Today, we celebrate our ability to make a difference. Today, we raise awareness against bias. Today, we take action for equality.
Every year on March 8, we observe International Women’s Day (IWD). The first IWD took place in the early 1900s during a time of civil unrest. The population was booming, but so too was the spread of radical ideologies. However, this paved the way for the first brave women to stand up and speak out. It was time they started celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women everywhere.
Gloria Steinem, a distinguished journalist and activist, once proclaimed, “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”
Over the years, the movement grew from a small group to a large group, then to many groups, then to many nations. Over the years, the movement grew from promoting gender parity to equality of all kinds.
Today, we celebrate equality everywhere in the world.
And we all have a part to play.
That’s why I wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate the success of some of Engagio’s female customers. I asked them, “What is your best career advice?” The responses that I got back were phenomenal. Their timeless advice applies to everyone, no matter your gender, age, race, or religion.
I’ve compiled their answers here in hopes that it can help you stand out and achieve great things.
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VP, Marketing at Traackr
Create your own opportunities. Don’t wait for opportunity to come knocking at your door and certainly don’t wait until you feel 100% ready to accept a challenge. If something is holding you back, address it. In my case, I had to find ways to neutralize my inner critic. I surrounded myself with other ambitious people, and I wasn’t afraid to talk about the fears that held me back, which in turn helped me reach new heights. Also, ask for what you are worth.
Director of Marketing Operations at Anaplan
The best career advice I can give is to have good emotional intelligence (EQ). Having the ability to recognize and acknowledge empathy in your colleagues, clients or customers is critical in a work environment especially for those who are in leadership or have aspirations to lead teams. Being able to provide empathy for both negative emotions (such as anger, stress, guilt and fear) establishes trust and creates a better environment internally and the perception of the organization in the outside world.
Sr. Manager, Demand Generation at Dialpad
Diane von Furstenberg said, “I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew the woman I wanted to become.” That advice applies to more than just career, but I think it’s so powerful. It can be challenging to choose a career path, and people often pivot career trajectories several times. I think the important thing to do is stay true to what you’re good at and what makes you happy. It’s hard to go wrong when you do that. And never underestimate the power of working and spending time with people that you admire and learn from. If you’re the smartest person in the room, leave the room immediately!
Director, Marketing Operations at Imprivata
Women have an innate ability to keep an open mind, be flexible, and consider with their heart. Regardless of age, race, religion, etc. leverage the strength of bringing these amazing innate traits to your career. These traits don’t imply weakness — when balanced with grit, drive, determination, and passion they represent an unbeatable combination. Business environments are changing quickly. It can be hard to keep up. But stay true to your innate traits, and you can do anything!
Global Marketing Operations at Fuze
Be humble and strive to always learn, even from the most mundane-seeming tasks. In order to truly understand something, I believe you have to spend some time in the weeds so don’t discount that experience. By approaching your work with a positive attitude and being willing to roll up your sleeves, regardless of the stage of your career, you will grow faster and gain a new perspective.
Marketing Manager at Anaplan
Be empowered to make a big career move, even later in life. After ten years as a sales executive, I knew it was time for a change and was ready to be a marketer. Stepping outside of my comfort zone, I had to take risks and a few steps backwards to make it happen. I forged a path forward through networking and capitalizing on my sales experience, which resulted in successfully launching ABM programs at two organizations. Years later, I couldn’t be more thrilled where I landed and doing work that I love.
VP, Growth and Demand Gen at OneLogin
Take time to zoom out.
We often get wrapped in the weeds of our daily jobs, fire drills, and ongoing challenges and tend to lose the fresh perspective of a new hire or outside advisor. Yet, it’s important to take the time to zoom out, to read a new industry report, go to a conference to learn about best practices, engage with the right people in your network, or just work from home one day to plan your next big project. Reflect on your next career move and the skills you need to develop.
And don’t postpone this exercise till your annual review, but make it a daily, weekly or monthly routine.
Director, Marketing Operations and ABM at FullStory
My piece of advice is to find someone on your team or in your network who shares your passion, vision, and drive. You can be so much better when you have a collaborator.
Vice President of Marketing at NS1
The best career advice I ever received was so simple and applies to so many things in life. A few years ago I was interviewing extensively for marketing leadership positions. I had my list of attributes I was looking for in the “right” opportunity, which were mostly related to the company’s product, funding, leadership and the role I’d fill. It got down to two opportunities that I liked, but the interview process for one of them was notably kind and transparent, and the company leadership was open that I was the candidate they’d been waiting for.
The other role was with a shinier company, but I got some mixed signals from one of the founders. I was offered both positions, and was talking with a former colleague who said, “Kathleen, go where you are wanted.” Eureka! Go where you are wanted and people are invested in your success. It makes hard challenges easier, helps you invest yourself in the role, which makes it easier to hire good people for your own team. Go where you are wanted, is simple yet powerful advice, and helped me land at my favorite role of all time, NS1.
VP Marketing at AppFolio
Think of your career in the context of your entire life. Prioritize your work and career goals in a way that supports your total well being over time. Don’t worry about your title, or keeping up with others. Do what makes you happy, keep learning with a great sense of humility, and invest time to build a wonderful community of like-minded professionals for brainstorming, advice and help when you need it.
Director, Marketing Operations at D2L
Find your champions. This can be anyone, men and women, anywhere in your organization that are invested in your success. These are mentors that provide more than just career advice, because they know you at a deeper level. They highlight areas of opportunity in your growth and open doors you didn’t believe you could access.
VP of Demand Gen at JDA Software
My best piece of career advice was a saying my parents often said to me growing up: “give me something hard to do.” I made that my personal and career motto. I have always tried to take on new challenges, step outside my comfort zone, work hard, and tackle anything thrown my way. I firmly believe that I am where I am today by raising my hand to try something new (even if it scared me), trusting my instincts, seeking advice from mentors/coaches/bosses/senior management on how to achieve my career goals, asking for what I want, and working hard to get there. Give me something hard to do, bring it on, I’m ready.
CMO at Zenoss
Always remember to stay true to your core values and let those core values serve as your guide in every decision you make. From the company you work for and the team you join, to the tough decisions you will make, consulting those values will keep you grounded.
Director, Enterprise Demand Generation at Coupa Software
There are three pieces of advice that I’d like to pass along. First, it’s just as important to understand what you don’t like to do as it is to figure out what you do like to do. And, never get good at something you don’t like doing because you’ll be stuck doing it forever.
Second, have a high collaborative quotient. This helps you do the right thing for the company.
Lastly, it’s important to do things right, but we all make mistakes. If you learn from them (to not repeat or to optimize for the future), then don’t consider them a mistake – create a learning experience. But take ownership. Be accountable. Understand how to avoid the same error or make the process better. People will admire you for not hiding by blaming someone or something. Colleagues appreciate integrity.
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What is your best career advice?