Thanks to StumbleUpon, ScoutMob, and Girls in Tech, the overflow crowd at San Francisco’s 111 Minna got to hear women tech titans talk about how to behave in business to have, if not all, a great deal.
The panel, made up of Jesse Draper, CEO/Producer/Host of The Valley Girl Show, Julia Hartz, Co-Founder and President of Eventbrite, Leila Janah, Founder and CEO of Samasource, Rashmi Sinha, CEO of SlideShare, and Johanna Wright, Director of Product Management, Web Search, at Google, was moderated by Liz Gannes, Senior Editor at AllThingsDigital.
With a tip of the hat to Tina Fey, the title of the evening’s event was Can I Succeed in Tech Without Being a “Bossypants,” and the answer was it’s quite alright to be one.
Leila Janah finds it works not to think in terms of being bossy, but rather to remove herself from the picture, and ask, Is my behavior making things better?
Rashmi Sinha put it this way: “I don’t care if I’m perceived as bossy or not. It’s not relevant; you need to do the things you need to do.” Sinha advised, “Think strong, rather than bossy, because communications are better when you’re clear and direct.” She confided that “the world changed for me at that point.”
As for why men do better in business than do women, Johanna Wright said the book Women Don’t Ask laid out the need for women to speak up, and was helpful in her career path.
Julia Hartz agreed, “I felt like I was taking my clothes off and doing something crazy by just speaking out. And I just kind of broke the field by going for it.” While she found it scary, she also found it liberating. “It made all the difference.”
Jessie Draper said, “You need to be pushy to get things done,” and shared that her life changed, and she got her show, when she decided not to wait on others but to do it herself.
Of course. Marissa Meyer’s move to Yahoo and her pregnancy came up for discussion. The women agreed that having children and running a company requires a lot of help, but, they felt it was worth doing, and that it can be done well.
Johanna’s comments on combining parenting and business showed how it can play out in the real world. “Sometimes my kids call me Maria; she’s my nanny. That’s alright. Sometimes they call my husband Maria. And they really love her.”
The secret seems to be to see yourself as assertive rather than abrasive, and then just get on with business.
How about you? Do you do it all? If so, how do you do it. And how do you make yourself heard in the work world?
If you want more ideas about bringing in business, I can help. I’ve been a retail reporter at Women’s Wear Daily and Home Furnishings News, a columnist at the Miami Herald and a correspondent at People.
I’ve also handled the marketing and public relations at major corporations and small businesses. Need a speaker or a consultant? Get in touch at Ask Laurel (one word) at laureltielis.com or connect with me at LinkedIn.
Copyright © 2012 Laurel Tielis