Empowering Women in the Workplace

September 25, 2023

Paylocity's ERG, SHEroes, has widened my support network, educated me about the business, and prepared me for leadership opportunities.

By Vanesa Carmona Lewis Headshot

By: By Vanesa Carmona Lewis

Manager Corporate Citizenship

My identity is layered. I’m a woman. Mexican-American. Millennial. Wife. Mom. Daughter. Sister. Each requires time, space, and effort, with needs to be fulfilled and wants to be acknowledged. And while being a Latina has presented challenges, every day I make the choice to embrace my culture and lean into my Latinidad; I’m extremely proud of my identity.  

As a leader of others, I’m thoughtful when coaching and supporting the women on my team. If history has taught us anything, it’s that women – especially women of color – have had to work that much harder than others. We still face challenges today; women who identify as Hispanic or Latina only earn $.54 per every dollar than a non-Hispanic person could earn, designating them as one of the lowest paid of all women.   

About six years ago, I found my voice and passion for woman’s rights and equality. The United States was in turmoil, and it was then I realized how much my vote mattered. In fact, I remember while in the hospital for emergency surgery, I kept asking my husband (and nurse!) to find an absentee ballot for me. As medicated as I was, I knew this was an important election and I was determined to have my voice heard.  

After realizing my greater purpose and passion in uplifting and empowering women, I started volunteering in numerous marches, campaigns, and organizations in the Greater Milwaukee area. My focus was supporting minority women in all aspects of life, but most importantly, the work environment. That’s why when I joined Paylocity, the SHEroes Employee Resource Group (ERG) really piqued my interest. 

See, Paylocity makes sure that all employees have a voice, and one way they do this is through ERGs. We have OneWorld, PCTY Equality, PCTY Sustainability, PCTY Mental Health Champions, and SHERoes, which works towards building a community while driving positive change and empowerment in diversity and inclusion for women in the workplace. I knew I had to be involved! As a member of the SHEroes leadership team, I’ve helped to establish consistent programming that empowers women in the workplace, in addition to having created a space for members to network with one another. Much of our programming is centered around intersectionality and understanding how our different identities work together to create powerful women who have unique experiences and perspectives to share. 

SHEroes and the Events Committee has widened my support network, educated me about the business, and prepared me for leadership opportunities. But most importantly, I've built friendships with and have appreciation for the women throughout Paylocity – all with varying backgrounds, ethnicities, and experiences – and I can honestly say, these women are amazing! We get things done, even when it can feel overwhelming and exhausting. We continue to create a space that recognizes our own uniqueness, and through our many programs, we inspire social change!  

The women of SHEroes are dedicated to empowering other women and have worked on some transformative projects for Paylocity. We’ve raised money for Breast Cancer Awareness, advocated for improved Mother’s Rooms in all our brick-and-mortar buildings, and educated the women of Paylocity on how we can work together as a team. This year, we’re focused on how Growth Fuels Opportunity and how SHEroes can be there to support women in their personal and professional growth – I strongly believe that we can reach new heights together! 

As I continue to work towards my greater purpose and passion, I’m incredibly excited to have recently jumped into the co-leader role of SHEroes. My hope is that our ERG not only builds deeper, more meaningful connections with each other and additional staff here at Paylocity, but also remains a safe space to discuss our personal challenges, celebrate our accomplishments, and learn more about each other’s experience and backgrounds.  I’m excited to see what the new year brings and how our work in SHEroes intersects with the other ERG’s in promoting an inclusive work environment and fostering a sense of belonging. 

Adelante Juntos