PROMOTE & AMPLIFY
Join |Get Involved
I remember asking, “Can a female professional be taken seriously if she doesn’t dye her hair?” I received mixed replies.
This was before the pandemic.
During our months at home, we all learned to make do. “Making do” meant different things to each of us. One of the things I gave up during this time was dying my hair. I never liked the chemicals or the time it took anyway. And, I realized, I need to prove to the women younger than myself and the girls of my daughter’s generation that authenticity is desirable and promotable.
Earlier this week, I was thinking about how feelings about authenticity change as you age, and I remembered a poem I wrote as a teenager:
The Facade Of A Smile
They don’t know me for what I am;
They look toward me only at the surface.
They see me for my smile;
Yet, they never ask what’s underneath.
I am consoled in, but I have no one to comfort me.
They don’t see me when I’m sad.
All they see is the mask which covers
The true feelings hidden deep inside.
The truth lacks the desire to be found;
It is happy where it is,
In the warmth of my mind,
Where it can grow without disturbances,
Making the mask of joy a little harder to wear,
Day after day.
I’ve always been a relatively joyful person, and I remember being surprised when this poem came out of my pen. Even reflecting on it now, I do not know if these were my true feelings or the feelings I believed I was supposed to have.
That’s the thing about authenticity. The moment you let your authentic self slip, it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s not.
For our children, for ourselves, let’s pledge to be our true authentic selves this year. After everything we’ve been through, we deserve to feel good being just who we are.
Last month, I created a Halloween costume for my six-year old son. I tried repeatedly to get him to choose something I could buy… but alas, the only thing he wanted to be was Heatblast from Ben 10. Never heard of Heatblast? Neither have most people, hence why I had to make versus buy the costume.
After a trip to Michaels, I found myself standing at the dining room table with fabric, a glue gun and a picture of Heatblast on my phone thinking, “I’m not this mom.” Many glue burns and three weekends later, my son had his Heatblast costume, he was very happy and I was proud that I’d stepped outside my comfort zone.
During the costume-making process, I shared my “not this mom” feelings with Women of Martech Executive Director, Melissa Ledesma, and she said to me, “You most certainly are that mom… the kind of mom that does what it takes to make your kids happy.”
Melissa was right, and she made me think about the excuses we give ourselves. “I’m not this mom” felt to me like a statement on my preference for professional life versus homemaker life. But the statement was also an excuse I used to allow myself to throw money at problems when I could. And, believing I wasn’t a certain kind of mom, was creating false limitations by letting me define what I couldn’t or shouldn’t do.
Since that conversation with Melissa, I’ve removed “I’m not this mom” from my vocabulary. Instead of telling myself what I’m not, I’m reminding myself what I am. I’m a woman who is proud of her professional and personal success. I’m a woman who recognizes her luck and taps into her ambition to get things done. I’m a woman who realizes when she has the power to create… and I will allow myself to create without excuses or apologies.
And yes, you ARE that mom too!
A year ago, we had an idea:
We believed that if more people knew more about the amazing women in martech and the incredible things they were doing… then more opportunities would become available to women. Thanks to the dedication of our members to share stories and amplify the voices within Women of Martech… it’s working!
Samantha Iodice secured a client as a result of the content she wrote for WOM being seen broadly.
Charlotte Gretter was approached by a conference regarding a speaking opportunity after her WOM Success Spotlight was published. (Learn more about Charlotte by listening to our first episode of Share Her Story, the new WOM podcast.)
WOM connected Brooke Bartos with Lead Generation World to potentially speak at the conference’s upcoming London show.
And, we have three WOM members from the Diversity & Equal Opportunity Committee speaking on an upcoming panel for ConsumerTrack, Inc. featuring the stories of women in business as part of the company’s ongoing DEI initiatives.
Visibility drives opportunity. Action drives results.
We are now, 830 strong. And people are taking notice.
Thank you to everyone who has been part of our success to date. To our members looking for more, help yourself and your fellow WOM members by sharing your success story or joining a committee. In addition to discovering new opportunities, you just might make some great new friends.
This July, I will be celebrating 19 years with my current employer, Catalina Marketing. During the two decades I’ve worked with Catalina Marketing, I have gradually worked my way up and across the ranks from individual contributor to having the privilege and responsibility of leading a variety of teams in Operations and Sales Support.
Like many women, at some point in my professional journey, I identified the VP title as my “dream role.” I knew that a VP role would be harder to attain because there would be fewer openings within a company that has a structure based on a limited number of VPs. Even after recognizing my journey could be a long one, I remained focused and ambitious.
At the end of 2020, my employer announced its intent to establish a Customer Success discipline within our Commercial organization, and the first step would be internally filling a VP position to establish and lead this new function. Essentially, the opportunity I was working so hard to capture, suddenly was right in front of me.
And then, while looking at the possibility of my “dream role” square in the eye, I paused and the questions started to churn.
I burned out for a variety of reasons 3 years ago. Can I better manage myself so I don’t hit a point of burnout again? I think so…I’ve learned a lot over the past couple years.
Do I really think I’m the best person for the job? I don’t know… I think I have strengths to bring to this role. Why don’t I just totally overthink it and create a 10 slide PowerPoint presentation to lay out my viewpoint on how I can drive customer success at Catalina.
How will I feel if I apply and don’t get the job? More importantly, how will I feel if I don’t even try?
After some debate with my own thoughts, I ultimately decided to apply. Not long after, I was offered the position, successfully securing a role I had aspired and worked to attain for years.
When email went out to the company announcing my promotion, I was overwhelmed and humbled at the reaction from coworkers. The messages that caught me off-guard were from fellow women “lifers’ who said they were proud of me. I realized that working my way up from an individual contributor in 2001 to a VP in 2020 was not only a success for me but encouraging for others as well.
My success was an affirmation that “lifers” could experience growth, recognition and professional excellence without moving from company to company. I share all of this, not to say how wonderful and deserving I am of this new role, but to give context for what happened next.
I freaked out.
Before I went to bed the day I was promoted, little doubts started creeping in.
You’ve never done Customer Success before. How do you plan to lead through this change?
There’s so much to do. Where are you going to start?
Wait…what??? You don’t even know where to start?
What about those people who said they were proud of you? What are they going to think when you fail? You’re going to make it harder for others to get promoted from within.
By the end of the first week, I was exhausted from the effort of trying to appear confident and competent through various meetings and conversations about my new role. I was so buried in self-doubt that I had no creative energy left to build anything. Which, of course, only escalated the voices in my head telling me I was going to fail and let all these people down.
Over the weekend, I was asking myself, “What is wrong with you? Why are you doing this to yourself?” So, like I do for every self-diagnosis, I Googled. After hitting search on “feeling not good enough at work,” the first article that came back mentioned this thing called “Imposter Syndrome.” It struck a chord, so I read. And I kept reading.
After about 30 minutes of scrolling through articles and LinkedIn posts about Imposter Syndrome, I was incredibly relieved. I wasn’t crazy! This happens to other people too! So, why was this the first time I heard about it?
Probably because part of the lie of Imposter Syndrome is that you can’t admit to it, because what if that negative voice is right?
Overall, just realizing that I wasn’t alone made me feel so much better. However, this isn’t a “diagnose and fix” kind of thing. I’ve struggled with this for years, and I will continue to, even now that I’ve achieved my “dream level” professionally. However, I did learn some strategies that I’ve started applying when I catch those doubts and insecurities building up again.
Recognizing negative thoughts for what they are and interrupting myself can keep that anxiety from building. One LinkedIn interview went so far as to name the nag inside her head, making it easier to talk back. I decided to name my nag Angie. “Wow. You didn’t think of that yet? Why don’t you have a plan for this? You have so many blind spots… WAIT. Angie, cut the crap.”
2. Reframe it.
Because “Angie” can make a pretty compelling case, it’s important to build a counterargument. “Right. I didn’t have a plan for this, and I do have blind spots. That’s why I’m building this new function out in the open, bringing in people who are closest to the work to help. I’ve led major changes to improve things for our customers before, and I will work to earn the trust of this team.”
3. Own it.
I’ve started to discuss these feelings with my inner circle. I’ve found that often, just airing out these sentiments helps me be more self-aware. When I encounter feelings of self-doubt, I actively remind myself of why I was chosen for this role. Maybe I wasn’t chosen for my Customer Success credentials (I’m building them as I go), but I have a proven track record of leading change with my company and I have also been passionate about being a culture carrier with various teams I’ve led, and those capabilities will be critical to our success with this transformation.
Another part of “owning it” for me, was hesitantly offering to write a first-hand testimonial on this topic when I was talking with Melissa Ledesma about how passionate I am about the WOM mission to amplify women in our industry. Her reaction confirmed that I am not alone, and it might be helpful for others to see that they’re not alone either.
In the words of Judy Blume, “Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.”
Women of Martech is 800 women strong and growing faster every day. Here’s a look at what’s ahead:
We’re launching a series of interviews this year that allow us to put a spotlight on the amazing women we’ve highlighted within Women of Martech Success Spotlights. These interviews let us learn more about the incredible women who make up Women of Martech and the greater martech industry. Recently, I conducted my first “Share Her Story” interview and had the chance to talk with Charlotte Gretter, head of martech for Omnicom Media Group, a true expert in her field. I can’t wait for our members to hear Charlotte’s story once the interview is edited.
I continue to be so impressed by the amazing women who represent the Women of Martech membership. During our 2021 membership survey, we asked people to describe professional successes from the past year, and the variety of achievements submitted was incredible, ranging from process to technology to team motivation and more. (Stay tuned for our report on that survey.)
Every time I look at this astounding group of women we have gathered, I am proud. Proud to be amongst you. Proud of everything we have accomplished to date and all the achievements yet to come. Proud to know we have assembled as a call to action to make a difference for ourselves and professional women of the future.
Thank you, Women of Martech members, for coming together to amplify our voices, our achievements, our amazing successes. Individually we are powerful. Together, we are changing our industry.
I cried today. It was approximately 11:45 am ET when I watched Kamala Harris sworn in as Vice President of the United States. My soon-to-be eight-year-old daughter was by my side. She understood my tears were of happiness. But to her, this inauguration was a non-event.
Eight-year-olds around America are growing up knowing that a woman can be vice president. Eight-year-olds around the country are watching glass ceilings shattered without having to see it as exceptional or extraordinary.
Because, for them, it’s just normal.
My daughter’s friend is hoping to become the first female president of America. I told my daughter that I hope her friend doesn’t succeed, and my daughter replied, “because we don’t want to wait that long for a female president.” My daughter believes all of the glass ceilings are in the process of being shattered right now, during her childhood. I hope and believe that she is right.
Recently, I cracked open a fortune cookie and pulled out a fortune that seemed to know its recipient:
It’s alright to have butterflies in your stomach.
Just get them to fly in formation.
I believe most of us often have butterflies, yet we believe success requires hiding those butterflies. But what if, instead, we embrace our butterflies and get them to become something beautiful.
According to the National Social Anxiety Center (ASAC), “the fear of public speaking is the most common phobia ahead of death, spiders or heights.” In fact, 73% of the U.S. population has glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking, according to ASAC, because we fear “judgment or negative evaluation by others.”
The “brain freeze” seems to be the greatest fear when it comes to public speaking. Though, for me personally, I fear quivering lips that prevent me from speaking clearly -- something I’ve struggled with while on stage since I had to recite poetry at the front of the classroom in grade school. I suspect many of us have our unique and hidden fears that we squash down before we get on stage.
According to ASAC, “focusing on and acting to conceal signs of social anxiety only exacerbates the anxiety.” Instead, “behavioral experiments” are recommended as a way to alleviate anxiety that can keep us from our highest levels of performance.
Behavior experiments let us test what happens when we don’t focus on or hide our nerves so we can find out:
When we realize that most people around us fear public speaking, we embrace our own fears as normal and we accept the possibility that our fears will show, we can learn to have our butterflies fly in formation.
Whether related to public speaking or any other action personally or professionally, authenticity is endearing. The people who show us their true selves and who take the time to connect with us and who offer us valuable insights are the people we want to listen to time and time again.
Executive women have proven themselves capable of breaking down the barriers and reaching the top of their organizations. However, the rate at which women are being promoted is far too slow.
Because women are still highly underrepresented in leadership roles in the martech industry, the growth potential for women in entry and mid-level positions in the industry is stalled. Women leaders need to lead from the front and strive to be open to, supportive of and collaborative with fellow women in the workplace. By emphasizing the importance of collaboration over competition and investing time in training, mentoring and personal development, female leaders can help women in the martech industry amplify their visibility and recognition.
One of the easiest ways executive women can be advocates for other women on their teams is to nominate them for Women of Martech (WOM) Success Spotlights. WOM Success Spotlights help WOM promote and amplify the experiences, contributions, successes, achievements and innovations of women in the martech industry. WOM aims to increase the recognition of the power of women and their contributions to innovate and move the martech industry forward.Click hereto nominate a woman on your team for a WOM Success Spotlight.
Whether in person or virtual, meetings are times when decisions are made, ideas are discussed and employees have opportunities to learn and increase their visibility. Not every meeting can have an open door to everyone. However, when appropriate, executive women in leadership roles have opportunities to elevate other women by including them as meeting participants.
Inviting women on your team to join you in more meetings is a great way to identify them as people with great promotable potential, providing them with opportunities to increase their exposure to other company leaders or industry partners and deepen their understanding of important topics and issues.
As women in entry, junior and mid-level positions seek out more responsibility and opportunities to shine, they may be great candidates to join you and take notes during various meetings, even if they cannot have speaking roles. Inclusion in meetings may also help women leaders foster professional cultures committed to inclusion, respect for ideas and diversity of thought.
As an executive, your time is likely spread very thin. However, if you have the opportunity to provide other women with helpful feedback, do it. Women in non-executive or non-leadership roles who are striving to improve their skills and enhance their positions often benefit greatly from direct feedback, encouragement and positive reinforcement. If you become aware of a woman who went the extra mile or had an incredible predictive week, take a moment to let her know you are aware of her good work. Also, if your schedule allows, connect with junior and mid-level female staff and provide them with tips on how they could improve their work. Likewise, if you become aware of a female team member’s goals or ambitions, try to provide her with an opportunity to pursue related tasks that may help accelerate her growth. Sometimes, even a small project could provide invaluable experience and exposure. Similarly, don’t wait until an employee’s annual review to provide helpful insight that could shape them to be a candidate for internal growth. If you do not have ample time to engage with the women on your teams, consider introducing these women to other leaders in the company to provide professional critiques and recommendations for improvement and growth.
Many women struggle to find a network of supportive women with whom they may openly discuss their goals and challenges. Access to sponsors and mentors are vital for career growth among women in martech. Sponsors, otherwise known as advocates, are simply individuals who are in a position to provide advancement opportunities and take action to do so. In a recent McKinsey study, 60% of female respondents said that, if they could relive their careers, they would actively seek out more sponsors. According to an article by Harvard Business Review (HBR), the issue of under-sponsorship is one contributing factor stalling the rate at which women are promoted to executive positions. The HBR article describes three ways executives could serve as sponsors for other women:
One of the easiest ways executive women can be advocates for other women on their teams is to nominate them for Women of Martech (WOM) Success Spotlights. WOM Success Spotlights help WOM promote and amplify the experiences, contributions, successes, achievements and innovations of women in the martech industry. WOM aims to increase the recognition of the power of women and their contributions to innovate and move the martech industry forward. Click here to nominate a woman on your team for a WOM Success Spotlight.
The modern job market has led many professionals to believe that, in order to gain visibility, recognition and advancement, their efforts would be best spent transitioning from one company to the next. However, according to a recent Women of Martech survey, many female professionals do not want to depart their current companies or roles. In fact, 47% of survey respondents claimed their professional goal for 2020 is to advance their positions at their current companies or organizations. Additionally, 57% of Women of Martech members who completed the survey agreed that furthering their positions in their current organizations would provide the most positive impacts for their career goals. Just over one-third of respondents claimed that a lack of visibility, confidence issues and under-representation of women in senior leadership were hindering their career advancement.
The National Bureau of Economic Research released a report in 2018 noting that, in a professional context, women are less likely than their male colleagues and counterparts to promote their abilities. A lack of personal amplification was found especially when women were told to evaluate their own performance. According to professional career counselors, many women feel that heavy self-promoting is a “masculine” way of doing things and “good girl” conditioning has reinforced negative sentiment around the way women discuss their successes and achievements. Some of the ways the discrepancy in the behaviors of men and women can be noted is through common language or verbal communication and physical body movements. For example, men tend to be more comfortable using the pronoun “I” when discussing their contributions and accomplishments, while women are more likely to use “we.” Similarly, it is not uncommon to find that a woman’s body language presents a more subdued projection compared to her male colleagues.
As women continue to navigate the road to advancement within the marketing technology industry or any other field, it is imperative that women identify the behaviors that could be holding them back subconsciously. There is a constant need for women to take note of their behaviors, habits and professional traits to amplify those that can help them gain positive visibility and recognition. During the Women of Martech virtual membership meeting on July 16th, Steering Committee leader Lauren Curler, VP, Account Director for the global agency MRM//McCann, described a few ways female professionals at all levels can amplify their presence, in person and virtually, during interactions taking place every day as part of their current roles.
Curler noted that internal company interactions give women more time to develop their professional brands and create positive impressions within their current roles. The time you spend interacting with your team and leaders creates an opportunity to enhance perceptions and reputations. Curler said, “The earliest impact I made in my career was becoming known for being prepared and getting to the answer quickly.” She explained that women should not feel the pressure to know everything, but they should be as prepared as possible.
Curler stressed that women should never underestimate the importance of being present and prepared. Whether they are participating in virtual discussions or in-person meetings, women should be aware that their body language is communicating active attention.
Avoid checking your phone or multi-tasking. Don’t sink into your seat or keep your head down. Make eye contact with the presenter or anyone speaking in the room. Even when attending virtual meetings, be sure to sustain eye contact with the camera. Being prepared for a meeting includes everything from being on time to knowing the topic or reason for the meeting to taking notes. According to an article from Harvard Business Review, your visual presentation and tone can help you appear present. Speak loudly and clear enough to be heard. Make sure your head and shoulders are in the frame of the video. Use a tone that commands respect, and don’t be afraid to be seen and heard.
Being present, both in person and virtually, also means being ready to contribute. During the Women of Martech virtual meeting, Curler mentioned the importance of capitalizing on the moment when “opportunity meets preparation” and speaking when it is appropriate. Although you may not have a speaking role at every meeting, if a woman has the chance to join the conversation and contribute, she needs to use it. Curler noted, “When you do enter the conversation, don’t undersell yourself.” According to Curler, many women use justification phrases like “It might just be me” or “I’m sure this isn’t right but…” Be confident when offering your insights and opinions, there is no shame in being knowledgeable. Author of We Should All Be Feminists Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie famously said, “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful.”
When entering the conversation, avoid language that could support uncertainty and doubt. Career Contessa, a career site created exclusively to offer tips to women recommends replacing the phrase "I feel like," with any of these phrases to promote expertise and assurance:
"I am confident that"
"My research has shown that"
"My experience tells me that"
Curler mentioned the importance of shifting vernacular to use inclusive and collaborative language when navigating through conversations. However, inclusive language does not mean discounting contributions. Instead, when engaging in internal discussions, work groups or meetings, take advantage of the opportunities to support other women in the room. Use phrases like, “I love that idea, I was thinking something like this...” or “That is a really good point, Jane was mentioning this recently.” Changing the way the approach is used when offering insights can help women feel more confident while also building in acknowledgement by offering micro-compliments that encourage others. Even when you disagree with a colleague, changing your language could alter the way you present yourself, and the way your message is received.
Not every meeting requires a presentation from every attendee. But, if you find yourself without a defined role, there may still be an opportunity to present yourself. It is simple, but many women overlook the power of the “ask.” Based on the results of three separate Harvard studies, one reason women typically are offered fewer opportunities in the workplace is because they do not ask for them. Volunteering for tasks and asking to be involved can positively position women and help them promote themselves to build visibility and gain recognition. Although you might not always get what you are asking for, by putting yourself out there, you are leaving the impression that you are interested, involved and willing to do more.
When reviewing how she encourages her team to elevate themselves, Curler said, “When they are not front and center in meetings or presentations, I encourage my team to find other ways to get involved.” She recommended that mid and entry level team members specifically ask to be involved in tasks like, presenting the latest case study at the next staff meeting or requesting a lead role in organizing an upcoming meeting. Curler also mentioned the importance of volunteering for non-speaking roles and asking to be involved in projects or tasks that need writing or content support. No matter what tasks you volunteer for, asking for the chance to do more can help you get positive attention from your supervisors and gain more recognition.
Amplification within a woman’s current role can be a positive factor towards career growth and advancement. During the Women of Martech virtual membership meeting, women leaders discussed amplification strategies for both internal and external promotion. To hear more insights, click here to become a member and watch the full recording.
According to a May article by Fortune reporter Emma Hinchliffe, “the number of women running America’s largest corporations has hit a new high.” As of this year’s report, 37 (or 7.4%) of Fortune 500 companies have female leads, up from 33 last year.
There are three ways to look at this news:
In just one year, the number of female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies grew by 12%.
100 years after the fight for female suffrage in America, more than 90% of our nation’s largest 500 corporations are run by men.
More than 50 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, there are still no black female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies.
In her article dedicated to the topic of female CEOs, Hinchliffe noted that there is very little diversity among the female leaders of Fortune 500 companies. Plus, only seven of the 37 women run companies within the Fortune 100 subset and several of the Fortune 500 CEOs are concentrated in retail “while female leadership among the Fortune 500’s tech companies remains rare.”
Looking at the first 13 of the 37 Fortune 500 female leaders (based on alphabetical order, scroll down for their profiles; subsequent posts will highlight the remaining 24 female leaders), I’ve identified five similarities across their stories:
Female Fortune 500 CEOs are authentically optimistic. Optimism and authenticity have been noted by many of the female Fortune 500 leaders as essential characteristics for success. The clear advice from female CEOs is to just be yourself.
Positive reactions to change often brought success for this group of female leaders. A focus on new ideas and innovations to evolve businesses or solve problems propelled many of the female Fortune 500 leaders forward in their careers.
These women are bold and courageous. Throughout their careers, Fortune 500 women CEOs capitalized on opportunities when the opportunities were presented to them, not when they felt fully equipped to tackle them.
They’re not afraid of technology. From AI to personalization to electric vehicles, women leaders are creating, enhancing and embracing sophisticated technology for all its worth.
Long tenures often resulted in positive growth. Many of the female Fortune 500 CEOs spent decades (if not their entire careers) at companies they are now leading. This fact is not meant to discourage job hopping, but more to realize job squatting has merits, too.
What similarities do you notice across the profiles of these 13 incredible women? Please share your thoughts, tagging Women of Martech using @Women Of Martech on LinkedIn and Facebook.
Click here to read the profiles of 13 incredible women leaders.
Professional resources | Member benefits | Get Involved | Insights
© Women of Martech.