Updated: Jul 21
Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Katina Sawyer, Co-Founder @Workr Beeing
How could you describe your career path in few words?
I started my career as a graduate student, earning my PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and in Women's Studies from the Pennsylvania State University. From there, I began working in consulting but realized quickly I wanted to follow my passion for science and research in an academic setting. So, I became a professor in the Psychology department at Villanova University. After several years there, I decided that I wanted to enter into a business school setting for the next chapter of my career. I left to go to the George Washington University School of Business in the Department of Management, and recently started a new job as an Associate Professor of Management and Organizations in the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. My job is heavily research focused and I conduct most of my research on how to promote more diverse and inclusive work environments. I also teach a course on "Leading for Inclusion" for undergraduate students. Finally, I co-founded a company called Workr Beeing, with a friend of mine from graduate school (www.workrbeeing.com). Through our work, we focus on promoting the science of workplace wellness to create happier and healthier employees everywhere.
What was your most challenging experience and it has changed your mindset?
My most challenging experience is conducting research that is publishable in top-tier journals in our field. In order for our work to be published, we need to be answering pressing business questions with our research, while leveraging really rigorous methods. This is very time-consuming and competitive. Seeing the work that you have spent so much time and energy on in print is really exciting. Plus, we have been able to write articles for the Harvard Business Review, and other practitioner-oriented journals, as well. This helps to translate the science into the real world, which is challenging for academics to do. There aren't many avenues for scientists to communicate with the public effectively, so being able to contribute to the
scientific literature and seeing people actually use our research findings in their organizations is very rewarding.
Based on your experience, what’s the key success factor for a female leader / manager?
I think that being successful, as a female leader, can be tricky. There are still much greater numbers of male leaders than women leaders, which creates an expectation that men should be leaders and makes it harder for women to be seen as leaders. Further, there are still stereotypes about men and leaders that align - being tough, competitive, and individualistic. But, we know that leaders should possess a balance of these traits - they also need to be emotionally in tune with their team, collaborative, and a good team player. I think that a key factor for women who have been successful is that they have a champion who recognizes their talents and helps to open doors for them. If you really want to ensure talented women get ahead, think about how you can use your power to create more opportunities for the talented women in your workplace.