Recently, I spoke on the Actionable Marketing podcast, where I spoke with Ben Sailer of CoSchedule.
We talked a lot about gender equity in the workplace (including what it means and why it's important), how those in marketing can help address gender equity, and I shared some practical tips on how you can strive for a more diverse place of business.
One of Ben's questions was if a CMO or marketing leader is concerned about gender equity within their organization, how I recommend that they begin to address the situation. For me, I could think of 3 ways - and I believe these apply regardless of function (marketing, sales, engineering, etc.)
1 - Build an enabling environment.
This is where Head of People Operations, and HR folks really shine, so as a Marketing Leader, I definitely start with them to see what their recommendations are. Outside of that, I would obviously allow employees the option to work from home and offer flexible hours, so that people can get their work done where and when it is most convenient for them. In many cases, the global pandemic forced this for many companies, but may employees appreciated this new level of autonomy, and I would advise employers to consider keeping these practices moving forward.
2 - Create inclusive hiring practices.
There are a few ways you can build in gender equity starting at the hiring level. First off, let's all agree to remove that degree requirement. We all know educational paths are not always linear, especially in business - I have a Bachelor in Fine Arts Degree. So unless you are hiring a lawyer or a doctor, get rid of the "related degree required" field, shall we?
Next, simplify the job requirements. When looking at a laundry list of job requirements, women will tend to apply to a job if they feel they have met 100% of the required skills, or experience, where men apply when they have 60%,
I would also encourage you to have a diverse interview panel when meeting with candidates: get opinions from different ages, ethnicities and gender to get a holistic view on the type of person you are hiring for.
Lastly, let's stop asking for salary history: this question unfairly penalizes women who are already affected by the gender pay gap, and is largely irrelevant to whether a candidate can get the job done, and done well. Chances are, you already have a budget for the hire: let's start there.
3. Focus on Results.
My last piece of advise to executives is to make sure that your team is constantly getting visibility for their achievements - especially the women on your team. This visibility will help when promotion time comes around, some women tend to need more coaching or don’t feel like they should "show off," by sharing with the team their latest accomplishments.
For more insights around gender equity in the workplace, listen to the Actionable Marketing Podcast episode here.
Shortly after graduation, an opportunity came up for me to take on a management role. I was drowning in work and it was for an intern at the time, but I suddenly realized I didn't know much about managing.
I remember asking an old professor of mine if he could recommend any good books about management. He promptly said no. As with doing most things for the first time, I sensed it was best to just dive in.
Today, I've grown to have a team of my own and wanted to share the following if you are staring down your first management role to give you some guidance:
1. Manage Up (& down, eventually)
Managing up—or managing your boss—is another extremely important skill. Once you’ve decided you like this person enough during your interview to actually work with them every day, it’s actually your job to manage them.
This simply means prioritizing what to bring to their attention (hint: it’s not everything, and less is always more when it comes to details with executives) and how you communicate with them and manage their expectations. Schedule regular 1x1 time with them (weekly, if you can) and run through outstanding items that need their attention, and give a brief run down on what you are working on. This is more digestible than a series of emails over time on different topics.
Nailing this will ensure a successful working relationship, but you have to understand first how they operate.
2. Model the Leadership You Want to See
While managing up and seeing how your boss approaches leadership, you’ll learn throughout your career which kind of boss you want to be one day. How do they motivate you? What do you respect about them? What do you wish they did differently, and how can you try something else?
Your first boss is actually your first lesson in leadership. They model a leadership style that works for them, and it's up to you to decide what you want to replicate and disregard.
3. Make the Case: Ask for an Intern
If you have been working for a bit, feel a heavy workload some days and are feeling "stuck," I recommend looking into hiring an intern. If you've already asked for more help and have been told there's no budget to hire in your department, an intern would make a perfect fit. You'll gain management experience, help with your own work, as well as get the opportunity to coach and mentor someone else on their career path.
And who knows? At the end of their semester, you both may have done such incredible work that the company frees up budget to hire them on full time. This has happened to me and was how I got my first job, and I was able to hire one of my interns full time at Affectiva.
The Bottom Line
We've all seen the required # of years "management experience" on our ideal job descriptions, but it can be challenging negotiating this experience if you are coming from entry level, or even a startup with not a lot of extra budget. But by taking notes from your supervisor, managing THEM, and requesting an intern to take on and grow, you are showing the kind of initiative that's incredibly valuable in executive leadership.
For more tips, checkout this LinkedIn article I wrote a while back on how to be a rockstar at work based on a lecture I gave at Tufts University.
I have been the acting Event Director for Young Women of Digital since January 2015. In that time, I've successfully planned, managed and executed about eight large events. If you think of the amount of time that you invest into making each event a success - that's huge. That's eight groups of speakers, eight electronic invites, eight banner designs and day-of coordination.
While there's no blog post that can really teach you how to pull off a successful event (I'm a firm believer in doing: host an event, and learn from it so you can be better), I wanted to give you some tips on things I've learned along the way.
Events Management 101
1) It's all about the plan. Before you even get started, take a minute to lay out all the items you need in order to accomplish a successful event. Some of the basics include a venue, event date and time, topic & speakers, goal of event, etc. You'll need to cross coordinate to make sure the venue can accommodate the number of attendees you'll want, and if all speakers can attend on the date your venue has provided availability.
Having a coherent plan in place will act as a reference document to keep you grounded during the entire planning process. Use it as a resource to keep notes, manage to-do's, share with team members, and collaborate on what needs to get done by when.
2) Promote, promote, promote. Once you determine the topic, you'll have an idea of who you want to attend your event. Then look for where that audience lives. Whether it's a database of email contacts or a community of social media, find the best channel to promote your event. If your company is speaking somewhere where your ideal attendee lives, ask them to mention the event. Send a series of emails - spaced moderately apart so as not to spam / annoy people - and reminder emails for the day before to stay top of mind and grab last-minute signups.
3) Anticipate EVERYTHING. You can't always see into the future, but things will go wrong. Your job as events manager is to put out fires when they occur. It sounds dismal, but think about absolutely everything that could go wrong and have a backup plan in place. Maybe it's as simple as having backup computer chargers for the presentation laptop, or having printouts of the guest list if the checkin iPad isn't working, or no one told venue security you were having an event.
I have a huge list of things that could go wrong - and I've created this list due to past bad experiences of "I wish I had thought of..." You need to know and accept the fact now that no event goes off 100% hitch-proof: your job is to make attendees never know the difference.
4) Day-of Point Person. Also manager of the event, there is no job that is beneath you. Once all the big stuff is handled, you jump in where you are needed or grab another member of your team to help out. If that means you jump behind the bar to help pour drinks for the growing attendee line, you do it. Be the person attendees feel comfortable approaching with questions, or if any issues arise, be confident in your solutions to them. You can do this, and you need to assure others you can, too.
5) Debrief. This is arguably the most important part of any event. Immediately after or the next day while the event is fresh, make a huge list of everything that worked well and what didn't work well. This will be your growing list of learnings that you will revisit when you need to plan your next event, and be the greatest tool in your arsenal for putting out those future fires.
I hope that these tips help you plan your next event, or make you feel a little more comfortable about it. If all those logistics make your head spin and nauseas with fear, let's talk - I may be able to help plan your next event!
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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