Salary Negotiations

What Ellen Pao Got Wrong (And Right) About Banning Salary Negotiations

Salary NegotiationsFlirting can benefit women in negotiations, according to a study by UC Berkeley Business Professor Laura Kray.

“Feminine charm,” as Kray calls it, is more about using a woman’s natural personality than making sexual come-ons. And it’s not about playing “the weaker sex.” Powerful women from former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright to the female executives Kray teaches have admitted to using, and enjoying, flirtation during the negotiation process. The study finds that women’s flirtatious negotiation styles projected confidence, which may account for their increased success.

These findings seem at odds with Reddit CEO Ellen Pao’s announcement last April that the multi-billion-dollar tech-company would institute a company-wide ban on all salary negotiations. Pao’s reasoning is that men generally come out ahead of women in these negotiations. But if women are capable of negotiating successfully, as Professor Kray demonstrates, the problem may be that more of them don’t negotiate, rather than simply being poor negotiators.

Gender Equality

Equality for Women in the Workplace: Will the Problem Ever Be Solved?

Gender EqualityWomen have had to fight for their place in the world. It wasn’t until 1920 that women were even given the right to vote. There have been great historical trials for women, and even though women have gained many rights in the last century and made a place for themselves in a man’s world, women are still fighting for equality and equal opportunity in the workplace.

Stand Out From The Crowd

Stand Out in the Crowd- A Guide for Women in Business

Stand Out From The CrowdBeing a woman in the business world has not always easy.  Years of struggling for equality in the workforce have helped us gain steady ground, though, and today the face of business is a lot of feminine than it ever has been before. 

An impressive 51% of all management and professional positions are now held by women!  As women become more dominant in big business, one challenge is making yourself stand out amongst your lady peers.  What do the most successful women in business do to set themselves apart?  Read on to find out.

Stop the #1 Money Drain In Your Business

Are You Letting Money and Opportunity Slip Away like Water from a Leaky Faucet?

You’re probably losing money in your business by letting it slip away.  Stop the money leaks by identifying the main problems and creating solutions to implement now.  Keep reading for concrete ways to get more clients and a higher success ratio.

How many times have you thought to yourself, What If I Had Just Done That Sooner?  I want to let you know that many small business owners are missing something Vital to their success. There is one major contributing component that potentially drains profits from your business, which you could actually control.

The crazy thing is that on some level, you’re aware of the habit or rather lack of a habit, that’s repeatedly allowing you to lose money and leave opportunities on the table.  I’m going to show you how to make more money by solving the top money leak in your business with 4 simple solutions.

Think for one minute…Is there anything you could do differently right now, that might result in more clients for you?? Of course there is, you could have better follow up. A lack of follow-up may be the biggest drain on your business because it inevitably leads to lost business deals.

Why go through all of the steps to find potential prospects or speak with a probable client, and then not do your due diligence with following up. Most decision makers have very little spare time, and they’re actually appreciative when you follow up with them.

A divide exists between many small business owner’s perceptions of follow up and what a decision maker thinks about follow up. Most small business owners, especially in the health field, will invest time in setting up their business, deciding how to market themselves, building a portfolio of presentations, create beautiful websites and campaigns and also scour LinkedIn. Yet, when they get responses from potential clients or make relationships on their own, a flip switches.

The flip goes from business mode to the mode when they question themselves to the point that they back off and don’t follow through properly. Many entrepreneurs suddenly feel like they are intruding on the decision makers time, or maybe they feel like they are being annoying by following up with their prospects and don’t want to “bother” them further.

I want to admit that I fell into this trap for many years as I was building the foundation for my Corporate Wellness Company, Vital Advantage Consulting. It made me feel better knowing that studies indicated this was common, but then it made me mad at myself for falling into that cycle. I spent energy and time on preparing, strategizing and implementing but not on the follow up; therefore sabotaging myself.

I found solutions to overcome the challenge of follow up and I want to share them with you. I identified four major reasons for my lack of follow up (and I believe these will hold true for most people)

Having worked in this business for over 10 years, I identified the Follow Up Sabotages’ as Time, Lack of systems, Fear and the what if aka Lack of Clarity.

Time may be one of the biggest reasons; you’re not following up. Chances are you are guesstimating the time it takes you to cycle through prospecting. Most business owners are trying to wear many hats in their business, therefore letting important practices fall though the cracks.

Solutions to Time: Physically plan each week and weeks activities onto a calendar. Print a weekly calendar, from i Cal or Google, and literally mark it with a pen. Schedule everything from prospecting, time on LinkedIn, client meetings, time to work on website, FOLLOW-UP, billing, content development, etc… Include sleep, car-pooling, time with family, meals, shopping and all personal activities on your calendar. This process allows you to see the REAL amount of TIME you have available for each project.

The Second Time solution is learning how to delegate jobs. Realize, you can’t do it alone. You can hire a virtual assistant, a physical assistant or personal shopper for errands. The bottom line is you need to better allocate your time to be spent on what you’re good at and what closes the deals.

Lack of Systems can hinder follow up. You may have all the right intentions and a perfect memory, but if you didn’t account for the full time needed to close a client (including follow up) and you don’t have systems in place to handle the cycle of prospects to clients, then you will constantly be in “catch up mode” and reinventing the wheel every time you speak to someone new.

Solution to Lack of Systems is to create a system or learn from someone else. You could start by creating something as simple as a Spreadsheet that has initial contact date, notes, future follow up dates (for yourself), notes and next steps. Then be sure to transfer all the info to your calendar and set reminders. When you have a system in place, the next step will be to automate systems, which will add hours into your weeks and days into your years for leisure activities.

FEAR is capitalized because it’s often at the root of things that are lacking. In relation to follow up, first identify and accept what you may be afraid of. This is tough at first but truly the first step to overcoming the challenge for good. Most small business owners are afraid that persistent follow up will be annoying to the decision maker. Another fear I’ve been told is that the small business owner may be fearful of expanding to fast and not being able to execute the program as well as they were able to sell the program.

Solutions to Fear: Realize that fear can create success when you know how to overcome it. Stand firm in the fact that you know your business better than the prospect does. You are the expert in your field and will lead the conversations and programs properly. Lastly, remember that decision makers have a lot on their plates and they actually appreciate that you follow up with them. You’re not bothering them; in fact you’re demonstrating strength and reassurance that you’ll show up after the dotted line has been signed. An added suggestion is to do something that sets you apart, adds value and makes the decision maker feel like a star.

The What If and Lack of Clarity challenge arise when you lack confidence that you’ll be able to answer questions the decision maker has or you are not clear on how your program will provide answers.

The Clarity solution is for you to get clear on exactly what you solve and how you’ll do it. Do some research and understand the market, trends and strategic goals of the company you want to work with. You should also know trends and history, to the best of your ability, as to how your services provide solutions and ROI. When you have this information, you can be crystal clear as to how you can provide an advantage and solution to the decision maker. Know your worth by understanding the value you provide, both intrinsically and extrinsically.

For more follow-ups, I invite you to connect with me on Facebook at Randi Dukoff – Your Final Stop To Health or LinkedIn at

Image courtesy of Emedco

Women in the Workforce – Women Owned Businesses

Image courtesy of Emedco

Women are certainly making their mark in the workforce, and the number of female chief executive officers is growing all the time. There are also many financial benefits available for women owned businesses. It appears that while there is still a discrepancy between talent and opportunity for women, things are improving all the time. 

Bloomberg Businessweek posed the question in an article; did 2014 do anything for women at work? The conclusion was that while there has been progress in terms of women and men qualifying for the same jobs, women are still being paid less. The article also suggested that women are being hired by ‘diversity-loving’ companies but not necessarily for the most important jobs. 

The American Express Small Business OPEN forum report on women owned businesses finds that ‘an estimated 1,200 new businesses a day were started by women over the past year, up from an average of 740 a day the year prior.’ Women now start Four out of 10 new firms. Women owned firms are also expanding across many different industries, and are even leading growth in industries such as real estate, finance/insurance and the wholesale trade.

Growth of women owned businesses 

Source: 2014 OPEN State of Women-Owned Business report  

This is all positive news, but the report does suggest that there is more to be done, and more support should be offered to women owned businesses to enable them to grow to the next level. 

So what help is available? Specifically, the Small Business Association (SBA) has programs to help with funding, as well as a site dedicated to helping: The Office of Women’s Business Ownership, offering assistance in all areas of running a business and finding funding. Also offering access to federal contracting opportunities specifically for women owned businesses. Another great resource is the National Women’s Business Council, which advises on economic issues of importance to women business owners. While they may not cater specifically to women owned businesses, there are many small business financing options from the bank to alternative forms of funding such as invoice factoring. Since it is often necessary to have been in business for a period of time, and to have established collateral in order to qualify for more traditional forms of financing, accounts receivable financing may be an excellent option to optimize cash flow. This type of financing allows businesses to receive payment on invoices now that may not be due for payment for between 30 – 90 days. If your business has a healthy amount of outstanding invoices, this is certainly an option that is worth exploring. 

There are most certainly benefits when it comes to women owned businesses, from specific grants, low-collateral loans, help with federal contracts, and certifications, to name but a few. Women are becoming a stronger force, and the number of women-owned businesses is predicted to grow significantly in the next five years according to Stephanie Burns; founder and CEO of Chic CEO. Stephanie provides a free resource for female entrepreneurs looking to start a business. 


Image Courtesy of Emedco

Wage Gap Widens for Women in Poverty

Years ago I was sitting at my sister’s kitchen table listening to ideas for naming the family’s newly adopted female pup.  I challenged my young nieces to think about names of inspirational women they had studied in school; Anne Frank and Rosa Parks gained the top two spots.

The conversation continued on to women leaders, the working world and career choices.  When I mentioned that women get paid less than men even though they may have the same career, my young nieces laughed at such a ludicrous notion.   

Fast forward 20 years, and income inequality is a popular buzzword.  Some use it to refer to the widening gap between the upper class and the working, low-income class.  Income inequality also refers to the wage gap between ethnic and racial groups, as well as between men and women.  Actress Patricia Arquette gave a call to action for wage equality for women in her acceptance speech at this year’s Oscar ceremony.  Hillary Clinton praised Arquette’s comments, and in her own speeches hits hard with comments about the glass ceiling while decrying the gender wage gap.

There’s hard data to back up claims showing the gap still exists; in some cases, it’s wider than ever.  This year it will take women 15-1/2 months to earn what a man earns in just 12 months.  The three and a half months is the gap in income, which the U.S. Dept. of Labor estimates as 78% nationwide.  In Massachusetts, we’re at 82% overall, despite the signing of the Equal Pay Act in 1963.

That means that a woman earns about $49,000 while a male earns about $60,000.  It takes longer for a woman to reach $60,000 – 15-1/2 months, to be exact.

How does this happen?  According to American Association of University Women’s  publication The Simple Truth, it starts right after college.  Similarly educated and experienced men and women start out after college with an 18% gap in earnings, with women earning 82% of what their male counterpart earns.  Ten years later that gap widens, with women earning only 69%.  The difference in the first year post-college can be partially explained by the type of jobs obtained.  However, when college reputation, major, GPA, marital status and other factors are all accounted for and the field is level, there is still an unexplained difference of 7% between men and women one year after graduation, and that grows to 12% by 10 years after college graduation.

If academic achievement doesn’t protect against wage disparity, what happens at the lower end of the income scale?  The Bureau of Labor Statistics gives us a sobering view.  In food preparation and serving, and also in administrative office support positions, women earn 90% of what men earn.  Within healthcare support, women earn 87% of what men earn.  For building and maintenance jobs, women earn 79%, and in personal care and service occupations, women finish at 74% of what their male counterparts earn.  At every level of academic achievement, and seemingly at every level of the pay scale, women earn less than men.  

What, then, is a female head of household to do?  At Project Hope, a multiservice agency serving families from the Dorchester and Roxbury communities of Boston, the overwhelming majority of households rely on a female as the primary financial provider – generally a woman of color.  At least half struggle to survive on earned incomes under $15,000 per year.  Anti-poverty programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program do provide some relief for families.  According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, these types of programs help lift 1 in 7 children out of poverty, despite major cuts in other supports, such as state-subsidized child care, early education,  job training programs and access to reliable transportation.  But what about the other six children still living in poverty?

A proactive approach by the Baker Administration would be to call for transparency at the state level.  Job postings should publicize salary ranges for every position.  Gov. Baker could encourage the corporate community to adopt this same practice, and to conduct salary audits.  The issue of wage gaps can be used to influence public policy; one bill in play is called the Mass. Pay Gap Bill, which prohibits potential employers from seeking salary histories and requires them to disclose a position’s minimum salary.  Studies have shown that in hiring practices, employers offer higher pay to the candidate with a previously higher salary, thus perpetuating the cycle of wage disparity.  Publicizing the starting salary gives information to both candidates, thus putting them on equal footing, regardless of gender.

As for my nieces, they named their dog Rosa.  They are now educated and pursuing careers, and know firsthand what they are up against despite their academic successes and hard work.  As they start families of their own, how do they overcome an uneven playing field so that each of their children reaches his or her full potential?  

In poor families that have female heads of households, it is even tougher; they struggle with the basic economics of being poor, compounded by a wage gap that rewards men over women, simply for being the “right” gender. 

Elizabeth Zarrella Maglio is the Director of Sustainability and Outcomes for Project Hope, a multi-service agency at the forefront of efforts in Boston to move families beyond homelessness and poverty. Project Hope offers low-income women with children access to education, jobs, housing, and emergency services. 

Author Zachary Cohen

Women in Investment Banking

Author Zachary CohenWhile the past decades have seen a great advancement in the field of gender equality in the workplace, the title of James Brown’s classic song “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” still rings true when it comes to investment banking. Still, women have a lot to offer to the job and it seems that despite lagging behind other industries, Wall Street has finally started to realize it too.  

Women in Leadership

Women are 47 percent of the U.S. labor force, and 59 percent of the college-educated, entry-level workforce. They earn almost 60 percent of undergraduate degrees and 60 percent of all master’s degrees with more than 44 percent of the master’s degrees in business and management, including 37 percent of MBAs. Though these figures illustrate that women have the education to qualify for executive-level positions they are underrepresented with only 14.6 percent at the executive officer level, 8.1 percent of top earners, and 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs.

The majority of women executive officer positions are in Finance, HR and Marketing. Unfortunately, Procurement and Supply Chain is still predominantly male focused.  When SCM World did a manual count of top supply chain executives in Fortune 500 companies they found only 22 women among 320 businesses had a true supply chain function. Only 6.9 percent of supply chain leaders are female which is well below the 35 percent of women entering the procurement field from college. Another survey done by SCM World, polled 56 universities around the world found 37 percent of students in the supply chain degree are women and three quarters of the universities polled reported increases in enrollment over the pasted five years.

Sheryl Sandberg’s 2013 book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, sheds light on the root cause that has stalled women’s progression into senior leadership. Sandberg says women will undervalue their achievements more often than their male counterparts. They need to take credit where credit is due and assume roles in leadership that highlight their strengths as women; the ability to collaborate, to integrate views, mentor and multitask.

The modern supply chain is ever evolving as businesses integrate their global supply chains.  Leaders need to have the ability to make analytical decisions of business trade-offs than asset-centric optimization logic of the 20th century. Many supply chain practitioners recognized that women leaders in supply chain often excel in forming, motivating and leveraging teams to get work done. A supply chain leadership position is a stepping stone to C suite positions for women although from a board-level perspective companies need to build an environment to bring more women into the diverse world of supply chain.

Some executives believe a quota for women supply chain leaders would help. While other executives believe that recruiting talent and mentoring earlier in their career will build a robust pipeline of women that are able to step into leadership roles. Either approach will help change the current landscape of woman leadership and promote awareness.  Women must also lean in for the next opportunity.  As Sandberg has said, “We can each define ambition and progress for ourselves. The goal is to work toward a world where expectations are not set by the stereotypes that hold us back, but by our personal passion, talents and interests.” 

Jenna Cyprus

6 Things the New WOC in the Office Wants Employers to Know

Jenna CyprusBeing a woman of color in the workforce is no easy task—even going into 2015.

While the glass ceilings are getting cracks and there are unprecedented opportunities at the helm, that doesn’t necessarily make professional life “easy” for WOC who are new to the workforce or climbing up that corporate ladder. Sometimes you might feel like throwing in the towel, and that’s exactly when you need a little inspiration and motivation.