Episode #4 – Marie Wiese, President of Marketing CoPilot, author of “You Can’t Be Everywhere”, and host of the Common Sense Marketer Podcast
Today’s conversation with Marie Wiese touches on many of the key issues facing women at work today – no matter what industry you work in. But there’s no denying that particularly in the tech industry, we have a long way to go to change the working environment, pay equity expectations and harassment concerns that are such huge problems for women right now. These issues are definitely a focus for this episode.
Marie is President of Marketing CoPilot, author of You Can’t Be Everywhere – A Common Sense Approach to Digital Marketing for Any Business, and host of the Common Sense Marketer podcast. Marie’s road to entrepreneurship was a bit circuitous – likely a trend we’ll see a lot of from now on. Following her undergrad with a post-grad certificate in public relations, she worked as a parliamentary secretary for a cabinet minister in Ottawa. She eventually moved to the corporate world, spending years in senior level sales and marketing roles in the financial services and the financial technology sectors, before branching out into entrepreneurship and starting a marketing company.
I worked with Marie at an innovation centre where she is an executive in residence, consulting tech start-up entrepreneurs on digital marketing strategies and learned we share a common ambition to help women at work. When I was planning this podcast, it was a foregone conclusion for me that she would be an early guest!
While the early part of this talk will definitely appeal to marketers, there is lots of good learning here for most working women.
What you’ll learn from Marie:
- Her excellent approach to digital marketing that puts the focus where it belongs – on finding your customers vs. trying to be everywhere on social media
- Why she’s passionate about engaging women in STEM careers – and particularly in the fast-growing technology industry that’s currently under-represented by women
- Where her direct, yet authentic and empathetic approach to providing tough feedback comes from
- Why she thinks work-life balance is a fallacy and what women should focus on instead
- What her husband’s illness and taking six months off work taught her about structuring her business and planning for the unexpected.
Highlights, by time:
- 04:20 – The real reason Marie started Marketing CoPilot
- 09:20 – Where the idea for “You Can’t Be Everywhere” came from and why Marie suggests accepting as much help as possible when starting to write a book
- 15:50 – What Marie thinks of the efforts until now to empower women and encourage them to take on STEM, and particularly technology, careers. Spoiler: She thinks we’re still missing some key points
- 16:40 – The shocking stats, at least in Canada, that show just how under-represented women are in tech entrepreneurship, and what this means for the industry and our society as a whole in the future
- 18:00 – How the gender pay gap still shows up in tech and the impact on society if Artificial Intelligence designers and programmers continue to be white men. What we need to do to improve pay equity, work environments and the meaningfulness of work to attract more women
- 24:30 – How the “hoodie ‘n’ jeans” environment turns women off tech entrepreneurship and isn’t overly welcoming to a diverse audience
- 24:30 – Why it can be harder for women in professional services to provide direct feedback to clients, and how Marie has learned to approach this
- 31:30 – Why Marie thinks work-life balance is a fallacy not worth pursuing and how she gives herself permission to treat herself well, not matter what’s going on, instead
- 35:00 – What she learned from having to take time away from her business to care for her husband and how it helped her future-proof her business
- 41:20 – Marie’s evolving take on what ambition means to her and why she wants us to focus on our own goals instead of external expectations
- 46:40 – What being the major breadwinner in her home and her husband’s role as stay-at-home-dad is teaching her kids
We touched on so much in this conversation – confidence, the gender pay gap, and how to approach the unexpected. Marie’s experiences and advice are transferrable beyond the worlds of marketing and technology and I hope you took something away from this broad conversation that helps you in your work. To connect with Marie, find her online, or reference the statistics mentioned in this episode, visit:
A fun video of Marie describing how she searched online for meatloaf recipes, but ended up buying a VW Camper Van instead. It’s a great story illustrating how the buyer journey has changed thanks to the internet, and why you need to buy her book.
Stats referenced in Marie’s answers re: decline in women in computer science in Canada etc are from: Information and Communications Technology Council
The Harvard University survey of the 2017 freshman class mentioned in the interview can be found here