When I was a kid, I first worked spending hours each day in a florist’s walk-in fridge, trimming thorns off of roses. This taught me that the details matter, and I always do my best to respect and acknowledge the critical but less-sexy work that often goes unnoticed.
I ran sales and marketing for a tiny start-up called GoldieBlox that was on a mission to close the gender gap in STEM. I took the company from Kickstarter project to national distribution in less than a year. I had no real experience in so many of the things I had to do, and the imposter’s syndrome was crippling at times. Confidence is hard to come by, especially for women in leadership positions. I learned to trust my instincts.
The time I spent running Integrity Marketing for Facebook really instilled in me a passion for data privacy, security, user agency, and the thoughtful distribution of content online. I realized that the folks that most desperately need tools and education in this space are really the least likely to get it, and I want to do something about that. That’s what led me to Mozilla.
When my first marriage ended, everything changed. All of the sudden, I was a single mother of two with no wiggle room. It really forced me to take a look at how I was spending my time away from my kids, and making sure every minute counted. And, somehow, it inspired me to take more risks professionally. I needed to show them that we would be ok. And we are!
I love music - all kinds of music. When I was in junior high, I’d spend hours brooding in my room, writing down all the lyrics to Led Zeppelin and Willie Nelson songs. The Beatles, The Ramones - all of it. The stories in those songs are old as time, of course, but felt so new to me then - revolutionary. When I cut my teeth in marketing, I discovered how powerful stories can be when paired with the right music or the right emotion. Connecting people in different ways, humanizing things. It’s addictive.
My mother, Sherry Blackman. She was a single mom, and a public school teacher for 36 years. She taught me that if you want something done, you may as well just do it. She also helped model that women are incredible at supporting themselves, and, importantly, each other.
By insisting on it. The idea that this is a tough nut to crack is BS - there are endless amazing women out there. It’s just laziness to focus the story on one archetype, and frankly - it’s boring. Simply: do better.
Yes, of course there are. One woman in the VP role doesn’t mean the ceiling is broken. It just means the ceiling isn’t made of indestructible glass. It’s ok to celebrate the milestone and still recognize that the problem hasn’t been solved. We need more women in leadership, period. We need more women of color in leadership, period. Across the board.
Two words: Stacy Abrams.
As a marketer I think the biggest challenge for some time to come will be to balance the weight of the mission we have at Mozilla with the weight of the world right now. I hit “pause” a few times this past year with planned activations, at the beginning of the pandemic, and during the BLM protests in the summer. Those moments were about amplifying important information, and underrepresented voices.
A big tactical change for me is that our marketing scope has become bigger - and that’s a good thing! All of the products we build, the policy we push for, and the work we do to support a free and open web are inherently connected. Our job now is to tell stories that are bigger than a laundry list of products and features.
We're going to be telling more stories for people, about people. That means more women have to be featured. I want women to see themselves reflected both in the people who make Firefox and other Mozilla products, and how those products work for them.