In celebration of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, EDGE360 is sharing valuable insights from female leaders throughout the IT channel about their unique career paths and what it takes to succeed in the IT world. As part of this series, we spoke with Autumn NeSmith, Senior Manager, Marketing, Cisco Services, Software, SMB with SYNNEX Comstor. NeSmith spoke with us about the importance of health and wellness in the workplace and how she diligently weaves it into her working style to benefit both herself and her colleagues.
Remaining mindful and consistent about her health and wellness habits has contributed greatly to her success as a SYNNEX Comstor team member as well as contributing to a collaborative, refreshing culture that the company champions. Here’s what she had to share in our conversation:
EDGE360 Editors: Tell us a bit about your background and your career at SYNNEX Comstor.
Autumn NeSmith: I am a Colorado native, and previously owned my own fitness business that specialized in personal training, boot camps, and yoga. When I made the move to technology, I knew I had to do whatever it took to bring my healthy lifestyle with me. It took me years to build the habits that kept my mind and body balanced, and I knew that to perform at my peak, I had to prioritize them. We are like batteries; we need to be charged and need rest. Exercise charges my body, adequate sleep and meditation rests my mind and keeps my emotions in balance when dealing with tough situations.
When I first came to Comstor (now SYNNEX Comstor), I began in a data entry position under an amazing female leader, Becky Lozada. She enabled me to grow and learn the ins and outs of the IT industry, while allowing for the time I needed for self-care. I began going to a nearby gym on my lunch break, and it wasn’t long until we had a small group that would go together each day. We kept each other motivated, and it strengthened our bonds as a team for our work in the office. It even affected our lunch habits. We would eat together in a relaxed manner, sharing healthy snacks and recipes. Having something positive to talk about kept the typical office gossip at bay and brought more positivity into our lives.
EDGE360 Editors: How do health and wellness impact your career choices with SYNNEX Comstor?
NeSmith: One reason I’ve been with the company since 2012 is that they have integrity. I could not do work that didn’t align with my moral compass, as that would be damaging to my mental wellbeing. SYNNEX Comstor genuinely wants to help our partners and vendors grow to their full potential. That makes my work meaningful, which brings me joy and, and reciprocates as I grow to my full potential.
EDGE360 Editors: In what ways do you incorporate your own health and wellness best practices into your work life?
NeSmith: After years of inconsistency, I found that having a set schedule really helped me stay on track with my fitness goals. I wake up early, meditate, and workout before I begin my workday. I also cook twice a week, preparing my meals for the next three days so I don’t have to think about what I’m going to eat, or make poor decisions based on lack of healthy food options. I plan for breaks throughout the day when I can do something relaxing to recharge like walks in nature or with friends, petting my dog, walking meditation, light yoga, or even housework. And yes, housework can be calming if you stay mindful. During these times, the goal is not to think about work, but rather give my conscious mind a break and let my subconscious mind work though some of the convoluted projects I’m working on. When I come back to my computer, I have a fresh mind and often, brand new solutions.
EDGE360 Editors: Why is weaving in mindfulness and wellness tenets so important in the workplace?
NeSmith: Mindfulness practices, like meditation, allow me to respond, rather than react. I can create a bigger space between stimulus and the next action I take. The space that mindfulness creates helps me to empathize and create win-win situations for the people I’m working with. When our batteries are fully charged, we are the best versions of ourselves as we engage with the world. This means we can get more work done, and the output is of higher quality. When we uplift the people we interact with, that has a ripple effect for everyone else they then interact with. If we are helpful or hurtful to people, that sticks with them, both in their personal and professional lives. I want to leave everyone in a better place after I interact with them, so that can be the energy they have as they move through their day. That positive team spirit is what creates teams that impact our organization’s success.
EDGE360 Editors: What are some of your favorite ways to center yourself and stay active?
NeSmith: To stay active, I have two modalities that are tied for first place…yoga and strength training. They each complement one another and keep me balanced with strength and flexibility, yin and yang. They develop my mental fortitude and vitality of my physical body. Last year was the year that my meditation practice took off, as it gave me the time and space to stay centered longer. I sometimes miss a day, but that’s why they call it a practice. As soon as I notice that I did, I take responsibility for my self-care, and start back up again.
EDGE360 Editors: Anything else you’d like to add?
NeSmith: It’s important to know you don’t have to perfect whatever you practice, but you should aim to get started and do your best with working towards your health and wellness goals every day. If you fall off the wagon, don’t judge yourself harshly. Just get right back on and keep moving forward! Consistency is key. Everyone is different, so what works for your neighbor, a celebrity, or what you did 10 years ago, might not work for you now. Experiment and explore different ways you can incorporate mind and body work into your day. Find what you love and do that.