To Be Young, Professional, and Female

Gina Rodrigues is young, driven, confident, and great at what she does. When she left her prior role in August 2019, she took a few months to catch her breath, but the mother of three young children never considered taking a real break from her career.  As she put it, “Women who leave the workforce for their kids, or any reason for that matter, tend to never get back to where they were, and their earning potential is derailed for the rest of their lives.” When the Coronavirus pandemic hit, Gina ended up taking on more of the childcare for her children, ages 2, 5, and 7, simply because a job search had greater flexibility than the job her husband has in sales for a leading technology company. He is a great and supportive partner, but it’s easy to slip into unintended roles amidst the chaos of a pandemic so they worked together to create a balance. Gina worked hard to maintain the focus of her search despite the significant shift in her childcare arrangement.

Gina joined the MDL Network in November 2019 seeking support to insure that in her next role she would be paid what she was worth. “When you graduate from college, no one tells you how important that first salary negotiation is going to be long term.  I was good at my job and received multiple promotions, but my pay increases always occurred as a percentage of that original and poorly negotiated salary.  After a decade of success, I knew it was time to seek a compensation package that more accurately reflected my value in the marketplace.”

Gina had been a Director, was looking for another Director role, and began her new job July 15th. Her MDL coach supported and reaffirmed her resolve, encouraging Gina to follow her gut. Her determination paid off as Gina’s increase in compensation more that justifies the expense of MDL’s services and sets her on a solid path for the future.

A job search at a higher level can take 18 months and is a serious full-time job. It takes time to find the right role and develop the right contacts to help secure that role. Gina did the work. “I went to all the workshops and attended all the networking meetings. MDL gave me the tools and the contacts, but it was up to me to put in the work to get something out of it.” Gina goes on to say, “At some point you just have to make your first phone call and learn how to have that conversation. It was super helpful to start with a group of people (the MDL Network) who had all been given the same instructions. The frequent networking events and later Zoom calls offered a great opportunity to practice in a safe space and gain confidence.” Over time, Gina learned to look past the first level of conversation and understood that the value in a particular connection may not be clear right away, but over time, developing those contacts does pay off.

In the end, Gina found her new role on her own. But she harnessed every tool available to her as she prepared for her final interview, which consisted of a significant presentation to company leadership, and MDL played a crucial role. “I did dry runs of my presentation with my consultant and connected with fellow clients who work in marketing to pick their brains. MDL also gave me a fantastic contact from the industry I was hoping to work in, and she was able to give me incredibly valuable insight and even provided me with an industry report I wouldn’t have had access to any other way. So, although MDL didn’t really play a role in finding my specific opportunity, when I found it, MDL provided me with the resources to put my best foot forward and secure the position with the compensation package I knew I deserved. As a woman, I feel the need to soften my negotiations, but my consultant played a key role helping me rephrase and reiterate what I needed in a productive way.”

Gina had success with MDL’s services but emphasizes that, “They won’t do it for you. MDL will give you the tools, guide you, and teach you, but if you aren’t willing to put in the work, it may not be for you. Overall, I’m glad I made the choice to work with MDL, because I know that in working with their team, I’ve gained invaluable skills that will serve me for the rest of my career.” Now that Gina has begun her new role, she intends to stay involved in the MDL network. “I don’t intend to disappear. I look forward to continuing to connect with MDL clients and to further expand my network. My recent experience solidified my understanding of the value of making and maintaining connections and supporting others when I have that opportunity.”