I just want to tell you about an event I attended this month. No, sorry, I didn't mean to say "just". And I also didn't mean to say "sorry".

My colleagues Aidan Lukomnik, Kayla Wong, Matthew Phang, Summer Falgiano, and I attended the “Sorry, Not Sorry” event by Lee McEnany Caraher of The SHEQUALITY Project founded by the PR Council. The event took place in LinkedIn’s San Francisco office – and started with a presentation on LinkedIn and journalism by Sophie Sieck

The SHEQUALITY project is designed to help women rise in the executive ranks in PR. Currently, at Hotwire, we are proud to have a female CEO and balanced global leadership team. But that’s not the case for other agencies in the US and around the world. The event tried to tackle the question of why there aren’t more female CEOs in communication agencies. Lee McEnany Caraher pointed out things women and humans in general, do that hinder their career development and how to change them:

  • Don’t self-limit yourself: Men typically apply for jobs when they meet 60% of the job criteria. Women typically apply for jobs when they meet 100% of the job criteria. Hence, the first advice is rather clear: Take a chance!
  • Work on your handshake: Lee McEnany Caraher recommends using ones first and last name when introducing oneself in a firm voice combined with a firm handshake. And while we’re on it: let's stand up to say hello and goodbye instead of looking up while sitting.
  • Arrive early: In order to not miss any important insights, arrive early to meetings to be part of the "pre-meeting party". Sit wisely to not be overseen, disrupt if necessary, for example by moving things around or getting up to get water. And even if you think everything has already been said about an idea, repeat it and add your individual thoughts to it.
  • Understand the message of nodding: While men interpret nodding as agreement, women do it to show that they are listening and paying attention. Once you know this and spread your knowledge, confusion and miscommunication can be avoided.
  • Don’t be sorry for your allergies: Stop using words such as "just" and "sorry" in general, except if you really messed up and need to apologize. Otherwise, you are downplaying your own message.
  • Practice conflict resolution: Understand the circle of resolution, which comes down to making a request and offering people help to make the change, as changing by oneself is really hard, so it helps if someone offers support.

After Lee McEnany Caraher's talk, my colleagues and I discussed what we had just heard. It's not new to us, but it was great to be reminded of what we can do to strengthen our work culture and empower each other. We are proud to be part of a company that supports women and men in archiving their career goals. 

If you want to know more about Hotwire’s work culture, you can check out our careers page and the SHEQUALITY Podcast. Lee McEnany Caraher interviews senior women leaders from PRC agencies weekly, as they share their personal stories, challenges, achievements, advice and best practices: