Transformed-Sales-Logo

In this episode, Wesleyne got featured in the Untapped where she throws more light into the Diversity and Inclusitivity in the sales workforce.

In this conversation, Wesleyne Whitaker discusses various topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace, as well as her experiences as a black woman in sales.

She emphasizes the importance of inclusion and equal opportunities for women in leadership roles. Wesleyne also shares advice for women navigating corporate America, including advocating for oneself and finding a balance between work and family life.

She highlights the need for organizations to hire based on skills and potential rather than solely on prestigious educational backgrounds.

Additionally, Wesleyne discusses the importance of supporting and uplifting women in the workplace and offers tips for individuals considering starting their businesses.

In this conversation, Wesleyne discusses key tips for entrepreneurs and sales professionals. She emphasizes the importance of understanding your ideal client and setting measurable goals.

Wesleyne also introduces her upcoming project, the Sales Mastery Circle, which aims to provide comprehensive sales training. She shares information about her podcasts and social media presence, where she offers valuable content and inspiration.

The conversation concludes with gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity to share insights and collaborate.

Chapters

00:00

Introduction and Background

01:15

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

03:07

Challenges for Women in Leadership

04:58

Advice for Women in Corporate America

06:42

Differences in Women in Technical Fields and Sales

09:04

Balancing Travel and Family Life

10:54

Choosing the Right Education and Certifications

13:44

Overcoming Bias in Hiring

16:34

Defining Success and Core Values

20:26

Interacting Professionally on LinkedIn

25:38

Increasing Hiring from HBCUs

31:11

Addressing Uncomfortable Situations in the Workplace

38:27

Supporting and Uplifting Women in the Workplace

40:51

Improving Hiring from HBCUs

46:29

Tips for Starting a Business

47:25

Understanding Your Ideal Client and Setting Goals

50:11

Sales Mastery Circle

51:32

Podcasts and Social Media

52:31

Conclusion

Transcript

Wesleyne (00:01.612)

All right, welcome everybody back to the Untell podcast. I'm your host, Jeremy Neal. And today we have special guest, Wesleen Whitaker, a LinkedIn top sales voice. I want to thank you, Wesleen, for joining the Untell podcast. Thank you so much for having me. Yes, yes. So tell us a little bit about your background, your career, education, and a little bit about your time in the workforce. Yes.

Excuse me. So I am an HBCU grad. I went to Alcorn State University and I have a degree in chemistry. So I tell everybody I'm a recovering chemist. I went from being a chemist to transitioning into sales and then sales leadership. And now I own my own firm where we work with organizations and we build out sales strategy and do sales training. All right. Love it. Love it.

Well, I can tell you this is going to be a great conversation because you already started off the road with the right words, HBCU proud, proud graduate of the North Carolina A &T State University here. I get pride. That is the number one school on my son's list. He's in 10th grade. That's where he wants to go. All right. Tell him, tell him, come on, I give him some pointers. OK. OK.

All right, so I'm going to go ahead and get started with questions. What is diversity, equity and inclusion to you and how has DEI played a role in your career? So when I think about diversity, equity and inclusion, I think about it from a very practical sense. So coming from the world of being a chemist in that very technical world, it looks very different than it was in the world that I'm in now when I stepped into sales. So coming from that background,

of working in a lab with engineers and chemists and geologists. There were a lot of people who were international. And so you would think that it's like a majority minority, but as a woman in that field, as a black woman in that field, I was still a minority, right? I was still a part of a marginalized community. And then moving into sales still today as a black woman. Uh -oh, I started hearing feedback, okay.

Wesleyne (02:10.606)

Still today as a black woman, there are so few of us. So diversity isn't just checking the box for me. It's not just, hey, you hire more people that look like me. It's more making sure that they're included, right? Do I have a seat at the table? And once I have a seat at the table, it's not just like, good job, Wesley, thank you for sharing. It's I hear your idea and now let's implement it. Let's make sure that you get

equal time to all of your colleagues, whether they look like you or they don't. Okay. And that's a follow up question to that is, and this is something that I've always wondered, and this is something that I advocate for, I advocate for women, especially women of color. What do you see there where there is a problem? And I'm not saying that it's all men, but a good majority of men do not support women in leadership roles and positions. Where do you see that as a problem?

You know, it really comes from this challenge when I think about, you know, OK, so you have these gender roles at home. So again, coming from the world of being a chemist, I worked with a lot of people who had PhDs and advanced degrees in these very technical fields. And so their wives stayed at home. And so what they knew was like, what I this is not where a woman should be. My wife's at home with the kids.

So it's, we get in conversations or in meetings, oh, Wesleyne, how are the kids? How are this? How are that? And I appreciate that. But then you don't include me into those conversations about the more technical matters, right? You don't include me in those conversations about, okay, we have this new project, let's strategize on it, because you don't think of me in that way. And so because a lot of times women are not given a seat at the table,

And we don't know how to ask for a seat at the table. We don't know how to advocate for ourselves. So we're left out of those conversations. We don't know how to network. We don't know how to advocate for ourselves. We just don't know how to do those things because no one teaches us how to do those things. And so what is really important is that as women, we find our voice. As women, we understand that some people will think of you as the angry black woman and that's okay. But is it better to be thought of the angry black woman?

Wesleyne (04:28.814)

or the passive woman that never moves above an entry level state, right? And it's the balance. It's the push and the pull, learning when to speak up and when to stand down. Agreed, agreed. So when you are, let's just say, if you were advising someone that is going, that's in corporate America and they're looking for a position, they're looking for a role. And the first thing that they tell you about is, well, I looked at the leadership and all of the leadership is pretty much, let's say the first 15 positions is male.

What would you advise them to do? Would you tell them to go forward with attempting to gain employment with that company, or would you tell them to move off of it and go elsewhere? You know, I think it really depends on the organization. It's not a carte blanche, right? So some of my best allies have been white men, right? Like some of the people I have a client that I work with now and.

He's in between positions. And he was like, whenever I get my new position, you're coming with me because together we do great things, right? And I told him, I said, thank you for giving me a seat at the table because without you, I would not have even been invited to the conversation. I wouldn't have been invited to the party. And he was like, you deserve to be here. And that's what he said to me.

So if I looked at that leadership team, I could have said, eh, this might not be the place I want to be. But it takes more than just seeing what it looks like. And you actually have to step outside of your comfort zone and start having conversations, right? If this is the organization that you currently work in, reach out to somebody on that leadership team. Ask for time on their calendar, whether it's 15 or 20 minutes, and see how they receive you. Do they make time for you? Do they say, I'll give you 20 minutes? I'll answer any questions you have.

And are they stonewalling you? Are they encouraging you? Are they giving you the playbook that they give other people? Like you have to go below the surface and not just look at what things seem on the surface. Love it. Love that answer. So transitioning to the next question. As a professional, you've transitioned from the chemical field to a career in sales. What are some of the major differences you've seen, if any, when it comes to women in leadership? So as I mentioned, in the chemical field,

Wesleyne (06:42.926)

It looks, it's very different. The diversity there, there are a lot of people from different, from Asian, from the Asian descent, Indian descent. That's what is very prevalent in that industry. And because a lot of people are from outside the country, and I'm just, I'm not general, I'm just providing my experience, right? It's different in different areas. Is there is...

the thought, as I mentioned before, that women are not seen as equals, right? And so a lot of times it was very hard to be seen for my technical capabilities. It's not that I didn't work just as hard as everybody else, it's just that you're just not as smart as us. We're smarter than you, right? It doesn't matter what you say, it doesn't matter what you do, you're just not as smart as we are.

Um, and again, in the very technical field, it's all about your research and publishing papers and doing good work behind the scenes. That's what gets you elevated. And as a woman, if you aren't on the right team, if you don't have a person on your team, who's going to elevate you to the level of, Hey, I'm going to include you on this publication. I'm going to put you on this important work, not just the side work that needs to happen. That is the way that women get elevated in those very technical fields.

Now on the other side of the fence, with on the sales side, you really just need a chance. So what I love about sales is I tell people you work as hard or as little as you want to. And that is what determines how much money you can make, how high you can go in your career. So in sales, you have the ability to take those things that people may have told you in the past to keep quiet, like talking too much or asking too many questions, right? Those are the things that make women

really, really good in sales. And because of that, you can make a lot of money as a salesperson. And a lot of times companies see that not only are you able to make money for yourself, but that nurturing, that mentoring, that developing that you have, you're doing that for your colleagues and then they promote you. What really happens in sales, what gives women the ceiling is once they start having children.

Wesleyne (09:04.622)

And once they are saying, oh, I'm sorry, I can't travel as much. Oh, I can't do this as much. Or I want to pull back a little bit. It's signaling to upper leadership. Oh, she's just not interested anymore. She just wants to be a mom now. So she's at her ceiling. So it takes leadership to understand that you can do both, right? I have a whole story about having children. Like I can go down a whole other path there. But that is really what I feel that really hinders people when they move into the sales side, because sales does require you to travel a lot.

to spend a lot of time away from home to do some of these things that are easier for men to do because they have spouses that are staying home with the children. What are some recommendations that you make for the woman that is out there and they're wanting to travel and they're wanting to do things? I know we have an environment that is virtual. We have work from home, but that's still, you're still gonna need to be in some places. What recommendations would you make to them, to the mom or?

the woman that is in leadership to say, well, I just don't have the ability to travel like this, but I can travel maybe quarterly. What advice would you give them? So the first thing that I would say is don't limit yourself just because you say I'm a mom. So I have, I do this small group twice a month from my church, women come over. And last night we were doing a study on, it's called Warrior Women, talking about Deborah.

And one of the questions was, when do you say I'm just a, right? And what insistence do you say? So as women in the workforce don't say I'm just a mom, so I'm unable to do this, right? You are a mom, but you're not just a mom. So the first thing is switching the mindset so you realize that you can do this. And it does take planning. It does take you doing a little bit extra, right?

When my youngest son was born, I was a field salesperson. And so that meant I was very, I wanted to make sure that I nursed him for the full first year of his life, just like I did his brother. So that meant when I traveled out of town, I flew my mom to come with me so she could watch him in the hotel while I went to see customers. When I went to see customers, whether it was locally or out of town, I would say, do you have a mother's room? And all the men, because it's always men, they were like it red in the face and they'd be like, what is that?

Wesleyne (11:23.15)

And I would have to tell them. So that made me feel a little bit uncomfortable, right? I had to get out of my comfort zone, but that's what was important for me. And then on the personal side, I made sure that when I was going somewhere, so if I said, hey, I'm going to travel to Denver this week, my calendar is full. Some of my colleagues would have two or three meetings. I would have five meetings. I would have breakfast meetings. I would have a lunch. I would have a dinner. And I would just hit it hard because I needed to make my time valuable.

And I made sure that I had dinner cooked. And I made sure the kids clothes were laid out because my ex -husband, ex, right, key there. My ex -husband, he needed all the things, right? If everything wasn't aligned, then I'm getting phone calls and text messages. So I needed to make sure that everything at home was taken care of so that I could travel. And my company never knew that it was hard or it was a burden because I didn't let them, I didn't complain about it.

I didn't say I can't do this or I'm unable to do this at times if they needed me to travel to certain places. And I'm like, I'm sorry. My son has a very important performance on that day. I can come in early or I can leave early, but I can't miss this because that's my personal value. And that's important to me because men do it all the time. Oh, Timmy has football games. So I'm just not going to be there. But as women, we hold it so close to us. And we think that if we say something that it negatively impacts us.

Got it. And even with that question, you brought up something about the smart enough value when it comes to the technical field. What would you advise the woman to do as far as, hey, should I go back and get a certification? Should I go back and get another degree? Or should I, hey, focus on joining this focus group that could help me learn a little bit more? Because what I'm looking for is, and I think you're looking for the same, you're looking for inclusiveness. And if you're going to tell me that I'm not smart enough,

then give me the tools that I need so that I can be on your level. But some of the times we don't see that, especially in those fields. What do you advise that woman that might've heard that to say, you're not smart enough to be here, so you're gonna be topped out at this level? I really think that self -work, because a thing that I see a lot of Black women doing is they have many, many, many degrees.

Wesleyne (13:44.75)

And they have so many degrees because they are trying to prove to the world that they're worthy. If you're getting a degree because you feel that you need that degree, if it is something that you desire for yourself, then do it. But if you're doing it because Bob told you you needed to get an MBA, then Mary told you you need to have a master's in public health. And you keep doing it because you're trying to prove to the world that you're smart enough, that you're better than everyone.

then what's gonna happen is you're gonna keep striving and you're never gonna be satisfied. So what you have to do is you have to understand. And I like to ask people, what do you wanna be when you grow up? Like, what makes you happy? What do you enjoy? And when you think about what you wanna be when you grow up, what do you need to get there? Because it might be a degree or it could be a certification. There's a woman who was going back to get her MBA and I was like, you don't need an MBA. You are a VP of Sales. You are already, you can teach these courses.

Like you don't need that. So instead she went back and she got a certificate on, I think, team dynamics or leadership or something like that. Right. Like, so she got a certificate because she didn't need the degree. She didn't need the education. She didn't need the education in that facet. She needed a very practical thing that she could use today. So evaluate where you are and understand where you want to get to and then figure out the small little steps that you need to get there.

I love that answer because I think a lot of the times we we just go education out. I've done it. Some of my colleagues have done it. Fraternity brothers have done it. They go out, they get a degree to another degree, then another degree, then another degree. And then you get asked in the interview, well, why do you have all of this education? Because someone told you to go get it. But here's the question that never gets asked in the room. How many degrees do you have or?

Did you do you even have this degree? You're telling me to go and get it, but you don't even have it. So I guess for me, I always get that little struggle point to where I say, you just told me to go do something that you don't even have. So why shouldn't I do it? And I think a lot of the times, you know, we may get intimidated by asking that question and we don't want to ask it because we don't want to come off as strong.

Wesleyne (16:07.374)

you know, or just trying to eliminate potentially a networking opportunity. I think right now we're living in a day and age in which we need to ask more questions. And that's how we can become more inclusive. But I love your answer. Love it. Yeah. And, you know, I think that it goes to this self worth concept that I really want us Black women, Black men, for us to understand where our worth comes from, right? Our...

parents have instilled in us the value of education. That was what they knew because that's what they did to get them out of, you know, our parents grew up, they're boomers, right? 50s and 60s, they had to, you had to have degrees in order to achieve. They put their head down and they worked. And that got them to where they were at. And then they pushed us to put our head down and work. And that doesn't work for us because we can't put our head down and work.

We can't continue to get degrees and continue to get degrees and really expect that we're going to achieve the level of success because we don't even know what we're striving for. It's like, what does success look like to you? What makes you happy? Is success for some people? Maybe I want to run my own business and that's what I want to do. Or it could be, I am so happy being an individual contributor. I just need to be in the right company that I am supported at.

Right? Like what is success for you? And when you understand what success means for you, like sit in that, enjoy that. Because as a manager of a division of 1500 people, you can't take off two weeks at the end of the year because you have 1500 people that are taking off two weeks at the end of the year. But if you're an individual contributor, you absolutely can. So define your success and understand what your personal core values are so that you can then translate that.

into your professional core values and what you desire from an educational standpoint. Because I tell everybody, this one degree that I got from Alcorn State University in chemistry is what pays my bills, right? Like I have one degree in chemistry and I do something completely and totally different, right? Because I am a student of the world, if you will. So I got in, when I got into sales, I knew nothing. I had to teach myself how to be a salesperson. Nobody taught me. I was the only black person in the organization. I was one of five women.

Wesleyne (18:27.598)

Like there was nobody to mentor me. I had to figure it out. And so I chose the route of I'm going to take classes. I'm going to do this. I'm going to do that. I chose not to go back to school. But I have colleagues that did go back to school. And it doesn't mean I'm better or they're better. It just means we took different routes. And I love that. Two things that I always would advise someone that asks me the question, a degree in networking is free. A degree in experience is free. Yeah.

You didn't have to go to anyone's class to get that. You had to just put in some time and some effort. But then also while you're working, look for those extra projects. Look for those extra activities to be a part of. Hey, go to some of those nightly socials so that you can get some experience and get potentially trained up. The next morning, your boss might say, hey, well, we're to go through this. Or we're going to work on this. And I think some of the times we get

so complacent and we get so focused on, well, I got to get this because this could get me an extra $20 ,000. Sometimes you just need to ask the question. That's it. Ask the question. Be honest with yourself. And we got to get out of this state of being scared. I understand anxiety hits, but immediately we're scared to approach. And sometimes I think what we need is that that psychology one -on -one class. And I think,

There are several people on LinkedIn that can give that to where you're not scared anymore. You can go in and say, hey, this is what I want. This is where I want to be. This is what I'm trying to do. And then while I'm doing all of that, I'm still going to have a balance because I'm going to be able to go home. I'm going to be able to enjoy my home life. And then I can go right back to work because guess what? I enjoy my job. I feel fulfilled.

Absolutely, absolutely. And you know, you brought up that fear. And again, when I'm working with leaders within organizations, we, a lot of times they're stunted in their leadership. And so we work together to help them unlock like what is happening. And we go back to this childhood stuff a lot. And really in childhood is like, okay, when your mom said, no, you can't, or your dad said, no, you can't, you remember that. And so you don't ask.

Wesleyne (20:46.286)

And you don't ask because you don't want to hear no. But as an adult, we don't ask because we don't want to hear no. And the door is we're closing the door for ourselves. We're not even allowing ourselves to move through. Right. My son, when he was seven or eight, one day he came home, he said, Mom, can I take my Nintendo Switch to school? I said, absolutely not. What are you talking about? No. It's like your teacher's not going to allow you to bring it. And he was like, but I can still ask her though, right? I said, you absolutely can.

So he went to school, he asked her and came back home. I said, what did she say? He said, well, she said no, but you know, I'll try again another day. Literally, it's because I teach my children, ask. If I say no, it's okay, try another way or maybe there's another option or no, you can't do this, but how about that? I was actually responding to something today on LinkedIn and they were talking about negotiating salary. That's a whole thing, whole different topic. But one thing that I always tell people is never accept a job offer.

Always negotiate, always ask for more. More money, more time off, more equity, more commission, more bonus, more something. And if they don't give you something, meet you halfway, give you something, then that's not the company you wanna work for because what they're telling you is, I don't value what you value, so go find another job, right? So we have to learn how to ask and it's okay for somebody to say no, not yet, not that much, right? But just know in and of itself isn't a bad thing.

Love it. Love it. So you spoke with me about a situation where you were a trainer recently and you were the only representation of color in the room. How did this make you feel and what needs to change to be more inclusive? I am so used to it now. And I'm used to it because I can remember my very first sales meeting when I first started in sales. We were in Germany and I looked around the room and there were five women.

And I was the only person of color. And I was like, what am I doing? What is actually happening here? It literally hit me like a ton of bricks. And so throughout my sales career, that's how it's been. I've been the only person of color, sometimes the only woman on the sales force. But I've always been really, really good at my job. So because of me being a woman or because of me being Black, I've worked in really great organizations that never met.

Wesleyne (23:12.654)

made me feel marginalized. So I never felt like I was less than. I never was excluded from anything. So now I'm on the other side and I show up in these places and this is literally what I've done my entire professional life. I've always been the only, I've always been that person. And so there's this dynamic when you do sales training because most people, especially sales people, they don't like going to training. It's like you flew me.

here, you took me out of my territory. I just want to make money. I don't want to be doing this. This person doesn't know anything. And then I'm a black woman. So like, what are you guys doing to me? So I always start my sales trainings and I tell them the story of like how I started in sales. And that immediately breaks down the barrier because they're like, oh, she's one of us. So I was in this particular sales training. I really didn't think anything of it. But the VP of HR was sitting in and she was sitting in the back until during one of the breaks, she said, what's lean? I just.

seeing you up there teach everyone, it just did something to me and it hit me in the face like we have no diversity on the sales team. And so she sent her the VP of this group a email and she said, why is the only diversity in the room the person training? And it for them, it opened their eyes. And so I tell people that I am the change that I want to see. So when I show up in these places and I'm doing this training and I'm showing these.

people, these team leaders, how a person that doesn't look like them, that doesn't sound like them, that has a similar background to them, but can still be really, really good at this job, it helps them open their eyes to say, well, maybe the reason that we're not doing that well is because everybody looks like us, they're from the same place and they sound like this. So maybe we should think about hiring people from outside of the industry. Maybe we should think about promoting that person that doesn't have any sales and they're outside of.

um, you know, our core group. So it helps me to literally embody what I want these organizations to start doing within their, um, companies. Love it. So what would you say in reference to the company to say, Hey, well, you know, the question is being asked, she's the only one that's representing. She's the only one in the room right now. How do we get more diversity in the room? What would you be, what would be your answer to that?

Wesleyne (25:38.254)

So my favorite answer is stop hiring your competitors rejects because that's what people do. They're recycling the same talent around and around and around, right? So that's the first thing that you have to do. You have to realize that a solid salesperson is a solid salesperson no matter what they sold. Doesn't matter what they have sold in the past. If they're a good salesperson, they can learn your product, they can learn your service because yeah, it's fancy, it's important, it's technical, but they can learn it. So look outside.

of the industry, right? That's the first thing. The second thing is when you are reviewing, I mean, and this goes back to even like reviewing resumes, doing interviews, like what are the questions you're asking people? Are you asking a question to someone that they have no basis of answering? Right? If you're asking me something about, this probably would never be asked in an interview, but if you ask me something about golf or football, I mean, I can answer it on a surface level.

But if you get really down into the weeds, I don't know those things, right? And so the questions that you're asking, if you know you're pulling somebody from outside of the industry and they may not understand your specific sales process, your specific product, if you ask them a question that sets them up for failure, you're already behind the eight ball, right?

And if you look at all the resumes and you're like, oh, this person went to UT. Oh, this person went to A &M. Oh, this person went to Colorado School of Mines. I want this person. Oh, this person went to, never heard of that school. Oh, that's an H, what is an HBCU? I don't even know what that is. I don't think that's a good school. Okay, next, let's keep going, right? It's the bias that you have. People call it unconscious, but that's not unconscious. That is conscious bias. So I really think that when we are hiring, the best way that I teach companies to,

hire solid salespeople is we actually start with an assessment. We start with an evaluation. You don't look at any resumes. Don't look at the resumes. Look at the skills. Don't look at the human. Don't look what they've done. Assess first. And then if they meet what your internal qualifications are for the assessment, then look at their resume. And you will be surprised how much this changed the complete perspective of your pool. You will immediately have more diverse candidates.

Wesleyne (27:53.71)

You know, you said something about the universities and you talked about the HBCUs and we're going to touch on that further down the line, but kind of want to touch on this a little bit. You were talking about how someone would value, let's just say a Yale over a Colorado School of Mines or they would value a North Carolina State University over an Alcorn State University.

Where do we need to change? What do we need to do to where it's an equal playing field? Because I can tell you, it doesn't matter what university you go to. If you've got that degree, you walk that stage, that person has something to prove. And they're going to come after what they want. So what do we need to do to change that mindset? Because that is clear bias. You're just saying that the PWI institution is over the HBCU, or you're saying that the school that

is more prestigious is over the school that just has a thousand in their capacity. So what do you think needs to change there to where we can change that mindset and get past this bias? I really think that we have to educate managers better, right? So a lot of the challenges that we have within organizations are the poor training of our managers. There's so much training for team development and this and this and that.

Nobody trains middle managers and middle managers are who are hiring these people. So helping them to understand that, okay, this person may have gone to Yale or UCFF, UCSF, whereas this person may have gone to, they started at Houston Community College and then they transferred to University Houston. What that tells me, that shows me that that person is a little bit gritty because maybe they didn't have the money. Maybe they didn't get in, but they worked really, really hard.

That doesn't mean the person that went to Yale didn't work hard. That just shows me a little bit about their character. So allowing the resume that you see to tell a story, not just I went to Yale, I graduated summa cum laude, I did this, I did this, I did that. That is fantastic. That is great. And if that is you, kudos to you. You did a good job when you were in college. However, that doesn't say that that person is better than the person who went to community college and then went to a local state school is any worse.

Wesleyne (30:15.726)

Because especially in sales, what I need, what I'm looking for, I need grit. I need you to take a lick and I need you to keep on ticking. I want to know that you have a little bit of grind in you. The person who went to Yale may have had life easy. And so the first rejection they had, the first time they missed their number, that could crush them completely and they could never recover from that. Whereas that person who went to community college and then maybe they transferred to HBCU or a small local school,

They know how to take that hit because they had to take a semester off school to take care of their mom when she got sick. And then they got back and they said, I want to do this. I had that internal drive to do it. So allow resumes to tell you a story. Don't just check boxes and say, this is better than that. That part that eliminating the check in the boxes, you dropped the mic on that one. There it is right there. So it's Valentine's day, everyone. And uh,

Common problem on LinkedIn is how individuals interact with one another. Some feel that LinkedIn is a way to hook up with an individual. What are some tips that you can provide to individuals who have encountered these situations that made them feel uncomfortable? So I want to preface this by saying what I'm going to say, I am not blaming a victim. I am not blaming somebody who has been come after in any kind of way.

I'll just really speak from my own personal experience and from the experience of women that I've worked with professionally. The way that you carry yourself and the way that you show up really tells the world what you're open to and what you're accepting of, right? I very, very seldom, I think in the, I don't know how long I've been on LinkedIn, the whole time I've been in sales, maybe 15, 16 years, I've had like three advances, three in all of that time.

of men who were saying things that, and not even completely inappropriate. I mean, you're like, oh, you're so beautiful. I'm like, thank you so much. And that's it, right? And I shut it down completely. But when you think about how you show up online, how you show up in the workplace, how you show up anywhere, are you being, there is a difference between being nice and flirting, right? I can be nice. I am probably one of the sweetest people that you will ever meet, but I'm very firm on my values. I'm not flirting. I'm just being nice.

Wesleyne (32:37.358)

And so as a woman, I think that we the onus is on us to understand. And again, this goes back to your values. This goes back to who you are and how you decide to show up in the workplace online. Right. Are you showing up as this professional that is saying, I command, I demand to be treated just the same as everyone else. Or are you doing things that you think you need to do to fit in? Right. And so when you evaluate,

how you show up and you evaluate who you are, that really helps you say, okay, if I'm getting a lot of unwanted advances, let me sit, let me check, what is the content that I'm putting out there? Is my content to this or is my content to that? Right? It's not always you, but I like to say if you keep getting the same kinds of response, if you keep getting the same kind of thing, at some point we need to take the onus and look at ourselves and say, how am I contributing to this? Now I am also,

going to tell men that just because you see a smiling woman and she's beautiful, it doesn't net. Don't don't leave with that. You're so beautiful. Thank you. I know I'm beautiful. But what about the content? Did you read the post? Like I come straight for I'm like, OK, thank you. However, right. So the thing is, lead with what because a person is on LinkedIn. This is a professional thing. I'm not in here to try to date. Right. So if you tell somebody she's beautiful, that she's this or she's that.

That is not, that doesn't make her feel good. That makes her feel like, you know, you're a piece of meat, if you will. So as men, be very intentional about how you show up and compliment a woman. It's okay to say, okay, I see a single woman that's beautiful and I'm interested in her, but do it the right way. Love it. So that brings up another question. In the workplace, you see this all the time where someone may have this thought of, well, they only hired her because of what she, how she dresses or.

how she looks, you know, what do you think about that? Because I don't want anyone to feel that, well, this person was hired just because of their looks, that's not it. It should be off of their qualifications, who they are as an individual, their integrity, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot. What do you feel about that? So as a woman, I always say, dress for yourself. I think that...

Wesleyne (35:03.63)

It is important you show up in the way that is most comfortable to you. I was talking to somebody yesterday and she said, what's clean? Can you please do a post about your red lipstick? Cause you have different red lipstick on every single day. And I want to know about this red lipstick. This is what I do. I decide like I wear red lipstick. That's my thing. That's how I feel comfortable. You probably won't see me too often without makeup on. Cause that's how I feel comfortable. However, there are women who don't like wearing makeup and don't like wearing lipsticks. And so they don't.

And so the first thing is, again, what are your core values? This is how I like to show up. When I have no meetings on Monday, I usually don't talk to people externally, but I still look the same way because I do this for me. So do it for you. And when you do it for you, what other people say doesn't matter because you're doing it for yourself. And the person who was saying, oh, she just got hired because of this, this or that, or they were hired because they did this, this and that, that's an insecurity in you.

That's not on the other person. Like you are projecting, oh, she just got hired because she always wears dresses. Do you have a problem? Do you not like to wear dresses or are you uncomfortable with your legs so you don't feel comfortable in them? Like oftentimes when we have people that are coming up against us and saying these painful things, it's an insecurity in them. So if you are the recipient of this negativity, you don't internalize it because that is not about you.

That is about the other person. And if you find yourself pointing your finger at someone else because they did this or they did that or they did that, examine yourself. And really as women, one of the things that I like to say, because what you mentioned is usually women against women. Men probably, I don't think men ever say like she got hired because she was whatever, right? That's like women fighting women. And I tell women like, yo, let's stop fighting for crumbs. Like stop fighting for crumbs. We should all get our own piece of cake.

Like there are not enough black women, there are not enough women period in the workforce for us to be fighting each other. There's so many men out there. Like let's all hang out. We take all that energy and we fight against the men, right? So like stop being so jealous of another woman. If another woman is in a position that you want, ask her, how did you get there? Can you mentor me? I want to learn from you, right? Don't throw daggers at that person. Like the way that we get better,

Wesleyne (37:30.738)

stronger as a community is by forging together. If I think about my, I have a really good friend who's Jewish and the way that the Jewish community comes together, like in business and life and anything, she literally had a hundred thousand dollars student loan that a doctor said, I'll pay for that. And then you just pay me back just two or 3 % interest whenever you can. Right? Like we don't do that in our community. Instead we would point a finger and say, Oh, you got hundreds of thousand dollars in debt. Oh my gosh. Why are you going on that trip? Why are you paying for that car?

instead of trying to help, right? So we need to really develop this camaraderie and stop pointing fingers and backbiting. You went down the road. I was going to ask another follow -up question. You killed that. You went straight down the road that I was headed as far as the next question that was coming your way. I thank you for that. That is a very strong answer. And if you are just a woman of color or a...

a woman that is out there in leadership, I hope you take value in that last answer because that is literally what you need to be doing. We need to be advocates for each other in everything that we do. We should not be battling against each other. Yeah, you know, I live, I work, I move with this motto that someone helped me get to where I am today. So I take it as my responsibility to help lift somebody else up. People, when somebody joins my LinkedIn network,

I always ask them, I'm like, do you have a burning sales leadership or entrepreneurship question that I can answer for you? That thing that's been niggling in your brain that you can't ask anybody if you don't have the answer to? Because I think that is our responsibility to help others. And if we step outside of ourself for a little bit, and I don't want people to be so giving of themselves that they burn themselves out because that's a whole nother thing, but we should give, right?

Some people give up their time, some people give up their talent, some people give up their money, but we should find a way to give back because you can get there on your own. Like somebody helps you. Yes, provide uplift in everything that you do. And sometimes we forget that we get where we were going and we forget everybody else. I was blessed to have an opportunity while I was a manager for a company in corporate America where I had a team.

Wesleyne (39:56.302)

And the one thing that I did was I made sure I shared my skill sets and what I had learned along the way to attempt to help them go along the way. Some of those representatives were sitting in that position for 15, 20, 25 years. And the first thing that they came to me and said was, well, Jeremy, no one has ever showed me this or no one ever gave me this or provided a path for me. And just to hear that, you're crushed. But then you say, OK, well, let's go handle this.

Let's work on this. I thank you for saying that. So you are a graduate of Alcorn State University and HBCU. What do you feel needs to be changed to increase the hiring of candidates from historically Black colleges and universities, especially women of color? That's a good one. So I think to increase the hiring,

we actually need to do a little bit of our work internally at our HBCUs. So one of the reasons, I would say the biggest reason I am sitting here talking to you today as successful as I am is because the chemistry department chairperson, my freshman year said, you will never go to summer school, Westlane. I was like, okay. He said, you will go out, you will get experience.

And so every single summer we went out and we had to do research at major universities. And then all year long, he flew us all over the country presenting our research. So I was presenting my research as a 19 year old to people with PhDs in chemistry, right? So he taught us how to advocate for ourselves. He taught us to speak to people that know more than us and be confident in our skins. So.

inside of our HBCUs, we need to make sure that we're teaching these next generation of students to not put their head down and work. That is the biggest thing that is happening. You don't put your head down and work. You don't just go to school and not get any externships or co -ops or internships or new stuff outside of school. You have to get some real world experience. That is how you compete when you graduate. If you say,

Wesleyne (42:14.542)

I've only ever gone to Alcorn. I went there for four years, I got my degree, but I never left Southern Mississippi. I never stepped outside to another university. I've never done anything. Again, that is a disservice. So anybody who has influence or impact on college students or on HBCUs, that is the biggest thing that we can do internally. So now when we get our students more equipped to go out into the world, then they can compete.

because what happens is they go to job interviews and they're not prepared. They just, they're not prepared because they don't know what to say. They don't know how to say it. They've never been exposed to these things. And so it really has to start with us taking the onus on being alumni, alumnus and going back and saying, Hey, these are the things that we need to do to make sure that we're elevating our students. And on the employer side, I think that,

You have to understand that when you have, at times, when you have people that are coming from different backgrounds, knowing that they're going to present differently. So maybe they don't have this experience. Maybe they've never done any kind of speaking. Maybe they haven't done anything outside of the school work that they've done. But internally within organizations, we should have pathways. We should have a way.

to really get people from where they are to where they need to be. And we're talking a lot about HBCUs, but I have friends that come from very different backgrounds that grew up very, very poor. So they also went to very tiny schools and didn't have this same kind of experiences that some of our colleagues did. And it's the same thing with them. They don't know. And so they go to interviews and they don't do well and they end up in these.

marginalized entry -level jobs and they never are pushed forward. So as companies, as organizations, we really need to make sure that as this next generation is entering the workforce, we have ways to upskill them. Like give them the professional skills that they need to really, really, really show up in the workplace. Love it. Two things I'm going to add to that. From the HBCU side, career services is very important. Before that individual or that student graduates,

Wesleyne (44:33.614)

probably tail end of their junior year, you need to be getting them pulled in, talking about resumes, talking about interviews, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I feel that that should be a mandatory course towards tail end of their time at the university. And a lot of times you look at the curriculum and it's not there. So I feel that their last two semesters, whether it's you've given them credit for one hour, three hours, et cetera, whatever it is, they should have two semesters or two quarters of that.

Essentially, there should be something that talks about career services. Now, as far as the employer side, this is where I see, and you talked about middle management. If you are a manager that is a corporation, you should be working to upskill them, not only just for that specific job, for something down the line that they're looking for. And don't say that you don't have the skill set or you don't have the ability or you don't have this. No, that's an unacceptable answer.

Everyone deserves the ability to be able to be pushed forward. And that's how we get into this level of complacency and we're comfortable. It's okay. We're making the money that we're making and that's just good enough. No, you're about to experience generation Z. They come and they're not going to be sitting just to be comfortable. It has to change and we need to figure out a way to start creating that change. But again, it starts with a conversation.

Let's transition to this. We're talking about fear earlier. And as an entrepreneur, what tips can you provide to someone that is thinking about stepping out on faith and starting their own business? So first and foremost, I want to say that everybody is not wired to be an entrepreneur. OK? Everybody, a lot of people like, I'm tired of working. I'm tired of this. I'm tired of that. But everybody isn't.

made to be an entrepreneur. We need employees, right? Like corporations need employees. I am an entrepreneur. I have people who work for me. I need people to support me. So that's the first thing. People, I feel like people feel like they're forced into entrepreneurship now. Like that's the cool thing to do to have a side hustle or main hustle or whatever. So first understand that if it's your calling, let's do it. If it's not, then,

Wesleyne (46:57.422)

find a company that will allow you to be an entrepreneur, right? So that will allow you to use the entrepreneurial mindsets or skills that you have, work for them, but create, right? Innovate. Because as an entrepreneur, every two weeks, you gotta pay yourself. And some people just don't have the ability to take that risk. It's just not their thing. So that's the first thing. The second thing is, as an entrepreneur, it is really important to...

understand who you serve and how you serve them. Be very, very laser focused on who that ideal client profile is or that avatar, however you call it. Different people call it different things. But who do I serve? How do I serve them? What are their pain points? Who are the people that also serve my, um, avatar? How do they help them? How can we partner? And really, what is my goal? Because some people say,

I just want to replace my income. I don't want to manage people. I don't want to be stressed out. And I'm good if I just make a hundred thousand dollars for the rest of my life. And that is all I need. That is your goal. You get there and you cruise. Some people are like, no, I want to be seven, eight, nine figures. And so I want to scale and I want to get there. And so if you are, it doesn't matter which side of the coin that you're on and don't let someone push you into a bucket that you are not comfortable with.

Right? So really understand what is the end goal? How do I want to finish? Right? I want to start the way I want to finish. So really be intentional on that and also set very measurable KPIs, key performance indicators in three months.

I need to make X number of dollars. In six months, I need to have X number of clients. In 12 months, I wanna have X number of paid speaking engagements, whatever it is. Like have mile markers because again, you are holding yourself accountable. And if you don't hold yourself accountable, nobody else is. So I think those are probably the big tips that I have for those who are thinking about or considering entrepreneurship. I love it. And you've been successful. Continue to be an advocate.

Wesleyne (49:12.334)

for everyone is in that sales field. As we stated at the beginning, you're a top sales voice. So your voice is gonna help someone else get where they're supposed to get. And I believe in everything that you're doing, just by viewing your profile, going down the list of accomplishments and things that you've done, you know what you're doing. And if you're out there and you're in a sales field and you're looking for someone, I'm pointing right here, Etta. Which way you looking? Look for her.

So I'm gonna go kinda into our conclusion. What other projects do you have in place? How can people find you on social media, whether it's LinkedIn, et cetera, and discuss anything that you wanna promote? Awesome. So I have a upcoming community slash course that I'll be launching in a few weeks. It's called a Sales Mastery Circle. One of my biggest grievances in life right now,

is all of these courses that people are making that are just foolishness. Like, they're not good. They're not good. They're not teaching you how to sell. They're not teaching you how to set yourself up for success. They're just making quick money. So my solution is it doesn't matter if you're a salesperson in an organization or if you're a salesperson, if you have your own business, you are also a salesperson. I hope you know that you are a salesperson if you are an entrepreneur. It...

really gives you the tools that you need, the building blocks to start from, I don't know anything about sales, all the way to identifying your ideal client profile, having discovery meetings, doing proposals, negotiating. Like it gives you the, from the Rudy to the Tootie, it has Westling wisdom AI built in. So that means that you can actually search based on my content, not on chat GPT, my content to answer questions that you need.

So that is the project that I am most excited about right now. So be sure to follow me on LinkedIn. I will be posting about that, telling you when it will be officially launched. LinkedIn is the best place to follow me. I have two podcasts. I have one called Transform Sales Podcast. And so it's about all things sales. I also have one called Daily Love Letters from God. And so that is a daily five to eight minute little...

Wesleyne (51:32.62)

inspirational thing that I do every day. And I talk about more of my faith stuff on Instagram. So if you want to tap into me as a person of faith, you can follow me on Instagram. And how can anyone join those podcasts? Cause I'm guaranteeing you after today, they're going to want to hear more of you. So transform sales, you can get it on any platform. It's just transformed sales and then the daily love letters from God, or you can type my name in West lean into Apple or Spotify or anything, or even on Google.

and the podcast will come up. All right, Ms. Wesleyne Whittaker I want to thank you. This has been a powerful conversation. This has probably made some people out there in the world and in the midst of things a lot better on today. And I just want to thank you. You really did drop the mic today. Well, thank you so much for having me. It is always, always a pleasure to share the stage, share the platform with someone else who's doing some amazing work. So thank you again for having me. It's been my pleasure.

All right, and to all of our viewers and subscribers of Untap, we thank you and we'll see you next time.

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