🤑 Is money too dirty to talk about?

Inspired by these women making waves and building wealth 🚀

Welcome to episode 6 of The Upgrading Women Newsletter 🔥

I’m your editor, Rebecca Leppard, a feminist and communications nerd who is a broke bougie. What does that mean? Well, I used to live in an 800-square-metre mansion in a capital city with two nannies for my kids and a gardener who also cleaned my swimming pool located three steps away from my walk-in closet. Long story short, I lost them all, but I’m proud I didn’t completely lose my 💩. Yep, my life is a bit like the TV show Schitt’s Creek.

Is it easier to be poor when you’ve always been poor? You don’t know what you don’t know, right?

But because I know how the other half live, I very much want us women to get smart with our money.

It should not be so hard to ask for an equitable salary, pitch for funding, or even to set our pricing competitively.

Centuries of conditioning aside, it’s the Web3 era. Everything is transparent and moving towards meritocracy. Let’s get paid our worth, ladies.

Hands up if you’re asking for more to happen in 2023 🙋🏽‍♀️ We have six months to get there!

Enjoy the episode, ladies  🎉

What happened last week: a literally microscopic bag sold for more than $60k 😱

It’s true: you need a microscope to see it because it’s smaller than a grain of salt. It uses Louis Vuitton’s monogram, but it’s a knock-off—not that people will shame you for it. The best bit: the bag comes with a microscope! It was a successful creative stunt by MSCHF, a New York-based art collective.

🚨Would you like to know who bought it? Reply or email: rebecca@upgradingwomen.com

News from around the world

💰The top-five countries with the most generous PAID maternity leaves are: San Marino, Bulgaria, Albania, Bosnia and Slovakia (so says World of Statistics). I hope some of you do live in one of these countries because motherhood penalty is real y’all!

If you, like me, did not even know that there’s a republic called San Marino, I’ll save you a Google search: here’s the Wikipedia page.

Photo: Zhukov Oleg/Shutterstock

💰Here’s another take on sustainable travel: clothing rental! As published in Travel+Leisure, Japan Airlines has launched its Any Wear, Anywhere initiative, and I am all for it! Not everyone lives in seasonal countries, and people living in the equatorial regions don’t need to amass bulky coats. Plus, imagine how much money you could save on luggage!

Photo: Sarah Dorweiler/Unsplash

🏄🏾‍♀️ Remote while female

As someone who was geographically challenged (as in not having access to fancy jobs in the First World), I totally see the silver lining of the pandemic: the future of work came early. And because I want more women get more money, I’m listing a few job sites that could help you get global hustle and/or source diverse talents:

A message from a communications nerd:

👉 Is communication THAT important in building team culture?

Having a solid team culture will save you money (recruitment and training costs) and bring you more money (productivity and equitability).

One of my favourite marketers in the world, Seth Godin, released his new book The Song of Significance: A New Manifesto for Teams. He asked 10,000 people in 90 countries to describe the conditions at the best job they ever had. Here are the top four:

🌴 I surprised myself with what I could accomplish

🌴 I could work independently

🌴 The team built something important

🌴 People treated me with respect

Money, perks, benefits and, no, rainbow flag 🌈 during Pride Month did not make it! I have to say, I would include being paid equitable salary as people treating me with respect.

So what actions can we take to communicate better with our team-mates?
💋 Cut meeting durations in half. See how the discussion becomes more meaty!

💋 Implement a 360-review especially prior to promoting a team member

💋 Ask thoughtful check-in questions: “How are you?” and “How was your weekend” don’t cut it

LinkedIn updated its algorithm!

What’s good: you will see more thoughtful, educational and valuable posts from your community.
😩 What sucks: posting selfies at a work event is not enough anymore: you need at least half a day to write meaningful content for the week.

Here's how we can help you avoid burnout: delegate your professional content production and Linkedin outreach to us 👩🏾‍💻

We have launched a bundle to take your LinkedIn off the ground starting at £750 per month.

Check it out and DM Emily for a discovery chat where you could get a free trial of the service 📣

How she’s done it 💅🏾: Esther Duflo

I had no idea that being very good with money can win you a Nobel Prize. Esther Duflo was awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences along with her co-researchers Abhijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer. At 46, she is the youngest person and only the second woman to win this after Elinor Ostrom in 2009.

So what did she actually do?

  1. She co-founded and co-directs poverty reduction non-profit, Abdul Latief Jamaal Foundation

  2. She wrote Poor Economics and Good Economics for Hard Times

  3. She works and talks about how science can help alleviate poverty

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Here’s what we can learn from her:

  1. How to get distracting stuff out of the way in public speaking. The first thing she said on her TED Talk was: “I’m short and I have a pretty strong French accent.” This is how you can address your own insecurities and put your audience at ease.

  2. How to find answers. I often say to my team when we’re figuring out a new tool or choosing a tactic: the only way to know is to try. While politicians and pundits are busy debating based on hunches and stereotypes, Esther went to work and tested solutions.

  3. How practicality can trump ideology. Esther is not naive in thinking that alleviating poverty is easy and fast. She knows there’s no miracle cure and she believes in compounding effect of incremental improvements.

Featured Female Founder

People think when you have a Wall Street or Fortune 500 company on your CV, getting the next job is easy. That was not the case with this Oxford graduate and Accenture alumnus Steph Newton. She had to swallow hundreds of rejections before securing her next job even with an MBA title. Eventually, her fast-paced working experiences in Big Tech like Uber and Spotify led her to build her own anti-burnout app, Ambr.

That’s what SHE said:

What was it like transitioning from a corporate environment to a large tech environment?
Yeah, it was definitely a shock to the system, I think for the first six months. On the one hand, I had learned a lot from my time in a more corporate environment, which was very useful. I had acquired skills that could be applied, but the biggest adjustment was the lack of hierarchy, which is common in many tech companies. It was a much flatter structure, whereas in the corporate world everything needed multiple approvals before action could be taken. So adapting to that was a challenge.

In my first few weeks at Uber, someone told me to “beg for forgiveness, not permission”, which meant taking the initiative and dealing with the consequences later. This approach was very different from a corporate setting. Additionally, the pace at Uber was even faster than what I was used to. People were outspoken and unafraid to voice their opinions, which was refreshing. There was no fear of hierarchy, and it took some time to adjust to the level of autonomy and responsibility I had in my role.

In consulting, even in senior positions, everything had to be approved and checked by the client. However, at Uber, I had direct responsibility for my area, often working with just one other person. It was a significant shift from what I was accustomed to.

Can you share your mindset when you decided to take the leap and become a founder?
I think, first of all, I would say that my mindset has changed a lot since the start of my career to now. And I used to be someone who thought very far ahead into the future, like five, or 10 years, and all my decisions revolved around that. The person I was back then would never have left my job at Spotify for Ambr. But now I think about things very differently. I don't see life in such a linear way.

I believe that anything can happen to anyone tomorrow. Therefore, when it comes to career decisions, if something is really exciting, I don't dwell on the "what ifs" and potential failures. Instead, I focus on the amazing opportunities and the potential for learning and growth. So, it was an easy decision for me to start Ambr with my co-founders Zoe and Jamie at that time.

My approach is still very much centred around the fact that many startups fail, but that doesn't mean it's a personal failure. The learning journey of building something from scratch is incomparable to anything else, whether it's a startup, scale-up, or corporate job. So, it wasn't a difficult decision for me, but it's based on the shift in my mindset. In my twenties, I would have been more anxious and worried about potential risks and failures, whereas now I focus on the journey and the valuable learning experiences it brings.

🤓 More on Upgrading Women or the Career Sisterhood podcast.

What to enjoy next week!

📕 We should All be Millionaires by Rachel Rodgers
Reading this book will give you permission to aim high and earn big: dispelling the myths that if you’re rich you must be a crook. Also, we need to remind ourselves that the wealthier we are the more women we can create jobs for—something I’d say yes to a million times!

📺 Black AF by Kenya Barris
My lazy description: it’s Blackish meets Modern Family. This is next-level exaggeration for comedic effect discussing race and riches. For extra LOLs: watch it with a newly woke family member and see their reactions 😜. BTW, our girl, Rashida Jones, looks très chic in this 😎.

🎪 Unlock Your Career Heights with Rebecca Leppard
Join 150+ female coders who want to win over their tech bros by building their personal brand to support their career progression. The event is held online, 20 July at 20:30 BST, free of charge, organised by Women Who Code London and facilitated by yours truly.

Inspect her 🤖 gadget

Something to add to your tech stack: Ambr

Remember how feeling seen is part of how team culture is formed? If your team uses Slack to communicate, I recommend adding Ambr onto the app. It prompts each team member to share what’s on their mind 📆. Managers get a dashboard of analytics to prevent burnout and intervene potential conflict.

But of course it all has to start with psychological safety in the workplace for employees to be able to share honestly. At Upgrading Women, our globally-distributed team have used it since last year and we love it.😇

That’s it. Thanks for reading.

One last thing ☝️ if you found this useful, help a sister out forward it to someone in your network. Plus, adding value to your network by sharing a link for them to subscribe will add to your good Karma abundantly!

See you next Thursday. LOL!