#WomensHistoryMonth at Cox Enterprises: Get to Know Juliette Pryor
In celebration of Women's History Month, female leaders from across Cox Enterprises are sharing insights from their experience throughout the month of March. Juliette Pryor is Cox Enterprises’ senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary.
What women inspire you and why?
I generally admire people who are not afraid to speak up and look for ways to draw others in. I admire people who will take a chance on others regardless of whether they will get something in return. I believe we can be our own heroes and can find heroic qualities in many people.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
I think it is perhaps the notion that special or different accommodations are needed for women as leaders. My formula for creating environments where people can advance - regardless of gender, ethnicity or any other characteristic - is to ensure that we are casting a wide net when seeking new talent. We need to be clear on what skills are truly needed for the role and ensure that we look at people as individuals. This is, of course, easier said than done because as humans we all have our own biases. The trick is to know your biases and work to keep them in check. I also believe that leaders must develop styles and approaches that are genuine. As leaders, we can and should model for our teams that there are many leadership styles. We can only do this if we in fact show up as the authentic leaders that we are and not as imitations of how others lead.
What will be the biggest challenge and opportunity for the generation of women behind you?
I think the limit of our opportunities is our willingness to dream big and pursue our true ambitions. Others will always have their view about what we can do; the challenge is to not be limited by someone else’s definition of your ability or aspirations.
It is my hope that women in the generation behind me find less and less places where they need to be a trail blazer, the first, the only. And, it is my hope that men and women will be able to make career choices not based upon any preconceived notions of their roles at work or at home.
What are the best and worst decisions you've ever made?
The best and worst decision I ever made was to ask my family to relocate from Washington, DC, to Chicago, IL, when my children were 11 and 15 and my husband worked on Capitol Hill. It was a career opportunity that I had long been preparing for, and it came years earlier and 1,000 miles farther than I had planned. It was the best decision because it helped our whole family rethink what was most important and what defined us as a family unit. We all learned about new environments, making friends and being more independent. It was the worst because it was simply hard, and a hard time that we chose to inflict upon ourselves. It would have been easier to turn down the opportunity and stay in our comfort zone. But, in the end, we all learned important lessons about taking risks and being courageous.
What is your perspective on work/life balance?
It’s a question that is more often asked of women than men and that bothers me. The truth is that life is hard and there is always a juggle—regardless of gender. However, because of perceived traditional gender-based responsibilities, women are more typically asked this question. I personally don’t try for balance, instead I am looking to harmonize the various aspects of my life. There are times when you need to give more at home, and other times when you need to give more at work. And of course, those rare times in life when you need to give more on both fronts. I find that this challenge to harmonize our personal and professional lives is one that we all face, regardless of gender, marital status or where we are along our career path.
I bring my full self to work (that includes being open about times when a kid is applying to college, or a new little one is expected or a parent needs greater attention), and, at the same time, I share my work life with my family. I find this enables harmony. And, as a leader, I have learned that when we invite employees to bring their full selves to their jobs, we get more engagement, innovative ideas and camaraderie.
About Cox Enterprises
Cox Enterprises is a leading communications, media and automotive services company. With revenues exceeding $20 billion and approximately 60,000 employees, the company's major operating subsidiaries include Cox Communications (cable television distribution, high-speed Internet access, telephone, home security and automation, commercial telecommunications and advertising solutions); Cox Automotive (automotive-related auctions, financial services, media and software solutions); and Cox Media Group (television and radio stations, digital media, newspapers and advertising sales rep firms).
The company's major national brands include Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book and Manheim. Through Cox Automotive, the company's international operations stretch across Asia, Australia, Europe and Latin America. To learn more about Cox's commitment to people, sustainability and our communities, please visit CoxCSRReport.com.