DMN’s Marketing Hall of Femme honors female marketers who have taken risks, pushed limits, and achieved standout success in their marketing careers. These fiercely talented women are all the most senior marketing professionals at brands, non-profits, marketing tech and services vendors, or agencies.
We sat down with 2018 Hall of Femme honoree Gabrielle Raymond McGee, VP Digital Marketing, Tory Burch Foundation, who shared advice on the challenges of being a woman in the workplace, and how young female professionals can navigate their own successful marketing careers.
DMN: What’s the best piece of career advice that you’ve ever received?
McGee: Stay scrappy! Whether you are just beginning your career, or you are a Senior Executive, scrappiness can’t be over rated. Maximize the resources around you, and seek to create new resources in everything that you do.
DMN: What’s the best way to advocate for yourself in the workplace (whether it’s for a promotion, a salary raise, or more responsibilities)?
McGee: Sixty-eight percent of all women accept job offers without ever negotiating. This is one thing that I wish I had been informed of much earlier on in my career. Over time, I’ve recognized the importance of being an advocate for yourself. When you don’t ask, you are not just impacting your present, you are impacting your future, your family’s lives, your 401K, 80 year-old you and also the women around you and the women after you. Asking for more is about you, and also your community. An employer can always say no, but you should know your worth and advocate for it. I promise, the men at your companies are asking for that promotion or salary increase.
DMN: As a woman, what advantages and disadvantages have you experienced in climbing up through your career?
McGee: As a woman, the disadvantages that I’ve experienced in my career are also similar to the advantages. I spent the first decade plus of my career in Sports and Entertainment with very few women and even fewer women leaders. I’ve had people judge me based on my gender or age. I’ve had people tell me that I was too ambitious, or that I was taking on too much – two things that would never be said to a man. But I’ve ignored this bad advice and have gained great joy in proving the value in having women lead teams and provide unique point of views in industries dominated by men: Sport and Digital/Tech. Workplace diversity is critical for our economy and society. Only when people of all backgrounds have a seat at the table can a company truly thrive.
DMN: What advice do you have for younger women in the workplace who want to lean in and take a bigger seat at the table?
McGee: Put the noise on pause and think! Be intentional about your career. Take time to know yourself and learn what you truly value. For me, it’s important to work with intellectually curious people, and I always want to be in a place where I can build and create new initiatives, products, or platforms. Because I’ve taken time to reflect, I am clear about what I value. Take time to think about what you value and where you are headed in your career. Too often people want a bigger seat at the table, but they don’t know what kind of table and what kind of seat is best for them. It’s not enough to advance — you want to make sure you are advancing in the direction that is important for your career and your life.