By: Myreete Wolford
For Women’s History Month, I’ve written an ode to my team.
To the women who surround me, lift me and push me . . . thank you. To every woman with whom I work—the mentor and the mentee—I’m honored to be by your side. To the one man on our team, thank you for being an ally and for seeing your teammates as teammates. You make us stronger.
To my team, I adore you. Each of you have taught me something specifically special that supports women in leadership . . .
• Passion matters. Letting others know where your passions lie allows them to share opportunities and watch you grow.Do what energizes you outside of and within your job.Invite your people into your trajectory.
• Being a working mom makes you a badass, even if you don’t feel like it. Your team members look up to you more than you know. If you don’t believe me, just ask.
• Redefine the word “win.” A win brings learnings, lessons, opportunities. Even in your losses, you can still win. Think of life in the lens of “data over drama.”
• Remove “just,” “maybe,” and “sorry” from your email. You are not just maybe sorry about doing your job. You are doing it. And doing it well.
• Managers become mentors and become influential to junior colleagues. In pivotal moments, we tend to lean on our coworkers more than we ever knew we would. What you say and do, how you live and think—It all matters to them. Mentor the next generation to become humans you want to work with.
• Giving yourself grace is caring for yourself. So is laughter. Don’t take life too seriously. When in doubt, bring the
dad mom jokes to the meeting.
• Empathy and feelings are not synonymous, but both are a gift to give and to be given with care. Learn about both and take good care of those around you.
• Learn working styles and shift your own style to enhance your working relationships. Listen to the introverts and talk less. Ask senior leaders how they are doing . . . really. Bring data to the analytical drivers.
• Being kind and soft is not bad.Neither is being direct and firm. Being a woman does not mean you need to be one or the other. Each side is inside of you, how you use them is a superpower.
• Self-understanding and authenticity always make for the best employee, teammate and friend. Being someone else only puts more work on your shoulders. Bring your unique perspective to the table.
• Being 100% at all times is not possible but remember that your 100% is everyone else’s 150%. You’re doing A-OK. We can have bad days, but we’re not alone in them.
• Lift each other up. No matter what. Give credit where credit is due. Women lifting up women and men doing the same only brings goodness back around. Keep a “Smile File” for those notes too. Read them when the world is a little dim.
If I wrote everything my team has taught me since beginning at Ketchum, I’d have seven novels by now. My team is my family and they celebrate the strength of women daily. I’m sure Betsy Plank would have said the same thing. Lessons like these stand the test of time.