Profiles in Leadership: Diverse Voices

Ventera Project Manager, Lori O’Connell

I believe that every single person in the world should be recognized as an individual who is worthy of love. I think Pride month really encapsulates this idea that we are all humans that deserve love.

When it comes to supporting the need for social change as an organization, I think we all recognize we are at different levels—there are things we don’t know and things we need to invest a little more time into understanding. The important part is we are actively trying to do better.

I’ve seen so many people get involved in their own way, some in a lead role and some playing a supporting role, but all actively pushing to make inclusivity more front and center. 

Everybody has it in their heart to do well for others, but we’ve all developed unconscious biases along the way through our different backgrounds and experiences. I love that we’re all looking at this now through the lens of “what do I need to do to grow and be a better person and be more inclusive?” It’s going to take work for all of us—it’s a growth journey—but I love that we’re trying to do our best to make people feel more comfortable, included, and worth it.

Those who know me, know that I tend to be a very positive and uplifting person. I grew up in a very negative and critical environment, so I place extra emphasis on being someone who tries to lift up instead of pull down. My entire life I’ve gone out of my way to try to be more nurturing and to treat people the best way I can because I think everybody deserves love and attention and to be listened to. 

Everyone is going through something. Sometimes even just smiling at someone or telling them you like their shirt or giving them kudos for their contributions goes a long way in making someone feel noticed.

I’ve always taken it upon myself to truly understand and relate to what my teammates are encountering. I won’t ask anyone on my team to do something unless I’m willing to take it on myself. I used to manage a clothing store that had a minimal budget so when something went wrong, we had to handle it. If the wall needed to be painted or if the rug needed to be scrubbed, I was always right there with everyone else lending a hand.

That’s one thing I absolutely love about Ventera. Every single person, no matter their role or their level in the organization, is willing to roll up their sleeves and help out. Not only on a professional level but also on a personal level. You really get the feeling that the folks here have each other’s backs.