Helping a Game-Changing Company Shake Things Up with Passion and Leadership
We are thrilled to announce that Nekasha Pratt, an award-winning marketer and leadership expert, is joining the Workzinga Advisory Board. She has won over 25 awards, including national Webby, Clios, Effies, and Addy creative awards and four international Cannes Lions awards. Nekasha was named a national 2019 BizWomen Economic Development Headliner, awarded the 2019 Nashville Women of Influence award, and selected as a 2021 Content Marketer of the Year, among other awards. Additionally, she has an amazing TEDx Talk on personal empowerment, and as an international speaker, has spoken for organizations such as the International Black Film Festival, Dollywood, US Travel, and many more
Nekasha has several notable accomplishments, but there are two she is most proud of. In 2018, she joined the US Civil Rights Trail as a review committee member and state delegate. This trail was the first time where state tourism boards across the country came together to tell their Civil Rights stories. She served in that capacity for over three years, ensuring the stories were told, and told correctly, before exiting the role as a trail board member
She also has gained invaluable insight into overall business operations as a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). Going through the training,certification, and ongoing education for this recognition has given Nekasha a holistic business perspective into how she approaches leadership – she looks at the entire organization from HR, to contracts, strategic partnerships, and even to supply chain. She says this certification opened her eyes greatly and is instrumental to managing beyond marketing.
Philosophies to Live By
Nekasha has been a leader since she was 20 years old, managing various team sizes, in a variety of industries, giving her great experience and insight into helping others succeed. She believes that you should “lead people where they are” and to take an individual, situational leadership approach. “Each member of your team has their own unique skill set and goals and desires so as a leader you need to know those things in order to best lead and develop them.”
The foundation of Nekasha’s success and leadership is built on pursuing what she is passionate about.“ I have to be passionate about what I do and I need to follow those passions. I encourage others to do the same.”
Nekasha‘s mantra is, “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your heart on fire.” I am my best self when I do what I love and that makes me a better leader.
Shaking it Up
We are ready to really start shaking things up with the Workzinga hiring tools and Nekasha is a natural fit to help us shake up, and wake up, the industry.
“I’m excited about disruptors; excited about companies who are willing to try new things and not just sticking with things because that’s the way it’s always been done.”
When it comes to team development and employee satisfaction, Nekasha sees three big trends.
“Empathy is vital.” In order to have empathy, she says you have to be close to your team and know them well enough to know their needs. That you must be people-centered. “When people feel seen, feel understood, it helps to keep your team intact.” She believes empathy leads to giving your team a sense of purpose and that they feel valued and heard..
Another trend she sees is individualized management. This involves working with those who report directly to you once a week, and that you must tailor those meetings to fit the personality and needs of each person.
She believes that at least 30% of the time should be focused on how the person is doing and other person-focused things. This builds rapport and lets employees know that these meetings are more than just checking off a list, but rather that you truly care, especially when many of us are operating in a remote or hybrid work environment.
“Check in on their goals (both personal and professional). Encourage them to keep a brag sheet of their accomplishments and periodically ask how they feel about the work they’ve done.”
A third trend she sees happening in the industry right now is in team member recognition. Look for opportunities to bring a team member into the spotlight. “See who you can lift up around you. Recommend someone on your team to fill in for you in a meeting or speak during a conference instead.” Consider the people behind the scenes who don’t normally get the spotlight and mention them. The more you can lift others up, the more you build a strong future foundation for your team and organization.
Women in the Workforce
Nekasha is an advocate for women in the workforce, but also for equal representation and understanding of women in the workforce. She sees a need for racial equality in the workforce. “Women of color need to be a bigger focus within the overall “women in the workplace” conversation. Much of the movement we’re seeing is improvement for women in general but to see if real change is being made, the conversation needs to include racial diversity.” We couldn’t agree with her more that racial equality needs to be a bigger part of the conversation and that the data needs to go deeper than just focusing on gender parity.
Nekasha has some sage advice for new grads and emerging professionals. She believes that you should find a mentor and a sponsor, and notes that they are two different things and you should understand that difference. “I wish someone would have talked to me about the importance of having each of these earlier in my career.”
She also advises younger professionals to join membership groups and associations. “Networking is so important to your professional success.” Her tip is to not limit yourself to industry-specific associations, but to also join general ones as well for more opportunities to network.
We’re thrilled to learn and grow with the support of Nekasha on the Workzinga Board!