Tracy Yelencsics is director of global brand in corporate marketing and communications at Xerox, responsible for the worldwide management of the Xerox brand operation.
Q: Please share how your professional career began and how you ended up where you are today?
A: My professional career began at Xerox 25 years ago as a summer intern in electrical engineering. As soon as I graduated, I started with Xerox and held various product development positions while getting my MBA in the evenings. Once I had my MBA in marketing, I made the transition into marketing where I held various marketing roles including product marketing, channel marketing, and marketing communications. In December of 2011, I was asked to provide leadership for all aspects of our brand as we continue to transform our company and build brand advocacy across the firm.
Q: Can you name a leader for whom you have great respect and tell us why?
A: I have incredible respect for Ursula Burns for her ability to overcome obstacles, hard work, no-nonsense “get-it-done” attitude, decision-making, and unbelievable depth of knowledge on every area of our business.
Q: As a leader in your company, what is the best piece of advice you would offer to a new employee to help them succeed?
A: Think about what needs to get done and how it should be done to best benefit the business, then work hard to deliver it – while at the same time being open to suggestions to make it better by soliciting input and asking questions. Get it done, check it off, and move on to the next thing… And, don’t worry about recognition – when you deliver, it gets noticed.
Q: What would you say has been your driving force in your staying power in a male-dominated industry?
A: I started in a very male-dominated field, electrical engineering, where I was often the only woman and the youngest person at the table. What I found is that you can quickly earn the respect of most people if you confidently demonstrate that you thoroughly know your subject, ask questions and are willing to learn where you don’t know something. In addition, come up with strong ideas with sound implementation, plans that you’re willing to make better with others’ input, and then do whatever it takes to deliver the project or plan. It’s all about competence, collaboration, and delivery that allows you to build the relationships and respect you need to succeed.
Q: As a seasoned professional, how do you share your experience with your team on a daily basis?
A: I tend to share through stories. For example, if a situation comes up, I’ll often relay a story about a past experience that may be helpful in handling the situation. Sometimes, I find it to be more effective because then the team can use that experience to make their own informed decision rather than me just telling them what to do.
Q: What is the one thing you make time for in your daily life that helps keeps you refreshed and positive?
A: My daughter. She is always enthusiastic and has a fresh perspective, and when I volunteer at he school or do something fun with her, it re-energizes me.