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Ep 4: Return to work : Lauren Hagerty, Dir. of Marketing & Community, Power To Fly

Updated: Jul 22, 2023




EPISODE SUMMARY


Hello, This is Sirisha, welcome to my podcast! Today's podcast is a guest Interview with Lauren Hagerty, Director of Marketing & Community, Power to Fly. PowerToFly was founded by Milena Berry and Katharine Zaleski to fast-track economic equality by upskilling and connecting underrepresented talent to roles in highly visible sectors. They achieve our mission daily by connecting diverse talent to free live virtual events with decision-makers from companies, whether they're looking to change their careers or they’re happy in their current roles. They also feature upskilling content and host summits with industry leaders creating diverse, inclusive and equitable workplaces. Each podcast has a few takeaways and resources at the end. Check them out and leave me your feedback!! Come, let's #paintlifetogether!


Follow me on Instagram @womencareerandlife and don't forget to listen & subscribe to the podcast here!


Below is a transcript of the episode, slightly modified for reading.


PODCAST TRANSCRIPT OVERVIEW


[00:51] - Lauren's story... Strong Women [Jump to section]

[02:58] - Lift while you climb [Jump to section]

[08:32] - How to best use Power to Fly... it's free [Jump to section]

[10:58] - Advice for career changers... [Jump to section]

[16:31] - Lauren's ... career pivot [Jump to section]

[20:28] - Mentors... Lift you while they climb [Jump to section]

[23:41] - Note to your 21-year-old self ... [Jump to section]

Food for thought. Episode takeaways [Jump to section]


PODCAST DETAILED TRANSCRIPT


Lauren's story... Strong Women [00:51]

Sirisha: Today, I'm excited to have my good friend Usha, who's also a career woman and mom co-hosting the podcast.


Usha: Thank you for having me, Siri, I'm so excited to join today's conversation on returning to work.


Sirisha: We have a guest joining us today from one of the resources we discussed in the last episode. Can you introduce our guest.


Usha: With us today is a very special guest, Lauren Hagerty, she's the Director of Marketing and Communication at Power to Fly. She's here because she is the head of marketing for an organization that we featured in our return to work episode, and they're an organization that will be a great resource for all our listeners. How do I describe Lauren, she is the Director of Marketing, but she's also a fitness enthusiast. She loves knitting, she has made a business out of it and from what I heard from her before the podcast started, she's so many more hats that she has worn in life. I'm not going to steal too much thunder from you, Lauren, but we'll start with getting to know a little more about you. What I want to start with is, what is it that motivates you to get started every day and who you are as a person.


Lauren: Thank you so much. I'm so excited to be here with everyone and tell you more about me and Power to Fly. You know, I was born into a family of really strong women. So it was truly only fitting that I found a career that allowed me to continue empowering women and underrepresented talent to do more, both in their lives personally and professionally, and really live their lives to the fullest. So I feel really blessed that you know, I get to every single day help women achieve these professional dreams that help them achieve, you know, their day-to-day lifestyle goals. So that really gets me up in the morning and it's so exciting to come to work every day and really build this beautiful company alongside some really incredible people.


At Power to Fly, I found a career that allowed me to continue empowering women and underrepresented talent to do more, both in their lives personally and professionally, and really live their lives to the fullest.

Lift while you climb [02:58]


Usha: You talked about strength and strong women. I'm just curious, what is? Are there any experiences that really brought that strength out and define what strength is? To you?


Lauren: Good question. I think it has a lot to do with perseverance. My mom is also an entrepreneur, she was one of the only women also at a global company. Throughout really my entire childhood, I remember my mom being on conference calls and travelling the world to give training and, you know, it was really important for her to show me my sister, my brother, this is what a woman does, they are a boss in their personal lives and their careers. I really grew up in, moved throughout my life, making that be the rule, not the experts are the exception. So, you know, I always wanted to work for women who you know, followed that same, I guess, core values, so women who wanted to lift me up, and I'm a really big proponent of lift while you climb. So, as I'm moving up, and through my career, I want to make sure that I'm bringing people alongside with me, just as the women who've done that for me in the past and, you know, continue to do for the future. So to me, strength is really perseverance. It's not giving up when you're feeling low or when something's going wrong, it's finding innovative ways to solve problems and really stick it out. That's kind of been the theme of my career and what I try and pass on to my team every single day.


I'm a really big proponent of lift while you climb. As I'm moving up through my career, I'm bringing people alongside with me just as the women who've done that for me in the past and continue to do for the future.

Strength is really perseverance, it's not giving up when you're feeling low or when something goes wrong, it's finding innovative ways to really solve problems and stick it out.

Usha: The thought about lifting while you climb, that's very lovely because sometimes we get so caught up in our own issues and challenges and then once we start actually lifting we actually take attention away from our challenges. How did you make your way to Power to Fly and then if you could talk a little bit more about what Power to Fly does and how our listeners can make the most out of it?


Lauren: Quite an interesting story. Again, talking about lifting while we climb, my manager at my last company had attended an event at Power to Fly and knew that I thought there was a lot going on with a company that I was working with, which I think we'll get to a little bit later. But, you know, she was just really impressed with how mission-driven this company was and how smooth this event ran. She saw that they had an opening for a community-centric role, and really encouraged me to apply, she helped me with my application, my resume. It was kind of a leap for me, I had never worked in or had never worked for such a mission-driven company, such a small company. So I took this leap of faith and, really launched Power to Fly's virtual events program within my first year at Power to Fly.


So holistically our mission is to fast-track economic equality by upskilling and connecting underrepresented talent to roles in highly visible sectors. So really, our bread and butter is connecting people with companies that are committed to creating these diverse and inclusive workforces. When I joined power to fly, I really focused on growing this network of women of underrepresented talent, finding ways to engage them to really show them our value. As this grew throughout, the first couple of years of my tenure at Power to Fly, we really were able to establish ourselves as a leader in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion space, which kind of brings us to where we are today. We don't only, provide hiring services, or what once was our in-person events, who now we're totally virtual, because of COVID times, but we have training, we have mentorship, we have listening circles, leadership development programs, we have, really become a 360-degree diversity solution for the clients that we serve, and our community who's looking to either pivot their careers or grow in the career that they have, or find something totally new. It's amazing, the fact that I've been here for four years, I started in just a straight-up community role. Now we're this rapidly growing organization, which, in my opinion, couldn't have come at a better time. So part of it is really an incredible organization not only to be a part of but to join as a community member, there's just so much opportunity, regardless of where you are in your career.


We (Power to Fly) provide hiring services, training, mentorship, listening circles, leadership development programs, a 360 degree diversity solution for clients that we serve.

Usha: I remember when I engaged this was 2015. So when you had originally started the Power to Fly, it was one of the few organizations that actually brought in the conversation on remote and virtual work. That actually is what drew me to that website. So I'm going to put on a listener hat and say, I'm somebody who is returning to work, and I land on your website, what would be the first few things you would suggest we do, because there are a lot of resources, what would be a few things that you would suggest our listeners do to make the most of the resources you offer.


How to best use Power to Fly... it's free [08:32]


Lauren: Step number one is to create a free profile. So Power to Fly is totally free to use. Everything is free from our job fairs, to our job platform, to our daily virtual events, we don't want there to be any barrier to entry for anyone in our community. So to create a free profile takes less than two minutes, it's very similar to your LinkedIn profile, where you'll put your experience you'll put your skills a lot of that basic information. I think that what makes Power to Fly different is that we also want you to include that personal bit as well, which as women, it's very hard for us in these resumes in our cover letters to include, some of this other resume meat and potatoes that make us these great candidates. So, we actually have a section on our profile for our story. We want our community to share their story so more about what makes them, them in that section.


So create that profile whenever you sign up for an event applied to a job, basically, interact with Power to Fly holistically. when we're having a hiring event or our job fairs. For example. When you sign up or you apply to those jobs, these hiring managers immediately get access to that profile. They can contact you based on what you've included there. It's quick, it's easy, maybe it sounds repetitive if you've just kind of created your LinkedIn profile, but better yet, just copy and paste it over. It's the easiest way for a network for hiring managers and recruiters to network with you, which is what we really pride ourselves on. That is really fantastic.


Power to Fly is free, from job fairs to virtual events. Create a free profile and also include, that personal bit as well.

Sirisha: I think the fact that you said you have a holistic and story in a way, right, we were just talking about your knitting and the picture behind you. That brings up the whole other persona that you carry that you don't always take to work with you. So currently, you're in COVID, a lot of women have had to step back or, have been let go, or they've been layoffs at companies. So what do you suggest for them? What should they do differently than what is normally done to return to work? And in other ways? Also, what are some of the do's and some of the don'ts, sometimes the don'ts are just as important as the do's. So can you give us some idea of what that looks like?


Advice for career changers... [10:58]


Lauren: My first bit of advice for, you know, career changers, or even people who have been in a role for a really long time and are looking for something new, new grads, anyone who's like making a big change in their career, take every interview you possibly can and apply to everything. In my opinion, job applications and interviews are in many ways, like a performance. So the more you do the performance, the better you're going to get at it. So you know, let's say your dream job was just posted, and you know, you haven't applied to anything, you haven't submitted any applications. You just go in cold turkey for that matter. There, you're going to be nervous, there are going to be errors, they're going to be things that you forget or you know, are just in the heat of the moment, wish that you said XYZ. So the more that you practice your interview skills, the more that you get your resume out there, the more that you ask for feedback on all of these things, the better you're going to be when that dream job that dream opportunity comes around. So even if they are jobs you don't want at all, they're still going to be great practice for that dream role. It's my number one tip regardless, like I said, of where you are in your career, everyone could use, you know, that confidence going into their dream opportunity.


Take every interview you possibly can and apply to everything. Interviews are like a performance, the more you do, the better you're going to get at it. Even if they are jobs you don't want at all, they're still going to be great practice for that dream role.

So, secondly, especially given COVID times, and you know what we're considering the great rehiring right now, a lot of businesses are hiring people back in mass. Like you said, especially with all the layoffs with COVID, these are skilled professionals that were let go in many cases. So just applying to jobs via job board doesn't cut it anymore. So applicants really need to find a closer touch point to the jobs that they really care about. And again, that's what we really pride ourselves on at Power to Fly because we want to connect our community directly with these companies, with the hiring managers, with recruiters with people in the roles that they want to do. So my advice is to take advantage of platforms like Power to Fly, and, you know, zoom, fatigued as we all are, it actually speaks a lot to hiring managers, when they can say, Oh, wow, now Usha just attended this event with Microsoft and she asked this question, and, you know, wow, it seems like she's really interested in what we have got going on here. So we should bring her in for that interview. Any way that we can set ourselves apart is really key given this time, and, you know, for returners, this is great, because you know, your enthusiasm, your excitement really shows through during some of these events. Maybe it isn't necessarily an event, thinking about all of the connections that you have, and how to leverage those, or, you know, reading blog posts, just really staying up to date on what's happening in the world of said, company. You know, the bottom line is how do you set yourself apart, so don't just apply to jobs via job boards, you know, find that second closer, touchpoints and, and find a new way into the company or that opportunity,


How do you set yourself apart, so don't just apply to jobs via job boards, find that closer touchpoint and find a new way into that company or opportunity.

Sirisha: It's just something that we don't think about, you know like you said, it's not something you'd accept all interviews, you're waiting for that perfect thing, and you're not necessarily prepared for it. It's like everything you're training, it's like training for a marathon, you have to go and do it every day, till it becomes part of muscle memory. In some sense, you're ready for the job, but you're also thinking about it and preparing for it. So one of the things we talked about before is global presence. Can you talk about that some more.


Lauren: So Power to Fly, we were founded in 2014, based on this mission, that we ourselves wanted to be a global team because in our opinion, the more diverse team is not just based on gender, race, ethnicity, culture. We wanted to have all of these different perspectives come into our product and essentially our business. So from day one Power to Fly has been a totally remote, totally global company. So we span right now, I mean, it's probably changed even the last hour, but we span over 24 Different countries for our internal employees. And again, you know why we do this one, we want to provide opportunities for underrepresented talent across the globe. So we ourselves practice what we preach. But also, this is important because our hiring spans the globe. So we are always hosting events, across all continents, for companies that are remote, that are in office that are hybrid, we don't limit ourselves because, you know, diversity isn't limited. We are in a time in the world where companies are looking for leaders like us to help them find really great candidates. And many times, you know, that's not just in their local area. My suggestion, regardless of where you are in the world, is just get involved in the community. You know, we have events all the time for different regions, be a small city in a specific location, or for people across the globe. We want to make opportunities and career advancement accessible to everyone. That's what I specifically work on with my marketing team every single day.


Lauren's ... career pivot [16:31]


Sirisha: That conversation is going on more and more now, right about diversity and inclusion, it's become sort of a starting point that every company is talking about. But it's been there for a long time and especially as we talk about COVID, even outside of it for people returning, it really helps them feel more confident saying there are people looking for my skill set, and not just your skill set. Like you said in your story as well, because there are a lot of things we do that are not just tied to 'Can' I do this job, your organization or your creativity that might still lend itself but having that global presence, I think that brings in another thought process as well. Are you able to interact with clients from different companies, different cultures, that is not always as seamless or as easy as it may seem. as we also return. Sometimes you all have to make pivots and transitions. Do you have a personal story or have you had to pivot yourself around your journey?


Lauren: Yeah, so I love this story because I think a lot of people who are in marketing are kind of in marketing from the beginning. But that's definitely not my story. So I went to school for genetics, a very, very competitive program. So I was committed to that. But I got a really interesting opportunity for a startup in my local area. We actually ended up going through a massive product recall, and it impacted over 5 million of our users, I was the only one at the company who had done any form of formal social media, or formal community management. The head of marketing had called me and asked, "Hey, would you mind kind of running crisis management on our community", I helped really launch our crisis management forum, this product recall, lasted a few months. I ended up building a team from this that ran social media formally afterwards, and then moved into a community engagement role thereafter because I decided to stick with that and not go to grad school and do genetics because I loved it. In this one moment, I saw an opportunity that I thought was interesting,


I had no idea what it was going to become and I said yes. It turned out being something you know, seven, eight years later that I can't imagine waking up every single day and not doing so for pivoters and changers and actually, even the people that are before that. So in still this like dilemma stage Am I happy doing what I'm doing right now? Do I risk it? Like what does this mean? You might take my advice is just take the chance if there's something in your gut that's telling you this, I could think I could like this or I could enjoy this. Job's not permanent. You can always go back, you can always change. If there's something inside you that's telling you to do something, try it see what happens. It could be that life-changing pivot that makes you the happiest you've ever been in your career. So, you know, looking back, I'm really glad that I took that opportunity. I hope that helps other people who might be in that dilemma stage.


Job's not permanent. You can always go back, you can always change. If there's something inside you that's telling you to do something, try it see what happens.

Sirisha: That's an amazing story and I hope it for people who are listening. I hope it gives them that confidence because it is always hard to make that transition and from what you said you were dealing with the crisis, right? Even more stressful. It's a pretty steep learning curve within an organization. So I can imagine that must have been a pretty tough situation, you're making it sound so seamless and I bet you went through a lot of emotion as it was going. So I'm glad it's been such a successful venture. So did you have mentors who helped you through this, or people who helped you, sort of keep you going, as you were making those decisions staying the course?


Mentors... Lift you while they climb [20:28]


Lauren: Yeah, so I mean, it all kind of ties together everything I've said throughout the conversation today. At this company, as you can imagine, after such a big product, recall that the company went through a lot of turmoil after that. My manager really supported me and knew, what I was passionate about. I became really passionate about community. After her attending a Power to Fly event and seeing, how amazing this company is, she knew that was somewhere that I would thrive and was willing to help and support me through that, not to mention pulling me up out of, the small position I had at this company, to join the marketing team, when I had no formal experience. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for her. Then, you know, the same can be said, for Katherine, who's one of the co-founders of Power to Fly, she's really been a shining light to me and taken a lot of chances on me through my time at Power to Fly. Again, there are so many more mentors and sponsors and people who have been there for me, and I really do believe that, that is how you grow in your career, especially as woman, because a lot of people are going to say no to your face, they're going to put up roadblocks and barriers and tell you, you can't do it. But there are people and women out there who like I said, are going to lift you while they climb. They want you to be successful, and they're going to do everything that they can to help you because that's not going to hurt them. A rising tide lifts all ships. So really, you know, whether you're in a position of power right now, or you're looking for someone to, you know, support you through what might be seemingly a traumatic piece of your career there, reach out because I think more times than not, there are women who want to help and support you and guide you to a place of success or at least happiness. So yes, I would not be where I was today, if it weren't for my mentors, my sponsors, and I still talk to my old manager, to this day,


Lift you while they climb

Usha: Mentors is going to actually be next season after this and it just naturally went in that way. Because, you know, we don't all of us don't always think of these things. When we're in that job. It's almost like you have this narrow vision that sets in, and you're just focusing on the goals within that company. Mentors really open up their perspectives and also listening to stories like this, where you u talked about pivoting and what it took, built that confidence that you could do it. So I think the community and mentors together like peer mentors and mentors, who are your managers, all of that works magic. As you can tell, we just can't stop talking and asking you questions, you have so this wealth of information. We are getting to a point where we're wrapping up our episode, I want to get to that question that we ask all our guests. If you were to write a letter to your 21-year-old self, what is the one thing or one quality that you would ask yourself to come to work, to prepare yourself for the next few decades to come?


Note to your 21-year-old self ... [23:41]


Lauren: Boy, that's tough. I struggled with this when I was thinking what I would say, but it actually ties everything together quite nicely. I would say don't take things too seriously but don't stop working hard. So I mentioned, I went to school for genetics. I worked so hard in college and I like really struggled. it was not easy for me. It was not something that I was good at, necessarily, but I wanted it really badly and I got through it. So you know, it's funny to look back and think about all the sleepless nights and all the tears that were shed studying for exams and you know, studying for grad school and taking the GREs and like everything that just seems so insurmountable as a 21 year old. You know, it doesn't matter. What was most important was the fact that I developed this grittiness that made me never give up on something. So if I wanted it, I was going to achieve it. That's a trait that I have carried with me to my role today. I get into a lot of meetings and people are like, why are you taking this stuff seriously or why do you care so much this is not a big deal but it is a big deal. When you put that much heart and soul into something, that's what people really admire, especially, in a leadership role or in a company where you're trying to make a difference in the world. People want leaders who aren't going to give up no matter how hard things get, no matter how challenging numbers, look, or, times are in the beginning of COVID. I mean, we had 50 events cancelled in a matter of a week and we were really unsure how was this gonna play out for us? But we gritted through it, and, that is what is important, and I carry with me every single day, I wake up every morning, give it my best, be as happy as possible, and not get discouraged when things don't necessarily go my way. Continue to care, continue to give my all and, just take a breath. 21-year-old Lauren, it's gonna be okay.


Don't take things too seriously, but don't stop working hard. Wake up every morning, give it my best, be as happy as possible, and not get discouraged when things don't necessarily go my way.

Sirisha: Very true. So Lauren, thank you so much for being here. I think the takeaway from what you said, you talked about strong women, perseverance, being key. That ties off into that grit and determination and that heart that you said, Bring to whatever you're doing, reach out to whoever it may be a mentor, interview, whatever you say, don't hold back. Such a positive message for everyone to take away and to know that you can meander and still, the journey itself is such a joy. We really appreciate you coming here and thank you so much. For any of our listeners who might want to reach out to you, you can look for Lauren, @lauren8Hagerty on Twitter, Instagram and even look for her on LinkedIn.


Lauren: Yes, thank you both so much for having me. This was so fun. I really enjoyed talking with both of you great questions and you really made my day.


Usha: Thank you. You made our day as well.


Sirisha: Very nice chatting with you.


Food for thought. Episode takeaways

Here is today's food for thought,

  • Power to Fly provides hiring services, training, mentorship, listening circles, leadership development programs, a 360-degree diversity solution for clients. Everything is free, from job fairs to virtual events. Create a free profile and also include, that personal bit as well.

  • Take every interview you possibly can and apply to everything. Interviews are like a performance, the more you do, the better you're going to get at it. Even if they are jobs you don't want at all, they're still going to be great practice for that dream role.

  • How do you set yourself apart, so don't just apply to jobs via job boards, find that closer touchpoint and find a new way into that company or opportunity.

  • Job's not permanent. You can always go back, you can always change. If there's something inside you that's telling you to do something, try it see what happens.

  • I'm a really big proponent of lifting while you climb. As I'm moving up through my career, I'm bringing people alongside me just as the women who've done that for me in the past and continue to do for the future.

  • Strength is really perseverance, it's not giving up when you're feeling low or when something goes wrong, it's finding innovative ways to really solve problems and stick it out.

  • Don't take things too seriously, but don't stop working hard. Wake up every morning, give it my best, be as happy as possible, and not get discouraged when things don't necessarily go my way.

Resources Mentioned:


Similar Podcast Transcripts: Return to Work Season

Guest: Lauren Hagerty

Guest Host: Usha

Host: Sirisha

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