I'm going to get personal for a minute here. In this job market, it's important to understand what value you bring to potential employers, and to always be iterating on your personal value propositions.
Given the guest lecture series I give at Tufts and Boston University bi-annually, I thought it would be a helpful exercise to look at my background and distill how I would approach the marketing of "me." Hopefully you can take some of these items and see how this framework might apply to your next role.
Who Am I?
Ashley (Osgood) McManus is an experienced marketing professional with a track record of driving growth for startups and established businesses. As a VP of Marketing, Ashley brings a unique set of skills and qualities that can help a tech startup CEO take their company to the next level.
Here are some reasons why a tech startup CEO might want to hire Ashley as their remote VP of marketing:
1- Proven Track Record
Ashley has a proven track record of success in marketing. She has worked with companies in a variety of industries, from SaaS and eCommerce to consumer products and health and wellness. She has consistently delivered results, helping companies increase their revenue, drive more traffic to their websites, and build strong brands. A startup CEO can feel confident in Ashley's ability to create and execute marketing strategies that will help their company grow.
2 - Experience with Startups
Ashley has experience working with startups and understands the unique challenges that they face. She knows how to work with limited budgets and resources to create effective marketing campaigns that deliver results. She also understands the importance of agility and adaptability in a startup environment, and can help a CEO pivot their marketing strategy as needed.
3 - Strong Leadership Skills
As a remote VP of Marketing, Ashley will need to work closely with a team of marketers and other professionals. She has strong leadership skills and can motivate and inspire a team to achieve their goals. She is also an effective communicator, able to clearly and concisely convey complex ideas and strategies to stakeholders at all levels of the organization.
On a personal note, becoming a mom has been one of the greatest leadership challenges: if you can get 2 children, ages 6 and 3, up and ready by yourself in the morning and dropped off to school (especially if they do not want to go), this is the demonstrates the epitome of leadership, negotiation and persuasive skills!
4 - Strategic Thinker
Ashley is a strategic thinker who can help a CEO develop and execute a comprehensive marketing strategy. She can identify new market opportunities and create campaigns that target specific customer segments. She is also skilled at analyzing data and using insights to optimize campaigns and improve ROI and identify where marketing has the most impact.
5 - Creative Problem Solver
Startups often face unique challenges that require creative solutions. Ashley is a creative problem solver who can think outside the box and come up with innovative ideas to help a startup overcome obstacles. She can also help a CEO develop a strong brand identity and create marketing campaigns that stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Overall, Ashley McManus brings a wealth of experience, leadership, and strategic thinking to the role of remote VP of Marketing. Her track record of success, experience with startups, and strong leadership and communication skills make her an excellent choice for a tech startup CEO looking to take their company's marketing to the next level.
Interested in learning more? Let's talk.
4 Hidden Costs of Return-to-Office Mandates: Why Employee Freedom is Key to Success
The COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of people to work from home, creating a paradigm shift in the way work is done. The shift resulted in a noticeable increase in productivity, and employees worldwide benefited from the flexibility that comes with working remotely. However, as vaccination rates increase and the pandemic becomes less of a threat, many companies are calling employees back to the office.
While many people welcome the return to the office, others are fighting back against the new mandate. One group that is speaking out is working mothers of young children: myself included in that group.
Here are 4 reasons why mandating employees return to the office not only doesn't work, but may discriminate against working mothers of young children:
#1 Productivity is better when working remotely
Numerous studies show that working from home can increase productivity. Employees can work in a more comfortable environment, with fewer distractions than in the office. Remote work is less stressful and more accommodating to personal schedules, enabling workers to maintain a better work-life balance.
#2 Discrimination against working mothers
Requiring employees to return to the office may discriminate against working mothers of young children. When children were forced to learn from home, working mothers had to juggle work, homeschooling, and household responsibilities.
When the pandemic forced remote work, these mothers found relief in being able to work from home while caring for their children. Requiring them to return to the office would mean they would need to hire additional childcare to accommodate school bus pickups and drop offs, which is expensive and may not always be possible - especially finding someone trustworthy and reliable when family is not nearby. Companies that don't provide accommodations for working mothers may risk losing valuable, diverse talent from this group of multi-tasking, creative ninjas.
The shift to remote work has provided employees with the flexibility they need to work around their personal schedules. This include but are not limited to car maintenance, meal prep, dentist and doctor's appointments (for self and each child), and even - gasp - being able to exercise!
Requiring employees to return to the office could remove this flexibility, and arguably the time moms so desperately needed for self care, leading to resentment among workers who are now used to, and are just as productive, working from home.
Costs and commute
Working from home has allowed employees to save on commuting costs, and many companies have saved on office rent. Returning to the office would mean that employees would have to bear the cost of commuting, from the high price of gas and time wasted in traffic to the daily cost of train fare and lot parking - not to mention accounting for train delays and cancellations.
Personal family situations have also evolved during the past three years: perhaps there is only one family car that has car seats to pick up children - how is a 2nd parent able to pick up the kids if the first parent must be in an office until 5pm? Then employees could be saddled with an additional car purchase, monthly payment and insurance increase. Without a salary increase following a mandate, this would be a difficult change for working parents to accommodate.
The Bottom Line
Mandating employees to return to the office may not be the best decision for many employees, particularly working mothers of young children. The shift to remote work has provided employees with greater productivity and flexibility, and it would be a mistake to remove these benefits. Companies that insist on a return to the office without considering the needs of their employees risk losing valuable talent, especially among the rockstars that are working mothers.
Are you ready to move on? Check out this interview guide to get organized.
If you know someone who was recently laid off, it's one thing to feel bad for them. Its another to offer to help.
Not only can you offer to put them in touch with your network, or someone you know is hiring - but if you worked closely with the person, one way you can really help them is to write a LinkedIn recommendation highlighting their strengths to help them get their next role.
If you find yourself staring at a blank screen - especially if you aren't a writer to begin with - this can be intimidating. Here are the steps that I follow, and it does take a little bit of time - but it's worth it. So I'll walk you through it:
1 - Set the stage: how did you work together?
This just provides a bit of context on how you know this person and how you worked together: think of it as an introduction before you dive right into how awesome they are. Did they report to you? How did you work together? Did you collaborate on a specific project? How long did you know them or work together for?
2 - Ask them what you would like them to highlight
It's perfectly valid to ask the person what specifically they'd like you to highlight. If they asked you to write the recommendation, see what they'd like you to focus on...for example, if they had a sales role but want to transition to more of a customer service position, stress their skill in dealing with clients using examples. As part of this, ask if there are 3-5 bullets they'd like you to focus on as something you can reference while writing your recommendation. That way, you have some guidance on what to write, and you know you are writing something that will be helpful to them. Everyone wins :)
3 - Add a personal touch
I like to end each recommendation with a personal note: sometimes it is an opportunity to show potential employers their personality a bit, which is always difficult to understand especially when determining a cultural fit. Something like, "on a personal note, Sam has a great sense of humor and I have really enjoyed working with him every day. He would make a great asset to any organization" This gives them a feel-good compliment while adding a more human layer to their qualifications.
The Bottom Line
It's important to keep your LinkedIn profile updated, and the best thing you can do for a coworker who has lost their job is to offer to write a recommendation for them. It doesn't have to be a book, but should be a thoughtful few sentences to help position them favorably for their next position.
I'm a motivated, self-starting marketer and working mom looking to make a difference in the world - one story at a time.
Let's get you set up for success!
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