Relaxation is a revolutionary act (if you’re a woman).
Being true to yourself is the absolute best thing to do, because you’re guaranteed to fail at being anyone else.
Real leaders don’t pop into ‘fix-it’ mode whenever their people have a problem – they prompt self reflection and action.
You better start lifting weights, because your arms need to be strong enough to carry all your own problems and give yourself a pat on the back when you’re done.
You don’t have to be best friends with everyone on your team, but love and mutual respect will be key to success and growth.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make (before negotiating your salary, or really doing anything else in life) is not knowing your worth.
Once you know your worth – give yourself a healthy markup.
All are insights and lessons from women like Elizabeth Gilbert, Megan Rapinoe, Carla Harris, and Tracee Ellis Ross that I left with after the 2019 Texas Women’s Conference.
Though the conference required a 5am wake-up call, I left feeling energized and motivated by all the women who shared their expertise, experience, and advice. Listening to this group of speakers share insight into their lives and how they’ve navigated being a woman in the United States and their respective industries was incredibly inspiring. But their experiences still felt very far away from my own.
As a woman just starting out in my own career, working in tech with degrees in nothing remotely related—these women seemed like shimmering ideals of what I someday could be. They’re the giants whose shoulders I hope to stand on, sometime in the future.
But that future still seems very far off, relative to the experiences I have yet to have and goals I have yet to achieve. It would be like waking up tomorrow and randomly deciding to run a marathon, even though I only ever run a few miles at a time.
What I also found at the conference was the testimony, confidence, support, and real experiences of ‘everyday’ (i.e. non-famous) women. Women who don’t have the opportunity to inspire a crowd the same way Elizabeth Gilbert can, or lead a national team of super athletes to victory like Megan Rapinoe can. But women who face the challenges and triumphs of everyday life and are actively figuring out how to manage it all.
These women aren’t shimmering ideals, they’re real. And they’re are also on the frontlines of whatever fight were fighting—whether it’s for equal pay, treatment, recognition, share of household labor, etc.
This included my boss, Megan Headley—the VP of Research at TrustRadius.
She was one of three women chosen as winners of this year’s “Power of Us” contest, sponsored by Target Corp., which recognizes women who have made an impact on the personal and professional lives of other women. Each of the three winners submitted a 30 second video about why it’s important for women to lift each other up for the 10,000 conference attendees to watch.
The two main things that Megan was recognized for were:
- Her efforts spearheading a report addressing themes of bias, discrimination, accomplishments, and advice from 163 women working in the tech field.
- Her sponsorship of a newly-created women’s’ group within our company that provides a space for women to support and help each other.
While these were the two primary accomplishments mentioned at the conference, I get to see the impact of Megan’s work everyday. And it extends far beyond these two things.
Megan was also the first woman to become a VP at our company. Less than a year later, she’s been joined by two other brilliant women leading our Customer Success and Human Resources departments.
She has also been a constant advocate for software buyers. As a business serving the needs of technology buyers but funded by software vendors, the temptation to think only about the needs of vendors can be strong. But Megan has made sure that we continue to serve the needs of buyers, even though their voice is seldom the loudest or most well-funded.
Under her leadership, the Research team has conducted studies, surveys, and countless interviews to unearth the inner workings of the software buying process and figure out what buyers’ pain points really are. These insights are now being infused across our business to help shape our products and practices.
While I’d love to be another Megan Rapinoe, Tracee Ellis Ross, or Elizabeth Gilbert (who wouldn’t??)— – it’s the experiences and accomplishments of ‘everyday’ women like Megan Headley that seem more tangible and reachable. At the end of the day, we probably all need both types of women in our lives: icons that make us dream bigger, and role models that help us figure out where to set our sights for the next 5 to 10 years.
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