CAMP 2013: Women in management

By 2013 Fellow Halle Stockton

Journalism and Women Symposium
Paula Ellis, Stacy-Marie Ishmael, and Amy Resnick speak on panel about women in management. Photo / Karen Cheung-Larivee

On the path to management, women face obstacles and doubts that most men never will.

Amy Resnick, a veteran financial journalist, said she organized the Women in Management panel at the Journalism & Women Symposium CAMP for participants to come together and hear from two experienced colleagues on how they became strong managers.

Resnick herself was questioned by a male colleague who feared other men in the financial industry might not feel comfortable with her picking up the tab at work meetings. Resnick, who became executive editor of Pensions & Investments in 2012, also urged women to negotiate aggressively for their salaries. When she was promoted to editor, she threatened to leave if she was not paid the same as the departing male editor despite quibbles that she was not as experienced.

Paula Ellis, a former Knight Foundation officer, insisted that women stop giving away their power with apologies or disclaimers. Ellis, a senior publishing executive and journalist, said she did not bow to traditional roles of being an employee. She spoke of being an “intrapreneur,” which she defined as making entrepreneurial moves within a big bureaucracy.

When selling yourself to management, Ellis says, “Always remember you are the solution to someone’s problem.”

Ellis also encouraged the women in attendance to be bold when faced with adversity. Do something that scares you on a daily basis, she said, and if you are criticized for a setback, “Don’t take it personally. It’s an elbows-out world.” Further, use those enemies as motivation, she said.

Stacy-Marie Ishmael grew uniquely into a manager. She invented her last four jobs by being strategic and creative.

Now the Financial Times vice president of communities, Ishmael gave the audience a recipe to becoming a manager: “Dress up. Speak up. Show up.”

To grow into a manager, she suggested a bit of eavesdropping to pick up on the tactics of mentors and others who are successful in the newsroom.

Ishmael also recommended taking innovative, but possibly controversial ideas, directly to the person who will be most resistant. Troubleshoot the idea, and it may get better and win over a supporter.

Despite her ambitions, Ishmael said she understood why most people don’t want to be managers, and she feels it’s important for managers to respect their employees’ lives outside work. She said she learned to evaluate how the individuals on her team work, even with small steps as knowing when to avoid sending emails.

“Give them space to kick ass in.”