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Creating inspired experiences
International Women’s Day [March 8] provides an opportunity to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world. The main mission of the holiday is to accelerate gender equality, and this year’s theme—#ChoosetoChallenge—pushes everyone (not just women) to help forge a gender-equal world.
But what does it mean to “choose to challenge?” And how can individuals raise awareness against bias and take action for equality? We sat down with a few SMG team members to learn more about what Intentional Women’s Day means to them, what advice they have for young women, and how they plan to make progress on closing the gender gap.
Katya Chaykovska | Research Analyst II
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
It’s a time for me to remember my roots, show gratitude to the women who raised me, and to celebrate the talented, intelligent, and curious women and girls in my life who all have taken such different paths, but all have done so well for themselves. It reminds me people complement each other, and we have to appreciate all those people who complete us even if we are very different.
What’s your greatest professional achievement at SMG?
My recent promotion to Research Analyst II! But also getting my PhD while already working at SMG.
What advice do you have for young women entering the workforce?
Don’t be afraid to be yourself. You are so much more than the sum of your social roles, physical attributes, and memberships. In the end, you will be judged on your merit. And if you aren’t, don’t tolerate it.
What do you #ChoosetoChallenge?
I choose to challenge the opinion that, in an effort to be more progressive as a society, the professional and personal achievements of women today are only “handed” to them because of their gender. While representation in positions of power is important to encourage social groups who not so long ago thought it impossible, I know there are legitimately strong, capable women dedicated to their cause, and they deserve to be celebrated without judgment. I have witnessed their presence, and it makes me optimistic for the future!
Hope Meador | Senior Account Manager, Client Insights
Honestly, I had not heard about International Women’s Day until the last few years, but I spent time recently learning about the holiday. To me, International Women’s Day is powerful as an international celebration. In each country, women are fighting different battles for equality, but we can still fight for change together.
I am in my tenth year at SMG and I would say that my greatest professional achievement is that I have managed my career while raising two kids (both under 3 when I started at SMG) with my husband while supporting him running a small business. This is the first time I have included my family in a note about my professional achievements, but I believe that International Women’s Day is about embracing who we are in all aspects of our life.
In many situations, the work-life balance is precarious, but work-life satisfaction is always in your control.
I choose to challenge the notion that we all need to walk the same path to be together and embrace the joy in sharing our different journeys.
Rachel Dudley | Account Executive, Client Insights
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?It’s about celebrating the achievements of women and shining the spotlight on inspirational and powerful women. I wrote my university dissertation on the progression of women and found out some alarming facts that made me passionate to stand up for and celebrate women.
What’s your greatest professional achievement at SMG?Transitioning to work on Sainsbury’s, one of the UK’s biggest supermarket chains, has definitely been my greatest achievement so far. I’ve had the opportunity to grow significantly and be involved in some really exciting projects for this client.
What advice do you have for young women entering the workforce?Be confident and assertive and do not compare your success or growth to others—something I’m sure we’re all guilty of, but something I actively try to avoid doing.
What do you #ChoosetoChallenge?I chose to challenge gender assumptions.
Megan Krier | Manager, Demand Generation – Marketing
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?Being a white American woman, it makes me recognize my privilege. There are Black and brown women, women in other countries amid war and persecution, who fight battles I don’t have to face. It pushes me to do the work to take on institutions that bottleneck equality. We have to build up the women around us who don’t have a voice. Empowerment can be a gift, and we need to use it to break down gender biases and gaps.
Also, this day reminds me of how grateful I am for the women in my life—from my daughter, my mom, my extended family, and my lifelong girlfriends.
Working with the entire (and outstanding) marketing team to drive new approaches to creating pipeline. I juggle being a full time professional and mom so I’m lucky to work with a team that supports both professional growth and personal balance.
Don’t be afraid to bring your whole self to the workplace. Women don’t talk enough about motherhood or personal issues because of the biases that exist if we do. Be confident in the value you can bring to the table and express your ideas. Lastly, lean into being uncomfortable and challenging yourself regardless of failure. It means you are developing new skills and talents you otherwise miss out on.
What do you #ChooseToChallenge?The bias of strong women. When women behave assertively, we are called aggressive or pushy while the same characteristics in men are redeemed as confident. As Beyonce says, “I’m not bossy, I’m a boss!”
I’m also trying to teach both my daughter and my son to recognize implicit gender bias or microaggressions in our everyday world and stop those patterns. It’s important to start breaking down gender roles and assignments to achieve a more equitable landscape for their generation. Feminism simply means you believe in equality for all, not just women, and it’s something we need to not only celebrate but bring to fruition in our everyday lives.
Rachel Minter | Account Manager, Client Insights
Celebrate women who are already speaking up and advocating for women. Listen and share stories about these women. Take action in everyday life—small actions can lead to a big impact for the future of women!
Know your worth. Ask for more. Find a mentor! Having a mentor inside and outside of your company that you can bounce ideas off of, ask questions to, and have for guidance will help tremendously in your career.
I choose to challenge inequality by lifting women’s voices in every room I’m in.
Want to join our team? Visit SMG’s culture page to learn what it’s like to work at SMG and to view a list of current opportunities.
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