‘You gotta show up’: GE’s Katrina Craigwell on introverts at work

Katrina Craigwell, GE Digital’s head of marketing innovation, has become a force in the marketing industry for her championship of women and women of color in the field. In this week’s edition of Starting Out, Craigwell, a Canada native, tells us how she’s risen to the top by following in the footsteps of her mother, Jacqueline, and why sometimes being good at what you do is simply about being present.

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I got a fired from a retail job. When you have a job, you are supposed to act like you’re happy to be there. You know. You gotta show up. It was a good lesson. You gotta show up when you are at work. Be dependable and show up. None of us are entitled to anything. If we’re going to drive some value from somewhere, like maybe a paycheck, then show up. And if you can architect a better place for yourself to be, then do it. Be present. Be available.

I reflect on that a lot. I was young, so it didn’t shock my system in any way. It wasn’t the only time I got fired, but I learned about showing up and being purposeful with building relationships, building agreement and understanding between you and your organization about what you’re going to deliver. And making sure manners are spotless.

Manners are many things — like being on time. Or being in a meeting on your phone or computer because you think you’re multitasking. Or you forget to say “thank you.”

Also, there are people on the way that helped you — they have a stake in your path. Remembering that once the good happens at the end of getting their advice or making an introduction, bringing them along and saying “thank you” means a lot. It’s about building relationships with love and respect. People really want to help you. And they almost don’t expect anything.

Send flowers. Send a handwritten note. The five or 10 minutes it takes means a lot. Bring folks along. The deeper part of that is the importance of trust in our relationships. I am more of an introvert, so I’ve received feedback around how I behave when I’m feeling stressed or go into my introverted ways. In some of those times, I’m likely to put my head down and get to work or to kind of think, “Nobody’s looking at me. This is comfortable for me.” For folks on the other side, they thought I wasn’t showing up. I wasn’t there. There was no trust there.


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