Happy International Women’s Day
March 8, 2016
Today is International Women’s Day, a global event that recognizes the accomplishments of women, while also advocating for increased women’s rights and gender equality around the world.
At Infor we’re marking this day in a number of ways. Women’s Infor Network (WIN) is helping support the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. We also made this video honoring the women in our lives who inspire us.
Last week we asked WIN members to send in the questions they’re eager to ask Infor’s senior leadership. We received dozens of questions, which WIN leaders did a wonderful job responding to. Here’s a sampling of the questions and responses.
If you had to choose one piece of advice to give to women aspiring to become great leaders, what would you tell them? Also to women starting their careers?
Marylon McGinnis, SVP, Xtreme Support: For young women just starting out, I recommend gaining exposure to all business functions within the company as early as possible so they may gain more insights and knowledge that will allow them to make better recommendations and decisions.
Lisa Pope, SVP, Global Strategy & Sales, CloudSuite: Lead by example. When your team sees you doing the little things—supporting your teammates, being proactive, helping others, staying late, or doing something outside your job description—they inherently want to be part of your team and work with you. Focus less on being the leader with the title, and be the person others want to work for and work with. If you’re just starting your career, my suggestion is to take the time to understand your company, its mission, its customers, and what is important to the executives. You will do a better job if you understand the big picture.
Mary Trick, Chief Customer Officer: Be good at something. Work hard at whatever it is you want to be known for; have an area of expertise so people begin seeing you as a strong person in that area. Then expand. Competence is important.
What is the most appropriate and effective way for an employee to negotiate a raise?
Lindsey Drake, Director, Hook & Loop: Before asking for a raise, question and make sure you have the evidence to back up the request. Doing your job and assigned duties successfully is not sufficient reason to ask for a raise. Think through your recent projects and accomplishments and how they specifically affected the company. Show the impact you’ve had!
When asking for specific amounts, showing industry benchmarks can help, but be aware of your starting point. If you see on Glassdoor that the average salary for your position is 50% more than what you make, realize that its extremely unlikely you’ll get a 50% raise. Still, don’t be afraid to ask.
When I started out in my career, I was rather cheeky—I was working for peanuts at an advertising agency and asked the managing director for a $10k raise after I’d been there for six months. I told him my list of accomplishments and how I’d saved, achieved, everything-ed. He gave me a $5k raise then (which was a huge impact) and then another $5k after the one-year mark. That taught me that while the raise discussion may not work out as you initially intended (and it never does), it does not hurt to ask. The worst the manager can say is no. The best is you can get something, even if not at where you initially wanted to be.
What was your greatest motivation for achieving your position right now?
Christina Van Houten, SVP, Strategy & Product Management:
- Drive to be good
- Drive for adventure and challenge
- Drive for economic power, choice
More on that last one: I love that I’m able to contribute to my family in a meaningful way, and I love that my husband isn’t my “employer.” That may sound a bit crass, but I think economic self-reliance has been such a source of pride for me and is a critical thing for women more broadly. And while I probably shouldn’t sound critical of women that choose to stay home (I have three sisters that do), I just think this is an important thing. If you’re not the bigger earner in your family, having any kind of job that creates a more level playing field makes for a healthier relationship and creates all sorts of choices.
How would you suggest obtaining a mentor in the organization?
Lisa Pope: I think mentorship happens best when it is a natural process versus trying to find one. Take the time to get to know the next level of management and identify individuals that you naturally gravitate toward. It may start with a few lunch meetings, and then it can turn into something more formal once that relationship is established.
What was your biggest career challenge in getting to where you are today? What did you learn from it?
Marylon McGinnis: I was 30 years old when I graduated from college. I felt I had a lot of catching up to do, but entering into a professional career a little later also taught me to stay focused and make the commitment to tackle the hard jobs.
Mary Trick: That I was never going to be a part of the “boys’ club” and I’d better get used to it. If I wanted to succeed it would show in my work ethic, my ability to collaborate, and my ability to consistently deliver.
What are your priorities as a female leader in your effort to support women at Infor?
Lindsey Drake: Number one: Driving for equal gender representation. Hook & Loop is one of the groups that has always been vey close to a 50/50 split of male/female. As we’ve grown, I’ve kept that balance in mind. I find conversations and projects more dynamic and effective when you have women at the table.
Two: Advocating for families and flexibility. We have a number of new parents at H&L, and I think it’s important to offer the flexibility for team members to spend time with their families. “Real life” is important. A hard-working employee will find a way to get the work done.
Three: Education and networking. That is why I love WIN—I think the women of Infor have so much to offer each other. I’ve met amazing women through the program and continue to be inspired by stories of how women all over the globe are finding ways to excel in both their careers and personal lives.
Thank you Lindsey, Marylon, Lisa, Mary, and Christina for taking time out of your busy days to respond so thoughtfully. And thank you, Infor and WIN, for making this International Women’s Day so meaningful at Infor.
— Pam Murphy, Infor chief operating officer