In episode two of the Revenue Rehab podcast, Ladylike in the Conference Room, Brandi Starr was joined by Andrea Lechner-Becker to discuss authenticity in the workplace, and how women in particular, can face more difficult barriers when it...
In episode two of the Revenue Rehab podcast, Ladylike in the Conference Room, Brandi Starr was joined by Andrea Lechner-Becker to discuss authenticity in the workplace, and how women in particular, can face more difficult barriers when it comes to bringing their true selves to work.
Full of no nonsense advice, self-deprecating humor, and raw honesty, this podcast episode is guaranteed to open your mind to the reality of working as a woman within the corporate environment. Andrea discusses the experience of being the only female executive amongst all-male teams, and how being acutely self-aware helped her to overcome feelings of alienation and self-doubt. Andrea also opens up about the importance of sponsorship, to make allies that are in the room that she wanted to be in. This is particularly necessary when it comes to women, minorities, and underrepresented groups within the workforce.
A podcast full of fascinating anecdotes, uplifting advice, and pragmatic solutions to the barriers women and minorities face, you won’t want to miss this episode!
Andrea’s key takeaway was to pay attention to your body, it tells you if you like things, if you don’t like them, and then you can eventually figure out what to do, and how to control it more.
The term ‘’marketing attribution’’
Andrea believes marketing is becoming too focused on a technology question instead of addressing: ‘’where do we really invest our money in order to make the right decisions and create value for our organization.’’ She hates the term marketing attribution and wishes it was banned forever!
Welcome to Revenue Rehab, your one stop destination for collective solutions to the biggest challenges faced by marketing leaders today. Now head on over to the couch, make yourself comfortable, and get ready to change the way you approach revenue. Leading your recovery is modern marketer, author, speaker and Chief Operating Officer at Tegrita, Brandi Starr.
[00:34] Brandi Starr:
Hello! Hello everyone, and welcome to episode two of Revenue Rehab. I am your host Brandi Starr. Last week, I had the pleasure of talking to MK Getler and we jumped in and tackled the hard subject of bias and marketing, and how unconscious bias rears its ugly head, and how in order to be a growth CMO, the Head of Marketing has to also be an anti-biased CMO. And so today we are going to continue the conversation around bias in marketing and in the workplace in general. So we have an amazing Revenue Rehab for you today.
I am joined by Andrea Lechner-Becker. Andrea is a flexible chameleon like goo, or Great Stuff, Andrea can be applied to any situation and add value. Her work in consulting has exposed her to almost every industry and every problem. The hardest ones were her favorite to solve. She believes that solving big problems requires a forensic approach. Through systematic and scientific methods, all problems can be reduced to their simplest form and solutions. Andrea loves scaling through the technology and excels at creating training and thought leadership to bolster emerging communities. Her training programs, mix sponsorship, mentorship, hands on training and regimented feedback sessions with curriculum development across mediums. She is influencing and encouraging the next generation of business leaders. These programs were so well respected and unique that as companies like Amazon built their marketing operations functions, they recruited heavily from Andrea's trainees. Andrea, welcome to Revenue Rehab, your session begins now.
[2:32] Andrea Lechner-Becker:
Thank you, I'm so excited to be here.
[2:36] Brandi Starr:
I am excited to have you. And it's so funny, we have talked so much and I know so much about your background, actually reading your bio I'm like, oh, she's quite impressive!
Thank you, I wrote it myself. As you know, writing your own bio is a really challenging experience as a marketer, because you build a career selling everyone else's stuff and then selling yourself is really hard. So I just tried to make it as fun and [inaudible] as possible.
[03:07] Brandi Starr:
Well no, it is awesome and I have learned some things about you. So I always like to break the ice on Revenue Rehab, with a little whoosah moment that I like to call buzzword banishment, because we all have those buzzwords that get overused that we would totally like to put in the box, lock it and throw away the key. So Andrea, tell me what buzzword would you like to banish?
[03:36] Andrea Lechner-Becker:
I am currently hating the term marketing attribution.
[03:40] Brandi Starr:
That is a hot one right now.
[03:44] Andrea Lechner-Becker:
I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. And I feel like this is the -- and this is rehab, right? So I was a big proponent of attribution for a long part of my career. And I think I need to go to attribution anonymous. I need to be like, I am Andrea Lechner- Becker and I have a problem with attribution. I feel like it's all a technology question instead of where do we really invest our money in order to make the right decisions and create value for our organization. I just think the conversation from marketers, especially very senior level marketers, is extremely technology focused and it has lost all of the strategy about how do we do great marketing and build our businesses through it. I wish we could stop using that whole word and then anything around it, like credit, which campaign gets the credit for the opportunity, I hate all of that stuff right now.
[04:47] Brandi Starr:
So for this conversation, we are going to take marketing attribution and we are going to throw it out. You can ding me if I say it anywhere in this conversation. So hopefully all of our CMO's listening will take that one, put it in the box and find a new way to talk about what's working and what's not, that doesn't use the term revenue attribution.
So now that we've gotten that off our chest, let's kind of jump into our topic. So you and I both are a part of the CMO community. And this topic came from where one of the other CMO's was talking about how somebody else in the C-suite, I forgot what position, had messaged her, during a meeting that was a video meeting and said that she looked angry or contentious. And a whole dialogue ensued of both the men and the women in the group, talking about just how antiquated this lady-like expectation is. And so my thought was lady-like in the boardroom, fuck that. And with that kind of topic, I was like, I got to talk to Andrea about this because you are one of those people that kind of break the mould and lady-like is probably not a word too many people use to describe you. So talk to me about how you show up and how you bring that authenticity of I'm not the girly-girl, or not girly, that's an improper way, but that I don't have to be that perfect, old school, what you would deem non-opinion having, that really antiquated mindset of what a woman executive is.
[06:49] Andrea Lechner-Becker:
So a little bit of background on me. I have a couple of pivotal parts of my career that made me who I am today. The first pivotal point was, I used to work at the Phoenix Suns, which is a basketball team. I don't ever like to assume that everybody knows. And so the NBA Team here in Phoenix, I was their Database Marketing Coordinator, which was like a really fancy way to say that I sent all their emails. So I always like to say, if you got an email between 2009 and 2011 from the Phoenix Suns or the arena, it came for me. I chose to send you that email. And our team was super, super small. We were my boss, who I don't even remember her title anymore, a data analyst, data geek guy, who brought all of the data in from Ticketmaster and our scans from people that attended the games and all of that stuff. And then we would munch it up and create all sorts of great analytics, very similar to Amazon. People like you bought tickets like this, that was all what we were doing over a decade ago now. And so that was my job, crafting the messaging, doing the segmentation, sending out the emails, and then reporting on the results of all of that cool stuff. And we were really the only people that did that. There was a huge social team. So there was like six dudes on social blogging and tweeting, and all of those sorts of things. And then there were I think, five people doing paid media and all of your kind of more traditional advertising, billboards, TV, all those sorts of things. And they were not very data driven at all. And so when it came time for season ticket holder renewal that's like where most NBA teams make all of their money, on season tickets. And so my boss had left like a month before that and it's a huge time to plot and plan, what our strategy is how we're going to get people to renew. And if you know anything about the Phoenix Suns in 2010, we were not a good team. Not that we weren't a good team actually, we had Stoudemire and Steve Nash. We actually had potential but we were historically not a very good team. And so a lot of our season ticket holders came from Berkeley area. And so you have a lot of people who are very nostalgic for the Phoenix Suns to be great again. And so I had this idea of crafting, you know, basically personalized URLs that took team photos from whenever you became a season ticket holder, and basically brought you back to that time. Kind of like a make America great again, but make the sons great again, like join us again we're going to kill it this year kind of thing. And so I go into this meeting, my boss had just left and she was like, this is a great idea, let's go pitch it, she leaves, and so I'm left to do this with very senior executives. So I am I think 25 at the time, and I am a database marketing coordinator going in to pitch senior VPs and VPs of the Phoenix Suns this renewal idea. I went in and did it, and I was so nervous and on myself, and they were asking me questions, and I was fumbling over everything that I did, and I was trying to present myself as something other than what I really am, which is just this person. This is good enough, I should have just gone in and done it. And left that meeting, and I just felt terribly, and I didn't feel terribly because I knew it went wrong, I felt terribly because I did a disservice to myself by showing up as someone other than who I know that I am. And if somebody doesn't like my idea, okay, I'm totally fine with that. But if I don't present my real idea or my real authentic self, I was like I'm never going to do that again.
So the next week, I went in, I basically asked to re-pitch my idea. And I went in just myself, I was swearing, I was telling them the truth, which is people don't like us right now. I had to have really hard conversations with very senior people in this organization. And I didn't have a lot of authority, or personal clout or anything in the organization. And they were like, this is a great idea. I love this idea of nostalgia, let's do it. And so I was like, this is it, this is the secret, you have to be your authentic self in order to make something like this happen.
The other key thing that happened in my career is I was promoted to an executive really early. So I worked at a company called Lead MD, and Lead MD was super small at the time, I was like employee number five, and an individual contributor and my CEO, Justin asked if I wanted to run the team, and I was like, not really, I'm happy being an individual contributor. But he was like, no, you should do it. Because you're basically already bossing everyone around and this will just mean you get to do it for more money. And I was like, okay, that does make sense. And I remember again, feeling this, and people talk about it all the time. The imposter syndrome, of like, listen, I'm 27, talking to CEOs about how to build their business. I was like, I am totally unequipped to be doing this job right now but I just again, and I was always really honest. My early clients would say, man, I thought that you were going to be able to answer questions that you never knew the answer to but you would always just be like, shit, I don't know. But I will tell you this, I'm going to go figure it out and together, we're going to solve this problem for you. The big thing that is my brand, both internally and mostly with clients is always I have your back. We are in this together, let's go figure it out. And I just think that really understanding and reflecting on who you are as a person, and then refining how you bring that into the workplace, that's on all of us. And then if people want to react to it, it's like everybody says, you can't control how somebody reacts to you but you can definitely control how you show up and being your best, most authentic self. So that's the big thing for me, I tend to really love people who have a deep EQ and a really good sense of ooh, I was kind of a jerk on that call. And what made me a jerk on that call, and how can I get better? So it's a really long, rambling answer to why I show up just so much of myself unabashedly, because otherwise, I don't like myself very much, is kind of the answer.
[13:35] Brandi Starr:
Have you ever run into a situation where you were the only woman in the room or the others in the room reacted negatively to your authentic self?
[13:49] Andrea Lechner-Becker:
All the time. I have been the only female executive, well, I was the only female executive, again, Lead MD was super small. There were three executives, and so I was one of three. So it's certainly not too much of a commentary on that, it's not like I was one of ten. But certainly, more than in my actual job, as a consultant, there were oftentimes when all of the people making the decision or the people that I'm trying to consult, were all men. I think that the good thing about being a consultant is they paid you a lot of money to be there, so they tend to sort of listen to you. I do think too, my thing with swearing, and Gary Vee talks about this all the time, is you kind of have to just be aware that it does potentially have a cost. So I swear fairly liberally, but when I was a consultant did I ever swear on like the first call? No. I would tend to wait for my client to swear and I would try to like create trust and open the lines of communication so that they felt comfortable being their whole self. And then once they said, shit, I would be like, alright, now the floodgates are open and now I can say it. But I do think, you know, to some extent, and a lot of people with diversity, inclusion and belonging are talking about code switching a lot. Which in case you don't know about code switching, listen, Google it, there are a lot of people who are going to explain it a lot better than me. But I think, to some extent, we all have to code switch, which is just the concept of showing up as someone that's like, kind of a version of yourself, or changing the way that you talk based on who your audience is. To me, some of that is marketing, and so am I just unabashedly like fuck this all the time? No. If I'm talking to someone's grandmother, I try not to swear. I do think that just because you don't always say exactly what's on your mind, I think that's kind of just being a member of society and kind of reading the room. I still don't think that you can get away without reading the room, I think you have to kind of find the balance of being yourself in a way that you can feel proud of, but in a way that people are going to receive it too. One of the other things that I often tell people that work for me is, if you're trying to get something over the line, make it easy for someone to say yes. If you're trying to get me to agree to give you budget for something, what's going to make me say yes? Part of your job is making things, in my opinion, easy to understand and sticky. You have to tell the right kind of story to in a way that the audience is going to understand. So certainly, I've gotten that wrong before too.
To the second part of your question, have I ever felt judged or not accepted based on how I've shown up? Yes. And I have to decide how much of that is my mistake versus how much of it is kind of on someone else. But even that, I tend to be pretty pragmatic. If someone doesn't understand why I'm showing up a certain way, I am that person that will book a meeting afterwards and be like hey, like, it seemed like I offended you, or you didn't seem to like, pick up what I was putting down or this is just my energy, and so blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I will kind of like, have a conversation about the conversation a lot. I don't think a lot of people in business do that, but I'm really open and I feel like very in touch with who I am, why I say what I do, and how people are reacting to me. It's why I'm not good in big crowds, frankly. I try to like read the person and understand like did that resonate, or are you lost, or what's happening and how can I make my message resonate more?
[17:57] Brandi Starr:
Some people would argue that it's not your responsibility to have to have that conversation. Because I do agree that you are right, that not a lot of people would, you know, schedule the follow up or pull the person aside to have that conversation to help them understand. But sort of the argument there and where I see a lot of friction happen, especially for less represented populations. So women in male dominated environments, minorities, people with disabilities or alternate lifestyles, it's almost like the reaction to their authentic self, often is influenced by that bias either conscious or unconscious. And so you'll hear a lot of people argue that, if I'm showing up as my authentic self, and also being respectful, not being the jerk in the room, that it's not my responsibility to have to re-explain myself to you. What would you say to that opinion in that, having the extra conversation is almost doing a disservice to the authenticity?
[19:23] Andrea Lechner-Becker:
I think it's definitely a valid opinion. That's what makes human beings great, is you can choose to do whatever you want. So I certainly think that nothing is wrong if you don't want to have that conversation. But I would just say that people do need to learn. So someone has to have that conversation, because ignorance is bliss. And so to some extent, if you don't speak up and say, like, hey, when you said this thing -- and you can decide how you want to have this conversation. I use a very formatted and structured, like Brandi said in my intro, I am forensic with the way that I solve problems. So even this like very fluffy problem of like, how do you get someone to understand something that they don't already? Like, if I'm going to give feedback, I give it in a really explicit format, which comes from a woman named Melissa Lampson. And I'm just going to run through it really, really fast.
But the first thing is you talk about your intention. So I think intention is the piece of feedback that our almost everyone misses. And intention means that I would say something to you like Brandi, I know that you're working on being more inclusive, us growing as a company that accepts more different kinds of ideas is really important to you. So it's with that spirit that I'm coming with this feedback. Then the feedback is observation, not I felt, I thought; this is what happened in that meeting. This is what I observed that person say, and this is what I observed you say. And I think that the impact of that is that that person felt totally shut down and their difference of opinion was not accepted. So then you go to impact and then you immediately go to discussion. So this is your opportunity to say, oh interesting, I observed that they said this in a rude way. Their tone was aggressive with me or something. And so that's what I was addressing, not the idea itself. Okay, well, what can we do, now that we've sort of seen each other's perspectives on this, what do we agree to do next? What is the core of the problem? And then the final piece is the actual action, like when can we...? Are you going to go talk to that person and have a conversation or what's going to happen here next? And like, I think that that feedback, to some extent, is just how people learn in business. And again, it doesn't happen very much. Do you have to do it? No. But what I have experienced is that the people who are the biggest offenders of doing things like that, shutting down diverse opinions, not hearing other people, speaking over other people, they do that because they really do not know how they come across. I 100% believe that the majority and again, I'm an optimist, to my own detriment. Again, Brandi mentioned this in my intro, I believe I'm on this planet, to encourage people, especially new to business, to do things that make business better to work at, and the next generation of leaders. And so I think to some extent, my personal opinion is feedback is everyone's responsibility. And if you have a feeling on something, you see something that you don't agree with, I kind of think it's all of our responsibilities to man up and say something, woman up and say something.
[22:53] Brandi Starr:
I love that - intention, impact, discussion and action. I took a note of that, because I do think that that is a really great way to offer feedback. Because to your point, a lot of times, people will take feedback negatively. And leading with that intention of here's why I'm having that conversation, whether you're speaking up for yourself or others, I think is really important. And I also think like even outside of women in general, I know that's where we started in this conversation. But just thinking about the CMO and the role of the CMO, being able to advocate for those on their team and provide feedback to others, I think, especially in this way, is a great method of being able to remove some of those bias. I know MK in their episode talked about the importance of like uncovering your own unconscious bias so that you can address it. I think these feedback conversations are a way to help others actually uncover biases that they may not have realized they had, that they are shutting down diverse opinions, or certain people in the room.
[24:17] Andrea Lechner-Becker:
I want to just add one little thing there, which is I'm really passionate about an idea that is not mine. I stole it from Harvard Business Review, but it is the idea of the difference between sponsorship and mentorship. I think that the reality is, that women and minorities are not in most rooms where a lot of decisions are being made, still. It's just the way that it is. And so we have choices to make and how we solution for that, as communities of whatever grouping of people you want to talk about. And one of the things is that we do have a responsibility, I think to educate the people that are in that room on just a simple concept, like the difference between sponsorship and mentorship, which mentorship is basically saying, hey Brandi, when you go to meet with your CEO, here's what I'd recommend you do. Here's the kinds of things that have worked for me in the past, go do these things basically. If you're like, I don't know how to have this conversation, it's me giving you advice for what happens when you're in the room. Sponsorship is a completely different beast; and it means that you are talking for someone else when they are not in the room. At the end of the day, I have gotten far in my career because I have made allies that are in the room that I want to be in. And in my opinion, no really other way to solve for these big problems, unless the people who are in the room start saying, hey, Andrea has really great ideas. Every conversation I have with her, she adds value, let's bring her into this, even though it's not her job to figure it out let's give her a special project and see what she can do. For Justin to go into a room and advocate for me, on my behalf to do something like that, that's what makes and builds careers for people. So I think that those of us that have gotten into that room, women in the C-suite, people of color in the C-suite, diverse backgrounds, like MK, we all now have a responsibility to pay that forward and bring more people that don't look like us or do, into the room so that it just expands even more. But the only way to do that, it's kind of like the debate about should there be women's only groups or should there be men in there? And I can see the argument for both sides. But I do think men have to understand what we're going through, and we have to educate them in a way. Again, Melissa Lampson talks about this all the time, that I don't think anybody really wants to hear this but that doesn't sound like a naggy wife. Right? To some extent, we have to develop our message in a way that they can understand it and that they don't feel attacked. Because as you know, it's like, oh, the delicate white male ego but to some extent, do want to be in the room or not. Like we have to figure out how to -- Again, I'm like Pollyanna. Like we have to figure out how to close the gap because it's in all of our best interests, ultimately. Businesses that are diverse are better businesses, they have better ideas, they execute on things better. So let's just fix it, not just bitch about it.
[27:36] Brandi Starr:
Love that. And I completely agree. Talking about our challenges is just the first step because nothing changes if nothing changes. So we've got to do the work. And in traditional therapy, the therapist normally gives the client homework, but I like to flip that on its head at Revenue Rehab, and ask you to give us homework because when we know better, we do better. So Andrea, I'd like you to number one, summarize your key takeaways for our audience. And number two, to give our audience the one key thing, the one next step, and I know one is hard that they can take away from our discussion today.
[28:20] Andrea Lechner-Becker:
So the recap, I would say is like, know thyself, step one. Share feedback openly and honestly, using my framework or Melissa's framework really, if you need one, or like your own, it doesn't matter. I just think people need to talk to each other more genuinely. And then third, sponsorship and mentorship are not the same thing. So make sure that if you're in a place of providing sponsorship, please do it. If you're in a room that somebody wants to get in, please give them a special project, stick up for them, be their advocate. So it's kind of the three main talking points. So then if I had to boil it down to the first step that you should take, and this is getting a little woo woo. But I really find that especially a lot of young people do not truly understand who they are, what makes you uniquely you. And I think how you get to that core, one, read some books on it. There's books on meditation, there's books on all of these things, but I think if you had to do one thing is to really pay attention to how your body feels. So if you get -- and I get this. Anybody who's ever worked for me is like Oh, you were mad on that call, because my face will turn beet red like and, and I can tell because my heart starts palpitating. So I think if you pay attention to your body, it tells you if you like things, if you don't like them, and then you can eventually figure out what to do, how to control it more, all of those things. They will explain this to you and anger therapy if you ever go there, or even relationships, marriage advice, all those things. So I think if you had to start with one thing, I think, just be mindful of the way that your body feels in situations and allow it to lead you to what to do next. And also, like read some books.
[30:26] Brandi Starr:
I love that. And I love your point 1a. So Andrea, I have really enjoyed our discussion. I think mindfulness is an amazing takeaway. Thank you again for joining me. Thanks everyone, for joining us today. Andrea, if people want to stay in contact, where can they reach you?
[30:51] Andrea Lechner-Becker:
I'm on LinkedIn all of the time. And then make sure that if you want to -- and you don't have to just follow me, I'll connect with all sorts of random humans. But do mention this because I do get a lot of connection requests and I do not like being sold leads. So I do not accept every connection request. But if you mentioned this, I definitely well.
[31:12] Brandi Starr:
Awesome. Well, I can't believe we are at the end already. Thanks everyone for joining and we will see you next time.
You've been listening to revenue rehab with your host Brandi Starr. Your session is now over but the learning is just begun. Join our mailing list and catch up on all our shows at revenuerehab.live. We're also on Twitter and Instagram at Revenue Rehab. This concludes this week's session. We'll see you next week.
Board Member | VP Sponsorship
Andrea Lechner-Becker is a flexible chameleon. Like goo, or Great Stuff, Andrea can be applied to any situation and add value. Her work in consulting exposed her to almost every industry and every problem. The hardest ones were always her favorite to solve.
She believes solving big problems requires a forensic approach. Through systematic and scientific methods, all problems can be reduced to their simplest form and solutioned.
Andrea loves scaling through technology and excels at creating training and thought leadership to bolster emerging communities. Her training programs mix sponsorship, mentorship, hands-on training and regimented feedback sessions with curriculum delivered across mediums. She is influencing and encouraging the next generation of business leaders. These programs were so well-respected and unique that as companies like Amazon built their marketing operations function, they recruited heavily from Andrea’s trainees.
So yes, Andrea is smart, capable and impossible to bore, but more than that, she brings an intangible quality that teams need: good-natured candor. In today’s world, being good-natured feels like a flaw. Smiling on a meeting. Not getting down to business right away. And yet, to get things done, to hear all sides in an impartial way, then to challenge the status quo and push for what’s next with candor, Andrea believes that good-nature helps. She will bring a relatable, honest voice to any room.