In honor of International Women’s Day, we sat down with three amazing women from AudienceView’s leadership team: Nancy (VP of People), Rosemary (VP of Sales), and Jennifer (VP of Product Management) They’re here to share their experiences and offer advice on what makes a workplace truly great. From the best and worst advice they’ve received to the importance of inclusion, this episode is full of valuable insights for anyone looking to grow in their career and create a positive work environment. Tune in and join the celebration.
Unobstructed: Women in Leadership, Insights from AudienceView's VP Trio on Building a Positive Workplace (EP.42)
Announcer: [00:00:00] You're listening to unobstructed your view on the live events industry.
Casey T: [00:00:11] Hi and welcome back to Unobstructed. Your view on the live events industry. I'm your host, Casey Thomas. This episode is a special edition of sorts in recognition of International Women's Day. I was joined by not one, but three members of our senior leadership team, Nancy Galaski, vice president of People, Culture, and Systems, Rosemary Maggiore, VP of Sales, and Jennifer Spanos, VP of Product Management. Combined, they represent over 60 years of experience in the business world. So we sat down to discuss what they've learned. Thank you so much for the three of you taking this time out of your day as you are members of our senior leadership team. I'm sure you had about 50, 100,000 things going on today. So let's kick it right off. Rosemary, I'm going to come to you first. I would love for you to tell me about either a great piece of advice you got in your career or maybe a piece of advice that you were able to share or maybe even a not so great piece of advice that you're glad you didn't take to heart.
Rosemary M: [00:01:13] Oh, God. I could answer all of those. There's so many. But, um, something I heard once that really resonated with me from Barbara Corcoran. I don't know if you know who she is, but she's a, you know, she's actually on Shark Tank now. But I knew her before then because she's this probably one of the more successful people in real estate in New York City. And she said that it doesn't matter what your job is, even if you're folding sweaters at the Gap, do it well because you never know who's watching. You never know who you know is is going to be a reference one day. Or maybe that person who's your boss today or peer becomes in a position that matters. So even if you don't have your dream job, do it and do it well. And that always stuck with me because I think it really is important to take pride in what you do and, um, and, you know, kind of live like, like people are watching because it does matter. And not just to you, but to the consumer that you're interacting with to, you know, at the end of the day, somebody is paying you that person. Um, so, you know, always take pride in your work. And I think that's something that I've always remembered.
Casey T: [00:02:35] That's a great piece of advice, especially resonates. I'm from a really small town. That was my mom's advice was always, don't talk about other people because you may always be standing next to their relative, but it stuck with me. It's applicable in other ways.
Rosemary M: [00:02:49] That's another good piece of advice.
Casey T: [00:02:52] Nancy, how about you? Same question.
Nancy G: [00:02:55] So Ro went for the good advice. Think I'm going to switch it up and go to the not-good advice. I did once have someone tell me that if I wore more makeup, I would get promoted faster. And look, I don't know a woman in the workplace who has not been told at some point something about her physical appearance. And so that kind of language and those kinds of suggestions are just right. And so that kind of language makes you really feel like, oh, it's really about how I physically look and not my capabilities as a person. It is by far the worst advice I've ever heard.
Casey T: [00:03:35] Were you in your career at that point?
Nancy G: [00:03:37] Probably. Around being like a newish manager.
Casey T: [00:03:43] So really, I mean, there's never a great time to get such a heinous piece of advice.
Nancy G: [00:03:49] And again, don't think it's it's not uncommon. Many women have had advice thrown to them about their physical appearances and how to, you know, use that physical appearance to be able to increase their status within an organization. It is just completely false. If that's the company you're working for, you need a new company. And the person who said this to me actually didn't work at the same company that I worked in and worked in a very different industry. And I remember spending time trying to explain to them how it was a woman, by the way, how false that narrative is, and think we don't do enough to really make sure that people understand that if you're working for somewhere, that it's just about what you look like. Again, you're working for the wrong place. That.
Rosemary M: [00:04:40] I feel better hearing it wasn't your boss that said that or something. But what's sad about that statement is, um. Is there? Is there truth to it? Meaning, are we judged by what we look like? And I would have. I would hope things have changed. It may have been true decades ago, but I hope that's not still true.
Nancy G: [00:05:04] I'm certain there are companies out there where you are judged by your physical appearance, but that is not the kind of company that I want to work at anyways, so. That's fine for me not to work there. But I wonder.
Casey T: [00:05:15] Even about, like, unconscious bias. Am I even as another woman? Am I more likely to respect somebody based on their clothes and their hair and their makeup?
Rosemary M: [00:05:24] Or disrespect them.
Casey T: [00:05:25] Or. Yeah, vice versa.
Nancy G: [00:05:27] It's quite possible.
Jennifer S: [00:05:28] Or just make assumptions one way or the other, right? Whether it whether it's positive or negative.
Jennifer S: [00:05:35] People do that all the time. So how do we get away from that is the question.
Casey T: [00:05:40] Yeah. I know, I got more comfortable presenting myself without makeup and having my hair done. Once we went remote, once I had my first experience working remotely, I put on hair and makeup for the first couple of weeks and was like, This is dumb. We're all working from our living rooms. Like.
Nancy G: [00:05:58] Got to love that, that like remote vibe and everyone's just in like pajama bottoms. But the truth of it is, is if it took us going to a remote environment for people to feel comfortable and living with their true self, then like, good, good, something came out of the pandemic that was actually positive.
Casey T: [00:06:15] Thankfully. Um, Jennifer, I want to ask you the same question. Either that great piece of advice or a terrible one.
Jennifer S: [00:06:25] So maybe I'll take one of each. Sure. Because there's been an awful lot of advice given and received during my career. I've definitely heard what Nancy has gone through as well. I will say another piece of. Advice that I have recently tried to get away from has to do with taking things personally. So, you know, there's kind of this theme around don't be too emotional. Don't take things so personally. Um, you know, you're just you're taking it too hard and that kind of thing. And I think what I've learned is that. There are pros and cons to doing that, right? It's not you don't necessarily need to always be separate from what you're doing, right? When looking at Ro's point earlier about taking pride in your work and working, you know, doing your best job and that kind of thing, that is a very personal way to look at it because it's your best job. You're putting yourself into that job. And so inherently when you get kind of negative feedback or somebody is questioning that, you do take it personally, right? And don't know that it's you necessarily need to separate it either because by taking things personally, it means that I actually do put more of myself into this role and into the work that I do. The success here translates to some personal success for me as well.
Jennifer S: [00:07:56] So it does mean that I put a lot into it, right? Which is not always a bad thing. So I kind of temper that one a little bit in terms of good advice. Something that, you know, is not necessarily well worded is something that has stuck with me and kind of brings out in the back of my mind every once in a while. I once had a boss who said, look, as long as you have and this was, you know, at a time when I was overthinking things and I was worried about what was going to happen with failure and stuff like that. Um, and this was, you know, a male boss at the time. He said to me, As long as you have thought it through, there's only right and writer So again, not the most eloquent kind of way to phrase it, but the premise of it is interesting and important because if you've thought it through. And actually spend a bit of time and figure out, what can go wrong. And you've thought through the different parameters and you've put some effort into it. Then you're not going to make a horribly wrong decision unless you have all the wrong information. Right? So if you're approaching it with the right intent and you're doing a good job around it and putting due diligence into figuring things out, chances are maybe it's not the absolute 100% best decision, but it's also not going to be 100% wrong.
Jennifer S: [00:09:17] And so that eliminates some of that fear of failure and stuff like that. And then lastly, the one I wanted to bring up quickly is that I think is important always to assume positive intent. And that's something that. I have to admit, I probably only learned fairly recently or was, you know, resonated with me fairly recently, was to remember that nine times out of ten people's intent is positive. So while they may not be communicating things in the best way, um, usually the intent behind it is good. And if you assume that, then the message becomes softer and you can go beyond the way that it comes across and actually look into what they're trying to help you with, And that's a different story to hear that somebody has bad intentions and they're trying to sabotage you and they don't like you. And, you know, maybe you don't look right or whatever it is, and that's why they're doing it. So if you take a minute and you kind of think that through and reframe it that way, then it's a lot easier to hear that stuff or to work with people in general.
Rosemary M: [00:10:29] You know what's interesting is everything the three of us have said. It's all about. What others think of us. And, you know, I wonder if that's a kind of a uniquely female thing or not. Maybe it's just a human thing, especially in the workplace, but it's kind of like how you keep your head above water and away from the noise. I really like what you said, Jennifer, because I heard something similar from a woman who I really look up to. Your last point, which is well, sorry, your second, your middle point, which is that you know, if you believe what you're putting forward, there's no wrong, you know, because this is what you stand behind, whether it's your research or your opinion, you don't have to, you know, overthink it to the point where you lose the confidence to act because there's and nobody's perfect. Like, so you could get something wrong. But if you feel strongly and you need to say something, um, then it's not wrong because it's your belief. And I think that what someone said to me once recently, which I really appreciated, I had gotten into a funk and I was kind of like second guessing myself a lot. And this person literally snapped me out of it by saying, you know, just don't do that. Put the blinders on. Move forward like a shark. Don't let that noise crowd in your head like you can do this and you've got to just tell yourself that. And that's normally how I am. But I had, you know, like I said, sort of veered off because of some things that weren't going right. And it's easy to do. And sometimes you need that push back in the right direction. Um, but I think it's, it is very easy for us to kind of second guess ourselves and question what are people going to think and do I sound smart enough? Is this the right thing? And. Um, you know.
Nancy G: [00:12:43] Well, I think. And that's exhausting Like that. The energy that it takes to constantly be worrying and proving yourself is exhausting. Imagine how much more we could accomplish if we didn't have to worry about the extra burden of having to prove ourselves and worrying about what other people were thinking. Like, Oh goodness, our effective efficiency rate would be up like 30% or 50% by all of that loss of energy of having to prove yourself.
Jennifer S: [00:13:12] Yeah. And I think the truth is that once you put less energy into that, you actually it has the effect that you were striving for in the first place, Right? So if you're not trying so hard. Sometimes that comes across as more impactful than obviously trying too hard. If you know what I mean. Right. Like it's once you relax and you kind of stop doing some of that stuff, that you actually make more of an impact because you're not always trying to be that perfect person or be the smartest voice in the room or prove your worth consistently by checking your language and stuff, right? It becomes more natural. And because of that, people actually believe that more inherently so. It kind of has a twofold effect because you're not relaxing a little bit and not focusing so much on that stuff, you actually become more credible and believable and people find you to be, you know, I guess, more competent than if they see you as trying too hard because then it looks like you're trying to compensate for something that you don't need to.
Nancy G: [00:14:23] So do you think that's real or do you think it's perceived so? Do you believe that we really do have this expectation of women to be perfect and to like meet all of the marks? Or do you think that that's something that we're putting on ourselves? Unfairly, Right? So I think we're judged.
Rosemary M: [00:14:43] I think sometimes, especially in certain settings, I think people bring preconceived notions about women or people in general. So to your point earlier, Nancy, you go into a meeting, someone hasn't met you before. There's no question they're judging you immediately by your looks. What are you wearing? What's your body language? Um, and so maybe we're just so used to that that we feel like, you know, we've got to make a certain impression and guess it depends on the. The relationship you have with everyone else in the room. Um, but, you know, one of the things we've learned as a team that I've tried to bring to this, this board that I'm on off of, outside of work, is that the high-functioning executive leadership teams have that trust. And so if we in our own way, as part of our executive leadership team, have worked really hard to, you know, allow ourselves to be ourselves and vulnerable, if our belief is that if we get to that point where we don't have to think so much before we speak. Um, that like you said, we're more efficient, we're better functioning, we're more trusting. Uh, you know, that's. That's, you know, the whole point.
Jennifer S: [00:16:14] I think that's where we want to get to. Yeah, I do think, though, that. And what, you know, what I have seen, at least in things that have been published and that kind of thing, is that the bar is still higher for women. Yeah, right. So, so well. Yes, I think there are. There's trying too hard and then that comes across as trying to compensate. I do think that there's unfortunately still less forgiveness when it comes to the way women are perceived in the workplace. So they do. At least my experience has been that we do have to try a bit harder. Right. So you kind of see that in a lot of the narrative around applying for jobs and things like that, right? All of those things that say. Hey, we've shown that women actually only apply for these jobs if they are fully qualified or overqualified. Right. Um, and I think that's kind of a, a telling point in the way that we, we tend to operate in this world. Now whether or not that's a self-fulfilling cycle. Is a different story, right? Like think it's a cyclical thing and somehow we need to try and break that. But by us doing that, it perpetuates some of that stuff too. So it's I don't know what the right answer is. Yeah.
Nancy G: [00:17:43] I know the report you're talking about. It's like Hewlett-Packard says men apply to jobs if they meet 60% of the qualifications. Women only when they meet 100%. There's like this. This belief is that we teach our little girls to be perfect, but we teach our little boys to be brave. And so that kind of mentality from such an early age has obviously leaked its way all the way in for the rest of our lives and into the workplace. We have to be perfect. We can't apply for a job unless we meet all the criteria. We have to continue even with our conversations with our direct leaders and so on. In this, we have to be perfect. So that extra burden and the extra stress of that. This is what we're focusing on.
Rosemary M: [00:18:25] It's fascinating what you guys are saying because, you know, it reminds me of do you remember the, um, the big tennis match between Billie Jean King and what's his name? Um, why am I blanking on his name?
Casey T: [00:18:39] Because he was less important.
Rosemary M: [00:18:40] Because she won. No, but, you know, that was like the big story was that she beat a guy. Right. And, you know, I wonder if you're right. It is like almost comes back to physical. Like in order for a woman to be as good or to beat a man, that's like a big deal. She has to be, you know, work twice as hard or whatever. And maybe that's just like the nature that we're, you know, trying to fight against is that there's this assumption that we're inferior in some way in the workplace. You know, maybe we're great at other things. Everyone thinks, um, but these preconceived notions I think have definitely are still there. Um, and we, it's, it's hard, it's hard for us as women because even if we don't believe them, even if, um, we.
Rosemary M: [00:19:35] Uh.
Rosemary M: [00:19:36] Don't buy into it. It doesn't mean that we're not. We're not acting that way without even realizing it.
Casey T: [00:19:46] Right. I was wondering when you mentioned being a shark. Like. What would it take? Like how many women would have to be in the lead in charge of any given company's culture and then ideally more companies' cultures? To change that narrative. Of what? That, you know, ideal business person should be.
Rosemary M: [00:20:11] Well, I think there isn't one. I think it's a company should have a balance of people. And I also think what works for me, and I've learned this in speaking to a lot of younger women, what works for me doesn't work for someone else necessarily. So if I choose to and this is not what I chose, but let's just say I choose to not have kids or I choose to put my job first, or I choose to be the breadwinner or I choose to lose sleep and years off my life because I want to put work first, because that's what excites me. That's my decision, even if it's not healthy. Um, and if somebody else says, you know what, no, I'm not going to give everything to the job. I want the job to be a place that has a place in my life. But I split my life into thirds. And, you know, the work is one. That's their decision. So I think there's no right. I think it's just more. We're trying to get to a place where there's a level of respect and there's an equal playing field where everybody feels like they can contribute. You know, at the end of the day, we are trying to run a business.
Rosemary M: [00:21:15] So it's not just like, Oh, just because you're a female, I mean you still have to be good. You still have to be like play a role. I mean, it's a company, but I think that maybe this is the question and I'll throw it out to my peers here. What do we think an ideal company looks like? And I would start by answering it, by saying, you know, that everybody maybe to Jennifer's point, that everybody feels comfortable. Contributing in an equal way so that they could bring their opinions, their talents forward in support of a common cause. So if we as an organization are trying to do X, um, whatever the rallying cry is for the organization that everybody who's here that, you know, is there here feels that they have an equal role in that success, or at least comfortable bringing forward their ideas and doesn't feel silenced or doesn't feel inferior or doesn't feel that they can't say something that they might think is a good idea because they're worried about being judged or worried about being penalized. I think that would be a step in the right direction.
Nancy G: [00:22:33] I agree. I think the one thing I'd add to that. So let's try to like make it like a super. We're all adding ingredients to make our favorite job or favorite company here. My mind that I would add is that I would want people to be their authentic selves and still be feeling like there is an inclusive environment. So very often I hear women say things like, Oh, you know, I hide that I'm emotionally upset or I'm going to hide my tears. I'm going to kind of withdraw myself. I'm going to show a different version of myself to the company so that I'm accepted. I'm going to portray more stereotypical male-dominant traits. Right? That is not the same thing. That's not really being inclusive. That is you masking to feel like you can be included. So in my perfect company, the ingredient that I'm going to add here, RO, is people being able to be their authentic selves and still feeling included and accepted and accepted. Yes.
Rosemary M: [00:23:33] For that authentic self. Okay. Jennifer.
Jennifer S: [00:23:35] Well, that's good that's a good part of the soup and.
Rosemary M: [00:23:38] That's a hard one.
Rosemary M: [00:23:39] I think that's hard because.
Rosemary M: [00:23:41] Talking about unconscious bias, I think, you know, we do that unconsciously too try to act not--.
Jennifer S: [00:23:48] I went through that in my early days here, which I think Nancy knows very well, where I burst into tears in a group call and was very worried that that would be a career-limiting move. And it wasn't. It wasn't, which was a good lesson for me. Right. It was also the first time that I'd actually had that lesson, probably in my entire working career. So that was an interesting one. Um, I think the ingredient that I would add and it's probably a variation of what you're talking about, but to top it off, right, we're going to go with the soup theme. Um. I think I would add that. We hear each other with an open mind and without bias. Right? So and that's a really hard one because we have biases all over the place, regardless of about everybody, Right? Regardless of who they are. But wouldn't it be great if we could hear what somebody has to say without prejudging whether it's going to be?
Jennifer S: [00:24:56] You know.
Jennifer S: [00:24:57] Competent or not or emotional or not or relevant or not and actually just hear them first. That's a tough one. So it's a tough one. The world needs to change, but. Well, that would be great. You know.
Rosemary M: [00:25:14] Yeah. Think.
Rosemary M: [00:25:16] These are all.
Rosemary M: [00:25:17] Hard, you know, they're big changes. And when you said Jennifer earlier, what bothered you is when people said, don't take it personally. What's funny is I had on my list that don't take it personally. And I listened to you and I thought, oh, wow, you know what? You're making a really good point, which is we do take us we take our work seriously. So of course, it's personal. So you're right. And I rethought my statement. But what I meant by it was, um. You know, sometimes business decisions are made. Let's say your role is changed. Like maybe you've got a new boss or maybe you're, you know, you're doing something, you're asked to do something different, or there's a business decision that isn't really because someone doesn't like you. It's just the right thing for the business that does happen. But I'm saying that but I'm also rethinking it based on what you said, because how often is it personal? Actually, How often is it? Are changes made? How often do you get that new boss because you're a woman and you didn't get the promotion or you didn't get the raise or you were up for a job you didn't get, like how much of it is actually personal and you're told, don't take it personally. So I like that you raise that because I think I think one of the things I'm taking away from this chat. Is to challenge everything that you once maybe thought was certain. Maybe you had an opinion of me. I'm saying me, um, like, kind of challenge every thought to make sure that you know, you're leaving room for. Everybody else's opinions. And what else could be behind that?
Jennifer S: [00:27:15] Leaving it open for new concepts too. Yeah, right. And that's a tough thing to do. That's what breaking bias is all about. Yeah, And that's that's why it's so hard, right? Because we've been we've been learning this stuff for years and years and years forever. And so. Take a second and think about why we think that way.
Jennifer S: [00:27:41] Is a tough thing to do.
Jennifer S: [00:27:42] And even tougher is to think about why we think that way and then do something different.
Casey T: [00:27:47] Do you wonder about the next generation of, I mean, the next generation of people in general? But as Gen Z enters the workforce and has entered the workforce. Have you noticed any differences? You're nodding yes. Yes.
Nancy G: [00:28:06] They are bolder. They will... I don't think that they're going to allow for themselves to feel bulldozed in any way. Jennifer shared a sat with me today, earlier today around it's going to take 32 more years for us to have parity at the C-level for women. And I had mixed reactions when I first started. I was like, oh, 32 more years. Like, geez, thanks. And then I was like, 32 more years. Maybe that's actually like closer than I may have thought and think that the new generation would bring that like that. That makes sense to me. I can see that being like a force to be reckoned with. So I feel optimistic about that, at least heading in the right direction. You know, wasn't that the whole concept that like, women will stand on the shoulders of the women prior?
Rosemary M: [00:28:59] You pave the way. I had a business meeting the other day with a woman, very successful woman who's probably about ten years older than me. So she's in her 30s. Just kidding. Um, no. So she's in her 60, I'm in my 50 seconds, and she's very successful. Wealthy. This is what I mean by success. She has sold a company. She's retired. And we were talking about misogyny in general. Um, not at AudienceView. This was just workplace stuff and the work world in our careers. And she said, Yeah, but you're like me. You don't get hung up on that. You did. You put your head down and move forward and you did what you had to do because you knew if you didn't, you'd be out of a job. And I'm listening to her and I'm thinking, Oh my God, she's right. I have done that on many, many occasions. I have just said, okay, this doesn't feel right, but I'm just going to keep going. And I think times were different 20 years ago or 30 years ago for sure. But what I see with to your question, what I see with the younger generation that gives me hope is that they will not tolerate things that I did tolerate. And they're calling it out. And I think that that can be healthy because sometimes you need to do that to see change.
Rosemary M: [00:30:23] And, um. Yeah.
Jennifer S: [00:30:27] Yeah, I would agree with that. Right. Think there. They're much more they embrace differences much more than I think at least my generation did, for sure. Um. And they do stick up for each other more. Right. So to your point, bro, where that kind of stuff just got brushed aside. Right. Because I've been in that situation many times to where it's like, this is happening. Is it really worth it to speak up? What are going to be the repercussions? Should I say something? Is my job in danger? What's the problem here? And I find that they don't put up with that kind of thing as much when it comes to each other either. Right. So not only for themselves but also for each other. I think there's still work to do. Right. It's not perfect, but I see it.
Jennifer S: [00:31:20] I see it being.
Jennifer S: [00:31:22] More visible and present with them. Then I then when I was that age.
Casey T: [00:31:31] Right? Yeah. I am curious. I mean, I know we're running short on time, but in terms of that sense of community and standing up for each other, I know Ro, you were one of our co-founders of Women's View, which is our, you know, team space as since we are a remote-first company and it's really been a great space for the women of the company to just have a place to go with thoughts and have discussions and. I wonder if that. It's the first. I mean, I'm not that young anymore, but it's the first time that I've been in a company where there's been any sort of effort for that.
Rosemary M: [00:32:14] Well, I think one of the successful things about that group is the fact that you have Nancy and Jennifer and Jo-Ann and me showing our vulnerabilities because it would be really not genuine if we put this group together. And then we sat back and didn't also confide and reveal ourselves. And sometimes, you know, we're saying things that I'm, you know, praying no one shares outside the group and it's a safe space. So that won't happen. I trust that. But I think it's important that everybody in that group because, you know, people are coming from all different backgrounds. Some people are very shy. So for them to hear that, you know, we're willing to share our feelings and experiences honestly is the reason why I think that group is so, um, valuable to the organization. And my hope for it was to create an environment where people felt happy at work, where they could go and vent and talk about things like menopause and their kids and their period and whatever. And then maybe also talk about serious stuff like work and, but just feel like they had people they could turn to.
Rosemary M: [00:33:31] And so, I went at it from a very light-hearted but yet important. Um. Perspective. And Jo-Ann came at it from something, you know, that you could argue is more meaningful, which is she wanted to create mentorships and advocacy. And so I think showing people also that this isn't just a social hour, that it is at the end of the day, like today we had something where we had two people who've been at the organization over five years present themselves and give some history. And I learned things in that meeting. I did not know about these two people, and now I know a lot more about what matters to them and where they've been in their lives and their careers. And those are things that. Maybe someone will hear and then think of them when there's a conversation down the road or think of them when there's a roll down the road. And so being able to just be aware of each other and how we can help each other collectively as women are exciting to me.
Casey T: [00:34:43] Well, that feels like a great note to end on. I know we're running short on time, and that's probably all we have time for. I wish we could talk forever. This has been really great. I feel inspired. Um, are there any sort of parting thoughts anybody wants to end on? Or we could just wish everyone a happy International Women's Day. All right. That's our episode. Thanks for listening. Check out the links in the description of this episode to make sure you're following all three of our guests on LinkedIn and make sure that you're following AudienceView on social. We're on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and that way you can catch every episode of Unobstructed.