3 min read

Solo but Strong: My Experience as the Only Woman in Kensium's Sales Team

Shena Louissaint As I began my journey with Kensium's sales team, I found myself navigating unfamiliar territory being the ONLY woman among a predominantly male group of colleagues. I couldn't help but feel a mix of anticipation and uncertainty switching from teams primarily composed of women to this new, fully remote environment. I prepared myself for the potential challenges that lay ahead.
 
My initial apprehensions proved to be unfounded. What unfolded defied all my expectations. Instead of encountering barriers or feeling isolated, I was met with unexpected camaraderie from my team. Their acceptance shattered any preconceived notions I held, turning what could have been a daunting experience into one filled with support and inclusion.

 

 

Breaking Bias, Embodying Inclusion, Empowering Women

 
In navigating the male-dominated landscape of SaaS sales, I must continually remind myself to be assertive and have confidence. My closest friends often highlight the unique perspective I bring as a woman, motivating me to inject fresh ideas into internal discussions and sales strategies. With this perspective in mind, my goal is to enrich my team's dynamics in ways previously unimagined.
 
Amidst the unwavering support, I've come to realize the importance of staying true to myself. Accepting support has become essential. The steadfast backing of my team ensures not only that my voice is heard but genuinely valued, with my contributions consistently acknowledged and celebrated!
 
The fear of being perceived as inadequate resonates deeply, stemming from past traumas and the unique challenges of being a first-generation American. Within me, there's an ingrained hesitancy, a reluctance to shine too brightly, fueled by a fear of being deemed excessive—an internal struggle shared by countless other women.
 
Witnessing my team's gentle encouragement to boost my confidence and vocal presence, particularly led by my direct supervisor, Ted Stenstrom, has been profoundly inspiring. Their guidance is affirmative, devoid of any need to dim my light. They encourage me to embrace my unique background and flair—a fusion of an Upstate New York upbringing intertwined with vibrant Caribbean heritage. This authenticity sets the stage for unparalleled interactions with senior executives and potential collaborators. 
 
As my time with Kensium approaches the 1-year mark this May 2024, I find my journey echoing the sentiments of Chimamanda Adichie, one of my favorite authors, who eloquently champions liberation from stifling gender expectations and advancing women altogether. Shedding these constraints not only paves the way for a life of authenticity and fulfillment but also aligns perfectly with my experiences as I navigate the dynamic landscape of the SaaS and IT industry.

 

 
Reflecting on this transformative journey, I've come to understand the profound power of embracing authenticity wholeheartedly. It goes beyond merely fitting into prescribed molds; rather, it entails boldly owning one's truth—an invaluable lesson underscored by Meghan Stabler, Senior Vice President of Marketing at BigCommerce, who recently shared on LinkedIn: “Authenticity means being true to your own personality, values, and spirit, regardless of the pressure that you're under to act otherwise.”
 
However, carving out our paths isn't enough; we must also pave the way for other women. That's why I'm deeply passionate about encouraging more women to enter the sales space, as well as targeting women-owned and women-led organizations as potential clients. By challenging the status quo, we inject fresh perspectives, ignite innovation, and foster inclusivity across industries.

 

 
While my experience as the sole woman on the Kensium sales team has largely been positive, it's not to be seen as a badge of honor. The ultimate goal is to no longer occupy this role as a singular space here. It's a pattern that necessitates transformation across similar companies—a commitment Kensium fervently upholds.
 
At the core of this evolution lies an interconnectedness among women, a bond that transcends boundaries. The Kensium Women's Network epitomizes this spirit, providing a nurturing environment for empowerment and collaboration! It serves as a space where diverse voices converge, weaving a narrative of resilience and strength.
 
As we journey forward, let's hold steadfast to the power of authenticity and unity. These are the foundational pillars upon which women can forge a brighter, more inclusive future. By embracing our true selves, celebrating our differences, and standing together in solidarity, we not only shape our destinies but also pave the way for the next generation of women to confidently enter male-dominated spaces, where being the only one is no longer the norm! Together, we create a powerful force for change and empowerment, ensuring that no woman walks alone in her journey toward success and fulfillment. 
 
I would like to dedicate this blog post to Annita Ruggier whose profound personal story of perseverance and transformation deeply inspired me when I first had the privilege of meeting her at this year's Acumatica Summit. Thank you, Annita, for sharing your story with me, which unfolded themes of unwavering courage and inspiration. Your journey serves as a reminder of the resilience and strength that lies within each of us, and your willingness to share your experiences has undoubtedly left a lasting impact! 
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