Commentary

7 Women In Marketing Share Career Advice They Wish They'd Heard Earlier

With reports of gender pay gaps and #MeToo incidents continuing to dominate the news cycle, International Women’s Day feels particularly important this year.

Even in the healthiest office cultures, women are often more cautious about what they say and how they act, fearing they may be seen as bossy, stuck-up or cold. Knowing that, it’s important for women to empower each other in the workplace through mentorship.

To kick off, I asked the ladies of Hot Paper Lantern what advice they give to their female colleagues. Here’s what they had to say:

Stop apologizing unnecessarily. While you should take responsibility when needed, you shouldn’t automatically apologize if you get challenged because you’re junior, new or a woman. Stand by what you say and mean. Bronwen Dalley Smith, associate

People will treat you how you train them to treat you. If you consistently raise your hand for new projects, people will start to come to you first when opportunities arise. If you answer every email sent long after working hours, people will expect you to respond at all times, even during evening and weekend hours. Bailey Irelan, communications specialist 

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Take everything in stride. As you gain experience, it’s easier to stay poised because you have more reference points. But when I was starting my career, it felt like more of a rollercoaster. Now I give advice to others to stay calm, assume the best of your teammates and stay focused on delivering your best work and helping your team. Abby Trexler, senior vice president, client relations

It’s okay to stand up for yourself. There’s the topic of never burning bridges and that’s true, but there’s also something to standing up for what you believe in and making sure you’re not associated with toxic people. Sometimes those bridges should be cut down and burned. Laura Bedrossian, vice president, social media strategy

Find a way to say yes to more things. It can be easy to think you’re too busy to do things outside of your day-to-day work. But that’s how you’ll find more opportunities to learn, network and grow — both professionally and personally. Morgan Green, vice president, client relations

You don’t have to know — or act like you know — everything. When I started working, I had a very different idea of what strategic communications would be on a day- to-day basis. It was humbling to realize I knew little about the tactical, day-to-day, nitty gritty of it. I had to become more open-minded to others, and pull on their knowledge by asking questions. Sara Whitman, Chief Culture Officer

Forget about a perfect career path. Don’t panic over whether this is “the one” role or career for you. We’re going to be working for decades, so taking your time to learn what you like and dislike is key. Each job will teach you something, and will equip you with valuable skills. Stephanie Smith, communications specialist

If you were mentoring a female colleague, what advice would you give her?

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