The ZS Experience: How one Employee is Impacting the Next Generation of Young Black Consultants

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Nearly 40 % of consultants are women with only 7.6 % being Black. Ashley Humber works as a Consultant at ZS. Whether it’s the struggle of starting a new role or dealing with imposter syndrome, she has faced her share of challenges.

BYP spoke openly and candidly with Humber about her work at ZS and the importance of inclusion.

BYP: Can you describe your role and what are the skills you needed to get to where you are today?

Humber: I’m a consultant in charge of insights and planning at ZS. I specifically work in market research and marketing insights for pharmaceutical clients. The skill that goes into that is communication.

BYP: What is it about your role at the moment that you love the most?

Humber: Being able to communicate across team stakeholders; taking perspectives of a broad group of people and putting them together.

BYP: What do you consider as your biggest accomplishment at ZS in the last couple of years?

Humber: I think it’s some of the relationships that I’ve built within ZS. It’s important for me to show up in ways that I was dedicated to learning. Coming in at the middle of the pandemic, making myself available and volunteering.

BYP: How do you celebrate victories?

Humber: The leadership space I work for has this thing called “Smile File”, which is a list of the things that went well. Being able to see that your efforts are appreciated is important. Also, sharing with people I love. I sometimes buy myself a treat.

BYP: What sort of challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

Humber: Having started working at home all by myself, dealing with unspoken feedback and imposter syndrome. To overcome that, I found a therapist to talk to. She recommended that I start journaling so I did that. Another great tip she gave me was to breathe and the acceptance that I wasn’t always going to know what I’ll do.

BYP: What does changing the Black narrative look like for you?

Humber: It’s important that the narrative is wide and multi-dimensional to make space for the different experiences that Black professionals have. It’s important for people to have the space to be who it is that they are. Having people in the workplace who are non-black listen and build genuine relationships with Black colleagues.

BYP: In your opinion, what is the way where effective allyship can be demonstrated in that space?

Humber: Foster real relationships with them – have them in your work and personal life.

BYP: When it comes to the corporate level, what sort of diversity and inclusion actions are being taken?

Humber: At ZS what I see is an effort to widen the funnel. There’s a concerted effort towards reaching out to Black youths, having internal conversations so they feel valued and using the Black and Hispanic network to help elevate these conversations.

BYP: What legacy do you want to leave behind?

Humber: I want to be a person seen as genuine and hardworking but also fun-loving. I would like to be a mother one day and hope to set up a life for my family that gives them the freedom to achieve what they want.

Discover more opportunities at ZS on their job board.

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