September 10, 2020 | Andrea Lechner-Becker | No Comments |

As the COO/CMO for WorkForce Software, Denise Broady‘s responsibilities reach far. She oversees the global marketing and communications organization, is also responsible for the end-to-end customer experience, including product strategy, product launch, customer operations, customer success, and global support, along with training and enablement.

In this Catalyst interview, Denise shares how she’s navigated the B2B world for more than 20 years, the importance of finding and becoming a sponsor and mentor, and how WorkForce Software is working around COVID-19.

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3 Key Points:

1. Hard times and struggles can become your catalyst for growth. Whether it’s a teacher doubting your abilities or a colleague who doesn’t think you have much to offer, don’t get down. Take those opportunities and let them drive you to work harder so you may rise and go farther.

2. Always think a few steps ahead. The B2B world moves quickly, so professionals need to continually expand their networks and skillsets. That includes not just finding mentors, but sponsors within your organization who will help you grow.

3. Adjust your strategy for seasons of change. As COVID-19 has shown us, our world can turn on a dime. If this experience drives any one thing home, it’s the importance of staying open to change and making quick pivots when needed.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

1:20 – What does WorkForce Software do?

2:40 – What comes to mind when you hear the word catalyst?

5:55 – What’s your experience been like moving into new roles and uncharted territory at work?

10:14 – What advice do you have for people looking for sponsors within their organizations?

14:48 – What’s the best way to learn what sponsors care about most?

16:06 – What do you look for when deciding to mentor/sponsor someone or not?

27:45 – What was your first job like and how did you overcome the learning curve?

29:58 – What are you currently focused on at WorkForce Software?

32:00 – How have you adjusted your marketing strategy for COVID-19?

35:37 – Wrap-Up: Find Denise on LinkedIn.

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Full Transcript

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

Hi, welcome to Catalyst Podcast. I’m Andrea Lechner-Becker, CMO at LeadMD and I’m joined today by Denise Broady. Denise, tell us a little bit about yourself, where you’re currently at and a little bit of background.

 

Denise Broady:

Great. Hi, Andrea. Hi, everybody. Thank you so much for having me. As mentioned, my name’s Denise Broady. I’m the COO for WorkForce Software. I just hit my 24th year in B2B Enterprise software and have spent my career in combinations, small companies as well as large companies like in SAP where I was prior to joining WorkForce. I’m based here in New York and besides my passion in tech, I love to drink wine and love to cook.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

That’s excellent. I like to drink wine and eat, so we should be a really good match. What does WorkForce do? Who do they sell to?

 

Denise Broady:

Yeah. I always tell people, the easiest way to think of us is we bring the sexy back into time sheets. We digitize time sheets, lead management and scheduling. It all sounds so simple, because everyone has had a high school job at a pizza joint or a restaurant where they’ve punched in and punched out, but that is the simple part of it, right?

 

Denise Broady:

In our space, just to give you an idea, in the US alone there’s over 400 regulations. If you’re a retailer and you happen to be based in San Francisco, and you need to send one of the associates to Palo Alto, you have to actually readjust their minimum wage, because it’s $15 in San Francisco but $16 in Palo Alto.

 

Denise Broady:

You’re either going to do it with your payroll people or manual timekeepers, or you’ll come in and leverage our software as part of this to ease and digitize the entire timekeeping process.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

Cool. Fun and so you’ve been in this sort of industry role-ish for 24 years, you said, right? I’m sure that that experience has given you a lot to talk about. This podcast is obviously focused on the idea of marketers and entrepreneurs being catalysts of change within their organizations. When you hear the word catalyst, what comes to mind for you?

 

Denise Broady:

I just immediately think: change agent, someone that is going to drive impact, that takes calculated risks and who is never satisfied with the status quo, no matter what role they do and what they’re participating in.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

When you think back on your career, where in your mind have you been a catalyst or been around really inspiring catalysts?

 

Denise Broady:

Yeah, I would say that has been the majority of the journey of my career, especially in the last 15 years. When I started in B2B software, I came out as a programmer and I was horrible. I mean, literally that was the last thing I wanted to do, but it really taught me a lot about tech.

 

Denise Broady:

What I’m most grateful for in that first role in consulting, for the first five years I just learned how businesses ran, how tech worked. Then I went to this small little company in San Francisco or in San Jose area in the 2000 timeframe called TopTier and there was this amazing catalyst there, Shia Agassi.

 

Denise Broady:

He had just literally gotten through funding with the Baan brothers and ended up creating this great software that is a portal solution. Think about if you were reading the Wall Street Journal and you have all these articles all over, but they were not organized in the front page sections. They were just thrown together and everything read in one, and that was what he was solving for at that time in around 2000.

 

Denise Broady:

He was just so smart, because he actually came in and not only did he actually sell to Baan, he bought it back and then SAP came in and bought the company. They’re really buying the technologist or the catalyst, Shia Agassi. I had an opportunity then to step into SAP. I was at TopTier, was doing product management, product marketing after my consulting gig.

 

Denise Broady:

Then when I came into SAP, it was an opportunity to say, “Hey, there’s 13 people doing my job and there’s myself coming from a small company. I can stay in the status quo or I can do other things.”

 

Denise Broady:

I lobbied to do a business development role and then from there every two to three years I was getting more teams, different areas. It just gave me a great platform to really think through innovation but to do it in a big company. It was like jumping around and doing different things so that you could really try to drive and change the status quo and really be in various startups in a large company.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

That’s so cool. Were you ever scared? It seems like if you get your perfection, you master one specific thing, like you’re a great product marketer. Was it ever scary to move to something completely different? Or it was ancillary involved in what you were doing anyways that it seemed like you would succeed or like talk me through that.

 

Denise Broady:

Yeah.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

Seems scary.

 

Denise Broady:

Well people always ask me that, but I don’t really have any fear and I know that sounds kind of weird and maybe that’s just a byproduct of my childhood. When I was a kid after the Vietnam War, my family, my mother, my brother and I, we escaped in 1979. I was a refugee coming out of Vietnam and we lived in a refugee camp and so we went to Malaysia, lived in a refugee camp.

 

Denise Broady:

When I came to the US our family lived in the projects. We were on welfare and as I was growing up, actually, ironically, I never realized I was poor until I actually went to college. I had a friend who was the Senator’s daughter and people that were in business, so it actually never even dawned on me that I grew up in such a poor setting.

 

Denise Broady:

I just never wore new clothes or had things, but as part of that byproduct, every time I achieved something, whether it was reading a great book or being at the library all day. I remember one summer we spent time and I actually read, I won the contest, I read 300 books or something ridiculous during that summer and I just thought it was so great. I was like, “What is there to complain about?”

 

Denise Broady:

I will say that mindset really stayed with me because my whole philosophy in life is, and I tell people I mentor and coach and that work for me is like, “Try it. If it doesn’t work, you don’t lose anything and you don’t gain anything.” Taking the risks, asking the questions, asking to do things, my perspective was always, “Hey, it’s just not going to hurt if you fail and if you fail, pick yourself up and move on.”

 

Denise Broady:

There was a moment at SAP, for example, where I was coming in to do the business development. I’d worked for this great guy that I had just started, completely started my career at SAP named Ronjon Das. He had a Harvard MBA. Here, I didn’t even go to get my MBA and really grew up just from learning. He was like my biggest champion coach.

 

Denise Broady:

At the beginning, I remember he said to me, “We were acquiring this small, little company and if you’re willing to take the risk, they only did 15 million in the acquisition, but the Global COO is asking us to do about 40.”

 

Denise Broady:

Literally, I was like, “Sure, why not?” I don’t have a family, it’s just myself. If I get fired, I just go back to the last job. The fear didn’t even dawn on me. I wasn’t like, “Hey, I’m going to lose this, this, this.” By the way, after the first year, we did 50 million. Then I even built the courage to go global. Well, of course I went to Ronjon first, but I said, “I have this thought, why don’t we bill out the CFO buying center for SAP because they’re so used to selling to the CIO?” I put this proposal in front of Ronjon and he said, “I got you an interview with the Global COO, go talk to him.”

 

Denise Broady:

The guy was so busy he was doing the stage prep and I was told, “You have 15 minutes to go convince him that you have a great business case. If he likes you he’s going to give you a promotion and he’s going to give you 20 head count.” After 15 minutes he shook my hand and I was like, “Oh how do I do this?” That was like okay off to the races I went and every opportunity was kind of like that.

 

Denise Broady:

I think besides the consulting gig and even officially applying for the TopTier role, once I got into SAP I actually didn’t even know what the career portal looked like. Every time I would have coffee with somebody or if I would have an idea, I would go seek the sponsorship and I would plug in, in someone’s ear. If they liked it, hopefully they took it along or took me along, either way but it all kind of worked out.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

You’re mentioning there your mentor Ronjon, is that his name?

 

Denise Broady:

Yeah.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

How do you isolate who might be able to sponsor things like that in a global organization the size of SAP? How do you even find the right people who can help you?

 

Denise Broady:

Yeah, I would say sponsorship is a little bit like dating. You either have chemistry or you don’t, and it’s not a fine tune formula. Ronjon, one of the most amazing human beings, he has since passed and he really gave me the foundation. Not only for feedback but to have the analytical tools and think about, “How do I take calculated risk and build business cases?” and just the basics.

 

Denise Broady:

Later on in my career I just remember I have this opportunity after fast growth markets and the CSO was actually at SAP named Shakib. He tapped me and said, “We would like for you to come run competitive and market intelligence. By the way it’s nine levels down in marketing, and we needed to move to the board area, to the CSO, to myself. We needed to strategically interface the board and by the way it’s an entire transformation. You have to figure out how to take it from X amount of people to Y amount of people and by the way make it more visible.”

 

Denise Broady:

I was very grateful to have the opportunity, but after he chatted with me he said, “By the way the role doesn’t report to me, the role reports to Alex Hunsberger,” who happened to be another peer of mine. I was like, “I’m not sure how this is going to work out,” but I said, “Well I’m not, it’s a lateral move.” I put my hat on and I was like, “You know what, Alex can do,” again Alex had this amazing background. Ex McKinsey, Harvard MBA and I knew that I could learn something from him.

 

Denise Broady:

Anytime I looked at the role also I looked at the person and said, “Is there a potential for personal growth as well as career growth?” What Alex really gave me was the opportunity to think strategically as if I was running it as my own business. Creating more of a McKinsey strategy for the entire area. 

 

Denise Broady:

I think the other secret to always keeping the door open is the network. As I was working for Shakib, I was also interacting with a lot of different presidents within SAP. I remember there was one very impressive president, Simon Paris, who was leading, started the whole build out for a business unit around industries. After I worked for Shakib for a period of time, they were building out his area further.

 

Denise Broady:

When we were working together I had a dotted line term, but I treated him as if I was reporting into him. Eventually when that role opened, then there was an opportunity for me to interview and eventually I became the COO. I think that the sponsorship, as I said it’s like dating. You’ve got to have chemistry and it’s by direction.

 

Denise Broady:

I mean people think that the only way to get somebody to sponsor you is to have them mentor you. That’s not true. Mentorship and sponsorship are two different things. There are some people that are great at mentoring and give you great advice. But in the sponsorship what that person is really trying to do is advocate for you. What they also see is potential in you. Then in turn many times you’ll be able to give something back as part of the overall process.

 

Denise Broady:

I think that the sponsorship portion is critical to being at a large company like SAP. It’s something that you cannot underestimate and it’s all about not only executing your own branding but also being able to build bridges across and networking internally.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

How do you find to your point it’s a two way street, so how do you find out what those potential sponsors care about? I assume that’s a big piece of it, right? Like aligning your ability to accomplish something to what they care about.

 

Denise Broady:

Yeah, absolutely and you know I talked a little bit about the opportunity with Simon. He was first building financial services out for the industry model and I had a dotted line to him on the solution marketing front. During that time as I mentioned I treated him as if I was reporting to him, so I advocated for the things that mattered to the business. Not only for the area that I was working on, but also advocating for financial services.

 

Denise Broady:

Then as agreed to other industries, it just made sense to put me into the role. He knew that part of the function as a COO and having marketing and communications along with the operations, was to advocate for all of the industries and be able to do that internal selling. That’s why I’m saying, I know that he saw something in the time that we worked together for the year and a half before he came to me and said, “Hey, would you like to apply to be my COO for this area?”

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

Yeah, and so I would imagine that now in your career you’re at the place of sponsoring other people or mentoring them. What are you looking for? What makes somebody pique your interest and say, “Oh I think that they really got something.”?

 

Denise Broady:

Yeah, it’s interesting because I love the pave it forward mindset, which is especially to have more senior women at the leadership table, we have to pull each other along. In order to do that there has to be not only sponsorship but advocacy for many women that are not only working within Workforce but outside of Workforce. What I really look at is, how thoughtful is this person and what are their intentions?

 

Denise Broady:

In leadership roles it’s not just about your skills. I think to a certain level everybody has the mental capacity to be able to apply themselves to pretty much solving any problem. The key difference is really the EQ portion, how thoughtful are they? How intentional can they apply that? Do they have passion for pushing change with people? Do they see this as a job or do they see this as a platform? For me that is huge.

 

Denise Broady:

I have actually never worked and thought about, maybe in consulting when I first started out. Thereafter, I was like, if I’m going to have a career be intact for the duration, it cannot be a job. For me, the coming to work every day is a platform to drive change. That’s what I really look at is, what is the desire for that individual? Are they looking at the leadership level or getting into the senior piece as purely a promotion or as a job? Or do they look at it as a platform to drive change?

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

I really love that and of course I mean we have a Catalyst Podcast, so like that’s the story that we love about so many people in business that it seems have achieved this degree of success. Very few people paint the picture that you have of how many people have to help you to get there and the things that you learn.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

I think one of the most interesting things that you’ve mentioned is how you’ve chosen those paths that you’ve picked. Which correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like most of that is based on, were you going to be surrounded by people who could help you learn and grow a skillset?

 

Denise Broady:

Absolutely, that was always the primary. Ironically maybe it’s because I was never on the career portal and looked at job descriptions. I remember when I had to actually update my resume after 15 years of being at SAP, I never looked at the way people would read your resume. I hoped that they would have the conversation and learn what the skills and the tool set that you’ve already built out as part of the process.

 

Denise Broady:

I think that it’s so critical to when you’re looking at a boss or you’re looking at an opportunity, it’s what are you going to learn out of it? I mean the shift of coming from a large company into for example at Workforce, it was great. I had less people reporting to me, but I was, one, learning all about the private equity world which I was really not that exposed to. I was at the beginning at TopTier, but I wasn’t in a senior position really to understand the nuts and bolts of it.

 

Denise Broady:

Today we have two private equities that we deal with on the Workforce side. The opportunity to truly have an impact, because even at SAP getting into a COO position for business unit is highly matrix. There’s 200 of us that we’re sitting at the top at SAP versus you come into Workforce and there are six people. Really even when we did the fundraiser, it got down to four of us. That was part of the entire process and there’s just so many different things to learn.

 

Denise Broady:

Going into a board meeting for example at SAP, you get your hour slot. You put in all your pre-read, you come in and you present and then you leave. I should say you go more to defend and then you leave.

 

Denise Broady:

I’d say at Workforce when I come into a board meeting which I’ve had the pleasure to attend with the support of the CEO for the last three years, you sit through the entire board meeting with exception of stock or other boats at the end. It gives you a very different perspective and again when I was looking at the opportunity here and when I was coming into Workforce, I wasn’t looking at the size of the company. I really didn’t even care what the company did from a tech perspective because I knew I had to learn it. I was looking more like, what could I incrementally learn as part of that process?

 

Denise Broady:

I will say that’s the other characteristic that I look at is, in mentoring and coaching people and sponsoring them, I really need to get a sense of who they are because I need to know if they’re curious. The only way to break the status quo and drive change is to be curious. If they are not curious, it’s actually a deal breaker.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

Yeah, I agree. I look for that same curiosity. I think so much of innovation is asking why without being a jerk about it. Like nobody wants to be asked why 15 times despite the five why’s that all consultants are trained on. You have mentioned education a couple of times, so I’m very interested.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

You mentioned your path from Vietnam to the US and I want to dig in a little bit to the rest of your education path. You’ve mentioned you didn’t go get your masters, so I’m interested to just hear a little bit about your journey from an education perspective in general.

 

Denise Broady:

Sure, I love to read. Now with the pandemic I’m reading like a book a week, which is great with pre-kids and that for me is always a measurement of my personal successes. How much reading did I do for the entire month?

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

Out of curiosity, do you read fiction or nonfiction or a mix?

 

Denise Broady:

I read a mix, but primarily biographies, memoirs, leadership books. I just read a couple of the books on the pandemic Small Fry, which is actually about Steve Job’s daughter, first daughter. Then Bob Iger’s book which was amazing. After I read the book I really looked at the characteristics that he instilled and I was thinking, “Wow, every leader should apply this as part of the pandemic.” I loved what he said which is, “It’s thoughtfulness and fairness,” which is something that resonated with me quite a bit. There’s just so many good books.

 

Denise Broady:

By the way most people that know me very well only get me either books or coffee or wine and it’s usually in that order. Coming back to education as we digress a little bit, I mentioned that I came to the US as a refugee. When you grow up poor and my mom actually, she had a really tough decision to make when she actually decided on my brother and I to come to the US. My mother divorced my father in Vietnam which was something that you didn’t even do in the late 70s. We’re very Catholic family and divorce was something that was not even spoken.

 

Denise Broady:

My mother actually had four children in her first marriage, but she only had two hands to leave Vietnam. She actually ended up … I get a bit emotional every time I talk about this. Literally picking the two little kids and I just happened to be the second oldest and then my brother. I actually didn’t meet my youngest brother and my older sister until I actually graduated college. That’s mainly because that was the only time we could actually sponsor both of them into the US.

 

Denise Broady:

The value of education, I mean I tremendously value education because my mom only had an eighth grade education. When we first came to the US she worked labor work, three to four jobs at a time. I barely saw her when I was growing up and I was responsible for taking care of my brother. Maybe that’s where all the reading set in because it was the only quiet time we would have.

 

Denise Broady:

My mother was very much under this belief and since it was just her, my brother and I she kept saying to me, “Hey, you could finish high school and just be a beautician. You’ll have a great life, you won’t have any school debt and then you’ll get married and have kids,” kind of thing.

 

Denise Broady:

She had this very preset mindset for me and I will say that, when I was growing up I never saw her read a book. Until today I have never seen her read an entire book. Our family dinners are not talking about Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice. She has no idea, like I would grow up and I was captain of the debate team in high school. She did not understand, “Why do you need to participate in all these activities?”

 

Denise Broady:

What really got me into education was, when I was in the 10th grade, I really wanted to be in advanced placement classes. I worked extra hard to get into the advanced AP classes and the English teacher after my first set of writing was turned in. When the English teacher saw my writing he looked at me and he said, “You will never be placed out of AP English class.”

 

Denise Broady:

All of a sudden as usual my fighter mentality goes in and I was like, “I’m definitely going to prove you wrong.” Not only did I advance out of English, I also advanced out of History and really I would have finished my degree at Virginia Tech in three and a half years, but I had a double major on corruption operations and marketing. I also have my own women’s studies.

 

Denise Broady:

This fighter mentality stuck with me and I will say the turning point I was in the 10th grade. When that teacher told me that I could not place out of my AP class, I was more determined than ever. I was like, “I’m going to show you.” I didn’t even know what college was. No one in my family had gone to college. I was like, “I don’t care, I’m going to apply for every single scholarship sitting out there and I’m going to get there,” and I did.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

That’s awesome. I think in prep for this, we also talked about your first job and how you thought you were going to get fired. I’m pretty sure everyone’s first job feels like, “I have no idea what I’m doing, they’re going to fire me when they figure it out.” What’s your experience?

 

Denise Broady:

I mentioned, I started my career in consulting and the first two years was programming. I was really almost fired in that first job. I got placed on this refrigeration manufacturing customer, they were implementing SAP software. We all sat in a room and because I had a background in production operations, they teamed me up with a manufacturing group.

 

Denise Broady:

You can imagine I was this young kid asking a lot of questions and the project manager came to me after six weeks and just said, “You can’t ask these many questions. You’re getting billed out and the customer feels that you’re too green.” They then transferred me to a maintenance project in Indiana and I was like … Again, my fight or flight mentality kicks in. I was like, “Okay they’re going to transfer me to a support or maintenance job. I may as well really learn programming.”

 

Denise Broady:

I had this great coach that was on the customer side, and by the way I programmed to mainframe which was even harder. I really learned the programming piece of it to the point where I came back into Clarkston which was the first consulting company. I topped six of the programming classes for all of the recent college graduates.

 

Denise Broady:

Again, my little bit of, you’re probably seeing the trend, but the fighter mentality is always like, if I fail at something, I’m going to go prove that it’s not lack. Through hard work and making sure that I get the right coaching as well as always asking the right questions, I continue to push myself and really overcome whatever failure that was there.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

Talk a little bit about what you’re focused on at Workforce. What’s your latest innovation, the latest catalyst? What are you trying to change?

 

Denise Broady:

I’m trying to change so many things at Workforce Software. I’ve been here for four and a half years and coming into the business, the business was founded like for 16 years. Through the last four and a half years we’ve had lots of great growth, cultural changes as well as global expansion. To the point where we sold half of the company through this past year and added a second investor into the overall mix.

 

Denise Broady:

I will say that my biggest challenge right now is ensuring that we get out of the pandemic and continue to have a cohesive culture as part of that. Continue to grow the company post, so we’re fortunate we have a lot of great customers and even large retailers that are doing well during the pandemic. We have a lot of state and local so key industries. I’m confident that our growth will continue as we plow through this pandemic.

 

Denise Broady:

I would actually say that the biggest achievement I’m most proud of is the transformation of the marketing and communications team in the last year. The training and enablement team that have ruled out. There was no training here to all employee training and customer training. As well as a very high touch customer experience. Lifecycle here which has been something that I’ve worked on between the customer success as well as the global support organization.

 

Denise Broady:

Just lots of different growth and I will say that ebb and flows, every quarter it seems like the different teams need to adjust up and down which has been a lot of fun.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

Just to get a little bit tactical, how have you adjusted your marketing strategy for COVID?

 

Denise Broady:

Yeah, I think the key is not to constantly harass customers and focus on demand gen. I think for us at the beginning of Q1 it was a bigger priority on getting new accounts. Then the last I would say is really existing customer base and then the channel marketing was somewhere in the middle. We kind of flipped that now to really looking at, what can we do from a COVID resource center that could even help some of our customers?

 

Denise Broady:

As I mentioned, we have a very large retail customer right now that is doing amazing during this time. By the way, they had to set up like 20 different COVID centers as part of this. We had just launched our resource center, I mean just things that you wouldn’t even think about. How do you clean a clock? An arm space we have, somebody has to budge in or they’re touching at the piece of hardware. Just having basic instructions on how to clean that. Or if people need time out what are the priorities? We actually help them in the background bring up all their COVID centers as part of the process.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

Yeah, and I think that that’s one of the things that we’ve been talking to our customers a lot too. As marketers and especially sellers often you want to sell your product, your features and benefits. What we’ve been encouraging people to do is think about what your buyer needs as a human being, what sort of questions do they have? Even if it doesn’t directly relate to your product or service, how can you act in service to them as their buyer, as your buyer I should say and just as a resource? That’s a really smart approach to exactly what you’re talking about. How do you clean this equipment? It doesn’t get you more business, except it wins you a lot of favor with your buyer.

 

Denise Broady:

Yeah, and we even share about our business continuity plan as part of this. What does crisis management look like in case there’s an issue with an essential worker? There’s about five people that still need access to the office. Everybody else we’ve been able to get them into a remote setting, but there are some other folks that need access like repairing clocks. Those folks are essential, so we’ve shared some of the crisis management information also with some of our customers that have asked for it.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

Yeah, I love that. We’re wrapping up, and we talked about your story and career. You’ve so many interesting moments and so many different people who’ve helped along the way. If you had to boil it down to your single most impactful catalyst moment, what would you pick?

 

Denise Broady:

Moment or person?

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

Either one.

 

Denise Broady:

For me I definitely would say the person that really pushed me to being the change agent I am today is my mother. We’ve always had a very tough relationship because being first generation she’s lived in the US for over 40 years but she barely speaks English. I’ve always tried to run away from my background but just growing up with somebody that is just so strong and who’s so resilient. Just the hardship that she had to go through really put me in a position to drive change and leverage my platform to drive the change.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

I love that. Thank you so much for being on our Catalyst Podcast. I can’t wait for everyone to hear all of your wisdom. If they want to follow up with you, how would you like to be contacted if at all, tell people they can talk to you.

 

Denise Broady:

Yeah, they can follow me on Twitter, so it’s @dvubroady, B-R-O-A-D-Y or also LinkedIn.

 

RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS:

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

What stories do you think that your kids or your grandkids will ask you to tell?

 

Denise Broady:

I hope what they really tell are the kind stories, the stuff that they remember me by. There’s been lots of times whether it’d be work or personal that I really I’m a firm believer that kindness matters. No matter what you do you need to keep that in the back of your mind. I hope they’ll share something that no one else knows about.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

I love that. What do you hate spending money on?

 

Denise Broady:

The gym. I think it’s ridiculous to have to pay New York prices for the gym, $200 a month is ridiculous. There’s tons of free workout videos and everyone should have access to the gym. This is the most ridiculous thing to pay for.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

What are you doing during the epidemic?

 

Denise Broady:

I actually take 10,000 steps everyday so I walk quite a bit. I used to run but the aging process has slowed that down so now I just walk ton. Then I also weight lift every other day as well as Pilates. I do do like CorePower app which I think is reasonable to pay $15, $20 a month, but the gym memberships in New York are just ridiculous.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

What always seems like a good idea but isn’t?

 

Denise Broady:

Eliminating processed food. I’m a huge health nut and the aspect of intermittent fasting and gotten a lot more strict around my eating as I’ve gotten older. After I got over 40 I was like, intermittent fasting I’ve been doing that for the last three years. I eat a very low carb diet, primarily meats and protein. I always wish that there would be no processed food in the world. Then I was thinking, “Who would make my cauliflower pizza bottom?”

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

Right, that’s a great answer. What is one thing you’re great at but hate doing?

 

Denise Broady:

Building slides. When I listen to people tell stories or when I read I mentally build slides. It’s probably from working for the CSO for three years at SAP. Every time I pick up something I could create a slide off of it. Though I’m great at it, I really hate it.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

What are your slide making tips?

 

Denise Broady:

Reuse, I mean that’s the key is like I also have a little bit of a library so when people present or I create a great slide, I may combine two of them. Never start from scratch and it’s all in the storyboard. I mean the way you can distill down the ideas and get it as simple as possible. Shakib who I worked for in my previous life as I mentioned, he was the CSO for SAP, his tip was 40% white space. If you have too much, if you have more than 60% of content, you’re telling too much of a story. It’s got to be so simple and crisp and clear that it has 40% white space.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

Do you have a limit on the number of words that can be on a slide?

 

Denise Broady:

I don’t have limits but I think it’s really important that it has a combination of graphics besides executive summary. You’ll never see me with a slide that is purely words. I can’t stand it.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

Yeah, I love it. All right, last rapid fire question. What are you most excited for in your role this year?

 

Denise Broady:

What I’m I most excited, there’s just so many things. As I said, getting the company out of the pandemic, keeping us as whole as far from a cultural perspective and continuing to drive change. About a year and a half ago I went jointly with the CHRO and we built out the women’s network at Workforce. This is one of the passion projects and I hope that we continue that momentum. We’ve been bringing people within our own network every six to eight weeks to present to the company. Anyone can join, but these communities are very important. Not only for mentoring and coaching, but also for sponsorship.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

What’s your take on the inclusion of men in women’s events like that or communities?

 

Denise Broady:

Absolutely, the more the merrier. Without men being involved, we’re never going to break out of the glass ceiling. There’s always going to be this 19 cents difference to what we make. It’s tough having two daughters, I will tell you I always tell them, it’s really important that they do what they’re passionate about. If they have the desire to be a CEO or a president one day, there’s no glass ceiling. They should have that as part of their ambition.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

Yeah, that’s the right answer in my opinion. It always skeeves me out a little bit whenever I go to a woman’s event and literally men aren’t invited. I think the same thing, it’s like with any great cultural issue, race, sexual orientation, you can’t really solve any of those problems of exclusion by excluding gatherers. You have to make it a community.

 

Denise Broady:

Yeah, all of the women network events I have at Workforce it’s open to every employee.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

Yeah and the thing that I always try to tell people who are putting on events that are women empowerment focused without men is that, the men hands down every single time I’ve ever participated in an event like that, the men get more out of those events than the women do. They were like, “I had no idea you guys felt like this.”

 

Denise Broady:

Yeah.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

I think that’s always what I try to be like, by excluding them you aren’t educating them. They don’t even know what they’re doing half of the time these poor dudes, so like just help them out by including them. Well, your story is wonderful and I think not a lot of people talk about sponsorship and just how to really navigate a company the size of SAP, so I think of all of your insights, those were my favorite. Then of course your story is just amazing, so I’m a huge fan. I’ll follow you all over the place.

 

Andrea Lechner-Becker:

Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the Catalyst podcast. You can find us on iTunes. You can subscribe there or you can find us at leadmd.com/bestpractices. And you can check out all of the videos that we have here. There’s a category called video and you’ll find us. There’s also a category called podcasts. You’ll find us there too. Just come on over, subscribe to our content. We have good stuff. We try to entertain and educate around marketing, sales, business entrepreneurship. Oh my gosh, the things we talk about. Come join us and have fun.

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