Profiles in Diversity Journal Second Quarter 2022

Page 32


VP, Assistant General Auditor


LEADERS Worth Watching



Why I Am Passionate about Paying it Forward

Education: Master of Accountancy, University of Iowa; MBA, China Europe International Business School; BSc, Zhejiang University Company Name: Freddie Mac Industry: Financial Services Company CEO: Michael DeVito Company Headquarters Location: McLean, Virginia Number of Employees: 7,000+ Words you live by: Use yourself as a mirror, not others. Who is your personal hero? Dr. Terri Wahlig, CEO of ChildServe, for combining her human touch and her powerful leadership What book are you reading? Co-Active Coaching: Changing business, Transforming Lives by Henry Kimsey-House, Karen Kimsey-House, Laura Whitworth, and Phillip Sandahl What was your first job: Commodity trader Favorite charity: ChildServe, supporting kids with special needs and believing in the spirit of a child

In my home office, I have a precious black-and-white picture of me in China when I was five years old. This little girl was curious but very timid, wondering what the future would hold. Next to it is my recent headshot. What a difference! When I look at these two pictures and reflect on my career and life journey, I am proud of who I am today. Most importantly, I am grateful to those who have graciously offered me their wisdom, helped me grow, and inspired me to be an authentic leader. These people were not seeking anything in return from me. I show my appreciation for their generosity by paying it forward. I am passionate about developing others. I have coached people inside and outside the company and often encounter three common challenges: communication, networking, and confidence. Of these three, lack of confidence is the core challenge. When you judge yourself from another’s perspective rather than from self-recognition and inner strength, you are always aiming at a moving target. Confidence comes from within. I often call to mind what my executive coach told me: “Use yourself as the mirror, not others.” These days, when I coach and mentor others, I find myself often sharing this quotation. When I focused on how others might perceive me, I was focused on something beyond my control and imposed an impossible task on myself. I was bound to fail. How would that ever build my confidence? When I ask myself, “Do I give my very best considering the circumstances?” Then, I am focusing on what I can control. Environment is crucial for confidence to flourish. Confidence is like a seed that needs the right soil and warm sunshine. Diversity and inclusion are the right soil and sunshine. The environment must include support from the community and voices from many senior leaders about building the right culture and trust. Tolerance for mistakes is key. You never succeed without trying. Nobody tries without making mistakes. If mistakes are taken as evidence you are not good enough, the environment is not supportive. If mistakes are taken as evidence you are trying and open to coaching, that is a supportive environment. Freddie Mac strives to be such an environment. That is one reason I have chosen to have a career at Freddie. When I think about the long list of people who have graciously given me a helping hand and shared their wisdom, I am inspired to pass on what I have learned to an even longer list of those who could benefit.

Interests: Travel and Photography Family: Matt and Ray


2022 Second Quarter


Kathy Sheng

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