Dear member,

There's so much going on right now it’s important to take time to hone in on the things that matter. With three months left in 2020, we still have time to accomplish those New Year’s resolutions, set new goals, and establish the tone for the remainder of the year.

No doubt, this year has been unpredictable–but now our “new normal” is no longer so new. It's time to remind ourselves of where we've come from and focus on where we're going.

Let’s remember to take time for the important things like self-care, setting goals, networking, and mentoring.

It is also time to celebrate those things that make us each unique. This year Diversity Week will take place October 4th through October 10th. Let’s take this time to continue to celebrate the diversity which has shaped the wireless industry and continues to shape our Country.

The best way to predict the future is to create it. – Peter Drucker

There is so much we can do, even while we're still social distancing. I challenge you to make a new connection, reach out to a current or potential mentor or mentee, or set a new goal.


Victoria Weidenthaler
Co-Director of Programs

How to sell your sizzle:
Part 1- Practical Tips

An interview with entrepreneur, mentor, author, and A-level copywriter, Marcella Allison

In our last series on job searches, we talked about writing a “sizzle” letter to sell your skills. In this new two-part series, we’re going to explain how to do that.

This month we’ll discuss the practical how— the techniques you can use to best position yourself as the expert you are. Next month, we’ll talk about the emotional how—what you can do to combat the impostor syndrome that rears its head as you’re trying to promote yourself.

“To position yourself, you want to craft a story,” says Marcella Allison, an entrepreneur, mentor, author, and A-level copywriter. “But it isn’t fiction. You've got to have the best facts and evidence in your story. And you need to have a clear, logical conclusion.”

Allison’s sales letters have generated over $100 million for her clients, so she understands the art and science of successful sales letters. She’s also the founder of the Titanides, an all-female mentoring collective devoted to helping women succeed in business.

Before you can craft your story, though, you need to think about who you're telling it to.

Understand your audience’s story

It’s a fundamental truth in advertising and sales: You need to know who your audience is. You also need to know what they care about. (Hint: it's themselves.)

When you apply for a job, your main audience is the hiring manager. They have a problem: they’re understaffed and it’s causing them headaches trying to pick up the slack.

Maybe they’re working later than usual. Maybe they’re burdening their team and it’s causing stress and resentment. Maybe they’re missing deadlines and ticking people off. Maybe all of the above.

So, yes, they’ve posted a wish list of skills they want in a candidate. But what do they really want?

What they really want is someone who can solve their problem.

Think about why this position is open and the pain it might cause the hiring manager. And then think about how you solve that pain for that person.

Own your own story

Spend time on this one. In fact, it’s a good idea to do this even if you aren’t looking for a job right now.

“Think about the story you want to construct from your past experience,” Allison explains. “If you don't have the story in your mind—what you want them to understand about your background—they’ll make up their own story. You have to be in charge of your own narrative.”

“I’ve changed careers a lot,” shares Allison. “When I went from working for a contemporary art gallery to becoming a venture capitalist for early stage investing, I had a narrative. It was ‘I’ve worked with artists and creators. Their pieces were their babies. I handled all the finance and explained the money to them. Your founder is no different than those artists that I worked with. He's passionate about his creation. That's his baby. He doesn't really understand the math of how this venture capital thing works. I translate finance for creators all day long and get them on board. I’m going to do the same thing with your entrepreneurs.’

And when I went from venture capitalist to writing for an options trader, I had a new narrative.”

Allison advises making a list of everything you can say about everything you’ve done. Then take that list and construct it into a story that you control.

“Putting yourself in control of your narrative lets you shape your experience to get you where you want to go next,” Allison explains.

She also advises not getting caught up in titles. “This happens all the time. Someone will say to me, ‘But I’ve never been a project manager!’ And I’ll say 'But didn't you organize that Memorial 10K run that had 15,000 people running and raised a million dollars for breast cancer research?’” she says. “That’s project management!” 

Think about the skills you want to showcase. Then ask yourself when in your life you’ve used those skills.

Properly position your experience

“Women, in general, don’t quantify our successes as often as men,” says Allison. “We don’t specify how much money we've saved. Or how many projects we've led. Or how many employees we've mentored. But, when you think about it, it’s easier to talk about specifics because they’re facts. There’s no debate about facts, there’s no judgement.”

Well, almost no judgement.

“Unfortunately, women can sometimes face blow-back if they’re perceived as too braggy or aggressive,”  explains Allison. “My favorite tip to counteract that is to balance a first person statement with a third person statement. For example, ‘I led a 10-person team on a $3M contract. The project was completed on time and under budget.’”

It’s a tricky balance for women to master. As a result, women often end up downplaying their roles. “So we give credit to everyone else and underestimate our impact. But this is not the time to be a shrinking violet,” Allison explains. “You didn’t need to do 100% of the work with no help at all to say you did it. You need to be able to tell the part you played.”

Why is this so important? Because the people looking at your cover letter read your words with a different filter. If you led a team that did XYZ but write down “I was part of a team that did XYZ”, their reaction will be: “She’s not ready yet...I need someone who’s actually led XYZ.”

“They aren’t going to work to see your real expertise hiding under your humbleness,” says Allison.

Which ties back to a basic principle of sales writing: Never make your audience to do the work.

Connect all the dots

You know your hiring manager’s pain. You know how you solve it. You have the facts to back it up. Now what?

“You tie your stories together. Then you tell them what to think about those stories,” explains Allison. “Just like with your narrative: if you don’t direct the conclusion, the reader will make their own assumptions. If you don’t tell them how to connect the dots, they might not.”  

Or they might connect them in a way you didn’t expect.

“I know it seems ridiculous to explain what seems so obvious,” says Allison. “But think about the person with all the resumes on their desk. They’re overwhelmed.” If they must work to figure out the connection between your story and theirs, you may lose their attention…and your opportunity.

While writing your story takes time, it’s worth it. And don’t limit your story to helping you get the job you want. Your new narrative will work on your LinkedIn profile and bio. You can condense it down to an answer to the question “So what do you do?” You can make your story work for you anywhere.

“Humans are hardwired to listen to and retain stories,” Allison concludes. “When you can tell your story, you immediately make yourself more memorable.”

To hear more of Marcella’s insights into women’s success, check out her book “Why Didn’t Anybody Tell Me this Sh!t Before? Wit and Wisdom from Women in Business” and her special report “The Sexist Secret to Succeeding as a Woman in Business.”

Mentorship spotlight:

WWLF Member Jamesa Marshall on being mentored and being a mentor

"I’ve had mentors before, but the relationships developed organically. This was the first formal mentoring relationship I had,” says Jamesa Marshall of her 2019-2020 mentorship through WWLF’s mentorship program. Marshall is an engineer and project manager for small cells at PM&A in Houston, Texas.

Marshall knew not all mentors lived close to their proteges, but she was hoping for a local mentor. “I like the personal interaction, versus just emails and phone calls,” she says.

She also wanted a mentor in a sales-related field. “I wanted to learn more about the sales side of engineering and marketing. I have a technical mind, but I'm also creative,” she explains. “I love talking with people and figuring out issues. And I’ve always wanted to explore beyond engineering, so I purposefully wanted a mentor outside of that area.”

Marshall also recognized sales is mostly about developing relationships. “I have a lot of client and jurisdictional relationships, as well as working with our contractors and subcontractors. Building these relationships is the foundation for everything.”

Marshall was matched with Amanda Shaikh, Central Sales Manager at InSite Wireless. As luck would have it, Shaikh was local to Houston. The pair were able to meet several times before the pandemic stopped in-person meetings.

Their relationship was valuable, yet Marshall offers this advice to others entering a mentorship: Set some specific goals. “I had a few loose goals, but I really went in just open to learning,” she says. “And being open to learning is fine. It’s necessary, even. But in hindsight—for a structured mentorship like this—I'd have more specific goals in mind.”

Marshall has started applying that insight to those she mentors on her own team. “I let them know what I see coming from them and what I think they should target. We talk about if it aligns with their goals, and if it’s worth giving a shot even if it doesn’t.”

Whether it’s a formal or informal arrangement, Marshall continues to seek out mentors and opportunities to mentor others.

She believes being a good protégé requires a willingness to learn, work hard, and be open to constructive advice. “It can be hard to hear a critique,” she admits, “but I try to remember if someone gives me guidance it’s about what or how I’m doing something. It’s not about who I am as a person. It’s not a personal attack.”

Being a good mentor, she says, means pushing people past their comfort zones. And it requires knowing when to step in and when to step back. “My boss isn’t a formal mentor but I view him in that light, and he understands this,” Marshall explains as an example.

“He’s well-known and is aware that people will naturally turn to him for questions even when they should ask me. He wants people to get to know me, too, so he wants me to tell him when to step back. He wants to foster my relationships with people in the ways I need him to.”

As for her growing relationships and her future, Marshall has goals. “I've always targeted the C-suite and I've never been shy about sharing that. It’s what I strive for,” she says. “So I always look to develop and challenge myself. I know I’ll make mistakes, so I keep trying to learn from errors and opportunities. And each challenge clears a little more of my path towards my goals.”

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Rejection Proof:
How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection by Jia Jiang

Book Review by Lynn Whitcher

What would you ask for if you did not fear being rejected? A higher salary? More responsibility (or less)? Would you ask someone out on a date?

If you have ever hesitated to ask for something because you did not want to hear the word, “no,” this book is for you.

By all accounts, author Jia Jiang was living the American Dream. At the age of 30, he had a six-figure job at a Fortune 500 company and a 3,000+ square foot home. He and his wife were expecting their first child. Despite these successes, Jia was depressed. Since childhood, he had wanted to become an entrepreneur. Sure, he had a great life, but something was missing. This was not the life he was supposed to live. So, he quit his job, took a leap of faith. . . and landed in failure. Hard.

This is where the adventure begins.

Jia challenges himself to face rejection every day for 100 days. He starts small. Each day, he creates a new ask more outlandish than the one before. The outcomes are predictable. No, he cannot borrow $100 from a stranger. No, the offer of “free refills” at a fast food restaurant does not extend to hamburgers.

Hearing “no” is crushing at first, but Jia moves from being tortured by his early failures to having fun. Then something strange happens.

In a story that has now become an internet sensation, he hears a “yes.”

In the process of his journey, Jia discovers:

1. Attitude is everything. When we are confident, friendly, and open, people are more open to our requests and amazing things can happen.

2. Rejection is a numbers game. Fight through the no’s and eventually, we will get to yes. The outcome has less to do with us and more to do with the mindset of the person we are asking – their needs, circumstances, knowledge, experience, education, culture and upbringing over a lifetime.

3. Rejection is like a muscle. We can build tolerance to rejection. If we do not consistently work outside our comfort zone, we start to feel weak and timid.

4. The only thing worse than rejection is not making the ask at all. When we shy away from rejection, we reject ourselves and our ideas before the world ever has a chance to evaluate our ask.

5. Look for wins. Any rejection can have hidden upsides if only we are willing to look for them.

This is a great story and a fun read. You will laugh and cringe and, hopefully, gain a little more courage along the way.

Read a sample of Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection right here!

Upcoming Events

Getting the most out of your mentoring experience 
WWLF Webinar

Wednesday, October 14, 2020
1 pm Eastern | Noon Central | 11 am Mountain | 10 am Pacific

Mentoring relationships work best when you follow a few simple guidelines. We'll be talking about those guidelines and more during this month's webinar.

Save my Seat!

WWLF Fellowship Award Ceremony
Presented by SAC Wireless

Wednesday, October 22, 2020
5 pm Eastern | 4 pm Central | 3 pm Mountain | 2 pm Pacific

We're honoring our 2020 Fellowship Award recipient, Aneta Karkula, next month!

At this special event, we'll hear from...

...WWLF leaders and 2020 Fellowship Sponsor SAC Wireless about the importance of supporting women.

...Keynote speaker Carrie Charles, who will share mentoring stories and practical tips

...Former mentors about their experiences with our program

...And, most importantly, from our fellowship winner herself, Aneta Karkula!

We hope to see you there to help us celebrate with Aneta, all of our mentors and mentoring alumnae, our sponsor, and special guests!

Put me on the list!

Thank you to 2020 Fellowship Sponsor, SAC Wireless, for hosting this special event.

Aneta Karkula,
2020 Fellowship Award Recipient

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WWLF is committed to creating an inclusive environment where diverse voices are welcome in all aspects of our organization. WWLF values the knowledge and perspectives that our members bring to our organization from their diverse backgrounds. While all members are welcome to participate in both regional and national events, WWLF remains committed to the design and delivery of content to support the development of women in the wireless communications industry.

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