Siobhan Meikle is a senior account manager at Gartner, where her skills have skyrocketed in her career advancement. Starting as a junior account executive to leading a team in her latest role, she says Gartner’s inclusive work culture is a major key to her recent success.
“The massive difference between Gartner and the other companies I have worked for is the support in reaching my career goals. I think what Gartner does well is investing in training and understanding their individual employees’ needs to make sure that they, as a company, can give back to the employee based on their progression goals for their futures,” Meikle said.
Gartner is a leading global company using advanced technology and research to support companies in making the best business-related decisions to reach their goals and objectives. As a global leader, the company’s commitment to diversity extends beyond its internal team to the communities they serve.
This commitment would compel Meikle, who, throughout her career, experienced the pitfalls of being the minority in offices, to join Gartner, a company she says understands diversity, equity, and its intersectionalities.
The road to Gartner has taken Meikle through experiences of trial and error where she would be confronted with her own biases, finding confidence within herself, and learning how to navigate the corporate space as a Black professional. She says she leaned on BYP and other professional networking opportunities to find her footing along her journey.
“I studied sociology at university, and when I finished, I didn’t know what I wanted to go into, so I went to a couple of graduate fairs, including one that BYP held back then in 2018, which connected me with quite a few recruitment agencies, financial service institutions, and different roles and job experiences that I didn’t consider beforehand.”
We sat with the senior account manager, who shared her experience with workplace microaggressions and how she found her voice as a Black woman in the corporate world.
BYP: Have you experienced microaggression in your career?
Meikle: When I first started one of my workplaces, I liked to wear protective hairstyles. For many Black and ethnic minorities, we want to wear braids, weaves, or wigs. When I removed my protective style and wore my natural hair, my manager commented on my hairstyle as soon as I walked into the office. For two and a half weeks, my manager asked my colleagues if they knew I wore a wig. At first, I didn’t say anything because I thought it was naivety regarding women and hair. But when other people let him know from their perspective that it wasn’t just me wearing wigs, they noticed that he kept focusing on me and I was the only woman of colour in the office. At that point, I did take it as a form of microaggression, and I uncomfortably pulled him aside and asked him if we could drop the subject of my hair.
BYP: You mentioned in previous roles you were the only woman of colour. How important is it that there is Black role model visibility in the workplace?
Meikle: In my previous role, there was no representation of myself in the company. And maybe that’s why it took me so long to address the previously mentioned conversation because I didn’t feel like there was a safe space in that company for my issues to be recognised. There is that fear of,” Is my voice going to be heard?” This is something that I had to battle with and remember my right as an individual. It highlighted for me the value I need to place on myself as a worker in a company and not be scared to say my piece, when I know my results reflect what it needs to. Not having representation didn’t give me the safe space to come to those realisations sooner; it also made me lack the respect I needed from my manager because I couldn’t voice my frustrations to anyone.
BYP: BYP is a proud Gartner partner, and we’re excited to learn more about their initiatives. Can you share what groups you’re involved with?
Meikle: Our DEI Group looks at how Gartner can do more in the community to give back to those intersecting groups, not just financially, but through education, personal experience, and massive opportunity. Gartner connects a lot with different third parties that specialise with other intersecting groups, and they go above and beyond, but they also ask us who we would like Gartner to support and connect with more.
BYP: You’ve been following BYP since 2018. Can you discuss the importance of having a global network of Black professionals outside the workplace?
Meikle: To have a network like BYP where all of me is in that room and all of me is aspiring to the same goals, and there are people in that room who are already reaching the goals I want to achieve is inspiring. I’ve heard their stories, journeys, and tips and tricks that have allowed them to manoeuvre in a workplace that, unfortunately, isn’t set up for us.
Learn more about Gartner’s company culture and how they support their Black professional team members by visiting their employee profile.