Empowered — RV’s Employee Resource Group (ERG) for women — strives to foster a community that inspires, supports, empowers, and educates women and allies of all gender identities. And one of our favorite ways to inspire and empower our community is simply by sharing the wisdom of the amazing RV women we get to work with every day.
On this month’s Empowered leaders feature, we hear from April Gibson-Fulton, Senior Director of Engineering on RV’s Financial Services team. Check out her conversation with Empowered co-chair Victoria Lurie below.
Victoria Lurie: What led you to the position you have today (both how you got into STEM and what put you on the path to senior director)?
I have always loved working with technology. In college I majored in computer information systems. I loved how companies were using technology to solve business problems. I started out as a software engineer, but as my career progressed I really enjoyed collaborating with my business partners. I enjoyed representing my team to non-technical stakeholders. I developed a passion for mentoring and coaching.
One of my former leaders/mentors saw these characteristics in me and talked to me about moving toward the leadership path. During my master’s program, I gained an understanding of how critical technical leadership is to the success of many projects.
VL: In addition to your role at RV, what are you balancing right now (parenthood, caretaking, hobbies, side-hustle, other jobs, etc.)?
I am the proud mother of an amazing 12-year-old daughter, and [I’m] a loving wife. Family is such an important part of my life. I also coach my daughter’s AAU travel basketball team.
Being able to share my knowledge and experience with the next generation of young ladies is such a rewarding experience. I am also a member of a few committees at my daughter’s school.
VL: STEM underserves women and BIPOC students. Did you face imposter syndrome during your come-up, and if so how did you combat that?
Throughout my career I have often been the only female and African American in certain meetings. Early on in my career, I would often feel intimidated and I would remain silent in those meetings. However, as I have matured and worked with some professional coaches/mentors, I see it as an enormous opportunity that others just starting their careers can see me as an example.
I realize that I bring a unique perspective to many conversations, and that my contributions are valuable to the organization. There are still times when I feel a little uncomfortable, but I have developed a network of allies at Red Ventures, and that has been invaluable.
VL: Gonna take a wild guess and presume you remember the first time 90’s trends came around. Which trend from back then should’ve stayed back there, and which are you happy to see/waiting to see return?
This one is too funny. My sister and I were just looking at some old pictures while I was home in Georgia over the Christmas break. Let’s just say there are many hairstyles that really should stay in the 90s. That Pump It hairspray had our hair frozen in place. LOL!!
Because I am still a sneakerhead, I am here for all of the Retro Jordans coming back! Now, if I can just figure out how to get to the front of the virtual Nike app line to get the shoes when they drop. . .
VL: Being empowered in the workplace means…
Being Empowered in the workplace means that you have the opportunities and support to make decisions. It also means having a leadership team that believes in you and that helps you find professional opportunities so that you can not only survive but thrive.
VL: Onto lighter stuff – the one piece in your closet you can’t live without…
April Gibson-Fulton: Because I’m a huge Georgia Bulldogs fan, it has to be all of my UGA gear (shirts, hoodies, jackets, hats, etc).
VL: The next book you’re taking out of your To Be Read pile…
April Gibson-Fulton: I am a big fan of Kennedy Ryan. I have not read her most recent book, Before I Let Go — that will be my next book that I read for pleasure. There are also books on product management, technology, and business strategy that I need to read.
VL: If you were forced to listen to one song on a loop for 24 straight hours, what song would it be?
April Gibson-Fulton: Marvin Sapp – “Yes You Can”
VL: The TV show you always wanted to be an extra for…
April Gibson-Fulton: I’m going to go way back for this one: A Different World
There’s more where that came from – check out our previous Inspired feature with Director of Employee Relations Andrea Jackson here!