Women in Tech Tribe

WITT Interview with Kate From Lately, with Debra Christmas and Kelley Irwin of Women In Tech Tribe - Featuring Lately CEO Kate Bradley Chernis

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Transcript

Speaker 1: (00:00)

Thanks. Are we good to go?

Speaker 2: (00:26)

I got the thing that says recording.

Speaker 1: (00:28)

Okay.

Speaker 3: (00:33)

We'll cut that part out. over to you whenever you wanna start

Speaker 4: (00:43)

Starting

Speaker 1: (00:48)

Deborah, I think why don't you start talking about how we came together to write a book.

Speaker 4: (00:53)

Oh, okay. Sorry. I'm let's go. Okay. Um, so Kelly and I, um, did not know each other before we wrote this book. We actually, our names were mentioned to each other over a course of, I don't know, Cal maybe a year and a half or something after I had, uh, joined Gartner and, and we had actually seen each other at an event, but we actually didn't know who the other person was, which was kind of interesting. We were at a big corporate event across, from a big boardroom table admiring. I was actually admiring Kelly's watch and not knowing that I was talking to Kelly Irwin. So that was always a fun part of this story, but we actually, uh, got officially introduced. And this is where the power of conversation and collaboration comes in full speed is we were at, uh, Mike corporate event in Orlando, Florida, big, big, huge it conference.

Speaker 4: (01:48)

And one of my colleagues actually went and got Kelly and brought her over to me. And we sat there. I don't know, count four hours, I wanna say. Yeah. Between adult beverages and, um, appetizers, uh, got very deep into conversation about women in women, in technology, our industry, our field, and through in that conversation, it came out between us that we were both interested in writing a book and that conversation became a reality. I think Kelly would come back from Orlando and I think he sent me a message saying, are you serious? Are you serious about this? And off to the race as we went, I was deadly serious about it. And so was Kelly. And we started the process. I think it was October, 2018. It's 2018 or 20. Yeah, 2018 or 2019. Oh geez. Now the date's even going outta my head. um, it's just like a, and we, and we went into a year and a bit of writing and we launched the book.

Speaker 4: (02:51)

It'll be a year on October the 20th. So we, we launched it last October and it's been an incredible ride since then of many conversations like this, uh, from podcast to sessions of interviews, to presentations, to workshops. We, we absolutely knew we had struck a nerve when we actually, we went out to LinkedIn. I think it was may of 2020 to just get some ideas on the subtitle for the book that we had already selected. The title of please stay, but what was the subtitle gonna be? And the response that we got from around the world, and I mean, around the world, hundreds of people responded to us, asking us to write and talk about their industry. Could they, could we talk about manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, women in financial services? So we quickly realized that, although we were talking about the challenges that women in technology face, these are universal issues for women in business around the globe. And we knew we had created a movement basically that was gonna change the trajectory of our lives, which it has. It's been a pretty wonderful ride.

Speaker 1: (04:04)

Yeah. And, and I would add to that, uh, a couple of things that were really impactful to us and how we got started was Deborah's comment. We met each other, um, at this event, but it was because I was talking to someone and saying, I'm thinking about writing a book and I'm not sure how to get started. And this colleague said, oh, you should meet with Deborah Christmas. She also was thinking of writing a book about women in tech and he went that one step further. And so this is the, the comment I give to people all the time is don't simply say, you should meet this person. You should talk to this person. Like he literally physically brought us together and said, you too, you need to talk. And had he not done that? I would've, I would not have reached out to Deborah.

Speaker 1: (04:49)

I I'm an introvert. I'm busy. I would have 15 reasons to not contact her. I would think I should contact her, but I know that I would not have done that. And so his moment of, you know, it, it took him nothing. It cost him nothing to, to physically find the two of us at this event and say, you two should talk. And he stepped out. He didn't make sure that we liked each other or that we followed up with each other or anything. But, but that moment of connecting people, I have used that in my life to connect other people since that day. And in my coaching to people like go that step further from just saying, here's a name because you don't know if that person will be prepared to reach out and do that. So that was one thing is that, that how the connections are so powerful and life-altering like, he had no idea that he was gonna change our lives.

Speaker 1: (05:41)

Um, and the other thing is, uh, commitment. So personal commitment that we all have things in our life we wanna do that. We say, I wish I wish I had done this. I wish I had started this. I wish I had learned something. Um, but are you committed to doing it? And so when Deborah and I came back and uh, we talked about, we probably told, each of us probably told 10 people, we're gonna write a book. We're gonna write a book. Meanwhile, we weren't writing a book. We were just talking about writing a book. And then, you know, Deborah alluded to, we, we had this conversation where I said, are, are you serious? Cause if you are, let's do something. Let's not be those people that walk around for five years and say, I might write a book. And she said, I'm in. If you're in.

Speaker 1: (06:26)

And from that day on, we formalized it. We had meetings, we had discussions. We found people to help us. We asked for outside expertise in all the areas that we didn't know, like we knew our topic. Um, and we have the stories inside of us, but we didn't know anything about publishing. We didn't know anything about choosing a book, cover a book, title, a book, color, a book, font, all these things. So we got expertise and help from other people. And so the journey of bringing this book to life has been so much about personal growth and about supporting other women and about believing, um, in those other women, along the way where we encouraged them to share their stories with us, that we included in the book because we made a commitment to each other from the beginning. This was not a memoir. This was not as we retire. We reflect back on our career. This was to be a book that was giving tips and techniques to people who are actually in the industry from people who are living and breathing this every day.

Speaker 4: (07:45)

Maybe we should pause for a second cuz

Speaker 2: (07:48)

I,

Speaker 4: (07:48)

How this is

Speaker 2: (07:55)

So great to meet you, Deborah and Kelly, what a thrill, uh, hello, by the way, I'm in the Hudson valley of New York. So it's, um, fall full on fall here, but we've got an Indian summer. Um, so it's like in the seventies and I'm wearing shorts. , don't tell anyone right to the end. I'm a die hard summer girl. You know, as long as I can, I'll wear like even literally a puffy jacket and shorts until

Speaker 1: (08:19)

I, oh my God. That's awesome. Hi Kate. Yeah, I'm outside of Toronto and I'm sitting in my author studio, which I had, uh, designed and built and, uh, people are intrigued by it because it's seven by seven feet. So quite small, I can touch all the walls and that's all I wanted because I remind my family members and friends you're not invited in. This is a creative space. that is meant just for me. So I'm outside and it's, it's uh, a little chilly, but I am also a diehard. I sit out here even in January, even though there's no heat.

Speaker 2: (08:53)

Awesome. Wow. That's tiny studio. That's cool.

Speaker 4: (08:57)

Hi, Kate. I'm Deborah. And I'm based in the greater Toronto area. I'm in the lovely little village of Dunas, which is in the Hamilton area. So about 45 minutes from the Buffalo border. And as Kelly knows, I love to be outside and I normally would be, except there's so much wildlife outside that I figured the noise factor might be a bit of a challenge when you're being recorded. So I'm, I have to be inside today, but normally you would hear the chirping and the dogs and all the craziness going on behind me in my yard. Um, but I'm to the end, I'm outside. If I have to have blankets on or whatever. Yeah. It's winter,

Speaker 2: (09:34)

You know, I can relate to that by the way, because, um, so, so one of the things we're talking about off camera was that in a, in another, another life, I was a rock and roll DJ. And my last gig was broadcasting to 20 million listeners a day for XM satellite radio. And so I've always had a, a recording booth somewhere, right. And so we're always sensitive to like the lawn blower, the, or the, um, sirens outside. And, um, you know, in, in my journey in radio, I actually end up having to leave because the stress, the overall stress of honestly the boys club really started manifesting physically and raise your hands if this has happened to you. But like, I, you know, my body started to shut down in all these ways. And, and one of the ways was I, I wasn't able to type anymore at all. Cool. Oh yeah. And this is, um, 2005.

Speaker 4: (10:31)

Wow.

Speaker 2: (10:32)

Yeah. and so I quickly, I panicked, right. I can, I have what I have is, um, a partial permanent disability. So I have epicondylitis and tendonitis through both my arms and hands. And I researched and learned about this thing called dragon naturally speaking, which now we all know is the, the thing that powers Siri. Right. But, but then this was a new idea to talk hands free to, to use a computer. And so I learned about it. There were only four coaches in the whole country and it was not very far along. It was hard to use. Um, but I didn't have any money. I was in radio. Like, so it's not, it's not, there's not a lot of glamor. Let me tell you and I found a coach, I was in DC. There happened to be one right near the Pentagon.

Speaker 2: (11:16)

And she was a huge fan of my station. And so I was able to pay her with about 200 CDs cuz that's what I had. Right. Thank God. And the thing about dragon was you have to the microphone, here's everything, right? Because it's learning from your voice all the time. So you have to be in an enclosed room. Now we were in an open space at work. And so suddenly I required my own office. So now I'm a pain in the because I need an accommodation. Right. Mm-hmm I need software. They won't buy it for me. And so I have to buy a laptop, my own, you know, like I have no money, right. So I buy a laptop so I can at least bring it to work. Now the laptop doesn't plug into any of the programming software we were using it.

Speaker 2: (11:57)

Won't let won't install it for me. Like there's all these kinds of things. And you know, meanwhile I've, I've fallen down the stairs, I've torn, uh, a ligament in my ankle. So I'm, I'm either in a wheelchair on crutches for almost a year and a half. There's a rash in my torso that nobody can explain. And then this thing with my hand starts happening. And so I end up hiring, um, an intern myself because they won't pay for it cuz they don't believe me cuz I look normal. Right. And um, I'm, I'm like constantly, you know, to having the intern help me. And, and it was this crazy experience where, you know, one of you had mentioned before, like what, what the question I believe it was and Kelly, you can correct me if I'm wrong was like, how did you leave the stability of, of corporate life, right. Is that what you

Speaker 1: (12:43)

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2: (12:45)

Yeah. And so like for me it wasn't stability that I was leaving. It was hell

Speaker 1: (12:52)

. So the outside view was that you had all these great things and you have this huge audience of people who are admiring you, but personally that's not the feeling that you're having every day.

Speaker 2: (13:03)

Yeah. And I think a lot of women suffer from this particular don't you? Because we're amazing at putting that, the makeup on. Right.

Speaker 1: (13:13)

I agree.

Speaker 2: (13:14)

And it's so interesting because then, you know, while, you know, if you're playing a sport, that's a great quality , you know, get it done, put the game face on, win the game. But then internally it eats, it, eats us up and you know, thank God for Simone Biles. Right. Raising her hand. Can you imagine

Speaker 1: (13:34)

Mm-hmm no, um, the courage. Yeah.

Speaker 2: (13:37)

Yeah. And at the same time, so there was sexual harassment was an everyday part of radio life, especially, you know, I'm easy on the eyes, right. Not a lot of women in radio and that, and so it was all the time and I even participated in it because it was so normal. It was part of the culture it was expected. Right. Yeah. Um, and I'll give you an example, like, um, my, my boss used to ask me every day when, cuz we would walk around together around the studios and whenever we'd pass the bathroom, he'd be like, Bradley, are your hands clean? Because the, the joke is will you hold my while I go to the bathroom. Okay.

Speaker 1: (14:20)

Wow. Yeah. Wow. And it just felt normal to you.

Speaker 2: (14:23)

Totally. Yeah. Like I laughed, I made jokes also. Um, I mean I, for personally I have a sense of humor obviously, but I, what I didn't know was that it started being used against me. So I was successful and I was doing, I got, you know, I got my channel, all these accolades and I was really good at my job. I was better at other people than their job. And so whether it was my boss or other peers, people were trying, this is very much part of corporate life. People get jealous. Right. And it's all about their own chisel and they try to put you down. And so there was a hostile work environment being perpetuated by the sexual harassment, which we, I didn't have these terms. We didn't know what this meant. Right, right. Nobody this and um, I didn't even know it was anything was wrong or weird. I just knew like, why the hell am I getting on? Why am I not getting an a plus when I'm doing a plus work? Like, why am I not getting the accolades and the validation that I deserve hair. Right. And my body was screaming at me. It was saying, get out. And I wasn't listening.

Speaker 1: (15:29)

And you weren't listening for a long time. Yeah.

Speaker 4: (15:33)

Oh, sorry. Cal, go ahead.

Speaker 1: (15:35)

Go ahead. Yeah. I had an experience. I mean, not, not that, um, uh, maybe horrific, but in my mind and, and in my body, like, you know, sort of a similar reaction was I, I worked with this group of executives who were all men and they were all over six feet tall and I'm a very short woman and they were all very loud and gruff. And we would sit around this big corporate boardroom table for this meeting every week. And I started to notice that nobody's listening, I'm talking and they're like, nothing happened . And, and then, you know, sometimes the things I said would get repeated by someone else to great accolades or they would just ignore it completely. And I went to my boss at the time and these are a bunch of executives. This is not, you know, low level managers. Uh, and I went to my boss who was a senior executive at the time in this large corporation.

Speaker 1: (16:32)

And I said, the, um, perspective is that everyone who sits at your table needs to be a very big, loud bully and a I'll bully. And if that's what you think I should do, I could do that. But it's not who I am. And I don't think that you should be expecting me to be like that. And his answer was so telling he's like, I don't know what you're talking about. And I'm like, so you sit there every week and don't notice that everyone's a bully and everyone's banging the table. And everyone's very loud when they're talking in this meeting and that I'm not, you don't notice that. And he said, well, give me an example. So I gave him five examples in one minute and he's like, oh, I'm sorry. You feel that way.

Speaker 2: (17:19)

Mm.

Speaker 1: (17:20)

So in that moment, my brain went, get out, get out, get out. I didn't leave right away. But I left in a matter of months because I thought I can stay and fight this. I'm strong. I'm not afraid of these people, but what the hell for, right? Like, like now I'm gonna be the one to tell all of you that you are wrong and I can do that. But at what cost to me.

Speaker 2: (17:43)

Exactly. And we,

Speaker 4: (17:44)

We're still seeing this today, by the way, you know, I mean the title of the book that Kelly and I wrote, it's called, please stay okay. It's called please stay. And it's called, please stay. Because when we wrote it at the time 56% of women in our field were leaving, like leaving. So when you think about the amount of effort, money, resources that go into getting an education and, you know, going to school, whether it's three years, four years, five, it doesn't matter. They're leaving at the midpoint of their career, which typically means they're 15 years in. So they're not leaving at five years or two, or, you know, one they've invested now probably 20 years into this field. They could be outstanding at what they do. They are leaving because of the culture and the boys club and all of the ways in which you just reflect when I was listening to you talk about radio.

Speaker 4: (18:38)

I thought, wow, that sounds just like technology. , we're, we're seeing the same behaviors and we're still seeing, uh, women, you know, leave this field, um, every single day, just cuz they're not prepared to put up with it or not. To your point, Kate have their health so compromised because of the stress and the environment where they can't show up and just be treated as a decent human being. Nevermind. As, you know, as a female, just as a decent human being that somebody else would think it would be okay, that they could treat them like that. And, and we're, and we see it. We still hear the comments. There's not a woman on the planet who does not have an example that similar to yours or to Kelly's that we've all got one, if not more. And part of what, you know, we're on a mission to do is to really create, uh, a network where they can thrive and Excel at what they do and not leave or be, or feel like they, they have to, or even worse be pushed out. It's it's, uh, it's a, it's a serious issue for us in the technology field. And, and you're now in the technology field. how are you finding this new space?

Speaker 2: (19:48)

Well, same different day. I mean a little bit, right. I mean, I, and I, I mean, I'm the boss in this case. So, so that part is different, but the, you know, the venture capital arena, everything Kelly said is true. Like the, you know, the, who has the bigger balls at the table, right? That's, that's very much a thing. It often doesn't matter what you say, as long as you say it. So confidently. I mean that, that episode of the office where Dwight is, you know, banging on the table, reading the mu leaning speech. Like that's, that's true. You know, it's true.

Speaker 1: (20:26)

Yeah. It happens. It happens. It's sad,

Speaker 2: (20:29)

it happens. And, and as you kind of alluded to Kelly, the onus is on you, the woman or, or the underdog, whoever it is, um, to, to figure out the solution, you know, and he said, pointedly, I'm sorry, you feel that way. Right. So there was zero ownership and I, I find that what happens too, is the tape starts going. So, so my default probably yours and I know many women, my, and, and this is not a man hating event or anything like that. I'm just saying for, for when you feel, um, unheard or unlisted to, or unseen, the tape starts running first thing, why are all the reasons I'm responsible for this? What am I, what have I done wrong? That's your, the first thing is to assume you've caused this. Right. For me, it is. And so, and that's a toll on, in my psyche of course, like, so I, so it's negative city, of course, how can I fix this? You know, running through all my things, , you know, what can

Speaker 4: (21:21)

I do? What can I do differently?

Speaker 2: (21:22)

What can I do? Yeah. It's, it's, it's weird because it's like, conversely, it's, it's, it's a, it's empowering because it set shows that you feel like you have the control here, right. When you, you, sometimes you don't like the only control is to leave perhaps, you know? Um, and so I find that incredibly Deb debilitating, but I think in the venture capital world or in the tech world, Deborah, like the thing that I've learned that I love the most, um, is that I'm not alone. as you all are clearly showing. And also that it's okay to react after the fact. So I find that in a, in the moment, a lot I'm flustered and I don't realize what's happening. And I may, sometimes I have the wherewithal to say, Hey, F you stop doing this to me. But a lot of the times I don't. And it's afterwards that I think, oh my God, that was actually horrible. And I found that the ability just to acknowledge that and then share it with other women so that they can see it coming or, or see it after it's happened, in any case in their own lives is just as valuable. You know what I mean?

Speaker 4: (22:35)

It's huge because one of the things that we do see women struggle with is the voice, finding their voice, using their voice, using it often using it with comfort, uh, and confidence. And you just said something that a lot of, uh, I think women, you know, was important for them to hear, because there's often not the ability in the moment. Sometimes it's not, you know, there are some that are very, very good and they can really come forward very quickly. They can respond quickly. They can think very fast on their feet and they can verbalize those thoughts and, and handle the situation. But this is one of the things that we hear from women often is I, I didn't know what to do. Yeah. I didn't know what to say. I was caught off guard and, and Kelly and I have, you know, spoken with so many women, you know, over the last year in particular, around going into situations, particularly cuz in the corporate world that we live in, you're going into meetings a lot. You're going into meetings, you're going into workshops, you're going into executive types of situations. And, and one of the things that we say to them is to prepare, get some, get your little posse around you. Yep. And, and we'll play some of these parts so that as someone's coming at you potentially or talking over you or, you know, repeating what you just said, you just said,

Speaker 1: (23:58)

Taking credit, taking credit, taking

Speaker 2: (24:00)

Credit,

Speaker 4: (24:01)

You know, how do you come back and respond right there in the moment because that's, that's a muscle that you can build because the behavior looks pretty much the same over, over and over and over again, it might be coming out of a different person, but it looks the same. Uh, there might be a nuance here and there, but you'll what we're trying to teach them is to recognize it when they see it. Because what you just said, that tape, that starts running as the first part, the first part of the tape is I don't think I heard what I just heard. Yeah. That's that's the first part did I, did I hear that? Right? Mm-hmm yeah, you did actually. And then we go, they couldn't have meant that. Yeah, they did.

Speaker 1: (24:41)

Okay. what did I do? What did I think caused it? What did I say? How did I trigger it? So, but, but Kate, you said something about like, like being, making sure women know they're not alone is important. Right? So these stories, you talked about sharing your experience and your stories. It helps other people see it before it happens to them. And that's something Deborah and I have been really impacted by over the last year is as we tell a story, how many people say, I thought it was only me. I didn't know it happened to anyone else. I thought I did something wrong. Thank you for sharing. So, so we need to make sure that we are telling these stories. I think that in our careers we've probably downplayed them because we don't want, we didn't wanna magnify them and make them bigger than they were. And so we maybe did a disservice by not letting other people know we were experiencing what they were experiencing. So if you look at the talking to venture capitalists and going into an arena where you are often the only one you are often the very tiny minority of women entrepreneurs and, and looking for this type of partnership and investment, like where do you find those colleagues and those, uh, you know, to Deborah's point your posse when there aren't many.

Speaker 2: (25:54)

Yeah. It's hard. I mean, so I'm gonna say something very unpopular, but when I was watching the Elizabeth, um, from Theranos that Netflix special, right? I like her cuz what I liked about her was she, she found a way to psychologically manipulate all those guys, all those really powerful guys. And I took some notes. Right. I did because it, because I've been there and I know what it's like and like everything from the not blinking to the low, I mean I have a low voice. So I already know about this one. And I, I also know how to turn on my radio voice, which is, gets me a lot. Right. I know how to use that one on the phone. My husband will be like, why don't I get the nice voice I'm tired.

Speaker 2: (26:38)

yeah. Right. Um, but you know, the peers it's, it's, it's funny because women were, it's so hard and I I'm I'm guilty too. We're we're often competing against each other, you know, um, especially in the startup land because not everybody gets the money, you know, 2%, 2.7% now of Fe of female entrepreneurs get only get the venture funding. Um, and so there is, I find that I have a personal inclination to compete before, um, um, bonding before reaching out, um, which is just my nature. I mean, I am competitive but then it's kind of like something I realized when I was in high school, like I put this into, I, I realized someone, somebody said this be in high school when you're the, if you're the pretty girl in the room, it's your job to make the other girls feel just as pretty.

Speaker 2: (27:36)

And the business version of that is when you walk into a room, you don't wanna be the light. You don't need to be the light. You wanna be the magnet that draws other people to you and you make them feel like the lights because that's how you turn. That's how you get fans. That's how you get evangelists. People walk away and they tell everyone about you cuz they had an experience with you. You know what I'm saying? Mm-hmm . And so when you know, you have that kind of any kind of power, whatever it is, when you can find a way to give it away, to give it to others, it makes you more powerful. That sounds kind of mock that's.

Speaker 1: (28:14)

That's awesome. Like I gotta shiver when you said that and, and you know, we, we say it in not, not as, uh, articulate as you like, if, if you find yourself in a room and you're the only female sitting at the table, pull out a chair and invite another female, like we've gotta bring along other people. Um, so like I said, yours was much more articulate and eloquent would be the magnet. I love that. Um, and, and it's true that, uh, you know, if you want to make yourself be the only light, then you will cause more of that competitive and jealousy, that's triggering the negative reaction, right?

Speaker 2: (28:50)

Yeah. That's you have that choice. You can either make people feel uncomfortable or, or comfortable and you can, and by the way, you can still be, you can hear it in my voice. You can still be entrepreneurial and use it to your advantage. Right. Cuz that's is what I'm always thinking. That's my nature. This is why I'm a good CEO is cuz I do, I do have a motive. I do, you know, I have a motive doing this with Andrew. Like I want this content I'm gonna use it. Cuz it drives leads for me. Mm-hmm right. I mean, obviously I'm loving meeting you and, and, but it's, and I think that's another thing by the way, there's no shame in having an objective. And I find that mm-hmm um, women, especially don't maybe don't know this. Right. Um, that's why sometimes it's harder for us to ask for money, um, or just be kind of direct in that way, but there's no shame in making a sale or having an intention you don't have to do. You don't have to do everything just to be nice. be nice as well. But you know, you know what I mean? Like

Speaker 4: (29:48)

With that, well being in the corporate world, you know, some of the things that you've been talking about, oh gosh, that, that comp you know, this is, I wanna just go back to the competition for a second because sure. We are all, you know, we're, we're all competitive. The thing that, and there's nothing wrong with that. Quite frankly. It's it's am I it's how does that play out? What kind of competitor am I? And you know, one of the things that we talk about in, in our chapter friend or fo female friend or fo is that, um, young girls are often socialized at a very young age that a, another female is her competition. Mm-hmm um, and, and, and that, and that means, you know, in the, in the war for Johnny. Okay. I'll just say, you know, from, from my day it could be Susie, you know, as well, but in, in the war for Johnny it's, you know, trip, trip, Susie on the playground, you know, and then Johnny will like, you better cuz he likes Susie right now. Like, like we're, we're serious. This is the kind of message that, you know, uh, like that, that, um, what's it, you know, I call it the snow white syndrome mirror mirror on the wall. Who's the fairest of them all. Yeah. Right. It's that craziness where you,

Speaker 1: (30:57)

Well, zero sum, right? If you win, I like

Speaker 4: (30:59)

Correct. Yeah. Incorrect. Instead of going in, as you said, and say, let me pull up a chair and by the way you look spectacular. Okay. You look spectacular. There's it's so

Speaker 2: (31:10)

Much easier too, right? Deborah.

Speaker 4: (31:12)

Yeah. It's, it's a fight. There's only one seat, so it's gonna be me and yeah. And instead of let's create another seat and let's see who else we're going to bring to the table so that this table is no longer the, what we call the, the only, you know, the only female or the only black person or the only this, or the only that that's what we need to get by so that women can see themselves as, you know, having the right to be there and to fill that space, um, by helping other women, I feel we all have a responsibility to, to, to help each other. And we need to get that mentality through, you know, the women that are, are coming up behind us as, as well as those that are ahead of us. Truly. Yeah.

Speaker 1: (31:55)

So Kate, you made a comment about looks and, and I think this, I find this really fascinating. Uh, I had a boss once who gave me advice that I should try not to look so much like a girl, horrible advice, horrible advice. Um, uh, wow. At the time I didn't realize how horrible it was and thought like, oh, maybe I should listen. Um, and then I was speaking to a group of young women who were in university at this event and one of them put up her hand in the middle and I was talking about, you know, technology, not even women in technology, just technology jobs and opportunities. And cuz these were university people looking for jobs and this, this young woman put up her hand and said, I'm so happy to see you look like a girl. And I was like, what does that mean? And she said, well, we've been sort of told that we need to change our look if we want to be successful in technology. So that was 20 years after I got the advice. They were still getting that advice, which is awful. So what do you say to those people? Like you obviously did not listen to that crazy advice that you should stop looking like a girl. Um, and Deborah and I didn't listen to that, but how do we help young people who are still getting that message?

Speaker 2: (33:06)

Yeah. That's a smart question. So thank God for Michelle Obama. I mean I B I went and bought green glove green leather gloves, right after that day I was like, oh yeah. And I'm gonna wear it with yellow. Yes. You know, it was cool. Um, so, so my, um, my wardrobe when I'm out and about in the adventure or startup land is always, um, jeans and cowboy boots and a t-shirt or a shift dress and cowboy boots. So the boots are always with me because they're comfortable. They gimme a lift. So I feel taller and I can walk, you know, multiple city blocks in those suckers and you know, no problem. And it's unique, you know, not a, not a lot of people are wearing boots and they're my, my armor of sorts. Um,

Speaker 1: (33:46)

I love it.

Speaker 2: (33:47)

Yeah. Thank you. I, I miss them. I haven't put them on in a while cuz obviously COVID um, and my jeans don't fit anymore, which is annoying. But um,

Speaker 1: (33:55)

For me, it's my sparkling necklaces.

Speaker 2: (33:57)

There you go. We all have something. Right. it's so weird. Um, but I remember like, so a couple things, I remember JP Morgan chase invited me to be on a panel with them. And like some other people who are in my mind tells you like way more successful than me. People who are ho had long lists of accolades, you know, after their names. And I remember having this moment of, oh, oh, I've made a poor choice when I walked into the building and I saw everyone wearing suits, everyone, all the women, they look fabulous. And here I am in t-shirt and jeans and cowboy boots. And I thought, holy, I've made a grave error. My mother is going to just die. Right. and, but then afterwards, I mean seeing the video I learned and this, and I knew this now was the perfect thing because I was memorable.

Speaker 2: (34:51)

I stood out and the women in the audience, there was, it was, we were talking to younger women like a lot around this conversation here. People came up to me. I I'm not kidding and said, I want to be you, which is a, a lovely compliment and also a weird one um, which I'd heard before in radio , you know, it's a weird one, but, but what she was, what they were trying to say, there were three women did this actually. Um, they were trying to say like you had the, the Herba to just be yourself. Yeah. Yourself, you know, but I did it with awareness. I mean, I did it with full awareness of, in a little shame you know, but then it was really after that moment and, and a couple of other things had happened all at once. Someone had said to me repeatedly, be yourself, be yourself.

Speaker 2: (35:41)

And it's sounded so stupid and obvious to me, duh, you know, I am myself. But then I realized I wasn't, I would go to these meetings wearing suits and I had my little leather case and all these things that aren't are not me. They're just not me. Right. And I wasn't moving forward. I wasn't able to move the business forward. I swear like a sailor. I'm having a hard time, not doing it here today. Right. That's just my nature. and I remember one of my, one of my friends and advisors and investors who I care about so much had said to me, you can't swear in front of men cuz it's just not gonna work out. And I eventually said that because I realized the people I need around me that I must have around me have to be people who, who I can roll with. You know, I don't have, I don't have time for anyone who I have to come up with excuses for explain, explain my myself, you know? Yeah. Cause we got more important things to do, build a company,

Speaker 1: (36:35)

You know? Well, not just not have time, but it's exhausting. Right. If you're putting on a persona all day and then you get home, you're exhausted. So being able that's right. To be yourself. Yeah. And, and I think, you know, from those stories, I think it's really important for us, not only to be ourself, but to encourage the young women who we're talking to, that they need to be themself. And that may look similar to us may look like something completely different, but that, that authentic self isn't just about what kind of work you want to do. It's how you want to act.

Speaker 4: (37:07)

Oh

Speaker 2: (37:07)

That's yeah. When, or I was just gonna say, when you also, when you, um, when you get to the place of where you can be yourself, you give everyone else permission to be there themselves.

Speaker 4: (37:18)

Yeah. It's the ex what we call the exquisite risk. Right. And it is that, it, it really is that because for women that we are talking with it, we are literally telling them one, find yourself like truly do some reflection and know who you are, because you're gonna have some choices that you're gonna have to make about where you spend that energy. Are you in the right place? Are you working with the right people? Is it the right environment? These are, these are not easy choices necessarily because for a lot of women, I was reading a statistic just the other day, preparing for an event that I was doing, uh, that 40% of us house households, the female is the sole provider. That was, I was like 40%. That's huge. That's huge. I, I, it was in a Forbes article just literally, I just looked at it two days ago and I thought, oh my gosh.

Speaker 4: (38:07)

So if you think about, you know, if you are the sole provider and you're, you've got a good income and you need to provide for the family and the children and maybe even the parents for Pete's sake, this becomes really a big, big thing as to, can you find your space in the company where you feel valued, you feel included, you feel whole where you can actually Excel. And, and we know for some women, they're in a place where that is not the case. Like you talked about, you know, with how you made the shift in your career. And, and some of them are, are gonna have to make that shift. But what we're hoping is for our community is you don't have to leave the industry. You might have to leave that company. You might have to leave that particular environment, but don't exit the industry.

Speaker 4: (38:51)

You know, this is what's so critical is because we need to see as many women as we can choosing technology as a career in whatever way it looks. Mm-hmm because that's the beauty of this career is the variety of opportunity that you have the types of jobs that you can have, the types of work that you can create in this field. Uh, we need them to stay and we need our young girls that are coming through the school system. Now whether they be eight or nine or 10 or 14, to see what the possibilities are for them, for career in technology. And they're only going to see that is if people like us are here,

Speaker 1: (39:32)

I'm talking, showing

Speaker 4: (39:33)

Them that this is possible.

Speaker 2: (39:34)

I,

Speaker 1: (39:35)

We talk, sorry.

Speaker 2: (39:36)

Oh, ask one thing there. Uh, Kelly, sorry, which is, I remember people have always asked me, like, where do you see the company going? Where do you see the company in five or 10 years? And I've often had a hard time answering that because when I look to the iconic women of technology, all of them, you know, look great. They they're wearing amazing suits. They all went to Wharton or Harvard. And, and I went to Skidmore I was a line cook. I was a rock and roll DJ. I was a rock climber. you know, my parents are awesome, but you know, modest incomes. And I, I don't see anybody like me. Right?

Speaker 1: (40:16)

Yeah. I think that's the challenge for a lot of young women is, is finding that mentor who feels authentic to sort of their journey. I was gonna say, we talked a lot about challenges, but, but talk about like the awesome part of your company. I mean, you're a CEO. This is awesome. Look at you. You didn't think that 20 years ago.

Speaker 2: (40:37)

Yeah, it is awesome. Um, thank you. That's so nice of you to say, you know, so I, I joke a lot. My, my special gift is seeing the glass half empty.

Speaker 1: (40:48)

we need to have a, we need to have a coffee or a glass of wine one day.

Speaker 2: (40:54)

I would love to do

Speaker 1: (40:56)

That. Both of you

Speaker 4: (40:58)

We'll go to Vermont,

Speaker 2: (41:00)

Go to Vermont. Sounds great. Um, yeah. You know, it's and I know you guys and everyone who's who's watching can relate to this, but, but, um, it's, it's the best, I mean, so, so the decision you make is what's worse working with or not knowing where your paycheck is gonna coming from, you know, having financial instability. And so for me, obviously the stress level of, of the second one is way lower than the first one. Like, you know, now I still have high anxiety and sleepless nights and my body still manifests stress, but like, I have an army of people who, who take care of me literally, you know, and I pay attention. Now I listen right away. I know, I know, I know what what's telling me to do or not to. Um, but I also feel, and, and it, I don't know how to say this, but like, the rollercoaster is real. Um, every day something amazing happens and, and probably three or four horrible things happen. and I, I get, I, I, I, I feel like I cripple myself often or I, I, I, I collapse in on myself, um, because it's, so it's not that it's lonely. It is lonely, but it it's, it's not lonely because I don't have people to talk to or relate to it's lonely because nobody can control it except for me. Right. And so it's only down to me. And,

Speaker 2: (42:28)

Um, you know, sometimes I can't, I it's not that I can't figure it out, but sometimes I just feel like the, the weight, the pressure, like all, you know, all the things

Speaker 2: (42:48)

Like somebody told me once, um, a man was trying to devalue my company to buy it and take it over for me. And he told me that I could never be a good CEO because I didn't have the experience. And I believed him. Right. Oh, and I, cuz he's right. I mean, I don't have experience, I didn't go to business school. I don't know how to, I don't know how to do this. There's no book for this. H every day is a new, you know, I have some ideas of where we're going and I can make spreadsheets and all these things. But like, I don't know how to be a CEO of a tech company. I don't right. He's right. And that,

Speaker 1: (43:25)

But he doesn't know how to have the idea to form the company that

Speaker 2: (43:29)

You he's an honestly did. Yeah. But I did. But like, that's the thing that you start to, you start to listen, you know, like, we're you start to believe that you're or I do, maybe not everybody does, but it's, it's hard to keep the demons out, you know, cuz it's, it's ever present in every day. And, and I really, like I said, I mean, I have an acupuncturist and therapist and my physical trainer and my massage person. Like I have all that stuff. I have a husband who, no matter how much of a I am, he somehow still loves me, which I really appreciate, you know? And I have a teammates, you know, I've a, I've asked most of my Al everyone on my team to not take a paycheck some for two years. Okay. That's the worst. Cuz then I'm hurting other people's I'm hurting other people, like, you know, hurting people that I need. Like, and I hate the word need, cuz need is needy. But I'm saying it, cuz it's true. Like I can't exist without these, this team. Right. And this feeling, this for me, the pressure is I want them, I want, I want the industry at large, the women, the underdogs. I want them to point to me and say she did it. Right. I don't know what that means though. Deborah and Kelly. I don't know what

Speaker 4: (44:45)

Kate don't let I, I know you've gotta go. I do not let anybody tell you. You can't. I heard my father tell me that my whole life and thank God he did. Um, because people will every day show up to tell you that you can't based on nothing by the way, based on nothing other than their own opinion. Okay. Which is also based on nothing or, or you know, their own biases. So you've, you've done an incredible job, you know, we're, we're very excited to continue to watch and listen to, you know, the folks that you chat with and where you take your company. But don't let don't, don't let anybody tell you. You can and don't let them steal your joy ever. Don't let them steal your joy. Really. Thank you. really.

Speaker 1: (45:27)

Yeah. And I, I think just to that, if you, if you listen to a person, give you a negative comment, whether that's about you or your company, ask yourself, do I respect this person? Do I respect this person's opinion on other things that aren't about me? And if you don't, then that's just another thing. That's like a neighbor saying, I think you bake bad lasagna. I don't care. I don't care what you think. I'm not feeding it to you. Right. So, so don't take it in. We're here for you. Kate. Never

Speaker 4: (46:00)

Here. She's gotta get in the car. We gotta,

Speaker 1: (46:02)

But I want her to say goodbye to us in her fantastic radio voice.

Speaker 2: (46:08)

Oh, I love you both. Um, you're listening to Deborah and Kelly. . How about that one?

Speaker 1: (46:15)

Hey, you're awesome. This has been such a pleasure to meet you. You are now part of our tribe. Part of our posse. You will not get out. I tell everyone that once Deborah brings you into the circle, there's, you're there for life. Um, and no

Speaker 4: (46:29)

Exit

Speaker 1: (46:30)

Door that is tiring for me as an introvert because she forces me to do things way beyond my comfort. And you're now part of us.

Speaker 2: (46:37)

I love you both. Thank you so much.

Speaker 1: (46:39)

Love you too.

Speaker 4: (46:40)

Bye now. So nice to meet you.

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