DE&I

Live Lessons: Be Human and Have Empathy

Feb 3, 2023

Welcome to Pass the Mic and the Live Lessons series. Life happens in the moment—and so do opportunities to pass the mic. We’re having live conversations with powerful female leaders, giving them the opportunity to share their wisdom and mentor the masses.

Ever wish you could get personal advice from powerful women? We've got you. We kicked off the year at CES, partnering with the Female Quotient (The FQ) to show up with a kick-ass Pass the Mic lounge. Director of Content and Digital Marketing, Jocelyn Hudak, interviewed some of the most impressive and powerful women in the industry. These full-length interviews will be available soon (if you’re thinking podcast, you may be right). In the meantime, we’ve pulled some inspiring advice to help you be your best empathetic self. 

Lead with empathy.

Maria Weaver, Pass the Mic
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“I'm excited to see so many different leadership styles these days. I definitely started my career in an era of a lot of yelling, and cursing, and not great behavior. We now know of colleagues that I worked with, and I don't necessarily know that I realized at the time how dysfunctional that was, the environments I was in. So it's really nice to be in environments now where that's not the case, and people have figured out how to lead with empathy and lead in more supportive ways. It's great.” – Maria Weaver, President of WMX at Warner Music Group

Maria strives to build culture and drive and value engagement. She has received the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications Award of Excellence, the Council of Urban Professionals Catalyst Award, and multiple honors from The Telly Awards and the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing.

Be with people who lift you up.

Catherine Sullivan, Pass the Mic
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“Follow your passion and make sure you work with good people. Do not work with assholes—just do not. It is not worth your time. It is not worth your energy. All that negativity. Be with people that are like minded, that are going to lift you up, and that you're going to really drive forward, and they're going to support you personally and professionally. A lot of times it's more important to be empathetic towards them when something’s personally going on.” – Catherine Sullivan, CEO from PHD

Catherine leads the media vision for her company, focusing on client needs and ensuring their objectives are met. She saw an opportunity to jump into her career, continuing to grow her linear/digital strategy, advertising sales, and marketing skills to become a proven executive leader. 

Let yourself off the hook.

Christine Guilfoyle, Pass the Mic
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“Do you ever really think you did great at anything? I think that's part of it. So, it's almost like you have to figure out, again, what am I going to focus on today, tomorrow, this week, this quarter? And I think that we have to give ourselves permission, but most often we don't. So I say, surround yourself with people who you let off the hook and they help to let you let yourself off the hook.” – Christine Guilfoyle, President from SeeHer, ANA

Christine leads SeeHer, the global movement to eliminate gender bias in marketing, media, and entertainment. Christine oversees the development of high-impact tools and resources, thought leadership and member engagement to help marketers and media organizations increase the authentic representation and accurate portrayal of all women and girls in content to reflect and transform society and drive business results. She is a seasoned strategic marketer, corporate leader, storyteller, and DEIB champion.  

Be nice to everybody.

Leah Meranus, Pass the Mic
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“I know it sounds so silly—be nice to everybody. You never know who you're going to meet. You never know what they're going to provide for you. You never know when you're going to see them again. And you never know what you're going to learn from them. So, ask questions. Spend time talking to people. Never be above doing anything. Never ask anyone to do something that you wouldn't do yourself. And I think, more and more, as we're leading into this new work environment, find time to meet people in person. That's one that I've been adding that we didn't used to have to talk about. Meet people in person.” – Leah Meranus, CEO, North America, dentsu X

Leah started in consulting before reconnecting with her passion for marketing, learning how to jump into opportunities and pivot along the way. She works to converge her marketing ideas across different disciplines. Recently, Leah was promoted to CEO.

Don’t mistake kindness for weakness.

Marissa Nance, Pass the Mic
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“We've all gone through something. There's a sense of unity. And in that unity, there should be a sense of kindness. But don't let someone mistake your kindness for weakness, ever. Don't let that slide into stupidity. Be strong, be focused, be an ally, be an apostle, be something. Don't be nothing. Be something. So, I think that's a big, big point that I would leave with. Be something to someone, especially yourself.” – Marissa Nance, Founder and CEO from Native Tongue Communications

Marissa’s company is a first-to-market minority and women certified media agency, working through the lens of diversity to strengthen their media, marketing, DEAI, and content solutions. In her past holding agency life, she successfully generated innovative and original revenue streams via her ground-breaking branded entertainment work.

Be brave and feel all the feels.

Shauna Alexander, Pass the Mic
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“A part of the feeling all the feels is also being brave to feel all the feels and to get through it all and to know that what is happening right now is not forever. That bravery, especially as women, we forget to be brave because it sometimes feels, culture makes it impossible for you to feel brave because everything is always attacking us all the time. You know, society, television commercials, Instagram, everything is always trying to tear us down. There is a lot of money and tearing women down in the industry, in all industries, really. And so pushing through it, and recognizing, and being brave around that is, to me, that's even better than fuck-you money.“ – Shauna Alexander, Vice President, Business Development from SoundCloud

Shauna builds partnerships between artists and brands to drive engaging and interactive fan experiences. She was named one of Billboard’s annual 40 under 40. In addition to being a successful woman, Shauna spends her spare time riding horses in national show jumping competitions.

Humans are just human.

Sheila Buckley, Pass the Mic
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“One of the other things that I tell people is, I came to realize that humans are humans. And actually every single, or at least 99.9% of human beings have self-talk. Even if they're a CEO, people are always thinking that self-talk. That's not good, and it's just a matter of how you handle it. And some people are better handling it outwardly, but they still have all the negative talk in their head. So, once I came to sort of think about that and realized that, I'm not uncomfortable in any situation anymore. And I've told that to a lot of people. Going into a cold room here we are at CES, going into a cold room and not knowing a soul, they can be as good as the next person because everybody's feeling the exact same thing. And you immediately relax once you realize humans are just humans.” – Sheila Buckley, Founder and Principal from SMB Oyster Wharf, LLC

Sheila’s company offers media and ad tech advisory and consultancy practices to companies. Although she had no previous consulting experience, she now successfully supports the sales and marketing side of the business.

Giving yourself and everyone else a break feels good, doesn’t it? There’s even more accessible advice ready for you on our Pass the Mic content page.

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