On this week’s episode of ‘The Reset,’ product manager Ronke Majekodunmi shares the messages she wrote to herself as a young, Black corporate upstart.
Some people journal to get their thoughts out, others take reflection notes on their iPhones; but Ronke Majekodunmi, longtime product manager and Director of Product for Promevo puts her insights in a blog, allowing the world to read her experiences as a Black woman navigating corporate spaces. But Majekodunmi didn’t write ‘Reflections on my Product Management Journey’ for just anyone. She wrote it for recent college grads and aspiring product managers on how to move in a room full of vultures—aka, corporate America.
“No one equips you with things like, how do you manage if your boss doesn’t like you? Or if your colleague doesn’t like you, how do you manage all these things? And so in my blog, I decided if I were 20 years old today and I was a recent college grad, what would I want my younger self to know?” said Majekodunmi on this week’s episode of The Reset with Coach Tish. “There’s something comforting about the older me telling the younger me it’s gonna be okay, you’re going to have really bad days, but I guarantee you’re gonna come out on the other side.”
One particular experience that happened early in her career was so outrageous I was surprised she put it out there. Majekodunmi hesitated about including it but ultimately knew it would help someone who needed to know they were not alone.
She was in her boss’s office to discuss her bonus.
“He told me to settle for what they gave me, but also that I dressed too ‘nice’ for work. That was the hardest one for me because at that point in my corporate life I just believed everybody would do good. I really believed that. And that shattered so many of my beliefs,” she said.
After that encounter, Majekodunmi was crushed—but not for long. She took a friend’s advice and dressed even better than she did the day before and took some of her power back.
“My choices were I could quit, I could succumb and wear sweats to work and flip flops and let someone tell me how to dress and demean me, or I could say, you know what, I’m going to come to work better than I did the day before yesterday. And it’s up to you to accept me for who I am and let me run my race or, you could fire me. And that moment was really interesting for me because it was the first time I actually stood up to a bully at work,” Majekodunmi recalled.
It can be quite therapeutic putting pen to paper or fingers to keypad; not just for the writer, but for the reader, too. I’m glad Majekodunmi’s letter to her younger self exists so that when a twenty-something Black corporate professional searches for herself online, she may actually find it. Not some Instagram highlight reel but a real-life blog about what it’s like to come into oneself in corporate America. Cheers to you and your growth, Majekodunmi.
To hear the full conversation watch The Reset with Coach Tish above and hear why Majekodunmi thinks everyone should write a letter to their younger self.
Letisha Bereola is a life coach who helps ambitious women overcome burnout and reach their career goals so they feel great at work and happy at home. She’s a former Emmy-nominated TV news anchor, Podcast host of AUDACITY and speaker. Learn more: www.coachtish.co.
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