Patrice Carroll

It’s been a tough two years for Iowans. Of course, there was the pandemic, but Carroll also had to help her employees and communities recover from the impacts of the destructive derecho that hit Des Moines in August 2020. Thanks to her support and the family-like culture at ImOn, the company emerged with more strength and morale than ever before. She encourages anyone looking to hop back into the industry to sell themselves as a fast learner and recognize where there will be learning curves. “Start with the perspective that you are starting over from the beginning, BUT knowing that you will move faster than you did the first time around,” she says.

What’s one way your company has broadened the recruiting process to ensure greater diversity?
ImOn has created a culture of acceptance in our workplace. As a result, we have always attracted a diverse workforce. In addition, ImOn works with partner agencies in our community to place disadvantaged individuals. We work with Willis Dady Homeless Service, Urban Dreams, and the Four Oaks Internship program.

Best advice for someone looking to re-enter the workforce after a hiatus?
One of the beautiful things about being a woman in the 21st century is that we have choices that our mothers did not have. However, there are consequences to the decisions that we make. The cable/telecommunications industry does not stand still, and when we take hiatus, we come back behind, maybe even outdated. My advice to someone re-entering the workforce:

  • Leave your ego at home. Be honest with yourself about being behind your colleagues that did not take a hiatus. We all make choices, own your choice, and respect theirs.
  • Start with the perspective that you are starting over from the beginning, but knowing that you will move faster than you did the first time around. Sell yourself as a fast learner.
  • The experience you gained raising children or taking care of a parent will not be valued on paper. But the perspective you have achieved and the maturity you have developed will be invaluable as you demonstrate your worth each day.
  • My dad told me that the best way to be noticed was to excel at whatever job I was given, no matter how lowly it seemed. If it was sweeping floors, be the best floor sweeper anyone had ever seen. This advice has served me well every time I have started over.

Do you have an example of male allyship that made a difference to you?
I have been fortunate to have had several male mentors and a couple of female mentors. They each brought different perspectives and taught me different skills. Most of them I liked. One of them I disliked intensely, but as I look back, he did the most to develop my self-confidence and leadership skills. I learn from everyone, even if I don’t like them.

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