As Chief Marketing Officer, Meagen Eisenberg aims to deliver amazing customer experiences while driving worldwide awareness of TripActions. Here she shares how she has navigated the ‘bulldozers’ to carve out over 20 successful gender-neutral years in marketing.
As a female, has it been easy to progress through the marketing ranks?
I wouldn’t say “easy” – to be a leader you need to put in the work to get there, whether you identify as female or not. Ultimately, I focused on delivering results, working hard, having a strong drive, work ethic and a ton of grit –– and that resulted in my progression in marketing. I’m sure there were times I got bulldozed over, but I just pushed right through it. I also tend to not take “No” for an answer. There is always another door to open.
Ultimately, I don’t focus on whether or not it was more or less difficult based on my gender. I think that you can limit your thinking. You have to believe you deserve to be in the position you’re in and aim even higher.
Have you had to compete with, or taken on, a male persona to achieve success?
I do not feel like I had to take on a male persona to achieve success, but I do read a lot of books on leadership and women in the workplace. I observed and tried to learn from both female and male leaders and role models to emulate what I thought helped them achieve success.
I think the idea of the “male persona” is limiting. As the youngest of three daughters, I was never raised to think in terms of one gender or the other; we just did everything because there were no limits. I cleaned the house and mowed the yard. I built dog houses, rabbit hutches, fixed fences, repaired holes and many other activities and chores with my parents. And I was into team sports: soccer, volleyball and track. The point is – my parents made me believe I could be and do anything I wanted as long as I committed myself, and raised me to be fiercely independent, which gave me drive.
So I entered college and the workforce thinking I could do anything -maybe naively, but seeing anything as a possibility can make all the difference. I share these same learnings with my daughters. Focus on having a good attitude, grit and a no-limits mindset. Be coachable. Be kind.
Marketing often ignore the needs/representation of diverse audiences. What needs to change?
We are fortunate at TripActions to have 50% of women in our workforce and 54% in leadership. I, of course, would love to see this across all companies – more diversity representation at all levels.
This should not just be a tick box exercise, either. People of different cultures, backgrounds, ethnicities and experiences are needed to get truly varied insights, no matter the business. These diverse insights are fundamental for any business to produce industry-challenging concepts and ideas.
Likewise, the better companies reflect the diversity of their customers, the better positioned they will be to serve and understand them.
How will the industry be impacted if things do not change?
I think women are amazing leaders and marketers – if there aren’t enough opportunities for women at the top, this will, of course, impact all industries negatively. Naturally, the same applies for marketers from minority ethnic and diverse backgrounds.
If things do not change, it will make it harder for young marketers to rise up the ranks and work towards better representation. On a business level, a lack of diversity means businesses risk losing clients they cannot adequately cater for, and
The good news is that I don’t think girls and women of today will let that happen. It’s clear that, as a group, we’re stronger, more vocal and more resilient than ever. As leaders (male, female and non-binary), we need to continue to grow and support each other. And more than anything, we need to actively encourage and embrace diversity in our workplaces.
How do you ensure TripActions’ propositions appeal to a diverse market?
It’s important to consider that your employee base across functions should reflect the diversity of your customer base. We understand, for instance, that 50% of our customer base of travellers are female, so our leaders and teams need to reflect that same level of gender diversity so that we can better understand their needs and exceed their expectations.
Similarly, by making our platform accessible and fair for everyone, it means that business travellers with a range of different wants and needs are catered for. Having a platform that everyone is able to easily use is crucial to us.
How does TripActions foster
greter internal diversity and inclusion?
We instil diversity and inclusion in our values when we hire, support and promote at all levels of the organisation – and this all starts at the top – then trickles into our managers, employees and our product.
For instance, our co-founder and CEO, Ariel Cohen personally reviews D&I data monthly and actively works with executive staff members who have gaps. And while investment in diversity starts at the top, we believe that our employees are major drivers and encourage them to own and participate in building our diversity initiatives to create an inclusive culture. So we’ve also developed employee resource groups (ERGs) that focus on diversity and inclusion. From a product standpoint, we’ve launched non-binary booking options on our platform.
What’s important to remember is that there’s always more we can do as we grow, so continuing to focus on building diversity – not only with gender but also with ethnicity, ability, experience, background, sexual orientation, social mobility and the like – is key.
How are these measured and the business held to account?
Assuming employees disclose it, we track gender and racial diversity – and the data is reported to our executive staff once a month to track progress. We’re particularly focused on having our manager population reflect our employee population. Finally, we’re also building a university programme to help seed the company with talent with a fresh perspective and encourage diverse talent to build careers in tech.
What positive impact have your D&I activities had on the business?
We believe representation starts at the top and trickles to the organisation through how we hire, support and promote. Two of our core values – challenging the status quo and raising the bar – have contributed to our broader vision around diversity and inclusion. Our thought is, if you have a diverse workforce, you welcome different viewpoints and perspectives that lead us to have a much more successful business.
Gender equality shows in our data so far – 54% of our executive staff is female, 50% of TripActions employees are female.
Specifically, on my team, the women are driven, strong, deliver results and are amazing marketers. They bring a high level of thought process, creativity and collaboration that allows them to deliver multiple projects at a very fast pace.
What steps can be take to strengthen the leadership path for women?
People learn from examples. I was fortunate that throughout my career to be surrounded by female leaders. Out of college, our VP of Manufacturing IT at Cisco Systems was a woman – Rebecca Jacoby, and she hired several female leaders. And Rebecca went on to be the CIO at Cisco. So the simple answer is, hire and promote more women.
How can companies better communicate the importance of having gender equality?
First, you must lead by example. Show it in your numbers. Hire and promote female leaders and pay them equally. Then train your managers to do the same.
What advice would you give to encourage young women that are hoping to advance in their career path?
Go for it. Study hard and focus on learning. Read and gain experience in the things you love. I knew I loved technology, and marketing seemed like the perfect mix of science and art, so I dove in and graduated with an MIS degree and CSC minor to give me an educational advantage in tech and marketing.
Learning doesn’t stop at educational milestones. Choose companies who have women in leadership. Have a strong work ethic, solve problems and deliver results. I’m constantly learning about marketing best practices, business best practices, leadership, and even parenting best practices. I’m continually taking in new information, networking with my peers and sharing learnings.
Why is it so important to share your journey with other women?
Because representation matters, and I think examples are the best way to show what is possible. For instance, I was fortunate to observe many women leaders growing up, although few had children. As a mom of three girls, I share my journey to show that it is possible to have a great career and to be a great mother and spouse. It’s not always easy, and always feels like a balancing act, but if that’s what you want, it’s entirely possible.
Prior to TripActions, Meagen spent more than 20 years in high-tech and was previously CMO of MongoDB and VP of Demand Generation at DocuSign.