With the first season of the New York Women in Communications podcast Coffee Break w/NYWICI in the books, we’re taking a look back at some of our favorite episodes to revisit the wise words and compelling conversations we’ve had with some of the brightest women in media and communications.
Our Episode 11 guest was Claire Wasserman, founder of Ladies Get Paid, an organization that facilitates female leadership and helps create an inclusive work environment. Claire gave actionable advice for how to be the best advocate for yourself at the office. (Episode 11 on iTunes | Episode 11 on Soundcloud).
Here is what we’ve learned from Claire:
Transform Your Negative Experiences
Claire was at an advertising festival in France when she was asked, “Whose wife are you?”
“In a way, I want to thank that man because he started Ladies Get Paid,” Claire said. “It was a week of things like that happening and I went home and felt weird about it. I internalized it…that typical thing of saying it’s my fault, it’s my fault. Then it struck me that in my entire career, I’m 30 now, I’ve experienced a lot of this micro-misogyny.”
Ladies Get Paid began in NYC but now has events across the country. The more than 40.000 members of the organization’s Slack group share articles, resources and job opportunities to help women rise up at work. “We’re industry agnostic — challenges are universal,” Claire said. “We’re going after the stuff that most women tell us that they’re struggling with. For the most part, that tends to be negotiating — the number one challenge women tell us when they sign up for Ladies GET Paid.”
A big part of Ladies Get Paid is the “Workplace Bill of Rights”, a manifesto for women to declare their values. As part of Claire’s philanthropic mission, 10 percent of the proceeds from the “Workplace Bill of Rights” goes to She Should Run, an organization aiming to increase the number of women in in public office.
Grow Your Network and “Make Sh*t Happen”
Claire started working in experiential marketing to fund the ideas and people she thinks should be part of meaningful initiatives. “We did something for a client in the Art Directors Club, which is a space in New York, a non-profit that helps connect people in visual communications,” Claire said. “When I did this initiative in their space, I decided I’d actually rather work for them because they’re a network. What I’ve been amassing in the past year and a half is all these contacts, and [I saw] how powerful it was to be able to tap into your Rolodex and make sh*t happen.”
Claire said she got a new job from that experience and learned that connecting others can be a new job in itself.
The Art of Negotiation: Show You’re a Top Performer
When you approach your boss to ask for a raise, don’t expect them to know why you deserve it. Come prepared with research about the company and background of your skills and contributions.
“Know your worth within the context of the company,” Claire said. You can’t just assume, “Well this is what the internet said. Look at it as holistically as possible…there’s something called a salary band. Say ‘I believe I’m a top performer and this is why.’ Bring evidence from the market and your own work.”
Maintain your confidence by shoving down the fear of speaking up. Remember that you’re in the room on a mission. What happens if you ask your boss and get silence?
“Be uncomfortable with the silence, the ball is in their court. If you get a no, ask, ‘When’s the next time I can ask? What do you need to see from me to get the yes?’” Claire said. “Then get it in writing. Thank them in an email for their time, reference that you’ll meet in six months [or the time agreed on]. Obviously in that time, look for another job as a back-up.”
Find Liberation in Financial Transparency
Why is it uncomfortable to talk about money with friends? Claire thinks how much we make should be part of our normal conversations because it can help give a baseline for negotiation when asking for a promotion. She cautions not to base your insight off one source; ask other people you know in the industry.
Claire was transparent with finances for Ladies Get Paid: She splits the profits 50/50. “For a town hall that’s run in another city, there’s an organizing committee, and they take 50 percent of the workshops. Instructors take 50% for workshops. Everyone’s getting paid. As a start-up, it’s helpful because I didn’t have to have capital outright.”
Define What Money Means To You
Does more financial freedom mean less anxiety or more flexibility? To Claire, it means power.
“You negotiating for yourself is actually negotiating for the woman next to you… moving the needle collectively.” If you get a raise, that can encourage other women in your industry to get a raise to compete with industry standards.
Thanks to Claire Wasserman for being part of the podcast! To hear more about the art of negotiation and Ladies Get Paid, visit nywici.org/podcast.