By Marty, Regional Sales Director
March 8th marks the 108th year the world has celebrated International Women’s Day. During those years women won the right to vote, according to the Department of Labor women now account for 47% of the US workforce and control over $20 trillion in worldwide spending. Still, recent reports indicate economic gender equality is nearly 200 years away. Others estimate we won’t reach pay equity for another 101 years.
The theme of International Women’s Day this year is #PressForProgress. It is an appropriate theme as the push for women’s equality around the world, at all levels, is far from complete.
A Teacher’s Influence on My LifeMe & Mrs. Buckner
When I think about how we #PressForProgress, I think of teachers. During a recent conversation with a colleague about the people who have had the greatest impact on our lives, we both kept coming back to our teachers. In high school, I was lucky to take Latin with Mrs. Buckner all four years. Mrs. Buckner was a total motivator, in her kind, funny way. During my sophomore year, she had me run in the “chariot race” as the 4th “wheel” in a group of the three fastest sprinters at our school. I don’t think “intimidated” is a strong enough word to express how I felt! I did it and we won against 40 other schools! I’m still not sure how I kept up. In my senior year, she encouraged me to run for President of the Latin Club. Mrs. Buckner helped me understand how it would expand my leadership skills and later made sure to highlight it when she wrote my college recommendation letter. With her influence, I ran for office at the state level the next year. Mrs. Buckner was first in line to celebrate me when I did well, but would also call me out when I wasn’t giving my best. She took an interest in my development, helping me get where I wanted to be. She pushed me to recognize I was capable of so much more than I believed. Even now when I wonder if I can push through the week or solve a customer issue I remember her telling me before the chariot race in Chapel Hill to “just keep running.” As I stepped into my first role in sales leadership I often felt like a fraud. Like people would eventually figure out I didn’t have all the answers, that I didn’t always know what know what our next move should be. It was then I remembered what Mrs. Buckner told me when I was President of Latin Club “it’s not always about knowing what to do, it’s caring enough to do it and knowing who to ask for help.” Sometimes pressing for progress is as simple as encouraging another to try, sometimes it’s reminding someone what she is capable of even when she doesn’t believe it herself. It’s always about caring enough to try.
The Value of a Mentor
When I first entered the cybersecurity field I was 25 years old and lacked the 10-15 years of experience required of a security product sales specialist. Then another teacher entered my life. My mentor and friend Rich. Rich devised a training curriculum for me to study for and pass the CISSP exam within a year. He taught me the fundamentals of security sales and even some of the soft skills associated with influencing coworkers to also position my products, not to mention helping me earn some credibility (note: the secret is thorough preparation). Combining the lessons in rising to the challenge and leading my own peers that Mrs. Buckner had instilled in me, with the mentoring skills of Rich was a recipe for success. When I asked Rich why he was taking me on as a project his answer was simple: “Marty, I have two daughters. I want them to have a bright future where they can pursue any opportunity. The best way for me to make that happen is to help create more female leaders.” 13 years later not only am I one of those leaders, Rich is now a key contributor on my team!
Pressing for Progress at McAfeeMy team in Boca Raton, FL
At McAfee, we #PressforProgress by giving our female employees opportunities to teach, to learn, guide, and to help each other grow. McAfee has a history of investing in women. Women in Security (WISE) was founded in 2012 as an organization committed to and engaged in supporting the growth, empowerment, and success of women at McAfee. WISE is a global network of men and women who actively support women in their efforts to thrive in the workplace. WISE has expanded from one chapter in Plano to across the globe and remains a key investment area by McAfee. I myself have been a member since 2015 and am proud to currently serve as President. Today 1,000+ employees worldwide engage in over 70 events each year focused on development, networking, and strengthening our communities.
We #PressForProgress in many ways here at McAfee. Look no further than our C-suite with 33% of our board made up of women, including Chatelle Lynch,Chief Human Resources Officer; Dawn Smith, Chief Legal Counsel; Allison Cerra, Chief Marketing Officer. Diversity and Inclusion is part of our culture and our DNA. We recognize as an organization that our success is tied to how each and every single one us continue to #PressForProgress in everything that we do. Whether it’s how we recruit, how we recognize and celebrate employee contributions, or how we grow and develop our future rock stars and employees. We each have a part to play.
Perhaps you are a teacher like Mrs. Buckner or an activist parent like Rich who is already helping the next generation of women become leaders, or maybe you yourself are a leader in your organization guiding others on their career path. You can and do #PressforProgress each day. As you celebrate International Women’s Day —whether you join one of the many celebrations around the world or take a minute to post a photo tagged #PressForProgress– by intentionally pressing for progress you help women of the world, of your world, reach gender equity much sooner than any report can predict.
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 World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap report http://reports.weforum.org/global-gender-gap-report-2016/
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