This year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, introduced a dedicated program for women called Women4Tech, which I hope other major conference organizers will emulate. In an effort to be a part of the conversation on gender diversity and address the gender gap in the mobile industry, Women4Tech offered an entire day of programming devoted to in-depth analysis of the topics shaping gender diversity in the mobile industry, including empowerment and innovation.
While at Mobile World Congress — and a perfect highlight to Women’s History month — I participated on a Makers panel entitled “Women in Tech: Shaping Culture and Code in the Mobile Industry.” The panel was moderated by Allie Kline, chief marketing officer of AOL.com, and fellow panelists including Radhika Venkatraman, senior VP and chief information officer, Verizon Wireless; Nicola Palmer, chief network officer, Verizon Wireless; Nancy Clark, marketing and sales operations senior VP, Verizon Wireless; Jeannie Ong, chief strategic partnership officer, StarHub; and Rosemary McNally, device technology VP, Verizon Wireless.
The biggest takeaway from this panel is that women often sabotage their own careers with these three leadership killers:
1. Failure to advocate and speak up for other women.
2. Failure to lead due to guilt and unrealistic expectations of self.
3. Failure to prioritize building a powerful personal brand.
What We Have Here Is A Failure To Advocate
How many of us have reported to a female boss and found that the words, “I support women and diversity” translates into female competition, and women promoting male reports vs. advocating for and championing the female reports? The panel agreed that it’s not about hiring for gender, but rather the right person for the job; however, there are times we just aren’t looking hard enough to find those talented women who are capable of moving up the ladder and taking the time to mentor them to reach higher.
The question we left with the audience: When was the last time you mentored or championed another woman than yourself?
Leadership = Delegate, Let Go & Be Kind To Yourself
A grand misperception women often hold is that we are responsible for everything and everyone, whether at home or at work. One can think of it as our female nurturing instinct gone wild. The reality is that we cannot do it all and neither can anyone else, so let’s put an end to the insanity. As women in leadership positions, we need to allow others to step up and demonstrate their capability. As partners and parents, we need to be kind to ourselves and know that everyone’s psychological, physical, and spiritual health is not dependent upon our physical presence.
It’s actually healthy to allow ourselves and others to fail; in failure, we all grow and gain necessary experience to lead empowered lives.
Buckle Your Own Seatbelt Before Buckling Someone Else’s
How many of us know another amazing woman who either does not have a robust LinkedIn or Twitter profile? (Is this you?) How many VPs of marketing and CMO leaders understand the value of a strong, engaged corporate persona, but neglect building one for themselves? Leadership means having influence, and being influential does not happen without crafting powerful relationships.
In today’s social-media-dominant world, it’s no longer wise to remain in the shadows if you have aspirations of growing your value as a professional. Carla Harris, vice chairman and managing director at Morgan Stanley, writes about the importance of “relationship currency.” Harris says your ability to ascend in your career will be directly influenced by the decision of someone else.
In the Relationship Economy and the world of engagement, it’s important to carve out time to build your own potent personal brand. If you can’t find the time to tweet at least once a day, or make a LinkedIn comment once a day, hire a professional who can do this for you in your own voice. Don’t underestimate the power of an influential personal brand to elevate and secure your career success.
Tamara McCleary is CEO of Thulium, an agency creating powerful brand narratives and dynamic content for maximum impact reaching targeted audiences on social media in the B-to-B and B-to-C space. Some of Thulium’s client roster includes IBM, Verizon, Synnex, Appboy, The CMO Club, and Kawasaki Motors USA. She is also a member of TWICE’s Women Of Tech advisory board.Find Tamara on Twitter,LinkedIn, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.