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HERstory: Liz Gonzalez

Director of Product Marketing, RingCentral

Liz Gonzalezis an avid traveler having visited and written about her adventures in over 70 countries. She’s also an outspoken advocate of education before acquisition. Liz is the Director of Product Marketing at RingCentral and has been in the tech industry for over 13 years. She is passionate about minority women in tech and is proudly Cuban-American.

How did you break into leadership?

I had a great mentor and manager who opened the door to conversations around what I wanted to accomplish and where I wanted to go professionally—not just focused my day-to-day responsibilities. This allowed me to verbalize my intention of becoming a leader, and then we built a plan to get me there, together.

What unique obstacles or challenges have you faced as a woman in a tech leadership role?

Not believing in myself as a leader. Many times I noticed I might be the only woman in the room, or one of a few women in the room, during leadership meetings. I think finding your voice and learning how to be confident and comfortable to capture the room’s attention is one challenge I needed to work harder on as a female leader.

How do you negotiate a higher salary?

It’s important to understand the tools you have on the internet to evaluate the average range of pay for the position you’re applying for and even have discussions with your peers at networking events.

When I first came to the Bay Area, I was unaware of what fair pay was for my experience and role. I discovered three months into my role that I was underpaid by 26%. I gathered my thoughts, metrics/contributions, and the public salary information that I needed to make the case and had the talk with my supervisor.

I think the steps to do this aren’t hard on paper but can be challenging in practice from an emotional standpoint. The biggest takeaway from all this is that you have to be your own advocate and not wait for people to recognize it and give you a raise. I would just leave you with the time-old phrase “If you don’t ask, you won’t get.”

If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?

I think I would have more active conversations with my managers earlier in my career regarding getting feedback on my performance as well as asking for what I want and actively working towards a career goal.

What’s been the highlight of your career thus far?

The highlight of my career has been my transition to leadership: seeing my younger self in others coming into the workforce and being able to help bring out their best work, and bringing a team together to accomplish shared goals and feel good about their work.

Share something interesting or valuable with our community.

Public speaking courses. I can’t say how much this has helped me be able to articulate my ideas, share my work, and discuss my experience in front of both small groups and large audiences.

Thanks to Jes Kirkwood who conducted this interview in September 2020.

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