Anne Nicholas, NBC’s vice president of affiliate marketing, has a unique approach to instilling career empowerment in young women: she invites men.
At the Ladies Get Paid event in Brooklyn on Saturday, Nicholas brought her husband, SummitMedia’s senior vice president and creative director Val Nicholas, to speak alongside her during a panel on personal branding.
“At first when I was first doing these things, I only wanted women in the room,” said Anne Nicholas in an interview with Know Your Value. “And then I realized what a big mistake that was because we cannot do it without our men. We need to have the men understand, and they need to be behind us.”
Anne and Val Nicholas spoke to a standing room-only crowd at the Brooklyn Expo Center. The two noted that men are brought up to fight and be confident, while women are taught to be perfect.
“We have to make everyone happy and make sure that everyone is comfortable,” Anne Nicholas said to the crowd. “...For us the word ‘courage’ is scary.”
The couple pointed out some alarming statistics: men apply for a job if they feel 60 percent qualified, while women don’t apply unless they feel 100 percent qualified.
“What’s holding you back? It’s nothing more than fear,” said Anne Nicholas.
Val Nicholas also urged women to stop apologizing for no reason.
“Stop apologizing. You’re not sorry,” said Val Nicholas to the audience. “[Men] don’t do that. When we’ve done something wrong, we apologize.”
The couple asked audience members to consider their career goals, acknowledge their fears and obstacles, then pivot to positive thinking. For example instead of thinking “I’m going to be destitute if I make this career move,” think of a “better thought,” said Anne Nicholas, such as “I will have a more fulfilling career.” This can be especially tough for women, who tend to undervalue themselves.
“The better thought is a thought that is going to soothe you,” said Anne Nicholas during the interview. “And it will allow you to think an even better thought after that. So if you have a goal and just keep practicing that courage ... it does propel you forward.”
Community is also a critical part of success, according to the couple. They encouraged attendees to talk to connect to the women around them and invoke support, mentorship and sponsorship.
“One of the things that we don't do enough as women, is this,” said Anne Nicholas during her talk, referring to the gathering. “If we can stay in touch with all the women in this room, we would have so much support it’s unbelievable.”
Anne Nicholas noted that while #MeToo culture has brought about a new enlightenment for women, she urged women not to alienate men from the conversation altogether.
“This is incredibly important transition time right now,” said Anne Nicholas in the interview. “And I think that women are the ones who have the knowledge and the experience and the ease with feelings to really understand it and make it happen ... We can't be man haters because they have so much to teach us. As much as we have to teach them, they have to teach us.”