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CCW Panel Recap: How We Can Empower Those Around Us

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Niki Hall Chief Marketing Officer

I had the honor to participate in a panel, Stronger Together: Empowering Women's Impact in the Workplace, at Customer Contact Week (CCW) conference in Las Vegas. I was joined by Becky Jones, President at MosaiCX, Annie Weckesser, Chief Marketing Officer at Uniphore, and the panel was hosted by CCWomen founder, Sandy Ko. We explored our individual paths to pursuing a career in tech and how we view mentorship and empowerment in the workplace. Some of my favorite parts of the discussion that I hope inspire you:  

A Mindset, Skillset, Toolset philosophy: My superpower is uncovering other’s superpower and enabling them to realize it. I firmly believe someone with the right mindset, who may not have the skillset, if given the toolset can and will succeed. Yes, experience is important but what’s equally important is:

  • The candidate has the right attitude about the work – energy, drive, natural curiosity and exhibits natural traits in a functional area. For example, operations, detail oriented, numeric, both the ability to think big picture vision and strategy, and execution machine.

  • I do what’s in my control then to provide the right tools to help that person grow.

  • With that toolset, coupled with their innate mindset, they develop the skill set to succeed. 

This has worked many times for me, when the person’s mindset and work ethic are great, but the role isn’t the right fit. You can still tap into that person’s talents if you are open to actively investing in them. 

A perfect example was someone who worked for me at Cisco. She interviewed, didn’t have functional experience but I invested in her and fast forward....she’s now running a global analyst relations function at a Fortune 10 company.  

As a mentor and coach – or even friend – paying attention to the fulfillment of those around you is important. Check in with your team. Do they have “sparkly eyes” and excited to be in their role and contributing to the company? Try to understand their career aspirations and their strengths, and very quickly you will have a team that’s built on trust and high performance.  

Different support for different needs: Mentorship is very critical to individual and collective success! The panel discussion centered on this a lot, and a strong point made was that you must find people around you who are brave enough to tell you the truth. Brené Brown calls it the ‘Square Squad’ – the intimate group you know you can trust; filled with people that can be honest without being harsh. It’s this group that will provide the kind of feedback that can really guide a person. They aren’t there only to be your cheerleader, but they are also there to tell you hard truths. 

There will come a time when someone you work with or manage is struggling, and how you guide them forward is important. In my first VP role, I found myself managing people with more experience, but I was tasked with creating a team that was evolving to meet different business needs. When I provided feedback, I was usually met with some resistance, or feelings of being micromanaged. I approached HR and they shared an incredible model that I still follow today: the GROW model, which can be applied to individual growth or the entire team. The GROW model follows this formula: Identify the Goal, determine what you’re Responsible for, find the right Opportunity to shine, and lastly, Where can I, as the manager, help? This model has helped individuals architect their own path to success with me as a supporting figure. It has helped me determine how I give a variety of support that’s tailored to an individual’s need.  

Our industry is about helping customers succeed, the workplace is no different: I found my way to marketing driven by how much I liked helping others and making their experiences great. Over the course of my career, a common theme has been helping people, whether it’s to better communicate, to connect, or to serve. What I have tried to enforce at every stage of my career is the understanding that great work starts with great experiences at work. When you support others, work as a team, celebrate each other’s wins, and lift each other up when things don’t go as planned, you’re creating an environment where people can feel supported and thrive.  

We should all aim to help each other succeed, regardless of role. As a leader, when I have a team that is committed to supporting each other, there’s nothing we can’t do, together. 

As a woman, it’s important that to me to create environments where others can grow and thrive, lending my voice to help shine light on important issues that impact every worker. Personally, paying attention to systemic improvements, like workplace flexibility, diversity, and fair pay, is part of my responsibility as a CMO. While having a C-level executive champion is important, it’s also the job of every person to ensure the workplace is inclusive. Doing this will improve the business overall and keep it on a path toward success that translates to individual growth and happiness, and a strong, resilient organization.  

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Niki Hall Chief Marketing Officer

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