Which Company Would You Want to Work For?

Let me just start by saying I read a lot of articles about people development, leadership, what to do with your resume, what not to do with your resume, questions should you ask potential candidates, what should a candidate do to prep for an interview….the list goes on.

Why all this reading? It’s a little like school for me. It’s the “research and development” part of my work that gives me the inspiration for thoughtful observations on how to navigate the complicated world called work.

I am inspired by what I read quite often. More often than not I’m inspired by something that’s connected to something else I read. (That’s that human “thinking” brain I keep talking about, the one that’s not a robot that connects disparate ideas. But I digress. The conversation about our non-robotness is a conversation for another day.)

This is not about me and my reading habits. It’s about you. Specifically, a question I have for you. But all that chatter is to set up the question. Let me set up the scenarios … Continue reading “Which Company Would You Want to Work For?”

Staying to Protect the Team

I have a question for all the people managers out there. Have you stayed in a job because of the people? A job you know you need to leave, but you just can’t quit the amazing people.

“My boss is a tool but my people are fabulous. I can’t leave them.” I’ve heard this sentence or something like it more times than I can count.

Have you endured a lousy boss because you want to protect or can’t leave the people on your team?

I know I have.

This topic came up while talking with my ladybadass friends recently. Several of them recounted the same scenario:

Atrocious boss + extraordinary people → Difficulty leaving

It got me wondering. Is this a pattern with women leaders or is just a sign of someone who’s a cool person? Continue reading “Staying to Protect the Team”

Meet a ladybadass: Theresa Kushner – data junkie, privacy advocate, and change maker

Over on our #ladybadass sister-site, we highlight many of the fearless, courageous, and inspiring ladies in business and in life around the world. We’re taking this idea a step further and finding out what it is that motivates and inspires these phenomenal women.

From journalist to data junkie to privacy champion advocate, Theresa Kushner epitomizes what it is to be a ladybadass.

#BeBrave #BeCurious #BeKind

Theresa Kushner, a self-described Type A personality, began her frenetic career by holding down three jobs while pursuing her bachelor’s degree in journalism. After a long stint in the technology industry leading the way at VMware, Cisco and IBM, she is now Senior Vice President for the Performance Analytics Group at Dell EMC. Theresa is also a published author and leading collaborative writer. Her two books (Managing Your Business Data: From Chaos to Confidence and B2B Data-Driven Marketing: Sources, Uses, Results) combine her journalism background and authority in the field of data analytics.

Data Junkie

So, what does she do? In a nutshell, Kushner would describe her job as, “Like running a mining company. I take raw material (data) and mine it for where all the gold nuggets are, and then we fashion it into jewelry to add value to the business.” Jumping in headfirst to Dell EMC in June 2017, Theresa headed to India, home to 400 people under her supervision. Before arriving, she asked each: “Tell me what we’re doing right, what we need to improve, and what you would do if you were me.” This simple ask is a telling indicator of her ethos and leadership style.

Privacy Advocate

Kushner sees data privacy as one of the most pressing and alarming issues in the industry in what she terms, Non-Anonymous Anonymity.  Like other leaders in her field, Kushner sounds the alarm bells regarding the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) with big data and data gathering.

“Data about us is everywhere,” she cautions. “Experian let go of a lot of information, but they’re not the only one. There’s a data breach that happens every day in this country. You do not know where your information is. With the incorporation of AI, our data will be available to machines whose algorithms may lack an ethical background or conscience. People have got to take control of something that they’ve never really thought about beforehand; that is their own information about themselves. No longer is it just your name and your social security number, but now it’s your DNA too.”

Kushner explains that data is gathered from every aspect of your daily life: where you sit; where you move; who you move with. What sites on the internet you visit. And now with GPS, what physical sites you visit. We’ve all seen those ads online. You’ve done a quick search for “toddler socks,” and suddenly, every site you visit includes a plethora of colorful socks and adorable kiddie outfits. The quick, simple, and innocent search produced valuable data for countless advertisers and companies to inundate you with personalized ads.

Your data points are then bundled with others with similar data points.  Kushner refers to James Surowiecki’s The Wisdom of Crowds that surmises that when you get enough people together, they come to the same conclusions. Using data analytics and AI, a store now has enough information on an individual (combined with those of millions of others) to predict not only what you will buy, but how long you will stay in the store, and even where in the store you will go.

Your anonymity is lost. Unknowingly or naively, we give away valuable data every day.

Continue reading “Meet a ladybadass: Theresa Kushner – data junkie, privacy advocate, and change maker”

Do women empty the bank on their relationship capital?

I’ve been floating an idea recently about the concept of “relationship capital.” I honestly want to know if you think I’m nuts or if the idea resonates.

Let me start by explaining what I mean by “relationship capital” and what you do with it.

Someone, usually in a significantly more powerful/senior position to you, decides to put his reputation on the line for you.

For instance:

  • Hiring you when you don’t have the experience and/or someone else isn’t a fan.
  • Giving you opportunities to work on projects that are outside of your usual scope of responsibility.
  • Speaking on your behalf in a room that you’re not in.
  • Pushing someone forward rather than just opening the door.

This is beyond mentoring. This is someone making a bet; a bet on you and your future capabilities. Continue reading “Do women empty the bank on their relationship capital?”

By the time a man is 30 he’s had 500% more practice asking.

Do you practice asking? Would you be interested in letting me practice with you?

See what I did there? I just practiced asking.

If you were sitting across from me, I’m sure I’d get a bit of a WTF look right now. Let me explain…

I think women are behind on the proficiency curve of mastering the art of asking. I believe we’ve been behind for a while, and we’re still playing catch-up. If we want to own our part in closing the compensation (note that I didn’t use the word “pay” here) gap, then we need to be better at asking.

So when did we start getting behind at practising the craft of asking? Look no further than your first boy/girl dance somewhere around 12 or 13 years old.* Cast your mind back to the streamer adorned, disco ball ambiance of your school gym. Are you there?

As I remember it, most of the boys were plastered against the wall on one side of the room, and most of the girls were clumped together giggling on the other. And what’s happening? The boys are trying to stand out, be noticed, trying to pluck up the courage to ask a girl to dance. The girls are waiting, waiting for the guy to ask them to dance.**

Now my awesome lady friends, reading this I’m sure you’re thinking: “No! Wait! I danced by myself. I danced with my friends.” You might have even asked a guy to dance. Think about all the guys you know. How many times have they done the asking vs. how many times you’ve done the asking when it comes to asking you to dance, on a date, for a drink, to the movies, to marry you? Yes, I’ll confess, as bold and self-assured as I am, I followed tradition, and waited for my husband to propose to me. Continue reading “By the time a man is 30 he’s had 500% more practice asking.”

How can you be courageous so you can be brave?

These days, I spend most of my time asking people to change. Mostly I coach them just to change the way they talk about themselves but change nonetheless.

Recently, I was meeting with a group of remarkable women, listening to how they would apply what they’d learned from my coaching. I must admit, my heart sank a little. It sank because while the room understood that they needed to evolve how they branded themselves and how others saw them, they were still afraid to push the necessary boundaries. These eager and successful women were really afraid of being their bold, authentic, unique, and compelling selves. My heart sank because I knew exactly what they were feeling: I’ve been afraid too. My heart sank because, in my eagerness to teach the idea, I had forgotten about the fear. Not acknowledging that fear was my fault. Continue reading “How can you be courageous so you can be brave?”