Lauren Popeis the content marketing lead at G2. She challenges companies to reimagine how content marketing can drive business outcomes. She’s a lifelong writer and digital native with a pulse on how to turn trendy marketing strategies into long-term processes and solutions.
How did you break into leadership?
I was looking for something more in my career and was given the opportunity at G2 to become a team lead. I jumped at the chance to be a female leader in tech. Even though it wasn’t what came natural to me (I’m much more of an IC type), I knew it was a good opportunity, so I jumped at it.
What unique obstacles or challenges have you faced as a woman in a tech leadership role?
I don’t have a STEM degree, I’m a writer. It’s weird to think that I was told for years that I would never have a job in a trendy or booming industry like tech because of my background in writing. But I actually think my writing skills and soft skills in communication have been my greatest assets.
I think just being a woman in leadership itself is so tricky. You have to be firm but not a bitch, you have to be creative but not dominating. There are so many hoops to jump through and people to please, people to prove yourself to.
In many ways, I still feel like an imposter. I feel every day that someone is going to look at me and ask, “What is she even doing here?”
Those are some of my biggest challenges.
How do you deal with those struggles?
The one thing I’ve learned in tech is that you can’t argue with numbers. Quantify everything you do, show the value, and make it impossible for anyone to say you’re not good enough.
This goes for promotion requests, resume writing, and salary negotiations. Always come prepared with the numbers.
“I should be paid this much because the salary research says this…”
“My title should be this because that’s what the industry standard is…”
“I deserve a promotion because I delivered these results on these projects…”
Make it a no-brainer, and good companies will reward you. If you work for a company that won’t, then you have an excuse to go somewhere else.
If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?
Ask for more money much earlier in my career.
I wasn’t aggressive enough with negotiations, and I took a few bad, low-paying jobs because I thought I had to pay my dues before I deserved success.
That’s a big problem for women: feeling as though we have to do more to earn our success. But what’s funny is the moment I stopped focusing on improving my weaknesses and instead leaned into my strengths, money came, promotions came, and my success really started.
What’s been the highlight of your career thus far?
Getting published on HubSpot! It’s always been the pinnacle for content marketing (in my eyes) and knowing that they thought my writing was quality enough to be published on their website was a dream come true.
What’s your advice for up-and-coming marketers?
Stop trying to impress people with skills you don’t have. I nearly broke my brain trying to learn coding because I thought it would make me more marketable. But I didn’t want jobs in coding. Do you see the problem?
When I finally threw my hands up and said, “You know what? I’m a writer, and if you want a writer, you’ll want someone like me,” that’s when I finally started getting paid for the work I enjoyed!
Don’t compromise because you think it will make you marketable. It will really only make you miserable. And you’ll be fighting every day to do a job you hate.
Thanks to Jes Kirkwood who conducted this interview in July 2020.