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#GirlBoss Are We There Yet, With Marianne Hamilton (Rakuten Kobo)

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#GirlBoss, Are We There Yet?

Marianne Hamilton#GirlBoss Are We There Yet? Over the next few weeks will are taking a moment to interview members of the PR In Canada/ Profectio community as we discuss gender diversity, and have our guest share advice and thoughts on how women can excel in the business landscape. In our fifth episode we interview Marianne Hamilton, Chief Marketing Officer of Rakuten Kobo.

How do you define #GirlBoss?

With mixed emotion.
I define it as empowered women living boldly, using their talents to the fullest – at work and/or at home.
On the other hand, I wonder, is it seen as a more impressive accomplishment because I’m a girl and the expectations were lower in the first place?
Ideally, soon, #boss is all that’s needed because the norm has become men and women equally represented in leadership across industries.

Was there a moment of pride when a fellow female in a leadership role did something that really inspired you?

The day-to-day moments inspire me.
Moments when: 

  • a fellow female leader exhibits unswerving focus and a healthy combo of gracious response and non-response when peppered with
  • more questions and criticism than a male counterpart might attract during a performance update;
  • she rallies her team around another female leader’s goals;
  • she gives public accolades to a more junior female colleague and invites her to share in her own words, her learnings;
  • she makes a tough, unpopular yet wise business decision and does so thoughtfully but without apology.

Was there a personal moment of pride?

I’m proud of my career path – my ability to gain the trust of a hiring manager beyond the experiences I had at the time and the grit to rise to those challenges. I’m also thankful for those that placed their trust in my abilities.

Any advice for aspiring women who aim to get into leadership roles?

  • Don’t underestimate yourself. If you wrestle with that, spend time with people who see your potential to remind you what you’re capable of. 
  • Confidence is more important than perfection.
  • Learn from everyone – managers, reports, men and women, inside and outside your industry/expertise.  

Anything that you noticed that might stop more women from excelling to leadership roles?

Poor company fit and/or unhelpful manager. It’s amazing to me how many people feel like that is out of their control and get frustrated. Sometimes moving up requires moving on.

Two tips on how women can get recognized in the corporate world?

  • Diligence toward the things that matter – to your manager, to the company – and strategic moments of profile to showcase your progress.
  • Stated ambition + knowing the right time and right place to remind and ask for what you want.
  • Nurture advocates. It’s not only what your manager thinks, but what others in leadership roles experience of you.

Who is a woman that you admire who has “crushed it” through successful having a strong work-life-balance?

Strong work/life balance isn’t something I’ve experienced or seen modeled as a successful path for aspiring leaders, among men or women. That said, a woman or man who is “crushing it” at work most definitely has a strong supporting cast, especially if they have any hope of balance.
One woman whose approach I admire as shared in her audiobook “Yes, Please” is Amy Poehler.  She is honest about the tough stuff, supportive of other women’s success and choices, willing and kind.

Equal pay has been an issue is the news more and more, will there be a time where equal pay is universal?

There is certainly evidence of progress and I’m proud of the steps we’ve taken at Rakuten Kobo to play our part, including a 50% YoY increase of women in leadership roles at the Director level and above plus a new salary and incentives alignment framework.




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