Women have made amazing strides in the workplace — over the course of five years, the number of women in the C-suite grew from 17% to 21%, and women in SVP roles spiked from 23% to 28%. But women still have a long way to go, as the numbers imply that men still account for more than 70% of executive leadership. But we’re not here to call out all the statistics that highlight gender inequality; we’re here to celebrate International Women’s Day and discuss how to lift other women up. And to do that, we’re focusing on the positive.
“International Women's Day is a beacon — it’s a beacon of how far we've come, and how much further we need to go,” said Deanna Ransom, President and Executive Director of Women in Revenue. “But it is also a beacon of celebration. We must take those moments and be grateful and celebrate for where we are in the moment.”
To celebrate those achievements and learn how to support other women, the Demand Gen Report editorial team sat down with several successful women in martech and revenue to discuss their challenges, admire their progress and learn how they’re supporting other women. In addition to Ransom, the other contributors include:
- Tabitha Adams, Director of Performance Marketing, Analytics and Technology for Slalom;
- Sarah McConnell, VP of Marketing for Qualified;
- Kathryn Rose, Founder of GetWise; and
- Natalie Gullatt, Marketing Manager (Customer Marketing) for HubSpot and President of Black Marketers Association.
Demand Gen Report: What steps are you taking to support other women and help them succeed?
Tabitha Adams: I strongly believe in the power of coaching and mentorship at all levels to help other women succeed and feel supported in their careers. I volunteer as a mentor via Slalom and engage with other women in sales or marketing with Women in Revenue. I also look for opportunities to support women by regularly scheduling 15–30-minute meetings with new women in my LinkedIn network or at Slalom.
Natalie Gullatt: I work with a lot of women who will reach out to me and ask for informational interviews. In addition to kind of having those conversations, I'm in a historically black sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, and I work with them all the time to build up other women, even middle school and high school students. I'll mentor and guide them, give advice or have those informational interviews. For college students and postgraduates, I'll discuss MBA programs and talk about different resources. I do what I can on a 1:1 level on a broader scale, as well. I work with black women through Black Marketer’s Association of America, and I work with other women organizations as much as I can.
Kathryn Rose: Zig Ziglar famously said, ‘You can have everything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want.’ Anyone who knows me knows that I live by that credo — I am always lifting up, promoting and assisting others in their journeys.
DGR: As black women in a predominantly white male industry, what are some of the additional challenges you face?
Deanna Ransom: When I walk into the room, I am a black woman and that is a fully unified identity for me. As a black woman, I have faced everything from microaggressions to not-so-microaggressions — in a meeting, it was once said that my work product could not be equal to a colleague's because I was black. I have been treated less than and given a seat at a table but told basically to be quiet. This is real life experience. However, even in talking about these additional challenges, I would be remiss if I didn't say I've also had some amazing mentors and blessed opportunities, led global teams, grew multiple businesses and revenue and that I was able to do those things as a black woman.
Gullatt: Sometimes I face unrealistic expectations. I'll be expected to be 100% perfect at my role, where I see colleagues who are males — black and white — and women of different ethnicities who don’t always have those same expectations. Another challenge I face is having my voice heard because I’m too busy fighting to speak. And I’m usually fighting against men.
DGR: Why do we need more women in leadership?
Adams: Because it’s better that way! I think the strongest companies have a diverse leadership team to provide a variety of perspectives that influence both how the organizations show up with their customers and the internal processes a senior leadership team builds to support their employees. I also believe seeing female leaders in action is the quickest way to inspire other women in the organization and negate negative stereotypes about feminism in the workplace. Seeing females in leadership roles helps inspire more authenticity and confidence in other women across all levels.
Ransom: We need more women and women of color in leadership so that we can have diverse perspectives, thoughts, creativity and approaches to deliver the best outcomes. Yes, representation does matter; however, having more women and women of color in leadership when we have a very predominant female population seems like good business sense.
McConnell: This list could go on and on! But at the end of the day, representation matters. Starting from the beginning of your career, if you don’t see other women with a seat at the exec table, that impacts your perception of what you can achieve. That can have lasting impacts on your entire career. And as you progress in your career, having women in leadership to advocate for you, bounce ideas from, understand familial obligations matters and helps more women realize they can, and should, get a spot at the leadership table.
DGR: What’s the one piece of advice you have for your younger self?
Ransom: Trust yourself. Guidance and insight from others are important, but trusting yourself is invaluable and ensures that you're operating from a place that is congruent with who you are.
Adams: It’s more important to be authentic in the workplace than to mold yourself based off one person (one man’s) perspective or perception of what you should be like — it won’t always be easy, but you have more support than you realize!
Rose: I would tell myself to relax because things will all work out. It’s difficult when you cannot see around the next tree and the challenges you are facing but, if you stay true to yourself, your values and provide people with a helpful product or service, you will succeed.
McConnell: Speak up. Stop doubting your ideas and opinions. Even if they aren’t great, guess what? A whole lot of men out there have no problem sharing their ideas, great or mediocre, so don’t second guess yourself ever. And when you know an idea is great, fight for it. Put in the work to get the data you need to argue your case, and then speak up. It is the fastest way to learn and grow.
Gullatt: Don’t let imposter syndrome get to you — you’re amazing, and you’re great at what you do. Have a little more confidence. I hate to say have the confidence of a man, but have the competence of a man. Be a little delirious and oversell yourself because you tend to have a habit of underselling yourself, as most women do. If you feel that you’re overselling yourself, you’re probably right on the money.