you there”, explained Roberson. 

 

After her hard learned lessons building a career while being a wife and mother, Roberson leaned into uplifting the careers, navigating the corporate landscape and validating the experiences of working parents, specifically working mothers. She has appeared stages and screens across the country sharing strategies for working parents while steadily building her company and maintaining her career.

 

While it seems like a lot is on Roberson’s plate, she is committed to her life’s work remaining integrated into her overall life, which makes all the difference.

 

“There’s always that pivotal moment when you become who you are. You begin to blossom and feel like if I can do that, I can do anything”, said Roberson.