The Future of Women in the Workplace and How Hello Career Guru Can Help – Futurum Tech Webcast – Women in Tech Series

In this episode of the Futurum Tech Webcast – Women in Tech Series, I was thrilled to host Suzanna Keith, Co-Founder and CEO of Hello Career Guru and Co-Founder and CMO, Sonal Rinello for a conversation about the future of work, the current state of the workplace and the tremendous impact that the pandemic has had on employees in general and on women in particular.

The Future of Women in the Workplace and How Hello Career Guru Can Help

When the pandemic forced most organizations to shift to working from home, women everywhere had a unique extra burden to deal with. In addition to their jobs, many found themselves being part time educators for children attending school from home and part time caretakers for families now in close proximity for all hours of the day. It was a lot for many women and, unfortunately, in many instances the thing that had to give was the career.

Women left the workforce in droves over the course of the last year and the numbers have not recouped as things have slowly reopened. This is a problem and one that Suzanna and Sonal at Hello Career Guru are uniquely positioned to help solve, with their passion for democratizing career advancement for all women regardless of age, background, race, income, or geography.

Our discussion about the future of work covered a lot, including:

  • Suzanna shared the vision that inspired her to create and launch Hello Career Guru and described the kind of assistance they provide to women in the job market.
  • Insight and advice form Suzanna and Sonal on the important things women need to keep in mind when looking for a new job or looking to advance their careers.
  • An exploration into the value a mentor can bring to a person’s career.
  • The impact a leader and their own leadership style can have on an employee.
  • Advice on how to build a meaningful network for opportunities.

We wrapped up the conversation with advice on what women can do to make sure they are on the path to senior leadership roles and how they can change the future of the workplace.

There’s no question that navigating a global pandemic has taken a lot of women in the workforce — at all levels — out at the knees. I have conversations like this and share career resources because I think it’s important for all of us who are in a position to lend a hand, a shoulder, or an ear — or an opportunity and resources — to do so. That’s partly why I am excited by what Suzanna and Sonal are doing with Hello Career Guru. If you’re looking to get back into the workforce or want to move up from your current position, you should definitely make time to check out Hello Career Guru.

You can watch the video of the conversation here:

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Disclaimer: The Futurum Tech Webcast is for information and entertainment purposes only. Over the course of this webcast, we may talk about companies that are publicly traded and we may even reference that fact and their equity share price, but please do not take anything that we say as a recommendation about what you should do with your investment dollars. We are not investment advisors and we do not ask that you treat us as such.

If this topic is of interest, be sure and check out my interview as part of this series with Oracle’s Lisa Joy Rosner in early 2021 exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and thoughts on how leaders can help.

Women in Tech: The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Women With Oracle’s Lisa Joy Rosner

Compulsory Remote Work and the Future of Work — The New Normal?

Get Disruption-Ready By Reskilling Your Frontline Workforce — How Learning Management Solutions Deliver Bottom Line Value – Futurum Tech Webcast Interview Series


Shelly Kramer: Okay. Hello and welcome to this episode of The Future of Work Talk. I’m your host Shelly Kramer. And I’m joined today by Suzanna Keith and Sonal Rinello from Hello Career Guru. I’m really excited to hear about what Hello Career Guru is doing. And I think that coming out of a global pandemic means there are a lot of things that are going on in the workplace. There have been a lot of changes. What the workplace looks like in the future is different and will be different for many organizations and for many employees. And there’s also been a tremendous impact borne by women as a result of a global pandemic.

So I’m really excited to have this conversation. And with that, we’re going to kick it off with Suzanna. I know you’re the founder of Hello Career Guru. Let’s hear a little bit about your story.

Suzanna Keith: Yes. Shelly, Sonal and I are so honored to be here. And what the story is, is out of NYU Business School, 25 years of mentoring women, and seeing women hit their head against the glass ceiling, I felt that it was time to really make a change and make a difference. Hey, if we get more women in the C-suite, maybe we’ll get a female president, right?

Shelly Kramer: We got to keep trying.

Suzanna Keith: Got to keep trying. So at any rate, what I did is I started a group called Women in Innovation, where I had six panel events with C-suite women, and they talked about what they needed to do to get to the next level. And based upon that, I had over 500 women sign up for a meet up. And so that told me that there’s a real need for career guidance and advice. So based upon that, I went out and did a research study among 1,000 women age 25 to 45, and they said they wanted a career trainer. They would pay for it and they would use it more than once a week. So based upon that, I put together a team including Sonal, and we have built Hello Career Guru, a virtual career trainer, to help all women advance, no matter what age, background, income, race, or geography.

Shelly Kramer: Would you say that your customer base is generally that 25 to 45 year old female?

Suzanna Keith: Yes. And that’s the group that really needs career advice. We do corporate women, we do entrepreneurs, we do women just want to be a female executive, but then find a great balance with work and life.

Shelly Kramer: I will tell you that I belong to a number of female only groups, some women executives, some women from all walks of life. And there are many, many women who are looking to reinvent themselves, who are beyond the 45 year age limit. And I will say that I started my first company when I was 34 and have built several different companies very successfully. But I had twins when I was 46, I stepped away from all of my clients and closed my business temporarily and stayed home with twins for a couple of years. And then I had to rebuild my company, which turned into three companies again at 46. So all I’m saying is that I think there’s a world of women out there looking for you who aren’t necessarily 45.

Suzanna Keith: Yes, well said. And we actually do have an opportunity for women to come in and reinvent themselves. 25 to 45 tends to be the target, but we welcome everyone.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah. And I also see a lot of women who get to an age where they’re empty nesters or the thing that happens to you when you’re in your late forties and into your fifties is that you’re just tired of all the BS and you’re not going to take it anymore. So if you’re in a job that’s not making you happy, you realize sometimes it takes getting to that age before people really realize that life is short. I don’t want to do anything I don’t love anymore. And really that’s the benefit of career coaching. I think it makes a big difference. Sonal, tell me your story.

Sonal Rinello: So first of all, Suzanna, I don’t think you touched upon this, but we’ve known each other for, I’m going to say 20 years in a professional environment, as so many women do, and often you lose touch. But thankfully we stayed connected over the years and watched each other’s careers grow. And when she started with this idea, she knew I had a passion for helping women in terms of their career resources and tools they could really use to drive forward with their career. I happened to write a book several years ago, which was basically a planner organizer for women to really have some sort of mechanism on further job search, because otherwise it’s a very scattered process. I brought together best practices from my own experience, not only as a management consultant, but doing project management and then being a job seeker and a job hirer and best practices, and pulled together a methodology.

So fast forward, I ended up not taking that as far down the path as I had thought, because one of my marketing clients hired me to come back to work full time. So when Suzanna approached me the idea of Guru, it really peaked my curiosity because I’d already had an interest in this space and had done some of the legwork a few years ago, to understand there was a need for resources that women could tangibly use to advance either their professional community development, or in this case, their knowledge and skills and the behaviors, not only for their current role to be their best selves, but also for what their ambitions are. One of the things that’s great about what we do is there are so many great career resources out there, and we recognize those and we’ve partnered with different ones for webinars and events. But what happens is, if you’re just sitting down at your computer and trying to figure out, well, what should I focus on? It can be really overwhelming.

Shelly Kramer: It can be really overwhelming, yes. Well, especially when so many women are doing so many other things, you know what I’m saying? I mean, I laugh because my husband gets up in the morning and goes to work, and I get up and make four appointments and feed the dog and make sure this happens and make an appointment for my car. You know what I’m saying? We have so much going on that it really helps to have a roadmap.

Sonal Rinello: Absolutely, you hit the nail on the head. And Suzanna, the research she had done before she launched this idea. Women actually were estimating it could take more than a day, a day and a half to sort of curate all the content and then spend time with it. So to me, that’s a real roadblock, to actually investing in your career in a regular way, whether it’s daily or weekly or monthly, spending a few minutes to really embrace your own development. Because at the end of the day, it’s really you that has to control that. No organization is going to do that on your behalf, you really need to advocate for yourself. So what we do based on where a woman is in her career and where she wants to get to, and the executive insights of women who’ve actually been along that path is curated content. And a lot of it is content that’s freely available, but now it’s organized in a way that makes sense for who you are in particular. And then we have our own content that we have on the platform as well.

Shelly Kramer: That’s cool.

Sonal Rinello: Yeah, which is great. And our podcast has been a hit. So that content will be on the platform as well as any number of other articles, classes, videos, articles.

Shelly Kramer: Something you said resonated with me. And I have four daughters and it’s something that I tell my daughters all the time. And two of my daughters are grown and in their late thirties, and then I have 15 year old twins because I smoke the crazy crack pipe of procreation. But one of the things I tell my girls is that I can promise you that there is nobody within the organization that you work for, or a company that you will ultimately work for, who gets up in the morning and says, “I hope that Shelly Kramer has her best day today, and that she is realizing her career ambitions and goals working for me and my company. I want to make sure she gets as far along, accomplishing those goals as humanly possible.” That’s not how life works. That’s not how business works.

And so, as you said, you have to be your own advocate. Women, I think generally speaking, are not very good at this. We tend to put up with a lot before we put ourselves first, but it’s just really understanding that advocating for yourself. And also, I think what’s so cool about this company, this platform that you’ve created is that I am a voracious consumer of content and I consume it and I share it and I categorize it in my brain. And that is something that you’re either wired to do, or you’re not wired to do, and more people than not are not wired to do it. So to me, when I can go someplace that has this collection of information that serves as a resource to me and I don’t have to go find it. I don’t, because that’s really time-consuming. So I think that that’s a really cool part of your offering. And so tell me a little bit, Suzanna, what other things, actually step back and say, so when you’re talking with your prospective audience, what are the important things that they need to keep in mind when they’re looking for a job or when they want to progress in their career?

Suzanna Keith: Shelly, great question. One of the great things about Hello Career Guru is we also lift up everybody else’s content and especially thought leaders. And one of the great things is when you look at one of the key thought leaders out there, in fact, one of the first black CEOs in Silicon Valley, Shelly Archambeau, who wrote the book Unapologetically Ambitious, one of the key things she says is to always tell everyone what you do when you’re in a meeting introducing yourselves and potentially what value you add. So instead of saying, “Hi, I’m

Suzanna Keith, I’m a data analytics analyst,” you say, “Hi, I’m Suzanna Keith. I’m working every day to show how our company progresses and where we are in the competitive space,” so that you’re always constantly adding value. Secondly, to really help yourself progress is try and find a sponsor within your company, not just mentors. Mentors are important. They can be in your company or outside of your company, but try and find a sponsor within your company, who really is part of the decisions to get people promoted who can help you map out what your best game plan is. Those are the key things.

Shelly Kramer: And I think that it’s really important, and this is my personal opinion, that supporter, sponsor, is that what you called it, a sponsor?

Suzanna Keith: Sponsor.

Shelly Kramer: Doesn’t have to be a female. I will say that I attribute a lot of my success in life and careers to some of my early sponsors/mentors who happened to be men, who were really invested in my success, and they weren’t married to me, and really, really helped, in significant ways, me get to where I wanted to get. And the early years of that were incredibly difficult years, and so I think that is incredibly important advice. Know that you can, I always say, look for the givers. I mean, you can identify givers within your world, within your network, within your company, simply by, who’s the person that when you’re talking to them about a problem or something, they’re instantly thinking, “Who can I connect you with? How can I help you solve this problem? What can I bring to the…” You know what I’m saying? Those are people for whom helping, it’s just a natural, innate part of their psyche, their personalities. And those are the kind of people that you want in your camp and in your corner because they will very much help you along the way.

Suzanna Keith: Great. Actually, that’s so true, to have men be your sponsors and to really look for those givers.

Shelly Kramer: Well, and I’m not saying just men. I think what I am concerned about sometimes when we talk about women empowering women in the workplace and that sort of thing, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been invited to speak at an event and lead a panel discussion about women in tech or women in the workforce or whatever. And I’ll share a stage with brilliant women, tremendously successful, working with very, very big companies and I’ll look around and the only people in the room are women. And so I do feel like men need to be a part of the process. Men maybe need to be a part of the conversation. I will say that generally speaking, the only people in the room are women and my business partner, who happens to be a male. But anyway, I do think that women can certainly work with other women as a mentor/slash sponsor/supporter, but I don’t think that women have to work exclusively with women because I think… And you can have more than one, right?

Suzanna Keith: Right.

Shelly Kramer: I think that’s cool.

Suzanna Keith: And honestly, in terms of numbers, there are probably more men available than there are women in most organizations to play those roles. But I also think what I find interesting is, we’re at this place where a lot of those men now have daughters entering the workforce or daughters-in-laws, and they’re seeing the struggles and they’re seeing the opportunities, but also the [missed], in terms of helping them navigate. So I think there’s a level of empathy that’s being developed now that perhaps didn’t exist so prolifically before.

Shelly Kramer: We can hope. I do hope. I have hope.

Suzanna Keith: Exactly. Exactly. And just pulling on what you both said, I do think intellect is important and we’ve talked to any number of executives through our podcast or other means and working for someone smart is important. Now, they will likely be demanding and they expect a lot of themselves and of others, but if you can work for someone who’s smart, there’s so much that you can gain being around that type of individual or people on a team.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, and I think also someone who will let you have autonomy when it comes to doing your job and I laugh here because my team will be watching this interview. My production team will be watching this interview. And I can truly say that when one of the team who works for me gets a text message or an email or Teams message, sometimes they’re like, because I’m super direct and I’m super driven and very much not fooling around with little niceties, not that I’m not a nice person. I think I’m a really nice person. But anyway, my point is, I expect a lot. I expect a lot of our team.

And a lot of times someone will come to me and say, “I’ve finished this. Do you want to take a look before I send it to the client?” And I’ll say to them, “Is this your very best work? Because if you can tell me that it is your very best work, I trust you. Send it to the client. I don’t need to look at it.” I also think that you can work for somebody that is super intelligent but who’s a micromanager, and that can be frustrating. So I feel like for me, my career or my leadership style is about having very high expectations and giving people as much as they want, in terms of opportunity to take on new and different things. And then I think that I try to get out of their way and let them do their jobs. And so if you can look for people like… And not every personality will respond to that leadership style. Some people want more hands-on interaction and things like that, so I think it’s knowing what you need as a person that would be helpful in that situation.

Suzanna Keith: Well, and I think you hit upon something that’s… You have to build that equity or that trust. So I think both sides have a role to play while they’re building that trust. It’s interesting, because I have something similar where my question is, “Put my hat on. You know how I think by now…

Shelly Kramer: What would I say?

Suzanna Keith: … work you’ve done. And what would be your feedback?” Because I want them to internalize tangibly where I’m trying to add value when I’m in that role and hopefully that becomes a part of their development, right? I love that question that you’ve shared.

Shelly Kramer: I mean, I think that’s super important. I think it’s really great as a leader to say that. What would I say, what would I do? I tell my teenagers and their friends, “Before you make a choice, you just ask yourself, W-W-S-D. What would Shelly do?” So try to get them to make good choices. They will not be watching this show, unfortunately, but I just think that’s a great question. What would I do? But that as a leader, instead of just making all the decisions and carrying the load, you’re empowering them to do that and to challenge themselves. And I think that’s really important. Suzanna, I would like for you to talk with us a little bit, because I know you’re so masterful at this, rather. What advice would you give on how to build meaningful networks for both internal and external opportunities? How do people go about doing that?

Suzanna Keith: I love that question, Shelly, because I think right now, especially with the future of work and the way things are doing, community is so important. And you really need to think creatively in your life about how to do that. And here’s two things I’d recommend.

Number one, every day, take at least 5 to 10 minutes to think about what you need to do to get your career to the next level. And that often means networking, so reach out to a past colleague, a current colleague, and try and get some time on their calendar because right now people tend to have a bit more time. They’re willing to do a quick little, 15 minute Zoom coffee. Get to know them, embrace what they’re doing, learn more and ask them, as you get to know them better, what you need to do to get your career going. That’s really critical because I think every day, if you don’t have enough time, do it weekly, really plan out what your next step is and to network with somebody, at least for 15 minutes. Another author that I love, Fran Hauser, Myth of the Nice Girl, talks about that. How she allocates time once a week to network with the next person. It’s just very critical.

The second thing I would recommend is to really build a great community on LinkedIn. Make sure you connect with everybody that you can, get to know them, keep in touch, work on thought leadership by every day, scanning your feed and add comments, congratulations, great thought, great insight. People really appreciate that and that helps to build relationships.

And then one thing is we emerge from the way things are now and the future of work is connect with people. I call it planes, trains, and automobiles. Just connect with anyone everywhere that you can, because you never know where you can help each other out. And I think one of the great things, the two of you were just talking about is when you connect with others, you have empathy as a leader. And empathy is so important right now with everything that’s happening with remote work, with women juggling families and educating their children. I think that that’s a great way that you could connect and communicate your skill of empathy.

Shelly Kramer: Well, and networking today is much easier than it was 20 years ago when you actually had to suck it up and go to that chamber after hours event or whatever. I’m kind of an introverted extrovert. So I always loathed those things. But part of my career success was that I realized early on the role of the internet was going to play in business and the role that social was going to play in life. So I have a gigantic network and I started building that network more than a decade ago. I have thousands of friends across multiple networks, so it’s easy for me to… I belong to several… And I will say Facebook is my least preferred social network, mostly because I just hate Facebook and everything that it is. That said, that’s where people are. And there are so many groups of women on that platform that you can find, that you can be invited to. Really that’s where my comment earlier about women over the age of 45 looking to reinvent themselves because I see these questions come up in discussion groups all the time. And so great resources there.

I’ve been using LinkedIn for so long and I’m laughing that I feel like a global pandemic has really helped people see the power, especially of LinkedIn, but it’s as easy as popping in, in the morning, either before you read your email or after you read your email, doesn’t everybody do these things first? And scrolling through LinkedIn. Oh, it Susanna’s birthday. Oh, Sue you wrote that really great post. That’s awesome. I really enjoyed the takeaways there or whatever. My advice is don’t go with the ask. Please don’t ask me for 15 minutes. Please don’t ask me for coffee. Build a relationship with me first, interact and engage with me and then I’m willing to help you any way that I can. But I have a lot of people asking me for 15 minutes of my time or to pick my brain or for coffee. And it really is, give before you ask.

And so when you’re building that network… And you know what? Twitter is a great network too. I think really Susanna that may be where you and I met a decade ago and we have many, many mutual friends that we met on Twitter. So those networks exist. And so many people are out there willing to be connected to you, to help, to support you, but it is a give and take thing. And so to me, an easy part of this advice that you’ve just given is understand the power of social networks. And if you don’t have a legitimate presence on social that you’re working on a regular basis to build, fix that because today, our network is part of what we bring to an organization. So well said.

Suzanna Keith: Yes. And it’s interesting. I think earlier in my career, I would hesitate because I didn’t know what value I could bring to those conversations or interactions, but you realize there’s so many ways, no matter where you are in your career, whether it’s you read an interesting article or you were able to apply something that someone had shared in a post, or maybe you find out you’re at the same alma mater. So regardless of where you are in your career, you do have ways to add value to that engagement. Just, I think the instinct is, “Oh, I don’t have anything to offer,” but you do. You just have to dig in a little bit.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah. We women are bad at that sometimes. I’ll tell you a story about serendipity and connecting. As I mentioned, I have a pretty big network and I don’t know, sometime in the last year, and I share a lot of content across all networks and it’s not because I’m hanging out on social networks every day. It’s that, already mentioned, huge consumer of all kinds of content. And I’ve got a little share button in my browser tab that allows me to share anything that I read that I think is interesting. And I do that a lot.

So I had shared something and this woman had made a comment on whatever it was I shared that was interesting. And we started having a conversation and I had to do the, “Hmm. Now, who is she again?” And I click over and I looked… Again, I have a huge network. I don’t personally know everyone I’m connected to. But I click over and I see that she’s an investment advisor, which reminded me that [inaudible] and I had had all my money in one place and I kind of had a customer service experience that was very long and drawn out and I wanted to change, but finding somebody else and, oh my gosh, and asking around and everything.

So I reached out to her and said, “Hey, I’m kind of looking around, not going to make any promises, you want to have a conversation?” It probably took her six months to nail me down because we’d talk about a time and it wouldn’t work out or whatever. And today, Alyssa has all my money and she’s making it grow. That’s my example. Had she not stepped up and commented on something I shared and started a conversation with me and opened the door. And by the way, she wasn’t prospecting. She was just networking. And now, we have a great friendship. We have a great experience. I recommend her all the time. So it snowballs, it works, but it really is just about remembering that social networks require us to be human and to have conversations with one another. And those conversations lead to really strong networks.

So speaking of strong networks, Susanna, tell me a little bit about, tell our listeners about what they can do to make sure that they’re on the path to the C-suite, to senior leadership roles. What can they do to get there?

Suzanna Keith: I think one of the first things you can do is, I’m going to go back to this conversation about empathy. Look to key thought leaders, and you mentioned LinkedIn, Shelly. Look at LinkedIn and try and see and learn how are these thought leaders bringing empathy to their leadership style? And then whether you’re a manager or a individual contributor, think about how you can bring that into your own work situation, because that is really going to help you get ahead, especially in an economy like we’re facing right now. We have to figure out a way to be better managers, how to listen to women, to listen to men, to figure out what’s going on in the workspace with them.

Secondly, I think an important thing is to always be yourself. To do serious self-assessment and to say, what are my strengths? What are my weaknesses? Be sure to meet with your boss, be sure to meet with your sponsor, be sure to meet with your mentors and have a discussion about what can I do better to get to the next level? Because that will really help you advance and then look at career tools. That’s what why we love Hello Career Guru. We have insights from C-suite executives that will help you get ahead, that will help you model after what does it take to get to the next level?

Shelly Kramer: You know, I had a discussion with some amazing female leaders in tech, and I’m going to say, one of them, I can’t even remember the companies they were with, but huge companies. And some of the things that they shared in this conversation were, “Here’s how I am able to do it all. I am a CEO of a major corporation. I have help. I have a lot of help. I pay for somebody to do this and to do this and do this.” And my point was, these women were all raising children and they said, “My career is incredibly important to me. My family is very important to me as well. I can’t do both and I can’t do it all. So I’m not going to expect myself to do that and how I am able to go on and to achieve the career successes I want to is, I have a lot of help.” So don’t be embarrassed. Don’t think you can do it all by yourself because when you look at amazingly successful women, in most instances, they have realized that they need help. And I think that that was important, really important. And I think the other thing, the other advice that I always give women is think like a man. And what I mean is that we are horrible at undervaluing ourselves. And I have used an example in speeches for years and years, the analogy that a job description is posted and the job description says, “We’re looking for 10 key capabilities,” and a woman will look at that list and say, “Oh, I’ve only got eight of those 10. I can’t possibly apply for this job.” And a guy will look at that list and maybe have two and go for it. So quit being so hyper-focused on thinking about not being good enough or not being accomplished enough or whatever, and think like a guy. Go for it. What’s the worst thing that can happen? You get a no.

Sonal Rinello: Well, and it’s interesting. I read something recently that talked about, and it’s interesting because I have to fully process it, but I thought it was intriguing. It said, “Don’t even focus on your weaknesses.”

Shelly Kramer: Yep.

Sonal Rinello: You have things you need to improve, but what are you really good at? And run that message wherever you can with it, and communicate that. And that goes back to Suzanna’s point, what value do you add?

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Sonal Rinello: Not just your title, but what do you do, and how does it add value to an organization? Typically, if you’ve been successful, it does rely on your strengths. And so [inaudible] those and how can they be applied in the new situations? So I completely agree. I think that’s such a telling example that still holds true today.

Shelly Kramer: It still holds true today. It still holds true today. And in thinking like a guy, I have one more example to pass along. I had years ago, I sent my girls in the summer to a co-ed basketball camp. It was just the time when they were young enough. And I was trying to get them out of the house for four hours at a time so I could get some work done. And there were probably in second grade. And I pick them up after the first day. And I was also taking another little friend of theirs, a little girlfriend of theirs. And they got in the car. I said, “How was it? Was it super fun? And who all was there?” And Benny was there and Joe was there and a whole bunch of people from their school, but there was a parochial league camp. So there were people from other small Catholic schools there as well.

And one of the girls said, “But Mommy was so frustrating.” And I said, “Why?” And she said, “Well, every time I was there and Joe would have the ball and I would be completely open. I’d say, ‘Joe, pass me the ball. Pass me the ball.’ Joe would never give me the ball. And then we would be doing something else and Benny would have the ball and I’d be like, ‘Benny pass me the ball.’ And it was so frustrating because here we were standing here at a basketball camp ready to play basketball, and no one would ever give us the ball.”

And it broke my mommy heart for a second, and it really broke my mommy heart to have to tell them, “No man is ever going to give you the ball. You’ve got to take it. You’ve got to show him. You’ve got to step up. You’ve got to take it. And if they don’t want to give it to you, expect them not to give it to you. You’ve got to take it. You’ve got to be assertive,”  and I think that that’s really very much true too. People don’t give away, people don’t give up the ball very easily.

Sonal Rinello: Yep.

Suzanna Keith: That’s a great analogy.

Sonal Rinello: Yeah, I love that example.

Suzanna Keith: That’s a great example.

Sonal Rinello: There’s just one more thing I can build for this, the question around how do you get to where you want to go? In today’s environment, which I think is very, is different than it may have been in the past, you actually need to know what that next job really entails and demonstrate those skills and behaviors in your current job before you’re going to get the nod up. You used to be hired and promoted based on potential and mastering your current role. Now, the game is we actually want to see glimmers of you exhibiting what’s required in that next role in your current role. But how do you understand that unless you’re out talking with people?

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Sonal Rinello: So I don’t know if you you’ve both experienced that, but I think that’s a very real part of today’s workplace.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah. And I think it’s really important to not let yourself get shoe horned into kind of a dead end position. And sometimes that happens really easily. And I’ll tell you that I had somebody on our team ask me for a pay increase, I don’t know, in the last year. And I understand how very hard that is to do. I have done that too, but many times, but, and this is just part of empowering yourself and everything else. But my response to her was, “You’re asking for kind of a large increase. I’m not saying no, but go back, and lay out for me what it is, all the different things you’re doing, what responsibility you’ve assumed over the course of the last couple of years since we’ve adjusted your pay, however long it was since we’ve adjusted your pay, and make your case.” And so she said, “Okay.” And do you know that two months later, I still hadn’t heard from her.? And I didn’t say no. So I reached out and said, “Sitting here waiting.”

Sonal Rinello: Good for you. Not everyone would do that.

Shelly Kramer: Not everyone would do that. But again, my point is that as a leader, it’s important to me to support, especially the females on our team, but human behavior is really interesting. And like I said, it takes a lot to take a deep breath and ask for increased responsibilities, different role, more money, whatever. But when you do that and somebody says to you, “Come back to me with,” don’t forget to come back to them. That’s how you get there.

Sonal Rinello: That’s it exactly.

Shelly Kramer: That’s how you get there

Sonal Rinello: And the fact face is critical, right?

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely. Absolutely. So this has been a fascinating conversation, ladies. I have enjoyed it so much. I know that I haven’t even spent a ton of time checking out the Hello Career Guru site, and I’m going to. I’m going to walk away from this conversation and do that. And I think that you have a special offer for our listeners today. So why don’t you share with us with that is.

Suzanna Keith: We would love if everyone would check out, the technology platform to help you advance in a career. And for two months free, use the code guru21 when you log in. So thank you, Shelly, for letting us mention this because we really want to democratize career advancement for all women.

Shelly Kramer: Awesome. Well, I am fully on board with that. It has been lovely talking with you two. I wish you all the luck with your company. I think it’s going to be great. It already is great. It’s not going to be great. It already is great, but I’m glad we were able to have this conversation. It was great. And to our … [crosstalk] whoop, sorry. Sorry. I didn’t mean to. Well, thank you guys for being here. And to our audience, thank you for being here. In our show notes, you’ll find a link to Hello Career Guru. You’ll find information about that special offer. And hopefully, you’ll make time to check it out. I know I will be. So with that, we’ll say goodbye for the day.

Suzanna Keith: Bye, thanks.

Sonal Rinello: Bye, thanks.

Author Information

Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”


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