While still finding success as an award-winning journalist, Meggie was surprised to realize that she was facing pay discrimination. This opened her eyes to pay inequality and inspired her to take action not just for herself but for all women around the world.
She left journalism to embark on a path of activism. She started her own organization – PepTalkHer – with the mission of closing the gender pay gap. ‘PepTalkHerr App’ is described as ‘fitbit for your career’, helping professionals track success and navigate their pathway to promotion. Meggie now runs a community of 60,000 professional women focused on elevating performance and supercharging their career success.
In conversation with Jay, they discuss the importance of proactive and positive storytelling and how her life put her on a mission to close the gender pay gap.
To learn more about Meggie Palmer and PepTakHer click here and here.
Meggie Palmer: on average, women are paid 15 to 20% less Than men.
Jay Ruderman: And today on our show, Meggie Palmer. Meggie is a confidence creator and globally renowned speaker, facilitator, and Executive Coach who is on a mission.
Meggie Palmer: for every entry level man who’s promoted into a manager role, Only 72 women are given that same opportunity,
Jay Ruderman: While still finding success as an award-winning journalist, Meggie was surprised to find out that she was being paid much less than her male counterpart.
Meggie Palmer: And so I just naively assumed that there’d been a mistake.
Jay Ruderman: This personal experience opened her eyes to pay inequality and inspired her to take action not just for herself but for all women around the world.
Meggie Palmer: I was very much raised, that if you see something, you should say something and there’s no harm in speaking up. And so that’s what I did.
Jay Ruderman: So, Maggie Palmer, thank you so much for joining me as my guest on all About Change.
Uh, I’m really excited about this conversation and it’s nice to meet you.
Meggie Palmer: Yeah. I’m excited. Looking forward to chatting Jay.
Jay Ruderman: So let’s start back on. Your background, your, your career, how you started your career and, and how you got to the point where you changed from a journalist to an activist.
Meggie Palmer: Yeah. It’s funny. I feel like, honestly, Jay, I think maybe I’ve always been a bit of an activist. I don’t know. I’m not sure if it’s something that you’re born with or like For me it was really around inequality. Like, I still remember Jay being like a young kid in the backseat of Mum’s Light Blue Volvo, you know, one of those old school eighties cars, driving with my little brother and sister sometimes someone would cry.
See, and I would get blamed because I’m the eldest child and I remember being maybe six or seven thinking that’s so unfair and it’s something little and stupid and it doesn’t matter. But it’s funny, like that feeling of like when something’s not right, when it’s not fair, when
It’s not just, that’s really been a theme throughout my life, and I think that’s a big part of the reason why I became a journalist, because I, do believe, Jay, that you can use. And the press and the power of story to create change. Because if we didn’t have podcasts like this, if we didn’t have the nightly news, if we didn’t read memoirs, we wouldn’t understand and get that window into other folks’ world. And so that was really, the underpinning reason why I got into journalism.
And I loved being a journalist. I spent 15 years as a journalist in Australia as a foreign correspondent overseas in London with the BBC world, with CBC, and, then eventually moved over here to New York City.
And it was during that time as a journalist that I actually experienced. The gender pay gap myself. I was traveling into, into war zones, into national disasters, you know, like Zimbabwe, Philippines, Syria, all those sorts of countries, traveling, doing stories, filming, documentaries. And one day, Jay, I found out quite by accident actually, that my pain conditions.
Were quite different to my male colleague, journalist, who I sat next to in the newsroom in terms of how they were being paid and how they were being compensated with their contracts. And so I just naively assumed that there’d been a a mistake. and I was very much raised, that if you see something, you should say something and there’s no harm in speaking up. And so that’s what I did.
Meggie Palmer: It was actually one of my old bosses, who told me he left. and he was the one who told me, and he said to me, quote unquote, he’s like, you should have negotiated harder. was what he said to me. on the one hand maybe there’s some truth in that. I think often you don’t get in life what you deserve, but you do get what you negotiate. But equally, as you know, in most Western countries, it is illegal to pay people different if they are doing the same job with the same qualifications and, the same experience. But the problem with that is, is that it’s so hard to prove, and. Often to, to prove that you have to be willing to go to court or you have to be able to afford to get a lawyer.
And in fact, my employer at the time when I said, what’s going on? Like, probably, can’t I be treated equally please? They said to me, they were like, listen, if you don’t like it, why don’t you quit or we’ll see you in court. And so those were kind of the options, that they gave me.
Jay Ruderman: And how did you respond to that conversation?
Meggie Palmer: Honestly, I was a little shocked. Like I was kind, it sort of felt like I was living in an altern universe. I was like, what? Because I just thought like, if, if something was unfair, they’d be like, oh, whoop, sorry. We’ll fix it. and I now know I was pretty naive at the time and, and in fairness, this was, this was almost a decade.
At a decade ago, right? And I would like, to think that, a lot has changed, but I’m not sure that it has. And certainly the statistics would tell us that the gender pay gap itself hasn’t really moved much. but in that moment I thought, at the time I was single, I had savings. I backed myself and my ability to get another job As a journalist, I knew that I was very good at my job.
I’d won a lot of awards like. And I kind of felt, Jay, I was like, if I don’t say something, what’s gonna happen to the next person? And what would happen to someone if they were pregnant or if they had a family to feed or if they had a mortgage and they had no savings and they couldn’t afford to take up the fight.
And so I, I very much felt like almost obliged to sort of go that next step because I just sort of thought like, if I don’t. Who will, and I’m gonna butcher the quote, but it’s that whole thing of like, bad things in this world happen when people walk by, see it happening and do nothing, you know? So I felt kind of a bludge
Jay Ruderman: what action did you take as a result of that conversation?
Meggie Palmer: it’s a long story, but essentially I had to engage a lawyer and it’s not something that I wanted to do, and it’s not something that was an enjoyable process. I found it incredibly stressful. for the first time I experienced anxiety, and I now know, that this is pretty common for folks who go through essentially a dispute with their employer, even though.
Even if it’s illegal, even if they’ve been treated unfairly, there are often intimidation tactics. There is bullying that goes on because, ultimately employers don’t necessarily wanna have to pay you out. they would prefer that you just sort of left quietly or maybe just went away and, and didn’t bother to, to have that, conversation, those hard conversations.
But as I said, I felt, I did feel obliged to do that. And so anyway, at the end of the day, we. I walked away essentially at the, at the end of the day. I did. Eventually I walked away. I stayed in journalism for a little bit longer, but that whole experience stayed with me and Again, I was just so naive at the time.
I didn’t realize that this is what happened, and I didn’t realize that whilst this was my experience for folks, people of color, their experience is so much worse. And to have been at this point in my mid twenties when I first experienced this discrimination, in many ways, that’s a privilege, right?
Because I know that many people experienced that discrimination and that bias a lot earlier in their lives and their careers.
Jay Ruderman: so do you feel that because you took legal action to address an injustice that you may have been blackballed in the industry?
Meggie Palmer: Well, certainly that was the, the threat that was given to me. You know, they would say things like, oh, you are never gonna work in this industry again. so-and-so boss hates you and you know, these people, you know, are really angry that you’re doing this, and how dare you? We’ve been so good to you. I know now that they were tactics and of course it hurts at the time.
And of course, you know, there were relationships that were damaged as a result of that But again, you know, like I really wanna have quality relationships with people who do the right thing. There were many people who, who could have stood up, who could have said something, who could have used their internal power to do something and they chose not to.
And of course that’s disappointing. but I also appreciate that, that people step up when they can and when they feel like they have that. strategic power, I suppose, or those offers, politics, relationships that they’re able to leverage. And so again, like that’s a lesson that I’ve taken with me into my future careers and my future jobs of like when I have power within companies, within organizations.
And when I see something, again, I have to do something because if I don’t, how’s that gonna affect the folks coming after me or the person who’s being impacted? And I think, all of your listeners today, you have to be, an activist on your LinkedIn profile. You don’t have to be working for Green Peak or a charity to be an activist and to, to create those ripples of change.
I think everyone truly has the capacity to support other people, to be an ally in the workplace, to speak up when something’s not right.
Jay Ruderman: That’s an excellent point we all in our everyday lives. have opportunities to stand up against injustice. But so, so You eventually walked away from journalism and started to look into the gender, pay gap. and And for those listeners who don’t really understand it, you’ve spent a lot of. researching it and looking into it. Can you explain to us what it is And how it happens in our society in this, in 2023?
Meggie Palmer: Yeah. Isn’t it bananas that we’re having this conversation in 2023? But essentially, what we know from the data and statistics is that on average, women are paid 15 to 20%.
Than men. Right? That’s what, and, and so that means that our take home pay packets are less. And it also means that our retirement savings and our future 401k, all those kinds of things, it also means that those are less, that’s problematic for a variety of reasons.
Like I’m Australian. I grew up in Australia. I’ve, I’ve, I migrated to the United States six years ago, but one of the interesting statistics from the country where I grew up is that the fastest growing group of homeless. In Australia is women over the age of 55. Right? And a big part of that is because women are not earning as much during their career.
And so they’re not able to have as high a retirement savings, which means that it actually affects them significantly later in life. we have 60,000 professional women, Jay, in our community, and. People will say to me, well, I’m paid pretty well, and like, I don’t wanna ask for a raise, or, I don’t wanna have that hard conversation because, I, I’m doing okay. I’m doing fine. And I always say to those people, like, that’s awesome. I’m really happy that you’re paid pretty well and you’re doing fine. But if there’s money on the, table that you could be being paid, please take it because you could do what you want with that money. But like, who knows how that might affect you down the line. Right. And the, the, the power of compounding interest means that really maximizing your income now, and certainly your retirement savings will pay dividends for you, not just now, but long into the future as well.
Jay Ruderman: What is the genesis of this, where are employers saying, I have two qualified people. One is a man and one is a woman. Are is the thought that, a woman is going to. maybe go out on family leave. I, it a general bias against women, in terms of, what they can produce or how many hours they can work? What is, what, what’s the genesis of, of how this developed and how it continues to, to exhibit itself.
Meggie Palmer: Okay, so let’s unpack, let’s unpack both of those things. So the first point is around like how we are socialized as little girls, to behave in society. And the second point is around employers. So let’s talk about both of those things. The first point is around, I don’t think, it’s necessarily that that women or little girls, think that they’re worth less.
It’s more that we are raised in a society where there is unconscious bias going on. And so what’s really interesting is that there’s been three. In three separate countries around the world, that has proven that little girls actually get paid less allowance. Then little boys, right? So what we see is that gender pay gap actually starts to creep in from around the age of seven, which is pretty wild.
And it’s not because parents are bad people and that they’re unequal and that they love their son more. It’s not that at all. It’s just that there is an unconscious bias that perhaps if maybe, the son is supporting with, grabbing some firewood for the backyard. Maybe that is perceived as harder work than perhaps the little girl who maybe is preparing a meal inside the house. again, it’s not parents’ fault, but there’s these, there’s these cues that were given through society because of hundreds of years of behavior because of the media. that tells us in little tiny ways that we are different and that the sorts of things that we like to do or that we’re asked to do are valued differently. And so that creeps in from that very young age. And so you can see how with time, again, that incremental effect there, there is a different perception of maybe how people see themselves, but more importantly how folks see other people. Right. And so when we get to the workforce, there’s three things that are really impacting the gender pay gap, right?
So there is the fact that women have children, and so women are more likely to have time outta the workforce. So that absolutely contributes to the gender pay gap, right? We can actually account for that. So we, so researchers have gone through and they stripped that out of the data and they said, okay, women are more likely to have kids.
Let’s, let’s calculate all the numbers. Let’s take that out of the data. Okay? There’s still a gap interest. What’s that because of, and then they drill down further and they say, okay, well women again are socialized to, wants to go into or be more likely to choose jobs, that pay less. So we know that there’s more women in childcare and in nursing, for example, than say, investment banking or even engineering where there’s typically higher paid salaries.
So the researchers can also account for that and they can say, okay, well let’s strip the data and let’s take that out. And even when they account for that, There is still a gap that exists, Jay, and that’s the part of the gap that’s really interesting to me and, and they don’t know what that is, but researchers hypothesize that that’s unconscious bias and discrimination. And so that’s, that’s the part where actually we actively have to do pay equity studies within companies. We have to have legislation and policies in place so that we can counteract the fact that there is a bias that exists and that will get better over time. But at this rate, the United Nations is telling us that we’re looking at one to 200 years before we get to that place of parody. So there’s still a long way to go. But I’m, I’m, I’m interested in focusing on the progress and the change that is
Jay Ruderman: right. That’s an astound. Statistic that, we’re in 2023, that it’s gonna be a hundred years, I think your website says 99.5 years until there, is pay equity. and, and I just, that sort Of just threw me back like, like are we that far behind. because, you look at a workforce, and, you see men and women working together.
Meggie Palmer: Yep.
Jay Ruderman: I think another thing that I, that I read was that. in Australia and
Meggie Palmer: Mm-hmm.
Jay Ruderman: in Great Britain, that they have to publish, pay inequities. But we don’t, but, but we don’t have that legislation in the United states.
Meggie Palmer: You don’t. And it’s a good point. So anyone who’s listening, especially if you work for a large company, if you Google, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna throw any companies under the bus, but let’s choose ABC company. No, let’s not do, let’s say, let’s say you work for Company 1 23. If I work for Company 1 23, in America, and you know that there’s offices in Asia and and Europe, Google Company 1 23. British Pay Equity Statistics, and what you’ll see is that they have to publicly report what their gender pay gap is. In the United Kingdom in Australia, the top companies have to report those statistics, but it’s not always publicly available In the United States, there is no requirement. For pay transparency.
It’s not mandatory here. Certain states are moving towards that, especially those like California. So I expect that with time, probably in the next five years, we’ll start to see that as a policy that will become more common here in America. But it’s that whole thing of like when you publish those stark statistics, when you can see it in black and white.
All of a sudden it’s pretty uncomfortable. Right? And it’s, it’s, it’s awkward to look at those, those data points to see there’s a 60% pay gap in this company, or a 16% or 33% gap between on average what the men at this business are earning versus the women. That’s not great. No one’s happy about that. No one likes that. But when we see the numbers and when they are publicly available, what it means is there’s, there’s a higher impetus for change, right? Because it’s embarrassing, you know, all of a sudden there’s stories in the newspaper. So there is, more inclination then for businesses to want to do something about it, which is a good thing.
Jay Ruderman: I’m just thinking about, what role do universities have or, or even before universities high schools in terms of, the direction of, of having. Go into, areas or potential careers that will lead them to higher pay because you mentioned that, the choices of careers are sort of dictating that women are going to careers that are less well paying and men are going to careers that, that are better paying. is there a role that, that our education system should be involved in in order to equal out that process?
Meggie Palmer: I think more that as a society, when women go into a certain industry, what actually happens is the average pay drops. Right? So I, I think it’s a bigger question. I don’t, I think this is a problem as a society that we have to address and say we just do not value the work that women do as highly as the work and the roles and the jobs that men are more inclined to.
Right. And we’re not gonna fix that on this podcast. We’re not gonna fix it in 2023. This is a conversation that has to continue and it’s gonna take more than a hundred years, right? It’s, and it’s, it, it, it’s generational as well. And again, I don’t necessarily think that it’s an intentional thing.
And we know from the statistics, so much of this is unconscious. Right. So when we can shine our light though on what’s happening, it gives us the ability and the data and those, those quantitative points to want to try and do something about it. So I think that from a young, I mean, I think that’s important by the way, for students in high school who, who identify as male and female to understand that this is a problem, right?
Because this is not a women’s problem. This is not just something that, that you. People who identify as female need to fix. This is something that all of us need to be aware of because men and women are bosses, men and women lead companies. men and women are the heads of hr. Men and women do hiring processes. So all of us need to be conscious that, hang on a minute, this is something we need to be very aware of. In the interview process, in the hiring process, and certainly in that office stage as well. So I actually think we need to take the responsibility away from women and put it towards all of us to say again, to that earlier point, what is the one small thing that, I can do today in the workforce to help create a ripple of change or to help create, situation that’s a little easier for someone in the workforce. And I believe that we’ve changed those ripples will become. Um, but I’m trying to figure out how can we make those waves, get bigger a lot quicker, Jay, than that a hundred year, timeframe that we’re looking at.
Jay Ruderman: Have you, have you looked at. the, the me too movement and, and what happened in different industries where. people started speaking up and saying, that there’s an injustice here. That the way women are being treated by their superiors and the sexual assault that’s going on is unacceptable, and things have changed. I mean, Not completely, but, but there has been a change. is there a way that. you think that. Your activism that you can learn from that movement and to bring it more prominently into the press and put pressure on people who are bad actors in terms of, perpetuating gender inequality in terms of, the pay gap,
Meggie Palmer: Absolutely, and I, I, I think any publicity, any, any awareness, any sh shining of a light on issues that have been sort of swept under the carpet or sort of hidden in a corner or hidden deep in a report somewhere is a good thing. Because unfortunately, the fact that there is legislation in in place, that’s not enough.
Right as it stands. The good news is, so this is an interesting point, Jay, a couple of years ago, you used to be able to actually have a clause in contracts that said that it was actually illegal for you to discuss your paying compensation with your colleagues. The good news is, is that that was outlawed in America.
And in the United Kingdom years ago, it’s only just been outlawed in Australia this year. So as of as of a couple of months ago, you could still get fired and people were fired last year because they dar to talk about their compensation. And so we are seeing that with these policy changes with the removal of pay, secrecy clauses from contracts, there is change that’s happening.
But, I think there’s a bit of fatigue around this. There’s, there’s, there’s a bit of gender inequality, fatigue. It’s a hard conversation to have It’s an intractable problem and it has, has been around for so long. activists before you and I for generations have been trying to change this and they did make change and they did make progress, but there’s still so much more to go. So I think one of the challenges for activists working in this space is how can we keep this relevant? Because the thing about gender inequality, I think it’s ethical and I think it’s moral to do the right thing, but, putting that to one side, if you’re a capitalist, if you own shares, if you’re an investor, if you have a 401K account, you should care about this too, because we know from the research that when there is women at the decision making table, when the the better decisions are made by companies and actually it leads to better net profit of organizations. So there is a correlation between the diversity of leadership of businesses and the amount of profit that they produce. So again, we can sort of strip away the, the warm and fuzzy, it’s the right thing to do. Even if you don’t, even if you’re sort of on the fence about that, even if you’re not quite sure.
Even if you think it’s fake news, put that to one side. If you’re a capitalist, you should care about gender equality because it means that you’ll make more money in your share portfolio.
But let me ask you, you changed or you shifted your activism into a business in, into advising both companies And individuals on how to. demand equality in pay. and and just maybe you can walk us through, first on the individual basis how are you working to empower the individual to try to get what she deserves for her job up?
Meggie Palmer: So the way I look at it, Jay, is that you have two choices. And I certainly had that choice. When I found out about that inequality in my journalism days, I was like, I can complain.
And I can spiral downhill and I can become very bitter and twisted. I could do that, and I did that for a while, or the alternative for me was to do something about it. And actually it can be a very powerful motivator and it can hon, honestly, I had to do something about it to sort of help myself. I had to help others to help myself because I was so angry.
I was so disappointed. I was so hurt by what had happens to me. That actually shifting my focus away from myself and towards, well, how can I prevent this from happening to. It really helped me, and in a way it saved me right from that, that continued negative cycle. And so for me, my mission now is to make sure that we can prevent what happened, happens to me from happening to others. And so what we do is really support, typically professional women. Anyone is welcome to use our free resources. we have a free app, Jay, that’s called Pep Talker. You can kind of think of it like a Fitbit, except instead of tracking your workouts and your steps, it tracks your career success. a lot of. We’ve got a lot going on. We’ve got families, we’ve got friends, we’ve got network, Netflix series to watch. It’s kind of hard to remember all of the things going on in your life. And so the purpose of the Pep Talk app is really to place all of those achievements, those wins, those positive feedback pieces that you receive at work in the one place right in your phone. So it nudges you to reflect. It’ll be like, Jay, what are you really proud of this week? Or, Feedback have you had from colleagues this week, Jay, that you wanna recall? Come performance review time. So it creates this database of wins of successes, like a brags almost for your career that you have in the one place that you can then use to advocate for yourself and to negotiate for those increases in pay and promotions that you’re looking for. So we have the tech enabled side, that’s totally free for folks to use and download. We have a heap of, free scripts around negotiating, having those conversations that people can check out, pep talk, her.com/career, all that kind of stuff. we have paid courses as well for people who really wanna dive deep into the specifics and the good news is that it’s working. we’ve, we’ve been in business for about four or five years now. We’ve helped, people negotiate in our community more than $3 million. In pay increases cumulatively, which is cool. lots of people are getting 5,000, 10,000, $20,000 increases. We’ve had four people, Jay get six figure pay increases as a result of, the, the roadmap that we sort of help them to follow. And that’s life changing, right? For those people. It’s really exciting. But it’s not enough, And there are amazing people in government doing policy work and doing really deep studies into this work. And I admire them and I applaud them. And then there’s people in corporate, America and around the world who are also doing really deep work around pay equity, around what does that look like around making sure that the data and the remote remuneration is equal and fair. So the way I look at it, there, there’s sort of three pieces to the puzzle. There is that government policy piece, there is the business impetus. And then I also do think though, that we can, that we can quicken that pace of change from the grassroots as well. So the individuals are at least being paid what they worth. In the meantime, while we sort of wait for that, for that, overall pay gap to, to close as
Jay Ruderman: so essentially your business model is, To speak to women either through the app or through consulting and say, document everything that you’re doing that’s positive for this company.
So that when you walk into negotiation you can hand your employer or talk to your employer about the successes that you’ve had in order to be in a much stronger position to ask for more money.
Meggie Palmer: Totally. And you know, Dave, you, you’ve just reminded me today of like the impetus of my activism all those years ago was that boss, that former boss who left, who told me he probably shouldn’t have, but he said to you should have negotiated harder. And it stuck with me all those years.
They should have paid me fairly sure, but maybe if I had negotiated harder, perhaps I could have closed that gap on my own a little sooner. And so, I’m, I’m always reminded as of this idea that like, you don’t always get in life what you deserve, but you do get what you negotiate and you have the opportunity to negotiate.
And I think a lot of us have this negative connotation around the idea of negotiation. Like we think of it as like a conflict or sort of. Fight or something that’s really combative. But actually if you go to the dic, the dictionary definition, a negotiation’s, just a conversation, with the goal of finding an agreement.
And so a lot of what we do is sort of helping reduce the anxiety, the stress that a lot of our community women have around that process of negotiation. more than half the women I speak to, Jay would prefer not to have a conversation about money at. Then get paid more because they find it so uncomfortable. It makes ’em feel awkward. They don’t wanna like, they don’t want their boss to hate them. They’re like, oh, but I love my job. And I’m like, you can love your job and you can ask to be fairly compensated. It doesn’t have to be a either or. You can have both,
Jay Ruderman: How do you the. Is a free app that someone can go on and, and get on. But tell me how you can provide a free app and it still, make money in the business to be able to move your business forward.
Meggie Palmer: It’s funny, Jay, when I, when I had the idea of figuring out how to close the gender pay gap and how to sort of create a community and organization around that, I thought very long and hard about should we be a charity, right? Because, in an ideal world, I wouldn’t have a job. In an ideal world, there’d be no need to have this conversation because there would be no gender pay gap.
Like I’m trying to do myself out of a job, right? And again, It’s important that everyone knows that like it’s not women’s fault, that the, that this gap exists, right? This is, this is societal, this is unconscious bias, all that kind of, stuff. So I was like, well, should we set up as a not-for-profit? And in the end, where I landed was I’m actually gonna set up as a for-profit business because I want everyone in our community to understand their value.
And I know. That I have value, that my team has value that we impart to our community. I know that if you download our free resources, if you use the app religiously, I know that it will move the needle 100%. I know that we can shift your perception of yourself. I know that we can shift your boss’s perception of you, and I know that I can get you paid more money. We’ve done it for thousands and thousands of students all around the world, right? Like it just like, it’s just, I know that that’s possible. And so if I understand the value that I’m. I’m gonna set up as a for-profit company so that it sends a message to other people that it’s possible for them to believe in the value that they’re bringing too. So that was kind of where we landed. But we are a for-profit, for impact business, for-purpose business, and so, Yeah, I mean, I reckon maybe 60, 70% of the content we provide is free, so the app is free, so we lose money on that. I pay my developers a lot of money to keep the app going. we’re really proud that the Google Play app store and Apple App Store have featured our app because they believe in the mission too.
So that’s freely available. And I do that on purpose. We make less profit, because that’s part of our ethos, that’s part of the activism, I suppose, is like paying it forward and, giving back. and that’s why all our cheat sheets on. our website are free We won. We run free webinars with amazing experts that like it’s free for you to come. I want you to come. I don’t care if you never pay me a dollar. That’s okay. I just want you to learn something and I want you to pay that forward to your niece, your sister, your colleague at work. That’s, that’s the impact that we wanna have, and that’s the activism piece. Now, the people that pay us to go through our, career level up programs, who do executive coaching with us through our B2B work, the, the large, corporates who work with us, were at, with our high potential leadership programs, the money that they pay us helps support our team.
Funds us to be able to do more of that impact work. So I guess the profit from the business kind of drives that for purpose, impact work that we’re doing in the world. Jay?
Jay Ruderman: So what are businesses paying you for? And, and and like what, what do they see that the issue that they should be doing better and they need some help? And how do you get more companies to, feel that this is something important?
Meggie Palmer: So companies know that diversity is important because they, they do, inherently, they understand that when there’s diversity at the LE leadership levels in business, they don’t. They know that they make better decisions, they plan better, and again, eventually they make more money. They know that academically.
But the reality is that, there’s this broken rung concept, Jay, that you’ve probably heard of, which basically says that like for every entry level man who’s promoted into a manager role, Only 72 women are given that same opportunity, right? So we start to see this sort of gap in leadership start pretty early on in the career trajectory cycle.
And it’s not only just because women leave to have more time with their family, right? There’s a bigger systemic issue going on. now this is a big problem for companies and it’s gonna become a bigger problem because, for example, like the NASDAQ now mandate. That there’s board diversity on companies who wanna list on their exchange.
We’re seeing certain states around America start to legislate again to say that board diversity is, is a legal requirement. As this legislation starts to roll out, companies want to get ahead of the curve, right?
Because let’s say that there’s legislation that mandates that, 35% of your senior leaders are female. If that happens and you’re only sitting at 10% female leadership, you can’t just click your fingers and magically fix those statistics, right? That’s not possible. It takes time. And so the reason that companies invest in programs with us, like our high potential leadership programs like our executive coaching for their senior women, the reason they do that is because they’re trying to improve that pipeline of leadership diversity, because you can’t always just hire. And parachute in external hires to fill all of those roles. That creates discontent within the business when you do that consistently, and it’s not sustainable in the long. And it’s not sustainable as we’ll. Start to see this legislation rollout. that means that companies are actually going to have to do better. So they’re sort of trying. They’re doing it. They’re working with pep talk, her because they wanna get ahead of the curve because they wanna see that shift in diversity and they wanna retain their staff because always hiring senior leaders. It’s expensive. Like recruiting costs are expensive, like loss of, institutional knowledge.
It costs companies money. So they would prefer to invest in programs with us to retain their female talent through the organization for longer than to always be recruiting and trying to like, fill that, fill that, those buckets of
Jay Ruderman: Right. And what do you say to, the people who come to you? More in general in society And say, yeah, this claim of a, a gender pay app is uh, is not really accurate. It doesn’t really exist. How do you respond to that?
Meggie Palmer: I hear that.
I don’t hear it a lot anymore, but I did used to hear it quite a lot, Jay. And there’s people that, that don’t believe the statistics because they will say, well, women have children, and that is true. Women do have children that, and that does impact the statistics, but it’s not the whole picture.
As I say, you can, you can account for that. You can remove the caring responsibilities from the data and the gaps. Still exists. we really are working with employers of choice and companies who want to be ahead of the curve. Companies who wanna be ready to go, who wanna be making more profit and who want to be, have that, leadership diversity pipeline that they’re really looking for earlier than when it becomes mandated. So, the people who say that they’re probably just not our ideal customer, I would say.
Jay Ruderman: Let’s talk about something that you’ve talked quite a bit about, about, confidence and a positive mindset in the workplace, and why is that So, important? How do you how do you educate people to, exhibit more confidence?
One thing that I will say. This impacts women in particular, is that men and women are perceived very differently at work, right? And so if you want to, progress through your career, if you want your promotion trajectory to be fast tracked, it is harder as a woman to do that. whilst being authentic to who you might wanna be. For example, because we have this stereotype that to show up confidently in the workplace, you have to be sort of, you know, speaking in every meeting.
[00:33:08] And you have to sort of be this alpha that this alpha character. Now that’s not necessarily the. But it’s kind of hard to do. And so a lot of the work that we do is helping folks to navigate how can they put in place boundaries? How can they make sure that they’re contributing in a meeting, in a way that shows their leadership capacity, that shows that they have input and they wanna make a contribution, but also means that they don’t always have to be talking all over other people or being presented in this way.
That feels like an alpha, which isn’t necessarily how they wanna show up. So it’s a lot harder for women to sort of navigate what that looks like as they progress through their careers. There’s a great, person who you’ve probably heard of, Jay Carla Harris, and I love listening to her speak about how she shows up in the workplace.
She’s an amazing, very successful woman, in corporate America. And for her it’s about having really honest, candid, frank conversations. And I think you can do that in a way that is still fair, kind, but puts in place those boundaries and tells people this is how I expect to be treated and this is how I wanna treat you.
So I think also one of the things that I hear a lot from women in our community, Is they’re not sure how to train people, how to treat them. And if you’re someone in the workplace who just says, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. And never puts in place boundaries or says, I can do this, but it’s gonna mean an 80 hour week for me, are you okay with that?
What happens is they get taken advantage of. It leads to burnout and discontent in the workplace, and so it’s not sustainable to do that. Right. So it’s, IM, it’s more important than folks learn how to communicate early in their career about what you’re able to. do.
If you wanna take on more projects, the, the impact and the consequence of that, and then having that open conversation with your leaders and your managers so that you can sort of better manage that workload so that it’s sustainable for you, so that you can continue to contribute high quality work and not, not burn out or, or drop the
Jay Ruderman: right. So can you talk a little bit about, your technique that you’ve talked about, about how to. actually negotiate for a raise and, and the and the. The theory of wish, want and walk.
Meggie Palmer: Yes. So one of the things about a negotiation days, I feel like lots of people, when they’re walking into a negotiation, they sort of think, oh my gosh, I don’t know how this is gonna go. And actually, If you are negotiating for your salary to buy a house, to get a car, whatever, negotiating with teenage kids, there’s really, there’s really only ever three options that can happen, right? Um, the person you’re negotiating with can say yes to your request. They can say no. To your request, or they can say maybe, and there can be some caveats that you might have to work out. And so when you realize there’s those three scenarios, you can kind of prepare and plan in advance for how you’re going to pivot that conversation based on on what option may or may not come up during the negotiation.
And it’s the same thing when you think about the dollar sign or the number that you wanna land on in a negotiation, right? And so that’s where the Wish Want Walk framework comes in, right? The three Ws, the www, so the wish. this is numbers, by the way, Jay, that you can prepare ahead of any negotiation. So let’s talk about salary specifically. If you are walking into a salary negotiation, I don’t want you to just walk in and be like, I’m gonna ask for a race. That’s not really like detailed enough, that’s not gonna help you feel confident and like help you overcome any nerves that you might have in a negotiation. So you wanna be very clear on what is your wish number now? Your wish number is that sort of pie in the sky. Oh my goodness. Is it even possible number? So for anyone listening, I would say think about what your salary is now. Think what you would love that salary to be, and then maybe add sales. And if you’re feeling brave, maybe add a little bit more. Right? So that’s where you want your wish number to sit. And then at the other end of the spectrum, we’re gonna think about what is your walk number? So in this negotiation, what is the. number that if they offer you that figure, you’re actually gonna be really unhappy, feel really undervalued, and you’re essentially gonna have to walk away.
So you either won’t accept the offer or you’ll start looking for something else. So that’s your walk number. That’s the number where you’re like, I’m not gonna. Anything less than that. And then if we thought, think about the third w, the want number, that’s the number that sits between the two of those. It doesn’t have to necessarily be a midpoint, but that’s the figure where you’re like, I’m really excited to jump outta bed and work really figure. I, I think that that would be fair to both parties and I feel really excited to step up to take on that role. At that figure, right? So if you’ve done the mental gymnastics ahead of time on identifying your wish, your want and your walk number, it means that walking into that conversation, you’ve got so much more confidence because it doesn’t really matter what they say. All of a sudden you’re poised and positioned and ready to sort of flex up, down, sideways, depending on where the conversation goes.
Tell us some of the success stories that you’ve been involved in and also some of the not so successful stories and, and, and how, how they’ve turned out for people.
Meggie Palmer: we can talk about the success stories of a woman that I worked with in tech and a very large tech organization, which your listeners would definitely know. they had a pay freeze across the organization, and she was able to use the data from the app that she’d been tracking for the past 12 months to highlight how actually she’d gone above and beyond.
She was certainly acting at a higher level, and she was able to get a 14% pay. When the maximum and others were getting was 4%, even as in when they were being promoted because she had such strong evidence and data. a lot of people expect that their bosses will give them a raise or that they’ll get promoted every year.
There’s sort of an expectation that you can sit back in your career. And you’ll just be taken care of and that everything will be fine. what I say to people is the reality is that bosses are people too, and they’re really busy. Like they might have 20 direct reports, they might have a sick child, they might be getting a divorce.
They might be caring for an elderly parent. They’ve got a lot going on. And so you can’t expect that they’re seeing every great thing that you are doing in the workplace and that they’ve remembered all of your achievements. So actually, when you put the responsibility back onto yourself to just track those pieces of data, spend a minute a week.
Writing down your biggest success for the week if you actually do that. And then if you collate all that information in a very easy to digest package at performance review time, you’re making it very easy for them to understand the value and you’re making it easy for them to say yes. And that’s your job, right, is to put the best case forward.
Your boss might still say no. That’s possible, but if you’ve put the best case forward, it’s a lot harder for them to keep saying no year after year after year, if you’re consistently showing the impact that you are having the percentage year on year change, the dollars and cents of how you’re actually making an impact in the
Jay Ruderman: Right. I think it’s so smart. Well, Maggie, I want to thank you so much, for being my, guest on all about change.
I think that it’s a refreshing, to meet someone who’s taken their activism and put it to work in the business world and is affecting actual change out there. my hope for you is that, you’ll be extremely successful and that the, the change that you are helping to bring about will happen more rapidly.
Meggie Palmer: Well, I really appreciate you amplifying the voices of activists out there in the world. Jay, Thank you so much for hosting me.
Jay Ruderman: Thank you and take care.
Jay Ruderman: All About Change is a production of The Ruderman Family Foundation. This show is produced by Yochai Maital, Jackie Schwartz, Matt Litman and Mijon Zulu.
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