7‑Eleven’s Amy Lynn Volpp, Senior Director of Integrations, Shares Her Perspective on Women’s History Month

As a leader on 7‑Eleven’s finance team, I have the privilege of working with an extremely diverse group of teams across the company. I love my role and marvel at the wonderful differences of our people and our ability to come together to serve customers. To be successful as a leader, it’s essential to nurture an environment where everyone’s voice is heard and those around you are comfortable bringing different perspectives and ideas to the table.

And although it took me some time to realize this, it starts with me.

Bringing my full, authentic self to work seems so natural that it’s almost hard to fathom being any other way. But like so many other women who started their professional careers in male-dominated fields, the oil and gas industry in my case, I thought I had to blend in and be “one of the guys” to be successful. I worked hard to maintain a façade of constant stoicism and showed little to no emotion when communicating with my teams. I dressed to fit in with the culture, assuming the role of a person I almost didn’t recognize.

The problem, as I eventually discovered, is that pretending to be someone else isn’t very much fun. Even worse, it doesn’t help you grow into the kind of leader that people genuinely admire, respect and trust—the kind of leader I knew I wanted to be deep down. And so, growing tired of putting up an act, one day I decided I would bring my full self and expressive personality to work.

I started leading from both the mind and the heart. Never one to shy away from speaking up for my team or for what I felt was right, I found a voice: my voice. I committed to sharing what I truly had to offer versus trying so hard to blend in.

To my surprise, that single decision did more to positively impact my career than just about any other professional decision I’ve made. In addition to working hard and serving others, I found that leading from the heart is who I am as a person. And people continued to respect and value my opinion even when it differed from theirs.

Fast forward to today, with Women’s History Month top of mind, and I can’t help but reflect on those courageous women who came before me and laid the groundwork to create a more equitable society and workforce. The women who made it possible for me to be my true self at work. We should never take those pioneers for granted, remembering what they sacrificed and how they spoke up for future generations.

In their honor, let’s not forget that we can do anything we put our minds to. Let’s continue to use our voices to bring people and cultures together, and to recognize and respect our differences—knowing they only make us stronger. After all, everybody has a voice. Sometimes, you just have to let yourself find it.

“Let's continue to use our voices to bring people and cultures together, and to recognize and respect our differences—knowing they only make us stronger.”