With the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day being #ChooseToChallenge, we thought that we would spend some time with each member of our all-female leadership team, learning what career challenges they’ve either faced or hope to eliminate for future female leaders and professionals. First to share her experiences and thoughts is our VP of Growth, Julie Biggs.
What does the 2021 International Women’s Day slogan, #ChooseToChallenge mean for you in your work life?
To me, #ChooseToChallenge means putting myself in situations that may be outside of my comfort zone, picking the road less traveled, speaking up more, and doing what is right. One of my favorite sayings is, “without challenge, there is no change,” and I am looking forward to continuing down that path through 2021.
What barriers have you faced, as a woman, in becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges I have faced, specifically over the last 4 years, is managing expectations that you have to be exceptional without showing vulnerability in every aspect of your life, all of the time. While we (women) have made monumental strides as professionals in the last 10-20 years, there is still a significant distinction between expectations of men and expectations of women- between interview questions (“are you planning on having any more children”) to salaries to flexibility and everything in between. With open discussion, action, and standing up, I hope that my daughters will not have to be asked this question when they enter their professional careers in 18+ years.
In your opinion, how do our individual actions, conversations, behaviors, and mindsets have an impact on our larger society?
Our words, actions, and intentions hold weight, especially in a digitized, social media-driven world. My two little girls intently listen to my words, watch my every move, and repeat everything I say- and it is my responsibility to seize the opportunity I have at home to be a part of strengthening our society’s health – a job I do not take lightly.
How important is it for women to lift each other, and what does that mean to you?
Women empowering women, women supporting women – it is a beautiful thing, isn’t it? I’ve always thought it was more about just generally supporting humans (which it is!), but as I spent some time thinking about this question, I realized that women are a tribe. We understand each other; we know that we’ve each climbed a mountain to get to where we are, we know that we are juggling 1,000 different, unrelated tasks, we know that there’s always more work to be done, we know that there is no other way, and we know we are the underdog. It is a silent understanding, respect, and appreciation for all the things she is doing because you are doing them too.