In honor of International Women’s Day, we are highlighting Michelle Cadena, Regional Sales Director at NextGen. Michelle has been in the telecom industry for years and a tremendous force at NextGen, read below to learn more about her powerful influence in the industry.
Q: You have three children; how do you manage a healthy work-life balance?
Michelle: It is hard! But I am lucky to have such a supportive husband. He knows I am Type A and accepts all my quirkiness. I am also close to my parents which is very helpful because they try to help as much as they can. I am also a part of a wonderful neighborhood community because it really does take a village. From carpools to other moms helping with hair for cheer events and more, it comes down to women supporting and helping one another. We understand each other, and I am incredibly grateful to live in this community.
Q: For women first starting in the telecom industry, what advice do you have for them?
Michelle: It’s a lot of work so be prepared and willing to do it. The industry is competitive, but the reward at the end is so worth it. The key is to be dedicated and make yourself available. We work with people. Making sure they feel valued, heard, and connected plays a significant role in your success. We are all part of NextGen, but we also are responsible for developing our personal brand so that people recommend us and want to work with us. If you go the extra mile, your reward is entirely worthwhile.
Q: What barriers have you faced, as a woman, with becoming successful in your field?
Michelle: We work in a very male-driven environment, and it can sometimes be intimidating. For example, I sponsored a Pacific Northwest dinner this week, and it was 14 men and myself. There will be many times you are the only woman in the room. The key is to hold your head high, be confident, and know your self-worth. More times than not, meetings with senior-level executives are typically male-dominated. All you can do is acknowledge it and know they are not any different than you.
Q: Who is the most influential person in your life?
Michelle: My mom. When I was young, she kept me on a straight and narrow course and cracked the whip! We clashed a lot back then. I didn’t really get or appreciate it until later in life when I had kids myself, and I view her so differently now. She is currently on her second bout with breast cancer and never gives up! She is always cheering on my brother and me. She was a Mexican immigrant who came to America when she was seven years old and didn’t speak any English. She didn’t let that stop her, she wanted the American Dream, and she got it. My mom is the best role model and a huge female influence in my life.