Women in Wireless

The mission of Women in Wireless is to empower and develop female leaders in mobile & digital media. We do this through leadership development, mentoring, inspirational series of panels and webinars, job boards, philanthropic support for relevant charities and networking events.

Why Women Need to Be At Tech Conferences

by: Melissa Fudor

I have to admit I was a little shocked after initially reading this article titled “Why Women Shouldn’t Go to Tech Conferences” (can you blame me?) featured on Forbes Woman. 

The article followed Susannah Breslin who was asked to speak on a women-panel about how to make a living blogging as a career. She was annoyed at the fact that the panelists discussed how they got brands to sponsor their blogs…

"They allude to getting paid what I assume everyone imagines are large sums to work with these companies, and I start to wonder if this is what social media and blogging have become. Ways to make money."

You know, the same way you are annoyed when you are at a fitness convention and the panelists start talking about different kinds of elliptical machines. It’s a panel about blogging for heaven’s sake, yes you will find “young, cute chicks” discussing how they turned their love for fitness, shopping, or music into a money making website. Is that the only topic women have to offer on a tech panel? After reading this quote I really start to wonder if this is Ms. Breslin’s first tech conference…

I wonder what all the men in the other rooms of this conference are doing. I imagine they are talking about apps they have created, and companies they have founded, and complicated technology things that they want other people to buy. I wonder if anywhere at this conference men are talking about whether or not they have feelings.

I imagine women at other conferences talk about the apps they have created, companies they have founded and very “complicated technology” that yes, women can understand too. See: Marissa Mayer, Caterina Fake, Elizabeth Crawford, Sara Chipps, Hilary Mason (the list is a long one, I assure you). It is unfair to make assumptions about the credibility of women in tech based on one genre of the tech industry.  It’s the panels titled “A Woman’s Touch” or topics like “what its like to be a women in tech” are definitely part of the problem.  Women as a whole shouldn’t be singled out or labelled, a smart idea is a smart idea regardless of the gender or the source that it originated from.

Susannah, if you’re reading this, I get it.  The post was about how we should use blogging not only to advance our own careers but to help others as well. Point well made. But the way you first started with a controversial title and then twisted the article to paint a picture of women contributing nothing but a superficial agenda and ‘feelings’ is a bit absurd. I feel many people who read this article may have missed your point and left feeling justified that women do not have a place in tech. 

I’ll admit, there may be female panelists at conferences that bring nothing to the table, but to be honest, there are men who don’t as well.  To single out all women and label them the way articles like this just did is what groups like Women in Wireless, Women 2.0 & Girls in Tech works to turn around. Rachel Sklar (@rachelsklar #changetheratio) is considered a ‘women in tech watchdog’, calling out men-dominated panels and working to get the voices of female leaders heard in the tech industry. Our goal is to break down the artificial structures that create environment where there is only, as Susannah mentioned “the one fleeting moment” where it makes sense or is beneficial for a woman to be at a tech conference. There are many smart women in tech that have useful insights and stories that should be heard, which is why we are working on changing the ratio of both attendees and speakers. 

Women in Wireless panels work to feature women in tech who are not only bloggers but mobile marketing executives, entrepreneurs, and CEOs of their own successful companies.  If you are a women in tech and would like to speak, fill out our Speaker Application Form found on our website.

Because you should be at tech conferences. 

*I was initially tempted to title this article “Why Susannah Breslin Shouldn’t Go to Tech Conferences” to return the initial shock and offense back at her, but after some deliberation (and some of the WiW women physically holding me back from the computer) I decided not to go that route.   

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5 Ways to Build Your Digital Brand

by: Melissa Fudor

                                      

(Photo courtesy of the Big Tomato Company)

Its really rude to ramble on and on about yourself - and when promoting your startup or personal brand, it can’t be more true.  Think of marketing your brand as a friend to friend recommendation instead of a flyer being passed out on the corner of 41st & 6th that I throw away at 42nd & 6th (seriously, do I really look like I’m in need of a lap dance?). Here are the top five:

Shameless self promotion tools that get you noticed

1. Twitter

Welcome to Obvious-ville. Yes, twitter may be the easiest tool to reach the masses, but there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. The most annoying thing to see on twitter is someone telling me to “Check this out” fifty different ways. Avoid a one-way conversation, engage your following by providing useful information about your industry so you stay ‘top of mind’ whenever they are looking for the tools you offer. Provide great content, add personality, and most of all - be authentic.  Here’s some really great examples of social media mistakes

2. Blogging

Retweeting content is great - but being a thought leader and creating content that people will retweet is even better.  Blogs don’t have to take up too much time - with practice your posts can take all of 10 minutes a day to update.  Saw a great article on TechCrunch or ReadWriteWeb?  Provide a link onto your blog with comments on what you likes (or disliked) about the article and build from there. Share your top five articles of the week to help keep track of inspiring content - it will also have a permanent home that you can reference in the future. 

Not a writer?  Try video-blogging.  Not only does it give your fingers a much needed vacation, but its excellent public speaking practice. Whatever route you want to go with your blog, just remember to keep at it!  Schedule in an update at least twice a week to provide consistency. 

3. Commenting on Tech News

Ever come across comments on news articles that provide more useful information than the content itself?  TechCrunch and Mashable often have highly influential players commenting on breaking news (see Brandee Barker of Facebook’s comments on this TechCrunch article). Its a great way to get your name out there and your thoughts expressed, and for a subtle plug, include your title and company name at the end of your comment.

4. Speaking at Panels

When you’re not sharing content on twitter, your blog, or tech news sites, offer your expertise at a conference that cater to your industry niche.  It may be daunting at first (most of us haven’t gotten over our fear of public speaking since grade school) but it truly is one of the best ways to get your name (and your company’s name) out there. You won’t be speaking at SXSW right off the bat, but start off at smaller, local conferences and work your way up. 

5. Getting others to blog for you

Watch out for blogs that host a “10 Startups to Watch” series like this one. The easiest way to get your name out there is to let others do it for you!  

Have any tips you want to add? Leave a comment and start a discussion!

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What Do Women Really Need to Succeed?

by: Melissa Fudor

I’ve been working with Women in Wireless for two very eye-opening and inspiring months. At networking events, whenever I introduce myself to men, I brace myself for the usual joke, “well I’m not a women in wireless, but I am a male in mobile!” Its cute, I know - but it has made me really think - why do women need a group like Women in Wireless and men don’t? In this New York Times article on Sheryl Sandberg, the answer may lie in women relationships:

Soon after Sandberg joined Facebook, in March of 2008, Lori Goler, a Harvard Business School graduate who had worked at eBay, called. The two knew and thought well of each other. Goler asked what problems she could solve; Sandberg hired her as the head of recruiting

Within five months, Sandberg asked Goler to oversee human resources at Facebook. Goler wavered, saying that she didn’t think she was qualified. “No man would ever turn down more responsibility,” Sandberg admonished her. Goler then said yes.

What women really need is a little Sheryl Sandberg in their lives. Someone to give a little nudge, some reassurance, or even a smack of reality that they can climb the corporate ladder as fast as men do. Women tend to second-guess themselves about their qualifications or lack the courage to bang down the door for new opportunities and promotions in order to get ahead. They need additional support in order to let themselves shine; and when you break it down, what women really need in order to succeed is just a little pep-talk. 

Women in Wireless is working on some really exciting programs launching in the fall. One of which is developing our mentoring program where we will connect the Sheryl Sandbergs of the world with emerging female leaders.  We’re all done complaining about not being at the top, we’ve identified what is holding us back - so now we’re doing something proactive to change it.

If you would like to be mentored or if you or someone you know would like to mentor send me an email melissa.fudor@womeninwireless.org

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by: Melissa Fudor

Thought this video was worth a post for those who haven’t come across it.  

Some interesting stats:

  • 50% of the world’s population is under 30 years old
  • Facebook tops Google is weekly traffic in the US
  • e-Readers has surpassed traditional book sales
  • 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations, only 14% trust advertisements.

We live in a very different world than a mere five years ago where Facebook was still not mainstream. Communication is less about a one-way conversation (think billboard ads, television) where information was dictated and marketers threw every kind of commercial they could into a minute break, hoping one would influence their audience. Today communication is more about engaging our own individual preferences and we can instead search the internet or download apps that provide breaking news that is relevant to our careers, interests, and home-life.

I think its a wonderful thing. With 50% of the world’s population under 30 communication will reach new levels and I’m hoping the world will become a better place because of it.  With e-Reader sales skyrocketing, I’m hoping we”ll tear down less tree. And, with more peer-to-peer recommendations I’m hoping I can finally figure out how to reverse this frizzy hair I’ve been struggling with ever since I’ve moved to New York.

Seriously. Anyone?

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What Women Are Worth

by: Melissa Fudor

You might have heard this before, but men, on average, still make more money doing the same job than women do.  The first thing that comes to my mind is “oh the outrage!!! Women and men should be paid the same!!! Equality for all!!!”

But the answer about why this is may just surprise you. The following quote is from a testimonial from a hiring agent:

The reason [women] don’t keep up, from where I sit, is simple. Often, a woman will enter the salary negotiation phase and I’ll tell them a number will be sent to them in a couple days. Usually we start around $45k for an entry level position. 50% to 60% of the women I interview simply take this offer. It’s insane, I already know I can get authorization for more if you simply refuse. Inversely, almost 90% of the men I interview immediately ask for more upon getting the offer.

The complete and compelling story can be found here

Negotiating Tips 101

1. Never take the first offer - your odds of getting the job will not be in jeopardy if you ask for more money. 

2. Don’t ask for a rounded number - if you want $50,000 ask for $52,000.  Companies are more likely to negotiate down to a rounded number to make their accounting numbers easier to work with. 

3. Never be the first to say a number - if they ask what your salary range is, ask them “what kind of salary would someone with my skill set expect at your company?”

4. Use resources like PayScale and Vault to get as much data you can on what the going rate for your salary range currently is. 

5. If your prospective employer is set on your salary - ask for non-monetary compensation, ex. ask for another week of holidays, paid cell phone bills, etc. Here’s a great tip from Passive Panda

A great way to land these easy bonuses is to ask for more than the company can give. As an example, let’s say you’re offered $70,000. In your first counter offer you might ask for a salary $5,000 higher than what was originally offered, a signing bonus of $10,000, 5 more vacation days, and no waiting period on 401k matching.

In all likelihood, the recruiter will counter by saying that while the 401k and vacation can’t be offered, they will be able to provide a higher salary and a $5,000 signing bonus. Done and done. You just made an extra $10,000 from a few minutes of conversation.

In the wise words of my mother -ask and you shall receive!

Do you have any other great negoiating tips you would like to share?

Comments

Ask a woman why she did well on something, and she’ll say, “I got lucky. All of these great people helped me. I worked really hard.” Ask a man and he’ll say or think, “What a dumb question. I’m awesome.” So women need to take a page from men and own their own success.

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The mission of Women in Wireless is to empower and develop female leaders in mobile & digital media.  The mission of this blog? To share ideas, inspirational quotes & videos, tips for public speaking & presenting, and how-to’s ranging from how to create a perfect outfit for THE interview to how easy it is to create a mobile site. 
This is your all-in-one spot to get informed, get connected, and get moving to become the best business savvy women you are.  Feel free to drop a comment here or there on ideas of what you want to see on this blog or share something you’ve found inspiring recently!
-M

The mission of Women in Wireless is to empower and develop female leaders in mobile & digital media.  The mission of this blog? To share ideas, inspirational quotes & videos, tips for public speaking & presenting, and how-to’s ranging from how to create a perfect outfit for THE interview to how easy it is to create a mobile site. 

This is your all-in-one spot to get informed, get connected, and get moving to become the best business savvy women you are.  Feel free to drop a comment here or there on ideas of what you want to see on this blog or share something you’ve found inspiring recently!

-M

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