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Dear Women of Martech members and allies,
Last week was hard for me, as I’m sure it was for many of you.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade is an action that has a direct impact on women and our ability to create the lives we want.
The Women of Martech mission is to get more women into leadership across marketing and technology. We do this by promoting and amplifying the experiences, contributions, successes, achievements and innovations of women in the martech industry, including actions tied to revenue, process and efficiency, diversity and inclusion and social responsibility.
Women of Martech will be amplifying the efforts our members take to act against the ban on choice.
Likewise, Women of Martech will be curating and promoting opportunities for our members to support women’s rights.
If you’re already taking action or you’ve discovered an impactful way to make a difference, please share those details in this form.
Women of Martech members, it is our job to lead the way, to set strong examples and to remove barriers slowing down our ascents. It is our job to pave the path to leadership – for ourselves and for those who follow.
President, Women of Martech
Written By Women of Martech Member: Jodi Susman
I have been meditating for the past few years and recently decided to take my practice further by enrolling in a meditation enrichment course from Chopra.
Within the first two months of the course, I was tasked with finding the silence and learning to be still with my thoughts. This allowed me to go deeper and think about answering the tough questions. What brings me joy? What is my purpose? How can I be my best self? Am I in the right work environment to bring out the best in me?
I have always been someone who pays attention to the signs around me. Often they are subtle, but I take these cues very seriously. Recently, several signs were telling me it was time to make a change in my professional life. I told my husband and daughters I was going to start putting feelers out into the universe for a position with a company that aligned with my values and enabled me to put my energy into doing some good for the world and cultivating positive change.
Simultaneously, I received an inbound opportunity via LinkedIn about a Marketing Executive position at a company whose mission resonated with me. I decided to go for it, and I put all my energy into pursuing this opportunity. It started with the internal recruiting rounds to truly understand the role and company and was followed by meetings with each stakeholder (COO, CEO, CRO, etc.) and an interview with a panel of direct reports who manage different groups at the company. Afterwards, I met with some of the team members in person, culminating with a two-part, 60-minute presentation to a panel of critical stakeholders across four different time zones. First, I talked about my experience building strategies to acquire global customers. During the second part, I got to talk about what I would do for them.
When the day came for my presentation, I found a note on my desk with wishes of good luck from my 13-year-old, which gave me a big confidence boost. My 15-year old couldn’t wait to hear how it went, and both kids showered me with “good luck” texts and hugs leading up to my interview and after it was completed.
“Mom, we are so proud of you!”
“Whatever happens, you did your best!”
“The rest is really out of your hands!”
The presentation was challenging. I had to think about myself as a leader inside their company and answer some tough questions. It required me to do some soul searching. How often do you think of how you would answer questions like, “What is your leadership style?” It’s easy to become so focused that you never look up to really evaluate, how am I inspiring others, what is my leadership approach, and how is my style fostering a positive work environment? But a bit of self-reflection and introspection can go a long way.
After the presentation, I felt re-energized.
After 30 candidates, I was one of the two finalists. The process dragged on. I was feeling hesitant. Did I want to end up in a company that was on the fence about me?
Fast forward a few weeks, I learned I did not get that job. I was disappointed. I felt like I had connected with the team, given it my all, and was ready for a new challenge in my professional career.
I asked my oldest if I let her down, and she said, “Mom, I’m so proud of you for going for it. You always tell me it’s about how you bounce back.” I talked to my youngest, who said the universe has other plans for me. “Mom, you are showing us that sometimes it’s okay to fall. You have to get back up and keep moving.” Teaching resilience to our kids is one of the most important lessons I could offer as a Mom. In this pandemic, and with so many other ups and downs, the ability to try new things and sometimes learn that they may not go your way is okay and part of life.
I am glad I went all-in and got to meet new people. The experience helped give me clarity, both about what I want in my career and what I want for myself. I am grateful for that opportunity. I am lucky to have a supportive husband and daughters who lifted me up when I was down and made me smile.
I have since moved on, and I am beyond thrilled to share that I started a CMO position at an energy-efficiency company where I will focus on building the brand's story and its impact on carbon footprint reduction. I set my intention to be part of a company making a difference and to join a team that shares my values of respect and work/life balance.
While it may sound anecdotal, the truth is: when something is right, you feel it. When I met the executive team in person, I knew it was the right fit for me. The leadership and team at this company made me immediately feel welcomed. When sharing ideas, I felt I could easily build and connect with the other executives and loved their humility, passion, drive, and style. Even my earliest interactions with them made me feel as though it was “we” and not “I.”
I cannot wait to dig in with this fantastic team. I have had the pleasure of meeting folks across the company and I feel very fortunate to be part of such a smart and thoughtful team. I am so incredibly excited to share that my role will not only challenge me and leverage my marketing and leadership skills, but also make an impact on the environment.
So here is my lesson and challenge to all Women of Martech members… Celebrate your wins and embrace your losses. Whether the hard lessons of falling by getting up stronger with your head held high. As Nelson Mandela said: “Do not judge me by my success. Judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
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.
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