Singleton Beato knows a thing or two about hard work. She paid her way through undergrad and graduate school out of her own pocket all while having a full course load, a full-time executive level job, and a newborn child at home. But it wasn’t her multiple degrees or her career transition from the human resources world into the diversity and inclusion sector that had the most impact on career success. “The most pivotal moment for me was becoming a mom. I was well into my career and [it] gave me a sense of purpose and determination to do well at work so that my son would have the opportunities in life that I didn’t have.”
Read on to find out more about Singleton, also a member of the Adweek DEI Council, and her personal purpose behind pushing forward the global diversity and inclusion efforts at McCann Worldgroup, the critical role mentors have played in her journey, and the beauty of taking on challenges that scare you.
Tell us about what you are doing now.
I’m focused on pushing forward our global D&I strategy, which is designed to: (1) address bias behavior that negatively impacts diverse talent (2) make D&I accountability a formal part of our senior leadership agenda and (3) design interventions to embed Conscious Inclusion into our Talent and Business practices.
The social and cultural crisis, which has spanned the globe, served as a catalyst for us to analyze, refocus and reprioritize our efforts and tighten our focus to address the areas where our DEI challenges are most acute, region by region.
How did you get to where you are today?
Hard work and tenacity. As I look back on my career, it’s clear that each step in the journey challenged me to push myself as a professional and as a woman.
“The issue of raising a Black man in America is a very, very real one and I became driven to take on new challenges that would move [me] forward in my career and make a difference where I could.”
The most pivotal moment for me was becoming a mom. I was well into my career and [it] gave me a sense of purpose and determination to do well at work so that my son would have the opportunities in life that I didn’t have. The issue of raising a Black man in America is a very, very real one and I became driven to take on new challenges that would move [me] forward in my career and make a difference where I could.
I [also] have been incredibly fortunate to have several trusted advisors and informal mentors. These relationships have been fostered as a result of mutual trust and support that has been established over years. It’s important this be a two-way street. If any of these same people call on me for support, advice, or just a safe place to work through a challenge, they all know that I am 100% here for whatever they need.
What’s one way you’ve invested in yourself that’s had the most impact over the course of your career? What about within the past year?
I paid my way through undergrad and graduate school. Out of my own pocket. I had a full course load, a full-time executive level job and a newborn child at home.
In the past year, I have invested the time to expand my knowledge about the impact of COVID-19 on underrepresented communities around the world. I also invested time and resources to research and analyze the correlation between the societal/cultural/organizational impact of BLM in countries and cities all over the world, and the related shift this year in brand messaging and behavior. I’m interested in the reverberating effect that the convergence of the health and cultural crises may continue to have as we move into 2021 and beyond.
How do you view work-life integration, especially now, and what advice can you share with others who may be struggling with it?
I think it’s important to be very deliberate in using any tools available to you to normalize how the integration can work for you. I literally put EVERYTHING on my calendar. This helps with staying efficient with my time and it keeps you from feeling guilty about forgetting to do/get/buy/arrange something for or with your family!
Best advice on how to overcome typecasting in the workplace?
(1) Make sure that you are outstanding at the work you do.
(2) Share your unique perspective and POV any time you can do so.
If someone is typecasting you, just remember: It’s THEIR issue, not yours. Stay focused on what you have come to work to do and disregard anything that will make you self-conscious based on something that is not in your control.
What’s one tip you can share or something you’ve learned on how to handle salary negotiations or raises?
You should expect to be paid in a manner that reflects not only your resume and your stellar reputation, but also the value you bring to the organization. If that’s not happening, consider moving to a company that is ready to demonstrate (financially) the value they place on your contribution to the future success of their business, based on your previous accomplishments.
Who has helped you in your journey (any mentors?) and how did they help shape your career?
My first and most important mentor was my mother. She always gave me the best advice and she never hesitated to challenge me to face my fears head-on. I’ve had both mentors and sponsors play an integral role in helping me navigate some tough career challenges. They helped shape my career into what it has become through their encouraging words of wisdom and sometimes very hard-hitting reality check conversations that have kept me grounded and mindful of my role in my story.
What’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“If you are facing a tough challenge that scares you, and you’re not sure if you can do it…then take it on.”
If you are facing a tough challenge that scares you, and you’re not sure if you can do it…then take it on. The worst that can happen is that you’ll fail. And if that happens, you’ll have learned some invaluable lessons and gained some courage – both of which will serve you well in the future!