People 11 December 2017
Whether it's getting business done on the golf course, traveling the globe, or running countless marathons, it's safe to say that Rhonda Vetere puts passion into everything she does, even if it allows her to only get two hours of sleep a night. But that same drive and determination allow her to be a key player in the tech world, especially since her extensive IT management experience dates back to 25 years.
“Everyday my duties are different, so my approach tends to be proactive and reactive which keeps everything running smoothly," she says. “Although I do face challenges, prioritizing and focusing on the right thing is crucial."
Rhonda works with business leaders to technology team members on a daily basis, making it important for her to have her own unique leadership style. However, Rhonda believes in full contact management, keeping her approach open and collaborative.
It's this same unique and personal leadership approach which named her one of the most effective female leaders in the male-dominated tech force.
“My leadership style is open, direct, collaborative, and I love to invest in and mentor others," she adds. “I always want to help people and give back to others. I take my role as a role model pretty seriously."
As an innovator in the tech sphere, Vetere explains that she's constantly looking for ways to change and the improve the shopping experience, including exploring the budding tech industry trend of mobility.
“The latest trend definitely seems to be mobility, as I saw this specifically during my travels in Asia," Vetere acknowledges. “I've challenged my own team to go mobile for a day around the world like they do in China. Mobility is key."
Being a prominent voice in tech also requires Vetere to travel frequently, which she says has played a big a part in her impressive workplace experience. Her journeys to China and India in particular have allowed to her to experience diversity of thought and culture, which she says, is key to thriving in the business world.
“I have traveled and worked with people of many different cultures, and these global experiences have been a key part of my background," she suggests. “Travel helps me see the diversity of thought, people, and culture, and it has taught me that adaptability is key."
Adaptability is also a skill Vetere says female tech hopefuls need to possess, as staying mobile, and taking the job no one wants is a way to stay ten steps ahead of the game for sure.
“I've worked with all men throughout my career, and the key is to adapt," she says. “Aside from being business savvy, you'll want to learn to play golf, as most business gets done on the golf course. It's also key to remember to be mobile and take the job that no one wants."
But while her daily duties can be challenging at times, Rhonda finds inner peace through a strict schedule, and of course, a dedicated fitness routine filled with triathlon, IronMan and marathon recess runs. “Schedule is critical and crucial and I usually plan things six months to a year out," she explains. “Fitness is key it gives me discipline and helps me achieve my goals. My fitness routine is key to my physical and mental well being, and it definitely keeps me sharp and focused."
For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.
As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.
What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein
This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.
Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.
Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.
In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.
"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."