Throughout March, Label Insight is profiling female leaders from across our company in honor of Women’s History Month. The contributions of these individuals to our industry and our company are significant and inform a perspective we hope will be valuable and inspirational to the next generation of women in technology.
Here’s a perspective from Lauren Gibbons, Marketing Director at Label Insight:
What attracted you to join Label Insight?
I felt connected to the purpose from the first time I heard about Label Insight. We empower consumers with the knowledge to improve their lives through better product choices. I’m a huge advocate for ensuring every consumer can find the products that meet their individual health, wellness and lifestyle needs. The opportunity to get Label Insight’s technology in front of more retailers and brands who can use it to support consumers was incredible for me personally.
It’s important to me that my family consume sustainable, humane products that support optimal brain and body function. I eat a plant-based diet and my son has a dairy intolerance, so we’ve experienced first-hand the challenge and frustration of reading labels and not being able to find the products we need. I’ll never forget going down the maddening Google rabbit hole trying to figure out what to eat and what not to eat to help a nursing baby with a dairy intolerance. Then later having to do it all over again, attempting to find snacks and meals he could eat that didn’t upset his belly or trigger an eczema flare.
The prospect of doing meaningful, purpose-driven work attracted me to Label Insight and the people who are just as connected to our purpose keep me energized to keep showing up everyday. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented, passionate, bright people in tech and it shows in the company they’ve built. None of this is easy. It’s fast-paced, evolves quickly, is sometimes frustrating, but so much fun when you have a great team to share in the joys and challenges.
What’s the professional accomplishment of which you’re most proud?
The accomplishments I’m most proud of are the ones that challenged and stretched me beyond what I thought I was capable of. My favorite types of projects to lead are ones where I’m creating something new alongside a super smart team.
I developed prospect and customer nurture programs for tech giants when nurture and content were emerging marketing strategies in B2B tech. These types of programs require not only an innovative spirit and internal commitment in the organization, but deep alignment and collaboration between marketing and sales. The first one of these felt like an incredible and scary feat in a large organization where change was akin to taking a walk through muddy water. The process was difficult but the end result was better developed leads, accelerated deal cycles and a tighter connection with customers and prospective customers. As a marketer, there’s nothing better than a new strategy or content program you built supporting the sales cycle and resulting in new clients partnering with your company.
Which female leaders or mentors have inspired you in your life or your career?
My first exposure to women in leadership roles was when I joined Microsoft fresh out of grad school. I was surrounded by an incredibly smart, brave group of marketing and sales leaders. Before remote work and flexible work arrangements were common, they demonstrated that you could effectively lead a dispersed team, manage millions of dollars in marketing budget or sales pipeline, all without sitting in an office 5 days per week.
Many of these women were leaders at home AND leaders at work and that was so inspiring for me as a young woman in my 20s. I immersed myself into that role and absorbed everything I could from those marketing leaders, including my manager. She encouraged me to speak up in big meetings when I was terrified and to lead a team with empathy and heart.
How have you effectively managed your career while balancing the demands of your family and personal life?
This past year living in a global pandemic has reinforced to working moms that while we’re multi-dimensional; it’s extremely difficult to work, take care of children and home school, all at the same time. It’s possible, but not sustainable without support. The support piece has always been key for me to be able to effectively lead my career and my family. I’ve leaned on my in-laws, nannies, sitters and school to care for my little ones during the day. Over the past year I’ve built relationships with neighbors who are also working parents and we can trade pickups or switch off watching the kids as they play in the yard based on our meeting schedules.
I’ve also learned to stop striving for the mythical “balance” as if it’s the ultimate end goal to happiness or an antidote to overwhelm. It’s always going to feel out of reach. Some days are going to be more about work, where I lock myself in my office and get a big chunk of a project done. Some days are going to be more about family, and I make sure the time is well spent with no phone or distractions. Priorities will shift and it’s never going to feel like everything is balanced. So, I think it’s important to embrace that continuous priority shift as part of being able to have a career and a family. We’re capable of sustaining and leading both at a high level.
What advice would you give to women just starting out in technology careers?
I wish someone told me this early in life… strive for your best, but not perfection. Girls are often taught growing up that we should aim to be perfect. That mindset holds us back and keeps us from taking a risk, owning a role, or making a difficult career leap. Brene Brown talks about how perfection is a shield that leads us to believe our abilities are fixed, and it ultimately leads to shame and feeling we’re not good enough if we make a mistake.
It’s a given that you will make mistakes, but you will also learn from them. So, approach your career with a growth mindset and know that growth is often uncomfortable. Be ok with that and don’t let your fear limit you from applying for that role you feel is out of reach or stretching yourself in your current role. If you have an opportunity in front of you that will help you learn and grow, take it!
Finally, reach out to women who are in roles you want to have someday. If you don’t know anyone who could serve as a mentor for you right now, start making connections that will lead you to her. Join a local community of women in tech or a virtual community, participate, and ask a million questions!