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Ways for Women to Get Ahead: Interview with Randi Braun

We had the pleasure of catching up with Randi Braun, CEO of Something Major, in honor of Women’s History Month to get her insight into how women can overcome workplace challenges to achieve success. Read the interview below for her career management advice!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background – what do you do?

I’m the CEO of the women’s leadership firm Something Major but it’s not the career I planned. Growing up professionally in sales and business development, I had my two kids in two years (and six days). At a time when research shows my income should have plateaued, I doubled it. I didn’t get “lucky” and my story isn’t “special”—but it’s also not common enough. I spoke on a single panel about this and word got out—fast—even to a national news outlet. I quickly found that women (both with and without kids) were seeking my counsel on negotiations, owning their message, and designing their goals. I stared my coaching business in earnest, becoming a certified executive coach along the way. When my small side hustle became a second full-time job, a mentor who had asked me to breakfast to hire me on his team ended up staging an intervention with me in 2019 to take the business full time— I quit my job six weeks later. I’ve never looked back!

2. We’d love to hear more about your latest book Something Major: The New Playbook for Women at Work. What inspired you to write it?

Years ago, I was on the phone with a woman who confessed, “I have no desire… In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I was in the mood.” She wasn’t talking about what you think she was talking about. She had done everything “right” and was still left with a bad case of “low work libido.” Unfortunately, she’s not alone—and there just isn’t any little blue pill for that. While my book isn’t the “magic cure” I’m deeply concerned that women are playing by all the old rules and yet they’re under-represented in leadership, the horizon to close the gender pay gap is increasing (not decreasing), and they feel unhappy. This New Playbook is designed to help them play the game with a new set of rules—and win on their own terms.

3. How do you think organizations can better support the women working for them?

One of the most important steps an organization can take is performing a compensation audit: we know that women make 82 cents on the dollar as compared to their white, male colleagues. For Black women that is 67 cents on the dollar. Any organization that wants to “walk the walk” on gender equity needs to (a) evaluate representation in their leadership structure and (b) right-size comp for all women and employees of color (Black, Asian, and Hispanic men also face a “glass ceiling” in comp, not just their female counterparts).

4. Can you share some strategies women can use to take control of their careers?

Own your goals, own your time, own your message. In my book, for example, I include 16 things I forbid you to say at work (spoiler: please stop saying “sorry” when you really mean thank you, excuse me, or hello). I also find that women fall into a lot of traps that keep us at distance from our goals, which we untangle in the book. The same goes for time and productivity: my biggest piece of advice on “productivity” is to focus on being impactful, not productive, when it comes to your time and to-do list. The book is packed with tools to do just that.

5. Do you have any advice for women looking to step into leadership roles?

People pick up what you put down. Owning your time, boundaries, goals, message, and confidence is the foundation of your power, your brand, and your career longevity. Showing up for yourself is how you show up for others. It’s how you have the energy to support, to steward, to lead, to come up with the game-changing ideas that are going to change the trajectory of your organization or field. It’s not selfish: it’s service.

6. Anything else you want to tell us or include?

This work of rediscovering who we are and who we want to be at work is really hard. But it can also be really fun and we need to make leadership work human again. An early reader of my book called it “sage advice told one wildly entertaining story at a time.” I hope you will be impacted by the tools but also laugh-out-loud along the way.

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