Equal Pay, Executive Positions, and Family Balance
Google “business executive pictures” right now. Are you seeing predominantly pictures of men or women? It’s men, because there is a huge gap of women in executive positions across all industries. But it couldn’t be that way in the public relations industry where women are the majority, right? Not so. I was shocked to find out that men hold the majority of the executive-level positions in an industry filled with women. It’s not that these corporations can’t find qualified women for these positions, rather it is the lack of effort in diversifying within the company. In honor of national women’s history month, now is the time to address this question and evaluate how we can make a difference.
Give me the Facts:
While women dominate almost every level of PR, the executive level seems hardly touched by women. Women in PR came out with a report showing that although women represent two-thirds of the global PR industry, 78 percent of the CEOs in the top 30 PR agencies worldwide are men and they also occupy 62 percent of seats in the PR boardroom.
It doesn’t end there. In the PR industry, employment is projected to grow 9 percent between 2016 to 2026, which comes with pay that women wouldn’t get elsewhere. In a study, female PR specialists in the US make an average of $55,212, while the national average for female workers is $40,742. Yet, the average salary for males in PR is $61,284, showcasing a $6,072 pay gap.
And this is just the mid-level salary, the executive level proves how unjust the system is. Among the highest earners, 28 percent of men earn over $150,000 compared to just 12 percent of women.
Do people still believe that women can’t do the job as well as a man? If so, they are mistaken.
Research reveals that companies with a higher representation of women in executive positions financially outperform companies with fewer women executives. At the executive level, to be perceived as effective leaders women leaders need to demonstrate both sensitivity and strength; while men only need to demonstrate strength.
Why PR is for Women:
I may not have the answer to why women aren’t selected for executive positions but I do know why women are drawn to PR. Make no mistake PR is for women. Research shows women are mainly drawn to PR because they are collaborative and social in group settings, necessary skills for PR.
“Studies have shown that women tend to collaborate more and prefer to work on teams, whereas men usually do better in competitive environments and prefer to fly solo. That male approach works well for journalists, while having a bit of a ‘people-pleaser’ gene probably attracts and/or makes it easier for women to excel in the PR environment,” said Jennifer Hellickson in an interview with The Atlantic.
Besides skill sets, women are also drawn to the PR industry because of its time flexibility in managing a career and family obligations. Women can still be that stay-at-home-mom and have a full-time job because some work allows you to work remotely. Yet, women are scrutinized if they have a family and are in the workforce full time. They either spend too much time in the office and not enough time caring for their family, or too much time with their family and not enough in the office – but there is a healthy balance.
In reality, women who spend time in the workforce model for their children that men don’t always have to be the breadwinners. In a study, women who grew up with a working mother tend to have more powerful jobs and earn more than women whose mothers did not work. In the United States, women with working mothers make 23 percent more than women whose mothers did not work. If anything, it teaches children how to balance work and life.
What to Do:
Why are equal pay and fair consideration for executive opportunities still an issue? Beats me. Corporations that lack diversity, especially gender diversity, lack integrity. Now more than ever before highly-qualified women are primed for executive positions and equal pay. The public relations industry needs to lead the next generation to workplace equality by eliminating workplace stereotypes, instilling confidence in female peers, proactively adding more women to the boardroom, and creating opportunities for women in executive positions.
The rise of women in the PR industry happened for a number of reasons and I have full confidence that by working together we will continue to grow into executive positions. We are proud that here at Veracity our President, Amy Rosenberg, started this company from her kitchen table and continues to inspire women in the PR industry.
As I sit in the same coffee shop where I applied to be an account coordinator at Veracity, I think back to my excitement of embarking on a career in public relations. Having graduated University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication in June ‘17, I set out to travel Europe that summer and then moved to the City of Roses in the fall. In the pursuit to find the PR agency of my dreams, I was looking for an agency that would launch my career by expanding my knowledge of the industry. I was lucky to find Veracity.
Going into the position, I never would have guessed how I’d be put to the test. Hitting the ground running, my once empty notebook now overflows with knowledge. Finding an entry-level position that both challenges you, yet embraces your opinions is rare. Veracity aligned with my beliefs and had a wide industry range of clients, all I was ecstatic to work with. Now at my three-month mark with Veracity, I beam with how much I have learned and continue to grow as PR professional.
Learn to Understand the Language
PR is built on the bedrock of communication. This isn’t the case for all industries. Speaking the language of the industries you’re working with will help when it comes to pitching ideas to media. If you speak the language and know what you are talking about, they’ll listen (shocking I know). Going off of this, when pitching to reporters it is necessary to research their “beat” and see if it is applicable to what you are pitching.
Be Willing and Open-Minded to Never Stop Learning I legitimately learn something new every day whether it be Amy’s technique of how to land a pitch or creating the perfect media list. Through trial and error, I have learned to not make the same mistake twice. I take advantage of all learning opportunities, viewing constructive criticism as a chance to grow. Learning doesn’t end in college, it expands further into our careers as professionals. Be eager to learn, grow and contribute – but remember it’s okay to mess up.
Expect the Unexpected
I’m a go with the flow, take it as it comes, easy-going lady. I found this mentality to be a lifesaver in PR because we are paid to expect the unexpected and take whatever life (or the media!) throws at us. If you can’t change your mental course in a matter of seconds, think on your feet, or perform under pressure – PR might not be your beat. Having the flexibility to adapt to different situations and environments is key.
Pay Attention to the Details
PR is consistently fast-paced, but taking the time to slow down and focus on the details will be more effective and efficient in the long run. Not taking the time to proofread or pay attention to detail is unacceptable. Besides, if you can’t show effort and time in your work, why should anyone care? It’s definitely all about the details in the PR game.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
I’ve always been comfortable taking the lead, but initiating in unfamiliar territory is daunting. Yet I’ve learned the most during the moments that are outside of my comfort zone. Putting myself in these unfamiliar situations has only helped me grow stronger as a PR professional and as a person as well. While daunting, always taking the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone has been fundamental to my continued learning.
Three-months deep and my biggest lesson so far is to take advantage of your career and the opportunity to learn more – don’t hold yourself back. I am lucky to have bosses who push me to greater lengths every day. To Amy and Mike, thank you for giving me this opportunity; happy to have launched my career at Veracity.
Reposted February 22, 2018, with updated Facebook security recomendations from PixelPrivacy below
Sometimes a little training is needed even for what seem to be the simplest tasks. A Facebook post for example. Here are some tips (mostly in regards to Facebook) to help you avoid making mistakes in the social media space.
Like most things in life, if we take a step back and evaluate the situation, we are likely better able to determine our goals and dictate the outcomes we desire. So, before you hit “update status” in your Facebook feed, ask yourself:
“Will I possibly regret sharing this?”
If the answer is “no,” go ahead and post. If the answer is “yes” or “maybe,” take a breath, pause and think about some of the do’s and don’ts below.
Think about your audience.
Understanding your purpose for each channel will help you determine who you are going to be “friends” with and what type of content is appropriate to post. You should ask yourself:
“What am I using each channel for?”
Personally, I tend to use Facebook for communicating with friends and family, but I also run a marketing agency, so I end up posting a fair amount about marketing and a nonprofit digital marketing organization I volunteer with.
Remember LinkedIn is for business. You can pretty easily grow that connection list, but you have to decide what your purpose is for inviting or accepting all those connections. I am certainly much more lenient on LinkedIn to accept (and offer) connection requests, compared to Facebook. But, I have to at least have met (virtually is fine) the person or have a lot in common with them, (connections, geography, groups) to lead me to believe a mutually beneficial relationship would warrant a connection with them.
Once you have decided that, here are a few quick tips on what you should and shouldn’t do.
Do be social. It’s called social media for a reason. Engage, ask questions, share the things you see and like. Feel free to let your personality and opinions shine through your posts.
Do provide commentary. It is ok to simply share a link or someone else’s post, but it is better to tell your friends and followers WHY you are sharing it.
Do give credit. Tag people assuming it is appropriate (see Don’t post pictures without permission below) and company pages when sharing or posting content created by others. This is especially true for business pages.
Do read or watch what you share. Don’t share an article simply based on the title nor a video based on the first 15 seconds. You may not want to endorse a video that started out really funny and then took a turn for the worst at the 1:10 mark.
Don’t post after midnight. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying nothing good ever happens after midnight. Take that to heart on social media as well. Not literally of course…it’s ok to post after midnight. But if you’ve had a few and think something’s really funny, it may not be so funny the next day (of course posts can be deleted and edited, see below).
Don’t post pictures of other people’s kids. You know that great shot you got of your daughter’s 5th grade class on graduation day? Don’t post it if other kids’ faces are visible. It’s your right to share pictures of your kids; it’s not your right to decide for others.
Don’t post pictures/videos without permission. We all love throwback Thursday. Except your high school friend who is looking for a job and now has to deal with the repercussions of that sexy kitten Halloween costume you just posted (this rule goes out the window if he already uses it as his profile picture).
Don’t be that guy. You may want to avoid being one of the following types of posters:
Negative Nelly – are the majority of your posts depressing? Do you only share news stories of disasters, tragedies and debauchery?
Foodie (or drinkie) – seems to always be out at the newest spot, hits three bars on a Tuesday (every Tuesday). Do we all really need to see what your drink looks like or how beautifully moist your burger is, again? Do you want potential employers to know about your Tuesday night escapades?
Photo bombers – nope, not talking about making a funny face in the background…talking about those of you that post way too many pics. Do a little self-editing and only share a few at a time. You can still use Facebook as your photo repository and just share with your family (see privacy settings below). But note that every image you post to Facebook gives Facebook a license to that photo (and any other type of content).
Spammer – do you send all of your friends constant messages about the product you’re selling (or even a charity you believe in)? Maybe you tag everyone in a post about a fundraiser? Hey, we all have to make a living and supporting charitable causes is good, but show some restraint and tact. Think it through. Even if it is a worthy cause would you want to get multiple messages about something you may not care about?
You can lock down (or open up) who sees what if you pay attention to your privacy settings. You can hide a lot of stuff (note that you cannot hide what pages you are a “fan” of, so “like” with discretion if you need to be discrete). Digital Trends has a good guide to Facebook privacy settings.
In general there are three levels of privacy; everyone, friends and friends of friends. You pick a default and you can easily change with each post (and create specific custom groups, like family).
Adjust your tagging settings. Here is your one main action item: Change your Timeline and Tagging settings. You cannot control what other people post, but you can control if you are tagged and if it shows up on your timeline.
Facebook has a nice little Privacy Checkup you can go through:
Opps, I posted after midnight, now what do I do?
You can always delete (or edit) a post once it is up (unless it is a post from a business page and you have paid to promote it, then you can only delete and repost). There is however no guarantee that the right (wrong) people didn’t already see it and/or take a screenshot.
Last few tips:
If you don’t want someone to see it (ever) don’t post…
Tired of seeing what your cousin ate for breakfast, but don’t want to offend her with an “unfriend”? You can hide posts without unfriending people (look for the little arrow in the upper right corner of their post). That way they won’t get a new suggestion to be your friend again. Ever had someone show up as “People You May Know” and you thought you were already friends with them? You were, they unfriended you.
If you are a voyeur and never post, that’s fine, just refrain from telling someone their life story when you see them in person. Some may think it’s a little creepy that you know all about what they’ve been up to, but you never participate.
Are you a chronic “liker,” liking every post you see? Great, don’t change, we all like the validation!
Create a Google Alert for yourself to monitor your online presence…oh, and Google yourself. If you don’t know what is out there, you certainly can’t do anything about it.
Social media can be a fun way to keep in touch, stay up-to-date with friends, family and business activities and even get news and learn a few things. Just remember these few basic tips and you will have a better experience.
Due to technical errors (uh…recording in a coffee shop…note to self…never do this again..) my final Seattle jag episode has been stalled. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get it up and running for you because it was oh so good. With that said, I’m taking the opportunity to share a past interview featuring yours truly on the ZipSprout podcast.
Back in March 2017, I had the opportunity to unleash my inner local PR nerd with Megan Hannay, Co-Founder & CEO of ZipSprout and host of the community-based marketing agency’s podcast, The Zip. On Megan’s podcast, she asks me questions about how I got started in PR and how I launched Veracity in the middle of a recession. I had forgotten that we started the company during tumultuous times. I guess it’s like child birth, you forget the pain that you endure. I also share local public relations tips that can be used in any market while bringing home Veracity’s message that anyone can learn PR — especially of the community variety.
Megan helped me out this week by allowing me to rerun this episode. I wasn’t surprised to receive her speedy response because podcasters help each other out just like PR people do. I apologize for not having the new Seattle episode available, but if you’re not failing you’re not trying hard enough, right?
To read the full recap from this podcast, visit our write-up about it here.
About the Host of The Zip:
Megan Hannay is the CEO and CoFounder of ZipSprout. She developed the process and manages the team of Matchmakers. She also contributes planning and UX expertise to the ZipSprout app and oversees internal and external content strategy. You can read her column on local marketing in Marketing Land or hear her interviews with members of the local ecosystem in her weekly podcast, The Zip.
This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon
Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.
In such a fast-paced, multi-faceted work environment, it can be tough to stay on top of everything. monday is the collaboration tool trusted by businesses of all kinds to help cut down the clutter and streamline productivity. Learn more at monday.com and signup for a free trial. You’ll see in no time why so many teams around the world are choosing monday for their project management needs.
PR Talk listeners can use the coupon code BetterExecutefor a 15% discount.
In case you missed it, Sunday night at the annual Golden Globe awards, Oprah Winfrey accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievements. As the first black woman to win the award, it wasn’t just the acceptance speech that had tears streaming down faces in the audience and at home. Rather, an impactful story that she told of bravery and veracity. It was a story, speech and cultural address that everyone in the journalistic sphere can learn from. Here are a few takeaways:
1. Strive for the Absolute Truth:
Winfrey speaks of journalism as “…the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and injustice.” It was in this moment I realized, do journalists ever have the full story? And do we, as PR professionals, empower them to get it? We say who, what, where, when and why, but do we truly strive to communicate both sides of the story? Truth is power. We must work harder to find the truth and be self-aware; to not turn a blind eye.
2. Leave Bias at Home:
With the truth comes a story, and with that story journalists must get rid of racial, sexual, political, religious, and cultural prejudices. We write about people’s lives and our culture grows by reading about other’s lives. Tell the truth and don’t let your personal bias get in the way.
3. Let Journalism Transcend Hate:
Speaking the truth can be daunting. If we dare speak beyond barriers, we can face the unknown. By unifying our culture, we gain the realization that we are never alone. We can’t let fear control journalism. Winfrey tells the story of 1944 Recy Taylor, a young woman who was gang-raped by six armed white men, walking home from church. She was threatened to be killed if she ever spoke the truth. Regardless, her story was reported to the NAACP where Rosa Parks was the lead investigator on her case. At this time, the men were never persecuted and justice was not served because it was not an option. Yet Taylor’s story proves that the truth can transcend hate with her story being told today. “For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up.”
4. Find Justice in the Story:
We need to search, listen, look, sense; do more to ensure that what we write is the truth and the voices of those who can’t be heard are brought justice. Oprah goes on to say how in her career, she strived “…to say something about how men and women really behave. To say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere and how we overcome.” By baring people’s true self, we can strive to find justice in a story.
5. Lead the Story with Empowerment:
By empowering others to speak up, supporting their stories, and being rid of fear we can make a difference in journalism. A well-known phrase is speak for those who can’t speak for themselves. But through empowerment, we can legitimize those voices to speak up so their stories are heard and our culture is more accepting. “Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”
I was moved and inspired by Winfrey’s speech and believe that it is something we can all learn from. In this time, we need everyone to do their part to uncover, unify and encourage the truth. “A new day is on the horizon.”
‘Tis the season for the holiday party. Whether you love the office mixer or dread another December full of evening obligations, you are likely going to a few seasonal get-togethers. Interested in spending that time wisely to further your career or business? Here are eight networking tips for your next holiday party:
1. Show up. 90% of success is showing up, right?
Some holiday events are basically mandatory, while others you may not HAVE to go to but you should. Yes, we are all busy, but many of these events only come around once a year and if you want to expand your network, show up. If you are unable to attend an event you are expressly invited to be sure to send a pleasant note that you can’t make it. Also, if the event has a charitable component (food drive, gift donation, etc.), consider still donating if you can’t attend, the host will be appreciative.
2. Have fun.
No one wants to hang with the sour-faced guy. If you really don’t want to be there, don’t go…however.
You don’t have to be the life of the party. Unless you are in the PR department, then promotion is your job!
3. When should I get there?
Like most things in life, it depends…Here are my guidelines for a few different types of gatherings:
(informal at the office or offsite, during the workday or right after work)
Arrive on time and plan to stay for a couple hours or until the official end time. Don’t stick around too long.
(more formal at a private residence or swanky establishment, evening start time)
It’s good form to be a little late to a company party being held at a private home. Like any party, your hosts are likely running a little behind and you being the first to show up isn’t a great look. Plan to stay for a few hours, but also try and be flexible with your curfew. If you are having a great time and bonding with new contacts, it’s a shame to have to leave just to get home for a babysitter that doesn’t really care anyway.
Client or Vendor Party
Totally depends on your relationship — if you are going to do a flyby and not stay very long, try and add a few extra minutes so it doesn’t seem like you are in and out. Make a point to connect and say hello to the person that invited you as soon as you can.
4. Participate and dress appropriately.
Participate? Many holiday events have a theme or predetermined activity. If the event is an ugly sweater, wear your ugliest. If it’s a food or toy drive, bring a donation. Secret Santas and White Elephants are fun, try and plan ahead a little so you can have a good gift.
If you don’t know the attire ask someone who has gone before or use a little common sense based on the time, location and culture of the host(s).
You can always plan an after party with your bros…or really, you probably see them enough the rest of the year.
Since you’re reading this post, I assume you’re interested in networking. If so, get outside your inner circle and meet new people. The holiday party is a great way to get to know your boss, Phyllis from accounting or the new intern. Not only is it good form to engage with your co-workers’ guests, you may find a great connection outside of The Office.
5a. Ask questions and actually listen to the answers.
Don’t expect to know what to talk about offhand. Have a variety of topics ready to go and spend a little time thinking about what you’d say. If someone asks you a question, answer and reciprocate. Here are a few suggestions for non-worky topics:
What’s the best book you read this year?
Do you listen to podcasts? What are you currently listening to?
Christmas Story or Christmas Vacation?
The list can go on and on, talk about what you are interested in. TV shows, sports, holiday travel plans, etc. It is ok to get intimate and into a real conversation, at least for a little while, but probably best to avoid politics.
6. Have an exit plan.
When it is time to go (see #3) be sure to find the host to thank them and say goodbye. Also, if there is a party planning committee, thank them and consider a thank you gesture because putting on these events is a lot of work. You can also follow-up with an email or handwritten note. If you feel like you need to sneak away, you are leaving too early.
Glen Wilson / Paramount Pictures
7. Know your limits.
What list of holiday networking tips would be complete without this one? However, there seems to always be a few partygoers that hit it a little too hard. If you do need to get your drink on, save it for the after party or grandma’s house. That way you won’t end up like Clay and Walter at ZenoTek.
BONUS HOST TIP: Have plenty of non-alcoholic beverage choices. While everyone wants to have a good time, not everyone wants beer, wine or…water. This also goes a long way in helping people stick to their limits. Most people want to have a drink in their hand and if there are lots of options (a signature booze-less drink perhaps) they aren’t as likely to overindulge.