Changemakers Chat Recap: McCann’s Suzanne Powers on Bringing Your Whole Self

Changemakers Chat Recap: McCann’s Suzanne Powers on Bringing Your Whole Self

A diverse group of women—and a few men—gathered recently at McCann for the latest Changemaker Chat with McCann Worldgroup Global Chief Strategy Officer Suzanne Powers.

Changemaker Chats bring together women working to advance positive change in their organizations and communities around the world, equipping them with the networks and know-how to be more effective in their daily lives. This recent edition was co-hosted by IPG Women’s Leadership Network.

Briana Ferrigno, VP at McCann Global Health and co-founder of Changemaker Chats, started these chats to bring together women who do amazing things in their communities, saying, “we can’t all take Suzanne to coffee, but we can spend time with her here.”

During the event, Suzanne had the room nodding and laughing along as she touched on topics such as being the only woman in a room (which she doesn’t notice), the confidence gap, the "B words" (bossy > bitchy), and the ripple effect of openness—in and out of the office.

These topics resonate with all women in all industries at any level, and Suzanne’s insights into how she has been able to look past inequality and push forward was nothing less than inspirational to those in the room.

There were a few fundamental takeaways that we (women and men) can start to introduce into our lives:

Bring your whole self. It was her advice on her nametag, and is pretty self-explanatory: show up and be awesome.

Learn from the best and the bad.  Suzanne shared personal stories about what she’s faced over the course of her career and no matter what the conclusion of the experience, she saw them as life lessons rather than unfortunate situations.

Take a victory lap. Women need to own their success and stop feeling like an imposter in the room. After all that effort, a victory lap or impromptu happy dance is well-warranted.

Avoid burn out. In the midst of a creative burnout, you’re not helping anyone. “Know your own signs. No one is going to tell you [to take time off].” It’s up to you to know when it’s too much and time off is necessary.

Bring strategy into your life (that includes hair appointments). As a mom of twins, Suzanne is all too familiar with the balancing act of work and home. “You need to have boundaries and priorities for yourself, your team at work and your team at home. It’s all one thing.”

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