Women Who Don’t Self-Promote Are Letting Us Down. A self development discussion with Maggie Fox

In August 2013, I read a daring blog post that made me fall in love with the author, Maggie Fox, and evaluate my feelings towards the idea of Self Promotion:

http://socialmediagroup.com/2013/06/26/women-selfpromote-letting/

You can imagine how thrilled I was when a month later, my employer, SAP, announced that we had hired Maggie as the new head of Integrated Digital Experience, and waited patiently for the opportunity to meet her in person.

In western cultures, self-promotion is an essential tool in career advancement. Yet, so many women of us have a difficult time with it. I will have a heart to heart discussion with Maggie Fox this Thursday, April 3,  from 12-1pm at SAP offices in Palo Alto (Building 2, Embarcadero) as she shares her perspective on the subject and showcases some techniques on how to do this more effectively.

Senior Vice President of Digital Marketing at SAP

Maggie Fox, Senior Vice President of Digital Marketing at SAP

A little more info on Maggie: She is the Senior Vice President of Digital Marketing at SAP, responsible for delivering a unified digital experience to SAP customers and the market. Prior to joining SAP, Fox was founder and CEO of Social Media Group, established in 2006 and one of the world’s most highly respected independent agencies helping businesses navigate the socially engaged Web. She has been interviewed about social and digital trends by Inc. magazine, The Washington Post, CBC Radio, The Globe and Mail, CBC News, CTV News and The Financial Post, among others. In 2011, The National Post named her one of Canada’s Top Innovators. Fox sits on the boards of GetElevate.com and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

These are the questions I will ask her:

  1. How do you define self-promotion?
  2. How do you think we can draw the right balance between self-promotion and coming across as rude or arrogant? For the past five years, in every single review I received, I was told to be more assertive, showcase my confidence, etc. After taking a women’s leadership course and reading your blog, I tried to focus on self-promotion, and three months later, during my annual review, I was told that the stake- holders found my communication style to have become rude lately. (When I asked my manager for specific examples, he mentioned that by rude he meant too much self-promotion.  When I shared my story with other women at SAP, to my surprise, they had very similar experiences.  Have you had a similar experience? 
  3. Do you think as women we should employ different methods than men in self-promotion?
  4. What would you say are the main differences in self-promoting yourself online and offline?
  5. Could you give examples of two women who do a beautiful job in self -promotion (one online, one offline) and what they are doing right?
  6. What is one important thing you want to leave everyone in this room with today?

Here is a recording of our session, would love your input on my moderation skills!

 

Participate in the Corporate Women’s Initiative Consortium Upcoming Events

It has been really exciting to act as the C0-Chair for the “Corporate Women’s Initiative Consortium”, (CWIC), a networking group of representatives from women in tech groups from various companies in Silicon Valley.

What a great way to kick off 2014, my employer, SAP was able to host our first event on March 11th. The Presentation by SAP’s Business Women Network was inspiring and fun!  SAP’s Silicon Valley Chapter was launched seven years ago; it was great to have insights from the original founding members as well as the new leaders. You may find a copy of our presentation here.

This was a special meeting for Cheri and I as it was our first meeting held as Chair and Co-Chair.

After the formal presentations and networking we had an amazing session on how can we keep women engaged in networking, and climb the leadership ladder? See attached pic of ideas discussed by one group.

I am looking forward to my year as Co-Chair with Cheri Leonard leading the way you as some of the most passionate women I have met in this journey.

For 2014, we have hosts for March and July; please let me know if your organization is interested in hosting in May, September or November.

2014 CWIC Lunch Dates:

  • May 8th: Charles Schwab, Menlo Park
  • July 10th: Applied Materials
  • September 11th: Lockheed Martin
  • November 13th: TBD

Tools:

We’ve been storing files and information under our Yahoo Groups, the Yahoo Groups format has changed and isn’t as easy to use as it used to be so we wanted to propose using a LinkedIn Group moving forward. Please let us know if you would like this.

Upcoming Events of interest:

Women who don’t self promote are letting us down! April 3rd, A conversation with Maggie Fox, head of Integrated Digital Experience at SAP

Invent Your Future: April 22nd: professional women’s conference

PBWC: May 13th: professional women’s conference

Anita Borg Women of Vision Dinner: May 8th

Society of Women Engineers Conference, technical women’s conference:  in October and nearby in LA this year and they are currently taking submissions

Thrive: March 26th and 27

Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners: has openings available if your company would like to host, reach out to Sukrutha Raman Bhadouria <sukrutha@bayareagirlgeekdinners.com>

FountainBlue: When She Speaks: monthly lunch events

Networking with a Purpose: is a great cross corporation networking event with several of our members as organizers; we just missed one at Cisco and I’ll let you know when the next one is scheduled

Reminders:

As members of your organizations Women’s Network, we want to encourage conversation and event sharing across the other members of CWIC, however, we want to keep the topic friendly and focused and vendor free.  As CWIC members, you are welcome to share information about up coming events of interest and activities with this group.   The main goal of CWIC is information sharing and to be effective we need to have trust, therefore please help us all by keeping the CWIC member information private.   To help, please use a BCC strategy and start the subject with CWIC.

As you are meeting women from other Corporate Networks or women that want help to get one started, please feel free to educate them about CWIC and introduce them to Cheri and myself.

Please let me know if you have any questions, suggestions or feedback.

Thank you!

 

Leadership Ladder and Engagement. Ideas to motivate participation and growth!

Leadership Ladder and Engagement. Ideas to motivate participation and growth!

Best Practices from Corporate Women’s Initiative Consortium.

Hi Everyone:

For the past two years I have been attending the quarterly CWIC meetings.  (Corporate Women’s Initiative Consortium) A networking group of representatives from women in tech groups from various companies including Yahoo! Google, Intel, SalesForce, IBM, Oracle, eBay and many more.

I had the pleasure of witnessing the launch of many women networking groups and watching them progress, as well as learning from the more established groups such as Intel and Google. Normally, CWIC meets once a quarter, and one company shares their story, (this could be how they just launched their club, or what they plan do for the year, or share a story on how they measured their success and presented results to Executive team, etc).

Per Inga and Caroline Kohout’s suggestion, I have summarized my learning’s below. This outline represents the most common factors each group attributed to their success so far.  It looks like BWN has incorporated many of the best practices, but as always, there are a few points we could improve upon and learn from our peers in Silicon Valley.

A Solid Business Case

Making a convincing business case for the women’s network is critical for receiving the infrastructural support that makes the network effective.  Most successful groups begun by looking at the company’s overall objectives that often included organizational success and employee success, and presented research that showcased how the company would be better served by taking advantage of women employee’s fully realized potentials and developed skills. They showcased how those skills are nourished through the support, consulting, and training that a woman-networking group offers.

A Clear Mission Statement

Firm Infrastructure

1. Agreement on the frequency of the meetings

2. Definition of roles and establishing the ideal time for each term (Most clubs have one year limit for each role, but some also offer six month periods).

3. Fair and inclusive nomination process

4. .Transparency on eligibility and responsibilities tied to each role

Officer titles that are most commonly used:

  • Club Chair/Co-Chair
  • Global Inclusion and Diversity Officer
  • External Relations Officer
  • Internal Relations Officer
  • Member Engagement Officer
  • Member Recruitment Officer
  • PR and Social Media Officer
  • Marketing Officer

CEO and/or a Male Executive Sponsor

Many clubs have shared that male participation has contributed to their effectiveness, most importantly when it comes in the form of active sponsorship or championship.

  • Partnership with HR and Diversity Teams

A few companies including Brocade shared how they work closely with HR to follow the career roadmap of network members, and compare them to non-members. Not surprisingly, they discovered a positive trend in accelerated career growth for the active members who had participated in the networking and training sessions.  They were able to quantify this research and as a result obtain additional budget for advancing their programs.

  • Specific goals & Clear Measures for Success

Many clubs work with HR to tie specific goals to each initiative and look for patterns and proofs of concept. For instance, in launching a new mentorship program, they document the career path of the participants and look for patterns of success, they also interview the menthes periodically and survey whether they are truly benefiting from the program or not.

  • Safe and confidential environment for sharing

Many groups endorse a ‘confidentiality agreement’ for certain meetings in order to encourage women to voice their concerns in an open and constructive manner.  We also held such a meeting during which one of the company representatives shared how a female Sr. Executive who had been ‘fired’ came back to the meeting and shared her version of the story, (which the women found extremely helpful and actually encouraging).

Some of the Most Successful and Popular Initiatives that were showcased during the meetings:

Yahoo! Agile Conflict Management Workshop: The Human Hack: Reinventing How We Work

A new approach to people and conflict management facilitated by Geraldine (Dene) Rogers

Google’s Women in Tech Conference and Travel Grants

As part of Google’s commitment to encourage women to excel in computing and technology, Google offered Women in Tech Conference and Travel Grants for their female computer scientists that included:

  • Free registration for conferences
  • Up to 1000 towards travel and accommodation costs

eBay’s Global Women Leader’s Conference

In 2011, eBay held the Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) summit in San Francisco; the event brought together for the first time the top women leaders from eBay Inc. – nearly 200 people worldwide. The group participated in workshops and panel discussions. They identified actions that they and the company can begin taking to build greater career opportunities for women and enable eBay to build a more diverse global leadership team. The results were phenomenal and the women at eBay feel the company has taken a great positive shift since.

Cisco’s Women Health Workshop in July 2013: (The link between Fitness and Career Success)

Discussion Topics included Health Issues Women Face, Tips to Eat for Energy and Stress Management

SAP’s Panel on Fashion and it’s impact on Career Growth in June 2013

Thanks Inga and Caroline for encouraging me to post this.