The Power Behind Women in Leadership

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Episode description

As time continues, we’re seeing the number of powerful women in leadership roles continue to rise. It’s important to take the time to reflect on how far we’ve come, while also continuing the conversations centered around empowering each other inside the workplace.

In this episode, host Rachel Andrews leads a panel on Women in Leadership during Cvent CONNECT. Join Tracy Judge, Reina Herschdorfer, Stacey Fontenot, and Leslie Andrews as they share the journeys that lead them to finding success in their careers. You’ll discover some of the challenges they’ve faced along the way, while gleaning their insights on how you can push past those obstacles.

Learn the importance of getting your foot in the door, and the power behind sharing your capital to help empower those around you. And hear their outlook on how women’s roles in leadership will continue to evolve in the near future.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How you can look at failure as a stepping stone to success
  • How you can be a great leader as an introvert
  • What you can do to lift up the women around you

Things to listen for:

[02:40] Introducing the panelists
[05:30] Stacey's journey
[07:04] Tracey's journey
[08:11]  Reina's journey
[09:13] Leslie's journey
[11:12] Facing challenges
[16:00] Getting your foot in the door
[20:00] Sharing your capital
[23:40] Overcoming the fear of failure
[29:20] Empowering women leaders
[32:35] Evolving women's leadership
[37:30] Introverts as leaders
[39:34] Overcoming imposter syndrome
[42:41] How do we bring men into the conversation

Meet your host

Rachel Andrews, Senior Director of Global Meetings & Events, Cvent

Meet your guests

Tracy Judge, Founder & CEO, Soundings
Reina Herschdorfer, Director of Marketing, Caesars Entertainment
Stacey Fontenot, Senior Vice President Marketing, Cvent
Leslie Andrews, Director of Global Travel Category Leader, JLL

Episode Transcript

Stacey: So at our, our women in leadership group in power, we often have men do some of the panels. One year we had Reggie sit on a panel for us. And, he said to me, he was like, Stacey, that was one of the most nerve wracking sessions I've ever done. But it's so critical to move forward as women, we need to have men part of the conversation. And where we can as female leaders, get them to be on your kind of personal board of directors to help, and give their perspectives to you because it really helps.

Intro: Great events create great brands, and it takes a village to put on an event that engages, excites and connects audiences to your brand. And we're that village. I'm Alyssa. I'm Paulina. And I'm Rachel. And you're listening to great  events, the podcast for all people interested in events and marketing.

Host: Please welcome to the stage Senior Director of Meetings and events at Cvent, Rachel Andrews.

Rachel: What is up Cvent CONNECT? To my Women in Leadership. Woo-hoo. Last session of the day. We're going to Dre's tonight. We're going to have a meetup here. I am pumped for this panel. Alright, before I introduce my fabulous powerhouse panelists, that's a mouthful. I'd like to set the stage a little bit for this session and also note that this will also be featured on the Great Events podcast, which I am also a fellow co-host of.

So fun, right? I'm so proud to moderate this session today, and I hope this will inspire you all and help reframe how women are celebrating and empowering each other within their careers. This industry can be pretty tough for each other, for us, so this topic is a pretty personal one for me. We have an opportunity to work together to shift how we help each other in career development.

To stop competing and start rising and lifting each other up. So my hope today is to bring you more actionable insights. Before the end of the session and the networking after the session, both in person and virtually, I challenge all of you in the room and online to do the following. One. Let's make some new connections today.

Two, I want you to compliment a few women or anyone in the room, allies included, or, and three, I want you to think about all the women in your personal and professional lives that you can help elevate with you.

Okay. So without further ado, I'd like to introduce some of my panelists. The first panelist we have is my friend Tracy Judge, founder, and CEO of Soundings. Awesome. Second, we have been in the trenches for what, four years? And we have the head of marketing of meetings and events at Caesars Entertainment, Reina Herschdorfer.

And we have Leslie Andrews, who is a GBTA WINiT member and a GBTA Foundation Board member who is also the director of Global Travel Category Leader at JLL.

And finally, a personal friend and mentor of mine and part of the Cvent executive team, Stacey Fontenot, who is the SVP of Marketing, and also the leader and one of the founding members of our Women in Leadership Group at Cvent.

Before we get started, everyone, I would like you to take out your app and we're going to start with a poll. We want to kind of level set here. We want to see in the room, how long people have been in the industry. So if you could take a few moments, go into the session. There should be a live poll, that we'll pull up.

Stacey: I’d like to give you a compliment, because you said, 

Rachel: Oh, yes, yeah, that's on our to-do list for today, right?

Stacey: So I was listening to you backstage, and I'd like to check off my action items. But, for all of Rachel is our head, event planner and I can't even imagine how it is doing this amazing event. And then not only did she, is she doing this session? She did the session beforehand. And that's truly remarkable. So congrats. 

Rachel: Thank you. Yeah. I guess I didn't introduce myself. Yeah. I managed Cvent's events team. I've been at Cvent for 13 years, and in the industry for about 17 years. As you can see, we Plan Cvent CONNECT and it's been a great conference so far. So I'm really excited to be here and I'm exhausted, so it's great. Great. Thank you. Okay, so here are poll results. So it looks like a lot of folks in the room have between three and seven years, but most of the people actually have 10 plus years, Awesome. This is great. So we have a good mixture here. I'm just going to get started and we're going to talk to our panelists. So let's start with our career journeys, shall we? I think I mentioned that I've been in the industry for about 17, 18 years. I've lost count. I was in the financial industry before I came to Cvent and started their really robust meetings and events program, which has been very rewarding and I've learned a lot of things along the way. So I'm excited to share, but I want to kick it off with the panelists here. So let's start with you, Stacey, and we'll go around the horn here and talk about our career. We're going to try to get it down to 30 seconds, but I know these ladies have a lot of awesome insights into their career, so great.

Stacey: Awesome. Alright, Stacey Fontenot, senior Vice President of marketing. I have had 30 years, which is embarrassing to say, of sales and marketing experience. And I've worked in all different types of industries. I've worked for large companies, I've worked for small companies.

There's one consistent thing throughout the whole, my whole career journey, and it's been, I've been part of the boys club and so I usually am the only woman in the room or, one of the few women in the room. And so I've learned a lot over my career. What I can say is that how I got there was a variety of things.

I think I said yes to a lot of opportunities. I took a few risks when I became a manager. I ended up really focusing and developing the team. That was really important. If you have a good team and you hire the right people and you put them in the right position, that gets you ahead too. 

And for those of you who are mothers? I'm a single mother, a single mom of two teenage boys, almost 19 and 15. And it sometimes is really challenging when you're having to be a single parent and an executive. 

Rachel: And she's still sane. 

Stacey: I try to be sane. But I have a great community of support. I have friends and family who help quite a bit.

And then, I like to say I have my own personal board of directors, so people who help me, professionally too. 

Rachel: Awesome. Let's go. Go to you Tracy. 

Tracy: Thanks Stacey. And Stacey also brings other women into the room, so thank you for bringing me into this room today. I'm Tracy Judge, I'm the founder and CEO of Soundings and my career started with marriage travel and I started as a travel director in and travel the World Operating Events.

And from there I just bopped around to all different operations positions on the agency side. And it was really, my motto is, know enough to be dangerous, and I wanted to be able to see how does everything operate together and try the different, all the different roles. Then went into sales and account management and with a smaller company that was more entrepreneurial.

And from there I really gained a lot of confidence in understanding how you know how to build something. And I founded Soundings and what we do at Soundings is our mission is to create professional freedom for people for meeting and event professionals. So it's been a fun journey for me to try all different roles and now I get to support other people in doing the same.

Reina: Okay. Hi. I am Reina Herschdorfer. I'm Director of Marketing for Meeting and Events for Caesars Entertainment. I've also been in the industry for about 30 years. I've been with Caesar's Entertainment in this role for the last nine years, and I do the marketing and PR. My team and I do the marketing and PR for the properties here in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Northern Nevada, and across the country.

Prior to this, I've also been executive director of Catering convention services at Caesars Palace, at the Rio at Horseshoe, now Horseshoe in Paris. I was the opening director of convention services at Euro Disney, so that really dates me. I was director of Sales and marketing for Disney as well, Disneyland, Paris in the uk. I'm from the Netherlands originally. English is my third language. I didn't speak a word of it when I was third up until I was 13. I'm not on stage very often, so this is definitely a little awkward for me, but I'm happy to be here. I'm doing it for Rachel. I'm happy to be here.

Rachel: Awesome. Last but not least. 

Leslie: My name is Leslie Andrews, director of Category Management for JLL, and I've been in travel in the hospitality business forever. So I'm glad to have had this journey. So it started out though outside of travel and I did hardcore sales. And from there I got into hospitality and learning, the travel business on the leisure side, jumped into the corporate side of the house with MXGBT and there, I had an opportunity to lead a team, manage a team, and grow a team. So I started off with a team of four. I grew that to 24 and three separate offices, and it was really quite the ride. From there, I went back into academia and served as a hospitality instructor for a junior college.

Then I had an opportunity to do some gig economy work with Abbott Laboratories. Then I went to Caterpillar. Then after Caterpillar, went back to academia, serving as an academic dean for an international school. And there you're managing professors and you're managing curriculum design.

And from that point, CDK. And now at JLL, one thing that's common throughout is knowing your key strengths. And for me it's teaching and really understanding people and using that to really help women and others to grow in their career. And it's a real privilege to be given the opportunity to do So that carries forth in my volunteer work, which is, work with Heller College School of Business for Roosevelt University and do some work with DePaul. And I'm a voiceover for fun. So that's the fun side, and it all connects. It's a real privilege to be here. Thanks for the opportunity. 

Rachel: All right. Love this. Wow. We have a lot of awesome experiences in the room, so hopefully we'll learn a lot of great things today. So let's go on to, let's dive right into a really easy topic, facing challenges. I think, I feel like, I was talking to these ladies on some of our prep calls, and one of the things that I feel as a leader, in, as an event professional is that I've had to, and this is not a reflection necessarily on Cvent, it means just the meetings industry in general. I've had to fight for a lot of opportunities that. I've, I have had, so I have, I've had to vouch for myself and, excuse me, and fight for myself, to get up to where I've gotten, throughout my previous jobs and now here. So I feel like when it comes to facing challenges, I know that's the nature of the industry, but I feel like we always find a way. So I know that, Reina and Tracy, I know you have some key stories that you want to share. Tracy, I want to first start with you, just talking about some of your key challenges that you faced as a leader in your career.

Tracy: Yeah. I think the biggest challenge I faced as a leader is that I have ADHD. And I wasn't diagnosed until I was 30. So during my career, I would face different challenges at work and the organization and the structure of those positions was always hard for me to play, to color between the lines. And then, later when I switched into a more entrepreneurial role, it got easier for me because I got to wear all the different hats and I got to like actually, play in the sandbox. And it was really interesting at the time, one of my former leaders sat on a board with my new boss.

And he said, oh, you, Tracy works for you. And he said, yeah. And my old leader said, we really loved her, but we just didn't know what to do with her. And it was because I just didn't fit the structure of that organization and my growth wasn't, one step at a time. Mine was really zigzagged and all over the place.

So it was really great for people to recognize that in me and for me to find somewhere where I could succeed, which now is in my own business. And what's been really cool about this and being able to speak vocally about it, is that we can impact others within our organizations and in the industry by sharing our stories even when they're hard to share.

And we had recently, one of my interns just started full-time and somebody was switching roles. And she said, I said, Juliet, you're, we need you to be responsible for the organization of this. And she was the calm person on the team. And she laughed and she said, Tracy, I can't do that.

She said, I have ADHD. And we all laughed. But later I talked to her and I said, Juliet, like what is, I didn't know if it was generational talking about it. And she said, Yeah. She's I want to be able to talk about it more, but because I've heard you speak about neurodiversity before, I felt safe to do it.

And it's so important for us to create these safe environments for people to thrive in even though we have differences. 

Rachel: Yeah. I know, Reina, you've managed quite a lot and have been in the industry a while, like you, you mentioned. What are some of the challenges that you face? 

Reina: Yes. I think when I think about the challenges, every organization is so different.

Every team is so different. I go back to my early days when I first became a leader. I was pretty much given the opportunity without a lot of training. I really had to learn on the ground, learn how to manage people, learn how to manage projects, structure of convention services. Of course, you're focused on the clients.

But what you don't learn early on is how important it's to focus on your team. Then when I went to Disneyland Paris, the challenges were very different because I was in a multicultural environment, multilingual environment, and on top of it, I was one of the few females and I was one of the youngest females.

So I was working with general managers who were older, who were male, who looked at me as a young girl and who are you telling me what to do? So I think, over the years you really do learn how to manage situations, manage people. You grow, you do a lot of self-reflection. The challenges don't really stop.

We're now what in 2023. And I think the challenges that we had years ago, we still face today, we're still hoping to see more women in leadership roles. And like you, oftentimes I have been the only female, but for me, I really didn't put a lot of weight on that. I just I don't think about whether I'm male or female, it's more about what my role is, what I'm trying to achieve, making sure that I have a voice, making sure I have a seat at the table.

Rachel: Yeah, that's a great segue. Wow, you're doing it for me. It's amazing. Let's skip over to putting your foot in the door here. We talked a lot on our calls about how women need to spend their capital helping themselves. But also speaking others' names in rooms and giving credit where credit is due.

I remember at a former job, I did all the work for something and I remember my higher ups sent the actual final product to somebody and said, here you go. This is what I did. This is what I have done and said the word I instead of we, and I will never forget that for the rest of my life.

And so as a people leader, I really make an effort to say we, because for them, everybody is contributing to doing these things. and not just that, but saying the names of the people that did it. Give them a face to who, who is actually contributing to the project. So one of the things that just with areas of influence, I think is really critical is just giving credit where credit is due.

It's very easy to do and just so important. And that's one very easy, tangible way you can give back and rise and lift as they say. And I think we so often say there's a glass ceiling to break. But let's just remove the whole damn thing. Or get your seat at the boardroom table. Like Reina said, get your, if your role is, talking about events or talking about ROI, like I just talked about in my last session, get invited to those meetings or asked to be.

So Leslie, I know you've seen some of these examples. I know on our calls you have, you're using your influence for this. Can you give us some, share some of your fun examples that you shared with us? 

Leslie: Sure. What's really exciting is that if you're in the room, you have your social capital, you have your influence, and you lend that influence to a colleague that has that aspiration.

and speaking engagements. If someone's looking for an extra speaker and you know that there is someone within your network that really wants to do this thing called speaking, then you recommend him or her to actually have a say, so then on your trust. That speaking and engagement goes to that person that you recommended.

And the same is true when it comes to projects. It's bringing folks on board and yes, they may have a different view than you, but be open to learn from them. And not all of us have, we all don't think and that's fine. We really have to lean in, if you will, into diversity of thought. And really honor another person's point of view and another person's understanding, but still be let them in your network. Open the door. 

Rachel: Yeah. Have you done any of those personally that you can share with the room? 

Leslie: There was someone who really wanted a speaking engagement and she let me know. So the next time I was given a speaking engagement and they said, do you know anyone else who actually wants to do X? And I raised my hand.

I said, yes, I do. So I offered the name and the LinkedIn bio and she was ready. So she was positioned and she was ready for that opportunity. So if folks who are looking for different opportunities in life, position yourself so that you're ready to catch. The opportunity and run with it. So that is, really did work.

Another example is that I got a call from the Wall Street Journal and they wanted an opinion on X whatever thing was going on in travel, and they were looking for a few other people. So I opened my network. And gave that person an opportunity. And for, I do believe they were quoted. 

Rachel: That's great. I know Stacey, you do this at our organization quite a lot. I, and we talked about this thing, how do you spend your capital? Can you share a couple examples of how you share your capital? 

Stacey: Yeah. So first, when we started talking about it, I was like, gosh, I don't even know if I have capital to share.

But we all do, right? and. So I thought a lot about that, but in terms of, we talked about getting people in the room in a seat at the table. I really think that especially for the younger women, it's getting them through the door. And often you feel like you have to ring the doorbell.

As a female leader, you need to open the door and invite the women into the room. And then once they're in the room, you need to introduce them to different people so that they get exposed and then you get, give them the right opportunities when they're ready for it and, can really shine and then recognize and celebrate their success.

I think that the last thing really is, amplifying, their voice. And, you talked a lot about, giving credit where credit's due. That's really important to make sure that they are seen as the, and worthy and talented and whatnot. 

Rachel: Yeah, for sure, okay. I want to move on to, I think that's, super important. I want to give one example, because Tracy actually did this for me, at an industry event a couple years ago. She said, Rach, you need to be in this room with these people. And I won't say what industry event it was, but she brought me to an industry event with other leaders and just started introducing me to people and gave some of her capital to me. And I don't think just women can do this. I think men can do this also for other people that they're empowering, whether it's women or men. But I think that's something we can all help do for each other. Just think about what you have, I think some people, to your point, don't think that they have, that power within them. And even sometimes I'm guilty of that. I don't realize that I have the network that I do, and I need to get better at that and introduce people more. And I think that's something that we need to take away from it and remember, I want to move. I want to move to the next topic, which is my personal favorite. Which is the F word. Not the f. Oh, can we pause that please? It's okay. Thank you.

So I want to talk about the F word. a quote I have, that our lovely ladies up here came up with and we saw from Ariana Huffington was, we need to accept that we won't always make the right decisions and that we'll screw up royally. Understanding that failure is not the opposite of success.

It's a part of it. And I think that's a really powerful quote because it really is something that you need to shift in your mindset. I think the meetings and events industry is a bunch of perfectionists sometimes. I don't know if you resonate with that, but I feel like we always do 150% towards our jobs, and sometimes we need to think that, maybe it's okay to fail and learn from that.

Sometimes I feel like I fail a lot as an event leader every day, but I take those failures and I put it in my toolkit for the next time that I need to plan something. And I do. I say, okay, I need to use that failure to better myself for the next time. I just like to wear them as a badge of honor.

So speaking of that, I know you already saw Tracy's a big reveal here, but Tracy, I know you've seen some, and I say this with love in my heart, but I know Tracy, you've seen your share of failures, and fear of failing in your professional life. Care to kick us off with fear of failure.

Tracy: Yeah. It's something when you're an entrepreneur, that's a big part of your job is being able to get through your failures and accept your failures and still be able to sleep at night. And I have, over time and over the years in this journey as an entrepreneur, Learned to, like Rachel said, what lessons am I learning from it?

And I have to trust that I'm being guided in the right direction with those lessons. This actually, I was in Dubai and we were sand surfing at an event and somebody took this video and I didn't see it till later. And when we watched it, we were cracking up laughing and I looked and I was like, yep that pretty much sums it up, right? Just when you think you have everything going well, boom, you're faced with another option. Obstacle. And one thing with failure is to have humility and find the humor in it. And with my team, we die laughing all the time talking about things that happened the last couple months, the last couple years that were failures, right?

But we have to laugh at ourselves and be able to move on. And, I was in, I have a mentor that helped me a lot and still does. And I was visiting Chicago and we were sitting outside at a restaurant and I had just made some big mistakes and really big ones and I was so nervous and I was so worried.

And it was the first real big bet that I had lost. And I was talking to him and telling him all about it, and I'm all, I'm very stressed. And he said, and he said to me, he said, Tracy, he also had owned a business previously. He said, Tracy, it took me two years to make the decisions you made in six months to change the problem.

And when he, and then he was like, you're fine. And he moved on and started talking about, started talking about something else and he realized, you're like, oh, like this is just how it is. This is how it's supposed to go. But I think we all need to encourage that. And when we have failures remind each other, like that's part of your process and that's part of your growth.

Rachel: Yeah. Do we need to see the video again?

I think that's important though. Once you fail, you get back up and do the damn thing again. Yeah. And just, and don't be afraid of the F word. Stacey, I think, you also had said something in our call too that resonated with us about fear of failure or challenges with failure.

Stacey: Yeah. And I, for me, I, I feel all the time and I fail miserably. but honestly, I think about it, I'm a glass half full type of person, so when I think of failure, I think of growth opportunities and, I. Like, when I think of failure, I think of it giving you the ability to reassess what you're doing, and it actually provides a lot of clarity for your next path forward.

It also gives you key skills, such as resilience. Reggie yesterday talked about bouncing back and, sometimes you don't even want to get out of bed. You take the next step forward. because that's pretty amazing. It gives you empathy as well. You can share different perspectives across the board and you can relate to people perhaps in a different way, once you've failed, the one example that I have, I haven't really shared this a lot, but, about nine years ago I started Cvent and within six months my chief marketing officer, my boss left and I really wanted the role and I wasn't ready, but I wanted it.

And obviously I didn't get the job. Patrick Smith, who is our chief marketing officer did, and I had a point of time because I felt like it was a failure and I could stay at Cvent or I could go and I ended up staying obviously. And it was one of the best things I ever did and I've learned a lot from my boss. He has a very different marketing skill set than I do, and so we compliment each other quite well. And so it, it's actually broadened my exposure, that if I had taken a chief marketing officer role at a different company, I wouldn't have gotten that exposure. So that was really great and it really fueled my fire to really have a greater impact at Cvent.

And, that's when I started the Women in Leadership Group. I rolled out our diversity initiatives at Cvent, three or four years ago. And that was pretty amazing. At the end of the day though, when I think about that failure, I realize it's really not about chasing titles. It really is, when I think about my job, doing something that you love, and Reggie talked about that yesterday and doing it with people that inspire you. 

Rachel: Wow, you inspire me. Awesome. This is my favorite slide and we're going to spend a lot of time on this one because one of the goals of this session is to reframe and shift our mindset to this rise and lift baby approach to everything that we're doing.

And so it's near and dear to my heart and I have to say. we have to start being champions for each other. I know a lot of you in the room. If you're here, you're already doing it. You're already here to do the thing that I just said. So good for you. I just, that was a compliment.

Just does I, do I get a check mark for that compliment? So let's give some tangible advice. I feel like, I wanted, one of the things we wanted to do is really give some tangible things that people could take away to help rise and lift each other. And I want to just kick it off with Reina.

So Reina, what would you tell others starting their careers, and how do you empower them? 

Reina: I think that when you're starting your career and you are looking at how to be a leader, how to be a female leader, a male leader. It doesn't really matter whether you're male or female, right? I think that we should be leading period.

We should be looking at how we treat each other, be kind to each other, be more collaborative. I think that leadership has evolved tremendously over the last many years, and it will continue to evolve. I think a big factor, of course, is now that we're working remotely, we're working hybrid.

I’m hoping to see more women who have children stay in the workforce. I think that's been a challenge all along that a lot of women leave, especially if you're in meeting planning or in convention services. Some of you may have seen our catering convention services manager that's helping Rachel and team, and she's pregnant with twins and she's working, she's doing a month. She said she's going to continue to work, which I'm really happy to hear. 

Rachel: Shout out to Stasia. And she's phenomenal. 

Reina: And, yeah. So I'm just really hoping that we can be more empathetic, more flexibility, and I think that with the technology and with how we're working today, there is a lot more of that.

And it's really about being empathetic, being, understanding, being goal oriented, but still to be human. 

Rachel: Yeah. And Leslie, I, how do you empower yourself and other women around you? 

Leslie: I think it's really coming to know who you are as a professional, understanding your strengths, know who you are, and many times we may not know what are we really good at?

What's some assets that we have? What's your brand? We should be able to clearly define what is my brand? How does it sit personally? How does it sit professionally? So one thing I like is 16 personalities.com. It's a free survey where you actually get to know who you are. It's true that once you know who you are, people will come to know that you really stand for something.

And when people come to know that, then they're going to come to you and be more open to come to you because you've shown yourself to be more open. So to be open and be sure that you have your top 10 or your top 20 folks grow. Let other people into your network, let us not be as clique-ish, as the industry can be and be open to others who may not be as talented, have a different perspective or a different understanding.

Together, we rise each other up and that's the opportunity for all of us. 

Rachel: Yeah, I think we, we talked about how do you see women leadership evolving over the next 10 years. And Reina, we talked about it and it's I think it already has evolved, but do you have any other thoughts to add there?

How do you see women's leadership evolving over the next few years? 

Reina: I think it's already on a path there, but it's already I think we're already on the path. I think we've been on the path. I think that we're just continuing to evolve. We have a lot more information at our fingertips than we had maybe 10 years ago.

So it's about information. It's about sharing knowledge. I like what you talked about. It's about empathy. It's about allowing different points of view. I think that's a really important piece is that it's so easy to surround yourself with people who are like you. But it's so important to have a team or people you work with who look at things in a different way.

Then you get a different perspective. I think that AI is going to have an impact on all of us. I'm starting to delve into it a little bit and just wondering how will that impact us? What will that mean for us? It's hard to know. 10 years is a long time. I feel like things are moving really quickly at the moment.

And, we're going to, we're going to see, we're going to all experience that. We're going to be part of that. And I think what you said as well is have a point of view. Make sure that you do a lot. Read, stay on top of things, share your knowledge. Don't be afraid to share your knowledge. I think that's a big factor as well.

There's a time I think when people were very protective about keeping that knowledge to themselves. Maybe they didn't want to share it because they felt that if somebody else knows more than you. That's not going to help you, but I think have people around you who want to learn, who want to grow.

Rachel: Yeah. Tracy, I want to kick it to you. How do you empower yourself and other women or men around you? 

Tracy: Yeah. Leslie talked about this a bit, but I am a big believer in focusing on your strengths and we work with my team, all of the freelancers in our community. We really focus on what are your innate strengths?

And we are all different. We all have different strengths, and it's really important to be honest with yourself about what yours are and be honest with everyone else around you about what they are. So we can all work together and leverage each other's strengths to build really cohesive teams. But another thing that's really important with that is the idea is if you leverage your top five strengths in work, you're going to be happier and more productive.

And sometimes, especially meeting planners. There could be a lot of things that you've gotten really good at, but it doesn't mean it's your innate strength. and as an entrepreneur, I don't have any executing strengths in my top five, When I obviously have to execute and have to be involved, but when it gets too heavy on the execution side, I get really grumpy. I'm not a great person to be around. And I have to have those conversations with myself about what's wrong. Like, why do you feel this way? Why are you, do you feel depressed? Why do you feel sad? And be really honest, I don't like it. The position I'm in, in my own organization, how do I get shift this and leverage my team's strength to get me out, to get me out of this and back in the seat I'm supposed to be in.

Rachel: Yeah. and last but not least, Stacey. How are you empowering others around you? Yeah. Any tangible takeaways for the audience? 

Stacey: Yeah, there. Gosh, there's a few that I think of. I think knowing your strengths, know your net worth, that's really important. And know your superpower and let those around, your superpower.

That's critical. I think networking is, absolutely a must. Your, there's a saying that's like your network is your net worth, and that's really important. This is a great opportunity, especially after the panel to meet people and network, and just grow your influence around.

And then, I would say, focus on your personal brand. if you have 30 seconds, I always tell this to young women, you know, everyone rides the elevator at Cvent, right? And sometimes you ride it with Reggie, what's your story? What are you going to tell him? What do you need him to know about you? And, you need to focus on that as well. 

Rachel: Yeah, that's so true. I know we're, we have a lot of questions in the app, so I'm going to go over to that, but can we get a round of applause for these amazing women? Thank you.

Okay. We, there's a bunch of questions in the app. Thank you for submitting. If you're, online or in person. But, I'm, I don't know if my family put this question in here, but I'm going to read it first. It says, where did Rachel get her amazing pink blazer? I want one. And if my sister put this in there, you can borrow it.

I got it at Express. They have amazing power suits there, ladies. Head there. I'm going to throw this up to the group and if you want to take this has the most votes. How do you move up in an executive position as an introvert? Anyone want to take that? Leslie Rayna? Anyone? Leslie? 

Leslie: Okay, sure. if one is an introvert, you can be a powerful leader.

You can, you don't have to be an extrovert to be a great leader. What you have to know is understand your craft, understand your purpose and how you fit into the matrix of that organization. Knowing that organization and have folks that know your brand, they're going to back you and support you. So network internally, let them know that you have interests and aspirations, just like the type A personalities who are extroverts and honor you being an introvert, that's, that is a superpower to be that introvert, that self-respect. Self respective, self-reflecting person. 

Stacey: I would say two other things. So I'm not an introvert. I am an extreme extrovert. But I think, it's data, knowing the data, if you have data that you can give and really speak the executive language, so speak about it in terms of business and metrics and what's going to drive the business forward, I think that gets you ahead and right.

Rachel: I'm 50-50, I'm right down the middle. So yeah, I'm extroverted at events, but then I go to my introverted shell after events and recharge. But I think for that type, for introverts, I think specifically, I agree with you, Stacey. Just knowing your craft, but then maybe scheduling time one-on-one, quality time with people, I think is really big.

I made it a mission at Cvent to have other mentors outside of my boss, which is another key thing, just, not just friends at your company, but people just that you ask, how did you get where you are? I'm facing this challenge. What would you recommend? And not just women, men too, you should have mentors of both, however you identify, on either side. So I think that's another one. So this is a fun one, and I, this is one that my team shout out to my team in the corner over there. Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome? And if so, how do you ever come it? We talk about this all the time and we're like, snap out of it. We do not need to be, have imposter syndrome. And it's a big hot topic right now of, imposter syndrome. Does anyone want to take this one or? I'm happy to take it. 

Reina: I'll take it. I really, I don't like the term imposter syndrome to begin with. I think that we all sometimes feel like maybe we're not in the right place at the right time, but I think that's just normal.

I think that's human, that you're in a situation where maybe you're a little uncomfortable and as a result, you could call that imposter syndrome. I think that to get through that is to, again, really think about your own value, about your values, about where you're coming from, and if you're in the room and if you're at that seat, you belong there.

And I think that's really important. 

Leslie: As a reference, I just want to say Harvard Business Review has an article out that says stop telling win-win to stop being or having imposter syndrome. So I think it's possibly overstated at this point, in reference to imposter syndrome and have more self-confidence in your skillset.

You're in a position in a room because you have the skillset. That validation you may not get from everyone, but it stands because you're standing there and that's your opportunity to shine. 

Reina: I would even say even if you don't have the skillset yet, you're going to get the skillset. Yeah. You're going to grow just by being in that space, by learning, by listening.

And you might contribute to something really small, but maybe that's really important to the group and something that no one else has thought of. 

Tracy: I think we also overestimate our leaders a lot of times as well. And the truth is like none of us really know what we're doing, right?

It's business, we're all trying new things and trying new things constantly to see what works. And if you are scared to try or you have imposter syndrome, not thinking you're enough, you're never going to grow. So pushing past that and not looking at it like, you are not good enough, but looking at it as, let me push forward in this situation and then, become that person.

Stacey: Yeah. If you don't take risk, you're not going to rise. Yeah. You have to take risk and you have to kinda, go forward. 

Rachel: Yeah. It's also maybe daily affirmations in the mirror. Like you've got this. Exactly. Those help a little bit. 

Stacey: Yeah. I will say, I was just jotting down notes the other day for the session and I sent it to a few people on my team and it was great because they, one of the men on my team gave me a bunch of compliments that I was like, oh, as a leader you do this and this, Stacey, and that helped me.

Rachel: Yeah. That's nice to hear from other people besides yourself. 

Leslie: Yeah. One mantra might be you've earned the right, so if we say you've earned the right, that will assist in allaying some anxiety. Yeah. 

Rachel: That's a good point. I know we're over time, but I really want to answer this question because I think it's really important, but how do we bring men into the conversation about women empowerment in the workplace?

Stacey, I'm going to have you answer that one. 

Stacey: Yeah, we have to have them in the conversation. So at our, our women in leadership group in power, we often have men do some of the panels. One year we did had Reggie. sit on a panel for us. And, he said to me, he was like, Stacey, that was one of the most nerve wracking sessions I've ever done. But it's so critical to move forward. As women, we need to have men part of the conversation. And where we can as female leaders, get them to be on your kind of personal board of directors to help, and give their perspectives to you because it really helps.

Rachel: Yeah. Find your mentors regardless of if they're women in leadership or elsewhere. 

Stacey: Yeah. I like, I personally have, and Rachel knows this, I personally have, our Chief Technology officer, David Quattrone. I consider him a mentor and I personally wanted him to be my mentor because he thinks differently than I do. And I wanted that perspective because that would help me grow. 

Rachel: Yeah. And I think just for men, they can contribute to the conversation by like we said in the beginning, bringing us into those conversations. If there's a meeting that requires someone else in the room, they should be bringing us with them and promoting that as well and bringing us to the, bringing us to the industry event that we should be at.

Things like that are really impactful to our careers and help us. A lot. Thank you all for the amazing questions. We didn't get to all of them. There are so many great ones. I wish we could have answered them all. We'll maybe try to get in the app and answer some of them for you. But, I really want to thank everybody for joining the session, today as well as. This episode of Great Cvent's, Great Events podcast, really just two birds, one stone baby. We had a great time today. Can we get one more round of applause for these ladies?

Alright, one last slide and then I promise you can get to drinks. Before we head there, I just want everyone to take our session survey please and thanks again to our virtual audience. For the virtual audience, you can head over to virtual networking in the attendee hub. Thank you so much for joining our session.

And to the people in the room, like I mentioned at the beginning, we would love for you to stick around and network in this room. If you haven't noticed the bar rolling in the back, we would love to meet you and continue the conversation. Maybe answer some of those questions we didn't get to, and have a drink or, a water and give everyone compliments.

Thank you so much