Brown said four main points guide her leadership style: Agility, self-awareness, empathy, and accountability. She learned agility as part of her move to the U.S. and tapped into self-awareness as her bigger jobs meant fewer people would tell her what she needed to hear. Empathy as a leader was a less-direct path.
“What happens in people’s personal lives does impact their work, so as leaders we have to take that into consideration,” Brown said. “Having empathy and learning about your co-workers on a personal level lets you lean into their strengths and what they’re passionate about.”
As for accountability, “I hold myself accountable for the things that I'm responsible for, and for my team, it's very important for us to be relied upon to deliver on our commitments,” she said.
Making it Work
Agility and empathy were essential when Brown joined Abbott amidst a pandemic.
“I had to meet people virtually and make connections quickly,” Brown said. “The teams came together in such a powerful way. Our focus was being able to provide testing to long-term care facilities so they could bring their employees back to work safely.”
“Knowing their work was helping to protect the most vulnerable in society united the lab team and gave them a deep sense of purpose,” Brown said.
“I think that made everyone really jell. We all put in a lot of long, grueling hours to get the things we had to do across the line. I saw the organization come together and it fast-tracked my assimilation with the team.”
Brown connects with individuals on her team, and she looks forward to serving as a mentor at Abbott.
“Connecting on a one-on-one basis isn’t just to follow up on day-to-day operations but to understand where they want to go and help them see what I see in them,” she said.
Just as she knew success was the only option when she left Guyana, Brown knew when she joined Abbott’s lab operations that success was the only option. Her technical know-how, managerial aptitude and focus on lab process improvements not only earned her the Women of Color STEM Award, but also helped make the Abbott lab team better able to handle the demands of the pandemic and beyond.