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“Finding your Voice Without Losing It”
Struggles and Successes Communicating at CDK
How did I get here at CDK?
Oh, the places I have worked….
• Born and raised here in Seattle
• Attended Holy Names Academy (all girls high school)
• Degree in Communications and Religious Studies
• Spent 5 years in grocery retail management
• Transitioned into “9-5” work in 2007
• Started at CDK in 2013
Be honest about you
“There is no workable separation of selves at
work and at home. We are ourselves all over
the place, and it is this real self that is felt and
experienced at a deeply personal level by
ourselves and everyone on the receiving end of
us, whether we acknowledge it or not.”
Be comfortable not to talk first
“All the conversations in the world
cruise on a crest of silence. And
sometimes the silences overshadows
the rest.”
Be confidant to speak up
“We filter our private conversations, making
public only what we assume will be heard, will
not upset people, will get us what we want. When
we keep important thoughts private, our ability to
learn and to make good decisions is reduced.”
Be OK to fail
“No one wakes up in the morning and says,
“I want to get it wrong today.” We want to
be successful. However, fear usually gets
in our way. We don’t want to look stupid.”
Be ready to get the extra mile
“The ‘fierce’ version of a conversation
is not firing from someone at across
the room, but standing side by side,
looking at the issue together.”
Be open to ask for help
“Your confusion is an asset; in fact,
your search for clarity may blaze a
path for others.”
Be ok to say no
“Saying no is not the problem; in fact,
it’s often the solution.”
Lean in - Finding your Voice without losing it

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Lean in - Finding your Voice without losing it

  • 1. “Finding your Voice Without Losing It” Struggles and Successes Communicating at CDK
  • 2. How did I get here at CDK? Oh, the places I have worked…. • Born and raised here in Seattle • Attended Holy Names Academy (all girls high school) • Degree in Communications and Religious Studies • Spent 5 years in grocery retail management • Transitioned into “9-5” work in 2007 • Started at CDK in 2013
  • 3.
  • 4. Be honest about you “There is no workable separation of selves at work and at home. We are ourselves all over the place, and it is this real self that is felt and experienced at a deeply personal level by ourselves and everyone on the receiving end of us, whether we acknowledge it or not.”
  • 5. Be comfortable not to talk first “All the conversations in the world cruise on a crest of silence. And sometimes the silences overshadows the rest.”
  • 6. Be confidant to speak up “We filter our private conversations, making public only what we assume will be heard, will not upset people, will get us what we want. When we keep important thoughts private, our ability to learn and to make good decisions is reduced.”
  • 7. Be OK to fail “No one wakes up in the morning and says, “I want to get it wrong today.” We want to be successful. However, fear usually gets in our way. We don’t want to look stupid.”
  • 8. Be ready to get the extra mile “The ‘fierce’ version of a conversation is not firing from someone at across the room, but standing side by side, looking at the issue together.”
  • 9. Be open to ask for help “Your confusion is an asset; in fact, your search for clarity may blaze a path for others.”
  • 10. Be ok to say no “Saying no is not the problem; in fact, it’s often the solution.”

Editor's Notes

  1. So what makes me qualified to be talking today? I’ve worked a little bit of everywhere, and picked up a few things along the way. And by everywhere I mean everywhere. I’ve have a degree in religious studies and communications, with a goal of working in youth ministry. And while some dealers may think working with them is God’s work, I’m nowhere close to where I thought I would be. After college, I went right into grocery management, and was one of the few female managers in the whole Seattle area. After years of that hustle, I came to realize I didn’t have a passon for that, so I made the switch. And was 28 and starting at the bottom, competition with people I was much older. So I took everything that came my way that gave me a chance to build my skill set, and grow my real passion, digital marketing, or as I call it, making the internet a better place.
  2. Coming into CDK, this was a whole new world for me, and I found the approach I had been using for years wasn’t really working in terms of getting anywhere in my CDK career. I was loud and a little rough around the edges, but that scrappy take got me here and I made no apologies for myself. Why would I need to change? What I came to see is that I spent a good amount of time feeling “stuck” and not sure there was a place for someone who didn’t fit the “norm” on the team. I knew who I was, and was confidant in that, so why couldn’t everyone see that? Why was it so hard to get anything accomplished? (Click) In came “Fierce Conversations” suggested to me from my manager as part of my goal, and internally mocked by me the whole time I said “Sure, I’d love to read it.” What I didn’t realize at the time is that it would make such a huge impact in my work life, and personal life. It’s become a driving force behind how I thought about communication at work, and helped me see that I didn’t have to always be the loudest or first talking to make the biggest impact. As cheezy as it sounds, CDK make a better me.
  3. As I now look back at my first year at CDK, the base of a lot of my running into the wall came when I first looked at what I was bringing to the conversation. Conversations are really just with ourselves, and sometimes there just happens to be other people around. I have always been one that came to work to do work, so you left everything else at the door. Once you’ve been fired for being out and yourself at work, you tend to pack away who you are really fast. Being the great Irish catholic, I compartmentalized with the best of them and had the great “Work Colleen” but it wasn’t very satisfying. the relationships I had at work were about as deep as a CW show. If I wanted more out of work, I needed to first put more of myself out there. I had to re-lean how to be myself all over the place, and especially at work. This continues to be one of the hardest things in my life. No one wants to put themselves out there and get hurt, but once I got out of my own way and put all of myself into a conversation, I got more out of these relationships at work, at home, in my personal life.
  4. Coming from that all girls school environment, my formative years were ones where I was pushed to speak out all the time. Coming into CDK, I was one of two girls on a team full of what I called “white boys in marketing”. I thought the only way to prove my own worth was to be part of the noise, when really, all it gave me was a headache. My naturally loud voice and nature combined with speaking up first meant that people assumed I had something negative or critical to say, even when that wasn’t my intent one bit. I spent a lot of time getting really angry that I wasn’t getting heard, but all that left me was annoyed with issues and pegged as being “the bitch”. So I challenged myself to not talk first, as difficult as it was. By forcing myself, at first, to really listen before talking in the conversation, I found my perspective in projects and meetings change as I listened. The first thing I heard was how much noise happens in meetings, when everyone is trying to prove something by being heard. And I didn’t want to be part of that. By removing myself from that initial noise, I could finally get heard.
  5. The flip side of learning when not to talk is finding that confidence to really speak your voice, and not short change yourself in the process. I’d been in meetings, think of a question, and the next thought I had would be “dude, these are really smart people who have been doing this for a very long time, I’m sure they thought of my simple question or observation”. Being in what I call a “second career” there’s a lot of what people call the impostor syndrome, or thinking that no matter the success I had, I’m still thought of as a “fraud” and not as good as everyone I’m working with. Only to find out later that no one had thought of what I brought up, and it would have made an impact. So I started speaking up for what I saw and believed in. I had a perspective that was important and needed to be heard. I’’m a work in progress always on my delivery and making sure everyone is caught up to my thought process. The sidenote benefit is that it’s forced me to be more patient – once I speak up, it’s going to take everyone around me once (or more than once) to hear me. I may have to repeat myself more than once, but remaining confidant in what I believe and know to be the right thing helps me to be heard.
  6. Now I’m going to risk sounding like a motivational poster, being ok with failing is one of the best lessons I’ve learned. And also one of the hardest. When you always feel like you are proving yourself, you come to believe (no matter how wrong it is) that failure is a sign of weakness, that I’m not doing my best and I’m not “as good” as everyone around me. You look around, thinking everyone has I all figured out and you’re missing some sort of big memo. When I speak at marketing conferences, my joke always is that “This is Google’s world and we’re just living in it” but that rule is what came about after “failing” in SEO, in my job, my relationshops Not matter how hard I try to organize, plan and put it together I don’t have a lick of control of what Google is going to do. I’ve come to be ok knowing that despite all my amazing, I’m going to fail, and that needs to be ok. It doesn’t reflect bad on me, in fact, it reflects even better that I’m strong to know that not everything is going to work all the time.
  7. An eclectic work history had meant for a wide range of managers. Big companies, small companies, franchises, start ups – you name it, I’ve worked there and for that person. I mean, I had a manager who couldn’t be bothered to help when needed because he was too busy hiding in his office – once, testing out his dog shock collar on himself rather than help us clear and move shipping containers on a Friday. So through all of those managers, one thing remained the same – managers & co workers willing to be helpful were the ones that made an impact and were the most successful. I’ve tried to apply that to my work, even in a more “unofficial” leadership role on our team. I’m never going to ask someone to do something I’ve not done once myself. There’s a level of respect that comes from that. The other way I’ve worked so hard to go the extra mile is being able to just ask someone “what can I do to help” We’ve all got work and things that have to get done in a day, and sometimes we need help with that. Being able to look up, look around and ask that question, even if there’s nothing you can do at the moment, matters to other people you work with.
  8. One of the harder lessons I’ve learned is that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, but a sign of knowing your strengths and working those to your best advantage. But this wasn’t learned early. I years doing contract work. When you can lose your job any week, you don’t ever want to show any sign of weakness, in fact, you spend your time trying to be Superwoman to everyone to prove you worth. So I’d find myself not asking for help. Even when I knew I was struggling and didn’t know the answer, I thought that asking for help was some sign of being “less” than people around me. But I’m not going to be everything for everyone, I came to see that it’s ok to ask for help. In fact, being open to help allows for those really honest moments of conversation, where all I have to do is listen and someone else has the chance to shine and share. There’s that level of an honest conversation that we’re all striving for that occurs.
  9. I’m selfish. Years ago, I took time to like myself before I got into a relationship, and I came to realize I liked myself more than I liked anyone else. I’m going to be the only one to put myself first, and I’m so worth it. Being selfish doesn’t mean that I don’t help others or say no all the time, in fact, it’s made me a better person to be willing to give more when I do say yes. My co-workers know that I’m almost always willing to do what I can, but they also know that when I do say no, I mean it and it’s something to respect. My family knows that when I say no to helping out, it’s because I’ve got something that its important, and even if they don’t understand it, they respect it. My partner knows that when I don’t respond back, its because I need time for myself, and nothing to do with her. When you say yes to someone, you need to not say no to yourself. I’m not going to please everyone all the time, so I need to make sure I please myself first and foremost.
  10. I love to end all of talks with this slide, because really, it’s what it’s all about. We need to be having some fun and some laughing, otherwise, it’s not worth it. And what’s not funnier than a platypuses?