I recently sat down with Janet Gipson– VP of DISH Sales and Marketing– to discuss the recent launch of SlingStudio, her career path, and advice she has for those looking to navigate their own!
Q: Congratulations on the recent SlingStudio launch! It’s so exciting to see our leadership team being recognized and supported across the company. Many junior women are working towards multi-year career plans.What advice do you have for these women to set themselves up for success and proactively seek opportunity?
A: Thank you! SlingStudio is an exciting product and really demonstrates the commitment to innovation with DISH. I am excited about the potential for new markets that we have untapped with this new product.
My advice is simple- the best thing you can do is to take every assignment seriously and deliver your best work. You will build your ‘living resume’ and support your growth and desire to move up within the company. Any cross-functional team that you participate in or initiative that you’ve been tapped to manage allows you to build your brand and therefore set the foundation for future positions that you may seek. No job or task is too small to consider this. Related to this, raise your hand for opportunities that you’re passionate about or that may support your long-term career goals. You’re more marketable when you have cross-functional experience in the company and have a breadth of knowledge that expands beyond your day job. Don’t stop at learning YOUR business – learn THE business. Finally, find a mentor or sponsor that you can talk to about your career aspirations who can offer feedback, guidance or just a listening ear. You don’t have to navigate the ladder for success alone. This person doesn’t need to be within these four walls as long as you’re able to have good, candid dialogue. I learned early on to have a personal board of directors – that advice has been invaluable to me in my career.
Q: Women in our network have told us that they would like more guidance on both giving and receiving feedback. What suggestions do you have for capitalizing on feedback and putting it to constructive use,even when it feels personal?
A: First and foremost, when receiving feedback, listen. And I mean, really listen. So often we have filters (intentional or not) that don’t allow us to hear what is being said. It’s very natural but we have to be sure to remove those filters, if we want to really hear what is being said to us and to be able to use what is being shared. You want the deliverer to feel like you value their feedback (whether you agree with it or not) and take it seriously. Once you’ve received the feedback, write it down. Read and ponder it. Again, decide if you agree or disagree (that is an option). Once you’ve resolved whether you accept it, and that may take some time, then devise an action plan to adjust your behavior based on the feedback. When you write it down and give it time, it doesn’t feel as personal. This allows you to more objectively evaluate your next move.
Q: What is a moment you are you most proud of in your career?
A: This isn’t a single moment, but it is something that makes me proud when I see it. Leadership is about finding and nurturing good talent and infusing a mantra, theme, or set of guidelines with which we approach our work every day – similar to the 6 Golden Rules we live by at DISH. I have my own Golden Rules that I often recite and, very often, I will hear my team members say them to others (and even back to me at times)– which means I have made a difference in their professional growth here at DISH. That isn’t terribly glamorous but it does offer a sense of satisfaction when there is confirmation that you’re not only getting through to your team, but they’re listening and applying what you’ve taught. Ultimately, a legacy of good leadership is what I want to be known for.
Q: Recently, during a Consumer Insights genYZ session, Millennial behavior was addressed. An interesting takeaway for me was the concept that millennials seek density in their information, and wish to have every moment filled with something valuable to them. What do you blieve will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
A: There is so much information out there – everyone is vying for our attention. Density in information is great – but that means we must adjust our ability to decipher what is relevant, meaningful and useful to us. And do it quickly! The biggest challenge will be the navigation of all of this information while also maintaining the ability to connect with others in a personal and meaningful way so as not to become an ‘info bot’ – we have to continue to connect with others in a human way. We can’t ever forget that.
Q: Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild, has placed a huge value on quotes in her lifetime. In her newest book, Brave Enough, she views quotes as “mini-instruction manuals for the soul, with the power to help us reset our intentions, clarify our thoughts, and create a counter narrative to the voice of doubt many of us have.” Do you have any mantras or quotes that resonate with you personally and professionally?
A: I am a basketball fan – NBA mostly, and compete in sports myself as a hobby. There are so many parallels in the business world and sports. I draw on many athletes to learn what drives them forward for my own benefit. One quote in particular, and I have many, that resonates with me personal and professionally is one from NBA All Star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – “I think the good and the great are only separated by the willingness to sacrifice” – which sums up what success really looks like to me in my personal life and as I navigate the professional world. We have to be willing to go the extra mile – take it a step further, review it once more….that is what defines greatness.