Heidi & Ashleigh - Diversity hiring and closing the gender gap | Accelerate 2021

Niharika Ayyagari

By 

Niharika Ayyagari

Published 

March 26, 2022

Heidi & Ashleigh - Diversity hiring and closing the gender gap | Accelerate 2021

Accelerate 2021 was a 2-day virtual summit that featured 12 sales leaders and coaches, hailing from the hottest B2B companies. An event that brought together the top minds in sales whom everyone loves.

This is a blog series where we cover the speaker's speeches from Accelerate. Today, we’ll run through Heidi Solomon (Founder, GirlzWhoSell and VP Sales, VXI Global Solutions) and Ashleigh Early's (Sales Coach and Consultant, The Other Sales Coach) talk on “Diversity hiring and closing the gender gap in sales."


Transcript

David Youngblood

It says connecting. We're doing it. We're getting it. Oh, there we go, all good to go. Excellent. We're here we did it, we made it back yet to another session that just started. So, give a couple of folks, a few more moments to join us. We're going to send out a team can you make sure to get something into the feed? Alert them, and get folks to join us. But um, you know, really, you know, this one's particularly interesting to me, for a couple of reasons. But one, I'm kind of, I'm just gonna go a little bit, I introduce you two if I'm not mistaken, right.

Heidi Solomon Orlick

You did.

David Youngblood

Actually, I met both of them and had amazing conversations with both Ashleigh and Heidi. And I was like, this is a no-brainer, the two of them should meet. And then fast forward a few months. And here they are, you know, cohosting in a virtual Summit here in Accelerate 2021. And we're talking about a very, very important topic, right? As far as, you know, having fun and playing and having a good time. That's all great. But we definitely want your feedback, your input, and this to be engaging for you all as well in the audience when we're talking about diversity hiring and closing the gender gap in sales because it's historically a very one-sided field. So, I'm definitely interested, I'm going to be sitting back and learning taking notes. But with that said, Heidi, and Ashleigh, if you could both provide the audience with a little bit more about each of you and your respective organizations. And I'll leave it to you.

Heidi Solomon Orlick

That sounds great. Ashleigh, you want to kick it off.

Ashleigh Early

Why not? All right. So, hello everyone. A quick note, we did drop a poll. So please tell us basically just what your current role is, you want to make sure we're making this as relevant as possible to literally who actually took their time to invest their morning, their afternoon, or evening, whatever with us today. So please, please, please, if you haven't taken that yet, please take it. That's great information for us. My name is Ashleigh Early. I am the CEO and founder of the Other Side of Sales as well as a sales consultant coach and cheerleader. I work as a fractional head of sales for the Duckbill group, which is an AWS Bill consulting firm as well as with a bunch of different companies on short term projects, helping their teams scale, but my passion is really getting more people into sales and making B2B sales culture truly inclusive so everyone can thrive. So new episodes dropped every other Thursday, theothersideofsales.com. Pick your podcast catcher, it's exclusive - interviews with amazing sales pros that you should be watching to show that success in sales can look and sound like whatever you look and sound like if you're willing to put in the work and if you're willing to fight for a healthy environment to work in. So super excited. It's funny David mentioned Heidi. Heidi and I have been like circling each other on LinkedIn for like two years because we know we share a lot of these same passions. So, I'm this is super exciting on a lot of different levels to be here today. And Heidi, I'll kick it over to you and everything about 'GirlzWhoSell.'

Heidi Solomon Orlick

Oh, thank you, Ashleigh, you're so amazing. And David, thanks for being an incredible dot connector. And I want to also just do a shout-out to Elliott Garcia, who's been phenomenally supportive. So, thanks to the entire accelerate team for having me here today. And allowing us to talk about a subject that like you David is incredibly dear to my heart. In my day job, I'm Vice President of Global Sales for VSI Global Solutions. I've spent over 30 years, maybe started before some of you were born in business-to-business sales. And if you think it's male-dominated now, you should have seen it 30 years ago, fast forward 30 you know, plus years and really began to give a lot of thought to how to democratize, democratize professional sales and where and so I founded GirlzWhoSell in the latter part of 2020. We officially kicked off this year. So, we're still a scrappy, bootstrapped startup, but the response and reaction to what we're doing are incredible and our mission is to not only close the gender gap in business-to-business sales but to also build the largest pipeline of diverse early-stage female sales talent position sales as a viable career option for everyone. So, while I'm really excited here to be talking about diversity hiring, to be honest, I'm looking forward to the day that we can just be talking about hiring and that diversity becomes more normalized. And is not something that we have to actually you know, have sessions on. So, you know that that in order to, you know, anyway, so that's it. So, Ashleigh, what do we have any results for our poll?

Ashleigh Early

Yeah, so it looks like we have a good mix, we have a few, I'd say we're about 1/3 sales directors head of sales, about two-thirds, kind of individual contributors. So AE, SDRs, and I picked up from marketing and some other ancillary, but crucial roles on the team, which is super exciting. So great, great, great mix about one-third, two-thirds, ballpark math.

Heidi Solomon Orlick

So, I know actually, we kind of had an agenda, we wanted to talk about three things today. And I'm going to let you kind of lead the conversation, but one was sourcing strategies, interview techniques, and then some decision criteria. And we'd like to dig into each of those things. And our goal is to really give you some actionable things that you can take with you and deploy into your organization. So, Ashleigh, why don't you take it away and kick it off with sourcing?

Ashleigh Early

Yeah, I think I start with kind of even taking it a step further back in terms of the kind of like, why this is even important in the first place. The Great Recession is happening, the great reshuffling is happening. I really think talent acquisition and retention is going to be one of the major sticking points for sales teams, especially in Q1. Y'all thought Q4 was a rough wait for January, it's going to be interesting, on LinkedIn, some of the shufflings is going to be happening, and more and more people I'm talking to you today, job seekers, and especially even people who've been in their careers, 5, 10 years, 10, 15 years, 20 years, they're no longer willing to put up with unhealthy work environments. So being able to demonstrate constructive DEI policies in your interview process is a major recruiting tool to make sure you're not only getting the right talent, but the right talent wants to work for you. So, DEI is something that'll actually help you attract talent. And I'll help you keep it on board, as well as make sure you're getting the right people because let's be honest, you need a diverse sales team because your buyers are diverse. And if you don't have that diversity of thought on your team, you're talking about the react, you're not gonna be able to react in a positive and profitable way to the market going upside down, which we all know it does about every 12 months now. So just why this is important in the first place. This is key to success in 2022. And beyond these aren't DEI strategies are no longer a nice to have. They are table stakes. And it's not just policy, it's action. And the best way to start showing action is in the three things that we're going to talk about today sourcing the interview process and your decision criteria.

Heidi Solomon Orlick

Yeah, and if I can only add, thanks for doing that. And I, you know, one of the things that you and I had talked a lot about today is that you know, and we actually did a LinkedIn poll. And the results were not surprising maybe but reinforce the fact that diversity and equity and inclusion have become more and more important in terms of the decision-making criteria used to select and commit to a job with an organization. In fact, it even scored way higher than compensation in terms of what was important in some of the younger generations in particular, as we look to source, you know, millennials and Gen Zs that are coming up the pipeline, and, and moving from an early-stage talent into management. They're voting with their wallets. Right. I mean, they're, they're, you know, they're looking for organizations that are not only talking about diversity, equity, and inclusion but are living it, particularly from an organizational standpoint. So, yeah.

Ashleigh Early

Perfect. Let's talk about how to live in.

Heidi Solomon Orlick

Gotta live it.

Ashleigh Early

So, let's talk about how we can do that. So, the first way you can live kind of actual DEI strategies is to take a look at how you're sourcing, kind of the TLDR. The too long didn't read, for those of you who are credits for this section is stop relying on LinkedIn. Stop. LinkedIn is going to be predominantly white, college-educated, and male now that's changing, it's better. But really, realistically, that's going to be the that's going to be a lot of the candidates that you're going to get, it's going to skew that way you cannot rely on LinkedIn. So given that you want the widest most diverse talent pool possible, you have to start getting creative and figure out other ways to source talent. So, there are a lot of different ways that you can do that. Obviously, there's using your own internal referrals, but referrals tend to only amplify what you already have. So, if you're doing good with diversity, hit up everyone in your team and people are willing to refer people to where you work that's a big positive for both the company and the employees. So, referrals are always great, but sometimes, you know, you need to improve diversity, or you haven't been able to nail that yet. So where do you get that applicant pool? A couple of different things you can look at one of the big things that Heidi and I kind of did thinking about this is you have to partner with groups that are trying to change this. So, we're going to rattle off a bunch of names. I'm going to do a LinkedIn post right after this. So come find me. I'll hyperlink all of these. But the part with groups. We're trying to change this. So off the top of my head, obviously, huh? Girls who sell is a fantastic group. If you're not familiar, please do go check them out.

There are also sales for the culture, which is for black sales pros, one of my cohosts from other side of sales, Brian is deeply involved with them? There's Girls Club, which does not with a Z with an S, they do some great mentorship and training. There's and then there are a couple of other groups that are not sales. specific.

Heidi Solomon Orlick

Sistas in sales with Chantal George.


Ashleigh Early

Oh, yes, sistas in sales. There are a couple of others that are there's, there's a bunch, there's a bunch of women's specific, and actually, I recommend if you want to get a list of all the women in sales groups, check out. Shesellssummit.com. There was a great summit Lori Richardson put on a couple of months ago that got together all the kinds of women in sales groups are there a lot of us a lot of us spoke at that too. But that's a great kind of index of where to look for everything there. But partnering with groups like that, posting on their job boards, I'll tell you this, I was recently hiring someone at duckbill. And we bought a job listing with sistas in sales, specifically, because we want to make sure we're getting the best sourcing possible. And that was a huge help. Because we were showing our money where our mouth is we were advertising to a target demographic that was you know, not just to bring in diversity, but also making sure that we were hitting people who had the right experience that we wanted. If I'd had more money would have gotten done a lot more of those. But make sure you're working this stuff in.

Heidi Solomon Orlick

Yes. And those are all important sources. The other thing that I would really encourage everyone to do is to normalize sourcing in spaces that are overrepresented for untapped populations. And what I mean by that is to source engage and build long term relationships with schools and universities, universities, colleges, and schools, high schools, traditional black, black-owned colleges, or, you know, biopic, call. Yeah, yeah. It's really important to do that, because particularly in the universities and community colleges that have sales programs, and the Sales Education Foundation, Marty homes is phenomenal. If you go on to the Sales Education Foundation website, you'll see all of the colleges that have sales education programs, and it is we're just it's.

Ashleigh Early

Fan more than you realize.

Heidi Solomon Orlick

Yeah, it's and these candidates that are coming out of these sales programs are hitting the ground running, they're moving through the learning curve, and they're delivering on their sales target faster than individuals that do not have exposure to these universities. And I will tell you, they are a high in demand most of these universities, these, you know, students are getting recruited from in junior and high school, or I'm sorry, junior and senior levels within these universities, and they're having 100% placement. So, it's, it's really competitive.

Ashleigh Early

Another thing that is super important, is nothing you can do because I am a firm believer that you should not need a college degree to work in sales. It's nice to have it is not a need to have a look at sales-specific programs. So, looking at companies like rendition, victory lap, aspire ship, pre hired, we work, there's a ton of these like I said, I'm throwing a lot, it's out really quick, I promise we will hyperlink all these combined is on LinkedIn. But those schools I worked with everyone I just mentioned, they all do some great work around sourcing within underrepresented communities and making sure they get also training and stuff like that, too. So, there's a ton of them out there. The ones I just named are ones I've worked with personally; I can vouch for the caliber of their candidates. They're great people tell them I sent you. But you know, there are always bumps in the road. But it's worth it to have as many tools in the toolkit as it were to get these things going. And if you especially if you're a small company that's only hiring one or two people a year. Partnering with those programs versus a traditional university can be a better option because it gives you kind access quicker whereas the universities and stuff like that. They're always happy to run a job posting but they're not going to really help you source if you're not hiring 510 15 people a quarter because they just don't know half the time. So, there's a lot of really great stuff and make sure definitely, you're taking a take a look at like the Sales Education Foundation and reaching out to your local if you are hiring on-site, your local community colleges, especially there's tons of stuff for, and I'd say even not even just the sales programs, but look at nontraditional sales things. So, for example, I don't have degrees in anything remotely relevant directly to sales. I have a degree in political science, and I have a degree in Opera. Those two things made me very good at sales for very different reasons. But I did not I was I never considered sales as a career. I just knew I wanted to make more money than I would make doing opera.

Heidi Solomon Orlick

I have a comment on the colleges, because I do think they have a lot of candidates that are coming out of there as seniors that are graduating, and they're the colleges and universities have job fairs that they're doing. So, while I agree with all the companies, I see that Deborah also mentioned SB Academy, a great, great program agree. And but we but I can't overemphasize the importance of looking at colleges and universities as a potential recruiting resource for you and get involved I mean, sponsor, you know, as a company goes in sponsor a college program, these universities are always looking for corporate sponsorships. And you get the first selection of the graduates that are coming out of those programs that you can bring into SDR and BDR roles, or even hires them. It's an intern.

Ashleigh Early

No, I think you're spot on. One of the things that I found is like when I didn't have the budget to sponsor a booth, I did have a recruiting budget that I could spend through the school. So that was something I did. The other thing you can do if you don't have the budget for the university's sponsor a booth or something like that is to reach out to the teachers, and the professors. I've guest lectured about a dozen times. And every single time I do I dropped my LinkedIn. And I say when you guys are looking for work, come find me. And there's always a couple of people that do and that's my intern pool constantly. And it doesn't cost anything.

Heidi Solomon Orlick

It's so much fun to talk to these students. And they're phenomenal. And you know, listen, the youth are future right there, there. They're the future of the organization. So, it's super fun. There are also lots of sales competitions that you can sponsor. As well go and judge go and speak, get involved, there's so much that you can do to source through nontraditional channels outside of LinkedIn.

Ashleigh Early

And starting with these schools, stuff like that, that's great for entry-level two, you have to do this stuff. Like if you're sourcing for SDRs, and stuff like this. But even being seen to be sourcing like this, and building these partnerships, there are alumni that will see this there are people who will keep an eye on the candidates or candidates will check your LinkedIn, they'll check to say, oh, oh, you were an HBCU last month, that's really cool. I now feel a little more comfortable seeing that you're putting in the work. So, it's not just about getting the entry-level people and it's being seen to do this work to get the diverse talent pool to get the mid and upper-level people who are now like I said, making this table stakes to get in and really get high caliber in.

Heidi Solomon Orlick

Alright, so now I talked about how to get candidates. Let's talk about how to interview candidates.

Ashleigh Early

Yes. Couple two things I want to mention really quickly about sourcing just cuz we didn't get to because we went on a rant, but a couple of things are really important one if anyone knows of any groups that are focused on advocating or placing people with disabilities or different abilities, whether mobility or otherwise, please let us know. Heidi and I, we're racking our brains. We don't know of any there have to be some out there. If anyone knows, please let us know we will add it to the post at the end of this. Also, don't forget when you're sourcing, put pay and benefits in the job description. That's super important for pay equity. It's also super important as a differentiator. I will tell you this as someone who is a cis woman, one of the things that are table stakes for me anytime I'm looking at a company is I insist on trans benefits. I don't insist on trans benefits because I need them. I insist on them because someone else will. And so, when I see that in a job description, I know that's something that's a safe place for me to work because they are embracing rights for other people. And they're putting that very publicly. So, if you've got these benefits, advertise them so people understand you're putting your money where your mouth is and you're living it every day. Put in the job description that way, it's a no-brainer going forward. Now the interview

Heidi Solomon Orlick

Yeah, and I just I love that too because that's a perfect example of what you just brought up Ashleigh of putting your money where your mouth is and not just you know, where you're actually living DEI not just giving it lips service.

Ashleigh Early

Okay. So, the interview process. So, I mean, obviously, this is going to vary depending on what level of the person you're hiring. But we're going to talk kind about the core concepts of how to do an interview process in a way that reinforces this stuff. And again, get to the right people with the right caliber, and keep them engaged with you guys. So one thing you can do kind of along the same line of what I was just talking about is checking your own language, and push yourself to use gender-neutral language, in the job interview process as much as you can and get your whole hiring process to do that, they then can be singular, don't assume pronouns, start just doing that, from the very start of the interview process training recruiters to ask for pronouns that the person doesn't offer them. It's a really subtle thing, but it's a really good kind of code word to say, this is a safe place, not just for LGBTQ, but for everyone, period, and then try to use it throughout the process, I've been working really hard lately on trying to get guys out of my vocabulary, it's apparently a hard habit to break. But keeping these things top of mind, and then using the interview process as a place to showcase them can be really powerful.

Heidi Solomon Orlick

Yeah, I agree 100% With that, the and again, just done the pile on a little bit onto the language thing, really look at the exact language that you're looking at in your recruiting ads, there's research that shows that, um, you know, if you add, if you use words, like aggressive, or we're, you know, come and kill it, and we, you know, we have whatever, right like that, really, um, I guess more male-oriented, for lack of a better term, not going at more male gender, you're not going to necessarily attract women, right? Women, in particular, are looking for organizations, they want to be a part of a team, they want to be able to collaborate, and they want to be able to solve problems. And so, I think as you're putting your job ads together, it's really important to assess the language that you're using, and being sure that they're more gender-neutral, you have to also understand that it takes a look at the qualifications, and maybe we're getting into decision criteria a little bit. But one of the things that just drives me nuts, and I know Ashleigh, you and I were talking a lot about this is there's you know, a list of 100, you know, criteria, entry-level job, and we 5 years’ experience, 15 years of experience, right, whatever. And it's just it's incongruent. So please get real with the qualifications that you're looking for, particularly for diverse candidates and female candidates, because they're less likely to apply. If they don't meet the qualifications, then perhaps, you know, a male candidate, so just something to take into consideration.

Ashleigh Early

Yeah, and there's a study that that particular idea is sourced from that's been called into question in recent years. But what we do know is that women, and minorities especially are less likely to apply when they don't feel welcomed by the job description. It's the feeling the job description makes. So, a really quick hack, there are services you can pay, they will actually run it through an algorithm that will tell you how you're doing on this. My quick hack is finding women on the team, finding minorities in the team, and having them read your job description, hey, how does this make you feel? And just ask them whether they're there or not, make sure they're okay with it. You don't want to turn it into tokenism or ask them to be representative of their particular identity. But it can be a really good kind of gut check and just tell like, hey, I'm just trying to get a gut check. Does this feel? Does it feel too aggressive? Does it feel too masculine? Does this feel too? What is it? How does this make you feel? Do you would you feel safe applying this? Does this reflect our culture? Yes, no, maybe adjust. You don't have to pay a ton of money to do DEI.

Just be a little thoughtful and take feedback where you can get it along that same line actually, with the job descriptions, take the time and make sure you know the rules. I do not have enough fingers to count how many times I've been asked in a job interview. If I'm planning to have kids. Let's be clear, that's illegal in every Western in every major Western country.

Heidi Solomon Orlick

Or what is your current salary? Guess what?

Ashleigh Early

Now that is illegal in a lot of states, so know the rules if you are a hiring manager and you're not certain about what you're not what you're allowed to ask - you're not allowed to ask him to go to HR insist on training. I tell people the story all the time. I did not get it when I was first brought to a hiring manager HR literally told me to go look it up. In hindsight, I really wish I pushed back and was like, no, I'm not interviewing until you train me on this stuff. Because I know for a fact that a few things that were wrong, and that put it's not a huge deal, but it is a big deal we can insist on better. Look it up, know the rules, and talk to HR. If you don't have HR, talk to your boss, make sure you understand what you can and can't ask everything from just something as simple as how are you planning to get to work is illegal to ask. So, make sure you know the rules, you know, there's a higher standard.

Heidi Solomon Orlick

Absolutely. And then the only last point I would add, and I knew, I knew we were going to run out of time. But the only last point I would add is - bias. Bias is inherent in the interviewing process, it just is. So you need to get real and, and, you know, really take a look at yourself as a hiring manager, you know, in terms of your own bias, but I believe that companies should invest in bias training if you can, or do your homework and do your research and really get in touch with that so that you understand the part that it plays as a part of the process.

Ashleigh Early

So, take some time, make sure you understand what you can and can't ask, and just know the rules. It's, it's a subtle thing, but it makes a big difference. Just asking something as simple as I get it, like the intent is like, oh, I just want them to feel, I want them to think I care about them. And we are a family-oriented place. It's not a big deal. I get the intent. But the reality is it puts people in a really tough situation. So, the rules are there for a reason, not only just to protect you in the company, but like take it a step further. And really, you know, you have to own this at an individual level, not just at a company level or waiting for the company to train you. That's not going to work long-term. Another thing that's really, I think, really important, and this is a new thing, I would say, this is something that I would not have encouraged people to do last year this time. So, 2020, you know, I'd say December of 2020. I don't know that I would have encouraged this the same way I do now. But that's this idea of asking hard questions. So specifically, what that means is, don't you want candidates who ask you questions about DEI, you want candidates to ask you, what are you going to do to protect me to keep this a safe environment? If I am sexually harassed by a prospect? If I am racially profiled by a prospect? What is your what is your process? For if an incident happens. What's you’re reporting and investigation process? Can I see your documentation around sexual harassment, lean into that's not a sign that someone is a problem employee or is going to make trouble that's a sign of someone who understands the world and is realistic and wants to make sure they're in an environment that aligns with their values? A year ago, I don't know, I would have said that I think I would have been maybe don't bring that up in the process. You know, be careful. Now I'm very full-on. You want people to do that, and those candidates are going to ask that they're going to ask, and they expect you to have an answer. So be ready for it and lean into it. That's a good thing.

Heidi Solomon Orlick

And be sure you're calling out bad behavior when you see it in the organization you know, microaggressions are happening every day. And I don't know that they're always intentional. I think people like to give people the benefit of the doubt and that they're, you know, we're all on a learning journey here around this DEI topic, right? Like we don't have all the answers. But recognize, you know, where to recognize bad behavior, and be sure to call it out. And to Ashleigh's point, you know, there needs to be policies and procedures in place to be able to deal with that. 100% great call out.

Ashleigh Early

And one other thing I'd say is most companies so there's a bunch of people on this call on this, who are here right now who I know who individual contributors who are probably in their first year or two in sales, your first year or two in sales, you can't really negotiate your comp that much. Once you're more than one or two years in, you can negotiate hard. I cannot stress the importance of negotiation when it comes to salary when it comes to commission. And when it comes to mixing and stuff like that. As an employer, someone negotiating hard for their salary is good, because that means that's how hard they're gonna negotiate for you and for your product. As a salesperson, you have to be willing to put it on the line with a negotiation to get the best thing you can. If the company does not like how hard you're negotiating their style of what you're negotiating, they're going to make you change your sales style when you're in there and it's not going to be a good fit long term. I'm not joking when I tell you that at every company I've been at. I have been the highest-paid person at my level. And that is simply because my dad told me at like 18 that everything is negotiable. And I had to negotiate every salary I got so I did that added up to I think I'm about to break the 1 million marks that I know I was making. Luckily I knew through a lot of different reasons but what I found out was I was always in an equal pay situation. But too I found out I was, in every situation that I know of, I was the highest-paid person on the team because I negotiated my butt off, I knew my worth, and I insisted on it, and I walked.

Heidi Solomon Orlick

It's important to know your worth, but it's also to have some foundation in reality to do your homework, I'm sorry, excuse me, do your homework in terms of what you know, what the career is, what this particular job in your industry sector is, is valued at, right? Like what's the wage range and, and be do your research on doing your research not only know, you know, and I, I've actually been in situations where I've come in, and, you know, I sort of have a target goal of, you know, have a package or have a base wage, whatever, and always asked, hire, and I know it's scary. It's super scary when you walk in and, and I've coached people to, you know, practice and look in front of the mirror and do some negotiations because basically, you're selling yourself. And having that level of confidence, I know can be challenging, but know your self-worth, but also have it based on some level of foundation so that you can say, Listen, I did my research, I know what companies at my career level with my level of experience and my level of success are getting paid and don’t accept anything less.

Ashleigh Early

Exactly. And that's really what comes down to is don't accept anything less. And it's, I think the biggest hurdle people come at with this is they think I've invested all this time in this job search. This is the first time I've had an offer in a while. I need a job, I need a job, I need a job, I need a job. You do I get it. I have been at that financial point of if this job doesn't happen, I don't know how I'm going to make rent next month. And I know that pain in my soul. It is not worth it to take a job where you're going to be miserable and end up back on the job hunt in 2, 3, or 6 months. It is not worth it. You want to know these things.

Heidi Solomon Orlick

Sorry. Go ahead.

Ashleigh Early

No, I just it's not it feels like it's the end of the world. It isn't. And this is where the community is so important. This is where having connections through organizations like girls who sell or on LinkedIn, have people you can reach out to for sanity checks, gut-check comp, check with other people be open about saying what you make with discretion and politeness. But lean into these things. Hey, this is the package. What do you think I do gut checks on compensation three days a week with people who are reaching out hey, I'm in this Metro? This is how much I'm making nothing of what I say is official in any way. But at least it's a gut check of hey, wow, that's a little low. Hey, that's actually a really good comp. good job. What's the mix? Are you happy with it, because there are a lot of different elements to it? And there are a ton of people who do training and coaching specifically on negotiating salaries. And specifically, if you are someone who is really uncomfortable with this, if you're not comfortable negotiating your salary, negotiating hard, I strongly encourage you to look into some of these programs. If you want specifics, DMs will get them to you, but you have to negotiate with hiring managers who should not punish you for that. They can give you feedback if you're doing it poorly. But it should be feedback not I don't want to hire this person cuz they're negotiating. And they'll never let a candidate go for 10 grand, they'll just play around with it. Okay, so maybe you don't want you wanted 160, they offered 150, play with the mix. Maybe you get more on the salary and less on that and less than that, or vice versa, or you get better benefits, or you get higher. There are a million different things you can really you no one's gonna let you go. No one's gonna lose a candidate over 10 grand once you get above the first couple levels in sales.

Heidi Solomon Orlick

Yeah. Not someone who's a proven asset, right? Who's exceeded their goals. And isn't that 1%? You're you are in the negotiation. See, you're the one. They should be convincing you of why you should come and work for them. Not the other way around.

Ashleigh Early

Cheers to that.

David Youngblood

Absolutely. Self advocation is something I learned a long time ago and try to teach you to know our kids, but especially our daughter thanks again, Heidi for the honorary certificate, and she loved it.

Heidi Solomon Orlick

I think David's daughter is, how old is she?

David Youngblood

She's 11.

Heidi Solomon Orlick

11. So I made her honorary girls who sell Junior ambassadors. So yeah,

David Youngblood

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, that's exactly how I felt too. And she loved it. We're getting it. I'm getting it framed for Christmas. So, it's gonna go on a wall. Just a little extra thing. Right.

Ashleigh Early

So, if you have if anyone else has daughters, I say daughters, maybe 12 and under -  a great children's book called I want to be in sales when I grow up, it's delightful. And all the proceeds go to his daughter's favorite charity. But I've given to all my nieces a couple of friends, it's, it's super easy, really well done. It's really cute,

David Youngblood

Absolute recommendation, I'll definitely take that. What we'll do is we'll jump over to some Q&A before wrapping it up. So just to make sure as a reminder, if you had it in chat, feel free to curate or populate that question in the Q&A section. We'll jump in over here and go with the first one. So, question. Oh, we'll let we'll just kind of alternate and then let you both contribute to the answer. Right. So, we'll start with you, Ashleigh, this time? How can individual contributors contribute to bringing more inclusive policies into companies? Right, more diversity in hiring? What can we do?


Ashleigh Early

Yeah, good question. And I'll say you'd be surprised how many diversity efforts start with individual contributors more often than not, I think they start with ICS. And they start with leadership. And it starts by just asking the question. So, and it's especially helpful if I, in my experience, I found it's especially powerful if you go to HR and ask what the policies are if the policies don't directly affect you. So, in my example, earlier about trans policies, I worked for a company a few years ago, and they were just started changing the rules in California and stuff like that. So I went to HR, I was like, hey, out of curiosity, how are we? What's our company's plan for this new legislature that says you have to cover these things? Are they currently covered by our policies or not? And our HR department had no clue. They're like, oh, I don't know. Um, two weeks later, we had a company-issued a public statement about that, hey, they actually are covered by our current policies already. Yay. And we're setting up this additional benefit that if anyone needs it, there's additional like, something you can expense or will support or something like that? It's and they told me it started with me; they just honestly didn't know. They just missed it. They just hadn't gotten the memo yet. So, we just came up and asked, did a lot. The other thing I think ICs can do is just ask to see copies of the policies, a lot of DEI policies start off as, oh, well, we do unload, we're gonna do unconscious bias training. Okay, well, where's that written? How often? Is it done? Who does it? Is it managers? Or is it everybody? You know, going through those things? Just ask, what's the written policy? Is there one? Can I help write one? Or can I, you know, what can I do to help drive these things? Can I find other things to suggest stuff like that, but just asking the question, honestly, is 80% of the battle, and then if nothing happens, get somebody else to ask it. And then just kind of slowly creates this little bit of momentum in the company?

David Youngblood

Squeaky wheel basically?

Heidi Solomon Orlick

Yeah. Well, let me just add, the only thing I want to add to that, and that's all really good. Feedback is get involved, you know, and definitely, if you see ads that are out there that are not aligned, provide feedback to your HR recruiting managers. The one thing that I will also encourage is if your organization has ERGs in or if they don't start one, so whether it's for you know, any, any kind of diverse group, it's important to be sure that the voices within the organization are heard. And I think ERGs are a great way to create safe spaces and encourage diversity within your company. So be sure you get involved.

Ashleigh Early

I'll say this too. And I've worked at a lot of companies that were big enough to have ERGs I work at I work with a company right now, that's 10 people doesn't really make much sense to have an ERG of two women. But one of the things that I found you can do is you can say, hey, we don't have an ERG, yet we're not big enough, I get it no big deal with the company funding my membership in an organization that does provide a lot of the same services. So, asking your company, hey, because you can't do this, would you be willing to fund this and membership in some of these groups is not a lot, a lot. Most managers are willing to be like, oh, yeah, I'll totally I will totally fund you doing that, because there's a professional development angle to it, too. So, it's tax-deductible. So, like, ask your managers for stuff like that, if you can't, ERG is preferable. Second, the best is getting the company if they can't do an erg to fund you to join a group where you can get a lot of the same support you would get just with a bunch of people who don't work at your company.

David Youngblood

Perfect. Perfect. Thank you both. Moving along here. Next question. So, what is your approach or recommendation to understanding the perspectives of colleagues from different backgrounds? Right? How do you go about initiating the conversation, you know, tactfully tastefully, but also from a point of genuine interest in learning?

Heidi Solomon Orlick

Yeah, and I think that's the important place is to come from a genuine interest and just be real about the fact that you don't have all the answers, and that you may actually make some mistakes around along the way, right. But having the conversations and stuff Already in conversations with individuals that are different from you, or the way bridges are built-in and how they're mended. And so, I would just encourage you to have those private conversations. The other thing is, is you need to get yourself educated is not the responsibility of the diverse groups within your company, you know, within your organization or in your life to educate you, even though it's great to ask the questions and have the conversations. The other thing you need to do is commit to getting yourself educated so that you can have more valuable content and meaningful conversations.

David Youngblood

Perfect. Anything else to add Ashleigh?

Ashleigh Early

Oh, you kind of nailed that. No, honestly, it really comes down to its having grace. It's owning your own education, not insisting on waiting and waiting on others to educate you. The other thing I'll say is to own up when you screw up. One of the most powerful interactions I had in 2020 was I was at a happy hour. And I made a comment, I made a comment, a comment that was accidentally insensitive. I was just trying to find commonality, but it is making commonality, I diminish the other person accidentally, they called me on it. And this was a person, this was a woman of color. And we're talking about hair. And she called me on it. I was like, just it was just like, whoops, which was totally me. And she's now a dear, dear friend of mine, actually. And she told me afterward, that just seeing me acknowledge what I did know what I did wrong, and make that change that quickly, she said, gave her hope, during a time when she felt like she was screaming at people all day, every day on these topics, and no one was listening. So just acknowledging and showing that change can be not just good for you. But this is the discussion and the thoughts on DEI, like the kind of like Heidi said at the very beginning of this, I hope that we can stop having these conversations. It's kind of like going to a doctor, I hope I never have to go to the doctor again. I hope we can stop having these conversations someday. But the way there is with a million tiny moments, these aren't going to be big Eurekas. It's going to be a million tiny things. And us insisting on change, while allowing people to be human, which is a really hard balance to strike. So, when it comes to understanding perspective, it's gotten curious, be genuine owner and education and own up when you screw up because you will.

David Youngblood

Perfect. Alright, just a couple more left, and I will get through them. We're trying to do this quickly as possible, do one on one this time. So, we'll start with you this time, Ashleigh, what is according to you the most difficult part of implementing a DEI program?

Ashleigh Early

Well, this is what we've always done. It's the status quo. It's fighting the status quo is always the hardest thing. So, you're working with a sales leader who has 20, 30, or 40 years of experience. And they've always sourced this way they've always interviewed this way. They've got their bomb set of interview questions. And all of a sudden, they realize, wow, why is my sales floor a bunch of, you know, why is my sales floor exclusively this one race and predominately this one gender. I mean, they're doing well, but it's not. We know it's not sustainable. And it just is really hard to break that thought pattern of this has worked before, but it might not work going forward, or the way that it works is not something that is actually sustainable. 30 years into the future.

Heidi Solomon Orlick

Can I add one more, I'm sorry, Ashleigh. Go ahead.

Ashleigh Early

Yeah, that's hard. But I find that honestly in my experience, I found if I run into someone who is kind of that status quo mindset, I stopped trying to convince them, I give them a shot or two, I'll give them a couple of points. I'll try and probe, I'll try and do a challenge or question and be like, hey, let's try and challenge these assumptions a little bit. But I don't waste a lot of time on it, I will go and work on other members of the organization and try and kind of drown them out with other opinions. If we need to get a lot of things on board, if it's a one-person and they're just being a roadblock, I honestly stopped working with the organization. And that kind of sucks. But I just think that those dinosaurs, they're going to go the way of the dinosaurs eventually. And I'd rather amplify other voices of people who aren't getting it right. Then waste my time trying to get this one person to change. Now I'm going to go find five people and teach them how to yell.

David Youngblood

Heidi, what was?

Heidi Solomon Orlick

Yeah, David, the only thing that I would add is it for me one of the biggest challenges is that organizations talk about their commitment to diversity and equity inclusion, but they actually don't budget to solve it. And so, that is one thing that I would really encourage corporations to do is allocate dollars to diversity equity inclusion initiatives within their organization. Because if there's not, and if it's not top-down, support it top-down from the, from the executive level of the organization, you're going to be swimming upstream, and probably not getting anywhere. So, if you have a budget and have executive-level support, you can really make a world of difference.

David Youngblood

I apologize. But I'm such a nerd. I appreciate the alignment in the similarity between this effort and a sales effort. So, all the people that are watching and are a part of this right now, you know, go get bank qualification on your effort to drive you to know, DEI in your organization. Right. So, you know, the drill, just do it. Right. The other thing that to add here is, you know, obviously, this is a very important topic for all of us. And part of the challenges. There are no quick, easy, simple answers to a lot of these great questions. And so, what we'll be doing is actually, because there are still some questions here, and I know Ashleigh and Heidi are working on putting together LinkedIn posts, what we'll do is we'll parking lot those questions over to the LinkedIn post. And we'll we will continue to provide answers feedback. But please do chime in. We do want to hear your thoughts please help share the information so that we can, you know, empower and enable people to be informed, right, like it said earlier, people need to be able to educate themselves. So, it's up to us to kind of help also help get that information out there. Anyway. Apologies we can talk more and more on this, but we are, unfortunately, over on time I'm getting yelled at as much as in all caps somebody in Slack but uh, I appreciate you all hanging out with us and you even going over a few minutes it means so much. Um, you know, Ashleigh and Heidi think thank you both. This is an amazing section in session and definitely look forward to you following the chatter along as we move forward and take this to LinkedIn and other channels.

Heidi Solomon Orlick

Thank you so much for having us. Really appreciate it.

Ashleigh Early

Absolutely.

David Youngblood

Take care.

Heidi Solomon Orlick

Bye, David.

Heidi Solomon Orlick

Bye, Ashleigh.

David Youngblood

Bye


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