ViB continues our commemoration of International Women’s Day with a series of informative Q&As with successful female marketing leaders. This year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge. How will you help create a gender-equal world?
This Q&A includes answers to questions posed in the ViB “Art & Science” panel discussion: “Women in Marketing: Career Advancement Strategies & Advice.”
Q&A with Xina Seaton
Q: What best practices have you employed to grow your career?
SEATON: It is important that you show up. Take initiative. When you see things that aren’t being done or things that could be done in a better way, or when you see someone struggling, whether it’s your boss or a colleague, or maybe even an employee, take that initiative to reach out and to help them. I like to call it, “have a service heart.” The more that you have a service heart, the better that you are.
You have to remember that your next promotion might not come from someone already above you. I’ve had great opportunities given to me by a kid’s parents who were on my kid’s softball team. Never block yourself off from new opportunities and never think, “Oh, a new opportunity can’t come through an avenue that I’ve not already established or that’s not already a career avenue.” A personal friend or an outside associate can bring an opportunity or a new career opportunity your way.
Another best strategy or practice that I’ve employed is to always try to have joy and fun in whatever it is I’m doing. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. If you take an opportunity and find that it’s not working out for you, it’s okay to say, “This isn’t for me.” It doesn’t mean that you’re a failure. I was really, really good at sales. And you know what? It wasn’t suited for me because then once they became a customer, they took them away from me, and I didn’t get to deal with them anymore. And that made me really sad.
So, you can be good at something and still not want to do it. And I think that is a really interesting way to look at a best practice: don’t go into anything thinking this is the end game. You can always have somewhere to go from that.
It’s very important, I think, to map out your trajectory. Every new career step you take, understand how it fits on your career trajectory. While you might not know where the ultimate endpoint is, as long as you’re on a journey, and as long as you continue to move yourself forward, then that’s what you’re doing, you’re moving forward, you’re not stagnating. And that’s always a positive thing for your career.
Q: How do you advocate and mentor for women not only within your company, but within women in RPA (robotics process automation)?
SEATON: Robotic process automation is the field that my company, Blue Prism, is in. In 2019, we launched an initiative called Women in RPA. And one of the reasons why we did this is because we find that about half of the heads of the robotic process automation Centers of Excellence within our customer base are women. So we had already identified that it was an awesome opportunity for the skill sets that women naturally bring to bear in those roles. And so we really provide a mouthpiece, to be their cheerleader.
We specifically reach out to women within the company within the community to help them learn new skills, to help them learn about the environment and the career opportunities. We do things called Empower Hour where we poll our community and say, “What do you want to talk about? Do you want to talk about the gender pay gap? All right. That’s a tough thing to talk about, but let’s talk about it. Do you wanna talk about how to succeed in a ‘male-dominated’ industry? Okay. Let’s talk about that.” And one of the things that I’m very pleased about is out of 2700 members today, about 20% of them are men.
We tend to think promoting women is a woman thing, but it’s an everybody thing. When our male colleagues will get on board and actually begin to act on our behalf, that’s when we see a lot of change happening. I encourage all of our fellow male colleagues out there to start promoting the women in the organization as well because it’s not only about us being our own cheerleader or our manager being our cheerleader, it’s really about everyone in the company advocating for everyone in the company to get the recognition they deserve.
Q: How can you advocate for minorities, for women of color, and also transwomen as well?
SEATON: As a marketer, one of the things that I focus on is driving that visibility of diversity in my marketing materials. When I create customer stories or when I seek speakers to present at events for us, it’s very important to me that I’m looking for equality. If we’re going to have three male speakers, I try to have three female speakers as well. And yes, it is explicit and it is purposeful. We launched a customer advisory board. And one of the goals on the board was half female, half male. If you don’t write it down and you don’t make it a goal, it doesn’t happen.
We do ERGs (Employee Resource Groups) as well. It’s very important internally. But externally, as marketers, we have the opportunity to put faces out there and to put dialects out there and to put stories out there that highlight how underserved individuals or groups of minorities are actually making a difference.
Q: Sales teams are often male-driven. What are some of the best practices to build bridges between the sales and marketing functions?
SEATON: I started my career in sales, and I think that gives me an appreciation for what sellers go through on a day-to-day basis. And I realized that we’re sitting back here “at the ranch,” as I like to say, being from Texas, and they’re out there, you know, street fighting with the knives out every day trying to win deals. So I think we have to, at first, understand and appreciate the situation that they’re in in the field and what they’re being bombarded with and we have to have a service mentality towards them in the field.
But I also think we have to hold them accountable. Give an inch, they take a mile. And so I think it’s an equal accountability between both parties. You have to have a certain set of metrics that you’re accountable to. But you also have to push back and hold your sellers accountable as well.
When that relationship gets solidified, and when they realize that you’re going to do for them — and the more they do for you, the more you do for them — it creates a very good symbiotic relationship. Be that source of content for your sellers, have a service-oriented relationship with them, have goals that matter and hold them accountable to the goals that matter — and really help them see that working together we move the bar and we move the number much more quickly.
Q: What are some of the things men can do to be allies and support women in business?
SEATON: I think it’s treating every woman that you encounter like you would your sister, your cousin, or your mom — and not allowing individuals around you to treat the women in the workplace any different than you would expect your mom or your sister or your cousin to be treated. And really consciously focusing on when your male colleagues are not treating your female colleagues like you would expect them to treat your sister. It’s just really human decency, at the end of the day.
Help more women achieve their goals
Foster an environment where professional women can achieve their goals and #ChooseToChallenge. Learn more by watching the entire episode, “Women in Marketing: Career Advancement Strategies & Advice.”
If you are interested in learning about ViB and our effective marketing programs, contact us.