Tag Archives: Sheryl Sandberg

Woman holding social network balloon

Living social: Promoting individual and professional brand

Remember when Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” was published in 2013? There were many tips for advancing one’s career, but one of the top five, as selected by Forbes, is to form a lean-in circle with one of the book’s online “circle kits.” In essence, it encouraged finding a group of other professional women with whom to share best practices and professional stories.

For women who work in commercial real estate in the Phoenix Metro, that group already exists as Arizona Commercial Real Estate Women, more often referred to as AZCREW.

From its monthly luncheons to its Black and White Affair, golf tournament and mentorship programming, AZCREW encourages its male and female members to build a community within the industry that’s welcoming and fosters a gender-neutral equality.

Decades before the dawn of social media, a professional network could only be built within the workplace and through networking groups.

AZCREW is one of the first such groups that catered to all women in the industry regardless of trade. AZCREW, which is celebrating its 30th year as part of the global CREW Network, hosts annual and monthly events where members can network in a professional environment.

The landscape of networking and professional awareness is changing with the increased adoption of social media, and members of AZCREW are looking more seriously at how this can integrate into existing promotion.

The Greater Good

Without visiting your company’s website, can you recite its mission statement or slogan? Can you pull its logo’s shades out of a color wheel? How about sharing some history behind your company’s origins?

Most employers have made it a policy to familiarize employees with their branding — what the company does and is working to project to potential clients.

However, in a day and age where some networking is moving to social media outlets, it begs the question of just how important it is to brand yourself as an individual?

In 2012, CREW Network surveyed 234 members and 16 executive level women using the Leadership Potential Indicator assessment tool by MySkillsProfile. The objective was to find the leadership strengths and deficiencies of its members. On average, members ranked highest in “monitoring quality” and “focusing on business.” Its lowest ranked categories were “taking risk” and “relating and networking.”

Strengthening its membership’s skills in the latter categories are a focus of the organization’s recent white papers.

Face Time Versus Facebook

AZCREW members seem to be immune to the status quo. Members of AZCREW say a perk of joining the organization is its in-person networking.

When Lincoln Property Company’s Krystal Dill was accepted to AZCREW four years ago, she joined the PR/Outreach committee. It allowed her to promote herself with a microcosm that could be applied to her business environment and the larger industry.

“Being involved in this reputable organization can provide countless direct and indirect results of self-promotion in combination with growing your network of high-quality colleagues,” she says.

Dill says in-person networking comprises about 80 percent of all professional connections, while digital networking is the remaining 20 percent.

AZCREW President-elect Christie Veldhuizen, vice president of operations at DTZ, says the split is more 90-10 for her.

“Personally, I prefer in-person networking…but I do like that through LinkedIn I am able to stay connected with people I am introduced to,” she says.

It’s more important, she says, for her company to have online promotion.

“For DTZ, online promotion through our company website and social media is very important and something we continue to expand,” Veldhuizen says. “However, I understand that with company success there are more opportunities for individual success, so promoting one is not mutually exclusive to promoting the other.”

Dill, who handles marketing for LPC says there is room for improvement.

“I greatly support social media outlets as a marketing source, communicator to the masses and promotional tool for professional purposes,” Dill says. “Personally, I have not yet utilized them to their fullest. While the outlets serve as a great supplement for networking and promotions, the in-person touches and interactions will always be essential.”

Tuned in, Linked up

According to Pew Research Center’s Internet Project Survey in 2014, half of all LinkedIn users have college educations. This is the first time such information has been reported. More than half of all adults who use the internet are active users of two or more social networks. While Facebook is the most popular of the social media sites, Twitter and LinkedIn have seen jumps in usage by adults year over year since 2012. In fact, according to the study, LinkedIn is the second-most used social media network after Facebook.

“The thought leadership in CRE on social media seems male dominated, so room exists for female voices in the conversation,” says Barbi Reuter, COO of Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR, and Tucson CREW and CREW National board member. “I’m surprised not to see more, as we are typically connectors, and engagement is key to success in the social sphere. I do see a higher presence for women in LinkedIn than Twitter. Women’s voices are more predominant in Twitter in the retail and marketing spheres, than in finance and pure brokerage.”

It may just be about getting it right.

“Some users abuse social media by utilizing the outlets to post content that is not ‘public worthy,’” says Dill. “Unfortunately, these spammers affect the overall perception of social media in today’s culture. This has led to misunderstandings that using social media is ego-driven and selfish. Social media should be used to be promote confidence and personal publication via meaningful content.

“One of the best aspects of this industry are the incredible women mentors at our fingertips,” Dill says. “Their counsel and expertise has been invaluable as I’ve navigated my way through my career thus far. With their guidance, I have successfully asked for raises and/or modifications for my position. Social media has served as the communication tool to inform the market of my promotion and/or title change(s). These days, I believe this is how most of our network is informed. It creates community and a sense of place among the industry. I should have done those things sooner!”

Business Woman

Equal Pay for Equal Work

President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order for the non-retaliation for disclosure of compensation information on April 8, 2014. The next day, April 9, 2014, the Paycheck Fairness Act failed to pass in the Senate with a vote of 53-44, missing the needed 60 votes.

In part one of this article, the Ban Bossy campaign was discussed by two Arizona business leaders, and what women need to do to break the glass ceiling. The Executive Orders and the Paycheck Fairness Act are two items that are meant to help women receive equal wages for equal work because statistics show that women make 77 percent of what men make for equal work.

One of the major problems facing women in the workplace is that wages cannot be discussed, so most people do not know if they are receiving discriminatory wages. The Executive Order for non-retaliation for disclosure of compensation allows employees of Federal contractors to discuss their compensation without fear of adverse action. Section 1 of the policy states that the executive branch is trying to enforce the civil rights laws of the United States including those laws that prohibit discriminatory practices with respect to compensation and that Federal contractors that employ such practices are subject to enforcement action.

Section 1 states, “When employees are prohibited from inquiring about, disclosing, or discussing their compensation with fellow workers, compensation discrimination is much more difficult to discover and remediate, and more likely to persist.”

This Executive Order follows Obama’s first signed bill from 2009: the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration. When signing the bill in the company of Lilly Ledbetter, Obama exclaimed, “Lilly Ledbetter didn’t set out to be a trailblazer or a household name. She was just a good hard worker who did her job – and did it well – for nearly two decades before discovering that for years, she was paid less than her male colleagues for the very same work. Over the course of her career, she lost more than $200,000 in salary, and even more in pension and Social Security benefits – losses she still feels today.”

Five years later, women continue to fight for equal pay for equal work, leading to the new Executive Order and Paycheck Fairness Act. Although women, especially women of color, suffer from unequal pay, Obama stated at the 2009 bill signing that equal pay is not just a women’s issue, but a family issue. He said, “It’s about parents who find themselves with less money for tuition or child care; couples who wind up with less to retire on . . . And in this economy, when so many folks are already working harder for less and struggling to get by, the last thing they can afford is losing part of each month’s paycheck to simple discrimination.”

So why would the Senate block the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2014? There are many thoughts about why the Senate Republicans blocked the bill including that the Senate would not consider Republican amendments to the measure, Senate Democrats wanted to control the debate, the bill would lead to job losses and the bill was only an election-year ploy.

Senator Mitch McConnell explained that the bill would hurt employers. He stated, “At a time when the Obama economy is already hurting women so much, this legislation would double down on job loss – all while lining the pockets of trial lawyers. In other words, it’s just another Democrat idea that threatens to hurt the very people it claims to help.” He continued to explain that the bill was part of a broader strategy to appeal to low- and middle-income voters, the same as the move to increase the federal minimum wage and long-term unemployment benefits.

McConnell explained, “For weeks now, they’ve blocked the efforts Republicans have made to improve the picture. Senate Democrats want to control this debate from start to finish and basically do nothing to help with our efforts to expand opportunity and jobs for women and for men. They continue to block all the innovative ideas that Republicans have been offering to turn the tide.”

Senator Kelly Ayotte also explained why Republican women opposed the bill. “There are two other laws that already cover this issue in addition to Lilly Ledbetter. I believe those laws should be enforced. And obviously I think it’s self-evident that I’m for women receiving equal pay. In fact, I’d like them to be paid more.”

From the other perspective, Senator Barbara Mikulski, who sponsored the bill, gave a passionate speech about the bill before the vote occurred. She said, “I’ll tell you what I’m tired of hearing – that somehow or another we’re too emotional when we talk. You know, when we raise an issue, we’re too emotional. Well, I am emotional. If we don’t pass this bill, I’m so emotional I’m going to press on. It brings tears to my eyes to know how women every, single day are working so hard and are getting paid less. It makes me emotional to hear that.” She concluded with a call to action: “Today is the day that’s a reckoning on ‘Do you want equal pay for equal work?’ and I want men and women all across America to be emotional about it. If you think we’re emotional, wait till you see what happens if this bill fails.”

After the bill failed to pass, Mikulski called for women to keep fighting. “Let’s suit up. Let’s square our shoulders. For the women, put your lipstick on and let’s fight on. We will be back another day for another vote,” she exclaimed.

Based upon the social movements looking to empower women and the persistence of senators like Mikulski, women are not going to put down this fight. This is the third time that the Paycheck Fairness Act has failed to pass, but it appears that Mikulski refuses to admit defeat. Lean In, Ban Bossy, the Paycheck Fairness Act and other movements are calling women to use their voices and to empower themselves. We shall see what these movements bring for the future.

If you missed part one of this article, check it out here.

Ban Bossy1, WEB

Local business owners weigh in Ban Bossy campaign

The Ban Bossy campaign led by Facebook COO and Lean In founder, Sheryl Sandberg, and the Girl Scouts of USA works to help empower girls and women. The campaign partnered with celebrities and businesses to share quotes, stories and tips for girls, parents, troop leaders and managers to help women become leaders. The basis of the campaign comes from statistics that show that when boys assert themselves they are called leaders, but when girls assert themselves they are labeled as bossy.

The Ban Bossy websites shares leadership tips for girls, parents, teachers, managers and troop leaders that contain statistics and tips for difficult situations. Some examples include allowing boys and girls to work together in groups, pausing after questions so that all students have time to answer, asking questions without right answers so students can answer without the fear being wrong, reading books and watching movies with heroines and heroes, differentiating between competence and being well-liked in the workplace and eliminating language that contains gender bias.

The site also displays favorite stories and resources that “encourage girls to flex their leadership muscles.” These range from PDF activities for girls and parents to complete, to troop activities, to media choices and information, to stories of real girls breaking stereotypes and being leaders.

So how can we expand upon the Ban Bossy campaign? Two Arizona businesswomen speak up about what it means to be a woman in business and how to break the glass ceiling.

Lisa Pino, an ASU alumna and former Deputy Assistant Secretary at USDA, and Kimber Lanning, an Arizona business owner and founder of Local First Arizona, both talk about women needing to take the initiative and use their voice.

Pino explains that she first took the initiative when she worked at a small, private college. She pitched an idea about how to help women enter and stay in college through difficult socio-economic situations such as teenage motherhood, financial struggles and cultural differences. Through this idea, Pino implemented the first minority retention program at the college. “I was fortunate to have a woman boss, and this gave me the initiative to empower myself and do work other than what I was assigned,” Pino states. After this first critical step, Pino states that she later realized that she could be the leader because she learned how to exercise new muscles in creativity and leadership.

Lanning takes a similar position when she states, “Don’t use ‘I’m a girl’ for an excuse for anything – good or bad.” She continues to explain, “I don’t spend a whole lot of time dwelling on what I can or can’t do,” Lanning states, “I just leap. Fear of failure is not a reason to not try.”

Lanning took the initiative at a young age. She explains that she was passed over for a manager position at a record shop because “no one would listen to a 100-pound woman.” So, Lanning opened her own store, Stinkweeds, instead.

Both women also agree that women need to speak up for themselves in the workplace. Pino explains, “As a woman, it’s necessary to be able to exercise your voice.”

She continues to explain that there is a recent shift in the workplace. Previously, she says, women needed to act like men in the workplace, but now there is an appreciation for the qualities that women tend to have and how those can be regarded as strengths.

“Women tend to have the likelihood of listening, negotiating and handling situations. They work on challenges with a longer view, and are not just forced by the short-term pressure,” Pino explains, “Women tend to be more ambidextrous because they are used to doing it all – work and family. Juggling many things is part of the norm.”

Lanning agrees that women need to show what they can offer in the workplace. She states, “I try to take the time to be conscientious about what I can offer to other people, but if I need to, I have a big toolbox and boxing gloves if needed.” However, Lanning also points out “if women come to work with their boxing gloves every day that is not helpful either.” She suggests that women find ways to collaborate and show their worth.

Pino also speaks directly about Ban Bossy, Lean In and other women’s campaigns. She explains that, even with some of the criticism, all of these campaigns are successful because they start the dialogue. She claims, “It is not as simple as identifying one word – it is a much more complex subject – but, nevertheless, we are talking about it.” She explains that through the extensive coverage from mass media, social media and other women that now people who are not women have to talk about it as well. “Let’s continue the dialogue, let’s see what measurable actions we can take together, let’s create some sort of coalition of support and collaboration,” Pino states.

Finally, Pino states that she is excited and proud of the millennial generation. “It is so exciting for younger women today. It is fantastic that they are growing up in a culture where they won’t tolerate challenges that women had in the past. Also, male millenials are much more progressive in believing in equity for women. I am inspired by younger women and their courage in speaking out about these issues. The culture is changing.”

As women are still underrepresented in board rooms, in business, in the STEM fields and in politics, the discussion needs to continue about equality in the workplace. Ban Bossy attempts to confront the stereotypes and double standards that women face and show girls and women how to lean in. As Beyoncé states, “I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.

Check out part 2 of this article discussing the Paycheck Fairness Act and President Barack Obama’s Executive Order.