Month: December 2017

Kim’s Story: Todd

“I like to tell people when they work with me, they are getting a ‘two-for’. I’m a Clinical Associate Professor of Marketing at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. My husband, Todd Saxton, also teaches at the Kelley School, as a Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship. On many projects, we are both involved – either formally or behind the scenes: we are true partners in that we share ideas and seek the other person’s input. Most people and projects then, get both of our ideas, rather than just one person’s.

Todd is an ally in many ways. I am lucky to have him. He watched the struggles his mother faced in her generation, and can spot inequality early. Metaphorically, if I’m pushing a stone up hill, he’ll push with me… or will back up when I say, ‘I need to do this myself’ and be my biggest cheerleader. We have listened to ‘Lean In’ together. But, he also holds my feet to the fire. If I am being biased against other women (hey – we are all human), he’ll call me out on it. We make each other accountable for advocating for women and minorities.

One role Todd plays very well is anticipating and raising issues on my behalf if needed. The research shows that if a woman or minority engages in gender/ethnicity balancing, they are penalized. But, men gain respect when they advocate. If I raise a statistic or gap about women’s representation, for example, it may land with certain stakeholders as, ‘There goes Kim again.’ But Todd recognizes the situations in which his voice could hold more influence, and proactively addresses issues head-on. He will say things like, ‘What are we doing to support the women?’ Or, ‘we all know that these performance metrics may be gender biased…’

When I’m happy and successful, Todd is too. Said differently, he doesn’t sacrifice himself to help me. He helps me when doing so is something that brings him happiness and in his best interests. That way, he never resents the help he’s given. Our ‘two-for’ partnership shows how gender equality can greatly amplify the impact we make in our careers.”

– Kim, Clinical Associate Professor of Marketing, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University
Indianapolis, IN

Kim’s Story: Shawn

“I had a great boss, Shawn, when I worked as a Technical Consultant in Market Research at Eli Lilly. Shawn did two things very well: he knew how to navigate the company culture to build influence, and he showed his advocacy through a behavior I call signaling.

Shawn hired me to create change by developing the technical expertise in marketing and market research for the organization. If you value a person, you want to make them successful; at Eli Lilly, they highly valued pedigree. When Shawn introduced me, he used my full name and credentials, leading with “This is Kim Saxton, she has a BS from MIT and her MBA/PhD in marketing and statistics from IU.” In doing so, he was setting me up for success immediately among the senior team and other staff.

He would also display a powerful behavior, signaling. When I was to serve as his delegate at a meeting, he’d go in with his coffee cup, say hi to those already there, and then leave as the meeting began. Everyone then knew that I was his delegate. Then as any initiative was getting started, he would introduce me and let me run the meeting or presentation. One initiative, he set up 33 presentations that I managed on his behalf. The intentionality he showed certainly reinforced his commitment to me, and to his overall role as an advocate.

Shawn and I had a great working relationship. This was in the pre-laptop days. As a technical consultant within Lilly, I was working with 10 different brand teams and on several organization-wide initiatives. We had a big presentation on one initiative to the top management team – the top 13 executives at Lilly. Shawn came in over the weekend to help me prep the final presentation. But, he was color-blind. So, as we were changing graphics on the slides, he would ask me which color – which row and column? When I finally took a vacation and came back, he noted, ‘Holy moly. I had to get on your computer to find a file. I was shocked. I had no idea how much you’d been working! I’m glad that so many teams are asking for your help. Thank you for just taking it all in stride.’

It seemed like a win-win-win situation. He helped me be successful, he made the organization better, and he demonstrated how to be a great male ally.”

– Kim, Clinical Associate Professor of Marketing, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University
Indianapolis, IN