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Do You Rise or Do You Run? How to Build Empowered Teams in Times of Uncertainty.

Rachel Hancock
Customer Experience Analyst Supervisor
Phoenix, AZ
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Face everything and rise

When I was in high school, I lost my relationship with my father. Losing him changed my life. I re-evaluated how I wanted to show up in the world. I realized then that when faced with obstacles, I have 2 options. I can face everything and run or I can face everything and rise. For the last 20 years, I’ve chosen to rise.

Staying sane during lockdown

Transitioning from the office to remote-work was a challenge. I struggled to see my daughters cry because they were stuck at home and missing their friends. As a parent, it was hard to watch them push through their own challenges with remote learning. They have very different learning styles and thrive in the classroom and in social settings. Some days were so challenging that all 3 of us would take a “brain break” to just be silly with each other. Other days, we ordered takeout and sat the table together, enjoying lunch. Most days we walked around the corner to our mailbox and mentally shook off the last call or meeting with some movement and fresh air. All those little routines helped us refocus and finish our afternoons strong.

Uplifting cross-functional teams

My role is specialized, which can feel pretty isolating. At times, I want to bounce an idea off a peer and I’m not sure who I can tap for feedback. Each team I manage is different, but I’ve learned to use those differences to my advantage. I now understand how each individual team operates and view my role as the uplifting connection between them.

Rejection isn’t a bad thing

As I grew my career at Discover, I got promoted a few times without experiencing rejection. I felt unstoppable! After becoming a team leader, I knew I wanted to grow into more leadership roles, so when I saw an opening for a new leadership position in my department, I enthusiastically applied. A few minutes into the interview, I could tell I wasn’t as prepared as I’d previously thought. I also recognized that I wasn’t professionally ready for the role. But I took that moment as an opportunity to further my professional development. I elevated my leadership skills, strategically assessed the projects I took, and raised my subject matter expertise.

Where determination meets hard work

I’m now leading my team as an expert in my field because of the conscious effort I put in to arrive here. The rejection I experienced highlighted my growth areas. I get up every day determined to be a better version of who I was yesterday. I look at each day as an opportunity to show my daughters that hard work will never be easy, but it will always be worth it. It’s not always about getting the next promotion— it’s about the blood, sweat and tears you put into getting there.

Empowerment through Jiu Jitsu

I’m constantly looking for ways to root for women. I pride myself on being the gal that roots for the other gal. Outside the office, I’m involved in a Jiu Jitsu team to empower women in a sport that can potentially save their lives. When women come on the mat for the first time, feeling overwhelmed or intimidated, I reinforce that they are important and they matter. I’m constantly voicing how amazing my teammates are for always putting in hard work and dedication. I’ll never allow my daughters to feel unvalued or ashamed to be who they are either.

Building self-confidence in my team

As a leader, I use my influence to empower my team to have confidence in their work.  I amplify their voices to help them drive the change they want to see in the lines of businesses they support. In the past, when things went wrong, I immediately switched into problem-solving mode. I’d provide my team with the solution instead of showing them how to uncover the solution themselves. I now believe in letting my team own their mistakes and their solutions, while allowing them to show me where I can help them rectify things. I do this through gentle guidance. I ask “what do you think is the best route,” instead of dictating the right strategy.  It’s completely shifted our dynamic and led to an incredible feeling of ownership and self-confidence.


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