Why Startups Need Marketing Operations

by, Nicole Beckerman — Every startup has to sell its product or service to survive. Yet startups often find themselves using ad hoc tactics and experimenting on the fly with sales and marketing tools that are merely getting them through another day.

To scale successfully, a startup needs not only a marketing plan but a tactical set of marketing tools that are managed by subject matter experts: Marketing Operations.

What is Marketing Operations?

Broadly speaking, Marketing Operations manages the technologies, tools, digital assets, data, services, and resources that a company uses to perform marketing efforts. Marketing Operations as a functional area is still emerging, and as such, it is continuing to evolve and may look different from company to company.

For most organizations, Marketing Operations responsibilities include:

  • Deploying information and assets across marketing and product teams, related departments, business units, and external agencies.
  • Aligning resources to maintain consistency, manage creative review & approvals in a single source, provide compliance & audit tools, and manage asset lifecycles from ideation to preservation.
  • Optimizing efficiencies across technology investments.
  • Partnering with IT to provide security and environment oversight.

As a formal function, Marketing Operations first caught on in larger companies who needed to wrangle dozens of marketing cloud services, software solutions, and tools to work together. These typically included social media tools, marketing automation, CRM software, content management solutions, digital asset management, analytics & reporting tools etc.

As an example, Cisco’s marketing stack is a complex ecosystem of 39 different technologies. A startup may not have the needs of Cisco, but with the accessibility of technology, a startup can and should optimize to meet the basic requirements of a scalable marketing stack. Management of these systems is clearly still important, yet Marketing Operations has evolved further to become the backbone supporting all marketing efforts.

“Imagine an organization as a country, marketing operations is like the roads and bridges that connect its cities, plants, people and resources within the country, and transport all sorts of assets inside and outside the country.” –Luque Wang, Senior Marketing Manager of Global Strategy & Operations at GE Digital

Marketing Operations Evolution

In the future, Marketing Operations will be even more essential for organizations in maintaining costs and driving revenues. Similar to accounting or IT, Marketing Operations will be a foundational cornerstone of an organization whether it is a start-up or global enterprise.

Currently, the marketing technology landscape is exploding with over 6,000 solutions. With these technologies readily available, many marketers are being held more accountable for hard-to-track metrics beyond traffic or likes. This, in turn, drives the need for subject matter experts to work with IT and orchestrate the right balance of technologies. Furthermore, creatives and marketers need guidance and support to define solution requirements, vet and deploy solutions effectively.

There is an imperative to deliver on the marketing & sales plan with rapid, data-driven decisions. With the world moving faster than ever, marketing needs to be streamlined with results that drive both revenue and insights to re-pivot, fix and/or augment the product, service, or the business. This is especially true in a startup environment where small missteps are potentially ruinous.

Benefits of Marketing Operations

If you’re a fast-moving startup, why not just hire an email marketer who also dabbles in social and then turn them loose with no red tape? While you could find some success doing that (or something similar), I’d argue that spending time on Marketing Operations upfront increases a startup’s viability and lays the foundation for scaling.

Getting Marketing Operations right means you can:

  • Track customers across their entire lifecycle to understand where they are and meet them at that exact place. This might look like rapid lead routing after a demo request or serving targeted educational content in the early stages of customers using the product
  • Bring transparency and accountability to the marketing planning process. When schedules and budgets are accessible, everyone can work towards a shared goal with confidence.
  • Get campaigns to market faster (without burning out your creatives) by using automation and review processes.
  • Harmonize your content to tell a cohesive story and economically reuse existing assets, aligned with the brand vision.
  • Realize  ROI of marketing initiatives through data. With processes and technology in place, you can monitor the performance of your marketing efforts and understand how they impact the bottom line.

Simple Best Practices for Startups

At a startup, you likely won’t see a full-time Marketing Operations person managing a complex tech ecosystem, but there are still aspects of the function which can be used:

  1. Get Serious About Planning and Processes: Leadership, marketing, and any other relevant stakeholders should work together on a comprehensive marketing plan which includes objectives, customer segments, channels, campaigns, and expected results. This plan can then be broken down into detailed tasks, milestones, and deliverables that are supported by defined processes. Processes are often where people skip out and take shortcuts, so strive to create intuitive processes which help things flow easily.
  2. Monitor Financials Habitually: Getting a handle on marketing spending and budgeting early helps to understand ROI, what assumptions you need to revise, and what’s working well. Integrating detailed budgeting with the marketing planning process is a great start, but follow through with periodic updates and tracking against expectations. Even a simple system to track budgets tied to specific programs and campaigns will yield useful information.
  3. Build Tech Infrastructure Thoughtfully: With so many solutions on the market, specific recommendations are out of the scope of this article, but in general, the marketing plan should delineate your requirements for your vendors. Rather than being reactive, these decisions should be driven by high-level strategy. Price point, integrations, and workflows are all factors to consider, along with how your marketing needs will scale going forward.
  4. Understand Your Technology Investment Roadmap: Depending on your business, develop a 3-year financial model including how you will sustain and maintain the technologies in your stack. Have the intent to interoperate via automated workflows while in the near-term testing your vision by implementing, governing and auditing manual processes. Don’t forget that users will provide feedback which will shape what improvements and modifications become necessary for your organization right out of the gate. Have the staff or vendor resources and subject matter expertise to vet, prioritize and solve for these along the way.
  5. Develop Structure Around Creative Work: The creatives who power your content are a unique resource, and their time should be preserved for doing what they do best. Rather than having them entangled in endless, demoralizing feedback cycles, agree on how the feedback process will work and make sure it leaves them with breathing room to experiment, periods of uninterrupted work, and a set number of revisions where ever possible.
  6. Use Your Assets Effectively: Make sure your assets are clearly organized and stored in an effective manner. Dedicate a digital asset management system as the single source of truth for your digital assets plus a content management system that can publish out to meet your needs. Enter descriptive metadata once and let the technology pass it on versus burdening your creatives with busy work. Effectively use a style guide, processes, and procedures. In addition, develop templates whenever possible which give a cohesive experience that can be tailored to customer segments.

Factors for the Future

Starting out with a Marketing Operations mindset allows startups to learn from their customers quickly and start working on more advanced tactics like personalization. Once you have a sizable chunk of users you should, for example, be able to learn from their behavior and segment out specific profiles. Your marketing plan should specify what customer information you’re looking to capture to get to this point, and your tech stack should allow you to move into strategies like lead scoring and lifecycle tracking at the right time.

A final factor to keep in mind for a growing startup is change management and ongoing learning. As your Marketing Operations function expands and matures, your people will have to adapt as well. While the ecosystem of marketing technology will continue to become more and more sophisticated, we humans will always remain essential to the marketing process. Making sure you have informed, up-to-date people at the helm ensures that your marketing efforts are on course and reaching their maximum potential.

 

The Difference Between Diversity and Inclusion

by, Nicole Beckerman — From the water cooler to keynote speeches, diversity and inclusion are topics looming large in the tech industry. Today one finds that the two terms have been conflated often enough that they seem interchangeable. But they are not. Diversity and Inclusion have distinct differences which influence individual experiences as well as organizational success.

A clear understanding of diversity and inclusion helps us to communicate effectively and consistently share a common perspective.

Diversity as a Requirement

The narrative has changed from diversity being an unusual virtue to a respected standard. A “diverse” company means one staffed by people of different races, ethnicities, genders, ages, religions, physical abilities, and sexual orientations. In 2018, a diverse workplace environment is widely expected.

Workplaces pride themselves and tout diversity as a moniker. The job section of major corporate websites often highlights diversity efforts to attract top candidates, while at the same time organizations make a big PR fuss about their diversity hiring goals and employee engagement activities.

These diversity efforts have yielded meaningful results. Collectively we’ve worked to reduce barriers to entry for marginalized groups and established formal legal protections. Research has also come out demonstrating that highly diverse firms are 45% more likely to have growth in market share over the previous year, and 70% more likely to capture a new market.

In a 2018 study, Atlassian commissioned, over 80% of tech professionals said diversity and inclusion are important to them. In response, Companies are creating diversity measures designed to get a wider variety of people in the door and cultivate a more diverse hiring pipeline. Examples include Microsoft tying bonuses to diversity hiring and Pandora regularly releasing their diversity metrics while forming relationships with historically diverse colleges. Clorox has even stated via its corporate blog:

“If you cannot answer the diversity question clearly and favorably when it is asked in the recruiting process, [candidates] are going to choose to work elsewhere.”

Diversity efforts and research are vital to maintain. They lead to real outcomes and helpful information, yet they are not a complete solution to the problems disadvantaged groups endure on a daily basis. That is where diversity and inclusion merge.  

Evolving to be Inclusive

Diversity at the hiring stage and supporting pipeline programs which get minorities into the ranks are critical. However, this approach is limiting when you look at the overall employee experience over the course of employment. How people from disadvantaged groups are treated day-to-day in an organization matters significantly more because it affects their ongoing engagement and performance. This is where inclusion steps in.

A Deloitte study found that 61% of employees are “covering” on some personal dimension (appearance, affiliation, advocacy, association) to assimilate in their organization.

Everyone covers. To cover is to tone down a disfavored identity to fit into the mainstream. In our diverse society, all of us are outside the mainstream in some way […] every reader of this book has covered, whether consciously or not, and sometimes at a significant personal cost.[3]Wikipedia

These people are denying a part of their identity to function within their workplace. This is a serious problem for companies who want to keep their turnover at a minimum, reap the benefits of a highly engaged workforce, understand a diverse customer base, and be truly innovative.

Inclusion means embracing differences so that people don’t have to downplay their individuality or work harder to receive equal recognition and rewards. It means people of all backgrounds are not just sitting at the table, but are also being listened to, taken seriously, and respected for their individual contributions.

A large part of inclusion is undoing bias. Unconscious bias keeps people on a narrow track, with leaders hiring and promoting those who are similar to them and employees unable to collaborate effectively. Minority groups might find themselves excluded from important conversations, passed over for mentoring, and left unrewarded for their hard work. When unconscious bias pervades an organization, a large percentage of employees will not perform to their full potential, while the organization will become stagnant and lag behind competitors—a potentially fatal problem.

A common mistake companies make is to look at positive diversity numbers and think everything is going well, but this assumes that inclusion naturally follows diversity. This is not necessarily the case. One can’t simply throw a bunch of minority hires at the problem and hope for the best. An organization can easily have high numbers of diverse people of different backgrounds all feeling unseen, unheard, and unwelcome due to facets of their identity.

What advantage is there in an inclusive environment?  We’re just starting to scratch the surface to understand  what potential can be unlocked, but recent research sheds some light on the benefits inclusive organizations enjoy:

  • Employees who say they can bring their whole self to work are 42% less likely to leave their job within a year,
  • 69% of women who made the decision to off-ramp would have stayed on, continuing to contribute, if they’d had flexible work options.
  • Ethnically and racially diverse companies who emphasize inclusivity are also 33% more likely to outperform their peers.

Savvy companies are coming to realize that diversity efforts without inclusion are hollow measures. Whereas diversity measures are a fight against a highly visible bias, inclusion works against a subtler, yet constant bias. Diversity alone simply can’t unlock all the potential opportunities for us to collaborate as a society, so it must be coupled with efforts to be inclusive.

Taking The First Step          

Inclusion is quite simply harder, more expensive, and more demanding than diversity. It is a mindset and culture within an organization which requires long-term, sustained effort around sensitive topics. Even a positive outcome might be abstract since diversity efforts can be considered successful with a few headcount metrics, while successful inclusion is much more about detailed experiences and subjective information.

Yet the effort is worth it when employees get to feel engaged with their job, seen as complete human beings and become invested in the organization’s success on a new level.

The first step towards fostering inclusion is to have real, honest conversations with disadvantaged group members and understand how they feel at work. Are they free to express their views and opinions? Are they compromising their authenticity at work to get ahead? If they feel stuck in their career path, why do they think that is? Do they feel obligated to spend extra time sponsoring employees of their gender/race or do they perhaps have fears about the repercussions of doing so?

Gathering this information may be uncomfortable, but it is especially necessary for dominant group members to take in the experience of the minority group members without making excuses or getting defensive. Part of inclusivity is also acknowledging that multiple legitimate experiences of the workplace exist.

We need conversations like this to move forward. For example, when men and women were asked about the cause of tech’s diversity problem in a 2016 survey, a whopping 49% of men said that not enough women and minorities were entering the industry. Conversely, women were more likely to cite lack of unconscious bias training and role models/mentors. This disparity in response leaves one to think that men in tech could learn information that might surprise them by talking to their female colleagues.

Ironically, according to the study, the men surveyed really do care about diversity and inclusion. This begs one to surmise that a large majority of the men were not truly engaged in an inclusive environment since their female counterparts exist.  The solution is not simple as engagement mechanics need not only be adopted but practiced. Without truly listening to disadvantaged or minority groups the men’s responses might stay the same.

It can be scary for the dominant group to acknowledge and delve into the reality of a marginalized group. It’s comfortable and easy to rely on existing patterns of thinking that don’t challenge us. Yet we can never collaborate with one another to our full potential if we don’t harness our differences. They are truly powerful and allow us to face any number of complicated challenges together, with creativity and innovation.

Act Now. Start the conversation, and continue the conversation. Inclusion starts with being inclusive. 

Here are some links to help (and, if you have articles or links to share please post!):

https://www.radicalcollaborationforwomen.com/ http://www.greenzoneculture.com/ 

http://humansideoftech.com/

Build a Fast Growth Culture of Upward Mobility & Inclusion

We heard from our panelists’ practical advice, examples, and their perspectives on how mentorship and inclusion start with each one of us taking action to 1) address how we speak, listen and hear and 2) how we can create our own safe spaces to push barriers, ideate, and positively engage.

Conversation Highlights

Three (3) key actions to invest in your upward mobility & inclusion

    • Build Confidence: prepare and practice often
    • Seek Allies: solicit feedback from peers, colleagues, and managers –embrace differing perspectives
    • Step Up and Give Back: exceed expectations, invest in what you do well, check in & align with management, help others navigate hurdles, don’t wait — act

Start with simple steps 

    • Grab a coffee with a subject matter expert whose expertise is of real interest to you. That person may sit next to you or work in another department.
    • Shadow for a Day. Katie shared how walking in anothers footsteps provides you not only a new perspective but can help form lasting connection(s). 
    • Bring your best self to the table. Select the ‘word’ that describes you and make it work for you. Are you outspoken, like Shiney? Because Shiney spoke up a company wide mentorship program exists at Nest today. 
    • Be self aware of how you come across. Sometimes it’s not what you say, but how it’s heard.
    • Continuously Learn. Whether you read bestsellers or attend conferences or seminars or participate in certification programs your professional development needs your investment.
    • Embrace an Accountability Partner: share goals, take action, check-in, support and motivate each other.

We would love to hear what were your key takeaways from the discussion, and any feedback or suggestions>>

More on our expert panelists: Shiney Rossi, Engr Mgr, Nest Thermostat, Ghazal Asif, Vice President, WW Channels at AppDynamics, Cisco,  Katie Juran,  Senior Director, Diversity & Inclusion, AdobeSuzanne Fletcher, Stanford Start-X Fund ManagerMolly Heekin, Sr. Director of  Internet of Things Product, Digital Solutions, Visa

 A big thank you to our event sponsor — Adobe.

  

 

 

Share your voice. Engage. Don’t be shy — post an article, a question and/or a topic on Trending Voices! We want to hear from you. Want to get involved or have a suggestion? Please let us know>>

Quick Summer Reads & Podcasts

A random collection of posts, articles and a few podcasts for your reading or listening pleasure.

What is catching your mind this summer?

 

Why All The Talk About Failure Is Backwards

by Darrah Brustein

“‘Success’ on other people’s terms is, well, not. If the recent suicides of some of our most iconic business moguls teaches us anything, it’s that the trappings of success are no measure of true happiness. Not a people person? Don’t start a relationship-driven business. Have a case of wanderlust? Don’t start a manufacturing business that will keep you grounded in one place. It seems simple, and yet, aligning the design for your life with your business model from the start is often overlooked. Happiness is too important to be an afterthought,” shares Molina Niño.

Talking About Failure Is Crucial for Growth

by Oset Babur

‘Ultimately, the researchers found that talking about failure — both during the fact and afterward — can help to cultivate closer relationships with colleagues.’

Johannes Haushofer, a Princeton Professor goes as far as publishing a ‘CV of Failures’ which  PH.D. students responded with ‘relief in finding solidarity for their struggles’.

What would your CV or Failures include? Do you have a ‘growth mindset‘?

Dr. Dweck found that people’s theories about their own intelligence had a significant impact on their motivation, effort, and approach to challenges. Those who believe their abilities are malleable are more likely to embrace challenges and persist despite failure.’ This model of the fixed vs. growth mindset shows how cognitive, affective, and behavioral features are linked to one’s beliefs about the malleability of their intelligence. 

Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. – Graphic by Nigel Holmes

AI: Why Marketers Need to Look Beyond the Buzzword

…the reason marketers and industry experts are getting so excited about AI is that it’s paving the way for the industry to progress beyond data analysis and advance into data generation’

Neil Hughes

You Can Change Your Workplace, Here Are Four Ways To Start

‘As an intrapreneur ask yourself similar questions. “What is problematic about our culture, do certain actions not match corporate copy? What can be done better and what can I initiative or support to help achieve that that just makes common sense? That’s your starting point and your greater purpose.’ by Claudia Chan, CEO of S.H.E. GLOBL (note: 2018 S.H.E. Summit is October 18-19. Registration is open)

My Voice Got Deeper. Suddenly, People Listened.

‘My feminist mother taught me to speak up. Now, as a trans man, I am trying to make space for women to be heard.’ by Thomas Page McBee — Thomas provides us with a great lens to view from, as we navigate how we want to show up in this world.

Blockchain technology — .….

….is a bulletproof record-keeping system. That’s it, really. Provided it’s running on a robust-enough computer network, blockchains produce incorruptible records. That may not sound like much, but records are rememberingRecords are the protection of our memories for the future…..’ By,  Maria Bustillos

Dealing With Impostor

Syndrome  When You’re Treated as an Impostor

Impostor syndrome is not a unique feeling, but some researchers believe it hits minority groups harder. By,  Kristin Wong 



MARIA SHRIVER

Finding My “I Am”

“Maria Shriver’s life is often summarized in fairy tale terms. A child of the Kennedy clan in the Camelot aura of the early 1960s. Daughter of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who founded the Special Olympics, and Sargent Shriver, who helped found the Peace Corps. An esteemed broadcast journalist. First lady of California. This hour, she opens up about having a personal history that is also public history — and how deceptive the appearance of glamour can be. ” from On Being Studios with Krista Tippett

Sometimes You Have to Quit to Get Ahead

‘Winners are just people who know when to quit — and do it often.’ By, Stephanie Lee

Want to Feel Happier? Your Phone Can Help. (Maybe.) 

By, Claire Coghlan

Benchmarking Global Readiness for GDPR Reveals Common Trends

By,  | Apr 18, 2018

By,  | Jul 23, 2018

How Change Happens, In Generational Time

AMERICA FERRERA AND JOHN PAUL LEDERACH

“Our discomfort and our grappling is not a sign of failure,” America Ferrera says, ‘it’s a sign that we’re living at the edge ofour imaginations.’ She

is a culture-shifting artist. John Paul Lederach is one of our greatest living architects of social transformation. From the inaugural On Being Gathering, a revelatory, joyous exploration of the ingredients of social courage — and how change really happens in generational time.” from On Being Studios with Krista Tippett

How to achieve an invisible infrastructure with the four pillars of multicloud

By Bikash Koley | Tuesday, June 19, 2018 – 20:09

These Are the Trailblazing Women Behind the Modern Internet

Alli Hoff Kosik · 

Secrets To Make Technology Serve You

“The internet makes dumb people dumber and smart people smarter.” –Kevin Drum

HOw Technology is Hijacking Your Mind — from a Magician and Google Design Ethicist

Estimated reading time: 12 minutes. by: Tristan Harris

“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they’ve been fooled.” — Unknown.

This Is Your Brain on Sex

 

“What we’re learning about the brain can help us navigate romance, love, sex, and relationships. Anthropologist Helen Fisher is a senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute, a member of the Center for Human Evolutionary Studies in the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University, and Chief Scientific Advisor to dating match.com. In the research she does for match.com and her TED Talks that have been viewed by millions of people, she wields science as an entertaining, if sobering, lens on what feels like the most meaningful encounters of our lives.” from On Being Studios with Krista Tippet

4 Things Every Child Needs Before BreakfasT

‘…It’s important to note that your confidence as a parent is also based on the fact that you yourself have been winning in the morning before you have interfaced with your child’ by,  Benjamin P. Hardy

Age old reminder: ‘You can’t take care of others unless you take care of yourself first!’

Guiding a seismic shift in tech: For women, it’s an inside job

2018 is on track to be a year of great cultural change—and that change is increasingly being driven by women. The women’s marches of 2017 lit the fire, and #metoo drives awareness and accountability across virtually every industry. The 1970s feminist movement that helped define change in our mothers’ generation is coming back today with an unprecedented power—and it’s time we brought the tech industry aboard.

Forbes reported in 2017 that women today are leaving the tech industry at a 45% higher rate than men. Some of this maps to traditional gender roles and our acceptance that “something’s gotta give” in cases of the logistical needs of young families, our sick and aging parents, etc. For others, the decision to leave the industry may be a temporary but practical one while we complete a graduate degree.

But for many, the choice to leave an industry with so much innovation and opportunity is made due to darker influences. Gender bias, pay inequity, and the explosion of bro startup culture has signaled the death knell for the careers of some of the smartest, most visionary women in the industry. Maybe you or someone you know has already made the decision to leave because of this; or maybe you’ve just been thinking about it. We’ve all been touched by it in some way or another, and it’s clear that the tech industry is ripe for some major shifts.

Taking charge of tech culture

Nobody’s going to hand industry change to us on a silver platter, that’s for sure. We’ve got to take an active role in rethinking systems, processes, and mindsets.

First and foremost, we’ve got to lead. We have to consciously and strategically work to create an environment of diversity as our organizations grow. We must model inclusion as we work with our managers, direct reports, and partners. And we have to remain adaptable, creating flexible situations that allow our colleagues to contribute, thrive, and succeed on their own terms—through job sharing, flextime, virtual teams, or other options.

What you can do today to support change

There are a lot of incremental changes you can help to create every day, starting today. Here are a few to think about:

1.    Speak out – Make your voice heard in the industry. Talk about the effects of discrimination at events, whether as a keynote speaker, panelist, or simply by posing questions from the audience.

2.    Seek male allies – Bias against women is more than just a women’s issue. We need the help and support of our male peers to bring about real, permanent change at all levels of the industry.

3.    Be a role model – Like it or not, we’re all role models. At any given time, we have chances to serve as coaches, mentors, and sponsors, and it’s important to give back. Coach a colleague through something you’ve already lived out; or mentor a bright, bushy-tailed recent grad to help her get a foothold in the industry. And always seek out opportunities to sponsor rising stars with access to programs, organizations, or other groups.

4. Give back – Coach, mentor, and sponsor other women and men. At different points in our career, we need one or more of these to help us get to the next level. Coaches can provide in the moment critical advice and show us the right path and how to reach our potential. Mentors teach us the secrets to getting there and how to navigate hurdles along the way. Sponsors help us get promoted by continually supporting our rising star across the organization and industry and backing our bid for that new title or high-profile project.

EVENT: Building a Growth Culture of Mobility & Inclusion Learn more and register

Thursday, March 29 from 6-8:30pm at Adobe San Francisco

Ready to get started? Women Speak Tech invites you to join us at our free upcoming event, Building a Growth Culture of Mobility & Inclusion, to speak-up and meet inspiring women and men that have built mentoring and networking organizations within their companies from the ground up. We’ll be featuring insight from our guest panelists on how to shift decades-old norms of diversity and inclusion.

To lead with focus and inclusion takes confidence, advocacy, mentorship and sponsorship. Fast growth typically results in knee-jerk responses. Cultivating inclusive leadership affects who we hire and promote, who we mentor or sponsor, and how we speak, listen and act. Join our experts from Adobe, Nest, Visa, Linkedin, Box and Cisco to learn what it takes to swim upstream. Speakers include Shiney Rossi, Engineering Manager at Nest; Varsha Kanavar, Chief of Staff, Go to Market at Cisco; Katie Juran, Sr. Director, Diversity & Inclusion at Adobe;  Suzanne Fletcher, Fund Manager at Stanford Start-X; and Molly Heekin, Sr. Director of IoT Digital Solutions at Visa.

See you there!

 Jill Talvensaari

Never Enough Time?

Time and choices: As women in tech, we can probably all agree that there’s never enough of either. And sometimes (OK, all the time) we feel we’re expected to sacrifice one for the other. “Something’s gotta give,” right?

Wrong.

It’s all about taking charge. When you have control of your time, it actually leads to more choices, not less. For instance, if you had an extra hour a day to use however you’d like, what would you do?

  • Work on that killer startup idea you can never seem to get to?
  • Take your son or daughter out for ice cream after school?
  • Build out a pitch for that new project you want to present to the Board of Directors?
  • Book (and actually show up for) a deep-tissue massage or yoga hour?

Sounds good, right? But since you don’t currently have that extra hour in your schedule, you will have to create one. It’s not as ugly as it sounds.  For me, I don’t subscribe to the early risers club. I relish the idea of ‘me time’ but a 530am work-out is just not in the cards. So, if that works best for you I am a bit jealous. You might ask, how do I squeeze time out of my back-to-back schedule?

Back when I kept an analog calendar, I used the FranklinCovey method to manage priorities and time. The big takeaway from this was the 1) importance of booking meetings with myself and 2) prioritizing my activities based on importance to me. The result was time that was hard-wired into my calendar for my own personal use.

And it’s not just me

Experts like Suzy Welch back me up when it comes to making decisions that will deliver in both time and choices. Her 10-10-10 strategy allows you to match expectations and values based on your priorities.

As with the FranklinCovey method, Suzy’s solution helps you get clarity on what your true priorities are, so you can tackle them more efficiently. It gives you permission to own your truth, and take action.

Another way of looking at taking control of your time comes from Meredith Kraus, Director of HR at Merck Research Laboratories. She suggests tackling today by looking at the future.

Meredith’s process involves weighing options as if you had already made the decision, and you’re looking back on it from the future. Say to yourself:

  • How will I feel in 12 months if I don’t ______________?
    I’ll regret _____________________________________.

 

  • How will I feel in 12 months if I do________________?
    I’m really glad that ____________________________.

 

So how am I doing?

Today, I use iCal, and create multiple calendars with colors that dot my screen. One of those colors maps to a self-care calendar began as a way to steal 10 minutes a day just for me. At first, it was nearly impossible to follow through with those 10-minute “meetings;” I could always find a reason that I just didn’t have the time/should keep powering through this report/had to prepare for that meeting tomorrow/whatever.

Yeah, whatever. So how did I eventually make all that happen—and more? I compromised. With myself.

I decided if I took 10 minutes a day, 3 days a week, I was successful. Once I got that mastered (and discovered that the world did not stop turning when I did), I started doing it five days a week. And then I extended those 10 minutes, to 15, 30, 45. . .

Today I take an hour a day minimum, and I still book additional “meetings” with myself to get work done whenever I need to.

So here’s my challenge to you: Start today with 10 minutes, and see where it takes you. Maybe you’ll break a bad habit that’s been holding you back–or even gain a fantastic new one that’ll bring new opportunities to the table. What have you got to lose?

Nothing—except maybe 10 minutes of stress you didn’t need in the first place, right?

What we took away from Watermark 2018

 

On Februrary 23rd, 6500 women and forward thinking men converged in San Jose for the Watermark Conference for Women. While looking forward to the leadership panels, career changing workshops, and networking—let’s be honest—we were there to see Amal Clooney and Reese Witherspoon!

 

The energy buzz was amazing. We sat spellbound as we listened to the live interview with Amal Clooney. (She only mentioned George, I think, once). What an intelligent, inspiring, and courageous woman! I wanted to be her, not just be awed. Amal graced the morning stage and shared her transition from corporate law to international law and human rights. “There was no class on Human Rights law at Columbia. Now, I teach that class.” The conversation shifted from her work with political prisoners to the challenges of securing accountability for genocide, sexually enslavement and other horrific acts Yazidi women suffered in Iraq.

 

Amal draws you into her work, making you look at how you, too, can take a stand. Not only in the world’s courtroom, but also at the individual level of hosting refugees as a guest in her home, and in the streets joining the Parkland march, Amal leads by example.

 

Following Amal, we ferried through a breathtaking selection of break-out sessions focused on leadership, professional advancement, career and life transitions, and personal development.

 

The action packed day continued with Maysoon Zayid taking the stage with humor, chutzpah and intelligence. A strong voice for disability, Maysoon rocked the hall starting with how she got her name to what we can do to create inclusion and the many layers of diversity. What a show! If you haven’t seen her, check out her Ted Talk.

 

And, if you thought you knew Reese Witherspoon, hearing her interviewed at Watermark gives you a new perspective on the trailblazing actor and advocate. Having been accepted, she started attending Stanford but found herself financially strapped. So, Reese made her way to Hollywood—abandoning Palo Alto for Los Angeles—our gain.

 

Reese spoke candidly about her first production company’s demise and how she pivoted and took ownership to create a venture that worked for her. While talking about Hollywood, all agreed that the system is broken and needs to change. Reese for me represented a professional woman balancing the challenges of work, motherhood, personal well-being, life and success. We look forward to what she will do next, and appreciate her leading voices for Time’s Up.  Tweet: #timesup. More on the Legal Defense fund>>

 

Watermark takeaways:
  • Use your expertise and time to create positive change
  • It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you and where you excel. Make strong allies.
  • There is a difference between listening and hearing. Pause, and really hear.
  • Balance intuition and analytics to make decisions.
  • Is it a gender lens when making ‘the’ decision? Or is it just technical, financial, and strategic acumen that drives decision making?
  • Do you talk about your strengths? It’s time to start practicing.

Key Takeaways from Past Events

  • Cultural improvement happens when every individual makes a conscious and systemic effort.
  • Want to be a change champion? Organize and be actionable. Need guidance, look what Adobe packaged to help: Adobe Kickbox
  • Being failure-friendly opens the door to learning.
  • Experience and be empathetic.
  • Promote an agile, adaptive culture that embraces change: A fail early, fast attitude.

Share your voice. Engage. Don’t be shy — post an article, a question and/or a topic on Trending Voices!

We want to hear from you. Want to get involved or have a suggestion? Please let us know>>

While Women’s History Month is well past for 2018, let’s continue to create a better world every day.

Choose one thing to show your support: act, learn, share, speak,……

1980:, the NWHP was a group of Sonoma women noticed that women were absent from textbooks. No more than 3% of the content was devoted to women.’

1987: Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month  for perpetuity. NWHP issues an annual theme and provides multi-cultural resources.

2018 Theme: Nevertheless, She Persisted: Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.  2018 Honorees>>

Who Are Our Expert Panelists?

We are extremely lucky to have so many talented and experienced individuals as part of our community. Join the discussion.

Ghazal Asif, Vice President, WW Channels at AppDynamics, Cisco is a passionate leader who champions diversity within the workplace.
Ghazal recently joined AppDynamics, Cisco’s $3.7B Software acquisition to build and grow AppD’s WW Channels Org. As part of her role, Ghazal has led a number of profitability and enablement programs to drive incremental growth for AppD.
Prior to joining AppDynamics, Ghazal led Cisco Meraki’s Global Channel Sales organization. The team enabled key Cisco partners to build, develop and grow their Meraki practice developing new routes to profitability. Ghazal and her team led the strategy and execution of activities ranging from lead generation campaigns, bespoke partner training, and enablement. The channel was a key contributor in Meraki’s growth from $100M to $1B in four years.

Shiney Rossi, Engr Mgr, Nest Thermostat

 Katie Juran,  Senior Director, Diversity & Inclusion, Adobe

Suzanne Fletcher, Stanford Start-X Fund Manager 

Molly Heekin, Sr. Director of  Internet of Things Product, Digital Solutions, Visa

Karen CatlinAfter spending 25 years building software products, Karen Catlin is now an advocate for women in the tech industry. She’s a leadership coach, a keynote and TEDx speaker, and co-author of “Present! A Techie’s Guide to Public Speaking.” She also facilitates a women’s forum at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.  Formerly, Karen was a vice president of engineering at Macromedia and Adobe.
In 2015, the California State Assembly honored her with the Wonder Women Tech Innovator Award for outstanding achievements in business and technology and for being a role model for women. Karen holds a computer science degree from Brown University and serves as an advisor to Brown’s Computer Science Diversity Initiative. She’s also on the Advisory Boards for The Women’s CLUB of Silicon Valley, WEST (Women Entering & Staying in Technology), and Women Serve on Boards. Follow Karen on Twitter: @kecatlin
Nahid Samsami, Senior Product Manager, Heroku/Salesforce,  is a Senior Product Manager at Heroku, a Platform-as-a-Service that is part of Salesforce. Her surface area includes the Elements marketplace, 3rd party integrations, and the command-line interface. She is a recipient of the Salesforce Technology & Product All-Star Award. Previously, Nahid led product management at Keen IO, acquired by Scaleworks, and was a Senior Product Manager at Playdom, acquired by The Walt Disney Company. She started her career as a management consultant at Bain & Company.
Nahid is passionate about the recruiting and retention of women in technology. She’s served as a mentor to women making a career change into product management and has authored a book on finding a first role (“Get a Job as a Product Manager”.)
Vanessa Shaw is founder of Human Side of Tech, through which she advises forward thinking thinking executives and HR leaders to operate their companies with a culture-first approach, so that they can turn challenge into opportunity when facing rapid growth, digital disruption and culture change. She believes that everyone deserves to have a great place to work. Through events, writing and speaking she helps you uncover how to create a company culture where employees are inspired to do their best work and supported to thrive. She writes about company culture and employee experience, showcasing case studies, stories and interviews from leading companies who are driving the future of work. As part of her workplace culture global tour, she has visited several dozen company headquarters such as Facebook, Spotify, Airbnb, IDEO and more.

She is creator and producer of Workplace Lab, a community of professionals and series of events helping the most innovative professionals design workplace cultures their proud to work in. Follow her updates @HumanSideofTech.

Daryn Kelley,  is a Business Development (“BD”) Manager at Box, the Cloud Content Management company that empowers enterprises to revolutionize how they work by securely connecting their people, information and applications. As a BD Manager, Daryn works hand in hand with key leading enterprise SaaS companies to define partnership strategies. In addition, she works cross-functionally across the organization to identify growth opportunities for Box and partners in the cloud technology space. 

Passionate about creating an inclusive workplace culture and advocating for women in the industry, Daryn was also formerly Co-Chair of the Box Women’s Network (BWN). In this role, Daryn lead BWN globally to provide professional and personal development opportunities focused on women empowerment and community development across Box.   

Daryn is a graduate of UC Berkeley where she received her BA in Sociology and Minor in Education. She is a native to the Bay Area and currently lives in the East Bay. 

We have lots to look forward to in 2018!

As we head into Spring, take a moment, to ask yourself what are the 3 things that

  • make you a change champion, a mentor, an advocate?
  • you want to see change in 2018
  • you witnessed or learned about in 2017 that encourages you to have a stronger voice (at work, at home, in the world)

We would love it if you shared your 3 with us!

 

 

 

May 31, 2017: Heroku, Penthouse Suite was at capacity!

Prioritizing People and Culture Through Fast Growth was a topic that needs further conversation! We heard from both panelists and attendees that culture like anything else needs care-taking and has maturation cycles. No matter the type of company, how to prioritize people and create the right kind of culture for success is not a one size solution but does take executive commitment and consistency and employee participation.
More highlights to come. Thank you panelists and attendees for speaking up! For now, some photos from the evening:

Establishing a Values-Driven Culture takes Diversity in the Workplace.

Workplace Diversity Impacts Us All

At our upcoming May event, Women Speak Tech and Culture Summit are joining forces to discuss best practices for putting people first in organizations, establishing a values-driven culture and attracting emotionally intelligent talent.

To truly prioritize people and culture, a more complete support of diversity in the workplace needs to be built across the board. Diversity in the workplace has been proven time and time again to bring invaluable benefits to employees, including: increased creativity, better problem-solving, and greater innovation. Despite these findings, diversity statistics for the technology industry, namely surrounding the inclusion of women, remain dismal. The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), an organization dedicated to spreading awareness of the diversity issue that plagues the industry, reports that women’s representation in tech has been steadily declining from its 1991 peak of 36% to its present day rate of 25%. This statistic is especially troubling given another fact presented in NCWIT’s 2015 – 2016 comprehensive report: 57% of all professional occupations in the U.S. are held by women (2015).

Upending the Unconscious Bias

If we believe in a tech culture that is open, inclusive, and values-driven, we need to address the many contributing factors to the low numbers of women in tech: job retention and attrition, representation in upper management, access to technical training or mentoring, and non-professional career roadblocks (i.e. harsher judgment of personality, questions about family life, unwanted sexual advances, feeling “stalled” in their careers due to lack of advancement opportunities, etc.).

The Atlantic‘s April 2017 issue also explores the unsettling phenomenon of declining women in tech, putting the heavily tech-saturated Silicon Valley under the microscope. In her article “Why is Silicon Valley So Awful to Women?” Liza Mundy ambitiously tackles addressing the elephant in the room that most women who work in tech are well-acquainted with: the unconscious bias.

Melinda Gates, prominent industry veteran and advocate of championing women’s contributions to tech, expands on this bias in a related Atlantic article, “The Tech Industry Needs to Fix its Gender Issue – Now.” Gates discusses the dangers consumers, and average citizens, could encounter if the tech industry continued to avoid systemically improving the diversity quotient: “I think we’ll have so much hidden bias coded into the system that we won’t even realize all the places that we have it. If you don’t have a diverse workforce programming artificial intelligence and thinking about the data sets to feed in, and how to look at a particular program, you’re going to have so much bias in the system, you’re going to have a hard time rolling it back later or taking it out.”

Ultimately, the pervasive bias ends up influencing recruitment practices, upper management demographics, company culture, and overall approach to diversity within an organization. It doesn’t simply affect day-to-day interactions in the workplace, or inconsequential aspects of company culture, but has power to significantly affect the decision-maker hierarchy, quality of innovations, and overall culture of the tech industry for decades to come.

The bias may not be able to change overnight, but acknowledging its existence and addressing the resulting challenges head-on will get the ball rolling. Cultural shifts are necessary and constant, paving the way for a more equal, more values-driven culture. However, the responsibility for making these shifts cannot rest solely on the shoulders of one group or gender.

Change Catalysts

Every individual working in the tech industry, regardless of gender, ethnicity or position, needs to make a conscious and systemic effort towards cultural improvement.

Join the conversation with us May 31st to delve deeper into ways you can take action and help facilitate success. Hear best practices organizations are using to establish a values-driven culture and attract/retain emotionally intelligent talent.

Register today: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/prioritizing-people-and-culture-through-fast-growth-tickets-34226493363?ref=ebtnebregn

 

Author: Amy Drozdiak, Intern at Moxie Marketing

Cited Sources – To view the full statistical reports and articles cited, please visit the following links:

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/04/why-is-silicon-valley-so-awful-to-women/517788/

https://www.elephantinthevalley.com/

https://www.ncwit.org/sites/default/files/resources/womenintech_facts_fullreport_05132016.pdf

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/03/melinda-gates-tech/519762/