A Passion to Inspire Young Women - In conversation with Tara J. Agen
Our names have power — not only do they influence our identity or what others think of us, but also they connect us to those who’ve nurtured and raised us at the beginning of our path in life. “My first and middle name have a balance,” reflects Tara J. Agen. “My first name, inspired by my father’s Irish heritage, is an ancient hill of worship north of Dublin (the ‘Hill of Tara’), and its Sanskrit origin is ‘star’. My parents gave me the middle name Judith after Saint Jude, the patron saint of hopeless causes. This balance of Tara Judith — Tara, the star and sacred hill of worship, and Judith, the caretaker of others — has empowered me to be who I am today: a unique, creative and vibrant individual with a drive and determination to uplift others.”
Tara J. Agen is an inspirational leader and creative collaborator who focuses on the human aspect of business. She leads with a determination to champion the next generation of women at work. An artist and agile business transformer, she has a unique perspective, a determined mission, and an intrinsic drive to support accelerated growth with the people around her — especially the creativity and capabilities of women on her team, in her organization, in her company and in her life.
Tara, you’ve mentioned that inspiring next generation women to be bolder and more confident in themselves and their capabilities is one of your passions at work and in your community. Why is this so important to you, and how do you achieve this?
“I received incredible support and encouragement, from my father. My dad was incredibly determined to encourage my sisters and I that we could do anything and that anything was possible for us to achieve. Even my first name, Tara — its inspiration is from my Dad’s Irish heritage, was because of his sales skill and knew my name stood out and would open doors no matter what I did. He even took me on my first ‘sales call’ at six years old. It was an incredibly impactful expeirence, for both my Dad and I. I think he received a few more orders because I was in tow, and I remember this memory of us often, especially the largest hot fudge sundae I had after a long day of work!
“I know there are so many young kids who don’t get this same encouragement from their parents, so they don’t develop the ‘anything is possible’ belief in themselves. When children lack this home-grown confidence, they struggle to develop confidence in themselves, especially later in their lives when they have a job and a career pathway.
“Having someone close to you who encourages you is what can help you find yourself and be yourself. That’s what my Dad did for me, and it’s what I bring to the next generation of women I have worked with, have worked for me. I talk openly about the confidence needed to aspire to something bigger, better at work or at home. I have also focused on non-profit boards where their mission is to grow more confident and capable kids. I have served on boards for twenty-two years that have primarily focused on kids, women, girls and even in tech start ups, early career talent that is taking risk! This has been continually rewarding to have inside and outside focus on next generation talent in both organizations I lead as well as those I serve.
“Throughout my career, I’ve always pursued and pushed for equity whenever I’ve had the potential to impact inclusion, equity or change something. Earlier in my management career path, I had a team where I recognized that there were significant differences in pay — women on my new team were earning far less than the men for the same work. I ameliorated the pay difference immediately. It was a valuable lesson early in my leadership role and something that I continue to do when I look at performance and contribution of similar roles on my teams.
“Throughout my career, I have been able to be part or start significant focuses on women leaders and growing women at work. In my current Marketing Operations role, I get to lead ‘Marketing Lab’, our training, learning and career path development experience for all HP Marketing employees. I am immensely proud of this School of Talent experience for Marketing, which serves all employees. We have additionally created focused programming for early career, mid-career, and executive-level Marketing women. We meet talent where they are at and help train them to be more capable and skilled marketing employees and executives for HP. HP has a goal that by 2030, 50% of executives will be women, and Marketing Lab is helping create and deliver significant impact for the CMO and our staff meet our goal more effectively, creatively and with more agility and speed.
“My consistent message to women at work has been: be yourself, take risks, and push for what is right, always, for our customers. Being bold and confident to elevate what is special about you and what you are capable of creating and delivering for HP’s customer experience and performance will always help you open doors and navigate the next career opportunities that you deserve.”
Tara, thank you for sharing and for the work you do for women at work and kids/girls outside of work.
Connect with Tara on LinkedIn.
Tara J. Agen is a future-focused, creative collaborator with a 360-degree problem-solving perspective. Having led huge business transformations and driven growth for years, Tara is an inspirational expert at guiding strategy from inception through execution as well as attracting, developing, and retaining talent. A holistic communicator who creates win-win situations, Tara is an optimist.
Tara J. Agen - Future Focused Creative Collaborator
Future Focused Creative Collaborator - Tara J. Agen
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