It’s not surprising then, that at Cvent CONNECT Europe, our Women Leaders in the Events Industry panel was the 2nd most attended session at the conference!
We want to continue providing content that inspires, so we’re kicking off the inspiration with an interview with Karen Mangia, author of Success With Less and Vice President of Customer and Market Insights at Salesforce. She took the time to speak at Cvent’s Headquarters to our Women in Leadership group on October 16th and walk the group through a goal-oriented planning session designed to help them focus on what’s truly important and how to do more with less.
Karen took the time to answer a few questions for us about how best to balance a career while taking care of your well-being, the importance of building meaningful relationships, what it means to be a successful woman in today’s workforce, and more.
Q: According to Forbes, event professionals have one of the most stressful jobs. As a self-proclaimed “overachiever,” what advice do you have for those who are struggling to live up to their own expectations and those of their bosses?
Karen Mangia (KM): Get curious about the source of your expectations. How long have you believed in this expectation? Who delivered that expectation, and using what words? Does the expectation serve the goals you are trying to accomplish now? How do you feel when you try to meet or to exceed those expectations – energized and accomplished or drained and defeated? These are great clues about whether these expectations serve you now. And if they’re coming from your insecurities and fears or whether they are literal job requirements. You can’t release what you don’t understand, especially if you’re not clear on your current definition of success.
Q: A large majority of event professionals are women – and with the broadening scope of their job descriptions, they have an incredible arsenal of skills and are rightfully (finally) earning their seat at the C-suite table. As a VP in the leading CRM company in the world, how did you find your voice in the workplace?
KM: Finding your voice and feeling the confidence on the inside that you are trying to project on the outside is challenging. What helped me find my voice is having people I respect at work give me tips about what worked for them, finding other respected leaders who were willing to speak up on my behalf, being accountable / taking ownership of my mistakes and becoming resolute about how I expect to be treated. What I was willing to tolerate in my 20’s – being marginalized, minimized, silenced, and sometimes overlooked – was no longer acceptable as I got more experience and gained more advocates. And delivering measurable results helps. When I can count my contribution, I feel more confident share my results as facts (rather than self-promotion) with those senior to me.
Q: Efforts to support women in the workplace like Cvent’s Women in Leadership group and charitable efforts such as offering professional training opportunities to advance the careers of women around the globe are popping up more often. What does it mean to you to see these efforts in action and why do you feel these are efforts that need to be fostered?
KM: I am encouraged every time I see or experience a woman making a way for another woman. We have the power to be brilliant together. There’s room for all of us at the table.
Q: Live events are all about building relationships – all about the power of a handshake. As we say at Cvent, nothing beats meeting face-to-face. What about your journey has taught you the importance of those relationships and how to grow them?
KM: Relationships drive most of the decisions I make. From choosing to live in Indiana to spend time with my 94-year-old grandfather instead of moving to Silicon Valley to buying a house three doors down from my friends to the time I block on my calendar every single Friday to stay in touch with people, I prioritize relationships. And I have no regrets. My LinkedIn profile has never fixed my career dilemma. My Facebook feed has never brought me soup when I’m sick. And my email exchange has never brought me comfort when I’m in despair. I still have real relationships from my kindergarten teacher through my high school math teacher to nearly every college professor, former boss and most former employees. That didn’t happen by accident.
Q: What would be your top 3 takeaways for those who are looking to advance their careers without sacrificing their relationships and their personal well-being in the process?
KM: (1) Success is an outcome you define. (2) Use your definition of success as a filter to determine where and with whom you spend your best energy without apology. (3) Be willing to live with the trade-offs of the goal you choose. If your definition of success is a big title, then own that. And be willing to live with the tradeoff of more time at work means less time at home. If your definition of success is being healthy, then own that. And be willing to live with the tradeoff of more time at the gym means less time on the couch. The tradeoffs will feel easier if you are laser-focused on your goal and what success means to you.
Karen Mangia is the author of Success With Less, a keynote speaker, and business leader. She is an executive with Salesforce and provides keynotes to organizations who are looking to do more, with less. Find out more about Karen here.