Lead With Love: Navigating Difficult Situations and Cultivating a Culture That Enables Great Work

Last week, in honor of Women’s Empowerment Month, we had the opportunity to [virtually] sit down with Keisha Golding, Head of Community Belonging at Gap Inc. Keisha shares her career journey to her dream job, leading Community Belonging on the Equality and Belonging team at Gap Inc. – “a role where I have an opportunity to make an impact in underserved communities” – what true leadership looks like; and her greatest hope and advice for future leaders. 


Read the full story below: 


Please share a little about yourself. Where are you from? How did education shape your life? 

I currently lead Community Belonging on the Equality and Belonging team at Gap Inc. – it’s a role where I have an opportunity to make an impact in underserved communities. This position is a dream job for me as I’ve always wanted to level the playing field. As an immigrant and a woman of color, I quickly realized that the starting line for me and many others that look like me was further back. Though I didn’t intellectualize it at the moment, when I was younger, I would often think about where I would be if only I had the same circumstance or resources as others.  In my role and through the organization’s values, I’m able to play a small part in helping to level the field for the communities that need support.  


How did you find and navigate your career path in Equality & Belonging? 

I was fortunate to find my way into this role.  I spent my entire career in talent acquisition and never thought I could pivot out of a twenty-plus-year job in such a specialized function.  As I look back, I realize that the areas of my role I loved the most were guiding and uplifting my team and ensuring that they felt seen, heard, and celebrated. Building community, valuing differences, and advocating for people have always been the core of who I am. In many ways, this role feels incredibly natural though I still have so much to learn.


Please share your experiences as a BIPOC woman in leadership at a leading global company. 

It was never easy being the only Black woman on leadership teams; I had to actively practice using my voice while carefully positioning my ideas in a way that resonated with leaders. I’ve also been supported and sponsored by great leaders and allies, making it easier to find my unique voice.  


Who are women you look up to?

I look up to my mother as she’s navigated difficult circumstances throughout her life and still manages to have an unwavering love for all people. I look up to all women who overcome their fears, and tell their stories to encourage and support other women.


What do equity and equitable opportunities mean to you?

We need to examine what it means in each situation. It’s not just about every person getting the same resources; it’s about recognizing each person’s circumstance and giving that person the resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.    


What does SRA mean to you in terms of closing equity gaps?

Our partnership with SRA is an opportunity for us to offer students exposure and access. Creating paths to careers through programs that build knowledge and confidence.  


What does leadership mean to you? 

Leadership is about lifting all voices and empowering people at every level.  It’s not about dominating.  I think the best leaders are vulnerable and make many mistakes as leaders are curious and continuously pursue to make things better. I believe you have to break things to make them better. 


What is your greatest hope for women of the future / next generation? 

My greatest hope is that we can make a significant dent in our struggle for equal rights and that we raise a generation of women who never question their worth.  Not even for a second.  


Any advice for future leaders?

Lead with love. That’s the best leadership advice imparted to me, and it instantly helped me navigate difficult situations and cultivate a culture that enabled great work.