Paulina: Hello everyone. Welcome to today's episode of Great Events. I am joined by one of my co-hosts today, Alyssa Peltier, and we're gonna be talking about International Women's Day and Women's History Month. And, today's just like an informal conversation between the two of us. We don't really have topics that we've curated. We kind of just wanted it to feel like a conversation between two gal pals and what Women's History Month means to us, what International Women's Day means to us. Both of us have been professionals for quite some time now. We've seen, a pretty healthy trajectory in both of our careers.
And so I think we thought it would be fun to. To share how women have shaped, molded, influenced, our careers and the women that we are on this podcast. And, hopefully solicit some stories from you all listening in today.
So with that, I'm just gonna, jump into it. I have been surrounded my whole life by really empowering. Go-getter women. I was fortunate enough to be sent to an all-girl school, until I was 18. So I had the experience of really just being a best friend to women, to being a mean girl to women, to knowing the real value of having female friendships and, what trust in a female friendship looks like.
I'm really proud to say that a core group of my best friends are friends that I've known since I was five, six years old. And each of them hold a very specific place in our friendship circle, whether they're supporting the health services or first responders community, whether they're also in tech.
Each of them has a very unique story and I love that we're able to continue to weave our friendship and those stories together in the sort of adult phase of our lives. I have to share this sort of anecdotal story, I went to, a co-ed college, up in New England and, as I mentioned, only gone to school with girls previously.
And so I remember my first class at school, in college. I raised my hand becasue the teacher, posed a question to the class and I remember being maybe one of five people to a raise their hand and the only girl to raise their hand in that class. And it was just like a second nature moment for me.
I remember after that class getting on my flip cell phone and calling my dad and being like, you won't believe this, and I could hear him smiling through the phone when I was telling him my account of it. It was more of, oh my gosh, I was so embarrassed, blah, blah, blah. But I think for him hearing me, say it.
He was like, you should feel emblazoned. This is such an awesome opportunity for you to stand out I could recoil in and say, oh, I'm embarrassed to be the only one raising my hand. Or I could literally shoot my hand up every single time thereafter and feel confident in myself. And I feel like that's just an example of one of those moments that you kind of look back and you say, man, I am so grateful that I'm surrounded by women who have instilled that confidence in me.
Alyssa: My background is very different from Paulina's, but what I'm hearing from Paulina's story is the value of, the trust that she puts in the community of women and how that kind of creates this foundation or this backbone for confidence as a woman.
Work as a woman out in the community this group of women is really what's she's founded on. I've been co-ed my whole life, so I never felt that difference growing up. I never felt like, oh, I'm only surrounded by women. But I will say, I'm thinking about like where I am in my career and how I got here and the trajectory that I've taken is a lot different than where I thought I would be.
I've always looked up to my mom. I have a sister. My mom had her law degree, but she ended up becoming a stay-at-home mom and never practiced law, so I didn't have that. You know, some people are grown up with two parents who are working and their mom's doing one thing and their dad's doing another, and oftentimes they mimic one or the other.
And I didn't necessarily have that in my parental experience, right? Other than I'd like to have children, I'd like to be a mother, but there wasn't that workforce precedent that women in work and seizing the ball and taking it to the court, taking through the court, whatever it is, right?
So I sought that out when I entered the workforce, I looked for female role models or these exemplary people that I could see myself in five years, 10 years, 20 years down the road, because I didn't necessarily identify with the pathway that my mom took and so I needed an example model elsewhere.
And so I have found in my career that trying to figure out where I should be next has always been a little bit of. You know, I'm shadowing behind. I'm trying to figure out how can I chart this based off of what others have done before me. In part, that's why it can be such a struggle for women because there are so few female executives up at the top, I don't even know what the statistic is. It's like one to 2% of all CEOs are women, it puts a limiter on what's possible, right? Because the pinnacle of success in the corporate environment would be at that top.
But because there's so few of us our trajectory or our line of sight is a lot shorter than our male counterparts, so I've just found that interesting. It's an interesting nuance. I am grateful to have women that are ahead of me in my career. I can rattle off names of those that sit at Cvent, but they've also been.
Ahead of me and other organizations that I've been a part of as well. And it's been very, helpful to me to vision plan with those women that are ahead of me. and it's a reason why it is so important that we maintain females in the workplace. And it does give me great concern that so many individuals, so many women resigned during the pandemic and there is a kind of almost lost generation.
There had been a power in numbers and that's gonna set us back a lot. I know there's labor statistics on this, but it's something that does give me heartburn for not just me and my generation, but for the Gen Z'ers and those that will come up when there is a lack of women in those leadership roles that are creating.
Those positions of power that can pave the way for you. Just different lens to have the conversation, but it is certainly something that I've leaned heavily into in my career.
And of course there's male mentorship too, but that's different than the role model conversation, I think that is, you need to see yourself and usually you, that's reflected in gender.
Paulina: I feel like, I was kind of painting the sort of vision of where, this sort of women empowerment, instilling confidence in kind of a younger age started for me. I think, very similarly, Alyssa, I, look across the companies that I've been, employed at, certainly at Cvent and feel there models or women in positions that I say to myself, just like you mentioned, five years down the line, I wanna do that. Or five years down the line, I want a version of that that I can make my own. And I think there's something to be said also around surrounding yourself, like you said, creating a community around you, your peers that can help. additionally, from a lateral perspective, instill that confidence for you too, right? So if you are, you know, maybe in a organization that doesn't have females in leadership roles, what does your community look like from a lateral lens? How are you lifting one another up? and saying, how do we make this position work for you and your skillsets and your strengths?
And I feel like that's certainly, an avenue that people can. take into consideration.
Alyssa: And I think there's something too around self infused confidence and a lot of that can come.
Paulina: Mentoring and people management. I think, I didn't become a people manager officially until 2016 and it was almost instant in that role where it , I hate to use this term because, we say it all the time, mama bear mode kicked in. And there was this desire to say, it's not a matter of delegating additional work and delegating responsibility, but grooming it and ensuring that you know someone else's career success is. Quite frankly, on your shoulders as well as theirs. And I think that has also fueled me, from a self, inspired way, right? And so it's this 360 view where you've got people you can look up to, you have the support from a lateral lens, and then you have this sort of inspiration fueling, you, if you're able to manage people as well.
So I think, that's just another way of looking at it. Depending on your particular role or where you are in your career.
Alyssa: And not just inspiration, right? There's almost a semblance of responsibility as well. And you, the Mama Bear comment really makes me think of it in that way, right where they are fueling your passion for your career. You're wanting to trail blaze as well, but you also feel responsible for doing that because they are holding you accountable to that success, which I think is an interesting dynamic.
But males in a similar capacity don't feel right. Like we, there is this kind of, we've gotta chart a new course for ourselves and this is a way to do it.
Paulina: Yeah. And I think it's also interesting because some of us in our careers we're just trying to keep it together, right? We have so many other quote unquote Jobs, right? it's the professional career. It's, are you a spouse? Are you a dog mom, are you a mom to children too?
So I feel like there are all of these roles that are juggled. And not to say that men aren't juggling tons of roles as well, but I think there's also this sentiment around am I doing enough? Am I proving myself enough? And it's almost, it's the sentiment of, post it or it didn't happen.
And it's what is your self brand? And you know,I, I struggle with this constantly. I feel like if I'm able to get a LinkedIn post out promoting this podcast, you know, I found dedicated time to get it done because I just feel like it's this constant juggling of priorities and making sure you're getting things across the finish line.
And, it's funny, there's this internal saying, 80s is the new 100, but in our pod, and because of our profession, We do a hundred percent, 80% of the time. It's almost virtually impossible for an event organizer to say I'm only gonna do this event 80%. And I think what's interesting about that is I'm gonna give a hundred percent in four areas, and I know this one other area is gonna be my 80%. And so it's managing that on a really consistent basis.
And International Women's Day. What does it mean for me, it means I'm keeping on, I am, studying this course of being successful at my job, being a successful manager friend, making sure that my community feels, my presence in a healthy way.
So I feel like I'm doing a lot internally, but it's hard to share that, outside of a social media setting.
Alyssa: There is an air of compromise, right? And that like that you're having to juggle it all or having to jostle all these different things. And that can be unsettling. But also that is the nature of being a woman, right? You and I were talking about this, how we weren't exactly sure how we wanted this conversation to take shape.
And I'm like, we're women. We're living it. I think we can, we have some experience here. It doesn't mean that we're gonna have the answers. And I think that's something to be explicit here. Paulina and I are not advising on how to get to the top, That's not ultimately the end goal of this podcast.
There's certainly tons of other pundits out there who have commented on things. this more of our experience as women and what it means to be a woman. has as much validity to the conversation as taking action towards moving forward, towards, progressing towards, reducing the gender pay gap.
We don't have all the answers. We aren't at the top there. We don't, we aren't the ones who are the problem solvers. But we are living day to day as women, and so this is just our. individual experiences which are not the same, right? Paulina described something that looks vastly different than my perspective, and I'm sure many people listening out there have something different too.
Something that gives me a little bit of, um, heartburn, whatever you wanna call it. In the current environment, it's just the number of individuals that are leaving the meetings and events profession, which is, and I think, there's a lot of research that shows that some, somewhere between 75 to 85% of this community of meetings and events professionals is made up of women.
And yet we know that there is a major retention issue going on, in this industry specifically. And it's something that, both from what I was commenting on earlier where we're looking for vision planning, we knew those role models in seat, if we lose people, they're gonna be gone. But it also weakens the strength of the community that Paulina was commenting on.
So it's kind of hit on both sides, so I don't know, I don't know what the future looks like for meetings and events. And perhaps maybe it means that the role is gonna be more diversified, there might be more males coming into it. Maybe this, emphasis on technology and, things that I would say are more traditionally.
Male dominated, if you will, or that you have a male proclivity, might start to infuse. And I think that, that could be a good thing for the profession overall, but it will certainly evolve the community and what the community has been. and that will take some getting used to. I don't know where meaning and events will be in the next five years, in the next 10 years.
It's very interesting with all of this digital transformation going.
Paulina: taking this back to meetings and events industry, like you were just saying, there's all this transformation shifting across the community, the industry, a lot of B2B organizations are, including tracks, including programming centered around women in leadership, women in tech, women in, development, right?
You name the vertical, the industry, what have you. and I think, we've been able to build quite a bit of momentum off of that, right? We've seen, you know, in our own of meetings and events, programs, how, it started as a meetup, then it became a session, then it became multiple sessions, then it became a track, and now it's not just women in leadership.
It's women in technology, And we're starting to expand it, It's, taking these communi. That we've developed around ourselves, whether they're, in the, company or they're in the industry and we're implementing them in our meetings and events programs and giving them platforms and opportunities to expand, to have these kind of conversations that you and I are having today and offer sort of this air of transparency. Outside of like our siloed communities, right? We're expanding on that. And I think that's something that,those listening in as you're doing your event design for upcoming 20 23, 20 24 programs. Throw it in there, right? We're talking about major initiatives, that are part of our kind of event design checklist.
What are you doing from a perspective, right? What are you doing from a cost savings perspective? What are you doing for women? I feel lik we could spend the month of March saying that's our goal. How are we empowering our female communities and how are we liaising with men in this industry who wanna have a role, who wanna help shepherd their female colleagues,
Alyssa: This isn't an us versus them situation.
Paulina: Yeah. And I think, so many of us are doing this and I feel like, given all of the change, don't let this. , don't let this be the piece of programming that gets cut or reduced. Continue to prioritize it. for our own sake and for the generations that are, entering the workforce now, I think they're gonna have a lot of unique challenges having been remote through their educational experience, remote in their early professional lives.
And so offering these in-person or conference. opportunities, to meet and network around females in whatever industry is gonna serve them so well,
Alyssa: Yeah. I would say my big takeaway from this conversation, just as I'm reflecting back on it, is, and I know this is not always said in the context of. Certainly International Women's Day, but just a conversation about gender equality. It's just that representation does matter. and representation of women in different roles in different capacities.
Paulina was just talking about women in technology. I was talking about women and leadership roles, that those pieces of the puzzle really do matter and they really do matter at, at the macro level for the movement of women. Beyond where they've been limited to for a really long time.
So I think that's just my big kind of aha moment in this whole thing as I'm sitting and listening back, to the words that I was saying earlier, is that representation matters. And I think with that, I think that's all the time we have here today. we'd love to hear your thoughts on this conversation.
If you have anything truly actionable to share with us, shoot us a DM on LinkedIn or Instagram. Of course send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We're always looking for your feedback on the podcast here. But with that, have a great rest of your week. My name's Alyssa, and this is Paulina
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