Your next promotion is just the beginning, and this podcast shows you how to get there.
Welcome to episode #150 and the inaugural episode of Women Changing Leadership!
In today's episode, I am celebrating this podcast rebrand with each and every one of you and sharing ways that women are already impacting organizations in a big, big way. And giving you a little sneak peek of what you can expect over the next 150 or 300 episodes that I will continue to give you over the next several years. I am so excited to be bringing you this information in a larger, more empowered, more mission-driven way. And to be the example of what a woman can really accomplish when they're given a position of influence and power at their organizations. Let's get started.
Hello, corporate badasses. I cannot even believe this. Welcome to Women Changing Leadership. I'm your host, Stacy Mayer, and extraordinarily excited to be here with you for the inaugural episode of Women Changing Leadership.
How far this podcast and my leadership has come since I started the podcast at the end of 2019. I was working in an office space in Berkeley, California, and I rented a sound booth for the day so that I could record this podcast, and I scripted the entire thing out, every single word that I was going to share on the podcast. And I made it sound so beautifully. And then I read from my script so amazingly well, and I looked at the time and that podcast was a grand total of 7 minutes long. And even though I was excited and I couldn't believe that I was finally starting a podcast, I was incredibly disappointed because I thought if every episode takes this much work to do, I'm not going to be able to keep this podcast up for much longer than ten episodes.
And I think that's how a lot of podcast hosts feel when they start a podcast, because it really is difficult. And the statistics prove that a very tiny percentage of podcasts last past the first ten episodes, because it does feel like so much work in the beginning. But if you're doing the right thing and you are loving what you do and you are in the zone or the flow as they call it, then work no longer feels like work.
And that is where I'm at today. 150 episodes later, almost three years later, I am celebrating episode number 150 by rebranding the entire podcast. And I am so, so incredibly excited.
At around episode number 100, I started playing with this idea of rebranding the podcast, but it was a really outside in approach. It was basically like: I was tired of my cover art for the podcast and I had gotten new pictures taken and I thought, Oh, we can use brighter, more vibrant colors, but nothing in terms of the mission of the podcast and really why we were doing the podcast and the vision of the podcast was really going to change.
And so I decided to focus my energy elsewhere. And as you know, a year ago this month, my book came out and so I thought: I have a lot of things going on right now and rebranding the podcast can wait. So I reprioritized and focused my energy in different directions.
And so I've been sitting with this idea for a year of what the new podcast was going to look like and how I really wanted to deliver this content to you. And a couple of things became incredibly clear to me, and it all sort of came to a head last week when I was having a team meeting and my husband is actually part of my team.
And if we were at the point where he could officially be my COO, that's exactly what he would be doing. But we're not quite there yet. So he just helps and supports me a couple of hours a week doing COO type responsibilities.
But the really amazing thing is we had this conversation and we were having a team meeting and I asked him if he could present for a moment on the vision for my company and the work that I'm doing, and it was so incredible. I highly recommend it.
So I'm listening to him talk about the power of the work that I have been doing over the past five plus years. And he literally brought tears to my eyes the way that he articulated the change that we are truly making in the leadership table. I share with him so many of the wins on a regular basis. We both work from home and I'll pop out of my office and I'll be like: Oh my gosh, look at this text I just received. Oh my gosh. Let me tell you the story that I just heard.
Wait on this coaching call, you're never going to believe what happened. And he hears and absorbs all of these stories over the years and he sees the impact of the work that we're doing. And he he literally shared in this conversation that over 100 years ago, women didn't have the right to vote and look at the world. And yes, it's not perfect. But since women have been given the right to vote, look at the change and the impact that women have been able to make in the US in the United States alone. And yes, again, it's not perfect, but can you imagine... I mean, I know it's really hard to imagine a world where women still didn't have the right to vote. But when we look at our organizations, women do not have the right to vote at their organizations. There are not enough women at the leadership table. And I shared with you a couple of episodes ago when I was talking about how organizations don't have role models in leadership positions that we actually want to emulate. So if we do have women in these executive level positions who have worked their way up 10+ years ago, a lot of the ways that they have had to work their way up to the top is to act and think more like the rest of the room, to "be more like a man."
And so they're not able to really be that change in leadership, because if they did, then they would be let go. Or they would be pushed out. Or their voice would be silenced. And I am not interested in any of that.
And so basically what my husband was offering to the group was that we're giving women the right to vote in their organizations. And I just got so pumped up, so fired up after this conversation that I was like: Yes, that is what we are doing. We are changing leadership and that is going to be the name of my podcast. That is the work that I am doing on this podcast is really sharing with you the stories of how women are already changing the leadership table and inspire you to be that change that you really want to see either at your organization or anywhere in leadership. My goal is to give you the tools to be that change.
And so on this podcast, you're going to hear the same great content that I have been delivering for the past three years to you, but I'm also going to be sharing with you the impact and really quantifying that change that we're making at the leadership table.
So my goal for today's episode is to really celebrate the changes we are making in women's leadership and to kick off this new platform, this similar but different platform, so that you can truly embrace the change that you're bringing to the leadership table. But also to notice that impact that we already have are having in executive leadership.
There is a phenomenal new book that came out just a couple of weeks ago called When Women Lead by Julia Boorstin. And I was listening to an interview that she did on Glambition Radio with Ali Brown, and we'll link to that in the show notes.
But Julia was saying her inspiration for writing this book was to talk about the wins that women and organizations have had in terms of women's leadership. So we haven't really seen the numbers change drastically in terms of percentages. And sometimes, according to McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace report, we don't see the numbers change at all or we see them go backwards, especially for women of color, in terms of women who hold executive leadership positions.
But there are organizations and individuals that are moving the needle. And she used this book as an example to celebrate those women and to celebrate those organizations that are truly embracing the challenges and what women truly bring to the leadership table. And so just the title alone, When Women Lead: What They Achieve, Why They Succeed, and How We Can Learn from Them, and I only have really just touched the surface in chapter one of this book, but I'm already so zoomed in and excited about it.
And then I got doubly excited because I was on a conversation with Jennifer Fisher, who you've heard several times on this podcast, and she was like: Look at this new book that my husband purchased for me. You have to check it out. And I was like: I already have it. And we're showing our books on on the on the Zoom call. But what this really points to is this desire to not only be that change yourself, but to really help uplift other women and to really say, you know what? We are moving the needle. We are the change that we want to see at the leadership table.
One of the stories that Julia shares in her book is she shares actual statistics and research and numbers about what is actually happening in organizations. And she talks about Salesforce. And I'm always inspired by their leader, Marc Benioff, the CEO and founder of Salesforce and the leadership and what he really does to bring more diversity to the leadership table. And this is an example of diversity and inclusion initiatives that actually work. So one of the things that he did on his own was pay transparency.
And this was something that he decided to implement at his organization so that it was actually open source knowledge of what all of their executive leaders got paid. And then he did an equal pay initiative to make sure that all minority or underrepresented leaders were in equal pay for the job or the position that they currently held.
And then he did another audit where he really looked at the titles and was making sure that the titles were representative of the work that the individual leaders were also doing. So he has really implemented at his organization and taken initiatives beyond simply hiring a chief diversity officer and really put it into practice to bring more minority leaders into higher level leadership positions.
And when we start to look at these little things that are happening in various different organizations and from various different leaders, we feel inspired to do more. When we look at the numbers of McKinsey and we're seeing that not only are the percentages of women in leadership not going up, but sometimes they go down or sideways or backwards or whatever, we're not inspired to do more. We start to ask ourselves, does it really matter? Why am I doing this?
And here's another example. If you're working for a very toxic organization, a very male dominated organization, and you have a lot of leadership around you that really promote the culture of 80 hour workweeks and and just nasty toxic behavior and microaggressions. And you think to yourself: if I want to be the change, I need to stay here. Really think about this, because it's happening literally all the time.
I'm like: Leave, leave. You have choices.
But to them, because this desire to change leadership is so palatable, they're like: Well, why would I leave when I could change the organization that I currently work for?
And here's what I say to that. You are not changing anybody by staying in a toxic relationship. I'll say that again. You are not changing any organization by getting beat down on a regular basis. Nobody is going to listen to you even when and if you make it into a higher level leadership position. But if you try and do it with your voice, if you if you try and speak up more, then you for sure aren't getting into that higher level leadership position because they could care less about having somebody who they see as a threat to their organizations.
So what I recommend instead, when we're looking at this more individualized approach that each one of us, by stepping into our own corporate badass-ness, by being that leader that we really want to see at our current organization elsewhere, by taking on those higher level leadership positions, by being a role model, even if it's not at our current organization, we are changing leadership. We are saying no to these toxic environments.
We are saying we will no longer participate. In a culture that treats other human beings this way, that it's not okay. And actually, if that's how you want to lead, fine. But I don't want to be a part of it. And I think that that is in my opinion, I think it's the only choice. It's the only choice that I have is to figure out my own leadership and how I can get myself into more positions of influence and power so that I can really be that change.
As a woman, if you are making money, you are a decision maker. The more money that we make, the higher levels of influence. Even if they aren't in our current toxic organization, we become those decision makers. We become those policy makers. We are able to make that change for generations to come because we are putting ourselves in those positions of influence and power. And even if that means that we have to leave our current toxic organization, then so be it. We're going to leave because our leadership matters more than staying at an organization that doesn't respect and appreciate our leadership.
So if you're listening to me, that's what I teach. I care more about you than I do about your organization. But yet I know that getting you into a position of influence is going to change organizations. And I've seen it over and over again.
A big change that I've been noticing for my leaders, and these are the women inside of my programs who get promoted into higher level leadership positions, and they truly become that change. Because I am not teaching women how to get promoted only to be silenced and pushed out of the conversation. The women in Executive Ahead of Time have a voice at the table. That's part of the process that I teach, is that you find the organizations and the situations where you can truly have that voice at the table. So that's what we're doing, is creating that voice, that environment.
And what's happening is a very specific example is changes to hiring practices. So if a woman typically sees somebody that they want to hire, they don't necessarily make them jump through a bunch of hoops.
Now, this is a specific leadership style, but it's also something that women tend to do. We cut through the crap. We don't just falsely put situations in front of us, bureaucracy in front of us. If we are in a true position of influence, we will tear down all of those walls and we'll say, let's hire the best people. We'll say: Let's pay every single person above a fair wage. We will say: Let's give people the titles and worry about everything else later. Let's hold people accountable. If they're being an asshole, let's get rid of them. Women are the ones who are making those types of decisions and they're making them quick. They are willing to put up with the crap when they are really given a position of influence. They are able to make those changes.
These are the women that aren't holding unorganised meetings and shouting matches where we're all going to talk over top of each other. These are the women that are having the difficult conversations, that are saying what needs to be said. These are the women that are speaking up to their human resources department when therea are noticeably hiring practices are specifically targeting people of privilege. Because we can do that just simply from our job descriptions. We can target and isolate people who didn't grow up in a certain economic environment, but yet are more than qualified to do the job. These are the women that say diversity matters, that it matters that I have a diverse team of thought leaders with different ideas.
These are the women that create environments where those those ideas are positioned at the forefront and that matter. These are the women who are changing leadership. Women change leadership.
When we have women who have a voice, organizations start to evolve. And organizations that are not evolving, will eventually have to follow suit or they will die out. This is what happens when women have the vote. This is what happens when organizations take responsibility for the workers and the empathy and the compassion that is expected at the leadership table. But women are the ones who are going to bring across that change.
That position is what Women Changing Leadership is going to support. That is what my podcast has always supported, but now I'm going to be much more overt about it, much more in-your-face, much more encouraging you to share this podcast with other leaders that you want to empower and really show that we truly can have that voice at the table.
I'm going to continue giving you those tools to get promoted and to bring your voice right along with you. I'm going to continue showing you what's not working and what you're doing that is actually keeping you from that higher level success. I'm going to call you out on your BS. I'm going to bring forth the ways that you are already changing leadership, regardless of your current title, ways that you can be that Executive Ahead of Time and start making that change at your organization. Now, even before you're in the positions of influence and power at your organization.
All of that is my commitment to you for the next 150 or 300 episodes for many, many years to come.
I'm going to continue praising the women who are changing the leadership table, and I am so frickin excited to be on this journey with you.
Thank you so much for listening and I'll see you next week. Bye!