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In honor of International Women's Day, a time where we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, we've asked women and allies--how do you find and own your voice in the workplace?

Surveying a handful of leaders, we pulled together a collection of what we thought were the most resonating and thoughtful responses below:


1. How do you find and own your voice in the workplace?

“I've found that reminding myself of my self-worth and remaining true to myself allows others to believe in you, too. Your voice comes when the respect is earned.”

Kathy Glassey
Director of Renewable Services
Monster Franchising, LLC
Monster Tree Service, Inc.


"I listen and observe when I'm in a new workplace, team or project. I get the facts by asking direct questions to those involved and consider how they respond. It's not just about finding your voice, but learning how to fine tune it to communicate effectively with each individual.”

Wendy Meli
Information Systems Manager
Fattmerchant


“It can be tricky to find your voice, when you're the only female voice in the room! I've learned that having a point of view that is backed by data or facts is key. Opinions that I can bring to the table based on my unique role in the business can shape decisions, but there's an underlying trust that those opinions are shaped by both my experience in the role and connection to our customers.”

Rachel Hocevar
VP of Customer Success
Dialpad



2. What is the best piece of advice you've received to get your voice heard in the workplace?

“Be confident on the outside even when you might not feel it on the inside. Don't look for outside validation. You can be trusted. Share what is coming through and don't apologize. Ask yourself: Would a man be asking for permission to share or would they just lay it out there and move on if no one else likes or supports his thoughts or ideas? Speak up! We need more innovators, creatives, and leaders.”

Jennifer Martin
Business Coach & Transformational Vacation Leader
Zest Business Consulting


“Speak up even if you are being talked over. This will happen initially because people may not expect you to opine. Just because it may seem like you can't get a word in, don't stop trying.”

Lily Toy
General Counsel
Dialpad


“One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received was to remember that everyone “hears” differently so research and know your audience then tailor your message. You have to often use a mix of verbal, written, and visual communication tools to be “heard.” I also love this advice from Ruth Bader Ginsberg, ‘You can disagree without being disagreeable.’ ”

Donna Bland
President/CEO
Golden 1 Credit Union


3. What advice would you give others to find their voice in the workplace?

“Make a concerted effort to speak up, at least early on in your career. It may be intimidating but it gets easier with time. Also, support other women who own their voice (or are working on it). Nothing encourages others more than complimenting them for speaking up. If we all do this, we'll have more women owning their voice.”

Lily Toy
General Counsel
Dialpad

“The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Meaning, you know the solution for the squeak is grease, because it’s a wheel. It’s persistently letting it be known exactly what is needed. In other words, to get your voice found and heard you’re going to have to ask yourself the contextual questions: who, what, where, when, why...You have to make sure that you're concise so that people can understand and trust they need to listen to you more.”

Wendy Meli
Information Systems Manager
Fattmerchant

“Slow down and start paying attention to your inner dialogue. You already have a voice, you probably just aren't giving it the microphone. Let go of the need for perfection. I promise most people have a ton of lousy and mediocre ideas before they land the jackpot. Speak up. Be willing to be a role model for others who are too shy to share.”

Jennifer Martin
Business Coach & Transformational Vacation Leader
Zest Business Consulting


“I would advise others to choose their words carefully. Words really do matter. First seek to understand before asking to be understood. Remember that the quality of your work speaks volumes and that silence always says something. That can be good or bad depending on the situation so always listen to the silence. I would also advise others to use their voice to make a positive difference in the world.”

Donna Bland
President/CEO
Golden 1 Credit Union


4. How do you think we can continue to support women in the workplace?

“Have those honest conversations with somebody and encourage them to strive for their best.. Always give constructive feedback. I always think of: What was the highlight, how can we fix this, what can we do to make this better? Always give credit where it is due and encourage them to proudly take it!!

Wendy Meli
Information Systems Manager
Fattmerchant


To all those who celebrate and support International Women’s Day, we hope that the journey towards finding and owning your unique voice never stops. With the right tools and some helpful career defining advice, we can all collectively work toward owning our voices in the workplace. We wanted to thank all the women and leaders who have taken their time to participate and share their thoughts. Happy International Women’s Day!