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There’s a photo of me at age 10: a nerdy kid with glasses, completely engrossed in one of those old-school gray Game Boys with the size and heft of a brick (it was the 90s).

Growing up, I preferred video games and Legos to Barbies and dress-up. I never played house, which is probably why I am defiantly undomestic to this day. Thankfully, I had no concept of technology or video games as a “boy thing,” so it’s completely unsurprising that I pivoted into technology sales as an adult.

Right now, there’s a floodlight shining on women in the workplace, with topics ranging from gender dynamics in meetings to balancing professional and personal lives and career advancement. Everyone is chiming in with their perspectives: lean in, play big, have it all, stay home with your kids, hire a nanny and focus on your career, etc.

But I don’t want to talk about any of that.

In this blog, I’m going to share five reasons why there has never been a better time to be a woman in tech and how you can apply these to reach your full potential:

Read more here.

Check out this Fortune article written by Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify about how more women leaders can instill confidence in the workplace.

 

One Factor That Should Never Define a Leader - Fortune

Interesting story about the importance of having a diverse team, to make sure that you continue to transparently hire the best people. I recommend reading the whole article, but if you don't have time, here's the gist! 

 

"If your candidates don’t get a chance to interact with women during the interview process, you don’t know what kind of comments they might make — and you might not know about the biases those comments reflect until it’s too late."

 

"Worse still, if your company lacks women, or people of color, or other groups who are historically targets for discrimination, it might mean you already have people like this on your team — even making hiring decisions. People who might not say out loud that they prefer not to work with a certain person — maybe even people who don’t consciously recognize their own biases at all, nor the way those biases influence their behavior."

 

To view the original article click here. Thanks to Roxann McGlumphy for sharing!

 

I’m a Woman in Tech, But Even I Didn’t “Get It” Until This Week

 

 

Me, female-foundering-it-up at the United Nations

After 10 years as a business owner, I encountered a specific kind of sexism this week that I’ve actually never come across before.

We were in the final stages of interviewing a dev candidate for a job at my startup, Edgar. He was a favorite — he’d aced several interviews already, and even worked alongside our team.

The only check mark left was the “culture fit” interview, which is always held by people outside the candidate’s department to make sure they would be an awesome personality fit for our entire team.

During the final interview, the candidate made some comments that made our team cringe. Comments about the interviewers’ appearance and intelligence (or lack thereof). The kind of inappropriate “jokes” that every woman has heard countless times and had to laugh off so not to stir the pot.

But this time, the women were the ones making the hiring decision. They vetoed the candidate, and he was out.

The thing that fascinates me most is that if we hadn’t held this interview with women, we never would have known that this was the type of workplace behavior he thought was appropriate — not until it was too late, anyway. We would have hired him.

His behavior wasn’t over the top. It wasn’t outrageous. For better or worse, people know better these days than to overtly express certain prejudices in a job interview — but they can really show them in the way they treat people. (Not many candidates will open with, “What’s with all these women in the workplace, right?”)

If your candidates don’t get a chance to interact with women during the interview process, you don’t know what kind of comments they might make — and you might not know about the biases those comments reflect until it’s too late. You might not know how they act toward women, or whether they take them (us) seriously.

Worse still, if your company lacks women, or people of color, or other groups who are historically targets for discrimination, it might mean you already have people like this on your team — even making hiring decisions. People who might not say out loud that they prefer not to work with a certain person — maybe even people who don’t consciously recognize their own biases at all, nor the way those biases influence their behavior.

Our team is ethnically diverse, and our leadership is predominantly female. This is something that’s happened organically by valuing raw talent, and by cultivating a company culture of kindness and openness.

So even though I always knew diversity was important, I really got it this week in a way I hadn’t necessarily in the past. Homogenous teams create a vicious cycle of homogeneity. Is a candidate uncomfortable around people who are gay? Older than they are, younger than they are? People of color? You might never know until they get a chance to interact with a variety of people — is that time going to come before or after that candidate is on your staff?

Please don’t take this article to mean that you should bring on a few token minorities you can trot out as part of some kind of tolerance test during your hiring process. It is, however, an invitation to examine your own team — to ask yourself whether you’re part of a system that encourages diversity, or one that perpetuates a cycle of sameness. What’s the makeup of the people who surround you, and in what direction does that culture encourage your business to grow?

I now understand better than ever why it is that the more diverse our team, the more diverse it will get — and that’s a trend I’m happy to continue. (And PS — we’re hiring.)

Sue Bostrom, former Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Cisco, joined Marketo’s Board of Directors in 2012. The headline of the press release read: “Experienced Marketing and Internet Visionary to Support Revenue Performance Management Leader’s Explosive Growth.”

 

Sue is one of the most influential women of her generation and has paved the way for many women in the industry. To earn the title ‘marketing and internet visionary’ is quite impressive; particularly for a woman who grew up the daughter of a farmer in suburban Chicago; whose parents only had a high school education. It’s no surprise that labels have never been something Sue paid much attention to. In fact, she encourages women in business steer clear of them.

 

“I was a first generation college graduate but no one in my family ever thought about it that way,” explains Sue. “There will be times in your life when you're given opportunity. You have two choices: embrace it with all the risks associated with it or move back into your comfort zone. My philosophy has been to run into the opportunity head on and see what happens.”

 

If you have ever had the pleasure to hear Sue speak on a panel or at a conference (click here to read how she was able to overcome the glass ceiling in her Keynote Speech at Marketo’s Summit in 2012) she has the ability to immediately make you feel at ease, the way you would if you were speaking with an old friend. Her genuine demeanor makes her relatable and likable. She combines wit and humor with passion, experience, credibility, and most importantly, confidence, which is not something that comes easily to most.

 

You’ve most likely heard the statistic “Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them.” (Mohr, 2014) I immediately thought of several instances when I didn’t bother applying for a job for that exact reason. I’ve had the opportunity to hear some amazing (and high profile) female leaders speak at our Marketing Nation Summit including Sue in 2012, and their messages have made a big impact on me and my confidence.

 

When asked how she has approached confidence in her career, Sue’s response was classic.

 

“I think to myself, ‘How would a guy approach this?’ Because they are usually more direct and ask for what they want or need” she said. “I figure the worst thing someone can do is tell me ‘no’ and I can survive that.”

 

She went on to give her advice about how women can advocate for themselves. “Be your own harshest critic when evaluating your performance, while also being your biggest fan,” she said. “That's where you gain confidence. When you're armed with that assessment, it's a matter of being direct and asking for what you need. That will make you feel valued, confident and motivated to do a good job.”

 

Besides learning how to be more self-aware, Sue attributes her confidence and success to her biggest role model, her mom, who unfortunately passed away when Sue was 20. She uses heroism to describe her.

 

“There were so many things about the way my mom led her life that have contributed to my ability to push myself to try to be great. She was a risk taker in her own way, she would take on controversial causes, advocate for equality…it had a huge impact on me.”

 

Sue’s mom wasn’t well traveled and spent most of her life in Chicago where she worked full time as an executive assistant while Sue was growing up. But that didn’t matter. She was always the member of their large, extended family who fought for what she believed in, whether that be voting for Kennedy while everyone else was supporting Nixon, or by opening her daughters’ eyes to racism at a time when this was rare.

 

“Never assume you aren't making a difference to the people you interact with,” Sue explained. “My mom’s ability to mold me the way she did in such a short period of time made me realize that.”

 

It is obvious from Sue’s laundry list of accolades, including making Fortune Magazine’s “5o Most Powerful Women in Business” in 2000, that she has not let hardships or risk of failure stand in her way. If anything, she seems to be motivated by them.

 

When she was accepted into Stanford Business School her dad had her uncle call her to discourage her from going. “Beware, sometimes the people that love you the most may discourage you the most…just because they are trying to protect you,” she said.

 

She attended Stanford anyway. Years later she found out her uncle’s concern wasn’t that she wasn’t capable, but that he had heard that Northwestern MBAs weren’t able to find jobs at the time, and he was also concerned about whether women would truly be accepted in the business world. He didn’t want to see her fail.

 

Her uncle now has a scrapbook of all her accomplishments and article clippings, which I can only imagine is the size of a dictionary.

 

With all of her success and notoriety in the technology industry, Sue still makes time to relax and enjoy the simpler things in life. As you can see from her LinkedIn she sits on several boards other than Marketo, including RocketFuel, ServiceNow, Varian Medical Systems and Cadence Design Systems. When asked what she does to relax and take a break from work she said, “There's nothing better than helping someone else to take you away from any troubles in your own life.”

 

She really enjoys her work with non-profit organizations like Stanford Children’s Hospital. She also loves immersing herself in what her kids are doing and helping them in their careers.

 

When she’s not reading the Wall Street Journal (hard copy preferred) to stay up on the latest and greatest in business or her personal favorite, autobiographies, Sue enjoys running, walking her dog, doing needlework, and most recently she and her husband are into Soul Cycle.

 

Sue has made it seem easy to have it all. Graduating from one of the most challenging business schools in the country, climbing her way up the corporate ladder to Executive Vice President and CMO of a $139 billion dollar company, having three kids and staying happily married for over 30 years -- all while maintaining a sense of humor, life balance, and being down-to-earth. My biggest takeaway from speaking with Sue is to never assume you aren’t capable of doing something because anything is possible.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on any of the topics discussed in this blog and I look forward to hearing from you!

If you have turned on the TV or gotten online this weekend you know the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage on Friday. You may think this is too divisive and sensitive (or irrelevant) of a topic to bring up in the Marketing Nation Community, but whether you agree with the decision or not, it brings up some topics pertinent to ‘Women in Business’ and the barriers, as well as progress, that have been made over the past century and a half.

 

Don’t misinterpret this as me saying the tumultuous path to marriage equality is synonymous with the inequalities of women in the workplace, but, at their core, they are both struggles for equality. Women’s equality, starting with suffrage has been an issue for over 150 years whereas the debate of same-sex marriage has been around for almost 50 years. Regardless of the issue, they are emotionally charged in different ways.

 

These civil rights movements and Marketing Nation Community share a foundation rooted in passion and motivation.

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo said, “If you can find something that you're really passionate about, whether you're a man or a woman comes a lot less into play. Passion is a gender-neutralizing force.”

 

What motivates you to log into the Marketo Community each day? Are you passionate about marketing? Or is it your passion for wanting to be better at your job or is it to help others? I’d say these are all reasons over 12K of our customers are active participants each month. I see this demonstrated by the camaraderie, bond and community (in the social sense) I witness at the Marketing Nation Summit each year.

 

If I had to guess, another key driver for participation in Community is to get involved (with a side of curiosity or even FOMO). As your Community Manager it is my job to create a vibrant online space for our customers to become better marketers and make them successful. It is also important (dare I say, a passion) to me to make sure our customers have the opportunity to get involved in conversations and programs that they are passionate about. Still, nothing is more valuable than the network Community provides to practioners to learn from one another.

So what is the point of bringing up emotionally and politically charged issues like these? Because the Marketing Nation’s purpose is much bigger than driving the professional success of our customers. It’s about creating a supportive environment to instigate change and make a tangible difference, in this case for women in technology—even if the change is small.

So in the spirit of change, of movement and of progress, here are 4 lessons from the path activists and supporters took toward winning marriage equality that we can incorporate into our organizations to make strides toward equality for women in the workplace:

 

  • Get people emotionally involved in a cause.
    • Why? Movements like gay marriage & women’s rights have huge Champions that everyone can relate to - Love & Equality.

 

  • Value and celebrate incremental change.
    • Why? The states that adopted marriage equality before it was law at a federal level were all little wins that have contributed to this bigger win, as did President Kennedy’s appointment of Eleanor Roosevelt as chairwoman of the Commission on the Status of Women in 1961.

 

  • Don’t give up.
    • Why? It took five years of lobbying by a stalwart city employee before the city of Berkeley, CA enacted the nation's first domestic partnership ordinance in 1984. This is just on example of the tireless efforts that have contributed to today’s news.

 

  • Realize that all types of freedom and equality are valuable to everyone.
    • Why? Women’s progress benefits everyone as does having a society that treats its citizens as equal before the law.

 

So I leave you with this: How can you include these lessons in your daily life, and practice them in the workplace? I’d love to hear what you think and how they work.

I recently was inspired by an article in USA Today written about Google and how the company attracted more women to this year's I/O conference compared to previous years. This change was led by one woman in their organization by the name of Natalie Vaillalobos. She was the Community Manager at the time, but had a strong passion for bringing together women in tech, so she decided to make it much more than a passion; she made it her full-time job.

 

USA Today explains that "After I/O, Villalobos talked her way into a new position as the company's women in technology advocate, charged year round at Google with raising the visibility of women and at I/O with making sure women are better represented in the audience and on stage."

 

In my past few years working at Marketo I have become more passionate about women's initiatives. This could be partly because I have been surrounded by so many talented women on a daily basis, partly because of the incredible line-up of keynote speakers we've had at our recent annual conferences, The Marketing Nation Summit, and partly because I've been lucky. Throughout my life I have been blessed with a lot of great mentors; professionally, while playing sports, and my biggest advocate and encouragement has come from my dad (who sent me the Google article by the way). With this positive reinforcement I have learned so many qualities that have made me a better employee and a better person, so I think it's important to give back and help others who haven't had these chances...yet.

 

A common misconception about being passionate around women's initiatives is that it comes from a negative place. If you don't know what I'm talking about, watch Emma Watson's HeforShe speech at the United Nations where she exquisitely explains this point: "...the more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realized that fighting for women's rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating." I strive to make a difference for my coworkers, future coworkers, and our customers. I want to help create an environment where women can learn how to be better at their jobs, and most importantly, feel welcome, confident, innovative, inspired, and supported. I don't view the lack of women showing up at major tech conferences as a problem, I view it as an opportunity.

 

One effort I've made towards helping women at Marketo is an internal program called Momentum that I pioneered with a group of my marketing colleagues last year. The group strives to increase the awareness of challenges that women face in the workplace, and to help enable and empower all individuals -- men and women-- to improve relationships and pursue their personal and professional goals. (Falls right in line with what my mentors have given me!)

 

So, how can we create more opportunity across our organizations and within our conferences for women? I think it starts with the Natalie Villalobos' of the world who are passionate about driving change. But don't take it from me...I asked some of Marketo's top female leaders to give you their tips for success, and this is what they came up with:

 

  1. When you spot good talent, offer these individuals opportunities or ask them to help on a special project.  It is important to give back and help when you can. - Heidi Bullock, VP Demand Generation
  2. Sponsor company-wide events on an annual basis to promote female networking and mentorship. - Helen Yu, Group Vice President
  3. Include male leaders into the initiatives, ask for their support and how they personally perceive the benefits of promoting women into conferences. You will be surprised by the answers. Some of them may relate to their daughters or wife and how they want them to be offered equal opportunities - Helene DO, VP Customer Success APAC
  4. Help connect women in your organization with people inside and outside the organization (men and women) who would be good connections for them. - Amy Guarino, VP, Marketo KK

 

These ideas are a great starting point for driving more women to events and into the right jobs. So, whether you take a page out of Google's book and provide childcare and mother's rooms at your next conference, or you create a slack community for women to network before the conference so when they arrive they already feel connected, the next step for women is ready and waiting for you!

 

Now, I want to ask YOU; the talented customers in our Community and ask that anyone with a passion around women in business (men and women) to contribute their thought leadership here. What can we do to support, encourage and develop female leadership and equality in the workplace? This blog is the first of a series of Women in Business blogs and I hope to see your ideas and posts soon!

 

Want to contribute? Click here to start write your first blog today!

 

*For future reference, to write a new post either click "Contribute to Blog" in the top right of this group or click "Blog Post" in the header above the activity feed.