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New Leaders And Role Models, With Janet Balis

New Leaders And Role Models, With Janet Balis

Episode 46: New Leaders And Role Models, With Janet Balis

Janet Balis has had a career full of twists and turns: from consulting, to media, to entrepreneurship, she's done a bit of everything. She also has had the pleasure of working with strong leaders like Arianna Huffington and Martha Stewart. In this episode, Janet shares her career journey, her process of building her personal brand, how much she's learning from the younger generations and some great tips to be more productive.

Episode Transcript

00:00 Rachel Greisinger: Welcome to the Ellevate Podcast: Conversations With Women Changing the Face of Business. And now, your host, Kristy Wallace.


00:12 Kristy Wallace, Interviewer: Hello, and welcome to this week's edition of the Ellevate Podcast: Conversations With Women Changing the Face of Business! This is Kristy Wallace, and I'm here with Maricella Herrera, and we're excited to tell you about this week's guest!

00:28 Maricella Herrera: So I actually am just thinking this, but we should start renaming the podcast in Conversations Up Close and Personal 'cause this little space we're getting ourselves into for these intros is getting tighter and tighter.


00:41 KW: But it's so much fun!

00:42 MH: Yeah, yeah, I love you, Kristy, but...

00:43 KW: Come on! Come on! It's fun!

00:46 MH: But it's a tiny little closet, or three people.

00:49 KW: Yeah.

00:49 MH: And two mics, and three laptops, and lots of other stuff.

00:53 KW: And coffee and water, and all kinds of other stuff, but no, this is fun. I like it! I have fun. We typically tape the podcast in a conference room in the Ellevate office, which is great, but it's kind of a fishbowl. You can see everything happening outside of the conference room. So as you're talking with guests, oftentimes, they're distracted by what's happening, birthday parties, and celebrations, and just general work-life stuff.

01:26 MH: Yeah, there seems to be a lot of that in our office, which is really fun! Really, really fun!

01:32 KW: Yeah, we like to party. So today in our podcast, we have Janet Balis. Janet is the leader of the strategy customer consulting practice for the media and entertainment industry, and works at EY. So Janet, one of the things... I have a question for you, Maricella, and I can't wait to hear your response to this: One of the things that Janet and I talked about was her experience working for some very different leaders, Martha Stewart and Arianna Huffington, and she talked about how their leadership styles were different, and how she learned so much from that. So I wanna hear from you, what's my leadership style?

02:10 MH: I'm so not prepared for this.

02:12 KW: And remember we're in a very small conference room. [chuckle]

02:16 MH: I don't know, let's see: I think open, like open communication so you can... You're the type of person that we can go to with anything.

02:26 KW: I like to overshare.

02:28 MH: We all do. I think that's part of the office culture. I think it's, again, openness and communication and ideas. I think it's giving people ownership for what they're doing, which I think is very important, and then, yeah, very friendly. I think that's a good thing, like friendly... And we were talking about this the other day because I do... We get along really really well at work. We work together really really well 'cause I do think that we have complementary skills, and we actually work very similar in a lot of styles, but we also get along really, really well outside of work, which is important. I do think you are a type A personality, which is, as a fellow type A personality, can be a little bit much sometimes, but we are a team of type A personalities.

03:19 KW: We are, we are. Cool! That's fun! I always tell everyone... And side note here: We, Maricella and I have had so many of you come up to us at our events, and sending us emails and notes telling us how much you love the podcast. So keep it coming 'cause it makes us feel great, and we're excited that you're enjoying it, that you're listening. And so, thank you for all of your positive feedback. And if you love it, if you love listening to us, please make sure you rate and review the podcast on iTunes and share it with your friends. But I've been telling everyone that I'm using the podcast as my own personal therapy session because I get to ask all these questions. So that was part of it, I'm asking you about my leadership style. So thank you for that insight. But now, I wanna get into some data 'cause that's our favorite part of the opening. So tell us what have you got for us today.

04:16 MH: So I know some of the stuff you talked about with Janet is about productivity, and I know that's something we spend a lot of time talking and thinking about, how do we become more productive, especially when you have a tiny, but mighty team trying to do everything. We spend a lot of time thinking of how we can be more productive. And one of the questions we asked our members is, "When are you most productive during the day?" 53% percent of our members said in the mornings, so in those hours between 7:00 and 10:00 AM. Rest assured, I am not one of those people. 10% said midday between 11:00 and 1:00 PM. Another 10% in the early, early mornings, so between 4:00 and 7:00 AM. Again, not me. 9% percent said in the afternoon between 1:00 and 4:00, 8% in the late afternoon between 4:00 and 6:00, 7% at night after 9:00 PM, and 3% in the evenings between 6:00 and 9:00 PM. So it really varies, with the biggest chunk of people, more than half, being morning person.

05:24 KW: And what? You're night after 9:00 PM?

05:26 MH: I would say I fluctuate. I am probably an afternoon 1:00 to 4:00 person for some things, and night after 9:00 PM for a lot of others.

05:39 KW: Which is why... So you use Boomerang right?

05:41 MH: Yeah.

05:42 KW: Like on our team talking about some of the cool tools we use that help us in our productivity. And so, Maricella uses an email tool that allows her to schedule when emails are sent, so people don't realize how late she works every night.

05:55 MH: [chuckle] Yeah, I think it's really important to know yourself when you are most productive, and what you do better at what times. I know I am better at doing the creative stuff in the evenings, especially with a glass of wine. Actually, I'm lately in the subway, which is weird.


06:15 KW: It's like all the noise and activity, it helps you focus.

06:20 MH: Yeah, I don't know! Lately, coming home from events after a few glasses of wine and in the subway is where I got my best copy ideas. And then, the nitty gritty, in the afternoon. What about you?

06:32 KW: So it's funny, I'm definitely a morning, like 7:00 to 10:00-er, which is... It's funny because I am scheduling my life all wrong because I tend to schedule a lot of meetings first thing in the morning, which is when I'm most productive. So I need to move some things around on my schedule. But yeah, I'm definitely... If you see me on the weekends, I'm out of bed and doing stuff at 8:00 AM.

06:56 MH: Geez! I'm not out of bed until noon.

06:57 KW: If I don't get moving right away, then I don't get things done. Alright, well thanks so much, and we hope you enjoy my interview with Janet, and here we go!


07:20 KW: When you and I met, we were recently on a panel together, and you shared your story a little bit on the panel about your career, and it's really an interesting one because it takes lots of turns and twists, and I would love to... If you could share it with us today.

07:34 Janet Balis, Interviewee: Sure! It does take a lot of turns and twists, and it's, as I like to say, I zigged and I zagged and I learned all along the way. So I'll go way, way back just 'cause it's kinda fun. I, in high school, was really into science. So when I arrived at Columbia for my undergraduate program, I was convinced that I was gonna be a biochemist.

07:56 KW: As many of us do, yes.

07:57 JB: Yes! And I was debating between that and becoming a classical flutist 'cause I had studied the flute very seriously.

08:04 KW: Did you go to band camp?

08:05 JB: I did not go to band camp, I'm happy to report.

08:08 KW: My sister-in-law went to band camp. She was really into the flute, it's a long time.

08:10 JB: It's a thing! Yeah, I know. But so, I was somewhere between music and science, and I of course did the logical thing, and changed my Biochemistry major to a Political Science major, upon realizing that these super advanced chemistry and calculus were not the things I wanted to do with my life, and having discovered the radio station. So I decided I wanted to be in journalism. I wanted to follow and pursue my passion around politics and writing. And I got to run the radio station at Columbia, dabbled in a little bit of hip hop music along the way, ran the radio station, interned at Newsweek. And by the end of it, I was convinced I was gonna be in public policy. Next thing I know, I can't pay my rent. And so, I decide to take an offer to go interview for a job in Management Consulting in Chicago. They said, "Will you come out?" I said, "I've never been to Chicago, will you pay for my flight?" And they said, "Yes." And there I was.

09:03 JB: So three-and-a-half years later, after Management Consulting, the end of the road is you go to business school, so I did. And after couple of years at HBS where for my summer, I actually interned at Goldman Sachs, I decided I wanted to find my way back to media, but this time, on the business side of the equation. And so, that started my grown-up career. And I did five-and-a-half years at Time, Inc., both pre and post the fabulous sale of Time Warner merger. And then, I actually went over to AOL where I ran our national client solutions team for about three-and-a-half years. And then, as restructurings are prone to happen, I left as part of one of the big regime changes. And I actually started my own company, and I only hired working moms, capitalizing on the network of people who I knew. So from my kitchen table, I built a really sizable consulting business, consulting with folks like The Weather Channel, Discovery Communications, Warner Bros. Television, Turner Broadcasting; it was amazing! And I only hired working moms 'cause there was amazing work force, that had simply left the workforce where I had been.

10:10 JB: And so, did that but my ego got the best of me. I had the opportunity to go to Martha Stewart, and run the media business there, so I ran broadcast, digital, and print, cross sales, and marketing, ran the PnL. And as Martha Stewart Living on new media is prone to do, there's quite a bit of turnover in the ranks from time to time. And so, after a couple of years there, I actually left, and went back to AOL. And I ran a strategy and partnerships. And then, I met Arianna Huffington who asked me to be the publisher of Huffington Post. And so, I basically ran the business there. And after a few years, back at AOL, I decided it was time to detox from media for a while, so I went to an amazing place called Betaworks Studio, which is a studio of digital startups in the meat-packing district. And I launched our brand innovation lab there. And I got to partner with folks like GE and Target, and really tap into all of the innovation of the startups in the studio. And then, and this is the last chapter, I went to EY where I now head up our practice for our strategy consulting area in the media and entertainment industry, capitalizing on all of those places in media and technology where I've spent my career. And I came in as a partner, and absolutely love the culture, and this where I wanna stay.

11:31 KW: So you've been involved in some research that talks a lot about personal brand as relates to women, but I would love your take on that because the way I see it, is you have to be, first and foremost, the person that believes in that, and it's your brand that's tied so much like your values, and things you're interested in where you have passion and impact. So what were your thoughts on personal brand?

11:54 JB: I wish someone had told me early on that I needed to deliberately, purposefully, and consciously start building a personal brand. Thankfully, because I think I had a media mindset from the beginning, I probably had more of an inclination to build brands than some, but it was never about myself. And at a certain point, I recognized that some of the people that I wanted to emulate in leadership were really good at it. And at first, I think I probably mistook some of their efforts as self-promotion. I thought, "Why is she continuing to talk about herself?" And, "She's doing a ton of public speaking," and, "What's that all about?" And then, I started to realize that that really correlated with her gravitas in the marketplace and, thinking of one leader who I really appreciated, in particular, and I started to do it myself, and get myself out of my comfort zone. And I think when we get uncomfortable, we grow, we learn new things. All of the different twists and turns in my career, I think, helped me try different parts of the business. So if you can write, if you can produce, if you can run the business, do sales, do marketing, try PR. If you just play with all the different facets of the business from finance, to PR, to public speaking, you become more valuable, you become more interesting. You can relate to more people and certainly, that was part of my journey.

13:06 KW: And you have more power because you know, and you're able to say, "Yeah, I think you can do it this way," or, "I don't think it's gonna take that long," or, "You're amazing at your job, and I've done it before, and I see that, and kudos to you!"

13:20 JB: Yeah, it's just credibility. And I think it's not about asserting what you've done before, and that's the only way to do it. 'Cause I think the world changes so frequently now that we can't assume that how we did it when we did it is the right way to do it, moving forward. But just having rolled up your sleeves, and tried a lot of things, I think it just allows you to have a different kind of a conversation. And as you start to lead and play larger management roles, it certainly allows you to lead with an appreciation for what it takes to really get the job done at any different facet of the project, at any different moment in what you're trying to accomplish, and for any member of the team. And I think that's got great value.

13:56 KW: So what's the first step to developing your personal brand?

14:00 JB: I think the first step is that... I think when they say you've got a problem, the first part is to admit it. I think the first part of building a personal brand is saying that it's okay to put yourself out there. And if you can put yourself out there, then you think about how you're comfortable doing it. And for some people, that includes public speaking. Now, I do a ton of public speaking, but I would not tell you that was my natural inclination. I think when I first got to the fabulous case study method at HBS, I prayed that no one called on me. I got butterflies in the stomach. I could get up in front of a thousand people right now, and not bat an eyelash. But that's a journey, so I think you learn what you're capable of when you try. And for others, they may never feel like public speaking is their thing, but there are other ways to do it.

14:45 JB: I think the other thing is to look at the asset that is all the people you know along the way. And so, when I started out, there wasn't a LinkedIn. When I really started out, I don't think we had email. But I think at a certain point, you have to look at that Rolodex of all the people that you meet along the way. And to me, part of it is building a great brand through the personal interactions we have with every one of those individuals, every one of those companies. Over time you have this collective asset that lets you really build over time, I think that's the practical part of building the network, and building those connections, but it starts to get you comfortable with building your brand, and finding your voice. And you do have to find your voice.

15:21 KW: So you've worked with two women that come to mind: Martha Stewart and Arianna Huffington, who've done a great job building a brand. And also, women who are breaking glass ceilings, and leading businesses, and killing it. So how's that experience been for you, being involved in situations with strong women like that?

15:45 JB: I think it's exciting. When I think about both Arianna and Martha, and they have completely different styles, but when I think about both of them, they're so well-rounded. They're strategic, they're operators, they're creative, and enriched around the concept of content. And yet, they really know how to run a business. And they have a passion for building a brand, and scaling a media enterprise, a merchandising enterprise, in the case of Martha. And they are... Both were characterized by just this remarkable ambition. So to me, that was just exhilarating to work with such strong minds, such strong leaders who really had a vision. And every day, when they woke up, you have no doubt in your mind that they knew exactly what they wanted to build. They wanted it to be bigger than the day before, and they were absolutely counting on the talent that they surrounded themselves with to build that future. And so, I found both of them, in very different ways, extraordinarily inspiring.

16:43 KW: Who else inspires you?

16:45 JB: I'm really inspired right now by young people. And I really find that if I am going to learn, and especially, because I think so much about media, entertainment, and technology, I don't know that I can look to traditional leaders as the inspiration on what the future looks like. I think we really have to look to the youngest members of the consumer base, or our audiences to really derive insights about what the future holds. And I don't think it's ever been that way before. I think in past generations, younger generations emulated older generations. And now, I think older generations really have to find ways to tap into the creativity, the culture, and frankly, the confidence that comes with the younger generations right now. And so, I look to everything from the youngest members of the teams with whom I work, to really listen, and appreciate, and celebrate their voices; to frankly, looking at my children. Because every day, and it sounds cliché to tell you that I learn about technology from them, but I really do see the world through their eyes.

17:53 JB: And the other day, my daughter suddenly told me, "Mom, I've gotta go, I've got to go do a live stream to my fans." I'm like, "What? Stop right there! What? What do you mean live stream? What are you doing?" And she was. And she had literally figured out how to trade emojis, and different challenges with the audience; she's nine. Based on how much they interacted with her live stream, and how much they liked her stream, and as the audience came online, she was rewarding them. The fact that that is a learned behavior, the fact that she downloaded the app after having made some videos, and this was promoted to her from Next thing I know, she's broadcasting live. Now, we had a serious conversation about broadcasting only to people you know, and so, it is a private broadcast only to the friends in her network. But I have to tell you, my daughter is teaching me. So whereas, I hope I am a very strong role model for her as a woman, as a business leader, and certainly, as a mother and member of our family, that's a wonderful piece, but she is more than reciprocating by teaching me what these new behaviors are, and the confidence that comes with this next generation.

18:58 KW: Yeah, so it's really interesting you say that, and I tend to think about this a lot. I also was in the days of paper resumes that were faxed, and you're trying to find your next gig, and you don't even know what that means, or what the company is like, and information, you're going to the library, and looking it up.

19:19 JB: Dewey Decimal System.

19:20 KW: Yes!

19:21 JB: It's all about the Dewey Decimal System.

19:22 KW: Absolutely, microfiche. And so, there's so much access to information so even for me, when I'm like, "What does this mean? What is SEO?" And I just Google it, and I look it up, and there's tons of information, and tons of resources and articles, and anybody can be an... Maybe not an expert, but be quite knowledgeable in any number of topics and fields. And so, it really does open up the opportunity and the possibility to learn and to grow, and to become a leader. And it's not something that our generation experienced. It was more of this linear path, and the hard work, and the book smarts. And so, as you said, we're just... Everything is turning on its head.

20:10 JB: Yeah, when I think about the ubiquity of information and knowledge, 'cause as you say, "It's all out there," I have to imagine that is extremely empowering that you can almost teach yourself any skill that's out there, or you can procure any piece of knowledge in a pretty credible way 'cause you can find a community of people who've done it, who do it, who teach it. Largely, a lot of that information is free. So to me, it allows us to really democratize information, democratize education to some level, and it means that for the people on the other side of that equation, they can really consciously choose their journey. And I think they can pursue their passions. And to your point, it is a non-linear journey. I think they're able to look at that wide swath of things, and try lots of things, and really find what speaks to them. And not just speaks to them as in a linear career path where you're trying to move up, but you're trying to broaden out, and really learn different things that make you more valuable. And I truly believe that the entrepreneurial spirit that is so fundamental to the future of the global economy hinges on us tapping in to that combination of access and inspiration, and people really loving what they do because that's when it takes things to the next level.

21:25 KW: Sure. So how do you, given your experience in corporate environments and in a startup environment, how has technology impacted those cultures? And how have you seen even just the nature of corporate America changing?

21:40 JB: I feel like corporate culture and our personal lives have benefited from the ability to, in real-time, connect with almost anyone. But the downside of that is I think we have to really make a conscious choice to separate from that clutter 'cause you could spend your entire life simply listening to and responding to messages and meetings. And I think we have to find a way to get back to deep thought, and meaningful actions, and real collaboration, and creativity. And I'm not sure we've solved for that yet. I think we've got a lot of real-time interaction and communication, but we really have to find a way to unlock problem-solving, and the beautiful thing that happens when we work as individuals in isolation alone, 'cause great things come from that introverted process. And we have to find a new way to create the collaboration and interaction between people because great things happen when minds collide. And I'm worried that there just isn't enough time in a typical day, and that that's the biggest transition that I've seen in my career.

22:37 KW: Yeah, it's so much time spent, just information flow, and back and forth, and then, action. So what works for you? How do you work best?

22:48 JB: I have to compartmentalize. So I am comfortable not responding to things for a while. I have friends who tell me that that's unacceptable, and that they can't believe I do that. But I like to write, for example. And I think if I'm gonna put forward new ideas, I need a moment to really sit and quietly contemplate. If I am trying to write, and in the meantime, I'm multitasking, which is a misnomer, 'cause it doesn't exist.

23:12 KW: I guess you're... Yeah.

23:12 JB: We're just doing neither thing well. Then, if I'm trying to check email at the same time, I'm dipping in and out of creating a deliverable for a client, and then, checking my email, and then, responding to my phone ringing. So I think you have to compartmentalize and really create boundaries in your day. And for me, I leave a lot of the email 'til the end of the day. It's quiet, and then I'll get through it. And then, I can be more present during the day. Now, it means that most of the people who work with me would know that they probably, if it's really urgent, are gonna text me, and I will pay attention to the text. But for me, the emails, the queue of things that I'll respond to later, and I think we can now differentiate that way, and that way, I can be present in the meetings where I'm attending, the clients with whom I'm interacting, the team members with whom I'm working, the people who I'm mentoring. I just think we have to find a way to be present, and that's the big cultural challenge, personally and professionally, I think, for the future state.

24:06 KW: Yeah, so I love that. And I end up trying to schedule my day or my week, and I look at grouping meetings together, scheduling things in such a way that I have big blocks of time. My problem is prioritization, because that... Even though I'm prioritizing blocking off that time, something else always creeps in, and I can't hold true to those boundaries. So I need to work on that. Do you have any tips to share?

24:36 JB: Well, what I'll do is if I wanna create something new, I'll schedule it as if it's a meeting. So if I'm gonna write an article, or write a new presentation, or think about a proposal, I will literally block it out, and that's the purpose of the meeting: It's a meeting with myself. And I find that that's very effective. And then, going back to the issue of the two phones, the other thing I do is, I actually do have a work phone and a personal phone. So then, on the weekends, when I don't wanna work, or when I wanna work, I want it to be my conscious opt-in, I put the phone aside. And again, those people who know me know how to find me, and there's a bat phone in case there's really an emergency. It's not like I'm inaccessible. But I feel like particularly, as a working mom, I think it's incredibly important for me to be present. So when I'm at work, I'm really working, and I'm working incredibly hard, and I'm not distracted by personal emails, and all of the fabulous offers that show up in our personal inbox for this on sale or that offer or this thing from the school. I deal with it later, and I can find space.

25:37 JB: So I think it's really about managing time proactively. If you don't run your schedule, it will run you. And I think that we all run that risk. I do think over time, there's also a layer of technology solutions that have to come to the fore because I don't think as this explosion of messaging technologies, which I think we're in a messaging revolution that has only just begun, I think as content starts as the paradigm shifts from social to messaging for content distribution, we're gonna be even more inundated by content in those platforms, and they're... Unlike Asia and other places where there's a single platform of scale like a WeChat, in the US, we're still dealing with a multitude of different messaging technologies and solutions. So with all of those different logins, I think we're probably gonna need some unification, either someone to win the battle here and really get that dominance in the US market, and/or an uber solution across the top that allows us to process, prioritize, and respond to all those messages and folks.

26:38 KW: A business idea for everyone listening. Do you have a favorite messaging app or platform?

26:46 JB: Honestly, look, you're in Facebook so often. I definitely find that for personal messaging, I'm either texting or using Facebook. I'll use Snapchat with the young people that I wanna be cool with, and I do that pretty consciously, and I'm not telling you it feels natural, but I do it. [laughter] I am quite active on Twitter. I happen to luck out and get a fantastic handle, which is @digitalstrategy, in case you wanna follow me. But I also message in LinkedIn, WhatsApp. I haven't picked a favorite yet, and I frankly just get angry at my email because I still have to go through it, and it's just so much clutter in there. So I also take time once a month to unsubscribe.

27:29 KW: Yes. Oh, I do that. Do not unsubscribe to The Morning Boost, but yeah. [chuckle] Do this.

27:35 JB: Anything else, though.

27:36 KW: Anything else. Yeah, I agree with all that. What was I just gonna say? Anyway... [laughter] Just went away.

27:50 JB: You just went into your email inbox. [chuckle]

27:52 KW: Yeah. Oh well. Oh, you know, what I was gonna say was that, just envisioning what your phone screen looks like is giving me anxiety 'cause I can just imagine all of the little red circles with like, "You have a message, you have a message, you have a message." [chuckle] That, I can't deal with.

28:10 JB: They're everywhere, and you can't conquer them 'cause it's like whack-a-mole. As soon as you whack it down in one place, it's gonna pop up somewhere else, and you've got another message to check. So I think you have to acknowledge that you're never gonna get through it all. And just make sure that the people who are really the ones you want to communicate with, personally and professionally, know how to find you. The rest, it's no ways, you can opt-in at your leisure.

28:33 KW: So I wanted to switch gears a little bit and talk about a piece that you recently wrote around finding gender parity in marketing and media. This is very important piece based on some great research. So share with us what do you see as the challenges women face in the industry? And I know media, in general, and advertising have really been hot topics in the past year, particularly, as it pertains to women and equality.

29:06 JB: Yeah. I think the issues that we happen to study in this particular research piece focus on the media and advertising and marketing industry. But frankly, my strong hypothesis is you could apply all the same conclusions to any industry 'cause these are much larger issues. So the study we did, it was for an organization called She Runs It. And She Runs It was formerly a women's organization in the advertising industry that just rebranded this past fall. And I'm on the board of it. And so, working together with LinkedIn... LinkedIn's a wonderful alliance partner of EY. EY and LinkedIn partnered to put some real data and facts behind the situation. The goal was, "Let's stop admiring the problem. We know the numbers are not where we want them to be. We know we don't have gender parity in terms of roles at the top organization. We know that we don't have gender parity in terms of positions on the board, the C-suite, gender parity in term of pay." We've got plenty of data to admire the problem. And frankly, I think Sheryl Sandberg has done an extraordinary job of putting real facts behind it through Lean In, and other organizations, Three Percent Club, and others out there, who've put plenty of facts out there. So the question is, "What can we do about it?" And that's what we really wanted to look at.

30:18 JB: So we took the LinkedIn data around women and men's career journeys, and we wanted to compare them. There's some fascinating challenges. First of all, it corroborated what we already knew, which was that there are, in the media and marketing industry, lots of women when you started, happened to be 41%. By the time we get to the C-suite, its 25%. So that's abysmal. It's clearly going the wrong way. So the question is, "What's going on inside of that number?" So a couple of things. We found out, first of all, that women do not, going back to our earlier conversation, do not own their personal brand. By the time they get to the top, so that by the time I personally was in a leadership role, I knew how to manage my personal brand. But our humility, our focus on getting the work done, our focus on deliverables and outcomes prevents us from seeing the equal value of promoting our work, again, in a humble, not egotistical way. But there's a way to share the value of what we each bring to the table, and women do not do that, and it was very clear in the numbers that they did not own their social network, particularly, in the middle stage of their career.

31:23 JB: The second thing that was rather striking was that men and women do not build connections at the same pace. So men were far more effective at literally building connections inside the organizations where they work, and beyond the broader industry a network of people outside their company. Again, that's a huge asset, and something if we can recognize that early enough in our careers, we can actually change that. Because as mentors, as sponsors of young women, as leaders in organizations, we can encourage women to build the personal brand, to build the connections. And as individuals, if we're finding ourselves in that early to mid stage of our careers, we can say, "Wait! I want to consciously own this. I'm gonna take every person I meet and make sure I connect with them on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, whatever it might be, Snapchat, and beyond. I'm going to really remember the people that I know. I'm gonna invest the time to take a breakfast, a lunch, and a dinner." And by the way, I wanna pause on that because as much as we study digital data from social networks; personal brand, it's as much about the physical world. It's about that personal connection that we make when we're sitting in a room like we are now. There's no replacement from a digital standpoint that comes into play there.

32:31 JB: The other thing that's striking was men endorse more often than women do, which is kind of shocking. So men comprised 70% of the endorsements on LinkedIn in the industry we studied. 70% of both men and women. If we think about social media and the critical role that reciprocity plays, if we don't give, we won't get. So we've really got to put ourselves out there. Now, my personal view, and this is not supported by the research, is that women do endorse in a super intimate way. So they will talk to a woman and say, "You're amazing!" They may walk a woman over at a cocktail party and say, "She's extraordinary! He's extraordinary! I have an amazing member of my team!" They will do that verbally. But the idea of very public facing endorsements is a skill that appears to be favoring men.

33:16 KW: Absolutely. And you've written before about purposeful dabbling, and you talked about this a little bit before, but when you think about going from big company to small company, from one industry to the next, from one functional area to another, that diversity of your network, and the ties to your network come full circle because you might be calling on someone for advice on a legal matter, or because you need to get a vendor, or because you wanna hire someone, or because you're looking for expertise on something. Whatever it may be, and there's so many touchpoints there, having a diverse network that you're engaged with helps support you as you continue dabbling.

34:00 JB: I totally agree. I think diversity really matters to people geographically, demographically, psychographically. Just that the more you can diversify the way you think, the people you know, the better off you are. And then, my other counsel, though, is to be genuine. And so, to me, the people that are in my network, they're my friends. I really genuinely consider these people to be very vital to my life, and they can feel that. And I think when you have a real connection with humans, it just makes life better. Not to wax too poetic and philosophical, but look, we spend so much time working and doing things outside of our personal pursuits, it darn well better be important to you, it darn better be with people that you value, that you respect, that you learn from. And so, to me, that's a huge part of the joy of life.

34:50 KW: Okay, so last question, and because I have you here, and 'cause you are incredibly smart and tapped into the future, what do I need to be thinking of as a business leader today with Ellevate? What platform should we be on? How should we be reaching people? What am I missing?

35:10 JB: I don't know that you're missing it, but I would highlight that I think the biggest shift happening right now is the shift... I think we already went through the shift of content and brand being a destination where people came to the 'thing.' Years ago, we started to recognize, certainly, with the advent of search and social that we had to bring the 'thing' to the people. The 'thing' could be content, the 'thing' could be a product, it could be a service, a brand, it could be our own personal brand. We had to distribute everything. And so, suddenly, there was this, I think, moment where we had to almost atomize what the thing was, and really express it in lots of different formats and venues because we recognized that the consumption model was suddenly, totally fragmented. But I think a lot of that shift to fragmentation reflected what was happening with social, and so, we have habituated ourselves to think about connecting with consumers in a B2B, or a B2C context through the lens of social. And I genuinely believe that we are going to shift to messaging as that paradigm.

36:13 JB: And so, I think if we look at the multitude of apps from TaskRabbit to Venmo that have embedded messaging within them, let alone the large-scale platforms like Facebook, like Linkedin, and certainly, like the dedicated messaging platforms, Kik, LINE, WhatsApp, etcetera, I think we are in a moment where we really have to think about how we express ourselves in that very different form of communication. And we're gonna have to atomize the content, the brand, the service, yet again. I think the amazing moment though, is we can tap much more deeply into intentions now. And so, I think there are gonna be some really extraordinary things not just as content intersects with messaging, but commerce.

37:00 KW: Excellent! Well, thank you, thanks for joining us today.

37:00 JB: Thank you! Pleasure!


37:06 KW: Thanks so much for listening to Ellevate. If you like what you hear, help a girl out! Subscribe to the Ellevate Podcast on iTunes, give us five stars, and share your review. Also, don't forget to follow us on Twitter, @ellevatentwk, that's Ellevate Network, and become a member. You can learn all about membership and all the great things that Ellevate Network is doing at our website,, that's E-L-L-E-V-A-T-E, And special thanks to our producer, Katharine Heller. She rocks! And to our voice-over artist, Rachel Griesinger. Thanks so much, and join us next week.



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