It’s no secret that I am an advocate for female leaders. If you’ve been near my desk during working hours, it won’t come as a surprise that I’m a Beyonce fan. Of all of the adjectives that come to mind to describe her, “leader” is far from the top.
However, after reading this NY Times article, I had to rethink my position. After breaking away from the girl group, Destiny’s Child, Beyonce made a name for herself as one of the most successful solo acts of all time. More interestingly, she developed an industry around her personal brand.
Unlike many female performers, Beyonce has found a way to push the envelope on what is considered sexy, while at the same time, remaining parent-approved. First Lady Michelle Obama not only shared that the first daughters, Sasha and Malia, are fans, but she collaborated with the musician on her MOVE campaign to end childhood obesity.
Although her husband, rapper Jay-Z, is often heralded as a mogul, Beyonce is definitely in that realm. Not only has she ventured into the typical business outlets that her peers pursue - clothing lines, perfume, and general brand-supporting merchandise - but her latest deal with Pepsi proves that she can think beyond the normal and is paving the way for what is possible.
From my memory, Pepsi has been partnering with musicians as far back as Michael Jackson in the late 70’s early 80’s. What Beyonce is doing differently is “collaborating” with soft drink company to serve as much more than a brand ambassador. She is using this platform to elevate both brands and to provide “street credibility” with previously untapped audiences - again, for both.
Thinking about her willingness to embrace alternative deals such as this one makes it clear why she remains on the top lists of wealthy artists. Even if she doesn’t create the deals, she’s smart enough to surround herself with those who do and even smarter to say “yes” when she sees opportunities to extend her reach while remaining true to her authentic brand.
Jesse Draper’s web series The Valley Girl Showcovers technology and business topics. In this segment, she interviews Shellye Archambeau, CEO of Metricstream and author of Marketing the Works.
Jesse definitely embraces and perpetuates her Valley Girl brand. feeling that her tone and attitude minimalize and …dare I say… girlify the content making it difficult to find her credible.
Given that, I was extremely impressed by Shellye. She held her own in this comical interview in which she was frequently interrupted. I understand that Jesse was attempting to make the interview coversational and (oops…I almost said “like”) similar to a chat among girlfriends, but I think she leans a bit too casual.
Shellye comes across as a strong, confident, and knowlegeable leader. She begins by describing her ancestry and how her last name evolved. She then speaks about Metricstream with the same ease. The way she explains her line of business is so clear that even non-techies and non-marketing types can understand what they do and their purpose.
The video ends with a tour of Metricstream’s offices.
I will definitely keep my eye on Shellye as well as The Valley Girl Show. Although the style isn’t my cup of tea, I appreciate what Jesse is trying to accomplish and wish her the best!
If you’re not up to watching the 10 minute video, one key piece of advice Shellye doles out is for women to take risks if they want to advance their careers. The allegory she uses about women being considered for promotions questioning their readiness really resonated with me. I’ve coached too many of my girlfriends to go for it! No one knows everything that’s involved in a new job until they are doing it. Move forward in good faith and do your best! (It also helps if you can listen at least twice as much as you speak when you’re learning the ropes)
As the song goes,
You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run. —Kenny Rogers
These are truly words that I reflect on in my business dealings. While reading the memo former Windows president Steven Sinofsky wrote to his employees, it definitely felt like he was living those words.
A sign of a great leader is knowing when to move on and doing so in a positive manner that uplifts those you are leaving.
The next time an employed, well-paid StratCommer grumbles about a project, I’m pointing them here.
One project this prison startup accelerator helped produce: a LinkedIn for the recently incarcerated.
Truly inspiring. This is what rehabilitation is about. Also, loved that #socialTV weaseled its way in with CoachPotato :)
Have you seen the new incarnation of Mashable? So far, I’m loving the tablet-first design. I loved Mashable’s content before, but their site felt so busy that I rarely stayed long enough to view more than 3 articles in a session.
In addition to tempting me to stay longer, the design also surfaces (or at least seems to) much more content - thereby making it more discoverable.
^5 (if you don’t know what that means, ask a geek)
Marissa Mayer has to reduce Yahoo!’s staff from roughly 18,000 to 10,000 and has decided to proceed slowly and methodically - and apparently, publicly.
Throughout my career, I have witnessed several approaches to layoffs and it’s hard to say what’s better. At the end of the day, informing nearly half of your workforce that they no longer have jobs is not an enviable feat.
To me, the worst approach I’ve endured was a cycle of hushed layoffs that occurred over a period of 18-24 months, if memory serves. It was a very stressful time because we had no idea when it would end or how many people would ultimately be impacted. In the end, I was not.
More recently, I experienced a layoff due to the dissolution of my team. Senior Management was compassionate and shared as much information as they could - but we knew that this was not an *if* situation, it was a *when.*
Nothing can prepare you emotionally for those moments, but at least with the frank approach, you avoid being stunned when you receive your walking papers and it gives you time to think through your transition.
I hope Marissa’s more humane approach works as well for her employees as it did for my team. I also hope they quickly land on their feet!
Watched this video as pre-work for my Leadership course. This reinforced the first week’s lesson from a development program I participated in regarding Emotional Intelligence as well as a book I read a couple of years back The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t.
Searching for, understanding, and acknowledging the emotional response of yourself and others are key to being a great leader. Reflecting back on past experiences, I have to agree that emotional intelligence definitely separates leaders from what I will refer to as supervisors.
As I move into the next phase of my career, I will keep this message in mind.
Although women are a minority in technology, I have had the pleasure of working with female techies in all of my roles. In fact, about half of my managers have been women - and they were all hands-on, hardcore coders (Hey Amy!)
Having females at all levels of the organization sent a subliminal message me that there is no limit to the heights I can reach in my career. I definitely look for opportunities to mentor women who are younger or have less experience in technology and have benefited from the many women (and men) who have shared their wisdom and counsel with me.
If you are interested in supporting females in technology, consider supporting Girls Who Code (read the article for more information) or joining an industry like Women in Technology.
Are you a girl techie or do you know one who rocks?
Historic Black and Whites Colorized
Sanna Dullaway used Photoshop to transform historic photographs into even more powerful images by adding realistic color to them. Not only are they modernized, but creepy too. Who knew President Abraham Lincoln had such piercing, blue eyes?
1862. Allan Pinkerton, President Lincoln, and Maj. Gen. John A. McClernand at Antietam. (Photo: Photo colorization by Sanna Dullaway for TIME / Original image by Alexander Gardner / Library of Congress)
For this week’s issue of TIME, Sanna Dullaway digitally colorized archival images of America’s 16th president in hopes of bringing history to life.
See more photos here.
@soniagarr asked for tips for succeeding in @EFChandler’s courses. To answer her effectively, I needed to step away from Twitter and its character limits. Here are some high-level tips:
- Don’t start assignments at the last minute. Just don’t do it. You need time to mull things over and consider the best angle.
- Assume you don’t understand the directions and ask lots of questions. Seriously. You probably missed something important or made false assumptions.
- Run your game plan past @EFChandler. Seriously! He’s very accessible and helpful. If you are heading into left field, he will help you course correct. If you’re on the right track, he will probably offer a solution that makes your idea even better.
- Everything is StratComm. If your assignment is to deliver a PowerPoint, don’t just send him a PPT and a Word Doc explaining your angle. Consider how you would deliver it to him in a business setting - would you deliver an email, a memo, a tweet?
- For each assignment, find an angle that you are passionate about. No matter the assignment, there are generally some creative liberties you can take in how you choose to execute the project. Take advantage of that to make it exciting to you. You will do a better job in the end and you will enjoy it.
- Have fun! Eric is very upfront that his classes are not easy A’s. He will give you feedback - lots of helpful, specific feedback. Use it to grow and improve.
Yesterday, I had a lunch meeting with recruiters from AIM Consulting to finalize the details for my new opportunity at The Home Depot. B&B and I were having pleasant conversation, but at some point it took a sharp turn to the left. One moment we were discussing past Halloween costumes and the next we were talking about serial killers and how all three of us have a healthy fascination with them.
For those giving my blog a side-eye, we are simply curious about how seemingly normal people can justify causing harm to others and some of their actions after they’ve committed these heinous crimes. If you still think we’re weird, Netflix a season of Dexter or spend an afternoon watching ID (Investigation Discovery) and get back to me.
After we wrapped that conversation, I mentioned that many people are also wary to admit that they enjoy The Real Housewives. B1 responded with a perfectly straight face, “I’ve watched every episode of every franchise.” B2 chimed in and admitted he too was a fan. Who knew?! We had a very lively conversation about the various characters and how the franchises have evolved from season to season. We also discussed which characters we were most like - I’ll keep that between the B’s and me.
Alright, in all seriousness, I have truly enjoyed my experience with AIM and believe they are a different type of consulting agency. They are completely transparent, they give you options, and they don’t pressure you. So, if you are in tech and looking for an opportunity B&B are your guys - I’d be happy to make an introduction.
Cox - a cable operator prominent in the Southeast - is leveraging social media to create virtual watch parties. Beginning with Sex and the City Sundays, I started throwing real watch parties in college. The 2008 Presidential Campaign resulted in me throwing several - mostly for debates, election night, and the inauguration.
At Digital Atlanta, I learned that Cox is doing really cool things in the social space, including hosting watch parties in the virtual world. I’ll be watching with Cox tonight - as well as Zeebox - as The Walking Dead Season 3 premieres on amc.