Carolyn Levy is Group President of Randstad Technologies Group (RTG), Chief Diversity Officer of Randstad, Canada and WCT’s latest addition to its National Board.
Daily, Carolyn wears multiple hats, piloting the strategic direction of two divisions in Randstad. Her first role in the tech conglomerate, involves partnering with executive leadership teams to reimagine their workforce and matching exceptional tech talent with leading organizations across the country.
Carolyn also plays an active role in Randstad’s efforts to promote equity and foster fresh attitudes towards diversity and inclusion across the industry. Since being appointed in 2020 as Randstad’s Chief Diversity Officer, Carolyn has been an advocate for embedding diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) into all aspects of the organization.
As Carolyn takes her seat on WCT’s board, we wanted to get an inside look into her life as a female leader in the tech industry and ask her a little bit about how she got to where she is now:
WCT: What did you study in school and what did you want to be when you grow up?
CL: I guess I was always prone to take on leadership roles, even way back when I was a kid! I was active in many different sports growing up. The spark that I could see ignite in others when I captained a team drove me to always shoot for the moon!
WCT: Walk us through a day in the life! What is it that people think you do and what do you really do?
CL: Here’s what others think I do:
1. Having back to back meetings with a bunch of people
2. Develop business strategies to grow our tech business
3. Discuss the importance of DEI internally and externally
And I do all of that – but with a clear sense of purpose. I work at Randstad because I am able to thrive daily, and work for an organization that has had made a commitment to help people reach their full potential.
I strive to make a difference in people’s lives either by supporting a client with their talent management challenges, helping a direct report grow their leadership skills so they can support their teams in showing their best selves, or inspire people to truly embed DEI practices in their organizations – so we collectively create more inclusive and equitable workplaces.
WCT: How did your past experiences or roles equip you for these responsibilities?
CL: The foundation I had as a child helped me build confidence. But I did have my share of struggles and challenges. And by holding on to my roots and my values with the support of my family and close friends, I was able to come back around, step by step.
To me, the key to being happy, both in your personal and professional life, is authenticity —when you give yourself the space and time to clarify your goals, whatever they are, to devise a plan to get there, to be proud of your accomplishments, to acknowledge the setbacks and learn from them, to overcome fear and to believe in yourself.
I bring this mindset every day in my leadership roles. Being authentic and evolving through continuous learning, instead of striving to obtain expertise in all facets of business, allows me to make more meaningful connections and unlock innovative ideas.
Also, I make a point of letting vulnerability, humility and empathy shine through!
WCT: Tell us about a mistake you’ve made in your career and what you learned from it.
CL: Not asking for help when I needed it the most.
I allowed my walls to creep up and shield my insecurities during a major time of transition/transformation that I was not leading. I ended up isolating myself, appeared closed off from my colleagues and second guessed everyone because of not knowing who to trust.
I chose to put my head down, lead my team, trust myself and power on.
As a result - it sucked for me.
I felt alone, to be honest. I felt sad and disconnected - but I held a strong exterior until a close colleague decided to check in on me and provide me with feedback…basically saying, where have you gone?
I broke in the conversation with a flood of tears and realized, in that moment, how much I had to adjust to manage through adversity, versus staying vulnerable, authentic and asking for support.
No one can do it themselves – I know that – but I didn’t have the courage or strength in that period of time to live up to the advice I was giving others. But of course – like a punch to the face – it was obvious what learning came from this: being vulnerable and authentic is a strength.
Don’t lose sight of knowing that. Keep a growth mindset when it feels impossible and take all the moments I feel uncomfortable as a signal of growth.
WCT: If you could go back and speak to your younger self at any point in time, what advice would you give her?
CL: Know your purpose - why you’re doing what you are doing and live through it daily!
Know your value and how to speak to it. Be proud of your imperfections, and love yourself at every stage of your life. Prioritize what is important to you and don’t be afraid to let others down trying to be a superhero - but clearly communicate when you choose to say no to things that are not your priority.
Want to learn more about Carolyn Levy and her achievements? Find her LinkedIn here.