Massachusetts Women’s Conference

By: Associate Strategy Director, Jenessa Carder and Art Director, Allison Lenz

 

A diverse group of women from the Boston office recently attended the 2016 Massachusetts Women’s Conference. While the theme wasn’t anything too new, the standouts centered around broad career concepts that apply to specific moments in various stages of one’s career. Here are a few of the takeaways tailored specifically to familiar agency-life situations:

 

When a large client (or organization) is slow to change, don’t just sit back:

According to CEO of Futurethink, Lisa Bodell, everyone on the client side can rattle off hundreds of reasons why innovation is hard at their company or will never work. Discuss this. Explore it. Brainstorm how to “Kill the Company” or why competitors will succeed and the client will fail. Doing this will allow you to identify the key threats and weaknesses quickly. Through these challenges comes the opportunity. She wrote a whole book about it to guide you through the meeting where you “Kill the Company”.

 

When your idea didn’t get picked, you lost a pitch, or you made a rookie mistake, it may be for the best:

Celebrate your failures, for it makes your successes even better. Failures give you perspective and, they are also what make you human. You can find inspiration in Sara Blakely’s Instragram feed, which is dedicated primarily to documenting her failures in life, both big and small.

 

When you feel you’re tapped for too much, say something:

Use positive language that acknowledges the other person’s request and provides a solution.  For example, “I would be happy to help you right now, but I don’t have the capacity to take that on. Let’s talk to [staffing person] to figure out who does” – something that came to light during the panel: Overcoming the Imposter Syndrome to Become the Authentic Leader You Envision. Also, in situations like this, look to your FFF (friends, followers, and family) because, according to Karen Cahn, someone you know probably has a bit of experience and can give you a suggestion.

 

When you have a great project idea and want to work on it, do it:

While your project might not be a SharkTank pitch, that doesn’t mean Kevin O’leary’s advice to entrepreneurs can’t help you here. Make sure you’re able to explain it quickly (90 seconds or less), explain why you’re the right fit, and support with evidence as to how this idea with your involvement supports the company or discipline in terms of business.

 

When you’re asked to be “innovative,” don’t think new:

Innovation isn’t synonymous with new or “ahead of the times.” In the words of Amazon Consumer Electronics VP, Laura Oridas, “[To be innovative] don’t just think about where the industry is going [and getting ahead of it], think about what will last, too.” Customer Experience VP at Dell, Carolyn Musie added, “Innovation isn’t just about shiny new toys, it’s about a diverse thought process.”

 

When you realize there’s not enough diversity, figure out how to make the change:

Foster it yourself. Identify people around you to develop and help mentor them with the opportunities you are afforded. As Carla Harris told us, “lead others,” “let other people shine,” “hire people smarter than you,” and “know that the leadership journey is a journey between execution to empowerment.”

 

At Isobar, innovation is core to everything we do. We are constantly encouraged as employees to bring this into all aspects of our work – be it an innovative way to ask for a new opportunity, a different way to present ideas to clients, or just something you believe will take your career to the next level.

 

 

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