Owning Who You Are: An Introverted, Black, Woman in Leadership

Cachet Prescott

Cachet Prescott

Global Head of People

Author

Jess Koerner
Senior Marketing Executive
North America

Arcadia: Tell me a little bit about yourself. We know that you’re the Global Head of People, but what else? 

Cachet Prescott: To be honest, I didn’t realize I was a people person. Before I jumped into my career, I thought that I wanted to do something more behind the scenes. I was leaning towards computer programming or something to that effect where there were less people. But as time went on, I realized that I really enjoyed the people aspect much more than I enjoyed the technical aspect of things.  

I kind of fell into this space. I took one sociology class and that changed my world. It completely changed my perspective on what work could look like for me. Since then, I’ve been leaning into all things related to particularly maximizing people. I like to see people shine in whatever it is that they’re doing. That extends to just who I am as a person, outside of the workplace, my kids probably get very frustrated. They will often say “mom, stop teaching me” but, there’s a lesson in everything. 

Arcadia: Are there any reading recommendations that you would suggest based on your sociology background?

Cachet Prescott: I’m always intrigued by other people’s stories, so my book choice aligns with that. I can’t remember if I read it in my sociology of conflict class or another class, but one book that stands out is not necessarily about the good aspects of humanity. It’s a book called Monster. It’s about a guy who used to be in a gang and his journey of gang life; going into prison; and how it had such an impact on him. Once he was released, he wrote the book and he became a motivational speaker. He is someone that really speaks to people about this idea of redemption. It was such a good book; I couldn’t put it down.

"Monster: The Autobiography of An L.A. Gang Member" by Sanyika Shakur

Arcadia: Speaking of journeys, can you share some insight into your journey as a female leader within Arcadia, particularly highlighting any challenges or barriers you faced along the way and how you overcame them?

Cachet Prescott: My journey really showcases the power of promotion from within. When I first joined Arcadia, I joined as an associate. I was a contract facilitator which lasted all of three months before I officially joined the team. Now, I’m the Global Head of People.

One thing that has been instrumental in my journey to leadership within Arcadia has been the advocacy, support, and sponsorship I’ve received from the start. I am so advocated for and sponsored at Arcadia that I know there will always be a voice for me even when I’m not in the room.

Probably two months into me being here at Arcadia, I was asked where I wanted to be in 3 years’ time. I was pleasantly surprised by the question so soon into joining the team, so I jumped at the chance to showcase my desire to take on a global HR role. I’m a visual person, so I went to Canva and created a vision board of sorts.

Lo and behold, I took on that role just two years later.

But of course, like you said in the question, there have been challenges as well. I come to work with 3 identities: three marginalized identities that intersect and create a very specific experience for me. I’m a black, introverted, woman in leadership, and those three things coming together can be very challenging at times.

When people think of introverts in general, they can see them as aloof, antisocial, or sometimes arrogant. We are often to ourselves, may not say a lot, and people may assume that we just don’t want to be bothered, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re just in our heads quite often. If you couple that introversion with being a black woman– there are a lot of stereotypes about what a black woman is, what she looks like, and how she shows up–it can be challenging.

My introversion is very contradictory to what one might assume a person in a Head of People role might be like. I’ve grown to be much more intentional about building those relationships. My goal is to really get to know people and give people the chance to get to know me. That builds a foundation for everything else.

Arcadia: How has the culture of the company evolved regarding gender diversity and inclusion since you joined, and what initiatives or strategies have been implemented or are now underway to support the advancement of women in leadership positions?

Cachet Prescott: As a global organization, we’re quite diverse already. One of the initiatives that we’ve put in place is proactively collecting information to allow for informed decision making when it comes to our people. We’re becoming very intentional. We started with our first employee engagement survey in 2022 because, in addition to diversity, there’s also the inclusion and belonging pieces of the conversation that are just as important. Yes, we have a diverse team, but it’s like Verna Myers says in her famous quote, “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”

“Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”
Verna Myers
Leading Diversity and Inclusion Expert

The information we collect in these surveys is going to help us create the space and culture where people feel like they are truly seen, heard, and appreciated.

Arcadia: In your experience, how does being a woman in leadership influence your approach to decision making and leadership style?

Cachet Prescott: This is a tough one because I don’t necessarily think that it’s just about being a woman. I think all of my experiences and all aspects of me contribute to how I approach decision making. I don’t approach leadership as a woman, I approach it as a human.

Arcadia: I love that. So empowering. Can you discuss any mentorship or support programs that you’re a part of that have been instrumental in fostering the professional growth of women?

Cachet Prescott: There are a few different organizations that I’ve been involved with or serve on the board of. I was a member of CHIEF for about a year which is an organization focused on developing executive level women in leadership. Their sole purpose is to create a space for female leaders and help them understand what their development process should look like.

Another one is Fe League: I’m a member and I also serve on their board. They are similar in nature to CHIEF, and they have two versions. One that is focused on C-Suite leaders and one that is focused on female leaders in general. Whether you’re new to leadership and growing or someone that’s been there for a while, you have insights to share. It’s a great space for growth and development and a community of likeminded individuals who understand the things that you’re going through.

These are great spaces for women to have conversations that they’re not able to have in other places. They all have virtual components and many of these types of organizations have local chapters.

Arcadia: That’s great, what other advice would you give to aspiring female leaders within the organization or those aiming to break into leadership roles in their respective fields?

Cachet Prescott: One thing I really want to impress upon female leaders is that you deserve to be there. Wherever “there” is for you, you belong. You are just as capable if not more, capable, competent, and knowledgeable, of doing the things that other people are doing. Just believe in yourself and own your confidence: own your voice.

Own how you show up and again do what you know how to do. That’s one thing that I’ve learned about myself over time. Sometimes you look at other people and you’re thinking oh my goodness, I wish I could blah, blah, blah and the thing is…you can. Even if you don’t necessarily have all the skills in the moment, you can get those skills, but you have to believe that you belong there. It’s a mindset thing and there’s that famous Henry Ford quote: “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” And it’s absolutely true.

That’s all one component of it and the other is just about being unapologetically and authentically who you are. I mentioned that at times it feels like being an introverted black woman can be challenging, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I want to be who I am while recognizing that there are times to adapt and to be flexible because that’s what we have to do as human beings. Every bit of who I am has brought me to where I am and there is value in it.

Arcadia: What legacy do you hope to leave behind as a female leader?

Cachet Prescott: I’m a mother of three female leaders in the making, and I want them to see that they can. I want them to know that whatever it is that they set their minds to, they can do it. It is possible and I want them to be able to say at the end of the day “I can, and I did.”

I want them to feel empowered. I don’t want them to feel like the odds are against them. And of course they will be at times, but despite the hurdles and roadblocks, I want them to feel like “OK, yeah, I can do it.” It’s important to me that I set an example for them and that they take it well beyond whatever I could have shown them.

Arcadia: Your daughters have quite a mother to look up to. They should be proud. Final question, it’s an easy one: what song gets you pumped to take on the world?

Cachet Prescott: This is the hardest one! But one that always comes up for me is, “All I Do is Win” by DJ Khaled. It just gets you in that place and fills you with confidence to feel like, “yeah, I got this–I’m ready to take on the world.”

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