#WomenInTech: Advice To My Younger Self
This Thursday, the Advice to My Younger Self panel discussion is happening at OneEleven. The panel will delve into the risks and challenges of a modern career, and how best to learn from both failures and success.
The panel will feature:
- Diana Dyer, President of Triumph Capital Limited
- Andrea Corey, VP Product Development of Nudge Software
- Eva Wong, Co-Founder and COO at Borrowell
Menaka: What’s something that you wished you’d known ten years ago?
Bianca: I think it’s being self-aware. Every year, for the last 6 years now, I take a whole day to myself where my phone’s off, everything’s off, and I take time for reflection. I break my goals down into 6 verticals for the year; personal growth, finance, family, business, and so on, whatever is important that year. I still ask myself the question, what do I want to be when I grow up? I decide what I want to focus on for the next few months. And I really wish I’d started doing that younger, because it affects the actions I take. I don’t take a step now without sort of knowing the one that will come after. The vision board enables me to put the energy out to the universe and hold myself accountable to it. It’s an actual board inside of my closet, I see it every day! No escape.
And one other thing is to just be relentless. That means knowing people are going to say no to you, knowing that some people won’t believe in your ideas. Be okay with that. Just be relentless in your pursuit of things you want to do anyways.
Read Bianca’s full interview: Doing Business with a Social Conscious
Menaka: What have you learned from your experience as a founder that you wish you’d known before?
Amanda: Two big things. The first is don’t be afraid to be aggressive. Sometimes female executives, especially if they are young, can get labeled some interesting names – don’t be afraid of that. Traction and success trump all (no pun intended). The second is that mentors are incredibly important – find many.
Read Amanda’s full interview: Building a Big Data Startup in Toronto
Menaka: You were a relatively young CMO when you were at Cintell – did you find that people were often surprised when you walked through the door?
Katie: In any kind of management position, many will look at you critically if you’re young, or especially if you’re female. There’s this kind of built-in, unconscious bias. You will likely be discounted at first blush. And that’s just the reality of business.
When I was at NetProspex, as their first marketing hire when it was a 10-person startup, I learned to fake it until you make it – that doesn’t mean make stuff up as you go, it means having confidence in unfamiliar situations. It means being comfortable with the ambiguity that comes with that kind of position. I think being a leader is about showing strength and being composed throughout a lot of chaos.
It’s the only way to gain respect from those who doubt you from your appearance. I knew there was a lot I wasn’t going to know on my first day as a CMO, but I had confidence in my ability to figure it out. Anyone going into a role that stretches their perceived limits can’t be scared by the fact they don’t have twenty years of experience. You have to be resourceful and get things done.
I think it’s also good though to acknowledge the fact that you’re going into these situations at a bit of a disadvantage. If you don’t look like the rest of the people in the room, whether it’s by your gender or your age or your hair color, just go in expecting that. Know that you have to work with that, and know that you will be underestimated.
Read Katie’s full interview: Marketing and Modern Work