Ashley Powell – Salary Negotiation | Inspire People Impact Lives Podcast


welcome to another episode of inspired
people impact lives I am your host Josh Kosnick managing partner in Northwestern
Mutual and today we have Ashley Powell with us Ashley is a TEDx speaker salary
negotiation coach which is awesome because I didn’t know that existed
before today revenue consultant and quote champion of moms which I’m most
excited to talk to you about because you got your boss mom sticker on your laptop
in front of us today so Ashley welcome to the show thank you so much for having
me I’m really excited to be here awesome so before we jump in I always wanted you
from your own words to tell the audience about yourself instead of me reading any
long boring bio sure so as it turns out salary negotiation coaches do exist you
can be anything you want if you make up your own title so there’s that I help
women and people of color do better at a negotiating table to make more money
either at the point of offer or to negotiate a salary or raise and I speak
on that nationally which I’ve been doing for years and then as a revenue
consultant I help small businesses with founder led sales efforts smooth the
wild up and downs that happen when you have a lot of time to go out and get
sales and then no time because you’re doing the work and then your sales
plummet and then you spend a lot of time doing sales and then you so oh no I
don’t even know how I’m gonna fulfill it all and that sort of up and down and up
and down I help smooth in a way that feels really comfortable to
entrepreneurs and then I am a champion of moms I I speak about something I have
termed executive motherhood which is the idea that when you become a mom you
still want to push forward in your career but the messaging that most moms
get is to take a step back and make sure that you have plenty of work-life
balance you get lots of messaging around wellness I think that all of that is
great messaging but we really don’t deliver it to men so unless we’re going
to tell who are rising quickly in their careers
that once they have a child they need to make sure that they have all the balance
that they need it’s not great messaging so I speak to corporations about how to
better support their high-performing women through through motherhood so I’m
gonna go back to the statement real quick so your suggested because I just
want for my own clarity that unless we go back and tell men the same thing
which we don’t think you don’t think is a good thing either good message at all
for whether it’s men or women that they should take care of take a step back or
I think I’m not nature yeah I think we really need just like tools to move
forward I mean like a great example is everyone has a woman in their circle who
worked really hard to get a master’s degree or a doctorate and then had kids
and it became really hard because childcare is expensive and she has a
husband who’s really dedicated to his career and so she sort of slowly becomes
a trailing spouse and then maybe she has a third kid and it just becomes easier
for her to stay home yeah that’s a pretty likely scenario especially in
Madison frankly where we have so many trailing spouses but that’s a woman who
could be very very valuable that’s someone who should be in our pipeline to
hit the V suite and the C suite and so when we look for female leaders and
they’re not there this is what’s happening to them so the
messaging that we need to give to someone like that is this is gonna be
hard for a couple years how can we still keep you in the game how do we keep you
moving forward how do we keep you encouraged it’s what my TEDx talk was
about about how to push forward and help support women so that they instead of
saying it’s okay now to fall back and lean out let’s help you move forward I
think this probably goes without saying but this is should she want to these are
for the women that really want that to go for that c-suite and are really
capable of that right yeah okay let’s say I want to get back into that
like I said I was most excited to talk to you about that but I want to really
go into that TEDx piece you mentioned because we know that that’s gonna be
released soon you said there’s like 12 weeks of scrubbing that they
to make sure that it’s tedx worthy right yeah yeah what’s it like to be a TEDx
speaker it’s amazing it’s what was one of the most fun things that I have ever
done and it really you know when I think of myself as a speaker it certainly was
the heights of my speaking career I mean it just doesn’t get better than it then
at TEDx and I have to tell you I got up there looked at this huge audience and
all these lights with the red letters behind me and completely blacked out
when the when the tape comes out then you’ll be able to see how you actually
do both be surprised by what’s on there I have like I have I have an idea that I
got to everything you know the whole thing is memorized then I have an idea
that I got to everything I went up there to say but it took some like mental
exercise of okay did I say that piece I came to set okay I think I I think I
have a memory of saying that on stage how about this neck okay I think that
but well that’s interesting that the only time I feel like I’ve had that
experiences when I was hypnotized and there were people in my high school
crowd that were friends of mine that come up with like a you were so funny
when you did this and then it came back to me memory was but when I initially
came out of it I had no memory so those how I was correlating to your you know
blacked-out comment too so you’ll see how well you did and then
you probably remember it as you’re watching that video so let’s jump into
negotiation a little bit and then we’ll hit up the more TEDx questions and
finish it off with the executive motherhood stuff sounds good all right
so explain why negotiating your salary is so important especially for your
first job let’s talk about those students that might be listening to this
that are graduating or or have graduated and why that is so important to start
off on that foot sure so um I’ve done the math on what it
looks like if you negotiate a $5,000 higher than higher of fun excuse me
okay all right wrote in your offer and it means that like if you extrapolate
what it might look like to put some percentage of that the regular
percentage of that in a 401 K you retire with like I think it’s a hundred and
eighty-two thousand dollars more than if you didn’t negotiate so that’s not
putting all five thousand dollars in a 401 K that’s putting the like seven
percent and I calculated it at the time based on my own 401 K it was being
really fair about it but it is a huge amount of money and and then you know I
think states are going towards not against acts that make it illegal to ask
your salary history Illinois just did that in November but it really sets
yourself up as as having a lesser value in the market you know at some point in
your career so much of your value comes from you saying what your value is and
if we’re gonna base that on a salary history your DVR automatically devalued
so apples to apples if I say which one of these is is worth more I will look at
a price tag and believe it so so I think it has really long reach effects at the
end of your career that are really troubling in one hundred and eighty two
thousand dollars is like the difference between generational wealth and not and
so when we don’t negotiate on the first one
you’re really not setting yourself up for success and did you just do it like
a 3% bump of raise when you’re doing that math mm-hmm yeah okay just so I’m
making sure there so can you can compare and contrast the difference might be
between women and men in that first negotiation I’m sorry what was that
first experience between since you’re speaking and helping women and people of
color getting better is there a difference between women and men in that
first experience do you mean inherently yeah or systemically I guess if you’ve
done that research sure well I’m we first of all there’s a lot of a lot
of people will say that women don’t ask there are studies now that say that
women do ask we just don’t get it and one of the things that I say in yes
it is an interesting statistic and there’s there are some really
interesting things coming out including there was one like wrapped my world
pretty recently the Harvard Business Review came out and said that if you’re
looking at a candidate pool with four people and one is a woman
statistically she has a zero percent chance of getting hired Wow
I know it’s very troubling there have to be two women in the candidate pool
because if there’s just one and three men she sticks out as something
different and then there’s an unconscious bias at work of course but
the evaluators are really seeing her as something different and then evaluating
the other three based on one another not considering her not part of the pool
yeah so she has a zero percent statistical likelihood of getting hired
if she is the only woman and then and then like I said there’s evidence that
we’re asking and we’re just not getting it women statistically are hired less
fired more were given less raises and promotions and so I think one of the
things for that really sets me apart in what I do is that I right away
acknowledge that it is different for men and women and and white people and
people of color there are things that will absolutely work for you that will
not work for me you are a handsome very confident man in
a good-looking suit you can burst into anywhere and say here’s what I want and
somebody says okay that sounds great the exact same actions are seen as
aggressive and aggressive in particular we know that when women are seen as
aggressive it’s a bad thing and when men are seen as aggressive we’re like thank
goodness he’s arrived and so so the advice that I give is often
um it is given with a lens of the same advice will not work for you it has to
feel really good we keep saying to women and people of color just ask louder or
you’re not asking if there’s evidence to say that we are absolutely asking we do
need to ask differently and and so that’s the kind of advice that I get so
really interesting is there are pockets of places where this doesn’t exist like
I’m thinking like is fortune 500 companies is that more prevalent versus
small startups or have you read any data on that well there are there are some
companies like Salesforce which is a huge software company that did a really
really good job of publishing their salary bands they went through a very
expensive effort to make to literally eradicate the gender gap in their staff
and they did that very painfully I mean it really cost them a lot of money and
that’s a good thing to do I think if on the other hand we can’t
put all of that on businesses you know a well-run business has to like it’s a
simple supply and demand they have to be able to get resources no matter what
they are at the least amount of money that they can and sell it for the most
that they can and unfortunately when you add people to that equation it can feel
really ugly but you know the point is to stay in business you have to get the
best person for the least amount of money and so if women and people of
color aren’t asking to make more money it doesn’t exactly fall on the employer
as being at fault in this whole systemic thing we do have to advocate for
ourselves because businesses do have to stay in in business I think especially
in tech where I where I spend a lot of time there’s a lot of pressure on
businesses to publish their salary bans and I think that’s great I think it’s a
I think it’s a big expectation yeah um you also look at like education and
nursing is our female dominated field right and those are really interesting
ones to look at because you would expect that the gender pay gap would be
here you have more women so of course you would pay them fairly or evaluated
based on their having more women but in both education and nursing men tend to
raise to rise quicker in the ranks they do tend to make more statistically than
women or when women and people of color flooded industry the median income will
go down huh mm-hmm like do you know an example you necessarily have to call out
a company but maybe a genre well tech is a really good one so it
used to be women and people of color and the parody for or the opportunity for
parody in female developers is actually going backwards so there are less female
developers in the world last year and less than there were the year before and
that’s and just one so that when that got flooded by white men all of a sudden
this this coding became really valued and and and now we’re trying to convince
women and people of color that they have a place in in tech and stuff yeah and
actually I think I think I saw this morning USA Today published some big
stem award and all for Award winners who were young women which was really cool
it is really cool so and I just don’t under
and so first of all in the advisory world everyone no matter of your color
gender sexual preference were paid the same now on my on my staff as it’s far
female dominated so I have a belief 20 women for men
so I read shed or there abouts so and I’m not so I’m not saying any of this to
brag I just I’m so I feel like I’m insulated a little bit and not knowing
some of those other major stuff that’s going on I hear it but it just doesn’t
necessarily hit me as hard because I’m in a world where it’s not as much of an
issue and I me as a business owner Senor going I want the best person for the job
and I’m willing to pay what they’re worth regardless of color sexual
preference gender like I feel like there should be again now
trying to bring like I feel like there’s a business or that’s just yeah
no-brainer right and what but yet we have these issues and statistics that
tell us otherwise well I don’t mean to be a giant bummer I spend a lot of time
in this in these statistics and and there is some fatigue that comes with it
I think there’s great work being done by leaders now around addressing your
unconscious bias and understanding that diversity is not about hiring for the
sake of diversity right it is it is about hiring the best person but it can
be about acknowledging that the best person doesn’t think like you and that’s
that’s a great value to diversity and thought is huge is I always want and
again I’m not even a fan of this term but a devil’s advocate in the room some
other just if we got all gas pedal people I need a couple of break people
in the day to make sure that we’re thinking about things from every angle
so whether you like the devil’s advocate example or not I I’m not even a huge fan
I got to think of a better terminology for that but I will call them brake
pedal people they get us to think a little bit differently about the
situation or problem that we’re trying to tackle so what are some common
negative thoughts people have about negotiation and what are some ways
people should work to get over those thoughts oh one of my favorites that I
also give my sales clients is from my sales consulting clients is that you
sell like you buy so for example I like every other milk-fed Wisconsin woman
loves a deal and so if you were to compliment my outfit I would tell you
which piece I got on sale and which was the biggest discount and because I love
a super coupon sale that is not how I should sell and part of it is being very
aware that if I’m gonna sell something really really high-end namely my
services it should not be on super coupon discount it’s just I’m not I’m
not on super coupon discount and I think immediately when we when we
think of how we’re gonna best position something to sell it we believe we’re
the buyer we’re not always the buyer we really want in this situation we want
our buyer to like things that are very high-end they’ll pay for things that are
worth it they’ll really see the value and and you get what you pay for
that’s who we really want to be selling to not someone who’s going to be
incentivized by a super coupon deal especially when you consider that if
there are there if you’re if you’re buyer so if your potential employer
isn’t completely educated on what they should be paying you will you will
devalue yourself that is they will think you are worth less because you charge
less especially as you get into the senior parts of your career if you’re
really an expert you’re gonna charge a lot of money yeah and we expect to pay
for it right so yeah I completely agree I often told telling my new advisors if
you call me if I was a prospect of yours and you called me for a coffee or a
lunch meeting or something like that and you didn’t try and advance your agenda
or try and sell me something I’m gonna leave that meeting going I never want to
talk to that person again because you just wasted an hour of my time advance
your agenda try and I mean give me to say yes or no give me that opportunity
and then I’ll have am actually more respect for it give me the price that
you’re willing or that you think I should pay and I will determine if that
value is worth it or not so it’s good advice I say advice that’s
like that a lot of don’t be scared of selling I mean what we’re doing is
really beautiful we what I do helping small businesses be better at their
sales that creates a platform for you to make all your dreams come true if you
are an entrepreneur and you have a dream to have all of the women in the world
own your widget you don’t get there because you made no money
you got there because you hustled and you had the ability to sell and now you
have a staff and you those people are able to provide for their families I
think it’s a really beautiful thing yeah I agree
so before someone takes a job or me even goes for an interview what do you think
research wives they should do to best prepare best put them in a position for
salary negotiation great question the two things that I in terms of research
for what they can expect the two my two favorites are something called own net
online and it’s I think its own ette online dot org and that is a
governmental website that tries to bring all of the job descriptions titles and
salaries together in one place in the United States there’s very dry and then
the other one that I really like is actually salary com it is the one that
is least likely to sign you up for a million newsletters and they really have
a pretty accurate understanding of what the regional markets for certain
positions will bear that’s interesting so so they give you as good of estimate
as possible and then way if they let’s say it’s a range of 15 or 20,000 do you
recommend they go right in the middle do you recommend they go towards the top
what do you think sir depends on where they are in their career if they’re real
early and they’re going for a reach position they should go probably
somewhere in the middle and if they if they hit most of their requirements and
really believe that they should know it they should be asking for more than the
salary recommendation yeah just a random thought there because you mentioned
earlier that Illinois is the state when you do a lot of work in Chicago that’s
mandating that they can’t ask is that right the previous salary of our
employer but then you also say that there’s a lot of tech companies that are
going to publish their ranges yeah don’t you think that’s an unfair dichotomy
where companies are forced to do it but we can’t ask what the companies are
doing it voluntarily you know I am consulted with a group at
UW when I was one of the primary organizers of the Madison women in tech
and this one of the schools at UW asked me to come in and help them understand
why they didn’t get anything candidates and part of it was that their
job description automatically filled in the minimum and whatever the minimum
salary was was so off what they should have been able to expect that inevitably
women that is a ridiculous thing to say I mean you can’t you just can’t get
really senior senior level devs for 46,000 right there’s just you know they
they were expecting ninety you’ve the only number you put is at minimum it
pays 46 what’s so far off and I pointed it out right away and they said well we
don’t ever expect to pay 46 that’s the minimum we’re required to put it on we
absolutely expect to pay in the 90s or more for this position so I think you
know there’s definitely gonna be some like some back-and-forth and this is all
space we’re not used to navigating yeah and we weren’t that great at navigating
before yeah well I guess it goes to hiring pass practices as well because we
have candidates meet with at least three individuals because the thing you can
fool anyone in one one person in an interview and your resume can fool one
person hopefully fooling three people doesn’t get to that point but I think
that’s where a lot of people have to do work is if they can’t fish as to what
the previous salary was and they’re trying to determine you know the range
that they put them in if they have that best practice of fifty eight thousand a
sixty eight thousand whatever that ranges they’re gonna have to do a lot
more due diligence or maybe colon references even further to figure out if
this person’s worth five grand more or five grand less so it’s just interesting
that thought popped in my head I was like wait a minute
California sales for stuff like that they’re putting it out there and
northwestern does those for us as well as we evaluate each position and they do
it regionally so that we can best make sure that we’re in those in those
practice and seeing if we’re on the low side high side or right in the middle
but if states are now passing that they can’t dig in on people’s past people can
fluff interviews pretty quickly absolutely
but isn’t that what people have probably been doing anyway yeah no you’re
absolutely right I always refer to interviews kind of like first dates yeah
so you get the SportsCenter top ten you don’t get the bottom ten to the third
third fourth fifth date you don’t figure out what this person shit is until a
little further down the road you just get the high level good stuff so that’s
what I was going into like oh you have to revise some hiring practices a little
bit probably anything else on the negotiation side how about negotiating a
race I I think negotiating a raise is a really wonderful opportunity to build
trust with an employer what I’ve seen over and over and over again is that
people are upset because they aren’t paid what they believe they should be
paid and they always assume that their employer is very well aware of that fact
but I am here to tell you that if you have not made your manager aware that
you are not happy with that they do not know and I in the talk that I give on
salary negotiation I often talk about to employees I had and I had at the time I
had a team of let’s say ten one I really didn’t like very much he was forever
coming into my office and telling me how great he was I disagreed and how how
much I it was under paying him and he had all of the statistics that I didn’t
think were he had all of the statistics and I didn’t think we’re exactly
accurate I didn’t think we’re exactly accurate and he would tell me what I
needed to do to keep him at the same time I had someone else that I really
liked who was a solid performer on my team and every time I needed I needed
some numbers to to hit our goal he was always the one who provided the numbers
he was a solid person I liked him as a as a human and he every time we had a
meeting would tell me how much I was under paying him I had eight other
people on the team I only had so much money to give
Risa’s yeah who do you think I gave the race to not the person that was
complaining absolutely both people that were complaining both of them because
they really were gold I did both I couldn’t lose that doesn’t it didn’t at
that point it didn’t matter if I like them or not there were the only ones who
told me I was under paying them they took notice and here’s what I needed to
do to keep them so we always assumed that like our boss knows something that
there’s there’s no way for them to know unless we have an open conversation
right do you do how about reviews and how do you coach
people when they were say okay we’re going into a review and it’s not say a
mid-year hey I got this bug that I really want to raise it’s actually a
scheduled review and the companies used to give him the average 3% but this
person wants more how do you coach them into positioning that review as a
positive for them to position themselves for a larger increase than that that’s a
great question usually when I recommend is that you start talking about it far
before the review many times especially in a larger corporation by the time you
get to that review your manager is presenting you with the raise not asking
you how you feel about that raise so they’ve already done the work with HR to
get approval they’ve already submitted their comments on your review and
justified a raise or not and so if you’re gonna beat that beat that
timeframe you have to do it much earlier so before they go to HR submitting all
of the all of the numbers that’s really good so what should someone actually say
when negotiating a raise versus what not to say I’m sure people care we can spend
a lot of time I what not to say that hopefully people are pretty aware of
that what should they actually say so I like to come in really really
collaboratively and I coach people one-on-one on this all the time but one
of the things that really works is to be very collaborative you’re both humans in
no circumstances am I ever going to coach someone to say here’s what I
should be making I’m gonna walk I also don’t coach people to come in with an
offer saying well I could go elsewhere here’s
what they’re offering me I think that’s a really crappy thing to do and I would
never recommend that you do that but it does work really it works really well to
be collaborative and say something like hey Josh I have really loved working for
you and we’re so proud of the work we have done this year in particular
projects a B and C and as I’m looking at where I want to go in the future I
really want to make sure that the cosmic group is the place that will keep me in
the long term and you know I’ve done a lot of thinking and I think a raise
that acknowledges how hard I work and how good my work is – would be really
helpful at that so I’ve been thinking that that’s probably an eight percent
raise there’s a boss that felt really good to me versus the first two examples
you gave me you know you’re really giving me an ultimatum
absolutely and an ultimatum I’ll tell you as a Type A personality I’m gonna
tell you right okay as you should because what we’ve what we’ve seen is
that even in that situation if someone first of all I get a little angry about
this if you come in with an offer to me and say here I have an offer I’m gonna
think back to all the times you had a doctor’s appointment and know that you
were lying to me and all the times that you made up something so now you’re a
liar right now you’re a liar and instead of having just a conversation with me
you went out and explored other options I would have just given you a raise if
you were unhappy we could have done something about that but now you’ve
broken my trust and yeah loyalties in question so that’s that’s really good
especially for young professionals out there that haven’t probably gone through
some of these mistakes yet because I think that a lot of us have I told you
why I left Best Buy they they told me no but I had this so what I did I can’t
remember the exact conversation but I knew other sales managers in my district
getting paid more than I was just because they were older and I was
whooping their butts month in and month out and I asked for my store manager for
a raise and she gave me some excuse I call
strict only has so much allotment and I can only do so much and you know keep
doing a good job and it’ll be there for you I was like no that doesn’t work for
me and so I chose to leave but but the biggest thing there is I remember back
was like I just didn’t feel appreciated yeah and it wasn’t a spot that I was
like I love this place so much I’m willing to just suck it up for the next
few years or whatever well you gave them the opportunity to keep you which is
pretty important you are really fair this is what I think I deserve they had
an opportunity to say yes or no and then you walked out of there no I mean you
don’t have regrets you know oh no I said I landed here and I’m still sitting here
today so and it’s worked out well I did it but it taught me what I didn’t want
in life is to not be under someone’s thumb and not not to not be in control
my own income and so I never looked back on that as a bad experience I just look
at it especially every Black Friday as to why the hell I don’t do that anymore
so so lets anything else on negotiations we should talk about you know I often
give the advice that you shouldn’t ever state arrange so if I want to make
ninety two thousand dollars and you ask me how much I want to make I will not
tell you somewhere between 80 and 90 mm because you have just heard that all
except 80 and anyway I didn’t mean 80 80 I meant 80 plus I work from home with
all the flexibility in the world once a year I get to go on the big sales trip
and you have Cadillac insurance health insurance yeah maybe you provide a
company Cadillac too that’s under under those circumstances I would accept 80
yeah but when you state arrange you’re automatically telling someone what the
bottom is that you’ll accept and so a responsible employer would not offer
more than that so I’m I’m well known for saying you need to pick a number it
should be high should make you want to barf in your purse and once you have
that number then just say it and stay silent yeah
let me the boss decide if that’s the number I can I’m happy with and you know
what not everyone has to decree has to agree that you’re worth ninety-two
thousand dollars a year you just need one person need one person that’s right
yeah I agree that and the worst they can say is no encounter offer and then you
get to decide if that’s something that you think absolutely but I think too we
get so worried that we’re gonna that it’s we get countered with a low offer
and we think that we have to have to have to make it work we don’t have to
make it work it doesn’t have to work if you wanted me to work for less than I
felt was fair I shouldn’t work for you that’s fine right you know it’s under
I’m sitting there going like I don’t know how other business owners look at
this but I’m like if someone was possibly going to leave me or I was
going to lose or possibly let’s say it’s a new hire and I really wanted this
person over four thousand dollars like I’m already I’ve already equated it into
my head that’s less than four hundred dollars a month and um ya know I’m not
gonna lose this person for that so but that four thousand to that person could
be in the world right and it’s such a vote of confidence right so I just want
for those that are asking for raises of like that’s how US business owners think
I’ve already calculated them in my head that that four thousand dollars is less
than four hundred dollars a month to me I want you so I’m yeah I’m good and then
like you said you’re gonna feel good about that so it’s just it was just
something that was going through my head there’s like yeah I don’t know if people
necessarily know how business owners think about those or that math or the
income because from an employee standpoint that four thousand like he
said it could be mean everything so I could mean daycare could I mean you know
whatever it might be a college tuition so not just four thousand for college
tuition we know that but in addition to to the some of the college tuition so
anything before we move off negation negotiations on women and people of
color since you’re so passionate about that topic is there anything that we
missed there you want to make sure that we cover not
that I can think of perfect alright so we talked a little bit before on your
TEDx experience why did you initially want to do the TEDx or were you
approached did you approach them how did how did that come about it’s a great
question as I get asked it all the time I was given it was given to me as a goal
that I thought at the time was ridiculous by I used to work for of
visionary CEO at table X I who was really good about pushing people forward
in ways that were just incredible for my career for the careers of everyone
around me and that became a goal that was part of like my employment plan
among many others and the way that things worked there is that you wrote
your goals on a gigantic post-it note and you put it around the office and
every time someone came to visit me at the office which was quite frequent I
would take them on a tour and say well here’s all the things that are
interesting about table X I including this way we do goal-setting here’s my
goal-setting giant post-it note you can see I have it as a goal to give a TEDx
talk and I said this if I said I said it four hundred times I might be under
estimating it but I don’t want I don’t want to I don’t want my numbers to sound
inflated but I told literally everyone who came to visit me at the office that
giving a TEDx talk in 2019 was a goal of mine so that meant I I kind of had to do
it actually and I even put it on the university a lot a lot of people know
about it yeah absolutely and it’s the the hard part and I’m already a speaker
so I already have I already knew what I was going to talk about I had a concept
and if you’ve ever been to a TEDx like they’re incredible and there are some
incredible speakers there are also some people that frankly make you say I could
do that why am I not up there if I’m a professional speaker why am I not up
so I took that as a great challenge and the trick to the trick if you are
already a speaker at the real trick to giving a TEDx is that the applications
are not so easy to find there is not real or at least not that I know of
there’s not a database that says here are all the TEDx is with open
applications some of them they’re all run independently so they’re done a
little differently some of them never get open to the public and our only
curated talks some are only open to the people in the community like location as
to where they’re going yeah so you sort of have to keep your eyes very very open
at this point I keep a list of the friends of mine who are interested in
giving a TEDx talk and when I hear about an opening I’ll send it to everyone
who’s on this list and if any of your listeners are interested in being on
this list it’s pretty easy you could find it if you reach out to me on
LinkedIn or by email and be happy to share it and so I started applying I
applied it applied to everything that I could drive to so I applied to TEDx
Chicago TEDx Davenport and eventually someone came into my office and said you
know I gave a TEDx talk and it was really really good for my career and the
way that our TEDx works is that you can nominate someone and I think I think the
application is open and I would be happy to nominate you I said that would be
incredible she said let me look so she looked and she said the application is
open but it closes today can you get it in and I said oh yeah
of course because I had everything all ready to go was already like actively in
application and Submission mode so she sent me the link
I took an hour submitted all my stuff I made a new video for them and that was
who called me back it was TEDx normal in Normal Illinois bloomington-normal yep
yeah anything but normal is that their slogan now yeah at least
that was the I think that was the slogan of pathetic lovey-lovey group if you
thought I haven’t been there in a long time so I grew up in central Illinois
before moving to Madison in Peoria any so not too far from Bloomington so any
tips you have for those in the audience that might be looking to do a TEDx
besides get on your LinkedIn or email so that you know when they’re coming up
yeah um well you know it’s really a numbers game like anything else that I
do you know you have to sort of be dogged ly persistent there’s some trick
to to getting a topic that you’re really happy with but once you have something
that really the world needs to know about and doesn’t they have coaches that
will help you and I found my coach dr. Kate Brown to be very very insightful I
was really impressed at the whole process and something I’m not sure
everyone knows about TEDx is and I’m not sure it’s true of every TEDx but one of
the things they said to the audience was the speakers may stop and restart they
don’t like something they might repeat themselves so just be prepared for that
because your video is I mean not gonna would Minds not quite out yet but your
video is supposed to be flawless while the the actual performance might not
have been I did not know that so that’s news to me and I would you say that the
hardest part especially for maybe being a public speaker is condensing all the
knowledge and the talks that you do down to that what 10 to 15 minute time frame
yeah this they wanted me to be under – what they wanted everyone to be under 12
minutes not just me I had I was importantly I was not trying to deliver
all of my knowledge I wasn’t speaking on salary negotiation my standard salary
negotiation talk is 45 minutes I was trying to deliver a concept and talk
about the group of executive moms the bossy that I built here in Madison in
Chicago and why that got such quick traction and why it was so needed and
really it was around the messaging and the content that we deliver to working
moms so it was a pretty narrow it was a pretty narrow topic for
me who can talk for days about all sorts of things I wasn’t trying to give my
life story I wasn’t trying to convince anyone that their entire career needed
to be changed I just wanted to talk about this group and why it was so
needed awesome transition nationally let’s talk about that let’s talk about
executive motherhood tell us about that work I mean in in summation and also you
know obviously everyone we’re gonna encourage to watch the TEDx on it but
where did that passion start from here so for those that don’t know we didn’t
talk about in bio but Ashley’s the mother of seven year old boy
four-year-old daughter Yeah right so I’m sure there’s some passion that started
with that but may have started before or won’t you tell us a little bit about
that sure um I became very aware as a I was a senior level manager in a pretty
big consulting firm it was a two billion dollar company and once I became kids I
was like words it stopped being so cute that I wanted to work as hard as I did
and it started being harder and harder and I had really been on a fast
upwardly-mobile trajectory and then I had kids and I started getting some odd
messaging and that messaging sounded like your life will be easier if you
don’t push don’t push for a promotion just just try to maintain your current
position until your youngest is in kindergarten so I have two kids that
woman wanted me to let my career stagnate for eight years we would never
give a man that advice and it’s really damaging for someone who feels like I’m
on a I’m I want to take on the world now this is really hard and I at the time
didn’t know it was bad advice now of course I know that it’s bad advice we
are forever talking to women about work-life balance and I think that
that’s great messaging we don’t deliver that to men and instead what we’re
delivering is this really subtle messaging
about relax don’t try too hard and we turn around and tell men like get up
there go do the thing let’s make a huge income for our families and and that
means that we’re missing out on women who could be pushed in the same ways and
and want to drive forward and be breadwinners and for corporations that
means we’re that’s what’s happening to our pipeline of female executives so now
that this makes it better or right but or do you think that there’s more women
telling women that or men telling women pushing those narratives I don’t think I
know the answer to that because for you as a woman but and that’s what kind of
spurred the question and again it doesn’t make it right
either way it’s a dumb narrative like you said but it is a narrative that’s
that exists it just just popped in mind so I don’t know if there’s any
statistics on that but I think that bottom line is you got to be encouraging
of all people and especially your talented people absolutely and it takes
it’s so much more than just a boss being encouraging of a woman it is also the
ways that she is able to navigate her life at home I am very public about the
fact that when my husband started staying home my career really took off
because that meant I could take challenging assignments it meant that I
could travel a lot and it meant that I was never ever called out of a meeting
for a sick kid oh did he face any shaming for staying at home for a mother
men I don’t not actively I think the men that that chose that path him and our
kind of shame for it yeah I’m sure that that my husband is also like a he looks
like a football player like he’s a he’s a big guy and he’s really gruff and so I
don’t think many people would say anything to his face that’s probably
hopeful yeah he just he does get a lot of messaging like he you know he takes
our kids to a playground every day when the weather
is nice enough and the the moms and the grandmas that fawn over him what an
amazing dad here you are with your kiddos and I mean he’s he’s a prettiest
if he’s aware of all this because he lives with me but they’re there too with
their he knows being an awesome parent and somehow it’s worth pointing out when
it’s him but not when it’s all of the other women on the playground yeah
no that’s that’s really interesting good points so what do you think that women
in the workplace particularly moms where can they benefit the most
whether it’s groups like you’ve created or where were their advocates best found
I would say because I feel like even my wife who currently stays at home but
probably will go by me like I said we had four young ones and and that was a
choice that we collectively made because she’s a way smarter than me and probably
way more talented in different areas as well but I think that there are some
pressures either way and I’ve seen even from friend groups you know whether they
hang out with mostly moms that are also stay at home or if they have other
friends that potentially chose the opposite path like you did and became a
boss mom what is where can they find their advocates where can they find
their people that really push them if they want to go that route of being
getting back into the workforce or excelling in the workforce through
having children great question and I’m so excited that you are that you are
that you are passionate about helping your female workforce be really
impactful in this area I the groups that I have formed are largely woman centric
so that being the bossy which is now 600 600 women in Madison I just launched a
chapter of something called the Dames which is a national organization focused
on very very high-performing women and I think that that creates
a really safe space to discuss hey I got some bad advice hey this really stinks
hey it’s lonely at the top all of that is really great and when I explain what
I’m doing to other women most often the response that I get is
thank goodness I’m so glad to have someone finally doing this real talk
because you know when when I’m around other women where it’s a mix of people
that work and don’t work or work part time there are very few people who are
really pushing forward hard in their careers the way that I am and so there’s
a lot of there’s tends to be a lot of apologizing or a lot of not really
understanding why I travel or or why I do what I do neither I could never stay
home I look at what my husband does every day and I every day think wow that
job is hard I’m sure you do the same every time I’m left home alone oh my
gosh it’s hard right yeah so but so I I think that there are there’s a lot of
value in this in these sorts of female-led spaces then that I’ve tried
to carve out in particular but it’s an ecosystem and really it won’t come from
women identifying that there’s a problem identifying what the solution should be
and then being the solution that’s not a tenable solution to the gender gap it is
really in men who take a look at their own unconscious bias make a commitment
to ins in very active ways like making sure they’re mentoring women making sure
they’re paying women fairly and in what I think are our less less obvious ways like taking parental
leave I think when we have men who take as much parental leave and it as high
rates as women everything will change mm-hmm why do you keep on that one so
much I think it’s because I know that it’s an opportunity that exists that
many men don’t take it feels frivolous or they’re made to feel like it’s
frivolous but when men bond with their children we know that it’s better for
families and it’s better for men and it sets up a pattern of okay if we have two
working parents and kiddos that need to be cared for two parents need to be
handling cleaning housework figuring out doctor’s appointments figuring out
after-school activities that can’t only fall onto the burden of women and for so
long having it all has meant well you can have it all as long as you do all
the stuff you were supposed to do at the beginning and that’s it’s a new day we
expect men to do more now and by starting with parental leave if it
really will start to set that up as an as an expectation I have regularly
thought that what my husband and I do where I work really hard and he stays at
home is just a flip there is nothing really revolutionary about that it is
even a little old-school we still have one parent who’s the breadwinner and one
parent who handles all the stuff at home so does that really help women who want
to work while their husband works I don’t know when we have two parents that
works it we need to really make sure that at home were able to negotiate our
needs there as well yeah at home and then I think that also then having these
conversations this dialogue honest knowledge that you’re sharing is then
men can come to the table to their workplaces stating that they need these
things just as much as women do absolutely so as interesting as you say
this I was thinking I was like oh my brother just texted me the one that
doesn’t work with me it lives in California’s and tech sector
and his wife’s a PA and they just had their first forum she got three months
off and he just texted and said hey I actually got six months and I’m gonna
start taking that as soon as she goes back to work that’s amazing right it was
awesome to hear that and and I also like that that setup is a
because I’ve often advocated for men to take off like not taking a paternity
leave right away at the same time necessarily because being a father
newborns another they’re starting to grow up is like they we lack the
physical anatomy that that the baby needs from month zero to three or
possibly a little bit longer but bottom line is they become a little bit less
attached to mom as they grow into that first year and and us dads can really
help a lot more than those first couple oh yeah and we need the help
I was no surprise when I had my second one that no one tells you that babies
are easy you know you just set a baby down and then it stays there yeah
it’s toddlers it’s the toddlers that move around and run away from you and
make a mess I’m trying to stick their fingers in sockets okay yeah the whole
nine yards of that yeah you’re absolutely right
and the people have asked me with four kids now my wife gets shamed at the
grocery where’s like it was like that’s a lot first like Rob we got four kids
like oh that’s a lot I’m sorry I can’t like makes these guys she comes over and
tells me this because it’s starting to piss her off like ya got two adults four
kids that’s fine like it’s normal like we’re good yeah thanks for intruding my
personal space though we’re good high-fiving her so right but no it’s
just interesting the comments people choose to mate everyone right no people
are terrible terrible I mean as a mom you can’t do anything right you can’t
you know if you decide not to breastfeed that’s like a whole thing I mean I I
won’t go into all the all the stuff but especially here in Madison yeah Madison
is a little tough but yeah my sister-in-law not getting too personal
be like she couldn’t right right so there’s women that that couldn’t are
like in our case luckily my wife pumps but like that the babies wouldn’t be
there latch on or they you know there are certain other must
just kept happening or like all these different women issues that I’ve now
learned about as being a husband and father that I wouldn’t have known of
till we had kids like sometimes it’s just not that simple look at you Josh
you are like brave and going in there you don’t flinch at all you’re like
mastitis boobs feeding I love it yeah who would have thought my mom certainly
not but but ya know Here I am so yeah raising three daughters like I said
trying to figure this all out and help them become strong brave women and go
from there so like I said anything on raising daughters now like I said you’re
raising a daughter I’m raising three and I know we got listeners that are raising
daughters as well what is your biggest advice to say let’s say men first what
about dads what about us dads what is their biggest advice to raising
daughters oh my goodness I feel really feel personally very unprepared to
answer this question people prepare also my own daughter is is giving me she’s
decided not to wear pants and I didn’t think after a winter break we were
actually going to get her in pants ever again it’s just like a fun ordeal she’s
very strong-willed you know it’s just hard to raise strong-willed women
there’s all the things that make you a very successful person make you a hard
child to raise but with my daughter I try to give her space to be whoever she
wants to be and to listen to her body and I give her lots of messaging around
you know but feels good for our body to move and it feels good for my body to
wear sweatpants and so we talk about that a lot in my house I think we are
more conscious of making sure that my son knows that he can do whatever he
wants to do is my daughter is absolutely surrounded by powerful women and I want to make sure that my son knows
that there there is a career in finance out there waiting for him if he wants it
well there’s a career for your daughter – if she’s not strong willed in
financing quiet alright so so let’s forget that you’re a mom then because
you’re an awesome mom so let’s forget that you’re raising a
strong-willed daughter if you’re just giving advice to men about raising a
daughter and doing the number one thing right to become a boss mom or whatever
woman they want to be what would you say because I don’t want
you to guilt yourself just because because I have at least two of those
strong-willed children in my household so I know that that we’re always our
toughest critic on ourselves as parents because I think I fail every day as a
dad but what would you be your number one advice to two dad’s raising well my
dad did a really good job he was um he had a big job by anybody’s by anybody’s
measure and he took me to work a lot I got to see he had a he had an office not
unlike this one and I thought it was particularly outstanding because there
were couches and a refrigerator that had Diet Coke and water which was like the
height of luxury and a old Bloomberg because it was a Bloomberg machine
because it was 30 years ago so I got to see what he did and where he
worked and as I got older and I was having trouble traveling in particular
it was my dad who said you should not be guilty I traveled all the time when you
were a kid you didn’t think anything of it and your children won’t think
anything of it now this is what you do you go out you make a living this is how
you do it and I think that that was probably most
impactful you know that that my father introduced me to very interesting people
all the time meant that I knew in my career I could do whatever I wanted and
I grew up in the in downtown Chicago where I was surrounded by people who do
who did really bizarre things that that me know the careers aren’t just
firefighter and uh and police officer I had a neighbor who had 900 numbers and
he had all of the 900 numbers that that you would think of and also a Spanish
Sante line or you could call it and it would be a spanish-speaking Santa you
know that’s not even something that you would think of in here this guy has made
his living off of 900 numbers very proudly I’m not sure that that was like
great for a child but it did give you some perspective any creativity there’s
probably some Millennials listening to this they have no idea what a 900 number
is now but don’t tell them yeah let them figure that out just like our rotary
phone or stick shift so how about moms any advice to moms I think to make sure
that the struggle is visible to your children I know my husband and I when we
fight we do it within earshot of the children and it’s really important for
me that they hear him advocating for himself me advocating for myself and
then to hear the arc of mom and dad are in an argument there are ways that they
are handling that healthy or not and then there are ways they are getting
over it and moving on I think it’s really important for children to see we
don’t need to hide how hard it is to work a full-time job come home and make
dinner and then figure out laundry and then figure out the next day’s lunches
and their homework right all this laundry we’ve been
suffering silently for a long time ya know that’s really good
alright so word game l told you about ahead of time yeah your dad I’m so ready
alright I can’t wait first word diversity inclusion awesome convert
confidence reality soft worth money motherhood
fun relationships love legacy money I use that one already so I can’t statues names on buildings like we’re dictator
and then they’ll be turned down someday because of something I did risk flight
money security inspire inspiration innovation impact charity nice alright
so what keeps you up at night besides your foreign seven-year-old yeah cuz
that’s the excuse I would use but as a business owner what keeps you up at
night you know um I think it’s really uh it’s really tough because I don’t sleep
almost ever I have a really hard time with it either because I’m breathing
into a paper bag because you know this whole thing may fall off the rails and
then because I’m so excited about what I get to do tomorrow and the opportunities
so those are sort of the the two things that keep me up at night either oh we’re
all gonna be homeless in a month or we’re gonna live in a mansion in a month
you know it doesn’t it’s hard to these ebbs and flows are a little hard so ya
know as well I get it you know what’s interesting about that we’re about to
ask you your favorite book but have you read Mel Robbins five second rule–
great book great recommendation but she talks about in there how scientists have
shown that your internal body rhythm reaction anxiety and excitement are the
exact same rhythms that go through your brain and neuro system and it’s your
brain that tells you whether you’re being anxious or excited about something
that’s funny I like that a lot so she was using that with her
I remember seven-year-old or whatever there was anxious about a sleepover but
really he was telling himself he was anxious but he was actually excited and
so she started working with that cause she had struggled with anxiety
throughout her life and was trying to figure out this thing to help her kids
yeah so I liked it so it was interesting you brought up both the Academy as of
that in the same instance all right so your favorite book of all time or one
you most recently read that you’d like to shout out sure so um I have a
favorite book it is the book that was written about my
family um Jennifer Jeff Warnock who’s a now a dear friend wrote a children’s
book called she’s a technology sales executive and she’s my mom and it is
available on Amazon and it is the cutest thing she wrote it as part of a series
to address the idea that if your mom is a firefighter there are plenty or a
doctor there are plenty of books that explain what your mom does but not if
your mom is a tech practitioner and so it’s really cute it has my husband
staying at home it has me writing contracts and selling things I sell apps
to dinosaurs it’s really really cute I’m stone tablets they’re looking for a
predictor a meteor predictor and it doesn’t look good for them good well
that’s fun I’ll check that out as well and where can our audience find you or
what I’m very active on LinkedIn my name is Ashley Quinto Powell and my website
is Ashley Quinto Powell comm and when can we look for TEDx do you know did
they give you a proximation I don’t know weeks maybe
so by February hopefully yes absolutely cross your fingers so keep checking
YouTube TEDx Apple which I have on my iPad as well that’s where I look for you
today but everybody take a look out there follow Ashley on LinkedIn since
that’s your predominant yep okay perfect thank you so much for coming in thank
you so much for having me Josh this is a real pleasure great conversation
everybody thanks for tuning in today and we hope to hear friends see from you
next week please comments like on my Instagram so we know
what your finding value in and share this episode as much as possible because
Ashley did awesome and gave us a lot of good takeaways thank you have a great
week

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