The All-Women MarketSource Jacksonville Team Seeks to Lead Inclusively All Year Long
The MarketSource Jacksonville leadership team didn’t set out to be all women—it just happened that way. Why? Because when you’re intentional about potential, diversity just happens. How? By embodying MarketSource’s core values. The result? An environment where everyone has an equal opportunity to grow and thrive, and where loyalty to each other and a sense of community is palpable.
The Jacksonville team onboards field employees and provides them with payroll, HR, and administrative support throughout their employment with MarketSource. Essentially, they touch every field employee at some point.
The leadership team consists of:
- Ashley Kinney, Employee Support Manager
- Katelyn McQuaid, Payroll Supervisor
- Monique Reese, Employee Support Supervisor
- Cristal Seabrook-Delgado, Employee Support Supervisor
- Melissa Wiley, Director, Payroll & Employee Support
From associates to leaders, the Jacksonville team consists primarily of female employees. Melissa Wiley, director of payroll and employee support reflected, “We didn’t start out as a team of all female leaders, but as time went on, we observed people’s gifts and strengths and actively looked for opportunities to have conversations about whether leadership might be something they’d want to pursue. Then, we figured out how to help them get there.”
“At MarketSource, the things that I’ve been told historically were my weaknesses have become my superpowers.”
– Cristal Seabrook-Delgado, Employee Support Supervisor
Their focus on diversity extends beyond employee demographics to encouraging unique leadership styles. Yet everyone in leadership shares a common aim to create an environment that ensures people reach their potential. They do this by leading inclusively year-round, modeling a culture of openness and acceptance so everyone on the team feels comfortable communicating their needs and wants, and supporting people on both their good days and bad. They’re also intentional about seeking and being open to feedback, and they make space for courageous conversations between staff at any level.
“We’ll never all share the same opinions on every subject, but the culture we’ve built allows us to work through anything with care and respect. This includes helping people overcome obstacles to reach their goals, which may be outside MarketSource.”
– Monique Reese, Employee Support Manager
Core Values Drive an Inclusive Culture
The team has cultivated a culture that sees employees as people first and encourages team members to bring their best selves—their whole selves—to work. This begins with building trust and relationships with employees in the field and the office, which results in a better employee experience. It also leads to a lower turnover rate for the team, which is critical to helping MarketSource’s clients meet their goals.
“It’s our shared, personal commitment to the core values that’s our secret sauce,” said Ashley Kinney, Employee Support Manager. “That commitment has nothing to do with us being women; rather, our values bleed into our leadership styles. When you layer our core values on top of someone (regardless of their gender, if they’re earnest about leaning into them), and the other leaders share that commitment, you reap a strong, unified, consistent culture that honors its people and facilitates their growth.”
The team works hard to preserve the culture and ensure nothing undermines it, such as unconstructive or mismanaged conflict. Rather than letting it fester, in line with the MarketSource Team Rule, they encourage team members to address any conflicts that surface directly with the person they have an issue with.
Monique Reese, Employee Support Manager, said, “We’ll never all share the same opinions on every subject, but the culture we’ve built allows us to work through anything with care and respect. This includes helping people overcome obstacles to reach their goals, which may be outside MarketSource.”
Kate McQuaid, Payroll Supervisor, said, “All-female teams can get a bad rap. We’re hoping to buck that stereotype. We’ve learned the success of a team isn’t about the gender of the leadership—it’s about the core values we share and the culture we cultivate.”
Intentional about Potential and Diversity
The leadership team may not have achieved complete diversity from a gender perspective, but they see it as an ongoing goal, so it’s at the forefront of their hiring process. When recruiting for a position, they’re intentional about building a diverse applicant pool by inviting everyone to apply. They do this by casting the recruiting net widely, being mindful of and challenging their own biases in the vetting process, and interviewing all applicants. For example, Melissa encourages the team not to pass over someone with gaps in their resume or who lacks a degree or the exact experience but who could be a valuable contributor.
And they embrace the diversity in their existing team and are on the constant lookout for opportunities to lead inclusively. For example, when they found out one of their employees celebrated Chinese New Year, they decided to ALL celebrate the holiday, which they now do every year. This made the employee feel very included and showed the rest of the team that they are welcome to bring their differences to work.
Cristal Seabrook-Delgado, Employee Support Supervisor, said, “At MarketSource, the things that I’ve been told historically were my weaknesses have become my superpowers.” Read more of Cristal’s experience as a woman leader here.
They work to empower each other as much as they empower the field reps. They make time and space to acknowledge each person’s goals and celebrate each other’s personal and professional accomplishments. They achieve this by erring on the side of overcommunicating, even down to the smallest things. Kate is in school, for example, and when she passed a tough class, everyone cheered, “Kate passed her class!”
Leading Inclusively Year-Round
Being an all-woman team fosters empathy in the office. Melissa comments, “We embrace people for all that they are and the many roles they play in their lives, which drives people to strive to be the best in all their roles. For example, we make sure parents don’t feel guilty when they need to support their families. We do hold people accountable, and no one takes advantage of the flexibility we offer, but we have empathy for personal emergencies of any nature.” Read Melissa’s own story about this.
“We’re leaders first who happen to be women.”
– Cristal Seabrook-Delgado, Employee Support Supervisor
The team recognizes the fragility of the culture they’ve worked so hard to build. Monique says, “We didn’t get here by mistake as a team, but we’ll lose it if we don’t work to preserve it. The work is never done. It’s like an onion with layers. We hope everyone we encounter sees something in our team and culture that they can take back to their life or work that makes it better.”
Visitors always talk about the energy in the office, and many people have told the team they don’t want to leave. Once people experience it, they want to bottle it.
Melissa reflects, “It’s wonderful when we see our crew’s enthusiasm for the culture come out. They get excited to bring others on board, and that genuine enthusiasm is infectious.”