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Updated: Apr 14, 2023

Welcome back to a another episode of badass basic bitch. We are in person today with Pilar shank, mom of three and CIO at Cisco, global security and collaboration. And today we are going to be talking all about the struggles of being a career driven woman and mom and busting through that glass ceiling because pulsar has done that at multiple companies with Zell McAfee and Cisco supplier. Thank you so much for being with us today. It

is such an honor to be here. And it's so much fun to be in person. And so thank you for that such a nice change. Agreed. I'm

so happy to be in person. Why don't you tell our audience a little bit more about who you are and what you do?

Yeah. So I have been working in technology for over 20 years. I grew up at Dell. So I spent 15 years at Dell, I probably change job every two to three years. Dell was amazing and and given me opportunity to try lots of different things, which helped me figure out what I loved what I didn't love and what I was also good at after 15 years at Dell I moved on, I said, Look, I really want to get close to software and I moved on to McAfee where I took a job leading revenue operations for McAfee globally. When we took that business public, we sold it off and then I came over to Cisco. What I found in my time at Dell and at McAfee is I love transformation. I love change. I love being close to customers and sales. And so I've got two businesses as I'm work and work with at Cisco both a collaboration and cybersecurity business besides work. Yeah, that's not the only thing I do. This morning. I was booking summer camps for kids. I have three kids. So 1412 and five. So busy and busy all across the board. I have an extraversion husband and I tried to keep my sanity by staying active and a nice glass of wine each night.

I like that red or white. Red. Red.

Summer. Yeah,

what what kind of red? Oh, any

any big bold red. Okay, big bold red for me. Okay,

I'm also a red lover, but I stay in the Pinot Noir category I can't give you like the big bold stuff. Okay, but that's not why we're here. Yeah, we are here to talk about being that career driven woman. So let's back up a little bit. Where are you originally from?

Well, I grew up in Austin. So I grew up in Austin. I was actually born in Vancouver, and we moved here in 1979, which is also giving a little bit of my age. But yeah, so I've grown up here and watch all of the change here in Austin, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure you went to Trinity University, right? I did. I did. And is that the Trinity University? In Massachusetts? No, no, the one that's just up the road of San Antonio. Okay. Yeah. So Trinity was really great. It was a small school, lots of really smart people. And what I loved about trinity is I think it really taught me how to think I was just thinking the other day that I studied economics. And I was talking to somebody about that. And I think these days, kids choose, like very specific degrees that are much more probably in their field. And economics was like a really wonderful thing. It was like, Okay, I have an economics degree, I can do lots of things, anything, but not necessarily anything specifically.

Yeah, yeah, you can kind of take that and apply that to almost any different industry, which is really nice. So did you stay in that field after graduating?

You know, I mean, I had no intent of ever becoming an economist. So I think it was just a was, you know, taking that business side of it and thinking, Okay, well, I definitely want to be in business. I just don't know what particular area and economics was super interesting to me. So after college, I worked in startups and Austin and Austin is such a great breeding ground, I've really smart people starting companies about that I'm always going to be in these really small companies doing really interesting things. And you know, I'll be close to the revenue. And I'll be close to like making things happen, because I'll be, you know, one of the founding members, or first few members, and then, you know, like, bubble hit, and I was like, Oh, actually, there's no dot coms that are actually hiring anyway. And I had to go find a job. And I went to Dell and thought, Okay, I'm gonna stay here for two years, Max, I'm going to figure out all the interesting things that they do. And then I'm going to be out of here, because it's going to be so boring. And I found that actually, even in big companies, there can be really interesting jobs that drive entrepreneurship and transformation. You just have to go out and find,

yeah, when I think too, and a lot of big companies, they ultimately have like subsets of departments within there. They have other subsets. And so is that what you found in Dell as totally

Yeah. And I think in big companies, you also hear like, oh my gosh, this area's awful. We're like, Okay, I'm never going there. But there's, this organization is amazing, because it's so much culture driven is from the leader. And so you just have to look around but it's all within the same envelope, so it's easy to do.

So you said something interesting here in terms of you always thought you were gonna have more of a star are up and try to take it and transform it and be a founder. And then you did a big pivot where you went into a more more organization company bigger company like Dell, what advice would you give to a woman who is debating that transition? Or considering either way to make the change?

Um, there's no wrong answer. So both can be great. And I think it's a little bit about who you are, and then where you're at. And I see where you're at, because I think there's some considerations on both sides. So bigger companies, like there's an opportunity to move around, there's usually a good amount of stability. There are a lot of really smart people, you have resources, you will have structure, lots of things will just be handed to you. On the downside, it's not as easy sometimes to see, like, I put my finger here and this happen, you may not have as broad as a role, like they may have a different function and different functional group for doing each of those particular areas. But it's a great place, for example, they probably have great maternity benefits. So like, if you're having children, you know, you might get six months of leave and actually get that six months of or perhaps you don't want to like it in a small company, if you step out, it's you. And in many cases, the work stops when I go on vacation, I have an amazing team. There's other functions like things continue. So like those are some of the observations. I've seen the big companies, small companies, super fun. Definitely see like you put your finger here, you definitely see the change on the other side, which is incredibly rewarding, you're probably getting a ton of breath. On the downside for me and personally, where I've been with my three kids for some time. And I've definitely debated this each time I change jobs is Is it right to stay bigger, and Cisco and Dell are really huge. So that's a whole different conversation. But there's like tiny and then there's like enormous I some I'm in an enormous there's some of there's a happy place in between. But for me with three kids, I really felt like the career opportunities, the desire for transformation and change. And also the question of where I'm at, I need that time to spend with my kids. And I value that time that I spend with my family. And so I want to just tell that a little bit more of balance.

Yeah. So you were at Dell for 15 years? How many roles did you have? Oh, my God, like how many promotion yet? Because I asked this because okay, I asked this because a lot of women who reached out to me that are at that bigger organization, they they tell me that they struggle with getting those significant promotions or new role that it's more of like, here's your 5% 5% do now or a year and a half do your two years before you can get promoted? So that's why I'm asking.

Okay, well, so we'll go on the promotion side, because it's a little bit easier to probably navigate, I really did change jobs every two to three years max, right. Sometimes it was less than that. And it was awesome to have those opportunities learned a ton from it. Yeah, I'll tell you about my first job. So my first job at Dell, I was like a project manager. So it was, you know, pretty Junior entry level coming in. And I did amazing work. And I was like, promoted a couple times pretty quickly within role or, you know, maybe they make made me the manager of the team or the manager, the manager, that first big step was getting to a direct level. And my, the person who was in the role went overseas, and they're like, great, you can be the interim, but we're gonna hire someone to replace that role. And I said, Okay, timeout Hold on a second, why not me? Like I'm doing a great job like, no, well, we want to season director for that job. And I was pretty frustrated, like, I'm doing the job. It's going well, why wouldn't you consider me? Well, fortunately, there was like a budget freeze or whatever, and I got the job, I got to stay in the job. But then I had to get promoted. And one of the things that I realized, especially in a bigger organization, is the importance of not just the work that you do, but your network. Right. So looking up and looking around, and how you branding yourself? Are you having conversations? Do people know you so the people who sit at that table, when ever your company's performance reviews, or whatever that time? How many of those people are gonna say, Hey, I know Pilar, she's doing an amazing job. She has amazing potential. And I'm all in on getting her promoted. Because as you go up, those promotions are harder to get. And you need those people to be saying, yeah, she's the one and you need someone who's also voice really matters, like who people are, who's who's super influential. So that's how I made director. And then there was a couple of levels in between, then the next big step at Dell and a big organization was vice president, vice presidents really hard to get in a big company. And, you know, I was watching my peers get promoted, and they're like, Well, wait a second, well, what do they have that I'm not doing? And I would start asking that question. So okay, you promoted so and so but not me, why wasn't I at the top of your list? And like starting to have that conversation and then least ask the question, you know, what do I need to be at the top of your list? What am I missing? And so you know, sometimes I'd be like, you're all you need scope, or you need to be more strategic or even need to be more operational, like so varied over the times. But I found the difference between my opportunity to get promoted to vice president and not wasn't In the work that I was doing, it was the sponsorship. So my went to work for a lady who I knew would champion me. I told her, this is what I want on taking this job wasn't a VP role role. But I'm taking this job because I want to get to that next level. And I want you to coach me and I will do the work, like I'm not expecting you to do it. You tell me what I need to do. And I will do it. And when I do it, what I want you to do is champion me and put me up there. And she did. And she had that voice. And she sat at that table where there were a lot of other people have said she's the one and then I knew that other people at that table and sure that I had relationships with them so that they would say yes to

Yeah, so it's creating those authentic relationships. So when the conversation is happening, you are you are brought up, you are part of that conversation. So I couldn't agree more. I think a lot of that is true, not just with your own career, but like business, a lot of the business that I get is through referral based businesses. And that's me connecting and caring and showing that I care about the client that I have. And then when that wouldn't when a conversation is happening between them and a friend or them another business to like, you know, who really makes a difference in my in my role or in my career Riata in Al's let me connect you. But it's all authentic. I'm not doing it like strategically, although there is some strategy to it. Something that is really fascinating about what you're saying is I recently polled a large group of women that about their careers and about their frustrations and their career. And one of the questions one of the common themes that I saw was the frustration of women who felt like they had to own their own career. And it was hard for me not to be judgy at first, because I'm like, you have to own your own career. And I think that there's an expectation, especially in the younger, incoming generation, where they want someone to look at them and see their potential and what they're doing and saying, You know what you would really be good at PR, you'd really be good at being interacted. And here's what we're going to do to get you there. And that's not reality. Rarely does that actually happen. And so, I love what you're saying here in terms of like you saw this pattern of people not doing that for you, because that's not reality. And you took it upon yourself to say, what do I need to do? How am I different than so and so? And what do I need to do to to own my own career? What do you think about this younger generation that that feels like whoever's above them needs to mentor and guide them and sort of like place them into these opportunities so that they can grow?

I think it's a two way street. Yeah, I really do, just like you said, and maybe we come from a different generation. But I think you have to have a say and by the way, not just you have to I think you want to write I mean, it's not just that you're being forced into it, I want to know, as a leader, you know, I can be really difficult. I have high aspirations, I'm quickly, you know, I never sit still. And so like, what I try to give back to people come to work for me is a lot of coaching and investment to what they want to do next. And so I you know, I know that it is like a quid pro quo. They have, you know, the best people can go lots of different places. And so I spent a lot of time trying to get back and that way and having those conversations, but I don't want someone else to tell me what my next job should be. I want to tell them what my opinion is. So I think it's a two way street. And I wouldn't give anyone else that power or wait for someone to, you know, to tap you on the shoulder to tell you what's next, I would be looking around and saying this is what I want.

I think there's just this stigma of like being afraid because it is really uncomfortable for some people to feel that vulnerability. And hearing No, especially when at some majority of their life, there was like the participation ribbons and medals and everybody wins type mentality. And then all of a sudden, you're thrown into this reality that's called the workforce. And not everybody gets to be ranked superior, your average and all of a sudden you're below average and struggling and that is really uncomfortable for people. What advice can we give, especially for women who naturally are told to be submissive or they're aggressive? You know, if they stand up for themselves, how do we get them to advocate for themselves in their career?

It's really hard. I was just on a call with someone that is on my team. You know, she's like, I guess a couple levels down and she's taking on a new role. And she is really smart. And I said, Look, I don't hear enough from you. You have the right ideas, but when it comes into the room, you're quiet. And that's a problem because you have the right ideas. And so here's what I want you to practice. I want you to practice being the person is very, very vocal. to a point where you feel uncomfortable, so you know, a month from now I get an escalations like, oh, so and so I can't, she won't stop, like, she is relentless, I will be super, super excited. So I think you got to make yourself a bit uncomfortable for me. I was definitely that person. And there's lots of things, I think that we can probably go back in history of why we eat or that person and I remember coming in to Dell and seeing a, he was a vice president, and he was in the room. And he was just owning the room. And what I always thought of it, like I labeled it a swagger, like he would come in, and he was always so confident. And I remember being in the room, and they asked him some question, and it was, you know, tense, and so forth. And he was like, oh, it's that's, you know, it's like 99%. And I was in the back of the room like, no, no, it's 97 point 8.4%. And like, that's the wrong number. It didn't matter. And so sometimes I think it's just having, like, pretending to have that confidence, even when it's not there to pretending to have that swagger. He answered the question. It didn't need to be that accurate. It was directional. Everyone's like, yeah, you're totally right, and kept going. So for years and years, I would practice my own swagger. There's a great book called executive presence, which I really love that says, pretend you're an actor. So if like you're trying to be something different than you naturally are, pretend you're an actor, and pretend you're Daniel Day Lewis preparing for a role and like, what would swagger look like in the work environment that you're in and make it authentic? Don't make it something that's totally not you. But like, if that's what it looks like, try to pretend like that you act like that until it becomes you. And it really did work for me. I definitely think that I would not advocate for myself, I put my head down and do my work. I would watch people who had a tremendous amount of swagger. And I'd be like, Oh my gosh, that's not super accurate. Or you didn't do these 10 things, and it didn't matter. So I think you got to play the part and label it. And for me, swagger is what I wanted. And I think I'm much much better at it today. But I've faked it until I made it. Yeah,

yeah, I love that advice is interesting. I'm a big fan of therapy, and even like work therapy, coaching, mentoring, everything I just like I'm like, poured into me and I will absorb it. And I had a therapist, I must have been 22. And if you had asked anybody, even right now, if you had asked anybody from 22 and younger about my personality, and who I was, they would describe me as very insecure, not confident, very, very quiet. And just like they didn't know a lot about me. And then I you know, I had gone to therapy. And like my one time I had a therapist, and I was like 22 or 23. And she had given me that advice of like, fake it until you make it she's like, there's some musicians who are so shy and insecure. But when they get on that stage, they become like Sasha, right? Like, that's what Beyonce says, she's like, I'm Sasha, when I get on the stage, I need to find your Sasha. And I was like, okay, and I started having that mentality. And all of a sudden, it was just like, success after success after success and and everyone thought I was the smartest in the room, and like I'm coming from having severe ADHD, being dyslexic. I mean, I don't even want to tell people what I got on my SATs, because I'm pretty sure I didn't even hit 900. But then all of a sudden, it was just like, everyone looked at me like I was so confident, so smart, so capable. And then they started giving me things because they thought I was that and all of a sudden it just snowballed because I was like they're giving me these things. I am smart. I am this. And so I love that advice. Because I have personally done that and have found success in I love.

So I love that story. And I think for women, like many of us, you know, come out of our teens and 20s feeling insecure, not confident. And yeah, it's it's snowballs. Yeah. So swagger, whatever it is for you, you know, put a label to it, see what it looks like for you. You know, whether it's like find your Stasha for you as a Sasha like, yeah, and then model it and I do I really do think it changes and yes, therapy, like bring it on, and it just makes you better.

It does. It does. It's funny because I joke with my husband. There's a that like, if you had 10,000 hours or something, you become an expert, and I'm like, I'm definitely an expert in getting that.

Malcolm Gladwell thing and I love it. Yes, like 10,000 hours is like a turning point but could to becoming an expert of something that expert

at getting there. Okay, so something that I always get in my DMs, whether it's LinkedIn or Instagram or direct website is all about, you know, I know I'm smart. I know I'm capable. I have all of these things that say I am even when I ask for the raise and ask for promotion, that promotion and I am vocal about it. I still don't get it. What advice can we give women to maybe set up more of like a metric based conversation and to receive that promotion or salary increase?

Yeah, well start early. Right. And I think Simona so many of us work really hard. We may have everything right on paper, but then we turn up and And you know, leaders aren't courageous enough to say like, Oh, thanks, Brianna, that was awesome. But like, that really worked wasn't that important to be? Yeah. So what I do whenever I shift roles is I always spend a lot of time scoping what looks right. And so what are their expectations? What are other people's expectations? What measures like we'll say success at the end of the year, if I come to you? And I've done these three things, does that look like success to you like asking very direct questions. So you just know, clarity of not only with your leader, but with maybe with their peers and your peers, you're extraordinarily clear what North is, or the beach, or whatever it might be. So that when you get to that point, and you've done those things, you can easily have a specific conversation. The other thing that I got from an executive coach, again, see, I'm all into the therapy as well, which I thought was really, really good as the women sometimes explained themselves away when they asked for promotion. So it's like this long, drawn out conversation at the very, very end, it's like, oh, and by the way, I'd like 10%. Yeah, and instead just be really, really concise and practice it. So like, I've done all the things that we talked about this year, and I'm looking for a 10% raise, and just cut yourself off, which even feels uncomfortable for me saying it fake right now. But like, very, very clear, very, very crisp, very, very direct. Because I think sometimes we talk our way through it all come around. And then at the very end, you're giving someone an out. So be very, very clear scope, your role and align it to like what's really important to your leader and to the business or to whatever area you're in, and then get very clear on what success looks like so that when you deliver it, you can say like you said, and I did like this is this performance contract. I'm ready.

Yeah. I love that advice. And I think the other thing, too, that I've been trying to do, at least with my employees is putting together like, like a development plan for them where I say this is where you're at the in this, like in this direction, this would be your movement up. Is that where you want to go? Yes. Okay, great. Here are the things that I expect out of these positions. And here's the general range of the salary for people in this position, I try to have complete transparency between what they need to do not just next year, but like in five years, and what that means in terms of salary. And I don't think that that is so off putting for people to ask, and any role is like, what is the salary range for everybody? Right? Not just because me because I'm a female, but for everybody? And how do I what do I need to do to get in those positions? Is that that was

what makes you a good leader. I think few leaders do it. Right. It's, it's a hard conversation, and you're giving very direct evidence, it takes some time to prepare it. And I think a lot of leaders like it's, you know, conflict, or at least right conversations are fun. And so I think sometimes, you know, what I often see is people shy away from it. But these days pay ranges are public information, you can ask for them, right, and they have to tell you and get that information online, and you can start to really lay it out. But if your leaders not doing what you're doing, which is so awesome, you're gonna have to help map it out for them with valuable and you're gonna have to come in with a point of view and test their thoughts. And is this right, and this is where you're thinking, and if I do these things, and gosh, I think this our range for this job is this. But I met this other level, I had the opportunity to go to Harvard and sit in on a class. And the professor had written this book called glass half broken, so I went and read it. And it says that out of average when women change, so when I leave college women make 10% less than men. So like college grads, right out, you know, like just coming out, men versus women, women make 10%. But over the years, it grows like 20 30%. But that first job, you take that next one is where you typically catch up. And the average raise at that point is around 35%. And I can tell you, like me leaving Dell was a really good thing, because I have oh, here's your 3%. And look, you did a rockstar job, you get six and I knew my manager had to like make, you know, heroic things to make that 6%. But when I compared myself to the market, and to where I was at, it was really, really low. And so sometimes, you know, like, if you're at the point where like compensation is really important, or you know, that title, sometimes you just have to go somewhere else. But 35% Because market data is really, really available these days, companies have to look at that and you know, intake those part of a role. And so it's an opportunity, and they can't just look at what you made in the past. And so it's an opportunity to get a big catch up. So if you've been in a company for a really long time, and you're getting the high five of like 6%, which is probably really hard for your manager to give you like that's a huge rates, you're probably underpaid to the market and you should think about whether or not it's time to move.

Yeah, I like that. And here brings my next question. Okay, you're, you decided it's time to move you're interviewing and you know, every time that recruiter is going to ask you what were What's your salary expectation or what was your salary, and it always blows my mind people answer honestly. Yeah, I have never answered honestly, I probably never will. And usually I don't even answer it. I say no, what's the range? like before we even start this right journey and waste anyone's time, like, what is the range? And then I make the decision if that fits my range, but most people don't. And a lot of times get really uncomfortable when you're like, Well, what's your range? And like, we don't really have a range? What's your range? You know, and that's BS?

Kovai. Right? It's

like, for you even to get this job approved to this open rec approved. I know you needed a budget. I know you did. Yeah. So you just tap it? And like, do you really want to work for someone that doesn't want to disclose that? Yeah. What is advice for the women who are being asked that one? How do you push back and ask for the range? And then to how do you ask for your actual salary expectations? If it doesn't really fall in that range? And maybe it's above? First of all, I'm

loving, like the inner Sasha come out? I've super good tastic? It's, it's the right question. It's the right questions to ask them back first, don't ever give her salary, you don't have to give her salary more. In fact, recruiters shouldn't be asking you what you currently make. But your salary expectations matter a lot. And so some people take their salary plus 5%. They're like, this is my expectation little recruiters like, yeah, no problem. Thank you for taking away all your negotiating power, I can do that. So I love what you said, like, you should go back and say, Well, what's your range? What do you think is that you know, what do you guys targeting for this overall range, and then you give your number. Now, if they don't give you that number, they're like, they always have a range. So like, that first, like, I don't know, is total BS. But if they won't give you the range, then you should figure out what you think the range is, right? So use your power of your network, use your friends, use the people that you know, and go test like, what do you think is the right range for this type of role? What do you know? Do you know anyone in this type of position? Do you know what they're paying? Go do some research on your own to define your range? And then come back and just always add a little

extra? Yeah, well, and now Glassdoor makes it super easy, super easy. Yeah, city and the actual company, I'm sorry, title. And you can see the range and be like, Well, based on your glass door. That's right. This is the rage data is your friend are sure have that 15 years ago? That's

right. That's right. You had to ask her out. But you know, use all the data, ask a bunch of people and come back with an educated belief of what you think you're worth. And just don't take your current salary as what it should be. Plus, it increased because that's usually not the right answer. You'd be shocked at what the market is, or at least I was, I was like, Oh my gosh, what am I doing? Like, why am I doing 10 jobs here? What I got makes so much more. And it was just those incremental raises year after year is like, Okay, three top 3% plus 3% plus 3% is only nine and like one move and it could be 30.

Right? Right. Okay, so I don't know the exact statistic about the mom tax like when you become a mom, there's like a significant you like your like tax, right? And I'm sorry, I forget, do you know what it is? I don't

remember your tax, but I'll tell you, the flip side of it is is that there's an increase like there's a bonus for men. So like for women, having bar children, there's a tax like, it's like hurts, but for men, it's the opposite. And this is something I heard in that Harvard class again, was like forbidden, the more children you have, like, you know, you actually look more stable, and you look for more foundational, and so professor was joking. Like, he was gonna get all of his kids in this picture, like, take a picture smile, like, for us, we're like, you know, oh, no, you can't be in the picture. We gotta be strong. We gotta be, you know, the business minded woman. And so it's the opposite.

Yeah, well, I joke with my husband, because I was previously married, and I have three kids with my previous husband, and then I got remarried. And so he married with three kids, and I was like, You owe me money. Go ask your business for a big raise now, which honestly, he did get. And I was like, there is a there is evidence about men having children and earning more. And I'm like, So marry me. You have three kids now. And now we're gonna have a fourth that I'm like, I'm taking 10% of whatever you get

to prove it, like it's in the book. And I forget that number. But I think it's like 10% per kid, like, you know, it's the opposite. What could they make? You know, men make boar and so they went out and studied it. And yeah, there's a difference. So yeah, your husband might might have been in the study.

So how, how do women avoid that? Because I do feel like a lot of listeners listening in are gonna be like, shaking their head. Yes, angrily like thought is most situation, maybe having their first second child? How do we avoid falling victim to this statistic?

Well, data is your friend, right? So leverage the data to know what you're really worth advocate for it and if they're not giving it to you decide what's important to you, is it you know, a new job was in the company, like a potential sponsor that would give it to you, it's leaving the company and going somewhere else. I think we have choices today. And the good thing is we if we know our market value, it's just what's important to us. Now, there were times where I wasn't like the number one thing for me wasn't pay, like I had, you know, balance and maybe challenge and so I would stick with it and figure it out. And then there were times where like, Okay, that's enough already. So I'm making a change and that, you know, the kids thing. Like, I'm really proud of being a working mom. And so I wear it at work, I talk about the fact that I'm with my kids, and I let my five year old come and give me a kiss, while I'm on a video call every day going to a nap. And in some ways, like there may be attacks, but I also think for others, it's motivating. I have a lady who works for me. And she said he had I've not really had a boss who was a working mom, that didn't hide her kids and Nutone. And it makes me feel a whole lot better about like the chaos that ensues in my house. And I just think it, you know, for me, it gives me great joy. But I think for others, it can be inspirational. And so yeah, I'm proud of it. I don't care if there's a tax, and I'm going to advocate for myself, because I know what I'm worth. Yeah. And I think you know, if that story, like helps, you know, if the kids every day help someone else say like, that's okay, then man, that's even better.

Yeah, I love that. I do. It's funny, because I think I think COVID has allowed that boundary, the smoke behind them beer like the smoke to clear. And I appreciate that. And it's just funny. Looking back at it. I'm with you. Every time Emma comes back from her little Mother's Day Out program. She comes in she's like, talking to today and like well, is Erica. Hi, Miss Beck. And I'm like, No, it is what it is. To the point where she has an I'm not kidding, thrown up all over me in the middle of a meal

with like, 10 people on it.

And I wish it was recorded because she like came over. I was like, oh, sorry. She just, she just has to say hello. And she's like, I'm not feeling well. I'm like, I gotta go guys. It was like, at all. But I think it allowed exactly what you said and allowed my team who even don't even have kids to realize that I was like, I'm done for the day by and like, hang up and not come back for the whole day to be like, stuff happens.

This is amazing.

This is acceptable. This is you know, it's not like she turned off her camera, like swiped it off and was like, I'm still here, guys. Don't worry. I'm like, No, I'm done. I just got thrown up on. We're not having this meeting. So I love that you allow that visibility, because I do think that empowers a lot of women who do like, don't come in Shush, go away. Like I can't, I can't have this person see you on my, on my camera. I can't even let them know you're here in the house. You know, that's gone away? What kind of struggles Do you have? Or did you have as being like a career driven working? Mom?

Um, gosh, so many. So, so many, I think there's the current driven one. And so maybe we could just focus on that one for a second. And I was just reading last week tall poppy syndrome have you read about that? Really, really great. So poppies are obviously really beautiful and magical. And you know, poppies grow, and then some of them grow taller. And the concept of tall poppy syndrome is that then they're mowed down to be even right, and how you know, 86% of women in the workplace feel like they've experienced tall poppy syndrome, where they've been mowed down to be even whether, you know, people felt like they were too direct or too ambitious, or whatever the words might be. And I definitely feel like throughout my time working I've had that right where it'd be like Oh, early days was like can you you know, chess put and heart around your walkie talkie back because of man ever been told about a heart around? And I like him and all that other real? Yeah, that was real feedback. I remember that was like early early days, but you know, or you seem ambitious, or you are really direct. And can you soften your approach and I think there's definitely things that you can learn on your style of really how you work with people. But I also think there's something to tell us Poppy and again, labeling things is sometimes really helpful. And knowing that you're not the only one is also really helpful and also just standing up strong and saying yeah, that's who I am. It's also what makes me great. And that's okay. Yeah, I

really liked that advice.

I can't believe some Oh, yeah, that was early. It was like one of my first big professional jobs harder on your I am now that I think about like really a heart. I want to punch you in the face. Sorry. I'm not an aggressive person, physically, but like just stop

just so I know that you're being loving and nurturing as that's what I need from you as a woman. That's right. And what about the mom part?

Um, I think the mom part the biggest struggle for me was me.

The expectations right that you desire a job on yourself to love her at everything at all times for everyone is so overwhelming.

The biggest problem for me is me first. Sure, man like you know, I wanted to be an amazing wife and daughter at mom and theater and I want to get stuff done. They're just like, all the stuff and, and, and and, and so it's managing the pressure that I put on myself. And it's, you know, trying to accept, like all the things that I may or may not get to, and just giving myself some grace. Yeah, because I think as a mom, I think in the early days, I just felt tremendous amount of guilt. And I knew that I wasn't a mom. And you know, look, again, no wrong choice. I mean, some people can stay home and they're amazing moms, I knew that if I stay home, I actually don't think I would be as good of a mom. And so I needed the workplace. But I also wanted to show up at the right place at places at home, and it's like this struggle, and then you have your little sir, like, I really miss you. And so I think it's the guilt. But you know, I also feel really proud that I'm teaching my kids that, you know, women can work, they can be strong, they can do great things. My son the other day told me, you know, they were asking him what he wants to do when he grows up and he says, like, I think I want to be in sales ops, like my mom. Like whoever said they wanted to be in sales ops, but yeah, I like them. So fantastic. Yeah, okay. Cool. It's, it's good to be good.

I love that by they had a like, what, what is it like, dress up as your, I don't know, like, who you want to be or what you want to be when you grew out of, and my daughter Reagan was like, oh, I want to be a mommy when I grew up. And I was like, Okay, well, like, how do you want to dress? You know, what does that mean to you? She's like, Well, I'm gonna need a computer. I'm gonna need my cell phone because I'm gonna have lots of meetings and I have to tell people what to do. But I want to look like you know, like a movie star. And I was like, wait this awesome UFC

like bands like kind of either Bob here.

And so I'm like, it's really interesting because to her I'm a mommy I'm her mommy. But like, in her mind mommies do these things, right? Like they make money they close deals, they boss people around just like this was the best mom and I think well, it's a different but I love that you view me as a mommy and not just like a business owner. You Ness fest

it was already it was a it goes so many ways that they get no wrong answer. Right? What a would not like when you say like, I want to be like a little girl dressing up as a mommy. It's not the first thing I would have thought of. And that's what she sees. Yeah, you're inspiring your generation. Yeah. Not just girls, but also like boys, like, you know, boys, like my boys are looking at me and saying like, that's okay.

Yeah, exactly. So that was very similar experience of like your kids notice. And but then also, other people notice your indirect and direct employee reports. Yeah, notice that as well as how how you show up and how you demonstrate like, what is achievable. And so it's such a, it's a cool thing to know. Okay, enough SAP. Go back to the tangible advice for everybody listening. When people is typically moms, I think there's a lot of pressure once you are a mom, especially school age moms to be that parent volunteer, I just got an email saying like, we're asking all moms to sign up for one volunteer spot. And it probably shouldn't have bothered me, but I got so mad. And I wrote back and I was like, You need to change moms to parents. Why aren't dads required to volunteer? Why is it moms? Do you think that all moms just can bend and have all about it got really snippy. And I probably shouldn't have, but you know, I had a baby. So hormones. No, I'm just kidding. But that's the reality of it is like, why is it just mom? So what advice can we give to moms, whether they're working or not working? To reclaim their space and not bend and break for everybody about themselves? While anchor

your story is a really good one, right, which is to read, redirect and remind because I think it's one of those things that will change over time. Yeah, my guess is our children, you know, there'll be a bit more mindful of it. But yeah, I get those emails too. I'm like, does anyone like Does anyone work? Like, it isn't anybody work? But I think you have to be, you have to be really vocal about your space, whichever, like, if you're a mom, and you're not working, or you're working and you're trying to be a mom and everything else, I think you have to be very much an advocate for your own space. And that can be with school that can be you know, with work, you know, night calls, morning calls this that it can be you know, just like my own personal space, like I just I'm an introvert, you know, underneath all of it. I need a little bit of time of quiet, peace and quiet so that I can gain energy like that's how I gain energy. And so another thing that I got through coaching was really being thoughtful around like, what are the important things around my time? What do I need? And then how do I draw those boundaries? And I think drawing those boundaries, not just drawing them, but being unapologetic about it is really important, like no, you're giving it all your You know, you have your priority list and you're making choices that validate that and show up with your time and then it's okay. Yeah. And you don't have to feel guilty about not being the parent volunteer that's there every day because you just can't. And that's okay, too. Yeah.

And how do you share the responsibility? Yeah,

well, I mean, every relationship is different. I do you know, I was an economics degree. So like, I think division of labor is a wonderful thing. And there's things that he's really good at. And there's things that aren't really good at, like I like to eat, so therefore, I'm a good cook. And when my husband cooks, it's a lot of work. And there's a lot of stress, and it's really not that good in the end. So I'm gonna help can relate to, which is totally cool. Because he has lots of other strengths like he does certainly all the handiwork. He's really good with homework. And homework gets really hard as your kids get older, like math and stuff, like I'm really good at math, I can teach my kids and math on a because I don't understand how they're teaching. And also, because they become really impatient. And then it becomes a not a healthy conversation for anyone. So like, he is really patient. And he's so so good with that. So I think it's starting to think about okay, if this is all the work that needs to be done, like who could do what component of it or hey, they need to volunteer for library, I'm for that bout note over to you. And maybe you can pick that up. Or you can do the sport, you know, like you can drive across town as my husband did last night, he drove an hour for basketball practice, doing an idea two hours in the car for basketball practice, but he would. And so that's cool. But I just think it's having honest conversations. And again, being really thoughtful with your time because I think these days, there's so much coming out everyone I mean, not just moms, you can get consumed by it. So what do you want it to feel? Like? What do you need your hand then starting to like shaping those boundaries and asking for help?

Yeah, especially when nowadays I feel like the expectations on kids to be so well rounded. Like you have to play an instrument you have to play three sports, you have to volunteer you have to be interest, you have to play drowns if you do all these things. Yeah, like when When did these kids get to just kids? And I think they because there's just so there's a lot of expectations on them times three for you have like now all of them have to do it? How do you like balance that to for your, for your children who like, maybe want to sign up for everything, but then you have all of this work? And like you said, you want to be a good wife and daughter and you know, friend and volunteer, etc? Like how do you you only have so many hours in the day? How do you personally make sure that the balance is like good for you?

Well, that's not easy. But I think on the Kid Conversation and all the activities, I think it's important you see all the studies today that kids have some downtime, where they're like, have to think or decide what they wanted to do. And I think you know, overscheduling, just for my kids, we try not to Yeah, maybe someone unsuccessfully, let's just be honest. But like we don't do as much as what I sometimes see. And we try to have dinner together several days a week, which I think is really good. We actually have conversations, sometimes the conversation aren't great, or the kids are really bad, but we try. And so like I think that's good. And I think it's important to us as a family. So it limits some of the activities, which I think is really healthy. And so we asked them to prioritize. So we've met, we've had times where they want to do lots of different things, and we just ask them to choose. And there's always opportunities to do more. Bounce, I think is one of those things that you can't necessarily have, right? Like I think bounce is one of those things that you will constantly Chase like your empty inbox. But it will actually happen. But I think you have to find your place where you're happy. And so for me, I'm very thoughtful around my time I do talk about my values, like what's really important to me, and it's family. It's challenging work. And then I need that time to rejuvenate, like, reenergize for myself. And so I look at my day every day and say, Am I doing those things? Am I living those values? The thing that probably gets cut the most is my own time. But I also find maybe getting older, or maybe just like the amount of stuff coming at me, I have to have a little bit of time for myself. And so a lot of times that is exercise time. And so for me, activity helps me like any kind of exercise helps me like stabilize and ground myself. Yes, I'm sure I need to work out to be healthy and all the rest of it. But I also find it clears my mind. Yeah. And so that's been one of my outlets that I have, and then I read and stuff like that. But it's easy. I just think you have to make lines and decide on your time. Otherwise, it will come at you and you'll just be running, running running.

And when you go on vacation or you know, work vacation or

I'm a network vacationer. Yeah, and I think like I have a big opinion on it, which is when you work on vacation, you tell your team that you don't trust them that you need to be there, and that they need to work on your vacation. So you just talked about how people are observing you and you may not be thinking about it, which also feels weird, but like they're probably observing the things that you do. I think you have to think about your actions, especially if you're in a leadership position and what You're telling your team and so I'm a big believer when I'm out, like, I'm out. And I'm in trusting you, and things may work or may not. But we'll learn from that. And I don't want you to work on vacation because I think people need breaks. And when they come back, and they feel better with themselves or with their family, or whatever is important to them. It's better for us as a company, it's better for us as a team. Yeah,

I agree. I love that you do that?

What's next for you? Oh, good question. Good question. Cisco has my hands full. I think one of the things that's really really great about a big company is when you do a good job, I think people will end you've got like this great network and sponsorship, they'll come to you with ideas. And so I've been really clear the things that I hope to get in terms of my experience at Cisco, and I've got some work to do with what I have. But they're already talking about the things that's what's next for me and Simon join that post disco, I want to go with much smaller, right? Not super small, but smaller. And then I'm mindful, like my oldest son is 14 my other ones 1214 to 18. There's four years and um, hopefully he's doing things with me, you know, at 16 and 17. I hear this like a big question mark. But I'm mindful that the next 10 years, both of my older kids will be out of the house. And so like, how do I want to spend the next 10 years of my life I'm also thinking about my age, like, that's another decade, health becomes important, you know, what are the things that I want to do from a bucket list perspective? What are the things that I want to do from it with my kids before they leave, because it's happening and Tanya for now, my sweet little five year old who says, I love you, it's gonna be a sassy, little 15 year old girl. And she might have to be in boarding school by the end, but so like, I better enjoy this time now while I have it. But I'm also like, it's just super thoughtful, like the next 10 years are really, really big years in terms of, you know, the connection with the family, you know, my career, as well as just like, the things that I will be able to do from a health and you know, age perspective. And so I really want to make them calibrate

and something I asked everyone on this podcast is if you could give listeners one piece of advice from today, what would it be?

Find your swagger, find your Sasha, whatever it might be for sure.

I love that. And then where can people find you if they want to

Mike and find me on LinkedIn, just connect. I'm really good about reaching back out. I will always send something back. And I always like to hear questions or things that resonate or didn't resonate, or hey, I'm having this problem. Anything I can do to help. I do believe that there's great power when we come together anything I can do to help. Amen. You so much for being with us today. Yeah, thank you. It's been so much fun.

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