Breaking Out of the Female Comfort Zone

Grant Caselton Foresight, Marketing Leave a Comment

Market Intelligence: Talks to industry analysts, conducts competitive research and studies market segmentation to identify “the next big thing.”

A copy of Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In” is currently substituting for a missing wheel on Mariann McDonagh’s desk chair, but that doesn’t mean the chief marketing officer of inContact hasn’t taken its advice to heart. Three of the four senior people in her own department are women right now at the contact center software provider and – as an executive who still has a teenage daughter at home — she understands what it takes to encourage the next generation of women who may want to rise to C-level offices in the future.

“It’s really about comfort zones,” she said. “I’ve found that many of the younger women I’ve worked with who are up and coming need to figure out how to expand their comfort zones, how to sort of sit at the edge of that in order to move forward.”

As an Italian American woman, McDonagh grew up believing in the idea of “abbondanza.” In translation, one should always be ready with more than enough of everything, whether it be food and wine or experience and know how.

Regardless of if it’s in kitchen or in the boardroom, most women hate to be caught unprepared. As a result, many younger women are taking refuge in comfort zones, reluctant to assert their personal power at work and take control of situations even when they should. She adds women too often feel they have to be fully qualified, or overqualified, for every possible aspect of a project or position before they try taking it on.

“Sometimes it’s about encouraging them to be assertive and not to be defined by the job description that’s on the piece of paper.”

That’s not to say  McDonagh, who recently found a different approach to abbondanza cooking after Paleo diet plan with her family after extensive research, encourages anyone, male or female, to leap before they look into a new undertaking.

“The people who are leaders typically have taken risks to get to where they are,” she said. “And I think it’s about encouraging intelligent risk taking. That’s different than just blindly jumping into something, right?”

Mariann McDonaugh is the Chief Marketing Officer at inContact and was featured in “
Issue 12 of Forefront Magazine.

Charlene Oldham is a freelance writer for Forefront Magazine

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