As a business owner and member of the workforce for 38 years, I still marvel at how few women there are in leadership roles. Don’t get me wrong when I was a child, my mother was one of the few women who worked in an office and was not the secretary.

When I was in high school taking the required typing class, my father advised me not to learn how to type because I would be made a secretary. To this day I type with two fingers.

While women have come a long way, we have only scratched the surface. There is still A LOT of work to be done.

My personal thoughts as a senior leader and woman in sales:

As women, we have to be confident and express our opinions no matter how much we are discounted and looked over.  We should come back fighting and never say you are sorry.

Today VanillaSoft hosted a Facebook Live session with select members of our sales team. VanillaSoft CMO Darryl Praill shared research and asked some hard questions about the state of women’s equality and empowerment. Our panelists included Christy Bernal, Emily DeBoard, and Rachel Spencer shared their opinions with viewers.

On the topic of International Women’s Day

“What it means to me is that we get to celebrate political achievements, economic achievements, cultural achievements and it’s way bigger than me and the people around me…it’s worldwide and there’s a lot of people and things going unnoticed or unacknowledged and we need more than a day to celebrate it.” Christy

On the challenges of being a woman in sales

“The only challenge I do still occasionally experience is people assuming a slight lack of superiority. They kind of assume that because I’m a woman that I’m a bit lower down the pecking order.” Rachel

“The journey of my career has had many challenges. We all have strengths and weaknesses and it’s about knowing what those are and finding the best fit for me.” Emily

On why women do so well in sales

(response to Darryl’s question referencing research on women’s success in sales)\

“I think women have a really amazing kind of emotional intelligence . . . in terms of being able to bounce off and read the maybe the tone in someone’s voice on the phone or a slight intake of breath or whatever it may be. I think women are very perceptive and obviously, sales is quite a reactive thing. Dealing with people and bouncing off each other and I think probably that level of intuitive emotional intelligence helps women do well in sales.” Emily

On how to move progress forward to support and empower women.

“To start with children – your little girls – and empower them. Starting at a very young age. Get them into math, science, into the technology field. Get them into these things where they can grow in a field so they know they have a chance. Start young.” Christy

On the advice she would give her younger self

“To be fully present in the moment. When I look back on my life . . . whether it’s worrying about the future, getting caught up in the past . . . this goes to work, personal life, family life – everything. Be fully present. There is always something you can worry about. There’s always something you can think about from your past. But what you remember when you really look back on your life, but what you remember when you look back on your life is the good things. I’ve had jobs I’ve loved. Jobs I’ve hated. And I think it’s just best to be fully present and take what you can from that moment and really just try to enjoy and live life fully in the moment.” Emily