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shifting the conversation

Women’s history month: Shifting the conversation with Rency Mathew

Rency shares the importance of defining your own path in the face of comparisons and negativity.  

At Sabre, we are committed to embracing and celebrating our diversity. In this inclusion & engagement series, Shifting the Conversation, our people share their stories to engage in open dialog and shed light on their broad, rich and unique perspectives. In celebration of Women’s History Month, this blog highlights the importance of defining your own path, penned by Sabre’s Rency Mathew, an active member of Women’s Career Network (WCN) inclusion group. WCN gives empowers women to further their career by providing networking and support through championing fair and equal access to leadership opportunities and resources.

I grew up as the middle child of three siblings. My older brother excelled in math, consistently earning the top rank in his class, while I, on the other hand, was an average student. My younger sister fell somewhere in the middle of us academically. However, at home, there was never any comparison among us. Our parents allowed us to choose our own subjects and pursue our passions, for which I will forever be grateful.

My brother topped the engineering exams in our state, Madhya Pradesh, India, bringing journalists to our home to capture his story. These results were announced during the summer holidays, just before the start of the next academic year. I was happy to celebrate his success during the holidays, but when I returned to school for the new academic year, I found myself facing new teachers who assumed I possessed the same mathematical prowess as my brother. Despite my lack of interest in pursuing engineering and my tendency to barely scrape by with passing marks in math, these teachers made unwarranted assumptions.

During a parent-teacher meeting, one teacher questioned my father about my poor math scores as I stood next to him. My father responded that I simply didn’t enjoy working with numbers, to which the teacher remarked, “If she doesn’t like numbers, she will not amount to much in life.” Fortunately, even as a 14-year-old, I didn’t take this to heart. I was lucky to have supportive parents and classmates who knew me well and celebrated my individuality instead of comparing me to my brother or sister.

I went on to defy that teacher’s expectations. In the early stages of my career as an HR professional, I took charge of payroll for a company with 700 employees, managing it through Excel. Over the two years I led payroll, not a single mistake occurred in the payouts. Additionally, I received numerous rewards and recognition for implementing initiatives that improved the process for everyone involved.

Throughout my life, I refused to let comparisons affect me or limit what I could accomplish. I firmly believe that each of us follows a distinct path, and our individual talents and abilities shape and guide these paths.

For all those facing negativity regarding their potential for success, remember that such comparisons are often based on others’ expectations, beliefs or biases, rather than reflecting your true capabilities or worth. Each person possesses unique strengths and abilities, and it’s up to you to define your own path and measure your own success. Seek support from trusted friends, family members or mental health professionals to build resilience and self-confidence in the face of negativity.

Sabre is shifting the conversation with stories from passionate and bold inclusion group members. At the heart of our inclusion & engagement efforts, our eight inclusion groups, and counting, aim to amplify the voices of our team members and create a sense of belonging for all. Together, we celebrate diversity, applaud individuality and embrace unique perspectives to empower our global team members to bring their true selves to work every day. Learn more about our inclusion & engagement mission.

about the author

Rency Mathew is a proud member of the Women’s Career Network (WCN) inclusion group at Sabre. She has continued to define her own path as Sr. Director People Business Partner.

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