We asked women at Invoca, “what is an example of a time in your career when a woman inspired, helped, encouraged, grew, or uplifted you?” Whether it was a specific action, encouraging statement, or memorable personality strength—these women uplifted and inspired us.

Here are their stories:

“I was given an opportunity to move into a new role that was equally exciting and terrifying. The thought of learning something new was thrilling, but I was also deeply afraid of failing. My boss at the time trusted me to do the job more than I trusted myself, which gave me the confidence boost I needed to take the leap. Thank you, Julia. I will forever be grateful to you for believing in my ability to take on the challenge.”

“Maria Streshinsky is the executive editor at WIRED. Before joining WIRED, she was the editor in chief of Pacific Standard, a magazine she launched in 2012. Maria was not only an accomplished editor and writer but a friend and role model to me. As a mentor, she was passionate about transferring knowledge to those around here while providing professional guidance and mental support.

I first met Maria in 2012 when I was hired at Pacific Standard. She took the time to teach me every aspect of the editorial process, and included me in the decision making process for our production division. As a result, I oversaw the entire editorial process, allowing me to work with upper management and writers from around the world.

Under Maria’s leadership style and guidance, the company was able to overcome obstacles and become more innovative, creative and collaborative. Her qualities not only brought success to the company but helped me become a better leader. Maria taught me that great leaders have an open door policy, which in turn empowers everyone within the organization. This is a leadership style that resonated with me and something I will continue to practice in my career.”

“I moved to Santa Barbara from South Korea three years ago, and I’ve been working at Invoca for one year now. Every day, I still learn something new from the passionate and smart people around me; and I am so lucky to have Nancy as my manager.

Working in Korea was a really different experience. For example, sometimes I was required to spend months working on a report to perfect it. To help me shift this thinking, my manager Nancy always told me “done is better than perfect” which helped me to prioritize my work, and work efficiently within the given time. Plus it reduced stress from perfection-pressure.

Sometimes when I get “obsessed” with a certain project, she helps me by saying “I think you spent enough time on this and the results look great.” Yes, done is better than perfect. I am no longer afraid of starting a new project, because of what I’ve learned, and am free of perfection-pressure.”

“Now that I’m writing this out, I’m realizing I have known this person for over 15 years, which is crazy and very fortunate! Not only has she been a wonderful friend, as we traversed college, marriage, and starting families; she has also been someone I looked up to as I started my career in UX. Any time I need advice, or a sanity check, she knows exactly how to untangle my thoughts and bring clarity. I do have to give her credit for helping me land this awesome job at Invoca! I feel very lucky to know she is always willing to help in any situation, and that she just gets me.”

“There is a special place in heaven for women who help other women in the workplace. I’ve been privileged to work for many amazing women throughout my career, however one stands out as my mentor and confidant. Kim Coalson, who now works for MyCase, Inc. took a chance in hiring me back in 2013. I had been working as an Inside Sales rep and had been failing miserably.  She fostered me in ways I had never been fostered before. She trusted me, she championed me, AND she gave me invaluable sales training along the way. Because of her, I was able to become a successful sales person. I still look to her for advice and mentorship in my career today.”

“A few years back I was looking for new ideas and advice on how to grow my team. I researched successful women in demand generation that would be attending an upcoming conference I was attending, and did cold outreach to Shari Johnston who at the time was SVP marketing at Radius. I asked her to meet me for coffee so I could share ideas and ask her advice on demand generation leadership topics.

Shari was so kind to take the time at a conference to meet with me in person, without knowing me, and provide some great advice. From there she kept in touch and helped be a sounding board for me as I grew in my career and took on bigger roles. I’m delighted to say that today we’re working together through the organization that she founded and I am a co-founder of, WomenInRevenue.org, and we can both continue to provide help and mentorship to other women.”

“When I was first starting out at Invoca, without prompting, a co-worker and manager from another department took me under her wing and offered me advice on how to thrive in an often male-dominated field. In short, ‘be assertive and persistent, work hard and let the results speak for themselves.’ Despite the difference in our departments, this advice has served me well. Thanks again, Nancy.”

“I’ve been fortunate to have a number of wonderful female managers, mentors, and role models during my career. One person that has played all of these roles at one stage or another is Lisa Riolo. Without her support and guidance, I don’t think I’d be where I am today, enjoying a career in Product Management at such an exciting company. Navigating all the opportunities out there and knowing what and how to negotiate can be overwhelming, but Lisa has always offered guidance without judgment and advice grounded in experience.

Of the many things I’ve learned from Lisa, the importance of thinking outside the box to push the boundaries of the status quo, and embracing change are key. Change can be difficult, but I’m happy I decided to shake things up and join Invoca over four years ago, all thanks to the encouragement of a strong female leader. Thanks, Lisa!”

“Many years ago, I was a struggling college student in San Francisco, and got my first ‘real’ job in IT. I was still in school, and juggling a new full-time career was difficult. I realized that if I wasn’t able to enroll in two classes over the summer, I would be putting off graduation at least another year, or more. I went to my manager and asked if I could work from home over the summer so I could complete the classes.

She fully supported me doing this, even though no one else on our team had ever had that option before. It was also very rare, both at the company and in the industry, at the time (this was about 18 years ago!). I was able to graduate that year and spent many more years working for that company. To this day, I am grateful to Elisa for putting herself on the line on my behalf!”

“When I entered the workforce after college, a woman a few years older and smarter than me believed in my ability to make an impact and trusted me with tough assignments. It made all the difference. I have never forgotten how that felt, and try to pay it forward when I can.”

“I have been part of the lucky few at invoca to work under Nancy Steele. Nancy is the most understanding, caring, compassionate, and patient person I have ever worked for. I honestly can’t choose just one time that Nancy has helped or mentored me. Every day that I come into work, she is teaching me something new or helping me resolve an issue I am facing. Despite her busy schedule, she is always willing to hop on a customer call or provide me with a quick training. I am extremely grateful to have her guidance and support.”

“There’s usually a person you’ve encountered that has drastically impacted your life and career. That person for me is Nancy Steele. Nancy and I started around the same time at Invoca, back when the entire company fit on one floor on our building. She sees people, not as a job title or a point on a career path, but as their entire person, and is intentional and proactive with her relationships. From the beginning, she was aware of my strengths, interests, and personality, and has helped me cultivate a career where I’m challenged and grow, while keeping me happy. Last year, she helped me craft a new job role based on where I wanted to move in my career. I got the job—and now I get to work for her! I hope everyone finds their Nancy.”

“I can’t think of just one time that a woman has uplifted me. When I try to come up with a single memory, dozens of scenes pop up in my mind. To limit myself to just one seems so unfair to the critical female co-workers who have influenced, supported, mentored and pushed me to be better. From my very first corporate job, where a female co-worker pushed me to learn and grow, to my current role where my incredible HR team demonstrates intelligence, support, consideration, and humor.

As I think of the women who have been influential and inspirational, there is one common theme: they all saw me as a person and treated me respectfully and as as an equal, despite the fact that my title and experience put me in a “lesser” role. Many of these women have become dear friends and mentors, and people I don’t want to let go because in good times they celebrate with me, in tough times they hold me up, in challenging times they listen and provide solutions. Every success I have is due to something I have learned from one of these amazing women and I owe them my career today.”

“It’s been shown in many studies about hiring and promotion that Women will not “go for a job” unless they feel like they fulfill all the criteria for the role. Men are much more confident. They will apply, or ask to be promoted if they feel like they have enough of the criteria covered to get in and figure out the rest. Since I discovered early in my career that my response to many work situations like asking for a raise, trying for a promotion, or applying for a job was typically female, I wanted to learn how to be more courageous in these types of situations. After all, asking for these things is a risk; trying to be 100% prepared feels like a way to help the odds. But, over-preparation doesn’t really make you any more able to stand up and take the risk.”

One day, I heard a woman playwright interviewed and she talked about writing a play about an expedition to Antarctica, which was a study in what made people take risks. So I went to see the play. One of the women characters had a line that has stuck with me for a long time. She said: “you get what you are brave enough to reach for”.  

I tell myself that every time I need courage at work. I tell it to every other woman that that will listen. Often, it will be scary to stand up for yourself in a way that is necessary to go forward, move up or stand out. But if you remember “you get what you are brave enough to reach for”, you can recognize the fear and do it anyway.

Debby Haynam

Posted by Debby Haynam

Debby is Invoca's Content and Social Media Specialist. With passions in writing, design, and video production, she strives for creative and authentic storytelling. When not creating marketing content, you can find her trying to find the least pretentious cup of coffee in San Francisco.

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