Growing up, Nikkia Reveillac moved in a lot of culturally diverse environments. As a native of Trinidad and Tobago, she recalled one of her biggest adjustments in the United States was to the casual “Hi, how are you?” greeting strangers and friends alike would toss her way.
She quickly learned they weren’t really inviting a conversation about her well-being.
Reveillac’s candid introduction to her cultural upbringing and early experience moving in multicultural groups served as the introduction to WashU Olin’s new presentation series, Diversity Perspectives, on February 11. The director of consumer insights for Netflix gave a lively 40-minute overview of her philosophy before opening the event to questions. Her biggest message focused on the power of curiosity.
“The one thing I want to leave with you is we have the power to hold ourselves to a higher bar. That bar is curiosity,” she told viewers. When we introduce ourselves to each other, when we become responsible for the careers of others, when we consider how we allocate opportunities—how is curiosity playing a role in helping us learn about other people? “It’s almost like our brains are inherently lazy. The quality of my life has been enriched to no end by my ability to raise the bar of curiosity.”
Reveillac urged viewers to consider five qualities to develop “alongside being technically amazing and prepared for work.” With so much of a leader’s job focused on managing the three P’s—people, personalities and politics—”these are really important to work on alongside all your other tasks.”
- Self awareness. Who is in front of me? Bring awareness of myself into the conversation.
- Empathy. “It’s this ability to put yourself into someone else’s shoes. This is easier said than done.” Consider adopting an ego-less and self-less approach to life.
- Humility. A recognition that you may be exceptional in one area but you can always get better and others around you may have the same skills. Example: Netflix’s culture memo says, “Netflix does not tolerate brilliant jerks.”
- A growth mindset. Every quality builds on the previous one. Once you have awareness about where you need to improve and where you’re not great, it’s helpful to be open to working on it. For your benefit and the benefit of the team. You’re open to other points of view, different mindsets.
- Relationship building. Establish a sense of trust and credibility.
“I want you to start thinking on Monday how you can make some shifts.”