At PVM, we know Senior Director of Operations Layne du Vivier as the glue that holds us all together and the person that makes things happen. Layne oversees our client accounts, capture, resource management, marketing, and business development departments. We sat down with Layne to talk about her journey to PVM, why diversity matters at PVM and how she embodies the company’s Challenge Accepted philosophy.
How did you discover PVM and what made you excited to want to work here?
I discovered PVM by searching for a new role to fill because I was coming up on the end of a contract working for the United States Postal Inspection Service as a government contractor. I worked directly with the Communications, Governance, and Strategy Division under Inspector in Charge Carroll Harris and worked with the Chief Postal Inspector, Gary Barksdale. Coming from a background in Federal Law Enforcement and Program Management, I wanted to continue to work on mission critical initiatives within the government serving the greater good. When I interviewed with PVM, it was evident that it was a diverse organization that was forward-thinking and inclusive that highly valued company culture, especially compared to others I had interviewed with. I wanted to work in an organization that embodied PVM’s culture. After the interview I reflected, “Those people were way too cool. I want to be a part of that team.” I didn’t want to work in an environment that did not value all that PVM values, including culture, integrity, diversity, and transparency.
Is there anything you would like to tell me about your professional journey as a woman working towards and being in a leadership role?
My undergraduate degree is in Geology with a focus in Volcanology (Aucanquilcha Volcanic Complex) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and I also recently received my MBA in Project and Operations Management while welcoming my first born as an addition to our family. I have never been one to move slowly or be sedentary for long. I love the feeling of educational achievement and a job well done.
Every stage of my professional journey has been in a male dominated field with a lack of female points of view and leadership. One of the biggest challenges I have faced is helping companies understand the need for different points of view to create positive friction points that allow for change, which ultimately allows a company to gain the upper hand on innovation in their market. In addition, I have learned many valuable lessons which include valuing diversity, culture and inclusion more than a high salary, prestigious title or and a corner office. I was very fortunate to have worked under a strong female leader, Susan Reisbord, that offered incredibly thoughtful advice in my earlier years, which helped me grow into the professional I am today.
Beyond lessons learned, I have also reflected on the women of previous generations who have fought for women to have a voice at the leadership table. I am incredibly grateful to those women and make it my personal mission to honor them in having a voice at the leadership table that is both thoughtful and passionate.
What is the best part of your job?
I find that I am a person with perspective who likes looking at the big picture. I have a knack for finding the frailty of most situations. I first learned this when I was a data analyst working in Corvallis, Oregon. The software developer who was developing tools to streamline workflows would always come to me to test his programs, because he knew that I would find some way to break the Graphical User Interface (GUI). I would always play with the different GUIs created to see how many ways a user could interpret its use and in doing so, found many flaws in need of rectification. I found a lot of fulfillment in identifying and correcting weaknesses.
The best part of my current position is improving processes and workflows to increase our overall efficiency. In the end, the leaner we are the more effective we become. Every time there is a new structure, a process or a new initiative that comes into the company, I'm thinking about how it’s going to affect everyone. Can we make it better? Is this the best way to implement this particular process? I love this because through thoughtful crafting, I help make people’s lives better and easier.
How have you seen the diversity of the PVM team make a difference in the way we solve challenges?
There isn’t one team in the PVM family that looks identical. Each team is unique, each team member is distinct, and each team member brings their own experience and their own personal point of view. Each member of the family has incredibly different backgrounds. When you put us all together, you get the best of the best. The varying points of view provide a unique flavor to problem solving that you only get at PVM. That doesn’t come from a homogeneous working group of like-minded talent.
Diversity and inclusion only make us better because they increase our understanding of challenges from more than one perspective. When we have teammates from varied backgrounds with alternative viewpoints and voices, we alleviate a lot of our blind spots and begin to realize the full potential of a team that can solve problems efficiently. PVM has built that into each individual team, and I think we’ve proven that we can come into the room and solve any challenge that’s thrown at us. That’s why Pat Mack’s company motto is “Challenge Accepted.” We walk into a room and can say, “I’ve got a team of superheroes. Which ones are best suited for this challenge?”
What does Challenge Accepted mean to you?
I feel like that has been a motto of mine since I came into this world because anytime someone has said, “you won’t be able to do that.” I strive to prove them wrong. “Challenge Accepted” to me is something that rings true to my very core and why I love being here. There is no challenge that is too big, too small, or too complicated for us to go and solve. Because at the end of the day, I hate using this statement because it’s so cliché, but we are making the world a better place. We are mission driven to improve people’s lives by helping them realize the potential of their data.