Celebrating International Women’s Day: An Interview With 5 Powerful Women

Here at GS&F we value gender equality, employing an even 50/50 gender split in an industry where men hold 54% of the jobs. To celebrate International Women’s Day 2020, we sat down with five inspiring women on our team to discuss what gender equality means to them, who inspires them, what advice they have for women interested in pursuing a career in marketing, and the hopes they have for young girls in the next generation. 

What did you dream of doing when you were a little girl?

“I clearly remember being asked this question in grade school and my answer was always the same… to grow up and become a mother.“

Is there a particular female figure that inspires you ?

“My career path was greatly influenced and inspired by a former coworker. She set a firm path for me at GS&F that has allowed me to be the best mother and professional I can be.

Define a great leader—What are three traits you think great leaders possess?

“Great leaders come in many forms and each of us responds to guidance in different ways. The most impactful leaders in my life have led with kindness, compassion, partnership and a little bit of humor.”

What does gender equality mean to you?

“In its simplest form, it means focusing on the work or the output and not the source. Rewarding and recognizing greatness in any form.”

What advice did you receive early in your career that has stayed with you?

“‘The only thing constant is change’ and ‘you get what you give’ are the two quotes I have carried with me throughout my career. Simple thoughts that remind me to keep growing and learning while supporting those around me through friendship and understanding.”

Based on your own experience, what advice would you give to women considering pursuing a career in marketing?

“Surround yourself with good people and work that makes you proud of what you do every day. Prioritize work/life balance, and ‘never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life’.”

What main change would you like to see for young girls in the next generation?

“I would like to see a shift away from comparison to others. Don’t look beside or behind. Run your own race.”

What did you dream of doing when you were a little girl?

“I would tell family/friends that I wanted to be an ‘inventor,’ and though I couldn’t pinpoint what that meant specifically at the time, it makes a lot of sense to me now.“

Is there a particular female figure that inspires you ?

I played soccer with ALL BOYS from age 5 until high school. Back then, there was no such thing as organized soccer for girls, especially in small-town Georgia. Years after I had graduated from college it was a dream come true to see the U.S. Women’s soccer team change the perception of women and soccer (and sports in general) when they won the World Cup in 1999. Of course I’ll always be a fan of Mia Hamm, but one thing sports teaches you is that it’s the TEAM that matters.

Define a great leader—What are three traits you think great leaders possess?

“Sincerity. Dependability. Humility.

What does gender equality mean to you?

“Perhaps we will know we have arrived at gender equality when we can finally shift the focus from women’s rights to human rights.”

What advice did you receive early in your career that has stayed with you?

“Work smarter, not harder.”

Based on your own experience, what advice would you give to women considering pursuing a career in marketing?

“Again, learn to work smarter, not harder…and be visible.”

What main change would you like to see for young girls in the next generation?

“I often remind my niece, ‘there are no rules.’ Whatever a girl wants to do when she grows up should be because it’s what she wants to do with her life. Girls should know that they don’t have to make compromises or choices based on any perceived expectations/limitations of what women SHOULD do with their life.”

What did you dream of doing when you were a little girl?

“I wanted to be a marine biologist and a WNBA baller.”

Is there a particular female figure that inspires you ?

“I am inspired by my grandmother, Mama G. She is so kind and loving of all people.”

Define a great leader—What are three traits you think great leaders possess?

“Dynamic. Honest. Positive.”

What does gender equality mean to you?

“Respect for all. Opportunities for all.”

What advice did you receive early in your career that has stayed with you?

“Take up as much room at the table in meetings as men do.”

Based on your own experience, what advice would you give to women considering pursuing a career in marketing?

“Find your voice and express it, early and often.”

What main change would you like to see for young girls in the next generation?

“A woman in The White House.”

What did you dream of doing when you were a little girl?

“WNBA player.”

Is there a particular female figure that inspires you ?

“Michelle Obama. She’s real. She’s strong. She’s a working mother. She’s courageous.”

Define a great leader—What are three traits you think great leaders possess?

“Humility. Curiosity. Confidence. Compassion. Courage.”

What does gender equality mean to you?

“It means my daughter can be an astronaut or a stay at home mom… whatever she decides. And my son can be a dancer or a stay at home dad or a fireman… whatever he decides.”

What advice did you receive early in your career that has stayed with you?

“Be strong in your convictions. Just always remember that there’s a 50% chance you could be wrong.”

Based on your own experience, what advice would you give to women considering pursuing a career in marketing?

“Be sure you love it. It’s hard. But it’s totally worth it and brings you joy.”

What main change would you like to see for young girls in the next generation?

“I don’t want them to see themselves as victims. I want them to see themselves as humans. Humans who love all genders equally.”

What did you dream of doing when you were a little girl?

“A veterinarian or an author.”

Is there a particular female figure that inspires you ?

“It’s hard to pick just one. Mindy Kaling, who is obviously funny and smart. She has believed in her HBIC-ness in the face of a lot of adversity and found creative ways to make it happen. I love her quote, ‘Write your own part. It is the only way I’ve gotten anywhere. It is much harder work, but sometimes you have to take destiny into your own hands. It forces you to think about what your strengths really are, and once you find them, you can showcase them, and no one can stop you’.”

“ I also admire Brandi Carlile for her poise, talent, and ability to stand for and communicate what she believes in so effectively and gracefully.”

“And my dad recently gifted me the book Unbreakable by Richard Askwith—it’s about Lata Brandisová, famous Czech steeplechaser, Nazi resistor, feminist, and an all around woman of action. I’ve thought about her nearly every day since I read the book.”

Define a great leader—What are three traits you think great leaders possess?

A great leader prioritizes the betterment and advancement of the people around them, is decisive but never too proud to be persuaded to change course, and stays calm in a crisis and focuses on solutions.”

What does gender equality mean to you?

“That women, like all human beings, should have the right to choose what they want out of their life without being limited by stereotypes, assumptions, or prejudices. And that without those limitations, women are pretty damn badass.”

What advice did you receive early in your career that has stayed with you?

“Never say, ‘I’. Always say, ‘we’.”

Based on your own experience, what advice would you give to women considering pursuing a career in marketing?

“Work hard. Find people who believe in you. Find people to believe in. Always believe you deserve big things. Never think you don’t have something to improve on.”

What main change would you like to see for young girls in the next generation?

“I want to see a generation of women who are so comfortable making huge assumptions about what they’re capable of that they can’t even recognize their assumptions. Be it women in technology, leadership or politics, I want to see a generation of women who don’t question what they’re capable of because of stereotypes or gendered insecurities that have crept into our psyches.”

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