[00:00:00] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Welcome to the revenue engine podcast. I'm your host, Rosalyn Santa Elena. And I am thrilled to bring you the most inspirational stories from revenue, generators, innovators, and disruptors revenue leaders in sales, in marketing. And of course in operations. Together, we will unpack everything that optimizes and powers the revenue engine.
Are you ready? Let's get to it. I have been extremely fortunate to share the stories of many incredible powerful female leaders on the revenue engine podcast. These are women who have climbed the proverbial corporate ladder and are continuing to grow in their careers while paving the way and helping to elevate others.
In many of these episodes. When I sit down with these strong leaders, I'm always interested in hearing their advice for others. As we celebrate March 20, 22 and international women's day, I'm excited to bring together some of the best advice and insights from past episodes. Today's. It's sponsored by outreach.io.
[00:01:15] Sponsor: Outreach is the first and only engagement and intelligence platform built by revenue innovators for revenue innovators. Outreach allows you to commit to an accurate sales forecast, replace manual processes with real-time guidance and unlock actionable customer intelligence that guides you and your team to win more often. Traditional tools don't work in a hybrid sales world. Find out why outreach is the right solution at click.outreach.io/RevEngine
[00:01:50] Rosalyn Santa Elena: You will hear insights from founders like Alice Heiman, Heidi Messer, and Lauren Kennedy. You'll hear from presidents, leading their respective organizations, such as Stephanie Cox and Christine Rogers. And you'll also hear from C-level executives, Stephanie Valenti, Dina Mehta. And Brandi Starr.
So please take a listen and be prepared to be inspired and to hear more of their amazing stories, be sure to listen to each full episode, if you haven't already
Being a woman in a C-level, you know, executive role, like what advice do you have for other women who are looking to elevate their career and, you know, just continue to move up the ladder.
[00:02:33] Stephanie Valenti: Yeah. You know, I, I've always been a huge believer in taking risks and that's been throughout my entire life, my career.
I think it's naturally who I am. And I understand that it's not natural. Who everybody is. Right, right. And so, you know, I once struggled and during my time in the executive role at very let some of my confidence slide a little, and I, you know, I, I was standing at the table and I had a big presentation to do.
And, and, you know, I thought to myself and I actually got this advice from the CFO at, at Varidesk. He had said to me stuff like at the end of the day, if you can live with the. Worst thing that could happen, then why wouldn't you do it? And so to me, it always stuck with me. So I'll think like, okay, if I'm am I going to raise my hand and apply for this job?
Am I going to, you know, come up with an idea and present it to a board? Am I going to, you know, raise my hand in the middle of a meeting going only being the only female there. And I think to myself, what's the worst thing that could happen? Would they laugh at me? Maybe can I live with that? Am I going to die?
No, I'll be fine. Right. Or am I going to get rejected? Maybe what's the worst thing that can happen. I have a bad day. I can live with one bad day for the opportunity for, you know, possible growth in. And so any time I am fearful or I lose confidence or I, you know, I second guessed myself in, in a growth direction.
That's the question that I, I propose and it is, it has helped me a ton. So. My number one thing that if we go back to it is just take a risk. You don't have to know everything. I'm, I'm an was a member of, and a thought leader and mentor of girls club, which is another group that is pretty popular out there that just promotes like females in sales and really getting them to raise their hand.
Big piece of what they talk about all the time is just that resume, right? Where, or that job description, where if like men will apply, if they have 50% of the new only do it, if they have all of them. And so that's just goes back to that. Risk-taking like, just do it, like, just raise your hand and do it. If you can live with the worst, the worst outcome.
[00:04:58] Rosalyn Santa Elena: You know, as a woman of color in a CRO role at a leading technology company, you know, what advice do you have for other women who are maybe looking to elevate their career and, you know, sort of continue to move up the ladder if you will.
[00:05:11] Dini Mehta: Oh, I, I, I wait for the day when this isn't a thing and there's just so many women of color in leadership positions in, in, in the revenue world, but it is.
And if there's been a lot of progress on this front too, over the last decade, but definitely a lot of. To continue to get better here. I'd say, you know, if I had to give advice to my, to my younger self, what would I say? And I think there's, there's a few things. One run your own race. I think early on. I I, because I didn't see other folks that look like me.
I tried to pretend to be someone else and try to be on their timeline, their pack and see if I can just replicate what they've done. And then I realized that that's just not healthy for my own growth. And that's just didn't feel authentic to me. And so something that I. I live by is run your own race and to be comfortable in the discomfort when you're the only woman in the room, when you're on the only person of color in a room, you it's uncomfortable to speak up.
It's uncomfortable to own your space. But I think owning that discomfort is where growth happens. And so something, again, like. I live by, I have a little sticky note on my screen and the third one is be kind to yourself. I think I'm like a lifelong student of fighting imposter syndrome. And so this is something that I, in the past, I was pretty unkind to myself.
The type of negative self-talk I would have. And so, um, now I know that, you know, if I'm having a bad day, that's okay. It's okay to take a break, come back to it later. And I'm a big believer when emotion drives action in purposes like oxygen and finding your why is key, um, to taking action. But, you know, I think being kind to yourself, be comfortable in the discomfort.
And run your own race. Those are like my three, three rules that I live by.
[00:07:06] Stephanie Cox: The other thing I would tell you about my time at Ingersoll Rand, that really impacted my journey to where I'm at today is I grew up, I grew up in the Midwest, so I'm a woman I'm Midwestern, which is like by nature. I am, I've been taught to be polite, humble, and right. Like just kind of. Like, Hey, I think we should do this.
It'd be a great idea. And then wait for like everyone to agree. And I remember sitting in a meeting at Ingersoll Rand, which is a great company. I love my time there. Yeah. I had probably suggested certain effects were problem. We've been having for months. Like almost the point where I was like, can people hear the words that I say like, like I'm speaking English, right?
Like, right. Like what's going on? And then someone else, my boss at the time said it everyone's like, oh, Like idea ever. And I'm like, for the love, I got mad, like the meeting, but like I went home when I was mad and I'd been mad before when that's happened to me. But like, I think this was the time I was like, screw it.
Like I'm, I'm done asking for permission. I'm done asking for people to like, tell me it's okay to do my job. I know what I'm doing. I'm good at it. And I'm just going to start doing whatever I want until someone tells me I knock it off. And here's the thing. When you do great work, no one tells you to knock it off, right?
People don't stop your hands for solving complex problems that maybe are outside of your area of responsibility. And because of that, when you look at the rest of my career, like that was a huge turning point, because then when I went to exact target and Salesforce rate, I see, I see. And no one else is doing it.
And it's like outside of my area. So I would just start doing it until someone was like, Hey, stop. And spoiler alert. They don't tell you that. Right. And that continued. And that's really, really prevalent. And my experience today, , you know, when I came in four years ago, I was hired to run hard. And I ran marketing for two years.
Then I took over sales. And, you know, part of that was because I had a lot of opinions. Like I was already trying to influence sales before I was running on it. And, you know, I took over sales and then I started seeing areas for customer success and support and product and. Just, I mean, I'm polite about the first time where I'll say like, Hey, like this is a problem to whoever's managing it, but if they don't take advantage, like if they don't do something and I'm not very patient, to be honest, I just started doing it.
And then I started taking over those functions and now, you know, I, I run the company. But a lot of it has been because of my past experience. Right? A lot of it's been hard work. I work really, really hard, but I'm also, you know, been very lucky around timing of things I've been in opportunities and taking advantage of things that have turned out to be, you know, mobiles that a huge, huge part of my career and that, you know, goes back to my time at Ingersoll Rand.
And part of it is also, you know, if someone wouldn't have. You know, if my boss wouldn't have said what he said in that meeting on that day, I probably wouldn't have gotten as mad that night. Maybe I still be waiting for, you know, being the same way and asking people for his blessed me to do. Which, yeah, I'm not that for a long time now.
So that's kind of how we got here.
[00:10:39] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Historically sales has been really a field where there are many more men than women, especially as you move up the ranks in leadership. Right. We tend to see less women leaders, although there's definitely been. An increase in sort of a shift over the last several years.
What advice do you have for other women who are looking to potentially, you know, break into sales, or maybe they're looking to elevate their career in sales and sort of move up that ladder.
[00:11:06] Alice Heiman: I love that. And I have a lot to say about that. So you may have to cut me off
[00:11:11] Rosalyn Santa Elena: I definitely will not cut you off.
[00:11:16] Alice Heiman: It's near and dear to my heart. So I'm just going to go back to the CEO again because of. It's still today. Most CEOs are men, right? The influence of those men to support bringing women into sales and bringing them up the ranks to leadership is so critically important. So it, it has to start with a culture.
I think that sales is a phenomenal career for women. I love it because. We're so good at it. We understand people. We are problem solvers. We are helpers, and I believe that sales is a helping profession. It was so natural for me to come from teaching. Where I was helping, helping other teachers, helping students, helping parents, right into sales, where I am helping people make decisions that will move their company forward.
So whatever it is that you sell, right? You're helping a company when they purchase that to hit their goals, to move forward in the direction they want to move forward in. So women are very good at that. Not that men aren't. Good at it. They are. And obviously they have dominated the sales world and done well, but women can do that too.
And so I want to encourage women to go into sales. I want them to know that it's a helping profession, that it's not about manipulation coercion or trying to force someone to buy something they don't want or need. That's not sales. I don't know what it is, but that's not sales. So we in the B2B world anyway, the business to business sales world are really trying to find our ideal customers and help them.
And when we do that, we make a sale. And when we do it really well, we make a customer for life. So women are good at that. And so we need to encourage them. Okay. As you know, I do mentor quite a few women in sales and sales leadership, and women CEOs as well, because I feel it's so important if we want to bring women in, we have to help them gain entree.
Right. And then have the right access to what they need to. Meet people to improve their skills, to feel comfortable, to feel included. And so I mentor to help them do that. And I belong to several organizations that are doing a great job to help lift up women in sales, like the women sales pros. And I know, you know, Lori Richardson, my good, good friend who runs that organization and all the amazing women there who also help nurture.
Women in sales and help them rise up to sales leadership. Women in revenue is another amazing group. That's doing the same and I could go on and on, but we can put some of those resources in the show notes, but I'm, it is important to help women understand what sales is and bring them in and help them feel comfortable.
Because it's a great profession for all the reasons I said, but also it has such great earning potential. There are so many fields that women can get into that are wonderful, but they cannot earn the same amount that they can in sales and women. Many women today, unfortunately are the sole supporters of their families and they need to be able to.
Earn a very good living and in sales, they can do that and have some flexibility along with it. So I cannot say enough about how important it is for all of us to help women. No, what sells is want to come into sales, help them do it, and then get them the access they need and help them be excellent individual contributors or rise up into sales leadership.
[00:15:28] Rosalyn Santa Elena: So let's switch gears a little bit and talking about revenue, right. As we both know, revenue is still a pretty male dominated industry, right. Especially as you sort of move up that corporate ladder, right. You see less and less females, right. In executive roles and especially women of color, you know, myself being a minority woman in an executive role, I'm often asked for career advice.
Right. And I'm sure you get asked this all the time as well. Right. What advice, I guess, do you have for other ones who are really looking to progress their career, especially in this revenue space.
[00:16:02] Brandi Starr: Don't be afraid to ruffle that is the, you know, advice that I give throughout my career. I have been able to push myself, my ideas to the forefront to make sure that I am not overlooked by not being afraid of someone not agreeing with me or, you know, me directly disagreeing with someone.
I mean, it has helped that I am. Both fairly extroverted, but beyond that, you know, I think a lot of women are worried about being seen as combative or not being taken seriously are, you know, there's a whole host of other reasons why women don't speak up and don't advocate for their ideas and things that they want to do.
And. You know, while some of those are true while every situation is not going to, you're not always going to be received well, um, You know what? I can't remember the exact quote, but it's like, well, behaved women never make history. Like you, you have to not be afraid to step out into the forefront and share your ideas and what direction you think things should go and be able to take on, you know, the, the men in the, in the room or at the table that may not be as receptive because.
There is some intimidation that happens in the boardroom, but where you are able to essentially stand your ground and show that like, no, I deserve to be here as well. My ideas are just as valid. You will actually see. They'll kind of back down and take you seriously. But in most cases it is almost like that.
A little bit of that intimidation to see, like, you know, does she really believe in what she's saying? And that's something that can be really hard to push through, especially if you don't have as strong of a personality naturally. But that's my biggest piece of advice is like, don't be afraid to, you know, Challenge the status quo to step on toes, to really fight for what you think your organization should be doing.
[00:18:31] Rosalyn Santa Elena: So let's shift gears a bit, again, you know, as a female leader, right in revenue, I'm often asked for career advice, right? Questions around how to be heard, how to climb the ladder, you know, how to really elevate yourself in your respective fields. What advice do you have for other women, right. Who are really looking perhaps to elevate their career and kind of move up that.
Move up that ladder.
[00:18:55] Lauren Kennedy: I've always said that the best way for women to rise is to build their own stairs.
[00:18:59] Rosalyn Santa Elena: No, I love that, that's right.
[00:19:03] Lauren Kennedy: So, yeah, and I, I don't know where that came from, but something that I say a lot and important, that if you feel like you're kind of stagnant your career or struggling to move forward, um, as a man or a woman, it's really important to just say, what am I missing? What is the person. In the spot that I want to get to, what do they have that I don't and start to work towards achieving that if it's reasonable.
Oftentimes the thing that's holding you back as you. So it's your belief in yourself? It's your level of confidence? It's the constant battle. We all fight with imposter syndrome, with imposter syndrome, winning and us losing. And I think it's important to just have those conversations with yourself saying like, I'm worth the next opportunity.
I deserve it. I am strong enough to do it. There's a, there's a lot of negative things that we say to ourselves that we would never say to somebody else. And. Power of self-talk and the power of like the specific words you use, it's really strong and holding yourself back or moving you forward. But it's something I'm really intentional about with our team here actually is what words we use, what words are off limits as far as like things that have a negative impact, like you said, I have a major in psychology, so I'm really focused on the psychology of what we deal with, including the words we use.
So as far as taking the next step, it's really important just to say, what does that career have that I think. What does that shift look like? Who's done it successfully. Who can I have as a mentor and learning from others? It's really important to be a sponge whenever you're trying to make a change in your life and learn from who's done it well, who's done it poorly.
And, uh, listening to yourself, we know a lot more than we think we do.
[00:20:35] Rosalyn Santa Elena: You know, as a female leader in technology. I'm often asked questions about, you know, how do you break barriers? How do you, you know, have your voice heard? How do you climb sort of that, you know, that career ladder. And I think as a C-level executive, you know, what advice do you have, I guess, for other women who are looking to grow their career and move up that corporate ladder?
[00:20:59] Heidi Messer: Well, and it's funny, you mentioned it sort of a shifting of gears, but I actually think it goes back to your question about community, which is. You know, people's your network. There's, there's a book written by Porter, Gale called your network is your net worth. And it's really true. Like, I think. Th the thing that, you know, when you, when you look at most women, there's, there's this statistic and I'm going to quote it wrong.
So don't hold me to it. When there's like a job description for a woman to apply, let's say there's 10 criteria. She has to meet eight of them and for a man to apply, he, he has to meet, he, he decides he'll, he'll apply meeting four of those criteria. I forget. It's, it's something that basically says, like men will apply for jobs that they're grossly underqualified for women.
Like we'll wait until they're like overqualified.
[00:21:44] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yes,
[00:21:45] Heidi Messer: And they put their hat in the ring.
And so there's one question, which is okay, like, should that be the case? Which I think it would be nice if everyone actually applied for jobs that they were qualified for. So I'm not so sure that you want to go the route of saying, okay then on this, but, but you say, well, how did they get all these jobs and how do they get ahead?
When literally most of them are half as qualified as the women who were applying for them. And if you peel back the onion, I would say it's because. You know, there's, there's a natural networking that happens on, they used to call it the old boys club. And one of the things I recommend to women is spend time nurturing your network, spend time making those connections.
I mean, you're, you're a natural at it, you know, you and I, LinkedIn and. You know, I probably did a cold outreach to you cause I'm just going to pass by all the things you've done. And, and, you know, you were brave enough to answer me and to actually engage and, and look at the great things that come from that.
So I would say it's the, it's the silent help that you get from the people that, you know, a collective, I, we call them connectors, like the connectors who. You know, find out about the job opportunity that maybe wasn't announced yet or vouch for you when you say, you know, I really want that role and I've got to stretch to get it, but, but this person has seen me and knows that even though my resume doesn't speak to it, that that I have the skills and I'm the dedication.
So I would say it's, you know, get in the right communities, be active in them, build your network. And devote a percentage of your time as a professional to doing that, even if it's not directly related to the knowledge that you use.
[00:23:25] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yep. I love that.
So what advice do you have for, you know, for other women who are really looking to elevate themselves, elevate their career and maybe continue to move, you know, maybe it's up the ladder or maybe it's sideways or, you know, however it is, but it's expanding, expanding their reach and their.
[00:23:45] Christine Rogers: I love this question because you know, I've done it a lot of different ways. And it's interesting because as you think about your own growth and development, both as a leader, but as like a woman and I have done it a lot of different ways. So I'll tell you this, you know, going into it. When I was watching, there are not a lot of sales leaders that are women.
So I didn't feel like I had a good understanding of what this would, what, you know, what this would look like. And so I think I tried on doing it, like what are, what I was watching, you know, what was emulated in front of me, which was a more masculine way of being. And that works to an extent that worked.
And then I started really realized through some executive coaching and through some of those different things, I really just need to double down and be more me. And that when I actually didn't think of all the different scenarios or, or didn't have everything planned out and perfectly done, but I just was responding as me.
I, I did. And so, you know, I would get feedback, you know, around, oh, you're doing too much verbal processing or you're doing too many things. You need to be more concise and, you know, Christine, you going and, and, you know, being with the team and talking to them and laughing and doing all of those things, like you need to, you know, be more stern and be more of this.
And I actually have to leave. He told me, he said, you know, the biggest motivator is fear. And he said, you need to get in there. And this was not Aaron. It was at a different company. You know, he just said, that is it. You need to scare them. That is how you will get it done. And I said, you know, I am you hire, you all hired me to do this job.
And you know, what I think is caring and like, as much as you're going to hate this. The bigger motivator is truly love. Like if people love being around you and they want to be at work, I'm like they will work for me differently because I actually care about them. Spots was so funny. He looked right at me as well.
You have three months. If it doesn't work you're out of here. And I said, All right. You know, it was like, you know, put your money where your mouth is kind of situation. And at the end of the day, I believe that to be true, like I have a big capacity to love. I love to have fun. I want to have a good time in.
I'm also very, very particular. I do not like to miss targets. I do not like to miss. I am a revenue driver. I am variant, but I also have a large capacity the left. So I think the most important thing is figure out what are those key components that you uniquely bring to the table and try to do more of that rather than trying to emulate all the other things that you're saying.
And even. Even the other women that you're seeing, you know, if you do it that way, if you're a person that is quiet and isn't like, let's get on the chair and get everybody robber on going that's okay. You know, motivating one-to-one and talking to people and caring about them one-on-one is just as powerful as being able to get on stage and motivate a billion people to do something when it actually is.
And, and, and insights action, right. If I get up there and get everybody excited and then five minutes later, they forget about it. But I had three conversations that are meaningful with somebody that moved the needle for them, because they actually understand what I'm talking about. We get it done, which ones like they're both different, just different styles.
So really bracing. Knowing yourself. It's so much more than being, um, just self-aware, but it's actually really digging in and go, this is, this is who w what I uniquely bring to this. And I'm going to be more of that and try to do more of that. Then I just told us to a gal the other day, it's like trying on a pair of jeans.
That's too tight tracking. Like if somebody gives you the feedback and you're like, I actually can't be that quiet conversation, you know, try and see, like, does that feedback work? Is this workable for me, this felt good. And this seemed to work and then do more of that. That's what I think is really important.
This episode was digitally transcribed.