In celebration of Women’s History Month, we’re spotlighting Liaison employees who identify as women whose contributions have been integral to our success.
Laura Nicole Miller, Liaison’s Director of Marketing, came from a library science and writing background and now uses those skills — and the others that she’s gained through her 10 years in marketing — to connect clients to the solutions for their most pressing recruitment and admissions problems.
Laura recently shared her thoughts on “doing hard things” and the value of expanding your professional network.
What’s one of the greatest challenges you’ve faced as a person who identifies as a woman in the workplace?
Laura Nicole Miller (LNM): Without a doubt, maintaining my confident, capable persona when internalized misogyny has me feeling anything but confident and capable!
I read an article in Harvard Business Review years ago that highlighted that men apply for jobs when they meet only 60% of the qualifications and women apply only if they meet 100% of them. In my experience, that extends beyond just applying for jobs — in so many meetings, I’ve heard men speak up with confidence even if they don’t have the expertise or all of the context they need to make a useful contribution to the conversation.
I regularly have to fight my inclination to sit quietly in the background until I’m 150% confident that my contribution is moving the conversation forward. Nine out of 10 times, whatever I have to contribute based on my background and experience is, in fact, useful.
What is the most impactful professional lesson you’ve learned since you began your career?
LNM: Network, network, network!
If/when he reads this, my marketing mentor will say, “No, no, no, you’ve gotten where you are based on your own greatness,” but the connections that I’ve made throughout my career have been invaluable.
That’s not to say that knowing the right people is enough on its own — you have to do work that you’re proud of and show up every day, but the way to make sure that you’re always leveling up is by being the first person to come to mind when people come across opportunities that could benefit from your skills.
Where do you see yourself professionally in 10 years?
LNM: I will be (at least) five years into running a marketing department at a socially responsible company (like this one) that’s making a difference for society.
When you’re faced with a tough professional challenge, who/what/where do you look for guidance?
LNM: I stretch, get a drink of water and then consider it within the context of the “rules” that govern my (and my family’s) personal life:
- Do hard things (a rule that I took from Angela Duckworth’s Grit, which is a must-read!). Is the challenge “tough” because it takes lots of effort? If that effort is worth it, then I reposition it as an opportunity rather than a challenge.
- Fight for justice. Is there a clear direction forward based on what aligns with my morals? Then that’s the direction I take.
- Take care of yourself. What actions will help me move forward without compromising my own well-being? Those are the ones I’ll do.
- Seek knowledge. What information that I don’t have would help me to solve this problem? That’s what I need to find.
I’ve found that most challenges seem harder than they actually are until I reset my perspective.
What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
LNM: “What is for you will not pass you” is a mantra that has helped me get through some tough times in my personal life over the last few years. I would buy 18-year-old Laura the MantraBand with that message!
It’s a physical reminder that Benjamin Disraeli was halfway right — the secret to success is an equal mix of “constancy of purpose” and knowing that no opportunity is your last opportunity unless you make it your last opportunity.
Who are your favorite women in history, women who inspire/empower you?
LNM: The women who have contributed to this Women’s History Month blog series all inspire me!
Maggie Frantz is someone who I’ve just begun working with since Liaison acquired TargetX, and I got goosebumps when she said, “I never questioned whether I belonged, I just owned it. After you do this once it builds your confidence and makes the next time even easier.”
Sara Kirby‘s knowing her priorities and not apologizing for them is something that I’m aiming to perfect. Knowing that this practice has helped her to become the successful professional she is today proves to me that it’s a worthy one to undertake.
Jess Scholz had me nodding my head as I read about how much unrecognized effort she puts into making sure that her communication is the appropriate level of assertive, but not “aggressive.”
Reading that an astoundingly intelligent person like Dilyana Ocetova has also faced Imposter Syndrome makes me feel less alone in struggling with that myself.
Women like Lea Khalil who turn listening into a superpower keep me focused on challenges as opportunities.
…I could go on but suffice it to say that you’ve got to read their posts, if you haven’t already.
What are you most proud of?
LNM: That my two-year-old son’s first full phrase was, “I got it!”
I’m proud that I’ve been able to cultivate resilience and grit in myself, and I’m thrilled at this verbal acknowledgement that this effort is extending beyond me to the those who I am closest to as well.