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Community Member Spotlight: Meet Jennifer Ollie, Senior Project Manager at Chicago Public Schools

What attracted you to the I Choose the Ladder Community?

I truly believe the I Choose the Ladder Community is a safe space for Black women to network, thrive and discuss issues that may impact us in the workplace.

What impact has being part of the I Choose the Ladder community had on you personally?

I believe learning more about the stories from other Black professional women and how they’ve progressed in their respective careers has been truly insightful and inspiring through ICTL. Whenever I have those low moments, I’m able to replay and listen to some of the previous podcast interviews and “recharge” my batteries; they’re just so special.

What does inclusion mean to you?

To me, inclusion means that regardless of race or gender there is a practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized.

What impact has being part of the I Choose the Ladder community had on professionally?

I received a professional development coach who has dedicated time to review my resume, goal set and provide action items to take within my current role to achieve success.

What’s something about the work that you do that gives you pride?

I believe within my current role as Senior Project Manager on the Curriculum Equitable Initiative at CPS has provided thousands of students and teachers across the district with access to high quality curriculum that is representative of their demographics and available at their fingertips. During this global pandemic, I believe it is significantly important to have access to educational resources for K-12 education. For Chicago, the CEI Initiative has never been done before until now.

What are some things that you enjoy doing when you are not working?

In my spare time, I love writing professional biographies that tells an intimate story of a person through a different lens. I take pride in knowing that my work has the possibility of being read on a main stage and will leave a lasting impression on anyone.

What’s one way that you would like to be celebrated at work?

I would like to be revered as a person who tries to maintain positive vibes in the workplace. I learned early on in my career that intentionality, mindset and relationship management are three things necessary for a thriving work environment. If it were ever a “thing,” I would like to receive a Positive Peer award. (smiles)

In the next three years, what is one thing you would like to see happen in your career?

Progression. I have aspirations of becoming a Senior Director or Vice President of Operations for an organization or division.

On a more personal note, I plan to write a few short novels within the next three years.

If you could share one piece of career advice that you have learned from the I Choose the Ladder that you would share with other Black women, what would it be?

It is critical for Black women to stay together; share your stories, your wins and losses. More importantly, be available to assist another Black woman on the corporate climb.

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