Here at HireRight, our teams work hard to build the future of screening services while striving to put the customer first. Internally, we rally around a culture committed to collaboration, service-first mindset, sense of ownership, and other corporate values to help employers get it right – every time, everywhere. But what is it like to work here? And who are the employees behind our background screening and workforce solutions?
We are continuing to spotlight what #LifeAtHireRight means for our team members – in their words. Today we feature Zeena Wright, Director of Data Excellence and president of BLM@HR, HireRight’s Black Lives Matter employee affinity group. Zeena joined HireRight as a team member in 2020 and is based out of our Irvine, California, office.
Our team asked Zeena to share a little about her life at HireRight, her role and work within BLM@HR, and some of her favorite parts about her work in data.
Zeena, we’re thrilled to feature you! Can you tell us a little bit about your role and growth at HireRight?
Zeena: I took three months off before joining HireRight, as I wanted to reevaluate my career priorities and explore a budding interest in building and scaling start-ups. Most of my previous roles had been primarily focused on data and technology, so I was excited to join HireRight’s Sales Operations team as a contractor to apply my knowledge in a new and challenging way and get immersed in the screening services industry. That role provided the opportunity to help deliver business-critical projects, design sales processes, and solve cross-functional problems, which then made it easy to step into my current role, Director of Data Excellence. Now I am taking on data excellence in support of HireRight’s strategic objectives. My new responsibilities require teaching the organization about the importance of and best practices for creating and using good data, as well as implementing new processes to ensure our data is properly flowing throughout each area of the company. The role is so new that I also need to build a brand-new team to support these efforts. I am ready to take on this challenge to make us even more data-driven and solidify HireRight’s position as a market leader.
What attracted you to a career in data?
Zeena: After college, I settled in Orange County with a job in the real estate industry. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to dabble in a lot of different areas, including prospect engagement, beta testing new systems, creating new ways of tracking productivity, and producing metrics. I enjoyed working with and constantly learning about the relationships between systems and data and began to look for roles with more responsibilities in those areas. Later, after I earned my MBA, I joined a management trainee program within the IT organization at a local Fortune 500 real estate and financial services company. I earned a permanent role on the team, where I was able to take on incremental responsibilities and leadership across the IT and data space over the next six years – during that time I enjoyed learning first-hand through trial-and-error the dynamic between people, process, technology and data and how to keep each of those areas aligned and optimal despite constantly changing market conditions and business priorities. I then took on a similar role in the healthcare field for a new challenge of applying my knowledge while adapting to a new industry. I admit that I can get bored quite easily so the continuous learning opportunities and endless possibilities that this space offers keeps me engaged and on my toes. I appreciate that no two days are ever alike; I’ve always enjoyed solving puzzles and working with data is the closest you can get to using those same skills.
At HireRight, we are committed to putting the #CustomerFirst. How do you see your role connecting to that mission?
Zeena: Our customers place so much trust in us to help them hire the right people for their organizations, so we have a responsibility to make sure our products are always of the highest quality. Since all of our solutions are data-driven, my role plays a critical part in our mission to get it right every time for our customers by keeping the data on which our products rely organized and reliable.
Did you always aspire to be in leadership?
Zeena: I can’t say that I’ve aspired for leadership per se, but I am typically more excited about roles that are challenging and give me autonomy, accountability and the opportunity to help others learn new things and develop their own career journeys. I also really like taking on problems that most others think cannot be solved.
Why did you feel it was important to become involved in BLM@HR? What are some of your current projects within the group?
Zeena: I remember feeling so angry, vulnerable and hopeless last year as the pandemic took hold across the world and we then witnessed one of the worst acts of violence against a person of color in recent memory. Even more discouraging was the fact that systemic racism wasn’t new and that if more of us had already committed to helping solve that problem, we could have helped to prevent some of the violence and hatred that we were seeing. The BLM@HR affinity group was created as a means to give our team members hope and support amidst the chaos of 2020. It has since evolved into a platform for marginalized voices and a safe space to learn more about each of our different cultures and break down unconscious biases. In addition to our regular coffee breaks, a monthly newsletter and movie/book discussions, we are excited to partner with our human resources department to help enhance existing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion training. In the near future, we aim to host community outreach events and partner with external organizations and advocates to provide even more learning opportunities. I am proud of how far we’ve come and look forward to the continued progress I know we can make by working together.
As a woman of color in leadership, what unique challenges have you faced during your career?
Zeena: I have an obligation to do my part to ensure that people who look like me have the opportunities to not only get to where I am, but even farther. I still have aspirations myself to take on more business challenges and responsibilities and would love to start seeing more diversity in leadership ahead of me. My challenges have been similar to other minorities who have stepped into new leadership roles in an organization or environment, or are one of the few people of color in a leadership role. However, my biggest challenge at the moment is also my greatest motivation in that I continue to push myself to deliver results and make accomplishments despite the extra emotional weight I and many of us are carrying due to current events across the world.
What advice do you have for other women of color who want to be in leadership?
Zeena: Find and cultivate a tribe of people that offer diverse thoughts and backgrounds wherever you can, and as much as possible. Build trust within these relationships and be receptive to constructive feedback while also providing the same in return. I also incorporate these principles from “The Four Agreements” by Miguel Don Ruiz as often as possible: 1) Be Impeccable With Your Word, 2) Don’t Take Anything Personally, 3) Don’t Make Assumptions, and 4) Always Do Your Best.
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At HireRight, our team members are innovating together to build the future of screening services and personal data. Experiencing #LifeatHireRight means working with great people on inspiring ideas to help employers get it right – every time, everywhere. Check out our opportunities across the globe at HireRight Careers today!