C-suite career advice: Eva Majercsik, Genesys – IDG Connect

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Name: Eva Majercsik
Company: Genesys
Job Title: Chief People Officer
Location: Bellevue, Washington
Eva Majercsik is Chief People Officer at Genesys, a global cloud leader in customer experience orchestration that provides technology solutions for organisations in over 100 countries. In her role, Majercsik leads all global programs designed to support and enhance the people experience at Genesys. She oversees People Strategy across the company, which include initiatives related to organisational and leadership, culture, engagement, talent and development, total rewards, and talent acquisition. Majercsik brings more than 30 years of professional experience in human resources, services, and sales, and is a firm believer that diverse and inclusive teams are fundamental drivers of innovation. Majercsik is a former board member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the nation’s largest organisation dedicated to fostering Hispanic leadership in STEM.
What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received? Don’t be shy about sharing your career aspirations. Be bold and be open so that people can help you navigate your way to achieving your goals. Be intentional in identifying mentors, coaches and sponsors to help you along your professional journey.
What was the worst piece of business advice that you received? I once heard someone suggest that you shouldn’t speak up in a meeting if your boss is there. This is terrible advice! You always have a voice – use it.
What advice would you give to someone starting their career in IT/tech? Ask questions, ask questions, ask questions. The beginning of your career is a great time to explore and take controlled risks. All too often I see employees early in career – whether you are a recent graduate or whether you are starting a brand-new career – feeling that they need to have all the answers. Nothing is further from the truth. By asking questions, you express interest, curiosity and it is the best way to learn.
Did you always want to work in IT/tech? No. When I was young, I wanted to be a scientist in biochemistry, or life sciences. But I ended up studying industrial engineering in college, which led me to my first job at Occidental Petroleum, although not yet in engineering.
What was your first job in IT/tech? I started my IT career in application development, which led to professional services, and later to HR. 
What are some common misconceptions about working in IT/tech? That you must be an engineer or a math major! That is exceptionally far from the truth. You can be a business major or an art major – anything – and work in the technology field. In fact, one of the best IT sales reps I ever met was a marine biologist, an expert on dolphins. There is no reason not to pursue a career in technology if you are passionate about it and willing to learn. 
What tips would you give to someone aiming for a C-level position? Your network is what will help you the most. It’s important to invest time and effort in building your network throughout your career. Mentors and sponsors are a foundational part of your network as you develop in your career, including when you’re ready to move into the C-suite. A mentor is someone you can speak with privately about your journey, challenges, and aspirations. A sponsor is someone who will speak up for you when you’re not in the room and help make opportunities available.
Mentors and sponsors are usually more advanced in their career than you, but don’t dismiss colleagues with whom you work side-by-side either. The broader and deeper your network, the stronger your career development can be.
What are your career ambitions, and have you reached them yet? Everyone, including myself, can always continue growing and developing in their career! These days I’m focused on my development to increase my involvement with Boards and expanding my role in the industry. There is also something to be said about enjoying what you do, in the moment so don’t forget to celebrate the today as you plan for tomorrow. 
What, if anything, would you change about the route your career path has taken? When I first transitioned into the HR field, I felt like I knew absolutely nothing about HR. I was embarrassed if I didn’t know the answer to a question or problem. Looking back, I realise I shouldn’t have been embarrassed. I brought valuable business knowledge to the role, and I learned the rest along the way. You can anchor yourself in what you do know – and embrace learning along the way as you gain experience.
What are the most common mistakes made by candidates in an interview? How can those mistakes be avoided? One of the most common mistakes candidates make is not doing their homework before the interview. You should come prepared. Learn about the role and the company so you can demonstrate curiosity and enthusiasm. Make it clear why you want to work at the organisation. Be knowledgeable and come prepared with questions that will help you learn more.  
Do you have a good work life balance in your current role? I try to practice what I preach when it comes to work-life balance and prioritising what matters. I’m not always perfect at it, but I want to lead by example by disconnecting from work when I take time off. That also gives my team stretch opportunities to handle things while I’m away – while demonstrating that we all deserve time away to focus on family, well-being, and our personal lives. I have earned that it is important to give yourself some “me” time throughout the day. As an example, I do my workout first thing in the morning – that is the only way I can guarantee I get it in. I have breakfast while watching morning news, and whenever I can, I have lunch without doing email or being on a call. Those are my moments of “me” time each day.
What, if anything, would you change about the route your career path has taken? When I first transitioned into the HR field, I felt like I knew absolutely nothing about HR. I was embarrassed if I didn’t know the answer to a question or problem. Looking back, I realise I shouldn’t have been embarrassed. I brought valuable business knowledge to the role, and I learned the rest along the way. You can anchor yourself in what you do know – and embrace learning along the way as you gain experience.
Which would you recommend: A coding bootcamp or a computer science degree? It depends on your career goals! Either one can be valuable. What’s most important is using education and opportunities like these to grow and apply what you learn. A degree or class is one of many stepping stones in your development. How you use that and what experiences you have along your career are what will enrich that base.
How important are specific certifications? It depends on your career and your career aspirations. For many roles that require continued learning, earning specific certificates provides employees with the opportunity to advance their skillsets and proof of their accomplishments.  With that said, actual experiences are as valuable, or even more valuable, once you are in the workforce.
What are the three skills or abilities you look for in prospective candidates? No matter what role or level I’m hiring for, I always look for a growth mindset, passion for learning, and empathy. Yes, you may be looking for some specific skills and experience, but positive energy and potential are huge differentiators.
What would put you off a candidate? As leaders we should keep an open mind when we interview candidates, and probe when an answer does not seem to fit expectations. With that said, I always look for energy around the role and the company. If a candidate does not seem excited or passionate about the role, I am extra careful in considering whether it’s the right fit for both parties.
What are the most common mistakes made by candidates in an interview? How can those mistakes be avoided? One of the most common mistakes candidates make is not doing their homework before the interview. You should come prepared. Learn about the role and the company so you can demonstrate curiosity and enthusiasm. Make it clear why you want to work at the organisation. Be knowledgeable and come prepared with questions that will help you learn more.
Do you think it is better to have technical or business skills – or a mix of both? It really depends on the role. Often as you gain career experience, your technical skills will naturally broaden and deepen. But it’s also important to develop business expertise, especially as you take on roles with increased responsibility and broader impact at an organisation, because they will help you understand your customer and the “why” you do things. This skill combination becomes more important as you progress in your career.
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