How (And When) To Call in Sick — Even When You Work Remotely
It goes without saying that at some point in your career, you'll come down with a cold or virus that will require you to stay home from work, drink excessive amounts of tea, and make good use of that gravity blanket you impulse-bought off of Amazon.
The hard part is deciding if you actually should make the call to your boss to let them know you won't be in, what to say, and how to say it. You know you won't nearly be your best self, and will run the risk of getting your coworkers sick, but you also don't want to look like you're slacking or leave anyone in a lurch.
At the end of the day, it is important to prioritize yourself and your health, while making sure you're taking the necessary steps to leave your employer and your teammates in the best position possible.
This is true even if you're a remote employee. Just because you can't pass your germs onto your coworkers doesn't mean you should try and be a work-hero when what your body really needs is rest and recovery.
So, how do you decide whether you should call in sick?You know your body better than anyone, and ultimately only you can decide if you can work or not. That said, there are some basic questions to ask yourself when you're on the fence about whether that headache really warrants a day at home.
- Are you contagious?
- Do you have a fever?
- Will time in bed help the problem?
- Are you in need of immediate medical attention?
- Will time on your feet/at work exacerbate the problem?
"Ok, I'm going to call in sick... how do I do it?"
Choose The Right Method of Communication and Do It ASAP
We can't predict when we'll get sick — after all, it's not entirely uncommon to go to bed feeling fine and wake up wondering if you got hit by a bus.
But even when illness comes on suddenly, try and decide as quickly as possible whether you can make it to work that day and let your boss/HR department know right away.
Make sure you follow whatever protocol your company has for calling in — and make sure you know said protocol. Nothing's worse than feeling like you've been hit by a boss and then panicking about who you need to tell that you won't be making it to work that day.
Larger companies will often have a hotline for you to call, whereas at smaller ones the expectation may be simply to text or Slack your boss.
If you don't already know, be sure to check whether the company requires/prefers to have documentation of your illness from your doctor upon your return. Yes, it's an absolute pain to drag yourself to the doctors when you've been puking all morning, but if you work at a company that wants to see formal documentation for everything, it may be in your best interest to suck it up and go.
Keep It Short And Be Clear On Your Availability
Once you've followed protocol, be sure to contact your boss explaining what's up and addressing your availability.
Your boss doesn't want to know all the details regarding your illness - they just want to know that you'll be out, why, and what your availability will be throughout the day. For both in office and remote employees, communicate when and if you'll be going to the doctors and that you'll be sparingly checking your email (if you can).
Again, be sure to get a doctors note if you can - even if it's not required of your company to submit one, it's always helpful to have the documentation should any questions arise later on. If you're extremely ill and will be completely off the grid (a.k.a sleeping all day), make sure you communicate that as well. This will help ensure that your team can be respectful of the time you need to recover and save you from any unnecessary requests/emails.
If you're contagious but otherwise capable of functioning and choosing to stay somewhat accessible through email or chat for questions or concerns, be sure to communicate that as well. Let your boss and team know what you'll be capable of doing from home, and what will have to wait (meetings, pitches, etc.).
Finally, if you're playing it "touch and go," be upfront with that. Maybe you've got a terrible headache that you think will pass in a few hours. Or you need to go to the doctor for a sprained ankle and will be able to work after that. Whatever the case, be sure to let everyone know up front that you won't be available until X time, at which point you will provide an update on your status and availability.
Be Clear On Important Information
In the event that you've got an important meeting or are approaching an important deadline, make sure all of those things are communicated to the right people (or at a minimum, let your boss know so they can communicate it on your behalf). Of course this is the last thing you want to do if you're really, really sick, but you'll feel better if you muster up the strength to delegate accordingly.
If you have any important presentations or meetings and there's simply no way you can present, talk to your boss ASAP to develop a contingency plan. Sure, it's not ideal, but that's what teamwork and problem solving are all about.
Once you're healthy and back into your normal work day schedule, the first thing you should do is check in with everyone you interact with regularly and see if they've got everything they need from you and if there are any details from your time away that you should know about. That way, your absence won't have any lasting effects on projects or tasks that need to be completed.
It's normal to feel guilty when calling in sick — especially if you work from home already — but just remember that it's not your fault you're feeling ill, and a good team will be ready to support you when you're not at your best. If you follow these tips, you'll show your company and your coworkers that you want the best for your team, even when you're sick.
Let them cover for you so you can focus on your #1 job for the day — recovery.
- work-life-balance - PowerToFly Blog ›
- How to Ask for Time Off in the Age of COVID-19 and Work From Home - PowerToFly Blog ›
Stephanie Acker, director of inside sales at Commvault, gave us a behind-the-scenes look at the company's application process, culture, and values, as well as her own career journey.
To kick things off, Stephanie mentioned the three things that make a great inside sales professional: an independent work ethic, the ability to learn and execute on their own, and an awareness of what keeps them motivated.
Over her 12-year career at Commvault, Stephanie's greatest motivation has been helping customers to find solutions and catapult them to success. In both her past role as a sales representative and her current director position, Stephanie remains committed to ensuring her team understands what motivates them to sell and setting them up for success.
The biggest surprise during her career at Commvault was becoming the director of inside sales. Stephanie shared that she loves working for a company that listens to new ideas, thinks outside of the box, and tries new things.
Don't miss her take on what moves a candidate forward in the interview process! For example, Stephanie loves when the interviewee gets into "the zone"—showing their selling technique. She also shares her favorite interview questions.
As Stephanie says, stop thinking and apply today!
To learn more about Commvault and their open roles, click here.
You've met some of them—maybe they're your family, friends, classmates, or coworkers, or perhaps you identify as neurodivergent yourself.
You may have recognized that some neurodivergent people are exceptionally skilled, excelling in things like pattern recognition and mathematics, and that those skills deserve to be celebrated, as the Harvard Business Review did in their report "Neurodiversity as a Competitive Advantage" in 2017.
But whether highlighting the significant contributions that neurodivergent employees have made or just honoring who they are as people, we wanted to take a moment this April to share some ways that industry leaders are marking World Autism Awareness Month.
We also want to acknowledge that Autism Speaks, the organization that began World Autism Awareness Month in the 1970s, has had a complicated relationship with the autism community. (Here's a good guide on that context.) We recognize that some prefer to celebrate Autism Acceptance Month, or to align with other organizations' World Autism Awareness activities, like the UN's.
However you decide to "Celebrate Difference"—the Autism Society of America's theme for April 2021—this month, PowerToFly and these 9 companies are celebrating right along with you!
Sharing inclusivity, not stereotypes, at Raytheon Technologies
"Raytheon Technologies and our Raytheon Alliance for Diverse Abilities (RADA) Employee Resource Group (ERG) is committed to trying to bring focus on invisible disabilities, as they are among the most misunderstood. Autism/neurodiversity isn't a mental illness and we recognize how important it is to bring awareness, be inclusive of everyone and avoid stereotypes. During Autism Awareness Month RADA is featuring a multi-regional presentation about Autism Awareness & Acceptance, as well as neurodiversity overall. The presentation is focused on educational information, including what Autistic people want in terms of inclusion and meaningful work, as well as dispelling common misconceptions."
Learn more about Raytheon Technologies.
Hiring a world-class workforce at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
"The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency recently launched the Neurodiverse Federal Workforce (NFW) pilot program, a collaborative effort between NGA, MITRE, and Melwood. The NFW pilot aims to help government agencies hire neurodiverse talent for U.S. Federal Government agencies. 'NGA mission success is contingent on a world-class workforce with a wide diversity of opinions and expertise,' said NGA Deputy Director Dr. Stacey Dixon. 'Neurodiverse talent can bring new perspectives to the NGA workforce and make important contributions to the mission.' The pilot is a great learning opportunity for NGA to continue to grow and improve our first-class workforce."
Learn more from the podcast "The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency Takes Workforce Diversity In A New Direction"
Learn more about the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
Supporting each individual's preferred environment at Elastic
"We distribute anonymous surveys that allow anyone, including neurodiverse folks, to address potential barriers that we should address.
Our accessibility working group acts as an employee resource as well as an equity-seeking team that works to create and develop a disability inclusive workplace at Elastic.
The majority of our Elasticians work from home. Our hope is that this empowers neurodiverse employees, including those who may be on the spectrum, to have more control over their environment so that they can manage noise and light sensitivity, control their personal space, and manage their own schedule to reduce anxiety."
Learn more about Elastic.
Pioneering neurodiversity at Freddie Mac
"Freddie Mac values the insights and different perspectives that result from employees bringing their authentic selves to work. Our Office of Inclusive Engagement works with several organizations to identify qualified candidates, consider them for suitable roles and pair them with mentors who can help them adapt to an evolving new normal. In 2020, we evolved our neurodiversity internship initiative into a more robust training, education and hiring process called 'Neurodiversity at Work' to directly place candidates with Autism Spectrum Disorders into full-time roles."
Learn more about Freddie Mac.
Decoding inclusion at MongoDB
"MongoDB supports the neurodivergent community through interview accommodations, providing new hires the opportunity to select equipment and denote special requests, and onboarding checklists broken down into useful sections. To raise awareness about neurodiversity in the workplace, we have a learning and development (L&D) platform which has content on collaborating with different working styles. Our L&D Program focuses on building skills in managing teams inclusively. We also host Decoding Inclusion, a series of events aimed at building community and sharing foundational knowledge about D&I topics, including neurodiversity, to further our understanding of differences."
Learn more about MongoDB.
Encouraging allyship at Folsom Labs
"At Folsom Labs, we are passionate about building a culture of acceptance and inclusion. Our goal is not just to spread autism awareness but to strive to be allies and elevate the voices of those with disabilities. Now more than ever, this is important as many are facing the added weight of mental health and wellness challenges due to the pandemic. Encouraging allyship throughout the community and building a culture where everyone can thrive are at the forefront of our current initiatives. We are proud to celebrate Autism Acceptance Month — to set a stage where we can celebrate our differences and continue to create a space of inclusion and support."
Learn more about Folsom Labs.
Recruiting for diverse problem solvers at Dell Technologies
"Dell's Neurodiversity Hiring Program provides professional development training, internships, and full-time career opportunities for neurodivergent job seekers. The program rethinks the traditional interview process by removing barriers that may limit an individual from fully showcasing their skills and capabilities. Additionally, program participants benefit from job coaching and mentorship provided by our community partners and True Ability ERG members.
A variety of critical positions across the company have been filled through the program. In doing so, we are bringing in diverse perspectives for problem solving that have helped us differentiate ourselves within the marketplace all while cultivating a culture of inclusion."
Learn more about Dell.
Supporting professionals with autism throughout their talent journey at Deloitte
"At Deloitte, everyone contributes to our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Our inclusive culture, empowers all of us, including those with diverse abilities, to connect, belong, and grow. Deloitte's Autism@Work program supports our professionals with autism throughout their talent journey. A customized, autism-friendly assessment process helps draw out our candidates' strengths. Our employees have an internal Coach, an Onboarding Advisor, and access to external job coaching. Our Onboarding Mentor/Buddy Program pairs professionals with autism with other Deloitte colleagues/allies. Through Neurodiversity Training, our professionals can help support and manage our differently-abled professionals. We also have our Abilities First Business Resource Group for people with disabilities plus allies."
Learn more about Deloitte.
Sharing stories to support awareness at Lockheed Martin
"Lockheed Martin shares employee stories internally to help others understand Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and hosts internal events to support ASD awareness and education. The Able & Allies business resource group, whose mission is to build an environment that empowers employees with disabilities, has recently partnered with ASD advocacy organizations to offer resources to assist with managing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic with persons who have ASD and their families. Missiles and Fire Control (MFC) is a member of the Florida Ability Inclusion Network and strives to educate employees and leaders on disabilities and recommend best practices to promote a disability-friendly workplace."
Learn more about Lockheed Martin.
Learn more about our amazing speakers and sponsors at our April 2021 virtual summit Diversity Reboot: Elevating Black Women, three days of conversations and panels plus an interactive virtual career fair.
From everyone here at PowerToFly we want to extend a BIG thank you to everyone who tuned into last week's Diversity Reboot: Elevating Black Women. In case you missed a talk or you'd like to revisit one of our great conversations, don't worry, all of the fireside chats and panels will be available to watch for free on PowerToFly soon.
We were thrilled to present conversations on such important subjects as the racial wealth gap, the importance of affordable child care, how BIPOC youth are leading the way on combatting the climate crisis, the importance of black women in entrepreneurship and business, being an ally for communities outside of your own, plus tech talks, fireside chats with Black woman founders, panels with DEI leaders and much more.
In 2005, Smartsheet was founded on the idea that teams and millions of people worldwide deserve a better way to deliver their very best work. Today, the company delivers a leading cloud-based platform for work execution, empowering organizations to plan, capture, track, automate, and report on work at scale, resulting in more efficient processes and better business outcomes.
Smartsheet went public on the New York Stock Exchange in April 2018 and currently enables collaboration, better decision making, and accelerated innovation for over 76,000 domain-based customers in 190 countries, including 96 of the Fortune 100.
Smartsheet is a passionate team of 1500+ employees spanning offices in Seattle, Boston, London, Edinburgh and Sydney.
MINDBODY is a health, wellness and fitness company that helps promote healthier and happier lives. Many women already have a strong connection to MINDBODY as a result of their use of the app in their daily lives. Working for a wellness company like MINDBODY is more than just having a job; it is a way for women to relate to something they are passionate about and can now incorporate into their careers.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) delivers world-class geospatial intelligence that provides a decisive advantage to policymakers, warfighters, intelligence professionals and first responders. Anyone who sails a U.S. ship, flies a U.S. aircraft, makes national policy decisions, fights wars, locates targets, responds to natural disasters, or even navigates with a cellphone relies on NGA.
Procore Technologies is building the software that builds the world. We provide cloud-based construction management software that helps clients more efficiently build skyscrapers, hospitals, retail centers, airports, housing complexes and more. At Procore, we have worked hard to create and maintain a culture where you can own your work and are encouraged and given resources to try new ideas. Our headquarters is located on the bluffs above the Pacific Ocean in Carpinteria, CA, with growing offices worldwide.
S&P Global is more than just a place to work. It's a place to learn and grow, surrounded by the best and brightest. A place to challenge yourself and advance your career. If you're a pioneer or a thinker, there's a role for you to play in our mission to help accelerate progress in the world. S&P Global provides essential intelligence for companies, governments and individuals to make decisions with conviction. Our legacy is built on an unwavering ability to deliver data and insights that are vital to the world's economy.
Together we can create change. Together we can make an impact. And the only way we can tackle the challenges of a fast-changing world is with people like you. Powered by integrated digital tools of today, you'll provide services, build innovative products and technology solutions that will refine the ways we work and support our clients. The firm is committed to gender equality and focuses on creating an inclusive culture that develops our people to be future leaders.
TransTech is an incubator for LGBTQ Talent with a focus on economically empowering the T, transgender people, in our community. TransTech is a co-working, co-learning community dedicated to empowering trans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer people and allies with practical, career-ready skills.
The Jane Club is curated community platform that offers live gatherings and social connection that is educational, inspirational and transformative.
Honor all work. Come as you are. Show up. Be of service.
From the first incubator space where we tested coworking with onsite, full-time childcare, to our expanding digital community of 500+ Janes from all across the country and around the world, these have been our guiding principles.
Use code FLY50 for 50% off first month at The Jane Club.
APCO Worldwide is an advisory and advocacy communications consultancy helping leading public and private sector organizations navigate the challenges of today, act with agility, anticipate social risk, and build organizational reputations, relationships and solutions to succeed. APCO is an independent and majority women-owned business. Most importantly, we are a trusted partner to our clients. We help them anticipate, plan, execute and secure their futures through our in-depth expertise, astute counsel and creative strategies.
At Thumbtack, we're building more than a product. We're building local economies and stronger communities. Leveling the playing field so even the smallest of businesses has a fair shot at success.
Thumbtack's about skill, hustle and the victory of getting things done — not what you look like, who you love or what you believe in. Thumbtack is for everyone.
We provide outsourcing, staffing, consulting and workforce solutions within the areas of engineering, accounting and finance, healthcare, human resources, IT, legal, life sciences, manufacturing and logistics, office and administration and sales and marketing. We can't wait to tell you all about it.
Indeed is the #1 job site in the world1 with over 250 million unique visitors2 every month. Indeed strives to put job seekers first, giving them free access to search for jobs, post resumes, and research companies. Every day, we connect millions of people to new opportunities.
Marva Brown is a Brooklyn based attorney with more than 14 years of experience practicing law in the State of New York. A seasoned litigator, Marva has represented clients in the District Court of Nassau County, the Bronx Hall of Justice, the Kings County Criminal Court and the New York State Supreme Court of Kings County - Criminal Term.
When so many of us ignore burning ideas to launch projects into the world after we have kids, what gets in our way? When we're at work yet thinking about everything going on at home, what's behind it and how can we change it for our children?
Mom's Hierarchy of Needs is a community where parents can feel safe, understood and supported in the desire to reduce stress, prioritize self-care, dream big dreams and live in possibility.
The Mom's Hierarchy of Needs framework was developed with input in our first study and Mom's Hierarchy of Needs research is focused on making us stronger, healthier and happier.
Move the Crowd is led by CEO and author Rha Goddess, and provides life coaching, business consultation and online courses that help entrepreneurs and leaders. The True.Paid.Good philosophy evolved from Rha's own journey as a struggling artist/activist who was short on dollars but huge on change. From the mouths of her own influential life coaches and mentors, Rha realized that if she had more, she could do more. Even more importantly, she could BE more. Whatever your end game, aspiration or dream: we got you.
We provide relationship coaching and matchmaking services to professionals of color. What differentiates us from other matchmaking services is our focus on serving diverse populations and promoting intentional dating. Many other matchmaking services cater to white men that have a high net worth.
We remove barriers to traditional, exclusive matchmaking services by increasing accessibility.We are committed to understanding your wants and needs and providing a great experience.
Fundr is on a mission to bring equal opportunity to investing so world changing people and ideas are not overlooked. We do this by using AI to eliminate bias, increase access, decrease the time to funding and help even the playing field of investor to founder relationships.
On July 1, 2020, Professor Tonya M. Evans joined the Penn State Dickinson Law faculty to continue and expand her work in blockchain and cryptocurrency, data, technology, entertainment law and social justice. Recently, she accepted an offer for a tenured position at the rank of full professor, to begin July 1, 2021. She also owns the Advantage Evans™ Academy and hosts the Tech Intersect Podcast, a weekly podcast that highlights new and notable experts at the intersections of law, business and technology.
The mission of Zero Hour is to center the voices of diverse youth in the conversation around climate and environmental justice. Zero Hour is a youth-led movement creating entry points, training, and resources for new young activists and organizers (and adults who support our vision) wanting to take concrete action around climate change. Together, we are a movement of unstoppable youth organizing to protect our rights and access to the natural resources and a clean, safe, and healthy environment that will ensure a livable future where we not just survive, but flourish.
Prosperity Now (formerly CFED) believes that everyone deserves a chance to prosper. Since 1979, we have helped make it possible for millions of people, especially people of color and those of limited incomes, to achieve financial security, stability and, ultimately, prosperity. We offer a unique combination of scalable practical solutions, in-depth research and proven policy solutions, all aimed at building wealth for those who need it most
We are the Transgender Strategy Center (TSC), and we're here to help your organization or company grow. Since our founding in 2017, we've assisted a range of clients in achieving their unique business goals. We can equip you and your organization with a plan for success.
TSC elevates and amplifies transgender voices and leadership within communities across the United States, centering goals on economic and racial justice, authentic inclusion, and equity in health and well-being. We do this by providing coaching, training and technical assistance to trans leaders and organizations. We tailor our assistance to meet the needs of each unique person and organization. Additionally, TSC offers training and coaching to cisgender-led organizations that would like to do a better job of serving transgender communities.
Black Transwomen, Inc (BTWI) is a national nonprofit organization established to specifically address the urgent concerns facing African American transwomen in minority communities.
Since 2012, BTWI has committed to empowerment, providing the trans-feminine community with programs and resources to help inspire individual growth and contributions to the greater good of society to meet its mission of uplifting the voice, heart and soul of black transwomen.
Project One America is a community-based program focusing on building a stronger LGBT presence and infrastructure. A full time local staff and dedicated office space in Jackson, MS, Montgomery, AL, and Little Rock, AR will support this effort.
Time Study exists to empower organizations' greatest resource, people, to be the best they can be. That is the Future of Work powered by Time Intelligence. We bring Time Intelligence to organizations to help address their hardest challenges like turnover, burnout, organizational efficiencies and improved productivity.
Mocha Moms, Inc. is the premier voice for mothers of color. Through chapters and online, Mocha Moms, Inc. provides support for women of color as they journey through all phases of motherhood while advocating for them nationally. Mocha Moms, Inc. also encourages the spirit of community activism and service among its members. Mocha Moms, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Mocha Moms, Inc. does not discriminate against any person, regardless of demographic status. Anyone who supports the mission and purpose of Mocha Moms is welcome to join.
The App Accelerator is an online training program for non-technical founders who are ready to execute their app ideas and expand their businesses without the technical overwhelm. Learn more about the program or how you can get started today by clicking the button below.
Jakiya, popularly known as the Travelingfro is a Brand Strategist, CMO and Founder of The Travelingfro Brands L.L.C. A location independent consulting & media company that uses a strategic, fresh, and realistic approach to marketing to transform stories into influential brands.
TAO Leadership Development is passionate about the art of personal branding. We offer best-in-class coaching programs that uncover the authentic, unique presence within every leader and leverage it to drive powerful business results.
We are providers of STEAM education initiatives and materials in Kenya.
The National Consortium of Diversity Practitioners (NCDP) is a network that centers and supports Black professionals in the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEIB) space. NCDP is grounded in a Black radical & feminist traditions that prioritizes collective liberation over individual achievement. We seek to develop new and innovative strategies to eradicate social injustice, inequality, oppression-based trauma in all social institutions. Through our resource- and community-based approach, NCDP supports Black professionals as they navigate the world of DEIB and change management.
Diaspora Travel & Trade is full-service consulting company specializing in the curation of travel experiences, commercial opportunities, relationships & networks, and related content for those Travelers and Traders interested in the "Americas." We have a particular focus on Sustainable Travel, Social Enterprise, and the commercial and cultural activities of Black and Indigenous communities of this region.
Building 2 businesses, traveling the world, raising a teenage soccer star, and posing as an amateur chef - general super hero shit. @wanderwomaninc on IG
Michelle Marks-Osborne is a philosophical consultant dedicated to advancing Inclusion, Equity & Belonging with services for individuals, groups, organizations, and corporations. She is a coach, trainer, and public speaker specializing in anti-racism, sexism, and social justice. She is an expert at moving beyond diversity and invites you to move with her.
Barbara Mason is the Owner and Founder of Career Pathways Consulting and brings over 20 years experience in Human Resources. She has progressed in several HR leadership roles in a variety of industries and has worked with countless individuals in their careers. Barbara is a native of Huntsville, AL and graduated from the University of Alabama in Huntsville with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Resource Management. She is a member of the national and local Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and also serves on the board of Project Corporate Leadership and IEHRA.
We help individuals and organizations identify, clarify and pursue their vision and passion. We connect individuals and organizations to needed resources to realize their vision ie. financial, marketing, sales, business tools. We facilitate workshops and presentations for organizations, associations on topics focused on personal fulfillment, engaing employees and team members, starting Up to Something Groups etc.
The Shalizi Group has quickly become one of the top entertainment and management companies in the industry. We live to break boundaries which has allowed us to manage some of the top multi-genre recording artists, DJ/Producers, and songwriters which includes household names such as Marshmello, Alesso, Jauz, Southside, Slushii and more. We support our growing roster through specialized in-house teams dedicated to talent management, digital marketing, merchandising, design, label services and brand development. TSG has partnerships with leaders in gaming, television, technology, consumer goods, fashion, and digital marketing, creating an ever-evolving platform for the success of our clients.
Premium home-style desserts baked by Alissa Mayers in Brooklyn, NY. Specializing in pies, cakes, cookies, brownies, and delicious desserts.
Marti Allen-Cummings (They/Them) is an activist, community board member, gig worker and drag artist running for city council in uptown manhattan. Marti has been working in NYC for 13 years AFTER MOVING to the city AT AGE 17 to pursue a performing arts CAREER. They know what it's like to make it in New York living paycheck to paycheck and without insurance.
Speaker Spotlight: DEI Book Club Picks!
by Kryss Shane
by Rha Goddess
Thank you to all of our wonderful, amazing speakers! And thank you again for supporting Diversity Reboot 2021 and PowerToFly!
Kate Jhaveri does one thing every day that she suggests you try: belly laughs.
The EVP and Chief Marketing Officer at the NBA credits her two kids with much of that levity—"They're very silly and they, at least once a day, make me laugh out loud," she says—though she seeks to make those lighter connections with her team at work, too.
"Especially at this time, it's so incredibly important to have that perspective with everything that's going on," she says.
We sat down with Kate to hear about her career journey, why she left tech to work in sports, how she led her team through the pandemic, and what advice she has (beyond laughing often) for other women seeking to build fulfilling careers—and communities.
Solving creative problems for different consumers
Growing up, Kate always had a book in her hands. "The ability to tell stories and move people with words and images is something that started with me very young," she says. She thought about parlaying that love of stories into becoming a college professor, but her father encouraged her to try something new before committing to that path.
So she took a job in consulting and immediately loved it. "I really, really loved the problem solving and the ability to see opportunities for different businesses and consumers," she says. Those skills translated well to a job at Dell, where she got to go deep on one set of problems and enjoyed the energy of her fast-paced team of coworkers. "I fell in love with the velocity that was happening in the tech industry and...really getting to know who you are interacting with."
But having focused on English and Spanish literature in college, Kate wanted a chance to shore up her business skill set, so she got her MBA at Tuck, Dartmouth's business school. "It was a good way to refine all of the different ways I could think about business problems and solve them," she says. It also helped her define the kind of job she wanted post-graduation: one as a marketing leader.
"Marketing is where the two halves of me come together: this ability to really think about and problem solve combined with this love of art and creativity and storytelling," says Kate. "I wanted to run a marketing team for a brand that I cared about," she says.
Finding her community with the NBA
When an opportunity to be the NBA's CMO popped up, Kate knew it was the kind of job and the kind of company that aligned with her values. "It's a brand that really seeks to unite people," says Kate of the NBA. "Whether that's through the sport of basketball, or the values we hold around diversity, equity, and inclusion, it's about how can we bring people together and do so with something that makes people feel really joyful."
Her role as CMO includes every aspect of marketing, and Kate likes that challenge. "Marketing is really changing; it's super exciting now, this amazing blend of art and science that gets me excited and gets me out of bed in the morning, thinking through how to talk to consumers in ways that matter to them."
And even though she switched industries from tech to sports, and picked up new lingo to go along with it, Kate has found the transition to be a smooth one. "The organization has been super open to a lot of the ideas that I bring from a different industry and is already super innovative, [so] it wasn't that big of a change," she says.
Kate's approach to marketing, whether for a tech product or for professional basketball, is focused on communities. She's long been fascinated by how communities are created and how they develop, and in her current CMO role, she draws on her own experience feeling part of sports communities, from rooting for the Celtics as a kid in Baltimore to living in Chicago during Michael Jordan's heyday with the Bulls.
"There is no better community than the community of NBA fans," says Kate. "The NBA has done such a great job of building that community and bringing fans in to feel close, not just to the players or the game, but to what the NBA stands for."
Pandemic pivot: standing up with the NBA community
Kate joined the NBA in August of 2019. Seven months later, the world was put on pause—and so was basketball.
The whole NBA found themselves reimagining how a season of professional basketball could look. Kate felt like they had a unique opportunity to bring people together, and that figuring out how to do that in new ways would serve their audience now and in the future, especially since she says that less than 1% of basketball fans ever make it to an arena to see a live game. "One of the most interesting things about [this last year] is that we're all craving community in some way, and whether that's in person or online, we all want human connection," she says.
That community was especially important last summer, when the Black Lives Matter movement took off after a string of extrajudicial police killings of Black Americans. "The absolute tragedy and horrific loss of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor was a moment where we really could stand with players …[and] our fans," says Kate. As NBA players chose to wear jerseys with social justice messages and the league painted Black Lives Matter on the court, Kate saw it as " incredibly powerful and values-driven."
The NBA's transition to a bubble with games played without live fans meant new opportunities for the marketing team to share content and interact with their communities. "[I'm proud of our] ability in that time to tell a really compelling story about how we had changed the game and how fans could interact with the game specifically to bring them closer," says Kate.
Those new ways of telling stories included professional games of H-O-R-S-E, The Last Dance documentary in partnership with ESPN, trivia games, reruns and new commentary of classic match-ups, and the first-ever 2K Players tournament, not to mention tons of social engagement with the NBA's community of super-engaged fans.
"We really tried to meet what fans needed and wanted, and we learned a lot about what content is super interesting and what platforms are particularly great for individual pieces of content," she says.
So far, her favorite innovation—and one that she plans to bring into the post-pandemic world—has been the digital fans. The NBA created a virtual fan experience where more than 300 fans each game were invited to appear live on the "Michelob ULTRA Courtside" 17-foot-tall video boards surrounding the court, allowing for an atmosphere of cheering (and occasional jeering) even with otherwise empty seats. "It's such a great way to bring people closer," says Kate.
Paying it forward: tips for building your career
Kate has four key tips for other women looking to build careers—and communities—that work for them:
- Remember that your dream role might "hire on hustle." Kate is a builder: "I like to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty," she says. Leaning on her ability to get things done, even with a scrappy team or a limited budget, has been how she's gotten several roles, she says. Focus less on what degree you have or who you know and more on a track record of making things happen.
- Before accepting an offer, ask "Do I want to have a beer with these people?" That's the question Kate makes sure she'd say "yes" to before starting a new role. "You're spending a good portion of your life, whether on Zoom or sitting in the office, with these people. If you aren't really enjoying [them], it makes the job less fun. It's about the passion and the people," she says.
- Once you're in a new role, make sure to speak up and share the ideas that got you there. "For women especially, it is deeply important to not lose your voice. There are times when you may be the only woman in the room, and there are times when that room could be fairly large. It's still really important that you know that you belong there," she says. "Everyone has a little bit of doubt about what they're doing, but don't lose your voice. Have every confidence that you belong at that table. And your ideas are welcome and needed. Otherwise you wouldn't be there."
- As you take on new roles and responsibilities at different companies, be kind to everyone you come across. "Marketing is a small world," says Kate. "You will have the opportunity to cross paths with people again." She says that now, her community of peers is her biggest source of inspiration and continuous learning. "I see where they've gone, they see where I've gone, and we have a connection," she says. "Focus on relationships and individuals, because they will stay with you far longer than you think."