Daring Women

Daring Women Q&A: Lydia Frank, Vice President of Content Strategy at PayScale

"Moving toward real impact around diversity, equity and inclusion issues is understanding that there is always room for more people who want to be part of the solutions."

By Daria Kroupoderova August 8, 2018


Lydia Frank, vice president of content strategy at PayScale, is working hard toward gender equity in tech. At our first Daring Women event, Frank took part in a panel discussion on Women in Tech Challenges and Success in a Male Dominated Industry.

Read about her proudest moments, mentors and challenges shes faced in this weeks installment of our Daring Women Q&A series.

Tell us about the high point of your career. What do you love about your work? Describe your proudest moment.

I think I’m in the high point of my career right now. The hope, of course, is that the high point tomorrow is even higher than today. I love being able to work on issues I care deeply about, and becoming a subject matter expert on compensation has allowed me to do that. I get to tackle really thorny problems like pay equity and try and understand the drivers so I can help both individuals and employers make a positive impact on moving toward more equitable workplaces for all employees.

My proudest moment was just recently when I accepted a Business of the Year award from the Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce on PayScale’s behalf for advancing gender equity. It’s something that I (and many of my teammates at PayScale) have invested a lot of time and energy into over the years. The work that award represents is work I’m extremely proud of from providing advice one-on-one to help women who are negotiating their own pay to publishing original research to help us all better understand why the gender pay gap still persists.

What challenges have you faced as a woman in your industry? How have you addressed them?

Like so many women working in the tech industry express, there are many small moments that add up over time that chip away at your confidencethat make you doubt yourself or that have you questioning whether its worth staying in the industry. At a certain point, I shifted to thinking about the underrepresented workers that are coming up behind me in this industry. That includes women, people of color, LGBTQ+ and really any underrepresented group in tech, which is most groups who are not cisgendered, straight, white men. If I can make it better and easier for them, then yes, it will have been worth it. That perspective allows me to give less weight to other people’s opinions of me, and how I choose to carve out space for both myself and for groups I want to establish an easier path for in the tech industry. What matters ultimately is whether the effort I put in makes a difference, and I think it will.

Tell us about a person who has inspired or mentored you. What key lesson did you learn from them?

There are so many people right now who are inspiring me by the work they’re doing to effect change around diversity, equity and inclusion issues: Leslie Feinzaig of Female Founders Alliance launching a startup accelerator for female founders and breaking down barriers to accessibility for those founders; Ruchika Tulshyan of Candour speaking her truth as a woman of color and an immigrant living in the U.S. and working in multiple ways to create more inclusive workplaces; and Christy Johnson of Artemis Connection bringing together people working on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion at the inaugural ASCEND Leadership Summit recently. From each of these women, I learn how much capacity (and responsibility) we all have to change the things we cannot accept in this world. The imbalance of power in the workplace is one of those things.

What advice would you give to a woman getting started in her career?

Don’t be afraid to be the first or one of few. Every door you open (or kick in when necessary) is open for the next woman following in your footsteps. And, of course, know what you’re worth and ask for it.

What can women do to improve gender equity in the workplace? What can men do?

I think women and men both can be unapologetic about looking for ways to correct for a huge imbalance that exists today. Women and people of color are severely underrepresented in the best-paying jobs in the workplace. That has to change. The truth is that white men still have huge advantages right now. They make more money, they get more promotions, they are more often referred by other employees for new jobs, they get almost all of the VC funding when starting companies, etc. That isn’t because white men are “better” in terms of qualifications or intelligence or whatever other metric you’d use to measure these things. It’s because this country has a long and sordid history of putting white men at the top of the pyramid. Women didn’t have the right to vote until 1920. Racial segregation wasn’t abolished until the 1960s. These things are not so far in our past that they don’t still impact our society. It is true that sometimes the push for equity can feel like oppression to those who have previously held a place of privilege. But no one is advocating for white men to be treated worse than anyone else — just the same.

Where do you find support and inspiration? How important is networking and how do you expand your contacts?

I’ve found the more I opened myself up to connecting with people who cared about solving similar problems – even if it wasn’t obvious how we could help each other – the more that network has become a source of strength and inspiration for me. I love to connect people who should know each other and the act of making that connection is enough. Moving toward real impact around diversity, equity and inclusion issues is understanding that there is always room for more people who want to be part of the solutions. I try to get out of my office a couple times a week at least either at an event that will connect me with new people or to have a coffee with someone I want to know better. Once you start saying yes and making room in your schedule, it’s amazing to see how being open to possibility can lead to good things.

What are the most important characteristics of a good leader? What leadership traits are overrated?

Empathy is so critical. There has to be a balance, but the minute you stop caring about people or trying to understand their perspective is the minute you stop being an effective leader. You can only lead if people are willing to follow.

What would you do differently in your career if you had a do-over.

I’m not a believer in regret. If I’m happy where I am now, then the path that led me here was the one I had to take.

Wed love to hear from more women across all industries who are challenging the status quo. Does it sound like you? If it does, click here and fill out our questionnaire.

Daring Women Q&A responses have been edited and condensed.

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