International Women’s Day 2024 Roundtable

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Celebrating International Women's Day with Beacon Digital’s Women in Leadership Roundtable

As we mark International Women's Day and Women’s History Month, we're thrilled to share our roundtable discussion featuring several key leaders at Beacon Digital. This year’s IWD theme is Inspire Inclusion. The group shared insights on and their own experiences with inclusion, growth, leadership, and work-life balance, and how each has played a key role in their careers.


Our panel featured:

Below we recap some of the key themes from the discussion and share the full transcript.

Flexibility as the Foundation of Inclusion

Workplace flexibility has been a spotlighted discussion following the pandemic. While the benefits of remote work are often debated, the flexibility it offers to professionals at all stages of their careers can be invaluable. The ability to work from home and adapt working hours to personal needs was unanimously praised by our panelists, not merely as a perk but as a necessity for many women. This flexibility is vital for managing the balance between personal responsibilities and professional aspirations, enabling individuals to thrive in both arenas.

Embracing Non-Linear Career Growth

The roundtable illuminated the recognition and acceptance of non-linear career paths as equally valid and potentially more enriching. Traditional career trajectories are giving way to more diverse journeys, acknowledging that periods of employment gaps or shifts in direction are not detriments but a part of growth. This shift challenges the status quo, encouraging a broader understanding of career success.

Mental Health and the Power of Connection

The conversation underscored mental health's centrality to inclusion and overall well-being, with a particular emphasis on the power of connection—whether through physical presence, digital interaction, or shared experiences. Initiatives that allow employees to explore interests and activities outside of their work responsibilities were highlighted as beneficial for nurturing a supportive and connected workplace environment.

Continuous Learning and Professional Growth

Our panelists discussed the significance of opportunities for professional development within an organization. From Beacon Digital’s own skill day program dedicated to learning new competencies to structured growth plans paving the way for advancement, these opportunities are crucial for personal and organizational growth. Such initiatives demonstrate a commitment to fostering an environment where learning and development are continuous. The importance of having champions within the organization to support one's professional journey was also highlighted, especially in contexts where traditional networking and visibility might be challenged by remote or hybrid work models.

We invite you to watch the video and join us in reflecting on these themes, as we continue to champion the progress and potential of women in leadership and across all levels of professional life.


[00:00:00] Lily Johnson, Senior Director of Production: Hello, everyone and happy Women's History Month. We're here today to celebrate International Women's Day with the Beacon Digital team. Let's dive into this year's theme: What does inspiring inclusion mean to you? 

[00:00:13] Cathy Johnson, Chief Growth Officer: inspiring inclusion is really about casting a wider net. Looking in different places that maybe we haven't looked before. 

[00:00:20] Kirsten Trued, Director, Web Production: It's also just inspiring the entire group to work through obstacles, projects, and just having everybody's opinion hold weight. And there, there are no small voices in the room. 

[00:00:34] Jessica Antle, PR & Strategic Communications Practice Lead: Everyone is seen, feels heard and feels accepted. I think that those are just really basic tenants. No matter who you are and where you are in your life, that you show up.

I'm at a point in my life where I have to be able to be home and have flexibility and have the understanding from my employer and from my team that I'm going to work my best and do my best no matter the environment I'm [00:01:00] in, but sometimes I need some level of flexibility. 

I have really thrived in the work from home environment as a mom of two kids myself, I think balancing all of those things that a mother and a father do are really important to making sure that, you can work full time and be able to be available for your kids, but available for your employer. And I feel like more flexibility we have, and we've granted our employees, the loyalty and the respect has, really benefited Beacon as a company.

[00:01:34] Kirsten: I really think and believe that mental health really revolves around connection connection in person, connection online, connection to your coworkers, connection even to smaller groups of your coworkers.

And I loved that Beacon does provide that opportunity just to share a little bit of your life, but like outside of the box that we can all benefit from everybody's knowledge, not just about marketing.

[00:01:58] Ashley McGuckin, Creative Director: I think one of [00:02:00] the awesome things that Beacon does is create some growth plans for people. So if they want to move into a higher level role or a senior role, really mapping out the steps that they need to take to be able to get to that next step in their career and being there to help support that and, train them and shadow or give them the opportunity to do those projects, to be able to grow to that next level.

And I've really seen, a lot of just positivity from that and appreciation that we're really trying to not make it a black hole. Like how do I get here? I'm, really unsure to be really clear about this is what we need to see from you and we'll be your support to getting you there.

[00:02:44] Jessica: I think what's changed too, is I've changed, like I've matured. When I first started having kids, probably a combination of my own kind of fears and biases, along with the environment that I was operating in, made me feel like I couldn't actually talk about the fact that I had [00:03:00] kids, I didn't want people thinking that I wouldn't be capable of doing my job if I had kids, so I didn't really talk about it.

Now I feel like I talk about them well, because like they're everywhere, I have so many of them. And then also because I think it makes me a better leader, like to show that I'm human and I have children and it's part of my day to day. I want my teams to know it's okay to have lives. Like you can have a life and still attain leadership levels. So for me, I think it's important to talk about it and be transparent about it. Even right now my freshman is texting me from school, asking me just the most random questions. So she doesn't care that I'm doing an interview.

[00:03:39] Cathy: For me, in terms of things that I've seen change is that you don't necessarily have to follow a linear path anymore. It used to be very much you went to school for this and you got your 1st job and you just kept going on a very prescribed path and there were certain things that you needed to do to get to the next level. You can have an incredibly successful [00:04:00] career by not following a linear path. And by sometimes taking a step back to leap forward. 

I've seen that there's a lot more open mindedness about the path that you take in your career.

[00:04:12] Jessica: The one thing I would add there, I would advocate for women at all levels to seek out and form relationships with people who can sponsor them in an organization. I'm talking about really identifying people who are going to advocate for you when you're not in the room. That's super critical to how career advancement happens within an organization and outside of an organization too. 

[00:04:37] Ashley: Whitney is a true leader and I know everyone gravitates her.

[00:04:41] Cathy: I think we all agree that our CEO and founder is incredibly inspiring. And just, I loved working with her and I loved her attitude towards work. So when the opportunity came to work here, it was a no brainer.

[00:04:54] Ashley: Megan also at our agency is a big role model for myself. We've worked [00:05:00] alongside each other for almost seven years now. And I think we've, both grown a ton since we've started, but to see her blossom into such a strong leader at Beacon has been really wonderful to see.

[00:05:14] Kirsten: Yeah, I have to echo everything that Cathy was saying about Whitney and obviously what Ashley was saying about Whitney and Megan. And reflecting on this question a little earlier, almost all of our leadership roles are taken by, or are filled by women.

And yeah, just taking a step back and realizing that, yeah, we have some pretty kick ass women on this team.

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Megan Dunne

Megan Dunne

Megan joined Beacon Digital in 2017 with an official title of Account and Content Manager, which really meant she did whatever needed to be done to keep a three-person marketing shop going. She learned a lot, eventually setting her sights on building a well-oiled creative department capable of cranking out anything composed of words and design, and committed to making it good. Four years, 160 clients, countless campaigns, and a triple-threat team of content, creative, and production all-stars later, she left the walls of her beloved creative department to think big picture. Now, she spends her days putting plans into action in an effort to scale services, improve workflows, foster team growth, and bring teams together.