Updated: Sep 8
On August 9th, we are so proud to share that RB Consulting hosted Indy’s First Mini Conference focused on Closing the Gender Gap on Women in Sales and Sales Leadership. The intention of our mini conference was to bring this topic to the forefront so we can work together to advance equity and belonging for women in sales careers.
I can’t thank enough, our esteemed panel, our incredible sponsors, our special guest from Women in Sales and our over 100 guests who joined us in the Launch Fishers Auditorium and virtually for being a part of this successful and impactful event. Thank you!
There were so many gems dropped and advice shared this recap is going to be two parts.
Let’s kick off this recap by shouting out our fantastic and brilliant all women panel of highly accomplished Leaders and Sales Professionals!
Panel Shout Out:
Sunny Lu Wiliams, President, Techserv Corporation
Sunny's career journey began as an extremely successful account executive and sales leader in Telecom sales. After over a decade in telecom sales, Sunny pivoted and took over and revamped the family business. Techserv is a data driven project management and consultancy firm. She is also the founder and CEO of Joy of You, an organization focused on elevating women in business by intentionally supporting the whole YOU.
Rupal Thanawala, Founder and CEO, Trident Systems
Rupal has over two decades of experience in sales, strategy and management consulting in Fortune 500 companies and specialization in Life Sciences industries. Rupal is currently the CEO/Managing Director of Trident Systems and leads growing and supporting clients in the digital transformation and management consulting practice. She serves on several boards including, Asian American Alliance & Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
Amy Gregory Weber, Senior Director of Sales. Flex Contact Center Enterprise, Twilio
Amy has spent her career, nearly 30 years in tech sales and leading sales teams for organizations including McAfee, Microsoft & Cisco. She joined Twilio in 2019, leveraging her extensive software and telecom experience. Throughout her career Amy developed a diverse client portfolio across various industry segments, catering to both SMBs and Fortune 500 companies.
Lydia Clark, Founder and CEO, Integrity Benefits Partners, Inc.
Lydia is a trailblazer and highly skilled negotiator with 20 years of top-performing executive leadership, triple-digit organizational growth and a quota-crushing sales professional year after year in the highly competitive insurance industry. After many years selling for major insurance carriers Lydia saw a better way and founded Integrity Benefits Partners. As President she leads growth and sales initiatives and a dynamic team of professionals.
Jessica Rodriguez Hernandez, Deputy Director, Latinas Welding Guild
Jessica serves as the Deputy Director of the Latinas Welding Guild. Her passion lies in advocating for corporate responsibility and workforce development. Holding true to the words "In order to receive, one must give," Jessica finds her fulfillment in educating and consulting her enterprise-level clients on the fruitful impact they create by pouring resources back into their communities.
Her decade of experience in sales has resulted in $35 million dollars of growth for businesses and equitable employment for marginalized communities. Jessica's commitment to serving is best illustrated by her board service and relentless fundraising efforts to support mission-driven nonprofits.
Our first discussion topic with the panel revolved around the inherent strengths and abilities women frequently possess that make them successful in sales and sales leadership. One such strength highlighted was the skill of empathy.
Why Empathy Matters in Sales: Empathy, often associated with women, plays a vital role in approaching clients. The emphasis is on understanding and resonating with the emotional connection a buyer has with the buying process.
Rupal shared her father’s story of being an empathetic salesman, emphasizing the importance of client relationships and learning from him to care about their customers at a very young age. She then related her own journey, highlighting the significance of emotional intelligence in sales. The importance of the ability to step into the shoes of the buyer and provide genuine solutions rather than pushing a sale is key for longevity in the sales industry and often easily embraced by women, in Rupal's experiences.
Amy reinforced Rupal’s advice and reminded us that people buy from people, so it's critical to focus on building relationships in sales. Amy also shared a personal anecdote about being both 'one of the boys' and embracing her femininity to connect with her clients and teammates. She also stressed the importance of listening, providing value, and being patient in sales all traits that are often inherent strengths for women.
Lydia talked about the unique abilities’ women have in reading situations and understanding individual needs. She drew a parallel between maternal instincts and sales, indicating how women can intuitively adapt their approach based on the individual needs of a child, or in a sales context, a client.
Next, we talked about what women need to know about the male-dominated industry of sales that they don’t tell us. With that in mind, each of our panelists offered valuable advice and wisdom to women in sales careers, that they wish someone had shared with them.
Many women in sales have experienced moments of self-betrayal, feeling the need to adapt their identities based on their environment. This is especially true in industries like tech sales, telecom, welding, and insurance where women representation is extremely low. The challenge lies not just in the external environment but within internal company cultures that haven't evolved, using sales strategies, from using one's appearance to adapting behavior. And that can be both empowering and exhausting.
Jessica reminds us to leverage the Power of "No". One potent tool in the arsenal of women in sales is the ability to say "no." Turning down a deal or a client because it conflicts with one's values or seems unsafe isn't a sign of weakness. Instead, it's a testament to strength, character, and the value one places on one’s authentic self. By creating environments where women can thrive, that are historically male dominated, there's an opportunity for self-funding and self-sustainability.
Along this same thread, an iconic moment was shared by Amy, who highlighted the importance of staying true to oneself, recounting a story about being advised against wearing high heels. In her own words, "I look very professional. I'm going to keep my heels. You do not have to change who you are to fit into a mold. You just have to own it." The key takeaway? Embrace who you are and be prepared to negotiate for what you deserve.
Our panel also shared that the world of sales is not always as glamorous, as it's often portrayed and entails far more than just “wining and dining clients”.
"Not-so-glamorous" reality. After candid reflection on the perception of sales careers being "glamorous” … the panel agreed, it's not always that rosy. There are countless hours of hard work, late nights, devotion, and sacrifices that often go unnoticed and unappreciated, especially if you're not "playing the game" the way the system wants you to. Our esteemed women in sales also agreed, that amidst the challenges, there lie invaluable lessons about resilience, passion, community involvement, and redefining one's trajectory in life through a career in sales and sales leadership.
What other words of wisdom did our tenured panel have for women in the sales industry and our male allies?
Embrace Failure: It's okay to fail. Failure is part of the process. The real strength lies in how you bounce back.
Stay True: Being authentic doesn't mean being weak. Your authentic self can be as powerful as any sales strategy.
Support Network: Build a strong support network of allies and mentors to guide and support you throughout your journey.
Embracing Independence: It's an empowering reminder that sometimes, breaking free from the conventional path is the best decision you can make for your personal and professional growth. Setting up one's own business, especially in the face of adversity, can lead to immense joy, personal satisfaction, and professional success.
The Power of Digital: In today's digital age, maintaining an online presence and ensuring digital safety are essential. This involves leaving a digital trail, such as updating your LinkedIn, and being cautious in the digital space to protect oneself from potential harm.
Knowledge is Power: Understanding the business model of your industry, as well as the compensation structure, is crucial for long-term success in sales. This empowers you to make informed decisions, understand your value, and steer your career path effectively.
Attitude, Effort, and Mentorship: Your mindset plays a pivotal role in determining your success. Continuous learning, seeking guidance, and being proactive in your career journey can lead to immense personal and professional growth.
Beyond the Day Job: One of the most inspiring narratives from the discussion was the power of community involvement. By passionately combining sales skills with a genuine desire to give back, it's possible to make a significant positive impact to aide in the efforts of nonprofit and community organizations.
The panel has given us a lot to think about, so I’ll leave you with this final thought, whether it's selling a product, a service, or an idea for the greater good, it all boils down to authenticity, resilience, and the unwavering belief in one's mission.
There’s always Enough!
PS: Check back soon for part 2 of our special event recap!
PPS: Hop over to our NEW Resources page to listen to the recording of the panel.
“I asked for a raise (due to a better offer from another company) and got it! I feel like your event really helped!”
“The panel was PHENOM; great diversity of business backgrounds!”
“This event was rich in content. Well worth the time and money”
Thank you once more to your incredible sponsors for helping us make this impactful event possible!