Together Digital Power Lounge, Women in Digital with Power to Share

Making Your Career Work For You | Jamie Gier | Power Lounge S2E20

August 16, 2023 Chief Empowerment Officer, Amy Vaughan Season 2 Episode 20
Together Digital Power Lounge, Women in Digital with Power to Share
Making Your Career Work For You | Jamie Gier | Power Lounge S2E20
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Learn from a trailblazing CMO on breaking barriers and achieving success as a single mom in the C-suite. Empower yourself for leadership.

ABOUT THE LOUNGE 

Looking for more purpose, fulfillment, and professional and personal development? 

Be a part of our LIVE podcast audience and end your week with Together Digital's Chief Empowerment Officer, Amy Vaughan as she hosts authentic conversations with women in digital who wish to see change or be the change within their industry.

Register now and reserve your seat.

THIS WEEK'S TOPIC:
Shattering glass ceilings in male-dominated industries, Jamie Gier, a three-time CMO, shares her unique insights from her impressive journey. Her reflections on gender disparities, the internalized patriarchy, and the struggle for equality in the workforce are not only eye-opening but also invaluable for those seeking to navigate professional hurdles. Jamie's uncanny ability to strategize and build allies, foster relationships, and tackle gender challenges head-on are an inspiration for enduring resilience in the face of adversity.

The discussion takes a deep dive into the realm of the tech industry, where heightened gender disparities become more than just a black and white issue. Jamie's thoughts on creating an inclusive workplace, education, mentorship, and advocating for working parents form the crux of this enlightening segment. The emotionally taxing task of educating allies, the transformative impact of parenthood on empathy, and the need to dissolve communication barriers are just some of the many topics explored in this insightful discussion.

Lastly, we delve into the world of marketing strategies and storytelling's pivotal role in implementing societal changes. Jamie Geyer's expertise shines as she explains the significance of comprehending the buyer and market segmentation, and the profound impact of creativity in establishing a powerful brand presence. This episode ends on a high note with Jamie dispensing sound advice for executives on leadership, recruitment, and crucial task prioritization strategies. Join us in this riveting discussion, packed with striking insights and practical counsel for navigating your professional journey.

LINKS
Jamies' LinkedIn
DexCare
Uri Harrison's TedTalk
What Is Coupling?
How To Be Truly Productive with Tanya Dalton

Sponsored by: COhatch

COhatch is a new kind of shared work, social, and family space built on community. Members get access to workspace, amenities like rock walls and sports simulators, and more to live a fully integrated life that balances work, family, well-being, community, and giving back. COhatch has 31 locations open or under construction nationwide throughout Ohio, Indiana, Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee.

Support the show

Speaker 1:

Welcome to our weekly Power Lounge, your place to hear authentic conversations from those who have power to share. My name is Amy Vaughn and I am the owner and Chief Empowerment Officer of Together Digital, a diverse and collaborative community of women who work in digital and choose to share their knowledge, power and connections. Join the movement at wwwtogetherindigitalcom. Let's get started. In today's episode, we'll be discussing how our guests shattered the glass ceiling. As a single mother in male dominated industries, jamie Geyer is a three-time CEMO with more than 25 years of experience in growth marketing. As a CMO of DexCare, she is responsible for accelerating marketing expansion, market expansion and brand value through effective go-to-market strategies, product positioning and customer advocacy programs. Jamie has worked with industry leaders who drive positive social impact, including Microsoft, ge, dreambox Learning, finding their most compelling stories and telling them in their most powerful way. Jamie, welcome back to Together Digital. It's good to have you with us again, thank you, Amy.

Speaker 2:

I'm very glad to be here with the group today.

Speaker 1:

Fantastic yes, those of you who may not remember during the pandemic a couple years back obviously we haven't forgotten it. Obviously, jamie came and spoke as one of our keynotes for our virtual summits. Her story and her experience is just so valuable. In the way that she shares her story is very open and vulnerable. I really appreciated that. When we had the chance to have Jamie back with us again, it was an obvious yes, it's good to have you here again. Obviously, jamie, you've had a really impressive career and you're not shy about sharing the difficulties that you have overcome to get where you are now. What were some of the key challenges that you faced and how have you overcome them through the course of your career?

Speaker 2:

Well, I've had a lot of years to overcome them. Let me be clear on that. When I left university and went into the workforce, there was really no playbook for how to do that. I had a degree in communications focused on public relations. My learning was largely around that expertise and that profession, but there was no playbook that was handed to me in terms of how do you really get started in your career, your first job. Mainly, it was trial by fire for me. I think it is for most professionals as well.

Speaker 2:

I would say some of the initial challenges were really focused on how do you navigate the workforce, how do you build allies and bridges Allies not necessarily from a political standpoint, but people who could be good mentors and champions for you as well Just really understanding those networks that you need to navigate and figure out how you're going to just have impact within the business. There was no playbook for that. That's why I love these communities, because we had some professional chapters, but they really focused on your core expertise. It didn't really focus on how to build your impact in business and tackle some of those challenges. There was a lot of that. There were certainly the dynamics of relationships and overcoming some of the adversities around the gender disparities that we face and continue to face, but also how women treat each other in the work environment. I'm just going to put that elephant out there because I think that we as women still have work to do.

Speaker 2:

I remember some of my first challenges really simply being around that I don't know where that damn competition comes from. Outside of maybe there's not enough opportunities, so we feel a sense of having to compete with one another. Some of the earlier experiences were around some of the ways that we treated each other. It was actually in contradiction to a lot of the things that I believed in terms of how do you lift one another up. I was a little naive about that. As a matter of fact, that's why today, even I spend a lot of time in women focused groups and communities. For that very reason, one is making sure that I'm helping to support the community, but also with that comes the obligation of calling out our own faults and making sure we're holding each other accountable, because it's a tough world.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that internalized patriarchy is real.

Speaker 1:

I think I've probably said it a number of times on the podcast in the past, but I struggled a lot with being bullied by other girls when I was in elementary school, to the point that when I went through junior high, high school, college, I really never had that many close female relationships. To the point when I was having kids for the first time and becoming a working mom I had nowhere to turn to talk to other women because there were no other working moms at my company really, or within my team that I could lean on and look to for support and advice when things would go down. You're right. I think that competition we've been socially conditioned that way. I think we have To compete to outshine, to outdo. It's in every narrative of every 1970s, 80s movies about women that you see. I love that we're having the conversation about it more, calling out that elephant in the room, because I agree we can't have equality for women until all women can treat each other equally. We can't ask for equality if we can't treat each other equally.

Speaker 2:

We can't. That is such a great point, such a great point, and I believe that, so I'm willing to put that elephant out there because it needs to be said. I'm not the first one to say it, so I'm not blaming that.

Speaker 2:

But, it was one of the first challenges and I need to be very, very clear, because it made it tougher to then take on the other challenges than we face as well. You asked how did I take on some of the challenges of not having the playbook and starting to build some wins and success? I've always been very curious about things. My father had his PhD in education. It was highly valued. He was not a business person, so I learned nothing from him about business, which is maybe part of it too but I did learn to really appreciate and embrace the process of learning and curiosity, and that stayed with me because I needed to fill the deficiencies that I had.

Speaker 2:

I was always an avid reader, and so I spent the extra time to read in the areas that I simply did not understand or know. So there was the community aspect, but certainly the education did not stop at the classroom for me, and part of that too, is just the fire in my belly I'm the kind of person who wants to go the extra mile. That's me. I take a lot of pride in ownership and what I do. If I'm competitive, I'm competitive with myself, and so that being a constant learner and having that sense of curiosity. By the way, that's what I look for when I hire people, because I know if they don't know something, they're going to go seek the answer.

Speaker 1:

Right, yeah, I agree, I think curiosity is such an underrated superpower for people. It is one of those things that I think we try to lean out of and I'm like, no, please always, always, remain curious and open. It's such a great way to approach roadblocks and frustration and anger and hurt, even to kind of just get curious about it. But then also from a driver's standpoint, within your career and what you can possibly do when you're not being raised by parents who are business owners or entrepreneurs, it's kind of one of those things like that doesn't mean that you can't go into those spaces and places. So I love that you took it upon yourself to learn more there. If you had to pick kind of one situation in your career that challenged you the most, what was it and how were you able to turn it into a valuable learning experience?

Speaker 2:

I think it was my own self-doubt. We talk a lot about impostor syndrome. I still face it today. I'm not sure that I'll ever quite leave that behind, because it's been there with me for since I was a little girl. A little story around that, and I think some of this connects.

Speaker 2:

By the way, I'm a big believer of really going back in time to understand the way and why you react to things or yourself, and I've reflected on this. My parents divorced when I was quite young I think I was six years old, and if you're a child of divorce, I think you can relate to this. Even if you're not, you probably do too and that is just simply never feeling good enough. There's just this self-doubt and, by the way, I think maybe perhaps that's what fueled me even early on to want a better something in life, and so I really started to even self-actualize. What does a really great life look like? And I will come back to that because I think that there's something here for this group as well but you never quite feel like you are good enough and I think for women especially, because it is a tough environment for us and so I've had to really work on that and it didn't help when you're faced with your own gender group, who you're looking for support in that.

Speaker 2:

But it really became an exercise of tapping into the things that I knew were my power lanes or that would help drive impact in my professional life or my personal life and being really honest about that and also realizing that I am good enough and that doesn't mean that you're off the hook from always growing and involving as a human being and as a professional. But I think I'm not going to put this on anyone else, it's on me. And that's the self-doubt and owning it and figuring out how do you really tackle that head on. And some of that, too, is finding champions within the organization who will be honest about the things that you need to improve on, but also champion you and believe in you. Yeah, and that's a really important thing. I talked to a lot of young professionals and one of the things I tell them to do immediately is to find their own personal board of directors.

Speaker 1:

Yes, yes, that's huge. It could be career changing for sure. I mean, it's one of our member benefits with Together Digital is that you get a peer group assigned to you five to 10 women who are going to be that personal board of directors, and it always astounds me how few of them take advantage of that and I'm like you don't understand how valuable that really is to have a sounding board to help you get you out of your own head, to give you direction, to have solidarity with but then also find solutions. I've just seen and heard some tremendous stories about having a group that personal board of directors can be and again looking for those not just mentors but champions, people who will speak your name in rooms that you are not in Super, super important.

Speaker 1:

I think that's fantastic advice, jamie, and I'll also say, when it comes to imposter syndrome, I feel like it's just a healthy dose in some ways, or a balanced, not a healthy dose, an interesting dosage, a mix of ego, like a lack of ego, which I tend to appreciate to some degree.

Speaker 1:

It's like I don't want you to be self-flagellating, but I also appreciate that we don't come into rooms thinking that we're perfect and we know it all, and I think that's honestly kind of great to have that humility. But also I think imposter syndrome comes from a series of limiting beliefs, and those limiting beliefs are often stemmed from us punishing ourselves for crimes we didn't commit, like being child of divorce or being picked on as a kid. There's so many things that were said to us in our childhood that we don't realize we're still carrying around with us that become limiting beliefs that somehow it's like this is how we stagnate, this is how we freeze up, this is how we don't move forward, and part of it is like you said, is realizing you're not perfect and embracing that, being curious and considering how and where can I grow?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and there's a reason why I chose that one too, because there's a lot of things I can point to, but I wanted to point it myself, and the reason why is because that keeps me in control. There's a lot of things in our environment that we cannot control, but we can certainly make choices and decisions and control our own response to those things, but also to just continue to evolve. And part of that, too, is how do you simply just navigate? And I highlight that, amy, because, well, number one, the topic, is how do you shatter glass ceilings? And some of that connects to how I've been able to do that, or at least ignore the glass ceiling and go. It ain't there. I'm not gonna focus on that, which we'll come back to. The other is, and I think that this group can appreciate it I'm in the tech industry.

Speaker 2:

I'm around a lot of smart people, a lot of smart people. I'm also in health tech, so I've spent a good portion of my career around people with advanced degrees, highly specialized. I mean, look, we are providing one of the most valuable services, which is care, and it requires a lot of specialty, so that's intimidating. I had to figure out how do I feel about what I'm contributing, when I'm around all of these really super smart people who are actually driving a lot of impact. And it wasn't until somebody said well, jamie, they don't have your expertise and they need your expertise because they have all of these great ideas, they're building products. They need somebody to put that out in the universe. So what you do actually matters and it has a lot of impact. So there is a lot of that process and, by the way, those messages came from people on my personal board of directors.

Speaker 2:

So I definitely need encouragement. Love it. I'm going to keep hitting that one. It's important.

Speaker 1:

Please do, please do. There's a reason why we take a lot of time and effort and how we place people in those groups too and encouraging them to meet. So if you're listening members, check in with your peer groups and if you haven't sign up for one, actually, applications open on the 15th of August FYI for that.

Speaker 1:

So, internal monologue stories, narrative self-doubt aside, and there's obviously the numbers and the facts that sometimes are hard for us to avoid the fact that only 52 women out of 100 men get promoted to manager, and women only have one in four leadership positions at tech companies. How do you navigate as a leader in a CMO? How do you navigate and address gender disparities to create a more inclusive and diverse workplace, particularly in a very tech male-dominated industry?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think it starts with education and bringing the facts to the table on that. The other is just making sure that you make space to continue to develop people in that area. So, for example, when I was at GE, we had a thing called GE Women's Network and I helped to co-lead, build the one in the Seattle area and co-lead it. But the person who actually facilitated that happened to be a male in terms of the broader network, and so it's finding those allies. Again, that comes back to the allies and they're going to be male allies.

Speaker 2:

I'm one of my best mentors, by the way happened to be male. Oh yeah, and you find them because they're going to be a support mechanism and to hold their own accountable. At the same time and I think that that's really, really important. We cannot be siloed in having our own conversations as much as I love. In that case, we have the Women's Network, but we would invite men to the meetings. You can't isolate and think you're going to have impact. You've got to bring in men and say and build some empathy or at least sympathy. Start there.

Speaker 1:

Yep, no, I 100% agree. I think I have to dig it up and find it. Maybe, kaleigh, you can help me. We can add it to the show notes. I was on a podcast for another group and we were talking about allyship and just how important it is to not just educate our allies but to have the allies do the educating. Because you think about it and just the emotional labor that's being done by women and women of color or people of color to do all the educating, it's like no, you either have to take it upon yourself to educate or we should be looking to an asking allies who are informed to help share that information as well. Don't put that on those people who are already being utilized.

Speaker 2:

They're good enough, exactly. And also one of the most meaningful events in my life was having a child. Yeah, and it. You know, I didn't. I didn't have my son until I was in my mid 30s, so my career was always already going. I found a lot of identity around it, but I can't say that I was empathetic to the needs of moms and parents until I actually became one and that's where empathy really comes into play and I simply wasn't.

Speaker 2:

I just, you know, I was all about my career and felt everyone should be around that, and it wasn't until I could actually walk in those shoes and I went wow, this is, this is difficult and, by the way, I love being a mom more so than I do a professional. So how do I make sure that I can integrate those lives? Because I don't want to sacrifice one for the other, including my profession, because I get a lot of joint fulfillment from it. But I bring that up in the context of this because we even even working parents and working moms. There's a lot of challenges presented and I feel now a responsibility, a natural responsibility, to be an advocate for how we support even working moms so that they can, you know, have their professional life and career but, at the same time, be a very good parent to the kids that they're entrusted to take care of. Yeah, but it took. You know this is going to be vulnerable. It took me having a child to really be that.

Speaker 1:

I'm right with you, jamie, I feel exactly the same way. I didn't have my first kid till I was 32 and I was same way, heads down, always dedicated to my work. My work was my identity and so, yeah, I really got shaken up by this whole I'm a new mom thing, but not having any sort of support. Thankfully, that was at the point where, together, digital found me and I found community and other women that were working moms to kind of talk with, maybe commiserate with or just like scheme. Like how do I balance? How do I know that there's balance? But how do I figure all this out? Because it can feel very isolating all of a sudden.

Speaker 1:

And I'm like, but at the same time, if I was able to like go in a time machine and go back to old pre-mom Amy and explain to her the mental and emotional load and beauty, by the way, of having children, I don't think I could have explained it. I don't think I could have made her understand, like, just how fundamentally it shifts everything about your life, the way your brain works, the way your body. Yeah, but I do the good.

Speaker 2:

Right. So now you know, I feel that part of of evolving as a human is simply the art of feeling situations and that's a huge motivator. But I know that we led the session with me being a single mom and even that challenge. There's even insecurities around that and the perceptions of oh my gosh, she's not going to be able to dedicate as much time to the work, and you know there is, early on, even some some insecurities around that. But this is where, again, I put myself in control of the situation and went no.

Speaker 2:

I'm going to show that there's a huge advantage. Yes, how I to my life in that and and the allies and the champions were very good. I'll never forget and I have to bring this up because it does come back to finding finding those champions. One of my CEOs, mel, had I had to bring my son in the office is one of those situations where summer camp did not go as long as I needed to. I needed to bring him in up and be really good coming into the office and so I didn't have a whole lot of concerns. But I know that my CEO knew how I felt about you know just what are people thinking. Even though my son's well behaved and he loves coming in and he draws and he does whatever he did, he did this whole pirate ceremony for my son and at the time my son was oh my gosh, how cute is that.

Speaker 2:

And he had this pirate flag. My CEO had a pirate flag because he and his wife had a boat and they love to go up to the islands and stuff. But he had this pirate flag and he did this whole ceremony and I. It was those things, it's those acts of humanity.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah.

Speaker 2:

That I was very blessed to experience. But, that that came with really understanding who your champions are, and it was such a touching. It was such a touching moment. My son still remembers that and he still has the pirate flag.

Speaker 1:

And he's 16. Oh, I love it. Oh, that's so amazing. Oh, I hope your former CEO listens to this and knows how how much that meant. I think it's those little things we don't think about oftentimes that stick with people and become those stories. That's awesome, and I mean, I feel you I definitely was. You know, sometimes questioned to my face about my ability to dedicate myself to my work after I had children. I'm like, are you kidding me? I have never been more efficient than after I became a mom.

Speaker 1:

Like I don't even know what I did with my time before. How am I, how am I able to get so much done in a day now versus before I had children? So I think there's actually a lot of skills, obviously, that you gain that do translate into the workplace once we become parents not just moms, but dads as well and then I know what this is.

Speaker 2:

I mean, look, we get shit done. I'm just going to throw that out there we just do, we figure it out. I think that's one of the things about our characteristics as women is we just we figure out. Not to be stereotypical, but I think that there's a lot of research out there that backs up what I'm about to say, and that is we are pretty good multitaskers, but we also figure stuff out and we get shit done.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we really do. And then I think, too, becoming a mom gave me the opportunity to look back and realize that my friends or coworkers and colleagues that were either childless or childless by choice, sort of like the trap that I had been kind of sitting in and didn't even realize that it was like always expected Well, amy can stay late, oh, amy can do this, or Amy can do that. You know one of those things. And then it became the opposite. After I had kids, it's like, oh, we're not giving you this account because you'd have to travel. We just assumed you didn't want to travel. I'm like wait, what Wait? Nobody even asked me this, you know.

Speaker 1:

But at the same time, you know, like I said, it really made me understand and see how sometimes, especially women who aren't having children, either by choice or other situations, are sometimes caught in this trap of just making the assumption that they have no life outside of work because they have children. I'm like I'm wrong. Yeah right, I'm not going to be accurate. So it's a tricky double standard for women. Now I want to draw a little bit on your three times CMO experience. A little talk, some shop. What strategies have you found as a marketer, effective and accelerating market expansion and increasing brand value, because this is something that you are extremely good at. So I want to pick your brain on that a little.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, let me give some context, because I think this, this also matters. I, most of my career, has been spent as a B2B marketer, so what I've deployed in terms of strategies and programming is within that context, because I think if you're a B2C marketer, it's going to be a little bit different, and I've been selling and marketing enterprise software and a lot of the time it's longer sale cycles. You're having to keep multiple people in the buying committee and so you're having to pull a lot of levers at moments in time to get people to even know who you are, to engage in what you have to offer, convince them that your solution is the best fit and then convert them into a customer. So there's a lot of different things to that. It's not.

Speaker 2:

You know most of the businesses I've worked in. They're not transactional. They're very much relationship, which is interesting because, especially for this group, is digital marketers. We cannot forget how we can use technology to humanize our brand, because the brand there's a lot of relationship pieces to building trust with your buyers. So a few things that I've deployed that I think have worked well is simply knowing who your buyers are and not treating them all the same. You need to really personalize, based on the jobs that they have to get done every day, and you're there to help show them a better way of doing what they do, whether it's you know they're in my case whether they're a physician or a nurse or a technologist, you're there to show them a better way of how they can perform in their everyday jobs and so really understanding who they are and what motivates them.

Speaker 2:

And then the attributes of your brand and being super clear. And the reason I bring that up is because we can really lose focus quickly, especially as marketers, when we have a lot of pressures from the sales organization or customer success or there's a lot of pressure on marketing and there's a lot of misperceptions as to what we do as well, and so you have to be super focused on the right things. The other is segmenting the marketplace. So segmentation big believer in that, because that should be part of of your go to market, so you understand who your customer is, but they fit a certain segmentation. And the segmentation also links to what is the category, your product category, in the minds of your buyers and how do you effectively position and compete within that category. So I've done a lot of work around existing categories, how to compete and, at times, when is the right moment to create a new category, because you do have something unique or different that you can establish that.

Speaker 2:

The other is on the brand side, never forgetting that the hero of your story is your buyer. Don't become so enamored with your technology that you fall in the trap of just talking about it, and I think as marketers we can follow that. And I think as marketers, we can fall into that trap. Yeah, it is knowing who's the beneficiary of your brand. And here's an example, because it's the unlikely, it's it's the not unlikely, but a hero. Maybe that would not have been as clear in the situation. So when I was working for Dreambox Learning Dreambox has a K through eight digital math program to help kids become more confident and competent in math learning, and we had spent a lot of time really focused on and we sold, by the way, we sold to schools and districts. And so, from that definition, the buyer is the, the principle, it could be the superintendent, it could be a teacher, and so naturally you'd want to sell to them.

Speaker 2:

What we ended up doing was we created the hero, the child, as the hero.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And we did that because it humanized and it pulled at the heart strings. But at the end of the day, our brand value was around how do we get kids more proficient? And so our, our brand campaigns really focused on the opportunities of kids wanting to become a teacher, a construction worker, a scientist and how math learning, because that way we could get all of the buyers focus and centered around the child In the power of creativity. We have to never forget the power of creativity and the work that we do across all of those things.

Speaker 1:

That's fantastic. That's wonderful advice. I was taking notes the whole time. I hope all of our listeners were as well. It reminds me of the advice of never fall in love with the product. Fall in love with the problem you're trying to solve, and as long as you're doing that and focusing on solving a problem for somebody, you're always gonna be relevant within the market. People are always gonna find a use for you or a reason to come to you, whether you're doing B2B or B2C. I think that's all fantastic advice, top to bottom. I love it.

Speaker 2:

And remember, the underpinning of everything that we do, even as digital marketers or digital professionals, is it's building trust.

Speaker 1:

Yep, yeah, it's building trust, Absolutely. Co-hatch is a new kind of shared work, social and family space built on community. Members get access to workspace amenities like rock walls and sports simulators and more, to live a fully integrated life that balances work, family, well-being, community and giving back. Co-hatch has 31 locations open or under construction nationwide throughout Ohio, Indiana, Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. Visit wwwcohatchcom for more information Awesome. Another kind of underrated area for growth, obviously, is customer advocacy. How do you approach customer advocacy programs and their impact on talking about loyalty? Trust leads to loyalty and growth.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well, I'm a believer that your customers actually define your brand. Oh yeah, yeah, I agree with that.

Speaker 2:

I'm not as much as I want to be in control of our brand customers, ultimately because of the ones that are out talking about you, and so it's really important that you're engaging them in building a community. But that also again gets back to trust and delivering. The advocacy is not going to be there if you're not delivering value, and so it's really understanding that that's step number one, and once you start doing that, then your customers are going to naturally and that's what you want them to do is to naturally become advocates. You're going to pick up on the signals. When they do that, you're simply going to create places and platforms for them to be able to share their advocacy.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so, whether it's an online community, whether you invite them to be part of an advisory board, we're building one right now at DexCare and we're bringing customers in, and it's not what else can you buy from us? It's we've got a three year strategic plan. We want your input because you're going to end up being the recipient of this and the beneficiary of this plan. Are we delivering on the right things? And it's engaging them in that process, not just simply trying to sell to them. It's saying what do you need? Does this make sense? How would you design this? Are we solving the right problems? Yes, and getting them actively involved in your business from that standpoint.

Speaker 2:

The other is and I've seen, by the way, I'm guilty of this too it's easy to set up and stand up the community and I know, amy, you can appreciate this it's another maintaining it. Yeah, every day you got to see that community, that you're building them up, your customers, and so you got to put the time and investment in it. And sometimes we'll build them because it's the right thing to do and we fail to recognize what it takes to keep those going and to get the investment that you need.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean it's a matter of consistent processes in place to always be listening and asking and looking for feedback, and it's I think it's a job of marketers even to do that it's not just on research to do that, to understand what are even some of the obstacles. I was listening to a podcast on hidden brain a while back talking about obstacles, and it aligned so nicely with marketing. I was like this is awesome. It was talking about removing these subconscious obstacles. And there was one company it was a Chicago sofa company that made custom couches for young professionals, so it was within their price range. They were nice, kind of sleek looking, and they would get loads of foot traffic into the store. People would look at the couches, spend time on them, design them, because the whole idea was like you could kind of design your own the arms, the legs, the fabric but nobody was buying. And so they started deeply discounting the sofas and they still weren't selling, and now they're diminishing their brand value and appeal. They just couldn't seem to get through it. Well, they finally started doing some feedback and getting feedback from potential customers and learned well, you're in Chicago.

Speaker 1:

Moving a couch up three flights of a brownstone is a very difficult and challenging thing. So a lot of these folks weren't wanting. They didn't know what to do with their old couch and they didn't want to have to move it. So all they did was add in the ability of, when you purchased your couch, you would get your old sofa removed for free delivery and removal. And they started selling like crazy. I think their sales went up like 123% or something crazy. So really getting an understanding and knowing from your community what they need, sometimes we're off. We get so again as marketers distracted by the shiny object and an idea.

Speaker 1:

I love what the idea we're like. Do we need to have this thing? This has to be the thing, and then our whole audience or community or whomever is sitting over here going this isn't what I need and, like you said, it doesn't continue to build trust. It doesn't show that you're actively listening, so you tend to like lose either potential or existing customers for the lack of listening.

Speaker 2:

So the lack, and that's important. That's important because you need to do more listening than talking, yes, and it's a clarity too, because sometimes our customers may not know exactly what they need. And so being inquisitive and asking the right questions and getting to the heart of it In B2B softer in particular, it's difficult because the relationships are so long. Again, it's not a transaction, it is a relationship, it's a partnership. You got to continue to deliver value, but the other thing is that your customer's reputations and even their jobs are on the line.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, In some cases, if you sell software and it fails, somebody's job could be at risk for that, and that is that's something to always keep in mind. On the lighter side, even though I said I haven't done a lot in the B2C space, I am a consumer of goods. There are always moments that you can delight your customer, too, and they don't have to be big. Here's an example of that. There's a couple of brands that I really really like. By the way, huge Shark Tank fan, I love watching that show and I also love buying the products and testing them out. So there was one company that they were selling these pillows and I loved their pitch.

Speaker 2:

I'm always listening to pitches, and how do you convince somebody to really believe in the product that you have but also defend the numbers, really understand the numbers? I love that whole process, and I felt that this couple just hit it out of the park. So I bought the product. I didn't need another pillow, but I wanted to see what was actually delivered and if they loved up to their reputation. Amy, that pillow must have been the most special pillow in the world, because it wasn't rolled up and in a plastic bag. It was actually in this beautiful box, oh nice. You open it up, there's a little note that says here's your customized pillow. We listened to you, so this is what you said this is how we built and delivered it.

Speaker 2:

It had nice wrapping. I love packaging, by the way. It had nice wrapping. Not only that, when I took the pillow out of the box, there's a little piece of candy oh, so cute and it's an airhead. So if you like airheads, those little, you know, chewy things. I still remember that this was several years ago, but it was the little element of surprise and delight. That number one made me remember their brand. The product was good, but they just went the little extra step. I'm just going to put a smile on Jamie's face and here you go Little piece of candy, enjoy had nothing to do with the pillow, it was just kind of this funny thing that made them memorable.

Speaker 1:

That's right. I mean people as people remember. Right Is how you made them feel, not always how you make them.

Speaker 2:

How you make them feel.

Speaker 1:

I love it. I love that that stuck with you for so long. That's great, fantastic advice. So hopefully you guys will start to brainstorm some ways that you can surprise and delight your loyal customers. You've had the chance to work with some industry leaders lots of industry leaders driving positive social impact throughout your career. How do you find and tell compelling stories that resonate with your audience?

Speaker 2:

Gosh, I love storytelling. You know, storytelling is about building bridges, and in a world that is there's just so much division, and stories have the power to build bridges and get people to focus on a cause. And I say cause because in working for social impact types of organizations, there is a cause behind what you're doing. What we do matters. Every day. We might have different opinions about how to get there, but the outcome is what we all desire. I say that because there's been a lot of research on how to build bridges around storytelling by simply starting with the things that you have in common. So it's called brain to brain coupling. There's a magnificent scientist out of Princeton that's done a lot of studies around this and he's got a great TED talk too, but he actually shows they've done imaging around this when somebody is telling a story what the brainwaves are from the storyteller to the audience and you start seeing this really interesting coupling, they're basically getting on the same wavelength as you, and so that, to me, is why storytelling is so important for any company, whether it's for a social impact organization or not. It really is around. How do you build bridges and get to a common understanding of what we're trying to achieve, because that's going to open up the doors for having the real conversations around how you get there and being open and receptive to it.

Speaker 2:

I don't know that a lot of people really understand what happens between people when you do really good storytelling, and so for what I've decided where I've spent most of my time?

Speaker 2:

In social impact. Even though it's easy to get around a cause like patient care and making sure tie quality, there's a lot of things that we can debate about our health care system, but let's first start with the outcome that we all desire, Because, at the end of the day, we're also recipients of that. The other piece on the social impact is when I got into my profession around communications and then broadened it into marketing and advertising. You know we take knocks and hits for truth and advertising and those sorts of things, and I knew that if I was going to get into this profession, I really wanted to make sure I was doing it for the right reason and for the right causes. And this gets back to taking really, really good ideas that I know can impact in a positive way the world, society in our communities, and that's why I decided to get into, even on the you know working for companies that really take that slant.

Speaker 1:

Love it. That's great. Yeah, nothing like a good story, and storytelling really does require vulnerability. You know, we got to get under the surface of what everyone sees on the outside to show what's underneath. And I'm totally well, kaylee, we'll have to look up that TED Talk. We said it was brain to brain coupling. Is that what you're calling?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, there's a lot of research that's been done.

Speaker 1:

There's a nice shot and hole for me to go down. That's on the.

Speaker 2:

URI URI Hassan H-A-S-S-O-N. If I botched that last name, I apologize, but he's had a print and he's done some amazing work on it.

Speaker 1:

That's awesome. We'll dig into it and we'll definitely put it into the show notes for everyone to take a look at, because I think even there's just something intriguing there from a marketing standpoint understanding the value and the importance of stories even more so having more science and data like we need more science and data behind the fact that stories do work. Stories are an impactful way to bring people together, and especially when you're dealing with social impact, that's great. So, as the CEO of DexCare, how do you balance managing your team, driving market strategies and ensuring effective go-to-market efforts? You're juggling a lot of things right now. How do you kind of find ways to do it all?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I don't know. Anyone has some tips on that, I'd certainly be open to them. I don't know that we ever get to a state of balance. I think at this point I just try to organize chaos as best as I can and make sure that I'm focused on the right thing. This gets back to focus, focus, focus, focus, and having the courage to also say no to the things that might be brought to you that you simply can't get to, but largely because you're prioritizing other things that are more important, and that takes some courage. Or saying yes, if, and being super clear on what those ifs are.

Speaker 2:

It's challenging, but here's what I'll say on that I will spend the extra time it takes to lead a team. For those that are not people managers today, but you aspire to be one, just know you're adding 20% extra onto your day. I mean, that is just the reality of it, and I say that because it's really, really important. I've worked for some amazing leaders and I've worked for some managers who were not good because they didn't take the time. And so leadership is, you know, it's such an important aspect of what I do because I know that when the team is performing and I empower them, they are going to have big impact. And so, for me, it's spending that time with them, developing them and empowering them to do their jobs.

Speaker 2:

And, by the way, I hire for my own deficiencies. Yes, to hire for my own deficiencies. I know what my power lanes are, I know what my emerging lanes are and I know what my slow lanes are. I like to hire for deficiencies because that's where we're going to drive impact, but it's making the time to do that Now. That's not to say that you're going to burn yourself out. You're going to have to prioritize. You need to prioritize that with other things that you're doing. That might be more on the execution side, but if your team's not performing, it just drags everybody down.

Speaker 1:

Yep, I think it's great. You should go back and listen to our last podcast episode that just went live on how to be truly productive with Tanya Dalton. She's been doing some great stuff. She's got featured on the Today Show even and she talks a lot about you've already said it, so you're onto it priority over productivity. I think we're so caught up in the idea of checking off all the boxes and doing the things that sometimes we forget the priorities. What are the most important things that I need to and should be doing? Or the things that are in my like? I'm rereading again, for like, I don't know the second time the big leap, which talks about your zone of genius, zone of competence, zone of incompetence, zone of excellence. Great book if you haven't learned about it already. I understand and know what are your lanes, what are your strengths and what are the things that you need to delegate. And one thing I wanted to call it too, as you were talking. It made me think about like.

Speaker 1:

When you speak about leadership, it's clear that you're passionate about being a leader and you're going to take probably more than 20% of your time in a week or a day to spend time leading. I'm kind of curious. In your experience and people leading, have you come across people who just you know? I think it's something we think that as people move through the ranks, like and especially if you're in a craft area, like a business that has a lot of craft type folks that every art director should become a creative director or every copywriter should become a creative director, the person that's leading a team on top of doing their craft. I don't know about you, but I've met some folks who are kind of like I don't are developers. This is a great area to where there's a lot of people who are developers like I don't want to manage people. You know, how can we balance and uplift those who have a tremendous talent and craft but maybe don't have that passion for leadership, and how do we make sure that they continue to find growth and opportunity?

Speaker 2:

Right, and you find that in the tech space too. I find that in the tech space. Just because they're good at their profession does not mean that they're going to be good at managing people or a team of people focused on that profession. And I love when I love when people are honest about that because, I do take leadership so serious and it can be done.

Speaker 2:

We do it all the time but it's it's respecting and appreciating that their focus. They want to focus on just doing the work and give them projects. They're going to allow them to do that and also make sure that, again, we're all. I don't care how old you are, we're always constantly learning. To make sure that you're providing learning moments for them. Encourage them to share their knowledge. That's another learning moment for them.

Speaker 2:

I love that, but it's simply giving them challenging work. In some cases they might be perfectly happy just having the impact that they're having and they don't need to be stretched any further and they're okay. But you know how you find that out. You ask them.

Speaker 1:

Exactly Curiosity there.

Speaker 2:

And just ask them what motivates you. And by the way, that's part of being a leader too, is you spend time. You get to know them.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, Awesome. All right, I want to leave a little time here at the end in case any of our live listening audience has questions for Jamie. I've got a couple more left that we are almost to the hour. It always goes fast, right? Gosh, that was very fast, Right. We'll give you all time to ask questions. But in the meantime, while they're thinking of their questions, Jamie climbing the ranks of the C suite. Obviously it's a pretty huge achievement, especially in the spaces that you're in as a woman and as a single mom. What advice do you have for aspiring leaders looking to advance in their careers and take on executive roles in their respective fields?

Speaker 2:

Learn to take your functional head off. As you move into the C suite. There is an expectation that you're going to have a point of view on the rest of the organization and that's where you can really shine to. You're already there because you've developed core competencies in your own, in your own functional area.

Speaker 2:

But, this is where, when you walk into that boardroom, you take your hat off, your functional hat off, and you lean in and you have a point of view and a perspective on things such as how do we build a good company culture? What should be in the Q4 product release? How do we tackle this customer issue that just came up? What's going on with our implementation cycle? That that is taking longer for us to deploy our software? It's really understanding that. It's understanding what we call the great game of business, and that's the financials.

Speaker 2:

If you don't know how to read a P&L statement, a balance sheet, any of that, you need to understand the inner workings of the business. Take time to learn the financial health of your organization or what really makes your company tick, because then you can start seeing where you can have impact in a perspective. But that is a requirement. You're not simply there, like in my case, to represent marketing. You're there to represent the business as a business owner and, by the way, every employee should see themselves as a business owner, because then you'll that will motivate you to take the right action and focus on the right things. But that's my advice. I love it. Take off your functional hat, learn about the company, how it works, the operating principles, understand the numbers. You don't have to be a financial whiz I'm not but I understand what the numbers mean and I can interpret them to go. Something's not right here. Let's double click on that.

Speaker 1:

It's a difference between being in the weeds and having that ability to have a 30,000 foot view and be able to see the land of the land of everything. Cause otherwise, much like a lot of anybody who's listening, even if you're an entrepreneur, solopreneur the difference between working in the business versus on the business and when you're thinking growth, you can't be just in the weeds all the time. You gotta get your head above all that to be able to see the opportunity for growth, and that's what those executive leaders are there to help drive.

Speaker 2:

Oh my gosh, dory Clark, love her. If you don't follow her, she's an amazing I don't know. I just I feel like she's such a wizard on a lot of different things, but she talks about this it's lift your head up. We get so focused on what we're doing every day. You gotta lift up. It goes. Yeah, I need to look around a little bit and see what's going on here and making space and time for that. That gets back to prioritizing.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely priorities. Yes, all right, we need a quick question from one of our listening audience members. This is Leslie. What happens when your client I assume you mean doesn't listen to your directions and they ask friends which cause problems with your strategic marketing approach? How do you get your clients to refocus? Oh, I see then she rewrote the question. I should have read that whole thing first. So, yeah, what?

Speaker 2:

do you think, jamie, when they don't listen to our direction? I need clarity on that. Does that mean how, like recommendations we make on how to best use the product to our? Okay, so I'm gonna go with that.

Speaker 2:

So, leslie, hopefully that's what you mean by that this can be very challenging because, especially in the software space, if your clients don't implement your technology in the way that they're gonna get the best use I think it's being super clear in setting those expectations during the contracting phase and the scope of work, and so there needs to be some liability and accountability on both ends and being very prescriptive during the contracting stage on the best practices to get the impact, because at least you've had the conversation.

Speaker 2:

That's not to say, leslie, that your clients not going to listen, but at least you could come back to that and hopefully course correct. But you need to be as prescriptive as you possibly can on how to best implement and use your technology. It also means that if clients have found a better way of doing something, because you can't, every organization is slightly different. Their processes might be different, their staffing levels might be different, and so you gotta be a little bit flexible in the process and learn from your customers as well. But it's really during the scoping and contracting phase that you've gotta be super clear on that. But you also have to make sure that you're providing education, yeah, and so you can't just drop your technology and say here you go, have fun. It is, you're constantly providing a service. This gets back to the partnership and the trust and educating.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and bringing in that curiosity again, like that seems to be the theme of a lot today. It's like being curious about what it is about your recommendations that isn't sitting well with them, that they need to go outside and get additional counsel from people who aren't maybe experts, just friends. What is it that they're evaluating, that they're getting back from those others and recommendations and that might help them refocus and realize, kind of in a non-aggressive way, that hey, I'm offering you solutions, but it doesn't seem like you're taking them. What else can I be providing you in the way of education or understanding that will help you feel more realigned, refocused with what we're recommending?

Speaker 2:

Exactly exactly. And, by the way, you're gonna stumble. And this is why the trust is so important, because there's been research done on this as well. Customers are more willing to forgive a brand for misstepping, so brand equaling company or product If they trust you if the trust level is there. They're willing to be more forgiving and to stay with you in the long haul.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you're right. And again, like you said, it goes back to those relationships, especially with clients. You know the account management side of things. It's a tricky, tricky space, but the most important thing is that you've established, built that trust, you have a relationship. So when there's a misstep on one side or the other, you're right, there's a little bit of givness, because it happens, we're all human.

Speaker 1:

We're all human and we're all just doing our best. So thank you so much for the question. Leslie and Jamie, thank you for the great conversation. As always, it's wonderful to hear from you and your experience. I'm excited for you and Dexacare and all that you've got going there. I hope we get to have you back again soon. Thank you, everybody for hanging out and listening with us today. Next week we're gonna be back talking about human powered generative AI, because you know it's AI, this is AI. We're in it. We're not getting out of it anytime soon, so let's talk about it next week. Again, thank you, Jamie, for being with us today.

Speaker 2:

Oh, I'm so happy to be here with everyone. Thank you, it was a great hour.

Speaker 1:

Awesome, all right, everyone. Have a fantastic weekend. We'll see you next week. Bye, bye, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, la, la, la, la la.

Shattering the Glass Ceiling
Gender Equity in Inclusive Workplaces
Marketing Strategies for Brand Expansion
Storytelling's Impact on Social Change
Leadership and Advancement Advice for Executives