Internal and External Interactions with Female Leaders from my Organization

Since both of my supervisors are women, it is easy for me to speak about women in leadership roles for this Theories in Action post. Marketing tends to be a field that more women than men gravitate toward, so I was not surprised when I learned that I would be working on an all female team this summer. The CEO of my company is a man, but since he worked in the San Francisco office all summer I never interacted with him face-to-face. From what I gathered, he was well respected and adored by everyone in the SanFran office, and since he was seen as an expert in the field of PR and was known for being super friendly, everyone (including my supervisors) felt comfortable going to him for advice since there was no intimidation factor.

Similarly, I felt very comfortable reaching out to my supervisors if I ever had any questions about the work I was assigned. They were always very helpful and treated me as if I was a full time account manager, so I was held to a high standard when it came to the work I was turning in but they were also very supportive. No one raised their voice, said a single negative thing about any other employee, got overly competitive or acted as though they were threatened by any of the other women in the office all summer. While statistically (across the board, in more fields than just the one I worked in this summer), men are more likely to be perceived as effective leaders, I have only ever worked for confident and capable female leaders who have definitely served as role models for me.

A lot of the interactions we had with our clients took place over group phone calls, and something I noticed when we were on a call with a particularly rude male CEO was that on the phone calls with all female account managers, this man talked down to everyone in a very aggressive manner and the women were just playing catch up trying to cater to his needs and concerns. However, whenever our male CEO decided to jump in on the call, the tone of the conversation completely switched, and the client tended to address our CEO directly in a much more upbeat and positive tone. This shows that even though the women that I work with have a positive experience with each other within our organization, they can still be taken advantage of by male employees from other companies who do not have as much respect for them and the work that they do. This was interesting because in a field where you are interacting with but really have no control over the behavior of your clients, the dynamic seemed to switch back and forth depending who we were on calls with every day.