March is Women’s History Month in the U.S. and March 8 was International Women’s Day. Beehive is celebrating both with a month-long recognition of women leaders who inspire our team in the hopes of inspiring others.  

It’s our pleasure to highlight wisdom and advice from the Chief Marketing Officer at Salo, Janeen Vogelaar. Janeen is a multi-award-winning brand, marketing, and creative professional who has worked across U.S. and international markets. She has a strong focus on strategy, creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving.  

 What can individuals do to create organizational cultures where difference is valued and celebrated?  

Every employee plays an important role in shaping organizational culture. It’s not just the role of leadership or a committee. Employees at all levels of the organization can both share feedback and demonstrate behaviors that show everyone is valued, supported and encouraged. And leadership needs to make sure they are continually listening. This is one of the key reasons I enjoy working at Salo — it’s an organization with a people-first mindset, looking at the whole person and being open about how to creatively address challenges so people can thrive in their roles.    

If you don’t see the culture you want to see within your organization, take an active role in helping to create it. Number one, you have to show up and participate. And next, if there isn’t something existing, then start creating ways to build an inclusive culture. Start small, with your own team. Provide a strong example and others will follow. Individuals have much more power than they realize. 

What advice or support was most valuable for you as you’ve grown in your career? 

I have two pieces of advice I’ve leaned on. The first is a quote from one of my favorite books entitled “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero. The line is, “If you want to live a life you’ve never lived, you have to do things you’ve never done.” This concept has helped me many times in my career to remember to proceed boldly — particularly when I’ve been unsure of what my next steps should be. It has given me the nudge I needed, even most recently when I decided to change industries and join Salo.    

I also have a dear female friend and mentor who shared her mantra, “Don’t fight the system, trick the system.” For me, that means, don’t get angry or frustrated at a problem or bias you run up against in the workplace. That leads to wasted energy. Instead, get creative and find a new path around the challenge. Find others to work with who are supportive and creative in coming up with solutions. It can be very easy to get caught up in a negative story or share excuses if you come up against a roadblock. Instead, find a new solution to the problem. Be naturally curious and ask questions. The answer will come.    

How can women be a strong mentor or resource to other women?  

I’m a big believer in the power of connections and how important it is to share knowledge, resources, and contacts with your network. This also happens to be an important value at Salo. I love to introduce people I know to other amazing women. I believe we’d all benefit and be stronger professionals if we encouraged higher levels of connectedness.  

One specific example, I once made a connection while changing a flat tire. As a result of what I learned during the conversation, I was able to bring two strangers together which resulted in a job offer. And for me personally, nearly every job I held came through some crazy point of connection with a friend or colleague.  

Some people call it networking, I call it connecting. It could be about connecting people, experiences, values or even ideas or strategies. I believe in staying open to those connections, even if doesn’t benefit you directly. Get to know people, be curious and ask questions. And think about ending those introductory conversations by asking for the names of two other people they recommend you should meet — or offer your own list. Connecting is a muscle everyone can strengthen and that can pay off in both large and small ways.  

Janeen is a joy to work with every day and we’re honored to share her advice as a part of our International Women’s Day blog series.  

Check back soon for our next blog post in our International Women’s Day blog series.

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