Recently, we hosted a Women in Digital panel discussion with special guest Morgan Pressel from Team Perficient. Our additional panelists included Meghan Flynn from Ideal Industries, Amy Patel from Toyota, and Loni Stark from Adobe. This panel was brought together for a special breast cancer awareness month edition that helped raise $2,000 for both The Morgan Pressel Foundation and Pink Ribbon Girls, generously provided by Perficient and Adobe.
During registration, guests had a chance to submit questions for our panel. Attendees were also encouraged to ask questions throughout the live event. We wanted to share an overview of some of those questions. Please check out the full on-demanding recording to catch all the amazing insights.
How do you leverage authentic vulnerability as a strength in the workplace rather than a weakness as it is often miscategorized?
We received this question from registrants before the event and our panelists had a lot of thoughts on the topic, even in planning sessions. Meghan began by explaining that she learned a lot about herself by reading and watching Brené Brown. In doing so, she found that her personality type and approach to work is that of a driver; this sometimes means that she has blinders on while working. For Meghan, vulnerability was something that she was missing from her approach. Vulnerability is often looked at as a negative to bring into a meeting room, but to work collaboratively and be creative you must let that shine. Brené Brown has a saying, “Have a strong back, soft front, and a wild heart.” For Meghan, this saying really meant a lot and helped her to realize that she can still come in and have a strong back but also create an openness so people feel free to come to her with ideas.
On the other hand, Amy loved Brené Brown’s talks but had a really hard time getting into her book. This is important because throughout her career she has felt as though she needed to read the newest leadership book. As women in this industry, we feel like we must read the latest book and be so much more all the time. But, you really need to lead in your own way. For Amy, that is showing vulnerability.
How do you shift from an individual contributor to a people manager role?
During planning, Meghan chose to raise her hand to answer this audience question. She mentioned it is important to find a mentor that is not in your reporting structure that you can ask the dumb, silly, what-if questions. In the beginning, Meghan was finding mentors who were a lot like her and in similar positions. However, one of the best mentors she ever had, was a man outside of her area that had a completely different approach. Throughout her experiences, Meghan found that she often had to rethink her approach. Not only that, but it was important to her to not hire herself to create a well-round team and approach.
As you are driving change in an organization, and encounter resistance above you, how do you manage up? Also, how do you show up in those conversations without being an expert?
During this event each year, we often get questions throughout from the audience. Although we don’t always have time to answer them all, we were able to address these questions submitted by one attendee.
Loni kicked us off with this question by answering the first part. She explained that bringing people along on the journey with you as you make decisions can make all the difference because you’re gathering input ahead of time. For the second question, Loni talked to the fact that sometimes you are not the expert in a conversation, but instead you’re brought into a meeting to listen. While you may sometimes be the expert in the room, you may not always be. When you’re not the expert in the conversation, be sure to know why you are there and focus on being the expert in asking great questions.
Meghan also chimed in with advice on how to approach leadership when you’re trying to manage up. She noted that the key is in understanding what is important to the leadership you are working with and speak to those areas as you are working to get your point across.