She’s Not Strategic, the sequel: Women are over-mentored and under-sponsored
Hundreds of women and dozens of men have reached out since I published The Real Reason Women Aren’t Getting Ahead In Tech: She’s Not Strategic. It’s been bittersweet. I’m humbled, but it’s disheartening to know so many people felt like it was written about them and their careers.
The comments that hit me in the gut:
“You know that chilling feeling where you’re about to tear up because something is so painfully true? For me (and the friend that forwarded it to me), that was the para on ‘only time…
Before I explain “She’s not strategic,” I’d like to give you a bit of background. I’m 38 years old and a two-time CMO for tech companies. I’ve joined five startups so far and held leadership positions at four of them. Along the way, I’ve had three children, and in my child-bearing years advocated for how to make tech family-friendly, how to handle exec pregnancies with “Oh sh*t! Your top female talent is pregnant, and my perspective on how to address the leadership gap: The Women In Tech Convo Needs More Men.
As my hair stylist starts to address the beginning…
As a female tech leader who advocates for equality, I’ve noticed some things about my conduct lately that are questionable.
I’ve noticed four distinct shortcomings I have that keep women from becoming equal to men. Like anyone else, I prefer to believe I’m perfect…but the truth is, I’m flawed.
Regardless, I truly want equality. In addition to seeing judging other’s actions and what contributes to the problem vs. solution, I have to continually look at my own actions. And I’m not proud of these, but if I build awareness within myself, and change, maybe others will too.
Here it goes:
Being the Commander in Chief isn’t an easy gig. I’ve looked up and watched great CEOs shoulder the burden of the whole company. It’s hard not to spread yourself too thin when there are so many things that need doing and improving.
Honestly, it looks like a really lonely job. Trying to figure out how to prioritize what needs the most attention, when, while having to present yourself like you have all the answers. Because you’re THE leader, and you’re supposed to have all the answers. …
Ugh. That title! I wrote it and it makes me see red. Like we’re damsels in distress, waiting for our knight in shining armor to arrive and save us.
Alas, it’s true.
Here’s the deal: Things aren’t changing fast enough. Simply put, there aren’t enough women at the top to create a meaningful change. We’re not moving past the 30% mark; there’s even indication we’re regressing. The conversation is everywhere, but the change is not.
When I was interviewing at Drift, I fell completely in love with the vision. I wanted in so badly I could taste it. But there were two things giving me pause. And one of them was only 6 months old.
Drift only had about 13 employees, and everything I knew told me that I wasn’t going to be able to take on a big role at a startup at my life stage.
I remember talking to David Cancel and saying, “I’m worried we have a company stage/my life stage mismatch.” It was depressing. He said, “We understand. We want you…
I’m on a mission to create a simple message that a 13-year-old could understand.
Why 13? They’re advanced enough to understand the tech world, but they are not immersed in it. They’re not groomed to consume technology marketing information in certain ways. They’re pure sounding boards.
For the majority of my career, I’ve marketed technical products to technical buyers. At Drift, it’s the opposite.
This means my go-to words are basically useless. Our target audience does not care about these words: Agile, Interoperable, Resilient. They’re not valuable. So I’m throwing the skills out and starting from scratch.
I’m still testing…
To all my marketing tech vendors: Why can’t you just play nice with each other?
Seriously, my job is hard enough. It’s like there’s a new channel a day. We’ve got our blog, LinkedIn, Medium is the new hotness, Quibb is rising, Quora is steady, Facebook’s still in the game…and now there are a bazillion tech rating sites popping up. We need to be everywhere, and while we launch each new channel and start testing for performance and conversion, the CEO stink eye comes lurking asking me what’s working and what’s not.
This is actually harder than getting up and…
If you haven’t already, meet DJ Khaled. Producer, radio host, DJ, record exec, and all around winner. Recently upped his fame factor with amazing Snapchats about how to succeed when people don’t want you to. He references the uber “They” for everything:
So how do you succeed as a working mom of young kids when a new job, the startup rollercoaster, and sleep deprivation are against you? Those 3 factors are what don’t want me to win.
In tech, we’re witnessing the beginning of the turnaround. I think many companies do want women, including moms, to win and stay in…
If you’ve ever been told “Don’t be sensitive” or “You’re being too sensitive” this is for you.
Sensitivity is a beautiful thing, in life and at work. Sadly, while the word sensitive is a positive for parenting; it’s a negative for work.
Have you ever heard someone congratulated for their sensitivity at work?
Show me someone who has, and I’ll show you a liar.
Sensitive mothers are perceived as exemplary. They nurture, protect, sympathize and empathize. It’s one of the great maternal instincts.
Sensitive employees are perceived as weak. …
CMO @Starburst, former CMO Mirakl, VP, Mktg @Drift & VP, Product Mktg @Acquia. Love start-up culture and being SaaSy. Also love being a mom & wifey.