Videllia, an Audit Manager in Dallas, Texas
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Hi VIDELLIA! Can you tell us more about your background and professional experience?
My name is Videllia and I am a Certified Public Accountant. I attended the University of Texas at Austin where I received my Bachelor’s in Business Administration and my Master’s in Professional Accounting in 2011. I have been serving corporate clients for over six years now, ensuring their financial information is consistent with accounting standards. In my free time, I also enjoy blogging and am currently on my own entrepreneurship journey in that field.
How would you explain your job title to a child?
If I give you a piggy bank and tell you it has $20 in it, would you believe me or would you want to make sure? Well what I do is I go in and make sure that what companies tell everyone they have in their piggy banks is actually true.
What were important steps you had to take in order to be at your current position?
I had to go through both an internship experience and take a four-part exam post-graduation that was probably the hardest exam of my life. It required extensive hours of studying and I had to take it several times. Upon successful completion, every year since I also have to take so many continuing education classes in order to keep my certification up-to-date.
Diversity is a concept that is open to interpretation. What does it mean to you?
To me, diversity is anything that is different from the norm. I believe many people take diversity to only include the color of your skin or your sexual preference or whether you’re a man or woman and it goes beyond that. For example, before natural hair became this new big thing, we had people like Tracie Ellis Ross who had been natural for years. Her hair was diverse from many other black women at this time because it wasn’t the norm. Does that make sense? I don’t want people to put diversity into a one-size fit all box because to me diversity can mean so much more.
Do you know the percentage of black women working in your field, if so how much?
I don’t know the specifics at my company but if you Google black women working in accounting fields, I’m sure that you will see the numbers as quite low. First all, women are a minority in my industry and being a black woman only adds to that minority. In other words, we are a minority of a minority or a small fraction of everyone in the accounting field. With that being said, I only know maybe 10 black women in my company who are in my same field.
What challenges have you experienced in the workplace?
There have been so many, where should I start? I actually wrote a blog post about being a black woman in corporate America that I will link here so that you can leverage should you want additional information. For now, I’ll list a few challenges I’ve experienced:
My looks play more into my role than some of my non-African American counterparts – I am a naturalista and I love it! However, it has presented challenges on my job with many of my superiors telling me that they prefer my hair straight or that I look more professional when I wear my hair straight or in a bun. While they have not criticized my natural hair when I wore it out in its full kinky, curly nature, the fact that I only received compliments when I straightened it, added weave or put it in a bun was a key indicator of just how accepting those are in my company.
Women are so objectified in society that it comes as no surprise that our looks play a huge role in our professional appearance by others. But with black women, sometimes, this can be more challenging. And to be honest, these comments greatly affected my confidence in the workplace. I had become insecure about rocking my natural hair for fear of not looking as professional as others. It took me a short while to regain my confidence and to get others to be more accepting of my hair. Although I still get comments from time to time, I am now known as the girl in the office who changes her hair constantly and people actually look forward to seeing what styles I come up with next.
The stereotype of black woman precedes me – In society, women as a whole are considered to be more emotional creatures. But being black on top of that? It’s like a double-edged sword. Black women are often denoted in society as, well, let’s face it, “crazy.” Inside and outside of our race, we are stereotyped as being loud, boisterous, “ghetto,” etc. So it’s no surprise that corporate America (sometimes) views us by the same token.
I remember a time when I got upset with some last-minute instructions that my boss gave me a half hour before I was scheduled to leave. Instead of verbally expressing my anger, I got silent as I tried to calm myself down so as NOT to have an attitude with her. Nonetheless, my boss told me that I had a bad attitude. However, that same boss went around, cursing about her superior (a partner) after the partner made her mad. Yet she didn’t think she had an attitude? And that’s actually very common.
What advice would you give someone trying to pursue your CAREER or any related career?
The best advice I could give someone is know your professional worth. No one will ever fight for your career as hard as you would and it is very easy to get lost in the politics of one’s company. Consider building a professional brand resume – a PowerPoint of all of the things that you have done in your career and at your company and present that to your superiors when it comes time for raises/promotions. Just like you had to create a resume to land your job, you are still going to have to always ensure you are promoting yourself so that others are aware of your talents. It’s all about your professional image and brand awareness.
Videllia is a Certified Public Accountant in Dallas, Texas. She attended the University of Texas at Austin where she received her Bachelor’s in Business Administration and her Master’s in Professional Accounting. She is the founder and creator of her lifestyle blog. She challenges women to be whole in themselves, comfortable in their perfect imperfections and unashamed of being who they were created to be!