Why Being Vulnerable Makes You Strong, According to Motorola Solutions’ Women Engineers

“As leaders, by being susceptible we give all people else permission to be susceptible — and be their most genuine selves.”

Those phrases, spoken by Motorola Solutions’ Sharon Hong, had been the underlying theme of a current dialogue with Rasheedah Edwards and Armaghan Mehrsa about being a lady engineer on the firm. Hong, Motorola Solutions’ VP of security reimagined ecosystem options, defined that she realized this lesson by a ladies’s management program the corporate gave her the chance to attend.

“What this class taught me was how necessary it was to be seen to different ladies. It’s that entire premise of: If you may see it, you could be it,” stated Hong. “That’s once I realized how necessary it was to get and provides that publicity to others.”

That realization motivated her to discovered the Women of the West, a bunch of Motorola Solutions’ West Coast workers that finally turned a regional chapter of the corporate’s Women’s Business Council.

“I realized the significance of constructing certain we’ve got a community and a spot to communicate overtly and candidly, as a result of no matter the truth that we do the identical job, the non-public expertise of girls within the office is totally different from nearly all of our friends,” she stated. “There are some issues I’ll particularly discuss with my ladies colleagues as a result of, in these cases, I really feel ladies can relate extra to what I’m going by. I don’t have to clarify it and that basically helps the expertise.”

Regardless of the truth that we do the identical job, the non-public expertise of girls within the office is totally different from nearly all of our friends.”


Exemplifying this assertion, the dialog with Hong, Edwards and Mehrsa revealed that speaking to and studying from one another and the neighborhood of girls at Motorola Solutions encourages them to be their greatest, genuine selves.

Communities just like the WBC and the Society of Women Engineers — inside which Motorola Solutions has a strong and energetic chapter — together with their relationships with mentors and colleagues, remind Hong, Edwards and Mehrsa that being themselves shouldn’t be solely allowed, however inspired. In truth, it’s one of the simplest ways to make a novel contribution and encourage others.


Two women of Motorola sitting at a desk, collaborating over some papers and smiling.
Source: Motorola Solutions


Why Motorola Solutions Matters

Hong, Edwards and Mehrsa every got here to the corporate by a really totally different path, however all have discovered issues about each the work and the tradition that make them proud Motorolans.

Hong, who refers to herself facetiously as a “lifer,” didn’t count on to be at Motorola Solutions for over 20 years, however the significant, hands-on work she’s been in a position to do has impressed her to continue to grow inside the firm.

“One of my greatest fears popping out of faculty was that I wouldn’t discover that means in what I do. I wished to really feel like there was a objective behind the work that I do,” she stated. “Knowing that what we do helps save lives is one thing I feel all of us take super satisfaction in.”

Mehrsa, a senior digital design engineer, joined the corporate six years in the past as an intern, then returned after ending her schooling. In addition to the satisfaction of maintaining individuals protected, she cited the corporate’s supportive tradition as a major draw.

“It’s such a cushty setting,” she stated. “You’re not scared to ask questions or convey up one thing. You actually really feel at dwelling right here — you don’t have to drag your self into work.”

Edwards is the newest member of the staff, having joined Motorola Solutions as a senior software program engineering supervisor in 2019. Edwards has a wealth of expertise within the trade, having labored at IBM for 15 years earlier than shifting to Avtec, an organization that Motorola Solutions later acquired.

“At IBM, we had these range teams the place, as an adolescent popping out of faculty, I used to be in a position to meet different individuals who noticed me for who I used to be — not simply the one lady or black particular person within the group,” Edwards stated. “When I had youngsters and bought my masters, it was that community that basically helped me push by challenges.”

When I had youngsters and bought my masters, it was that [diversity group] community that basically helped me push by challenges.”


At her subsequent place, Edwards missed her entry to a bigger work community like she had at IBM. Motorola Solutions entered her life simply in time, because the pandemic reared its head.

“When Covid-19 made us all go distant, the brunt fell on ladies as a result of youngsters couldn’t go to faculty, and that was loads,” she stated. “I keep in mind having a gathering with Sharon the place she simply laid it out that we weren’t going to have an agenda — she simply wished to understand how everybody was doing. That touched my soul — I didn’t notice I used to be drowning till I used to be in that assembly listening to, sharing and studying from others. It was such a pivotal assembly.

“That’s what Motorola Solutions means to me,” she continued. “It helps me be my greatest self. I’ve a staff of girls that’s there for me and sees me. Not to point out that our merchandise maintain the world protected — even in case you personally don’t buy them, our merchandise are maintaining you protected.”


Sharon presenting a speech to the Society of Women Engineers conference.



Inspiring Each Other

“There’s complexity across the expertise of girls within the office,” stated Hong. “I’ve realized loads about that complexity by the open setting we’ve got at Motorola Solutions and the WBC.”

With a fast apart to get Edwards’ blessing, Hong introduced up a selected second the place Edwards opened her eyes to the range of ideas and experiences inside their neighborhood.

“We had a dialog about some instruments we discovered on-line that may inform you if a job description is written with extra ‘masculine’ or ‘female’ phrases; a number of technical positions are written with extra masculine phrases,” Hong recalled. “I despatched it out, saying that it was an amazing device and that we must always all use it — and apparently, Rasheedah responded and stated: ‘I don’t take into consideration these as masculine or female issues, they’re simply issues individuals needs to be.’

“I’d thought that this may resonate with everybody, but it surely is determined by your management fashion, what you concentrate on as an individual and what your position is,” she continued. “I realized loads from that dialog.”

Rasheedah spoke extra about these differing views — together with the elemental factor they’ll all study from one another.

“I’m a Black lady, and I can meet one other Black lady and have two utterly totally different experiences,” she stated. “What’s necessary is being susceptible and sharing your journey — it offers individuals permission to be who they’re. When I began working, I assumed I had to meet a sure notion, and it took years of individuals speaking to me — colleagues, range teams, mates — to notice that I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to be such as you, I simply want to be trustworthy about who I’m.”

The want to study from one another’s experiences and be impressed to be their genuine selves is without doubt one of the major causes Hong sponsors Motorola Solutions’ chapter of the Society of Women Engineers. The chapter is very energetic, to the purpose the place Hong bought to be a speaker at certainly one of SWE’s annual conferences.


The Society of Women Engineers

The Society of Women Engineers is a nonprofit group that helps ladies in all ranges of engineering, together with a powerful collegiate presence. The group hosts knowledgeable improvement convention yearly that covers subjects from engineering to range to management expertise and navigating troublesome conditions. Motorola Solutions’ chapter is energetic at this convention — it despatched greater than 300 individuals final 12 months, and hosted a panel of Motorolans to talk about intersectionality.


Mehrsa’s attendance ultimately 12 months’s convention left a significant affect on her — each by way of who she met and what she realized.

“That’s the place I met Rasheedah and Sharon,” she stated. “It was my first time being at a networking occasion with that many ladies — and with that many ladies from our firm. I left SWE feeling motivated, impressed and recharged for months on finish. I had met so many highly effective ladies leaders and realized a lot simply by speaking to them — even by the non-public conversations.”

At that convention, Armaghan realized that essential, aforementioned lesson: It’s not simply allowed, however crucial to be your self.

“I used to be used to having a distinct exterior character as a result of I used to be round so many males on a regular basis,” Armaghan stated. “This is the primary time I spotted I may shed that and be myself — even gown and communicate how I wished. I began appearing extra myself within the workplace after seeing different ladies — together with Sharon and Rasheedah — do this, and seeing the place it’s gotten them. It’s a lot nicer and simpler to be your self, and also you see how receptive individuals are to it.”

I used to be used to having a distinct exterior character … I began appearing extra myself within the workplace after seeing different ladies do this, and seeing the place it’s gotten them.”


Through their connections and neighborhood with different ladies, Hong, Edwards and Mehrsa haven’t solely been given assist and steering at work, however permission to be susceptible and be themselves by seeing the vulnerability in others. For Edwards, that worth is at Motorola Solutions’ core.

“At Motorola Solutions, we wish to create an setting the place all people — engineers, provide chain managers, particular person contributors, challenge managers, VPs — could be their true selves. That’s my aim as a supervisor: Bring that out of my individuals, my peer managers, the those who handle me — everybody I come into contact with.” 

She added, “You are sufficient.”



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