Hi all –
Monday marks the start of Women’s History Month and March 8 is International Women’s Day, so to celebrate and kick off the month (which should really be an everyday occurrence), I wanted to highlight five women I admire.
1. My Mom
My mother, Cecilia, raised both me and my brother on her own. She was from Ecuador and didn’t speak English well, so we spoke Spanish at home and I learned English by watching The Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island. My mom worked seven days a week out of our apartment as a seamstress to support us. As hard as I think I’ve worked, I don’t think it’s even 10 percent as hard as she did. She is the reason I am the person I am today. She is the reason I’ve accomplished any of what I’ve been able to accomplish. She is my inspiration.
2. Joan Wallace-Benjamin
Joan Wallace-Benjamin served as the CEO of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts and The Home for Little Wanderers for a combined twenty-seven years. And was the Chief of Staff to former Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick. So to say she knows a thing or two about leadership would be a massive understatement. But what’s more, she’s spent her life breaking down stereotypes in order to lift up herself and those around her. And for this, Joan inspires me to be a better leader (and person) every day.
The Drift team had the opportunity to learn from Joan recently, and here’s just one insight she shared:
“So often, women and people of color walk around feeling like imposters, like they don’t belong where they are…especially when confronted with barriers others place in their way. Barriers that they need to learn to jump right over.”
3. Patty McCord
Patty McCord is Netflix’s former Chief Talent Officer, which if you know about their culture, should tell you all you need to know about Patty. But she’s also been instrumental in my own life, serving as a mentor as we build and refine the culture at Drift (more on this next week). Patty single-handedly redefined and reimagined the way so many of us work, which is more important than ever. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend reading her book, Powerful.
4. Krista Anderson-Copperman
Krista is the former Chief Customer Officer at Okta and a Drift board member. She’s spent her entire career working in service of the customer and wrote the veritable playbook on how to build a customer-first SaaS organization both in her work at Okta and in senior leadership roles at Salesforce. She has taught me the true value of putting the customer at the center of everything you do – a guiding Leadership Principle at Drift.
5. The women of Drift
I am honored to work with the women of Drift. They inspire and teach me so much every single day. And I am proud that, in an industry so dominated by men, 43% of our team, 32% of our VP and c-level executives, and 35% of our people managers identify as women. We know we can do better. We know we need to get all of those numbers to more than 50%, but I am proud of the progress we have made and the work we’re doing to promote equity across the team. Because without these amazing women, Drift would not be the company it is today.
How are you honoring the women in your life?
P.S. Here’s what I’m reading / thinking / talking about right now
Lessons From Netflix—Drift’s David Cancel on Building a Strong Company Culture
I talked to OpenView’s Blake Bartlett earlier this month about all things culture and the lessons I’m taking from Netflix and applying to Drift. You can read / listen to the interview here.
Why Startups Fail
I haven’t read this yet-to-be-published book from Tom Eisenmann, but if it’s anything like his entrepreneurship classes he teaches at Harvard Business School, it’s going to be a valuable read. Pre-order here.
Reinventing Existing vs. Creating New Markets
There are two types of startups: those that reinvent existing markets and those that create new ones. Whether you’re just getting started or have already founded your company, this essay will help you figure out the right strategy moving forward. Read it here.