Embracing Your Voice: A Conversation On Self-Advocacy in the Workplace


Women face a variety of unique challenges throughout their professional lives from barriers to accessing promotions, raises and leadership opportunities to lacking confidence or struggling to speak up in a board room or meeting.

On Tuesday March 26, industry leaders from across the communications field came together for a panel discussion at the DotDash Meredith office at World Trade Center.  Panelists Singleton Beato, Global EVP, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at McCann Worldgroup, Alysia Borsia Chief Business Officer and President of Lifestyle, Health & Finance at Dotdash Meredith and Claire Telling, Talent Consultant and Career Coach imparted wisdom based on their personal and professional experiences. They touched on topics such as how to empower and advocate for yourself professionally and personally, how to stay relevant and up to date in your industry, the importance of diversity and inclusion and how to enact boundaries and balance in a demanding industry.

Here are some key takeaways:

— You can lead from any seat in a meeting. Singleton Beato

— Treat yourself like a business case. It’s helpful to show value to both your employer and yourself. Claire Telling

— Employee Resource Groups (ERG’s) are critical. We need our communities and our people.  Our culture is our people! Erica Curtin

— A good leader’s job is to give their team a platform, support them, and help them break through barriers. Alysia Borsa

— The job of people in talent is to think about the small steps that you can take in the next couple of years to get where you’re going or being a micromanager of people’s careers. Claire Telling

— You can’t get to inclusion by excluding anyone – it’s a game of inches.  Once you solve an issue for one underserved group it will inevitably help many other people. Singleton Beato

— Once a year update your resume and elevator pitch, take a step back. Alysia Borsa

— It’s crucial to keep yourself marketable. Pay attention to things happening outside of the walls of your company so that you’re ready to have a business-oriented conversation. By keeping yourself educated and in the know, it helps you build confidence. Singleton Beato

Advocating for Yourself in the Workplace

Thinking about creative ways to utilize your resources and advocating for yourself in a way that feels comfortable for you is key. How you ask for what you want, whether it’s a raise or promotion, is an important part of speaking up for yourself so that you’re heard and get results.  Claire Telling suggests treating yourself like a ‘business case.’ For example, every time you get good feedback or ace a client presentation, write it down or keep a list on your phone, so when it comes time to ask for that promotion or raise, you have tangible evidence to back up your case. Alysia Borsia recommends having a ‘personal board of directors’ of mentors, colleagues or managers who can help advocate for you when you’re not in the room. Singleton Beato emphasized the importance of boundaries at work, taking ‘micro-breaks’ throughout the day and scheduling time for ‘self-care’ on your calendar to avoid burnout. “You can say ‘no’ but think about how you say ‘no’ there is an art and science to it,” said Beato.

How to Stay Relevant in Your Field

In any industry, but particular in the field of communications it’s important to keep yourself marketable. Stay on top of industry trends and what is happening both inside your company and outside the walls of your company. It is important to always be ready to have a business-oriented conversation with anyone. You never know who you might bump into on the elevator!

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace

As diversity, equity and inclusion in corporate culture continues to evolve, it is now more important than ever to talk openly about diversity and gender equality. What is happening in the external world has internal implications for our industry. “It’s a game of inches, sometimes you slide back, but you have to keep pushing forward,” said Beato. What is at risk for one group of people will have a ripple effect for all groups, and making progress for one group will ultimately benefit the collective

Written by Vienna Maglio


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