Stellar Women: Leading a Male-Dominated Team & Squashing Imposter Syndrome with Reade Heredia

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For Stellar Women, Mila and I had the great privilege of sitting down with Reade Heredia. Reade shares her techniques for success as a leader, including gathering feedback from her team in addition to praising in public and coaching in private.

When it comes to imposter syndrome, Reade quoted Maya Angelou and said: “When you know better, you do better.” The best way for Reade to overcome any feelings of self-doubt is through preparation. She prepares for any upcoming obligation and encourages her team to do the same.

Reade Heredia

Reade Heredia

Marketing and Sales Coordinator

Page One Legal

Transcript

Mary Rechtoris: Hey Stellar Women fans. I'm your host, Mary Rechtoris.

Mila Taylor: And I'm your co-host, Mila Taylor. Stellar Women shines a light on female leaders making their mark in tech. Okay, now onto today's wonderful guest. We’re excited to chat with Reade Heredia from Page One Legal. Hello.

Reade Heredia: Hi. I'm happy to be here. Thanks for having me.

MR: All right, listeners, it's time for your favorite new—or least favorite—section called “Highlight of the Week.” For my highlight of the week: This week, Relativity hosted an internal panel on allyship with our community resource groups. I was fortunate enough to participate with some all-stars at Relativity. It was a very honest and important conversation. I learned a lot about how to be an ally and just started my day off on a good note. So, Reade, not to totally put you on the spot. What has been your highlight, whether this week or this weekend?

RH: It’s from last week, so I'm cheating a little bit. I got this journal and it is called “One Line a Day.” And it's as simple as it sounds. You write one line and it has places for five years. So, you know, as you go through it, say in three years, I'm able to look back and see what I did on this day two or three years ago. It's really encouraged me to be more deliberate with my days. I want to have something good to write about, of course. It's encouraged me to be more intentional and try new things. I’m excited about the reflection aspect of it as well.

MT: I have something similar, but it's not a journal. It's an app on my phone and it's called “One Second a Day.” Basically, you take a one-second video every day and then at the end of the year, you watch it. Literally every day is just my dog on the couch. Okay, my highlight of the week is I got a new cookbook. Growing up, we ate a lot of lamb in Australia. I don't really have a lot of lamb in Chicago. I can’t find it. It's just not around as much. And in my new cookbook, there's this really good lamb chop recipe which I made, and it was delicious. So Reade, we have a lot that we want to get through with you. So we're going to jump right into questions, if that's okay.

RH: That sounds great.

MT: There’s something that's unique about your position. So first, you can maybe start off by telling our listeners a bit about what you do. What we found really interesting was that you're leading a primarily male team. Can you give us a bit about your background and your experience leading that team?

RH: I am the marketing and sales coordinator for Page One Legal. I handle the marketing for my company as well as lead the sales team. Going back to what you said about leading a primarily male team, I kind of base it off of this one sales coach that I had met throughout my career. And he was the perfect example of what I did not want to be. He was very much the “my way is the right way.” He was very old school. He had an old boys’ club vibe that he was putting off. We all know the type. I decided, like I said, that I was going to be the exact opposite of that. I wanted to make sure that I'm getting feedback from presentations and having open dialogue and discussions with the team, as well as having one-on-one conversations to get to know them. That's really helped me know how to better prepare my team and get to know them. I was also able to learn from them as well. But the things that I learned from them is that law is typically a very male-driven occupation. We’re getting away from that. We're seeing more of a gender equal field. We're seeing a lot more female lawyers in leadership positions. We're also seeing more paralegals. [In that regard], we've seen that it’s a very highly female-dominated field. We're seeing them take a lot more responsibility at firms and become decision makers at those firms. Something that we've had to do is change the way we market ourselves based off the things that we've learned and the way we approach things. For example, as people and consumers, we don't do business with people we don't like. We'd rather spend our money at stores or businesses where we have friends or people that we have relationships with. And I think this rings especially true for women. We want to do business with people we like and respect. A focus that our team has been working on and working toward is relationship building and likability. That's been a big focus of ours.

MR: So just a question. If we have a female listener who's in a similar position to you, maybe they were on a team that was primarily female or in an industry that went more that way … now they find themselves in a similar position, so what tips do you have for them to navigate that change?

RH: When I first started in this role, I went into the job expecting everyone to treat me with respect. I've heard before that if you act as though the environment that you're in is gender equal and full of gender equality, then it will set those expectations for yourself and those around you. When people don't meet the expectations that we've set for them or there's a lack of respect or open communication, you have to call them out on it in a constructive way, usually in private. It's better to praise in public and criticize and coach in private. I think all success is really based on good communication. Shift the dialog from, we'll say mansplaining, to do just regular explaining. Create that open dialogue. It's a communication style and my boss actually calls it woman-splaining. [They meant it] in a positive way in that the communication style is more open, more participatory, and more informing. It's important to build that connection and that communication with your team.

MT: Obviously it's really important to keep everybody accountable, and there's a way to do it. There's a way to have those tough conversations and get feedback. This may be when things aren't going according to plan or when people aren’t meeting expectations. There's a way to do it that still empowers your team and doesn't shoot them down, which I think a lot of people have experienced. It's really cool that you're taking that approach. I'm sure that's why you're seeing a lot of success with your team. You're in the process of building your team. What's been exciting about that journey?

RH: The exciting part really more so comes after the challenging part. It is challenging to find the right people. These people are already motivated and those who not only want to contribute but want to learn as much as they can to do their job to the best of their ability. Not only are they people who share your company values, they are people that you enjoy being around and make your company better. When we are making hiring decisions, we base it off of [the following]. Do they fit our company values? At Page One, those values are caring about your team and your community, continually learning, being constantly dependable, and committed to customer success. When we find people that emulate those core values, that's typically when we find that they are energizing to be around. They make our company better, and they make you want to be better as well. That's where the excitement comes when you find the right person for that job. It feels like a win. Everyone loves to win. You've added a great resource to your team as well.

MR: It's hard to find really solid talent and then it's hard to find talent that jives with the culture of Page One or whatever [company]. So that process, I'm sure, takes a long time. It’s worth it to find the one or two candidates who really are going to thrive and stay there for the long haul. You were interviewed by Page One with fellow female leaders, which I love to see. You talked about how you encourage up-and-coming female leaders to instill confidence in themselves and their team. So starting with the first part, how have you built your own self-confidence? Can you tell us about that process?

RH: When I initially started in this leadership role, I did have doubts that I wouldn't be able to lead the team effectively or give them what they needed. I think that comes from that imposter syndrome that everyone feels from time to time. And I think the best way to beat that imposter syndrome is by being prepared. I challenged myself to think positively. I use that new positive energy and put it into action. That action is becoming prepared and being the best possible version of myself in order to lead the team better. Not being prepared, it's like walking into a test that you didn't study for or that you didn't even know it was coming up. I try to avoid that feeling at all costs because it's just like a pit in your stomach.

MR: I’ve definitely had that dream where you have a final for a class that you never attended or didn't realize you had.

MT: Yeah, I have had it too. I'm, like, this version of myself at this current age, but I'm back in high school. I'm walking into the testing center and I know I've done this. I did this over a decade ago. I did this so long ago, so I don't remember any of the content. Everyone was like, “You have to do it, Mila.” I have it very regularly. I feel like we talk about imposter syndrome a lot, but that's the first time I've heard a real tactical approach to it. It’s something that a lot of people struggle with, but as you said, being prepared boosts your own confidence. It shows when you walk into a room or a meeting that you prepared for that meeting. You exude confidence and then everyone else believes you. When you are unprepared, it shows. Then, people start doubting you. Those are really good tips, so thank you for that. That was how you instill confidence with yourself. You said that you impart that same wisdom on your team to get them to be prepared as well. Any other things that you work on with your team to help build up their confidence?

RH: I always look to leaders, especially female leaders, for examples. There is this quote by Maya Angelou. She says, “When you know better, you do better.” I take that as instilling confidence in my team by preparing them to the best of their ability. At Page One, we pride ourselves on education and learning. We even have a motto. It’s a hashtag that we use called #LearningStartsAtPageOne. In addition to being prepared myself, I want to prepare those salespeople to be able to communicate not only how, but why our services using RelativityOne can be effective for potential clients and solve complex solutions. Another way to instill confidence in my team is through accountability. Some of the biggest things that take away from confidence are instability and a lack of expectations. As a leader, I make sure that I am meeting my expectations, as well as communicating strongly the expectations of the sales team. [This could be] reminding them of the goals during every weekly sales call, seeing how we're tracking, and keeping up with that. It’s really communicating those expectations and holding them accountable to those expectations

MT: To close out with an off topic, but fun question: What is something that you do for fun outside of work?

RH: Outside of work? Well, I live in Nashville and pre-pandemic, I would say going to concerts. There's always some live music in Nashville, so we've had to adjust. You know, it's been a year. Something that I really enjoy is trying new foods. We can't really go to restaurants to do that, but we've been doing lots of Uber Eats and takeout, that sort of thing. That's been really fun. And another hobby, my brother lives in Nashville as well. We've been rock climbing a lot lately. And there's a there's a big rock climbing gym down the road from me. And it's been really fun. It's really hard to do, but it's been really fun learning.

MR: I believe I’m a Gold Uber Eats member now, which is a depressing fact. But I'll take those benefits.

RH: Oh, yeah, for sure.

MT: I'm going to round us out. Thank you so much for joining us, Reade. It's been great to chat to you.

RH: Thank you guys for having me. I really enjoyed speaking with you both. This has been wonderful.

MR: And for Stellar Women, I'm Mary Rechtoris.  

MT: And I'm Mila Taylor.

Both: Signing off.

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