Happy Women’s History Month! Ok now that we have that out of the way we can get down to business…the business of being a women owned-run-led-supported business.
Our founder and CCO, Dava Guthmiller, has been running an agency in San Francisco for more than 22 years, and is passionate about making a positive impact on an industry that’s been a real “boys club” for as long as we can remember. It hasn’t always been easy, but her special sauce is a passion for positive change and pushing through the struggle to do what’s right, just, and fair. It is a lot of why I wanted to work for Noise 13 in the first place. After all, Beyonce is here to remind us, “Who runs the world!”
As the (female identifying) Senior Engagement Strategist at Noise 13, my career has crossed a number of industries and vertices to build the special set of expertise I have the privilege of sharing with our incredible clients. While I am proud of my circuitous journey, it is not just the world of design that is steeped in patriarchal ‘‘uns”…unfair, unjust, unfun, unexpected setbacks. Many things run deep in the heart of Texas, misogyny is definitely one of them. (Howdy, from Austin!)
In those times that I have found myself under attack, there’s so many people who identify as women that I look to for inspiration. While there is zero chance I can thank them all here, I wanted to offer some inspiration from the greats, to help us all get through those “uns,” as they arise. I have also practiced the applicability of these quotes with my incredible mentees of the Young Women in Business group at the University of Texas.
So, if you’re in the seedling stage of your career, on the glorious rise, or in the twilight, I hope these words of strength, encouragement, and power help to drive you towards another great accomplishment; even if that accomplishment is taking time to feed yourself between meetings. We’re counting all the wins these days!
1. “Don’t ever make decisions based on fear. Make decisions based on hope and possibility. Make decisions based on what should happen, not what shouldn’t.”
Career Application – It’s easy for a scarcity mindset to take a strong hold in your day, especially in client facing roles where deadlines come fast and budgets are never large enough. Slow down, there is always time for you to collect your thoughts. Remember why you’re all gathered; remember that you all share the same goal of success for the project. Start there.
2. “Success isn’t about how your life looks to others. It’s about how it feels to you. We realized that being successful isn’t about being impressive, it’s about being inspired.”
Career Application – Have you stopped to ask yourself what you’re truly passionate about? It might not be the new car and instead might be working less than 40 hours a week. Pay attention to what makes you the happiest and use your career to create that life for yourself.
3. “The difference between a broken community and a thriving one is the presence of women who are valued.”
Career Application – Don’t work anywhere you don’t see evidence of women in leadership roles. Watch for organizations who only let women rise to the top of communication based departments like HR and Customer Service. Talk to those women in leadership roles to see if they’re happy and can validate the value of women in the organization. Trust me on this one, it is a quick pulse on a systemic issue.
4. “There is nothing more vulnerable than creativity. It’s not about winning, it’s not about losing, it’s about showing up and being seen.”
Career Application – It can be damn hard to keep your ego out of feedback in any industry, but especially in art as business! Put your heart, mind and soul into your deliverables but never ever lose sight of your ability to grow from feedback, even really harsh feedback. You’re there to be seen, give them the gift of seeing your full power.
5. “What would you be glad you did — even if you failed?”
Career Application – Ugh! I love this one so much. It’s stopped me dead in my 5-year-planning tracks. When you’re trying to decide between two career options, please do yourself the favor of stopping to ask…would you be glad you did that…even if it failed? It’s an INCREDIBLE litmus test for what you really feel and think.
6. “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
Career Application – The bumps in the road are coming. Acquisitions, lay-offs, downsizing, unfair client feedback…misogyny in the workplace…but you choose what to do with those bumps. It’s ok to be sad/hurt/stunted by them, if that is cathartic, but never forget that accepting the reality of the situation is the first step in moving forward towards happy, healthy outcomes. Wallowing in the unfairness of a situation only creates more angst over something that is already in your past. Keep your eyes tuned to the future you want, this will help you assess the next steps. But by all means, feel free to power pose, scream into the night, punch pillows and sob to your best friend in the name of getting it all out, so you can move on like a powerhouse.
7. “Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it.”
Career Application – This one is really simple. When negotiating a job offer with a new organization, ask for more! A paycheck isn’t personal to anyone but the one cashing it; it’s just business to your company. Consult with your trusted cohorts and mentors, come up with a package (money, benefits, and more included) you feel is generous to you. They’ll likely counter you down to something that is in between. Of course there’s a ton written about this but just make sure you ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT, no one is out there advocating for you but you!
8. “Each of us has that right, that possibility, to invent ourselves daily. If a person does not invent herself, she will be invented. So, to be bodacious enough to invent ourselves is wise.”
Career Application – First of all, anyone who uses the word “bodacious” is a gem. But also, use your voice, yours, not one that someone expects from you, or has invented on your behalf. People are quick to judge your capabilities, and as a heavily tattooed woman in the business world for nearly 2 decades, the judgements can be pretty harsh. It’s very, very difficult to reset the course once your colleagues and counterparts think they’ve got you figured out. So, keep them guessing, keep surprising everyone by using your creative, dynamic voice and standing up for that in which you believe.
9. “Each and every one of us has the capacity to be an oppressor. I want to encourage each and everyone of us to interrogate how we might be an oppressor and how we might be able to become liberators for ourselves and for each other.”
Career Application – Watch where you’re getting not only in your OWN way but limiting the success of others from historically marginalized groups. If things start to feel hard for no good reason, question where scarcity and fear have crept into your thinking. If you were raised in America, then you were raised with this broken system that we’re trying to improve. It’s hard, though, ingrained deep into our processing. There is enough opportunity for each of us and even more when we work together! Hire women who could take your job tomorrow and then help skill them up into that role. After all, you’re headed for greater things too!
10. “When people have points of reference that are humanizing, that demystifies difference.”
Career Application – There will always be people with whom you must work that are deeply unpleasant, for whatever reason. Until you can move out of their orbit, remember this…everyone is doing their best, every day. I genuinely believe that it’s just that some people’s best is, well, really crappy. A million things can influence that assessment, though…bad sleep, a painful breakup, extra stress…humans bring their full lives to work. Sometimes that means that their very, very best, is not amazing. Be kind, remember that most people want to, and are, doing their best, just like you.
To all the women (identifying people) out there who find every opportunity to lift one another, thank you. You’ve lifted me and it is my great honor to belong to this powerful community of half the globe’s citizens. Thank you!
What did we miss? Are there any amazing career advice quotes that are essential to your thriveability? We’d love to know! And as always, if you’d like to partner in creating a perfect brand identity for your business, we are here to get creative with you. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to start the conversation. May you learn about and add to the list of incredible women making history this month. We see you!