Felice Gray-Kemp is Deputy General Counsel of Amphenol Corporation, a Fortune 500 electronics manufacturer for which she and her team provide global legal support for all matters globally. Prior to joining Amphenol, Felice held several legal leadership roles at Chemtura Corporation, Honeywell International, and United Technologies Corporation. While at UTC, Felice co-founded the Aurora Women and Girls Foundation with a group of dynamic, accomplished women who serve as her mentors to this day.
Felice is a New Bern, NC and Long Beach, NY native who came to Connecticut in 1987 to obtain her B.A. in English from Yale University. She has considered Connecticut her home ever since. She received her J.D. from the University of Connecticut and an LL.M. in taxation from Boston University.
Who is one woman that has made a difference to you and why?
Of course, I would have to say my mother. She is my template for enduring strength, creativity and resilience. She met my father at age 13 and was married and a mother in her twenties. She was my parent, best friend, supporter, and coach. Over the years, the relationship has evolved from me being an adoring fan who thought Mommy was a superhero, to bratty teenager to a woman with my own child who has a fresh appreciation for the sacrifice and devotion that she showed me. I come from a line of strong, no-nonsense women with incredibly generous and self-sacrificing spirits.
If you could sum up your life philosophy is one sentence, what would it be?
Never look back in regret, only forward in hope and wisdom that the lessons of the past will provide the road map for success in the present and future.
Looking back on your own leadership path, what advice would you share with younger women today?
Find your authentic voice--what works for you, keeps you grounded and true to yourself. It is the voice that guides you so that you think and do things in a manner of which those who came before and after you would be proud. Don't try to be someone else. That job is taken. Be the most authentic, turned on about life person you can be.
That comes with knowing what you want. In the din of the world telling you what you want or should want, come to know yourself well enough to separate the noise from the truth. Then, experiences, relationships, jobs, will all feel natural rather than forced; things to celebrate rather than tolerate. The energy that you would otherwise expend into forcing a fit into others' idealized versions of who you are and what you should be is then transferred to the truth and joy of being who YOU want to be.
To the extent the person you want to be is a positive, open person (even open to being proven wrong sometimes), you will attract more good experiences and people to share life's ups and downs with. That will help you build confidence not only in yourself but the goodness of others---because we need others, like it or not. There is not one good thing that any of us have or did alone.
That confidence and positivity will be your sword and shield when you have to speak truth to power (including to your subordinates, who you will find have a power of their own) or otherwise experience self-doubt. But the confidence cannot extend into arrogance; a negativity that will distract everyone, including you, from achieving your personal and career goals.
Work life balance is often illusory. I think of it as more of a see-saw of work-life integration. You cannot have it all at the same time. We must prioritize.
Outsource what you comfortably can to save your time for what matters most to you and others whom you care about.
Sometimes leading is best done by either doing nothing or following; letting others "step up." Wonder Woman is a comic book character. Let's just aim to be wonderful women.
What is your favorite quote by a woman?
“I can show you better than I can tell you.”
This is a complex saying by my grandmother, Bessie V. Dobbins. She was a domestic by profession, but also an entrepreneur. Among other things, she sold Avon and was among the top 10% of sales in the North Carolina county in which I grew up. She was a consummate networker and, had she been born in a different time would have been honored by others more frequently than I.
The quote means "my actions will tell the truth with a level of specificity and consistency that my words cannot." It also can serve as a slight threat, "If you jump on that couch one more time....well, I can show you better than I can tell you...."
Interview by Kate Farrar, CWEALF Special Events Coordinator
By CWEALF at 17 Aug 2015, 14:49 PM
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