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 Leah Pope, CMO, Datorama, 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?
Pope: Thinking back on my experiences, nothing is more paramount than collaboration and teamwork. Although it must be said that it is crucial that to speak up and advocate for yourself and your team. If you find yourself in a dilemma with another business unit or with a colleague, I’ve found that it is best to base all conversations on performance outcomes and move forward.
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)?
Pope: Now that marketing has gone through a proper evolution to become data driven, it is important that if you’re going to advocate for yourself that you substantiate your impact on the business. This means building plans that align with key performance indicators (KPIs) and ensuring your marketing is in lock step with the business. While I don’t believe marketing is only about the numbers, the reality is it needs to be a business driver as we’re more accountable than ever before.
DMN: As a woman, what advantages and disadvantages have you experienced in climbing up through your career?
Pope: I’ve been fortunate to be a part of businesses that celebrate diverse perspectives and have made efforts to be inclusive of different cultural and gender points of view at a roundtable — In part, I’ve made a point to seek out these environments. Having said that, I think an advantage I bring forth is my perspective as a woman in a leadership position, which is nuanced and focuses on holistically measured, fact-based decision making. Personally, my approach to problem solving is rooted in evidence-based solutions, which has helped me win the respect and trust of my peers.
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?
Pope: For women looking to rise the ranks, I would recommend a few pieces of advice:
Focus on the creation and implementation of KPI-driven plans that are aligned with business impact
Rely on evidence-based approaches
Communicate early and often — whether its within your team, cross team or upstream, transparency is imperative to success and building trustworthy relationships in business
Remember to put yourself in the shoes of the people you’re communicating and collaborating with. If you hit a roadblock, push forward positively regardless of the other personalities or styles you confront.