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Celebrating Black Excellence: Twin Sisters Shining Bright

Q&A - Two Sisters Working to Uplift the Black Experience at Gen

Celebrating Black Excellence: Twin Sisters Shining Bright

Q&A - Two Sisters Working to Uplift the Black Experience at Gen

Published 03-14-24

Submitted by Gen

Meshawn Woods and LeShawn Parrish walking outside.

Gen Blog | People & Impact

By Alisha Robinson Brand & Social Media Manager

In celebration of Black History Month, we turn the spotlight on Meshawn Woods and LeShawn Parrish; the twin sisters have worked for the company for more than 15 years.

Growing up in Tucson, Arizona, the two never imagined they would enter the world of cybersecurity. (Fun fact: LeShawn actually wanted to go into sports medicine after running track in high school. It didn’t come to fruition – lucky for us. :))

Their bond meant that they would always look out for one another. And when opportunities arose, they had each other on speed dial.

Now, the ladies commute together to work. They often attend kickoff calls together. Their jobs intersect and intertwine. As Black Genovators and POWER Champions, their story embodies the importance of family, community, lifting up others and always striving for better.

Enjoy a bit of their story and their rise to leadership roles.

Q – How long have you both worked at Gen and who started working here first?

MeShawn: I started working here first. I started on November 17, 2007, in member services. This was my first corporate job. At the time, my sister worked at a different company, and I told her “Hey, this company is great, you should really come over.” And a few months later, she was here with me.

LeShawn: My start date was May 5, 2008. She had been telling me for months to join, and I finally did. And I'm glad it did. I also started in Customer Support and Inside Sales (CSIS), as a phone agent.

Q – How did you start climbing the corporate ladder?

MeShawn: So, I started helping another department. I saw my sister doing things, and I was like, “Oh, I want to try that out, too.” I started working with our billing/finance department, and then I got hired for a full-time position. And I kept moving up within there. Three to four years later, a temporary marketing position in the sales organization popped up. Just a couple of months in and they did not want me to leave. So, I got hired on in a permanent role. Without marketing experience, I was able to learn on the job. I absorbed everything and did some training on my own to make sure I was up to speed. I kept working hard, working as an individual contributor all the way to now – I’m a senior manager, and I manage the partner campaigns and sales enablement teams for the Americas.

LeShawn: For me, as soon as my son hit kindergarten, I took advantage of what used to be called the “passport program,” where you could go to other departments from the support team, and you could apply for positions in other departments. They would give you, 90 days, just to see if that was a good fit for you. And it ended up being a really good fit.

There was a need for someone to know the ins and outs of our operations, including back-end operations for our sales team. And I just made it my business to understand everything. I never stopped learning. I was very collaborative. And when a leadership position opened up, and I was asked to take it on. But because I made it my business to keep learning, I was actually the perfect candidate for this.

I worked my way from a sales operation agent up to manager. Now, I’m the director of Sales Operations and the Deal Desk team for the Americas.

Meshawn Woods and LeShawn Parrish as kids by a christmas tree.

Q – You’ve been here 15+ years. What makes you stay?

MeShawn: After 5 years of working here, I needed a challenge. Instead of looking outside, like most people do, first, I looked inside. I've switched my job and department completely. I've done a lot of different things within this organization. People tend to leave because they're not taking on different opportunities, asking to learn new skills or volunteering to do different things outside of their scope. If there are opportunities to do something different and learn from a different team, take it!

Q – How did you first become involved in POWER, our employee resource group? 

LeShawn: Our DEI department gave me the opportunity to participate in a Black leadership program by McKinsey in late 2020. I enjoyed getting a chance to talk with other Black professionals. After that, I realized how much I enjoyed and missed the fellowship.

After expressing this to our DEI leads at the time, they asked if I was interested in championing a Black resource group. And because I felt like I was missing something, I decided to take on the challenge.

So, I brought in my sister, and then also Syreeta McAuley, who we’ve worked with for years. And the rest is history, we’ve been doing it ever since.

Q – Can you talk about your experience as a Black Genovator?

LeShawn: I’ve always felt like I can be myself. I've never felt like I've had to hide who I am or mute myself. I can speak the same way I would speak to my sister to my coworkers.

MeShawn: I feel like there’s always an opportunity to continue to improve and to grow in your career here. I don't feel mundane. I don't feel bored. We're an innovative company. There are always new products. There are always new features. And it’s also about what we do as well … we're helping to protect people's identities and privacy. This is the work that makes you feel good about what you’re doing. You’re able to make a difference.

Q – How do you want Gen to honor Black history?

LeShawn: For me, honoring our history is important, and that goes along with how we’re able to lift others up, too. I think about how we can support and grow diversity at Gen. That means creating more pathways for people, like working with schools to hire Black interns. We could ask Black employees if they have a mentee who needs an opportunity; chances are they have someone in their network who just needs a shot. These are the types of conversations we’re already having within POWER, and we hope to bring them to life.

Q – What would you like to tell Black Genovators or future Black Genovators joining our team? 

MeShawn: Know your business. Network within the company. Don't be afraid to ask any questions. Reach out to POWER members who are in different parts of the company – we're here to help support you. We have lots of connections with organizations, both internally and externally.

LeShawn: For current employees, take advantage of POWER. It’s a place to give you the confidence you need to go out and ask for what you want. If you need a place to speak freely, we have those kinds of sessions. For prospects, reach out to us on LinkedIn if you have questions. And if you're worried about coming into a space where you're not going to have people surrounding you who look like you, we do have a community here to support you.

Join us in applauding MeShawn and LeShawn on their 15-year journey. Let’s celebrate their contributions and learn from their story. Siblings or not, we can motivate one another, support each other and uplift others whenever we have a chance.

Congratulations to the sisters on all their hard-earned success. Wishing you many more years at Gen.

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Gen (NASDAQ: GEN) is a global company dedicated to powering Digital Freedom through its trusted Cyber Safety brands, Norton, Avast, LifeLock, Avira, AVG, ReputationDefender and CCleaner. There's a new generation, and it's not Gen X, Y, or Z. It's Gen D: Generation Digital. Gen's family of consumer brands is rooted in providing safety for the first digital generations. Now, Gen empowers people to live their digital lives safely, privately, and confidently today and for generations to come. Gen brings award-winning products and services in cybersecurity, online privacy and identity protection to more than 500 million users in more than 150 countries. Learn more at

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