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As we continue our homage to Women’s History Month, we wanted to recognize a couple of women in the Jacksonville region that are making significant contributions to their places of work and the Northeast Florida community.

Misty Skipper is Vice President of Merchandising, Marketing and External Affairs for GATE Petroleum, a 60+ year company headquartered in Jacksonville that operates in a variety of industries including retail gas and convenience stores, car washes, fleet and fuel services, real estate, hospitality, and construction materials. You may know them for their large network of stores, but you may not know that Gate is the owner of the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, Epping Forest Yacht & Country Club and the River Club. Before joining Gate in 2016, Misty  held leadership positions at the Dalton Agency, the City of Jacksonville and CSX.  Misty also serves as this year’s chair for JAXUSA Partnership.

“I really enjoy my role at GATE Petroleum because it’s ever evolving,” said Misty. “I started out doing marketing communications and now I also have responsibility for the merchandising at GATE stores, government relations work and our foundation. I’m fortunate that my role gives me the opportunity to be involved in so many aspects of our company. No two days are ever the same, which allows me to continue learning and growing professionally. ”

When offering advice to women looking to advance their career pathways, Misty mentions being open to new opportunities and developing critical thinking skills.  “An important skill to learn is the ability to take large amounts of information and boil it down into actionable insight. Not everyone processes things the same way you do, so knowing how to create common areas of understanding will separate you from others.”

Misty added, “When talking with people at various stages in their careers, I encourage everyone to be open to opportunities that may challenge you or that are outside of your comfort zone. This is particularly important for women. There is a Hewlett Packard report from years ago that says a man will apply for a job if he meets only 60% of the qualifications, but women only apply if they meet 100% of them. When I am hiring for a position, someone demonstrating that they are open to new opportunities while showing me a willingness to work hard, learn and grow are just as important as experience on a resume.”

Diane Williams serves as the Human Resources Director of Talent Engagement for Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). ICE is a Fortune 500 company that designs, builds and operates digital networks that connect people to opportunity and provide financial technology and data services. ICE recently acquired Black Knight, Inc., where Diane was in a similar role. Diane also serves on the Boards of CareerSource Northeast Florida & Jacksonville Women’s Leadership Forum (JWLF).

“I was a sociology major in college with a goal of getting a master’s degree in social work,” said Diane. “While going for that, I found a job in the staffing industry and fell in love with all the things around human resources – recruiting, hiring, onboarding, talent development – and worked at Fortegra and Ross Stores before joining Black Knight in 2014.”

“One of the roles I play, especially for women, is to dispel the perception of what a job in technology is – it’s so much more than programming.  You can become a project manager, serve in a functional role like I do in HR, or use technology as the platform for the job you are passionate about. I think the more that women become part of technology, the more impactful we can be on its future.”

Diane added, “What I love about my role at JWLF is that we are working on creating a career pathway for women to develop leadership skills and promote the advantages of having women in executive leadership and board positions. It’s better than it’s ever been, but there’s still a long way to go to make sure we have a consistent seat at the table.”

The aspirations for women in the professional landscape of work have never been higher.  Earn Up will continue to promote the career pathways for women across all Northeast Florida‘s target industries and strive to bring opportunities at all levels of an organization.