“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for” – Oprah Winfrey.
This quote resonated with me on so many levels as we celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements on International Women’s Day (and everyday thereafter).
Having the courage to ask for what you want is a muscle that needs to be developed and flexed often (even when it feels uncomfortable) in order to build your confidence and begin to amplify your inner and outer voice so that you can ask for what you want, from yourself and from others. As I reflect on my journey both personally and professionally on International Women’s Day a few things come to mind as I continue to flex my leadership muscle so that in time it will become muscle memory, still a work in progress…
How do I ensure that my voice is heard?
• “Meeting People Where they Are.” Your ability to listen and connect with others through experiences, differences and shared interests is critical in order to build trust.
• Show Respect. We are all humans. We all have feelings and are striving for acceptance and success. Be respectful of everyone and show that you are honest in your intentions. Respect creates respect.
• Be Heard ‘Speak Up and Stand Tall.” Understand that being assertive shows professionalism and is different from being pushy and arrogant.
• Understand your own communication style. Be creative and be open to new ways and ideas. Each of us has our own communication style, and we communicate and process information differently. When you want to communicate effectively, know your style and as well as your boss’ and your teammates’ styles. The goal is to understand one another, to listen, and to be heard.
As an African American female leader at MediaMath, I strive to elevate the conversation (through action) around diversity and inclusion as well the Adtech industry as a whole. Diversity should be a critical component of the innovation that leaders are driving in their organization, and it can and should be a competitive advantage for them. Research shows that diverse groups outperform homogeneous ones.
Since joining MediaMath in January of 2012, and launching the New Marketing Institute (NMI) shortly thereafter, creating a diverse global team of amazing industry and training professionals and practitioners was very important to me to ensure that we could truly “meet the learner where they are.” We continue to set the bar high and strive for excellence in developing and retaining diverse talent, award winning curriculum and a learning environment that truly meets each person where they are in location, language, learning style and level of experience. Having trained over 18,000 participants since the launch of NMI in 2012, having our 8th MEP (Marketing Engineer Program) cohort join the MediaMath family a few weeks ago and placing over 100 Marketing Engineers into full time roles since the launch of the program in 2014.
I believe that as a leader and as a company we continue to take small steps in our diversity and inclusion efforts, celebrating Women in Technology (WIT) at MediaMath and celebrating our differences that binds us all. It’s humbling and encouraging to be part of a company and a team that values diversity and inclusion and continues to take steps toward creating a culture and environment that truly reflects the clients that we serve.
“The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but on significance — and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.” – Oprah Winfrey.