How to “Write Your Success Story”? WIAS23 Keynote Speaker Provides Insight
By Michelle Pelletier Marshall, Women in Agribusiness Media (April 25, 2023)
Many wonder how to align their goals and aspirations and bridge that into a successful career path. With that in mind, Women in Agribusiness will feature Meggie Palmer, globally renowned speaker, facilitator, and executive coach, as the keynote speaker for its 12th annual Women in Agribusiness Summit this September in Nashville. Palmer is a pro at providing insight into building a roadmap for career success.
An award-winning journalist-turned-entrepreneur, Palmer, who hails from Australia and grew up on a farm, founded PepTalkHer in 2016 with the mission of closing the gender pay gap. The popular app, which has more than 60,000 users, helps professionals track success and navigate their pathway to promotion to supercharge their careers and overcome the confidence gap that often holds one back from achieving their full potential. She will expand on these thoughts in her pre-event workshop “Negotiate Like a Pro”.
In her keynote address, “Write Your Success Story”, Palmer will provide guidance so that each individual can craft a compelling narrative for personal success. The focus of this will be delving into how to identify limiting beliefs and reframe one’s mindset to cultivate a more confident and empowered version of oneself.
WIA Today sat down with Palmer to get more details.
1). You are a journalist turned entrepreneur… what inspired this path? Please share that journey with our readers.
I spent 15 years as a journalist in Australia, and then in London for BBC World, and then with CNBC. I traveled all around the world – from Syria, interviewing Bashar al-Assad, to Paris interviewing Brad Pitt, to interviewing families who've lost everything, or politicians when they've won elections. So there have been lots of highs and lows of people's lives that I’ve gotten a view into, and as a journalist, you are privileged to get insight into what that looks like for folks. I loved my job. It was amazing.
At one point, Michelle, I had an experience where I found out quite by accident that my pay and conditions were super different from the guys in the newsroom, so I said something. I was told that if I didn't like it, I could quit or take them to court. Long story short, that's how I came to be aware of the challenge of the gender pay gap and the biases that impact women in the workplace. I became passionate about trying to make sure it didn't happen to other people like it did to me. That’s how PepTalkHer was born.
2). Tell us more about PepTalkHer.
PepTalkHer is focused on helping professional women get paid more and promoted faster. We built an app that we launched with Vogue about five years ago that everyone can download, and it's totally free. (It's in the Apple Store on the Google Play Store.) Basically, it's kind of like a Fitbit, but it's for your career. So instead of tracking your steps, or your exercise classes, it tracks your wins at work. It becomes a little brag book of all your career wins, which can be used to successfully advocate or negotiate better opportunities.
We also offer a heap of free content at PepTalkHer.com/career.We have paid courses as well, such as Career Level Up program that I run live twice a year that has helped people get $10,000, $20,000, or $30,000 pay increases or more!
It’s all about helping people understand their value and knowing how to communicate that at work so they get the best possible outcome.
3). You work with Fortune 100 companies to help recruit, retain, and develop talent from diverse backgrounds. What are the top three things companies should pay attention to in this endeavor?
The recruitment piece is just making sure that you have a funnel of diversity, whether that's from a gender perspective, or cultural background perspective. And the reason is not just because it's a warm and fuzzy nice thing to do to be very inclusive and diverse, but because it makes more money. And if you want to make more money, the research shows that when you have a diverse group of folks at the decision-making table, business decisions are better and net profit goes up.
From a retention perspective, what a lot of our corporate clients find is that they're able to bring people into the business but they're not able to retain them past the three- to five-year mark, particularly female talent. We run a high potential leadership program for clients like PWC, TikTok, and Salesforce, which helps mid to senior level career women learn how to connect internally with sponsors to actively champion their careers. It develops a cohort community among peers within the business whom they can lean on throughout their careers. It also gives them the skills to navigate the career that they want and build it within the organization.
Development and retention are very linked. If you want to retain talent and make sure that you can keep mid-level talent to transition into senior roles, you can't just expect that to happen, you have to invest in your people. They need executive coaches, they need leadership programs, they need external feedback so that they can bring their best self to your team, helping to build a high-performing team.
4). You are a firm believer that everyone can change to achieve their goals, and that if one (or a business) is very clear on their mission and capacity for change, the rest will follow successfully. What are the first steps for powering through this process?
A lot of people that I talk to say, “I asked for a pay raise, but I didn’t get it” or “I wanted a promotion, but I didn't get it” and that’s it. I say, you need to remember that your bosses have a lot going on – they are managing multiple staff, they might have a sick kid, they might be getting divorced, they might be renovating a house, they've got a lot going on. As a team member and employee, it's your responsibility to take ownership of your career and push where you want it to go. And if they say no, ask why not? And what do I need to do to get there? It's your responsibility to ask those follow up questions, and to get that extra information so that you can navigate towards the direction that you want to go. You can't expect others to lay out a perfect career path for you – you must be proactively steering your career in the direction that you want it to go.
Also remember that every conversation is an opportunity, even if they say no. It’s always an opportunity to learn more information, to understand what's going on. If you don't ask questions, it's hard to get the full picture. I think being a former journalist, I'm very curious, and one of the most important qualities as a journalist is to ask questions.
5). What are you most excited about as far as what the future holds for women in business?
I’m always excited. I’m an optimist and there's a lot of good in the world. Sure, the gender pay gap is discouraging, as is the gender leadership gap, but I'm excited that we're having this conversation. I’m excited that this is a priority for women in agriculture, for corporate America, for so many people in the media, and more. Conversations are slowly but surely changing. It's not perfect. It's still frustrating. But there's a choice -- you can sit and stew and get angry and bitter, or you can do something about it. I choose to do the latter. When I went through the experience of pay inequality, I was angry and bitter, and the thing that helped me was helping others. So, I think you get frustrated in your career, think about who can you help. Can you mentor someone? Can you sponsor someone in the organization? Supporting others and paying it forward can be a really great ally. Seeing more and more allyship in the workplace is something that really excites me, and I can't wait to see what waves of change will come from all these ripples that are starting to appear.
6). Can you give our readers a sneak peek of your upcoming WIA Summit keynote address and "Negotiate Like a Pro" workshop?
If you like boring lectures, you should not attend because this one is going to be high energy, you're going to be challenged, you're going to be questioned, you're going do activities, you’re going to be asked for input. It’s going to be super fun and engaging.
As for the negotiation workshop, I’m going to give you a step-by-step playbook to use to navigate the negotiation for your next pay increase or promotion. You can also apply this to all aspects of your life. Once you learn to reframe negotiation, you can use that if you're getting a mortgage or a loan, buying a house or car, splitting the bills with your partner, and much more.
Negotiating is all about articulating your value because the thing you need to realize in negotiation is that there's a cost to the business of losing great people. If you're a high achiever and you're doing great work, if they lose you, that's not good for anyone, right? That's not what they want. There's a cost to losing you. Often it's cheaper for them to come to an arrangement with you than it is to recruit someone new.
We can navigate that system to our advantage. If you understand the rules, you can play the game. That's what we'll be workshopping together.
I can't wait to meet everyone at the Women in Agribusiness Summit, and I encourage attendees to reach out and say hi on social media. I’m @MeggiePalmer. Come to the Summit with questions or send me them ahead of time. I’m here to cheer you on.