A Calm Storm

The blog of Sholeh Samadani Munion

Promotion (and some thoughts)

Rare sunny day in winter. #fromwhereIworkI got promoted yesterday. From Events Coordinator to Events Manager*

*does a happy dance*

It was a while in coming, but I was told in the morning and it was announced in the afternoon to our department (which is good, because it would have been so hard to keep that a secret!). I’ve had some very supportive supervisors and colleagues, and it meant a lot to have that support and guidance over the last few years. Nothing really changes for now (other than my title and my business cards), and I’m really already doing most of the work, so it is nice to be recognized. Thank goodness I don’t have to move! I love the view from my desk.

Women’s Work is Not What You Think

In the last few years especially I’ve been thinking a lot about women in the workplace and in leadership positions. I know that women generally don’t advocate for themselves, ask for raises or promotions, and are not taken as seriously when it comes to strategy and business decisions. I am grateful for the people in my life that have encouraged me to stand up for myself, to not accept the narrative that so many women are fed their whole lives. My parents started it, of course, and then a steady flow of other family, friends, and co-workers all taught me how to be strong and navigate the minefield. And the people who were not so nice taught me things too. I could move on from those situations with additional skills and knowledge.

I work in a female-dominated industry, but men are still in charge overall, and it became very evident to me last year when I read the PCMA 2015 Salary Survey. To sum up:

  1. Average salary for meeting professionals: $77,519 for women, $102,375 for men. Almost exactly 75 cents to the dollar. 
  2. Planners with a CMP certification make about $10,000 more than those without. So glad I got my CMP in 2014.
  3. Association meeting professionals tend to make more than corporate planners. I’m in association management, thank goodness.
  4. 72% of respondents who said that they had additional work added to their plate also were not compensated for the additional work. Find this to be true across the board.
  5. Also, in the Department of Labor categorizations, meeting professionals were generally lumped in with restaurateurs, lodging managers, etc, within the Hospitality and Tourism category, and only last year did they start to get their own sub-category that is beginning to recognize their expertise. This has been a huge frustration of mine for years. We are experts in a specialized field that doesn’t get nearly enough recognition. 

The reason I want to talk about this stuff is because I feel a lack of it right now, and career growth and development is important to me. I work with a lot of young women, especially because we get a lot of college grads who are just starting out. When will they have these conversations? No one likes to talk about salary discrepancies, or the workload (please spare me the tired old spiel about working hard to prove ourselves), or the emotional labor we carry for our teams or our clients. We are martyrs in one of the most stressful (and fun!) jobs, but then don’t have enough open conversations about how to create more of a balance, or how to support each other. So I’ve been making an effort and I am hoping it helps some people along the way.

A couple of articles caught my eye this week:
Women in Company Leadership Tied to Stronger Profits, Study Says
Having It All Kinda Sucks
(*those are our external titles. internal titles are more complicated, but it works well enough for our purposes here.)


2 thoughts on “Promotion (and some thoughts)

  1. I love when men discover I’m smart and then declare it as though I became smart right before there very eyes. Anyway, thanks for writing this, Sholeh. Very important.

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