20Sales How to Scale a Career While Scaling a Family, Strategies and Specific Tools To Help Maintain WorkLife Balance, What Companies Can Do To Empower Parents To Be Their Best Selves & How to Prevent Parental Leave Being an Inhibitor To Your Career

Summary Notes


In a special Mother's Day episode focused on sales leadership, the show features an impressive lineup of sales leaders who are also mothers, including Jessica Arnold (VP of Amplitude), Lauren Schwartz (VP of Enterprise Sales at Fivetran), Stevie Case (CRO at Vanta), Reyna Gupta (consultant and advisor), Maggie Hot (OpenAI), and Julie Maresca (Atlassian). They discuss the unique challenges and advantages of balancing motherhood with demanding careers, emphasizing the importance of supportive partners, mentors, and workplace cultures that normalize parenting responsibilities. They share personal stories of overcoming obstacles and the importance of asking for help, advocating for equitable parental leave, and creating inclusive environments. The episode underscores the synergy between being a successful sales leader and a mother, highlighting the efficiency, empathy, and focus that parenting can bring to leadership roles.

Summary Notes

Motherhood and Career Balance

  • Celebrating mothers who are also sales leaders in the tech industry.
  • Acknowledging the challenges and rewards of balancing a career and motherhood.
  • Emphasizing the importance of having a supportive network and being a role model for children.

"So I always say my mother is the light in every room that she enters." "I wouldn't be able to do what I do without her." "And I think this is so true for so many amazing mothers."

These quotes highlight the profound impact mothers have on their children and their ability to inspire and support, which is a recurring theme in the discussion about balancing motherhood and career.

The Role of Technology and Tools in Sales

  • Introduction of Pocus, a revenue data platform that aids sales teams.
  • Mention of Salesloft as a sales engagement platform used by leading companies.
  • Discussion of ZoomInfo as a tool for finding customers and streamlining operations.

"Pocus is a revenue data platform that makes it easy for go to market teams to analyze, visualize and action data about their prospects and customers without needing engineers." "Salesoft is the leading sales engagement platform, helping sales teams drive more revenue with the modern revenue workspace." "Zoom info is the answer. So Zoom info handles the full revenue pipeline from marketing to sales, even ops, all based on the number one ranked business data."

These quotes describe the functions and benefits of different sales tools and platforms, emphasizing their importance in the modern sales process and their ability to save time and increase efficiency for sales teams.

Personal Introductions and Motherhood Insights

  • Each guest introduces themselves and shares the best part of being a working mother.
  • The guests come from a diverse range of companies and hold leadership positions.
  • They express how motherhood has influenced their professional lives positively.

"Hi, Jessica Arnold, VP of Amplitude and sales development. I am the mom of two kids, six and three." "I'm Lauren Schwartz, VP of enterprise sales at Fivetran. I'm the mom of a two-year-old girl." "I'm the chief revenue officer at Vanta and I'm also single mom to an 18-year-old daughter." "Reyna Gupta, I'm currently consulting and advising for multiple early stage companies. I am a mom of a nine-year-old boy and a five and a half year old girl." "I'm Julie Maresca. I lead global accounts and strategic verticals at Atlassian. I am a mother of three. I have twins who will be nine, and a two-year-old boy who is potty training."

These introductions set the stage for the guests' perspectives on motherhood and work, providing personal context for their subsequent insights on balancing these roles.

  • Discussing the challenges of advancing a career while raising a family.
  • Sharing personal stories of struggle and adaptation.
  • Emphasizing the importance of focus and intentionality in parenting and career.

"Honest answer to this is very poorly. At first it was really painful in the early days." "I was forced to get super focused. So when I was at work, I was 100% at work. And when I was at home with her, I was 100% with her."

This quote reflects the initial difficulty of balancing career and family, and the eventual development of a focused approach to manage both responsibilities effectively.

Strategies for Maintaining Work-Life Balance

  • The importance of planning and setting expectations for work and family time.
  • Utilizing support systems and finding fulfillment in both personal and professional life.
  • Recognizing the need to prioritize and make trade-offs for balance.

"I do think balance is an ongoing, focused effort, and you need to be intentional with it." "I try my best to plan and organize the week and break time out where I am going to step away for myself or my family."

This quote emphasizes the continuous effort required to maintain a work-life balance and the strategies employed to achieve it, such as intentional planning and setting expectations.

Mental Health and Personal Fulfillment

  • Finding personal activities that provide mental and emotional nourishment.
  • Protecting time for these activities amidst work and family responsibilities.
  • Highlighting the importance of having a creative outlet.

"So for me it's singing. I love singing. I sing with a group of women. Solves who I've been singing with for 30 years."

This quote illustrates the significance of having a personal activity that contributes to mental health and well-being, demonstrating how it can be integrated into a busy life.

Handling Guilt as a Working Mother

  • Addressing the common feeling of guilt among working mothers.
  • Understanding the emotion of guilt and developing strategies to manage it.
  • Focusing on what truly matters to children and letting go of the need for perfection.

"I just felt like nothing was enough and it was just constantly chasing nothing. And so I felt guilty." "I knew that guilt was always going to slip in. Like, you can't avoid that."

These quotes delve into the internal conflict experienced by working mothers and the realization that guilt is an inevitable emotion that can be managed by focusing on core values and what is truly important.

Goal Setting and Values

  • Writing down yearly goals is crucial for success.
  • Identifying and understanding your five core values is essential.
  • Sharing goals and values with your support system, such as family and friends, can make them more tangible and real.
  • This practice encourages reflection, allows for adjustments over time, and enables your network to provide support or celebration for your accomplishments.

"so great days. But I have boiled it down to three things that I think work for me. And it's not really unique advice, but it's writing down your goals for the year, knowing what your five core values are, and then sharing them. So I share them with my family, my husband, my support system. And I think that sharing that actually makes it real." "It allows me to be reflective through." "The years and understand what needs to change. And it also gives other people in my network a way to support me or celebrate me if I'm doing something that I wanted to accomplish."

The quotes emphasize the importance of setting clear goals, understanding personal values, and sharing them with close ones to create a sense of accountability and support.

Work-Life Balance and Team Support

  • Leaders should be curious about their team members' lives outside of work.
  • Asking about personal schedules and family commitments shows care and can help alleviate guilt for team members who are parents.
  • Understanding individual circumstances can lead to a supportive work environment.

"We're all salespeople. I would just get curious, start doing a discovery call. In all seriousness, though, it's asking what they need. When do you do drop off and pickup? Are you going on any trips? When's your kids spring break? My boss just asked me that recently." "I hadn't even thought about that. So I think it's just about knowing the people that you're working with and being curious about their lives."

The quotes suggest that inquiring about team members' personal lives and showing genuine interest can help leaders support their team more effectively.

Challenges and Advantages of Parenthood in Sales Leadership

  • Women, especially women of color, are underrepresented in sales leadership roles, and being a parent adds another layer of minority status.
  • Parenthood can be seen as an advantage, as it often leads to efficiency and excellent time management.
  • The challenges of being underrepresented can lead to extra preparation and a stronger demonstration of value and skills.
  • It's crucial to find a supportive community and to be transparent about one's needs and aspirations.

"No, it's a good question, Harry. So, look, women are already a minority in sales. Women of color are even a bigger minority. And then if you add on them being a parent, it's even a tinier percentage. So I see less people that look like me in executive meetings, board meetings, offsites, team meetings, and even customers are not expecting to be negotiating deals with someone like me."

This quote highlights the rarity of seeing women of color who are parents in high-level sales positions, which can be challenging but also seen as an opportunity to stand out and excel.

Authenticity and Leadership

  • Feeling the need to assimilate in a male-dominated leadership environment can be exhausting and inauthentic.
  • Embracing one's uniqueness and being genuine can become a superpower.
  • Sharing personal stories and being oneself can lead to positive responses and create more authentic connections.

"I used to feel like I had to assimilate all the time, so I had to speak in a different language or figure out what the rules of golf were. Still don't know. I think the masters is going on, but Anna hall series, that's like." "I just always felt like I had." "To put on this mask to make." "Sure that I could be with the." "Other mostly male leadership members in the room and it just feels fake. And so when I finally started sharing more about myself and I just found I could share more about my life, people responded really positively."

The quotes reveal the struggle of trying to fit into a male-dominated environment and the positive change that comes from being authentic.

Motherhood's Influence on Leadership Style

  • Being a mother expands the scope of understanding and inclusivity in leadership.
  • It encourages leaders to support and mentor those who may not see representation in their desired roles.
  • Personal experiences of underrepresentation can motivate leaders to fight for inclusivity and create opportunities for others.

"Yeah, it's honestly expanded the scope of how I engage with the world because it's forced me to seek to include and understand folks with different experiences and responsibilities outside of work, like parenting."

This quote reflects on how parenthood has broadened the speaker's perspective, making her more inclusive and empathetic as a leader.

Parenthood and Feedback in Leadership

  • Parenthood teaches the balance between making children feel capable and pushing them to improve, which is transferable to leadership.
  • Demonstrating care for team members ensures that feedback is received as constructive and in the team's best interest.
  • Being vulnerable and honest with one's team can strengthen relationships and improve team performance.

"I feel like those innate sort of qualities of being a mother actually really can be great leadership qualities, especially Harry and what you're speaking about and giving feedback."

The quote suggests that the qualities inherent in motherhood are beneficial to leadership, particularly in the context of providing feedback.

Vulnerability and Success in Leadership

  • Vulnerability is seen as a privilege that comes with success, but it's essential for leaders at all levels to be authentic.
  • Successful leaders have a responsibility to create an environment where everyone can be open and human.
  • Sharing personal struggles can empower others to do the same, fostering a supportive and authentic workplace culture.

"Yes, it's a luxury and it's a privilege. And I think there are a couple of things I would call out in there. One is you never really feel like you've made it."

This quote acknowledges that vulnerability is often easier for those who have achieved a certain level of success, but it's important for leaders to encourage authenticity regardless of their position.

Overcoming Career Challenges as a Working Parent

  • Working parents, especially mothers, face unique challenges in advancing their careers.
  • It's important not to let the fear of being judged as a working parent prevent you from pursuing career opportunities.
  • Support from allies and the recognition of long-term investment by a company can enable parents to take on leadership roles without guilt.

"I can very confidently say my career would not be where it is today if I hadn't gone for this job and I hadn't gotten that job and I was so close to just not going for it because I was in my own head."

The quote is a personal anecdote demonstrating the importance of overcoming self-doubt and seizing career opportunities, even as a working parent.

Parental Leave and Career Progression

  • Parental leave is a challenging topic, particularly when it comes to career progression.
  • Taking time off for parental leave can result in falling behind in one's career while others continue to progress.
  • Equitable parental leave for both birthing and non-birthing parents is essential.
  • Inequitable leave puts women at a financial and career disadvantage, especially if they have multiple children.
  • Increased involvement of non-birthing parents in baby care can mitigate maternal postpartum depression.
  • Greater parental leave for non-birthing partners can lead to greater relationship stability and investment in family life.

"So career pause, I think, sadly, can be a very real thing. You essentially step out of the business for four to six months and the business is still moving forward without you."

This quote emphasizes the reality of career pauses due to parental leave and the ongoing progress of the business in the absence of the employee.

"Studies show that with a non birth and parent or a partner's increased involvement in baby care can mitigate maternal postpartum depression."

The quote highlights research indicating the positive impact of non-birthing parents' involvement on the mental health of birthing parents.

"It's going to reduce the burden on mothers, it's going to strengthen the parental relationships."

The quote suggests that equitable parental leave for both parents reduces the burden on mothers and strengthens family relationships.

Parental Leave Policies in America

  • America lacks a set parental leave policy, which is considered one of the worst globally.
  • Paid leave for non-birthing parents is crucial to prevent financial loss during leave.
  • Ensuring job protection without full pay is insufficient; comprehensive support policies are necessary.

"Part of the problem with America is there's no set parental leave policy. We actually have one of the worst policies in the entire world."

This quote criticizes the lack of a standardized parental leave policy in America and compares it unfavorably to other countries.

"We also need to make sure there's the other policies that are out there to help support the non birthing parent to go on leave."

The quote calls for additional policies to support non-birthing parents taking parental leave.

Maintaining Career Momentum During Parental Leave

  • It's important to create a plan to maintain career momentum while on leave.
  • Leaders can use parental leave as an opportunity for team members to step up.
  • Setting clear expectations and accountability is essential for team success in the leader's absence.

"So for me, it was critical to invite folks on the team to step up."

The quote reflects the speaker's strategy to encourage team members to take on more responsibility during their leave.

"It's your choice whether you want to put a blueprint in place to ensure your team has what they need while you're investing your energy into keeping a tiny human alive."

This quote stresses the importance of planning for team success during a leader's parental leave.

The Challenge of Disengaging from Work During Parental Leave

  • Fully disengaging from work during parental leave can be challenging.
  • It's important to set boundaries and empower the team to make decisions.
  • Scheduling specific times to engage with work can help maintain boundaries.

"For me, it was setting up times where I was like, okay, I'm going to devote this hour to thinking about what's going on in the business."

The quote describes the speaker's approach to balancing work engagement with parental leave.

Advocating for Better Parental Leave Policies

  • Educating the company about the importance of updated parental leave policies is crucial.
  • Gathering data from comparable companies and working with allies is an effective strategy.
  • Engaging with executives in a non-combative way and advocating for oneself is key.
  • Sales roles have unique considerations regarding quotas and account coverage during leave.

"The number one thing that's important to do is to educate your company."

This quote underscores the first step in advocating for better parental leave policies, which is education.

"Make the asks for things like a ramped quota when you're coming back into work."

The quote highlights specific requests that can be made to accommodate sales roles during parental leave.

Personal Experiences with Parental Leave

  • Personal stories can highlight the gaps in parental leave policies.
  • Companies must align parental leave policies with their values, especially regarding diversity and inclusion.
  • Sales roles require consideration for commission payments during leave.

"I was pregnant when I started at Fivetram, and I'd done the high level due diligence of confirming that there was in fact the frontal leave plan at all at this tech startup."

The quote shares a personal experience that reveals the importance of understanding a company's parental leave policy before joining.

"It's the only way to prevent penalizing birthing parents for taking leave that they physically require."

This quote advocates for fair compensation for salespeople on parental leave.

Internal Dynamics and Commission Policies

  • Internal politics can arise regarding commissions during parental leave.
  • Companies must find equitable solutions that prioritize customer experience.
  • Policies such as double comp at larger companies can avoid internal conflicts.

"Every deal is structured a little bit differently and also depends on the side of the company."

The quote acknowledges the complexity of commission structures and the need for tailored solutions during parental leave.

Support and Mentorship for Working Parents

  • Support from leadership and colleagues can alleviate the guilt of balancing work with family responsibilities.
  • Building a personal board of directors and finding mentorship can be crucial for working parents.
  • Knowing team members' non-negotiables and supporting them is essential for leaders.

"And my team, people that I poured into, the people I poured into me, always knew that this was something that was very important to me."

This quote highlights the importance of mutual support between team members and leaders in respecting family priorities.

"It's critical to get creative in building your personal board of directors."

The quote encourages the creation of a support network for guidance and mentorship in navigating work and parenthood.

Inclusivity and Mentorship in the Workplace

  • Inclusive mentorship can come from any gender; men can be allies and advocates.
  • Jim Spitiak's inclusive approach set a positive tone for parental leave within the company.
  • He publicly supported his senior revenue leader's parental leave, demonstrating company values.

"Jim Spitiak was really inclusive and a lot of people think that this type of mentorship would traditionally come from women, but I just want to call out, men can be incredible allies and advocates."

This quote highlights the importance of inclusivity in mentorship and how Jim Spitiak exemplified this by being supportive of parental leave, regardless of traditional gender roles.

Creating a Supportive Environment

  • It's important to be open-minded and curious about team members' experiences, including parenting responsibilities.
  • Creating a space for vulnerability and open communication can help team members feel supported.

"Be curious. Just be open minded about people's different experience, whether they have responsibilities outside of work that include parenting or include caring for an elder of their lives or what have you."

This quote emphasizes the value of curiosity and open-mindedness in understanding and supporting the diverse experiences of team members, including those with caregiving responsibilities.

Impact of Mentorship on Working Mothers

  • Having a mentor empowers individuals to be themselves and work freely.
  • Mentorship can help demystify the idea that flexibility and success are mutually exclusive.
  • Mentors can help individuals show up as their best selves by altering leadership styles and expectations.

"I think it's just having a great mentor empowers you to be who you are."

This quote reflects the empowering effect of mentorship on individuals, allowing them to work and live freely without the burden of guilt or unrealistic expectations.

The Importance of Making People Feel Valued

  • How leaders make their team members feel can have a lasting impact.
  • Thomas Hansen's encouragement and support for parental leave made a significant positive impression.
  • Work is increasingly blended with life, and leaders should focus on making their team members feel valued.

"People won't remember what you said or what you did, but they'll always remember how you make them feel."

This quote, attributed to Maya Angelou, captures the essence of leadership impact—focusing on the emotional and personal support provided to team members can have a profound and lasting effect.

Normalizing Family in the Workplace

  • Leaders at Twilio openly discussed their families, creating a culture of acceptance.
  • Normalizing family life within the company helps make it safe for employees to be real and integrate their personal commitments.

"It was just part of the daily. Everything was just like, 'oh, I'm picking up my kids now', or 'I'm taking off next week to go skiing with my daughter.'"

This quote illustrates how normalizing family commitments in daily conversations can create an environment where employees feel comfortable being themselves and balancing work with personal life.

Creating Inclusive Environments for Working Mothers

  • Normalizing the presence of children in the workplace is key to creating an inclusive environment.
  • Companies can support working parents by providing resources, support groups, and family-friendly events.
  • Virtual family events and in-office family days help integrate family into the company culture.

"Normalize having children...bring your kids on calls...create resources and support and affinity groups."

This quote provides practical advice on how to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for working parents by normalizing the presence of children and providing resources for support.

Balancing Office Requirements with Flexibility

  • The decision to require in-office presence should be balanced with flexibility for family commitments.
  • Normalizing the need to attend family events or handle emergencies can maintain inclusivity in an in-office setting.

"In an in office world, it's really hard to do that. So just continue to normalize that."

This quote advises on the importance of maintaining flexibility for employees' family commitments, even when there is a requirement to be physically present in the office.

Advice for Mothers in Sales Leadership

  • Believe in yourself and have confidence in balancing a career with family life.
  • Earn the right to ask for what you need to be successful and don't do it alone.
  • Choose the right partner who supports your career vision and family life.
  • Pick a company that you love, where you're excited to work, and that supports your journey.
  • Don't apologize for your commitments; normalize them instead.
  • Go for it, let your work speak for itself, and find your supportive community.

"Don't apologize for yourself because you're always going to have other commitments."

This quote encourages working mothers not to apologize for their personal commitments, but rather to embrace them as a normal part of life and work.

Closing Remarks

  • The discussion celebrates the contributions of mothers in the workplace.
  • The importance of creating a supportive community, both at work and in personal life, is highlighted.

"I'm so proud to have done that show to commemorate the amazing mothers all around the world."

This closing statement expresses pride in having a show that honors mothers and acknowledges their essential role both in the workplace and at home.

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