International Women's Day: An interview with Fiona Naughton, Sr Director, Global Brand Planning PayPal, San Jose
1. Can you name one woman who has inspired you (in your field or other)?
My mum has always given me the brutal facts, but delivered with love. One of my favourite sayings from her was “you get the face you deserve.” In essence, positivity attracts positivity.
2. What are your top tips to other women to succeed?
Be your own best friend at work. Your best friend will cheer for you, encourage you, push you when you don’t feel ready, make you go out on a school night and every now and then tell you when you’re being a donut. They will be the one who never stops supporting you. Do that for yourself. Don’t expect others to do it for you.
3. How do you celebrate successes, your own and those of others?
Exuberantly – and with unmeasured glee - the opposite of meetings, which are the antidote of success.
4. What do you do, in your organisation or outside, to inspire the next generation of female talent?
Emphasize that your personal authentic brand is the very best recipe for you to be a fabulous leader. Then embark on a relentless cycle of mentoring, tough love through feedback, and trying new ideas. That will build that brand every day. (This is not gender specific.)
5. What wisdom would you have told your younger self, if you had the chance.
You will determine how other people see you based on how you see yourself. I chose to see myself as Joan from Mad Men. It worked!
6. Are women-led events and discussion panels useful?
‘Women Only’ environments do not help us be at our best or at our most effective. Be great women, be great to other women and be great about other women in the real, every day world - not on a stage, a blog or a high chair!
7. What is your advice to others to achieve a work / life balance?
Forgive yourself - you are not 100% at anything, but give 100% to everything. Don’t worry if you don’t get 100% in all your roles, just get it so your day was 100%.
8. How can an organisation encourage gender equality, inclusion and diversity?
Be honest about how you are hiring, teaching and supporting both men and women to see that successful business outcomes need diversity and inclusion. Get rid of people who do not practice this everyday – to show that it really matters to you. Listen to those who don’t feel they have a voice.
10. What can we as individuals do to create a future of gender balance?
No more Manels, Mansplaining or Manscapades. If it’s all men, then there is inherent risk.