"Can you hear me now?" The answer is a resounding "yes" for Jennifer Veesenmeyer of Merkle, guest speaker at the eMetrics Chicago Women in Analytics lunch. The Women in Analytics Community is open to all DAA members interested in supporting gender equality. There was a diverse crowd at the lunch, where Jennifer connected with those in attendance by sharing her career journey, heartfelt stories of women who have had an impact on her, and lessons she has learned about speaking up.
Here are a few of the lessons I took away from what Jennifer shared.
Lesson 1: Value can be in bringing a different voice to the table.
As a leader in Analytics, Jennifer helps people visualize what's possible. Her background is in marketing and she often serves as a bridge between the Analytics team and IT. She also uses storytelling to turn data into actionable insights.
Lesson 2: Don't let your inner critic drown your voice
It's not enough to do good work, it has to be visible. Being able to highlight your work is something that needs to be added to your toolkit. This doesn't mean you have to go to the other end of the spectrum and become a self-promoter. Jennifer recommended the book, Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create and Lead by Tara Mohr for more tools on how to find your voice to have greater impact.
Lesson 3: Eliminate language that undermines your credibility
In an effort to soften our delivery, we sometimes use words that diminish our voice. Don't uses hedges or apologies like "I'm sorry, but..". It is possible to be warm, confident and strong!
Lesson 4: Always be yourself
Be authentic and share what you learn along the way. Remember to keep the fun in dys[fun]ction; stay relatable and positive even in tough times. Jennifer shared stories of women she's met at eMetrics who’ve had an impact on her life and taught her some of these lessons.
Lesson 5: As a leader, it's about outcomes
In school there is value in showing your work, but as a leader you are evaluated on outcomes and not how you got there. Being a leader also means being effective at removing obstacles out of the way of your team. All the skills that make you a successful analyst (data-driven, critical thinking) can make it difficult as you move into leadership roles where other soft skills matter. Jennifer recommends the book What Got You Here Won't Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith to help you make the jump.
Final Lesson: If you want to support women in Analytics, then be a sponsor not just a mentor.
Be willing to spend some of your political capital to help others. Use your voice to mentor, promote, and sponsor! #Event #WomeninAnalytics