The Effectiveness of Mixed-Gender Teams
An Interview with Deana Gore
Deana Gore is the Vice President of the Administrative Division of Propark America, overseeing the human resources and corporate legal functions for over 3,000 employees across the country. In just under ten years, she has risen in the Propark ranks from an entry level position to a senior leadership role with expanding responsibilities and influence.
In a time when gender equality in the workplace is a global topic, Dee’s continued career success and development is outpacing the national averages, where a recent 2016 study cited that among all senior leadership roles in 2016, only 23% were held by women.1 We sat down with Dee to better understand her personal achievements and her perspective on women in the workplace.
Dee, you hold a B.S. in Business Administration and an M.B.A. in Entrepreneurial Thinking and Innovative Practices, to what extent do you attribute your consistent career growth to your formal business education?
I attribute my career growth not to the actual educational material itself but to the confidence I gained during the journey. I conquered an accelerated MBA program while working full-time. The unforgiving workload, deadlines, hectic schedule, and stress prepared me for leadership more so than any of the textbooks themselves. I believe anyone can read a book and learn the proper way to write a business plan, but without hard work, dedication, and confidence, you may not succeed.
With regards to gender equality in the workplace, how would you describe the environment and opportunity for women in the parking industry?
In an industry that is historically dominated by men, I have witnessed great strides in gender equality over the past decade. When I became a VP, I was one of only two women who held that title in the entire company. Five years later, women hold executive and leadership roles in every division of my current company.
Scientists have discovered approximately 100 gender differences in the brain. For example, male brains utilize nearly seven times more gray matter for activity, while female brains utilize nearly ten times more white matter. Gray matter areas of the brain are localized and translate into focus, tunnel vision, or less awareness toward surroundings. White matter is the networking grid of the brain and is associated with quick transitions between tasks and the ability to multi-task.2 Do you believe that these differences in brain chemistry attribute to the relational aspects of gender collaboration within the workplace?
Yes. I truly believe that successful teamwork is reliant upon contributions from both genders.
Yes. I truly believe that successful teamwork is reliant upon contributions from both genders. It’s widely recognized that outside influences (i.e. upbringing, experiences, etc.) impact people’s perceptions, thought processes, and situational analysis. As the question describes, the way in which one’s brain processes data can have a similar result, which is why mixed gender teams can be so effective. I have worked alongside a male team member over the past decade on countless projects. I think one of the reasons we work well together is due to the differences in how our brains process the information we receive. The sum of our combined perspectives is greater than our individual viewpoints.
Human resources is historically a woman-dominated field; do you believe that is attributed to any gender-specific strengths or skills?
I think societal norms contributed DEANA GORE (from page 32)
to the large number of women in the human resources field. Historically women were not widely accepted into hard sales, operations, or executive positions. For years, HR was viewed as the “softer,” more nurturing side of business. Much to the contrary, as any HR professional knows, this role often involves disseminating unpopular views and information. It requires patience, empathy, strength, and the desire to help others. Regardless of your gender, if you can be patient on the phone with an employee who may not understand their health insurance benefits and then thirty minutes later terminate someone for misconduct, you likely possess the wherewithal to succeed in the HR discipline.
Dee, as a member of Women in Parking, what value do you find in being an active participant in this important industry organization?
Having attended Bay Path University, an all-women institution, I enjoyed considerable opportunities to discuss and work toward important gender milestones and achievements. Women in Parking provides an exciting opportunity to provide an alternate voice in an industry where the conversations have been historically dominated by men.
Patrick Boeshans is the chief administrative officer of Propark America. His responsibilities include oversight of human resources, organizational development, benefits administration, marketing, corporate legal and contracts. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.