EastBay Today

Passion project
Article
Posted February 7, 2017

A Strategy for Empowerment

Alumna shares professional lessons, builds network for women

Alumna Jasmine Gill is transforming professional missteps into women's empowerment opportunities through her own networking platform, Gyal's Network.
GARVIN TSO

Name: Jasmine Gill

Degree: B.A. Economics ’05; M.A. Economics ’08

Hometown: Richmond, Calif.

Day Job: 

Senior Channel Analytics Manager at Genentech, Inc. “I provide the strategy and analytics to ensure that our products are at the right place at the right time,” alumna Jasmine Gill says. 

Passion Project: 

“I started Gyal’s Network in 2014, a networking and event series platform for emerging female leaders. Our focus is ‘intersectional women’s empowerment.’ It means that we bring forth the different issues women face, based on their different backgrounds to help them make positive change in the world.  We now have over 500 members, including an awesome leadership team who now helps to drive our mission.

“Intersectional women’s empowerment means that we look at all women’s issues and learn how they’re connected — you can’t shed light on only one woman’s issue and be effective in women’s empowerment. And with Gyal’s network, our events and programs are specifically designed to bring together women who wouldn’t otherwise meet or socialize so that we can break down silos, increase understanding and propel each other forward.

“In addition to events, we give women access to thought leaders and consultants who can help them learn things like how to negotiate salaries and job offers, enhance emotional intelligence to pursue leadership roles and create their own personal brand — the words, mannerisms and work style that defines them for others.”

Inspiration: 

“As a kid I wasn’t exposed to a lot of the important tools of the trade when it came to working in the corporate world. I was taught ‘just work hard’ and let your work speak for itself, but that’s so far from the truth. You need to know how to hold yourself, how to have leadership presence, how to be trusted. I struggled for a long time until I got a mentor who exposed me to the soft skills that I lacked. And I think it’s one of main reasons certain groups who are underrepresented in management positions struggle to break through — they don’t have the exposure to these skills that are imperative for career growth.”

Lightbulb Moment: 

“A few years ago I sought career advice from a senior leader who told me told me that even though she saw that I did great work, I lacked visibility with other leaders, and that’s why I wasn’t being promoted. She told me that I needed to build better relationships. That was the moment I decided I was going to push myself out of my comfort zone. I started joining professional communities and participating, until eventually I was the one organizing events.”

Lasting Connection: 

“I had to take remedial math classes; I think I took calculus at Cal State East Bay three times. But economics was different — it’s about observing trends. When I started, I didn’t know what I wanted to be, but I was good at looking at things and predicting what would happen next. The faculty member who really impacted me was Nan Maxwell. She was a woman and she was a leader. She showed me how to be a critical thinker.”

For more information, visit gyalsnetwork.com.

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