Hi, I’m Dr. V Boykin, a Senior Program Manager, for Leadership Onboarding & Team Lead Programs. Three years at HubSpot. Normally you would say ‘Time has flown by’ or ‘I can’t believe it has been three years already’.  But the truth is, I have felt every step of the last three years.

day i became DOCTOR BoykinThe day I became DOCTOR V Boykin.

Then versus now

I spent a great deal of time as the single parent of 2 children. I worked for $8 an hour picking up dog poop and I would work 40+ hours a week without overtime pay. I had to do it and it was a long and painful road from food stamps to financial security.

Prior to HubSpot, I owned my own business for 10 years, a behavior based boarding, grooming, day play and training facility for canines and felines. I remember reading a HubSpot blog about giving away information as a way to build your business. Shortly after, I started ‘Wet Nosed Wednesdays’ and offered tips to help build a relationship with your companion animal on our local radio station. When I owned my own business, I used Groupon to expand my customer base. Since it was a positive experience, I decided when I divested from my business to give Groupon a try, learning solid sales skills and an appreciation for the sales grind. I have respect and empathy for the sales floor and that translates into my enablement programs in my current role.

In 2018, I grew tired of not being seen on equal footing as those who had college degrees both personally and professionally. I was successful but passed over when looking to progress through the ranks and my voice was repeatedly ignored in social circles by those with more education. There were probably many reasons for it, age, education, network, experience. One of those factors I could definitely control was education. So, I went back to school from 2018 until 2023, successfully earning my BS in Marketing Management, MS in Management and Leadership, MBA, and Doctorate in Organizational Leadership.

I start every day by asking myself, “what is missing?”. What is missing that would allow a more diverse population to be added to leadership positions?  What is missing that is stopping the representation of more marginalized groups in leadership. From that place, I craft holistic programs that push profitability. Estimates of 15-35% increased profits, decreased expensive attrition, and increased productivity draws a direct line between gender and racial diversity in leadership.

So since I’ve been at HubSpot, what have I learned?

You’ll grow better and it’ll be supported!
My growth at HubSpot has been supported by fantastic managers who have supported, coached, encouraged, redirected, and extended enormous amounts of grace as I have grown and developed. Additionally, I have the privilege of working with incredible colleagues who challenge me to bring my best self to work daily. 

In 2018 I had no degrees. Since then, I have obtained my BS, MS, MBA, and DBA.  I started my journey to Doctor the same week I joined HubSpot.  I was worried and unsure if my new employer would be supportive or even tolerate my degree.  I was hesitant to share my goals and worried if it was even realistic.  I also wasn’t sure what topic I wanted to explore.  When HubSpot announced Yamini as our new CEO, I was beyond proud.  In fact, I was shocked and amazed…and then angry I was shocked.  I was determined to figure out how I could be part of creating a pathway for other women to obtain the same success.  The critical moment of Yamini’s success and her supporting executives of incredible women gave me clarity on my next personal passion project.  I began investigating what women said supported their success.  I quickly identified it as incredible support systems that underpinned every story of success. As a result, my dissertation identified the social support systems that allow women in tech to obtain and retain senior leadership positions.
You may wonder how this all ties back to HubSpot. It is truly simple, when you see incredible examples of success, and have an environment that truly focuses on Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging. An environment that supports and encourages you to continue to stretch and grow, you get a Black Female Doctor, part of the elite 4.4% and it feels INCREDIBLE.

Space will be created for you to thrive and shine.

HubSpot has also created space for me to share my wider message and research as a presenter at INBOUND in 2022 and 2023.  Not many companies give the stage to women in my category, not many companies even realize our voice is missing.  HubSpot seeks out the voices on the fringe and celebrates diverse thoughts, opinions and experiences.  It is truly a gift. 

One of the most important lessons I have learned as a Black female in tech is to refocus people on your accomplishments, not your attitude. My experiences are different. In order to make it to this level in business I couldn’t be soft, or weak, or timid, or in many cases vulnerable. I came up through the ranks when I was told to get someone coffee, called baby and sugar by my bosses, and told to wear a shorter skirt.  That doesn’t make you warm and fuzzy in the workplace.  That ‘hard’ edge that others don’t have to have is often misunderstood and allowed to crowd the space my workplace accomplishments should fill.  In my doctoral work, 95% of the women I interviewed expressed they had been told to be more and less assertive….like how do you do that? 

The intersectionality of black and female is challenging to navigate and when you add in the optimism and freshness of the new tech landscape, it can feel impossible.  I encourage all women, regardless of race, to push, expect, and require a focus on what you have accomplished. Show up and show out, embrace your confident strength. 

Internal mobility is for the win.
As a company, HubSpot has financially and emotionally supported me as I earned my Doctorate with a focus on equity for women within the tech space.  HubSpot has also created the opportunity for 3 internal transfers allowing me to understand different facets of the business and continue to grow my skills and stretch my abilities.

I had the privilege of joining HubSpot on my second try.  Not making it on your first try might not be something you want to publicly talk about, but it wouldn’t be real to hide that.  I didn’t make it the first time and couldn’t have been more shocked when I was provided actionable feedback after my interview. I view education and training as the biggest equity play available.  If you create incredible enablement content, you expand the pool of candidates that can be hired. If you can train anyone you can hire anyone.

On my second try, I landed a job in Professional Services where I managed 7 of the most talented women who worked tirelessly to educate our customers and optimize their use of HubSpot. I was able to create a new revenue stream and solve for the customer with a freedom I had never realized in the workplace. My next challenge was developing global training programs for the sales organization. Talk about green field, I had all the room I needed to craft, iterate and develop content for an incredibly talented group of sellers.  I was able to expand to the Customer Services side of the org and create first run programming for them as well. Now I am in charge of developing leadership enablement programs to prepare and support our new leaders.  I feel this role is so important because we are shaping the ‘face’ of HubSpot leadership.  If we have a robust enablement program, our internal candidates are prepared with experiences that can successfully compete with external candidates.  Additionally, if we are confident in the leadership skills we teach we can take more chances on non-traditional candidates.  Education is the biggest equity play we have!

Come and see for yourself!
Follow HubSpot Life on Instagram as we continue to share employee highlights, internal celebrations, and more!

Looking to join the team? Check out our open positions here. 

Originally published Feb 22, 2024 6:27:00 AM, updated February 22 2024