Women in Sales Enablement (WiSE) – A story of empowerment

Pooja Kumar, Regional Host for ASEAN and India, joined Rana Salman and Shannon Hempel, 2 of the amazing founders of Women in Sales Enablement (WiSE).   The story started from a dinner with 4 friends and led to a powerful movement. 

Rana Salman and Shannon Hempel spoke about WiSE – Women In Sales Enablement. An organization that brings professional women with a common interest together informally to achieve personal and professional growth in an environment that breeds support and trust.

WiSE was founded to promote authentic connections among women with similar interests and challenges working in the field of Sales Enablement.

WiSE was founded to promote authentic connections among women with similar interests and challenges working in the field of Sales Enablement. Click To Tweet

Rana and Shannon spoke about how it grew rapidly and organically from 1 to 26 across the world chapters so far, which wasn’t the plan, Demonstrating there is a need for a space like this. It is important to them to empower women that take the stand and create a space of unity, support, and diversity of thought and leadership. 

There are now 26 Chapters around the world currently meeting virtually to support and grow each other and would love for you to come in and chat with them about how you could get involved.

We also spoke about what is Sales Enablement, why it’s important to challenge yourself every day, and some of their favorite learning resources. 

Give a listen and remain curious.

Audio Transcript

Pooja Kumar
If we had some technical issues, and we’ve had one of our speakers join us over the phone, but let me kick off. Welcome to coffee collaboration enablement for ASEAN and India. We are here to try and create a space for sales enablement and business leaders to find new ways learn from each other and find new ways of accelerating their sales performance. Well, given that this month has been about women’s day, we’ve had international women’s day this month, I thought it would be absolutely awesome to bring in two of well, it’s two pretty amazing ladies one of them who’s having a technical error error, so you can’t see her. And but they’re both from Austin, Texas, and they’re here to share some some very inspiring stories with us. I sorry, I’m going to introduce Raina salmaan and Shannon Hemphill, who, who are the founding two of the four founding leaders mateys have a organizational organization Sorry, my words not working. So let me start that again. I’d like to introduce the two of the four founding ladies of an organization that I truly respect greatly called wise. Y stands for women in sales enablement. And the mission, their mission is to bring women across the profession of sales enablement around the world, together to informally in an informal way to achieve personal and professional growth. And in an environment that is supportive and nurturing. The goal is to facilitate authentic discussions between sales enablement, leaders, or professionals and learn from each other and find your skills to succeed ourselves. I have to tell you, I’ve been in two of their chapter meetings. And they’re these chapter meetings are very much true to the values that they stand for. I actually just was in one for duck a few hours ago. very authentic conversations, lots of learning and incredible women that I’m meeting around the world. So with that, I’m going to hand over to Raina Solman and Shannon, Hempel, Raina. Could you start us off by introducing yourself?

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
Yes, thank you Pooja and thank you all for listening today. We are super excited to be here. My name is Raina Solomon, I am the CEO of Solomon consulting. And for the last 14 years I partner and work with sales executives and sales enablement leaders to improve sales performance. And that includes developing the sales enablement strategies, the content, the tools and the training to execute on that strategy. And we are super excited to be here. And to tell you a little bit about why isn’t it to also hear from you folks in the region. Shannon, your turn.

Shannon Hempel, M.Ed.
Hi, everybody, I wish I could see you all. I am Shannon Hempel and I have been I am director of revenue enablement at personify and have built that program from the ground up. And I’m super excited that I’m basically getting to rebuild and learn from all of the things that I could have done better as we have a new leadership team. So thank you for having us. I’m excited.

Pooja Kumar
Thank you for being here. And and I know it is super early your morning or all of you. And I really appreciate you coming to talk to us I find personally wise, a very special place and a unique community in the world of enablement. And I really would like all of our enablement colleagues in ASEAN and India to learn more about it. So tell us more about wise. And I’m going to say the whole name because my accent might be different in different countries. So women in sales enablement. Tell us more about that and how that came about. Sure. So,

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
you know, as a sales enablement consultant, I was meeting with sales enablement, colleagues who were either in your colors would relate, we were either part of a small team, and in some cases, we were the team. And so we had our strengths, but we also have our struggles and our challenges with the role, especially as it became very, very popular in the last several years. So I met Lee through my work, Lee Our co founder, and we decided to have dinner. And we said, okay, let’s come together and talk about what we’re seeing what our challenges are, what our role is. And that’s when we also invited Shannon and Shannon joined us. And then our colleague, Kelly joined us as well. It was interesting about this Puja and colleagues around the world is that we came in as professionals, we went into a restaurant a if you’ve ever been in Austin, there’s amazing restaurants. Very, very eclectic, very local. And so we picked a restaurant and we went in there, all I was dressed up in my suit, all thinking is going to be in networking, just sitting there for a few hours and believing what what it turned out to be is from two hours to five hours. And it wasn’t just about our role. But it was more than that. We recognize that after five hours, we left as friends, as colleagues, as some of us are our past parents, talking about just the whole us not just the one aspect of our life. And so we talked enablement, we talk challenges that we face, we talk celebrated our achievement, we embrace are each other’s strengths. And we also talked about some of our weaknesses, and how do we complement each other after five hours, and I think a few rows as we met that we emailed that each other the next day. And jokingly I said, hey, what if we call ourselves wise? And I don’t know if it was just that they being funny, right? And we recognize that, hey, let’s the next month, let’s bring some other friend because we all knew we all had were connected to other friends. And slowly but surely, every month, we would post on LinkedIn. And we had more more amazing ladies join us. And we had I think at one time, Shannon lot and like 20 folks, or one maybe for one dinner, we had a large group of folks just keeping joining us. And we start putting it on LinkedIn. And that’s when other ladies around the world wanted to know.

Pooja Kumar
Oh, really? Wow,

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
what What are y’all doing? And honestly, we were having fun and learning in and doing what we love sitting together and talking about enablement and life. Right, Shannon?

Shannon Hempel, M.Ed.
Yes, yes. And one of the things that I want to make very clear is there was never a plan to grow this, it really had nothing to do with Oh, let’s start a movement or or something. It just happened organically. I have a friend who’s in Chicago and, and she wanted to start one in Chicago, Illinois. And that’s when we figured what are we because now we’re not just a little group in Austin. And so we got together and created a mission and values and Pooja you, you spoke about that, that that is the the you really enjoyed that aspect of it. And we we live, we live and die by those values. Any decision that we make any, any chapter lead that comes on, the expectation is those values drive everything. And you know, it’s one respect at the table no matter what your position is. So my example there is we had, you know, a VP of enablement, sitting at the same table as someone who may have just started. And everyone brings something different. There’s not an expert. I mean, you may have an expert in a certain topics, but but there’s no deferring to someone all the time. And that that’s a big deal. The ability to be transparent and vulnerable and drive it all and I can wholeheartedly say I believe that’s what made its growth is because people know when you come there, people are not going to be putting on a show for look at what this great thing I did over here in this company. It’s really talking about as Raina said challenges and, and, and successes too. Which goes into that, you know, we celebrate each other’s successes when someone is getting a promotion or when somebody is is trying something new for the first time. We are there. I can one of that to an extreme. And I don’t think this happens all the time. But there was a point when three of us in the Austin wise, we’re going after the same job. And you know, the world is pretty small in enablement when you think about it, so if there’s a position open, you can bet you probably know all of the applicants and it got to the point where we were sharing with each other what the recruiter was telling us because we just wanted, you know, the best person to get the job and it really wasn’t fantastic. It was so special.

Pooja Kumar
That’s very nurturing. And you know what i that that just just thinking back to the meeting that I had for why stuck a few hours ago. That vulnerability and authenticity is so absolutely true. It’s, it’s, it’s very much about I really don’t know the answer to this problem, can you help me solve it. And it’s very rare in the world of sales enablement. Now, it’s small in the US, if you’re saying it’s small in the US, it’s even smaller in our parts of the world, in ASEAN and India, the world of sales enablement, and having those authentic conversations where you can honestly grow and learn and know that this isn’t, you know, going to feed back down some other line where you’re nervous about your credibility being judged. That’s incredibly rare. So thank you for creating that. And, you know, I certainly found that this afternoon, when I had my call with ACC, that all of us there was only eight of us on the call, and everyone was from a different place. I’ve never met any of these ladies at all. But I was very, it was very easy for me to be open and authentic about what I don’t think is working, obviously talked about what is working to help share, but what I don’t think is working as well, and where I could get some help. And as soon as you say help me, you get so many new perspectives that that help you. So every one of the wise meetings I’ve been to, I’ve taken away so much. So thank you for facilitating that.

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
And put your honor, the order that I wanted to point out is it is organically grown. We don’t this is not about marketing, we don’t call people and we don’t recruit. It is women from around the world coming to us and saying, hey, I want to start something in my community. I want to lead this and I want to bring amazing other women in this field, to talk about it and to grow it and to support each other. And so since August 2019, we’ve grown from one to 26 chapters across the world. Wow. Yes, yes. All organically all word of mouth. In we have we have in in Europe, we have folks in in the Middle East, we have folks in Turkey, we have folks in in the dark region in London and Paris, us we have so many chapters in the US and that is important to us is that we empower folks that come to us and say I want to take a stand and I want to bring other folks together that are may have different point of views. Because that’s called also diversity, diversity of thoughts is so critical for us to take it to the next level. And for us to at the end of the day, we’re all in it. Because we love to serve, we love to help our salespeople, and most of us probably have been in sales. So we know how it feels to be worried about your quota and worried about your paycheck and worry, you know, and so I think that’s that pulls us all together in a way that we’re serving our customers. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker
I agree.

Pooja Kumar
Gosh, that’s such a huge mission. And I’m sorry, john, I’ve just had a comment in here. shivan, Gupta, hi, Shivam. I really love the idea of unity and uplifting others. And it’s so true. It’s so so unique to two, very few chapters actually around very few organizations around the world can truly say that they uplifting each other. And he’s saying it’s often missing in the current times it’s true to

Shannon Hempel, M.Ed.
the future, I do want to say one thing we did discover, as every business did, is that our sweet spot is truly in person. And that is where you really you know, you hear give that body language see those face to face connection. So it has been a challenge for the virtual to, to just organically get that feeling when you’re meeting up at a restaurant. And so that has been one of the things that we have really tried to work hard to help our leads is how do you navigate during the virtual time. And obviously, the plan is not for us to stay virtual forever. But during this time that that is the other aspect of it is if if people do choose to go to a meeting that hear this or want to start a group, we do have a lot of support in that area of chapter leads helping other chapter leads across the country in the world to get best practices going in a virtual world.

Pooja Kumar
Well, thank you very much for saying that. And I do think face to face is really important, but I have to tell you if it weren’t for The virtual world I wouldn’t have been able to go and have my morning coffee with the Austin chapter and learn about what have all these amazing people are doing all my afternoon tea with the dark chapter so I’m very grateful to the virtual world

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
in Pooja you bringing a great point right so when when crisis happens which we’ve all been all around the world everyone that’s that’s led hearing this we’ve all experienced collectively pain concern, fear of the pandemic, But through it all what what what human beings do is they they they think outside the box, it’s breakthrough thinking and what happened with our members and it wasn’t us that said, let’s go virtual. It was one of our one of our members, one of our chapter leads, who was so focused on launching her chapter she was so excited about launching the chapter and then COVID happened. And I remember her posting COVID or not, we are on four wise. And she posted a virtual picture of herself doing a zoom call with wise ladies. And to us we’re like okay, yes. Why is was formed for the face to face interaction. Because we all know human beings trust is formed easier when I’m looking at you face to face when you see my emotions, my body language we weren’t excited. But the hybrid approach took off. And the virtual approach took off. So so so as we move forward in this new normal, whatever that is, I think that’s now it’s the normal, how do we blend both worlds? Right? How do we blend a face to face that makes wise, so powerful, but also that virtual aspect that you and Shannon talked about?

Pooja Kumar
Well, that’s what I love the idea of a hybrid approach, that just means that I can go and visit more people and more chapters. And as the world is turning up, gosh, do you know it’s been a year since we’ve been working from home? just occurred to me the other day?

Unknown Speaker
Yes. Yes, it has.

Pooja Kumar
But you know, a funny thing about that, and I posted this on my LinkedIn post, I have a friend and Mercedes. She’s the MD of Mercedes services in Malaysia over here. And she she did an interview recently about the aspect of the sector that I didn’t think about, which was basically flexibility is a big thing for women and getting into the workforce, right needing, especially when you have little kids needing to have that flexibility or having that flexibility is important. Many companies and corporates haven’t been able to offer it so far. But given now that we can show that productivity is really not going down, because we working from home, in fact, in many cases, it’s going up. And that should be a really good reason for women to get back into the workforce. Because an organization’s to allow more flexibility. And so sorry, it’s just a sideline over there, that flexibility in the virtual is really important, I think, especially for women in the workforce.

Unknown Speaker
Agreed.

Unknown Speaker
I totally agree.

Pooja Kumar
So now I know, from speaking to your previously that wise, has got some guiding principles and values across the 26. I can’t believe it’s 26 chapters, but across the 26 chapters around the world. Could you tell us a little bit more about that? I know you’ve touched on some of them. But if you could be a bit more specific for our listeners hear?

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
Absolutely. Shannon, you want me to take it? Or do you want to take it,

Shannon Hempel, M.Ed.
I do this one. So we lights like I had said before we live and die by these. And the great thing about the fact that we have Lee Raina and myself, we are very collaborative in any decision making. And oftentimes the decisions are based on requests we get from chapters, or you know, somebody may write to one of us on LinkedIn about a suggestion. And when we talk about it, we line it up with with our values. And it, whatever decision is done has to line up with that. So for example, we had one most recently and it was wonderful, one of the leads one and to really get women’s health off the ground and mental health and all of that. And so there were some really great ideas put out there for it. However, we had to still because you know, as always a good idea doesn’t mean it’s what you should do. So we’ve lined up everything up with our values, and we focused on one or two of those ideas and the other one, again, great ideas just not with what our mission and values were. And we moved forward that way. And that way, you know, we know anything that is happening. Throughout why’s that steps one line is always there. So even with conversations at a table, they are meant to, you know, respect. transparency. Confidence is a big one. We had, there’s another example, we had a pretty senior role sitting at our table who had some an employee issue, and names weren’t mentioned. But she was saying, I’ve got this issue of an enablement role not getting along with another cross functional person, and we were talking about it and brainstorming, and everyone knew that does not leave the table, because the last thing that person needs is somebody posting, hey, company x is having employee problems. So those are just the, you know, two examples of what drives every single thing we do.

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
Yeah, one of the one of the things that’s really important is the trust and the confidentiality. And I think as human beings, we have to lead with extending trust, it’s easier to live our life, if we lead with extending trust rather than questioning do we trust people. And so so that value is ensuring trust and confidentiality is important, because to feel safe, you have to feel that you can trust folks around you. And our ladies are amazing, our our members are amazing in really protecting that. And also protecting our core values, I have to tell you, our chapter leads email us. And they want to make sure that if they’re making a decision, because at the end of the day, they are empowered, they’re leading their chapter, but they want to make sure that if they’re making a decision, it aligns with the core values of extending respect, regardless of title or position of demonstrating transparency and vulnerability, of committing to participation and collaboration of ensuring trust and confidentiality and celebrating and supporting our individual and collective successes. Every decision they make we they come back to us and they’re like, okay, we want to make sure this aligns with our values with where I’m going. And that to me is you are committed with your heart to the purpose of why we’re doing this. And that’s what makes it successful is is people believing and living these values.

Pooja Kumar
You know, I don’t know of an organization where people well, I do know of many organizations that have very strong values, but having people that committed to the values is rare. And obviously that comes from the fact that Firstly, there is a need to have an organization with strong values, especially in those five areas of just to five step count back, right.

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
Yes, 12345. Yes.

Pooja Kumar
You just talked about, but also living and breathing, it is important to everyone. So what yeah, that’s fantastic. Really fantastic. And those are some great stories, actually. But I’m gonna ask, I’m gonna just take a little bit of aside Now, the world of sales enablement, is quite, I’m not going to say it’s nascent, but it’s not, as so it is. It’s quite nice in the world in ASEAN and India. So what does sales enablement mean, Raina and Shannon to you.

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
So, to me, it’s really about collaborating with sales, marketing and other key stakeholders to enable our reps and also other customer facing roles in optimizing that customer experience that end to end pre and post sales. And that is through the development of strategy, the content, the tools, the training, the coaching, to help drive revenues. Look, we’re in a world right now living where it is retention and upselling. And cross selling and ensuring that we are taking care of our customers is so critical. And it’s not just sales. It’s every role that touches the customer. And I think for us in enablement to help drive revenues, we have to look at this holistically that end to end.

Pooja Kumar
Now that’s such a good point. Yeah, absolutely. It is about every role that’s touching the customer that makes the company successful. At the end of the day, and produces then revenue for the company that’s

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
for all of us, right this is how we get our raises is how salespeople are making their paycheck. This is how we’re investing and innovating. And so we’re all in this together. That’s what I tell folks when I’m when I’m in front of them, because we’re all in this together because what you do impacts the experience and experience does matter to the customers.

Pooja Kumar
So all the way from marketing to sales to operation to csms.

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
To post Yes,

Pooja Kumar
yeah. Wow. Okay,

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
Shannon, what you ever thought?

Unknown Speaker
What’s your,

Shannon Hempel, M.Ed.
I am looking at it as a Raina has worked with a lot of large companies. And my experience has been mainly in smaller tech companies where you have, you know, I’ve worked with upwards 40 and 50 sales reps. So I look at it more as all those things that Raina said, but on a smaller level, I like the word empowering. Because we are we are trying to set these these customer facing roles up for success. And we clearly cannot be you know, at the beck and call of Hey, can you send me this document? or What did you tell me about code or about my discovery call the other day, you’ve got to put the tools in place that they can go and empower themselves. And it is through you know that you’ve got to have alignment between marketing and sales and and all of those, those outliers that that exist there. But it all comes down to how do I empower you to be the most effective and the most efficient. And even you know, in my world, it’s down to what does each one of these sales reps need in their own coaching session, every one of them is coming from a different place. So it’s it enablement is also not a one size fits all you really have to look at strategically, and then how are you going to execute that that meets the needs of that market segment or that brand new seller as opposed to the more experienced?

Pooja Kumar
And, gosh, Wow, those are two very interesting and very good perspectives. I actually agree with both of you it is the way I see sales enablement is it’s the thread that weaves through the organization to deliver what the customer needs and helps the organization grow as well. And it’s everything that you’ve both said. So that is very cool. Okay, so now I’m going to ask you a bit of a curly one.

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
Ready? Ready.

Pooja Kumar
Ready. Okay. So, so leading on from that the two of you have had a collective 30 odd years of experience in the sales enablement space. What, and Lee, you know, leading a fountain being founding members of the founding ladies of the wise Foundation, what have you seen his unique that women bring to sales enablement? Or is there anything unique that women bring to the sales enablement function?

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
Shannon, you take it, or do you want to start?

Shannon Hempel, M.Ed.
You go ahead and start with that one.

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
So I personally, I don’t believe there’s necessarily anything unique about women or men in terms of leading the sales enablement function. And let me tell you why. At the end of the day, as many of you guys are listening, just like any rule, to be successful, full, we have to perform, we have to meet and exceed our customers expectations. And that means it’s about understanding our customers objectives, their priorities, their KPIs, their challenges, as well as understanding their customers needs and challenges and creating enablement that is relevant to them. And in terms of leading a team, there’s a sales enablement leader, it’s also about being compassionate leader, being a servant leader, I’ve had amazing men and women leaders that do it so well, where they ensure that that the team has what they need to be successful, that the individual feels valued, that the individual is celebrated. And when they are having challenges their coach to grow and to to do to develop the leaders of tomorrow. I do believe to my core that diversity is so important for innovation to take place. And I also believe all types of diversity. And you all will agree that when you’re in a room with people that are different thinking, and they’re challenging our thoughts, that’s when those aha moments happen. For those aha moments to happen, that culture has to embrace it and the leaders us as leaders as enablement, leaders, man or woman or whatever, we have to create that environment where where diversity is welcomed, and people feel that they have a voice and that is what is so important to wise is to have that voice.

Pooja Kumar
And that is so true. I feel exactly the same way. It’s, you know, I’ve been in sales enablement for 15 years and I think that a snot about men or women it’s about diversity. It’s about having diverse points of view because your customers are diverse, right? Your mother done the play One person, they look like a whole bunch of people, and at the end of the day to impact that. But it is important to have that diversity so that you have the different perspectives. So you can make the intelligence intelligent decisions that you need to make to enable them or to move them forward in their buying journey. Shannon, do you do you have another point of view on that or anything to add to that?

Shannon Hempel, M.Ed.
I just want to say ditto what Raina said, I agree, I don’t think there’s something unique to being a woman or a man in it, I believe that the, you know, the skills that you have to have your inherent character traits, you’ve got to have high emotional intelligence, because you’re working all over the organization, man and women can have that. The strategic strategic vision, those kinds of things, again, it really all comes down to hard work. And, and yeah, yeah, I’m good.

Pooja Kumar
And it’s it’s I was talking to a leader of a large telecom here in Malaysia, CEO of one account, I think last year, on may have been year before last who knows the whole year has been a bit of a blur. But I asked him why women in leadership was important to him. And he said, Well, because I need those diverse point of views. But most importantly, women are my end users. And I made my point of view to drive my NFL that was actually very clever. Writing very clever.

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
Oh, it’s a great point, you have to represent have representation of your customers to understand them and to create products and solutions that resonates with them. Yeah,

Pooja Kumar
exactly. Okay, so now, the theme for International Women’s Day, just because we are talking about International Women’s Day was choose to challenge. Do either if you have a short story you’d like to share with the world you

Shannon Hempel, M.Ed.
Yeah, I’m glad I thought about I thought about this a lot. And I actually did not realize the theme to International Women’s Day was that and once you sent me some of the questions we’d be asked today, I started Googling it. And I started thinking my entire, it’s not a one event kind of thing. It’s really the way I have lived my corporate life, I’d say because when I was I, I’m a former educator, and did that for more years than I’m going to, and and it’s predominantly women in education. And I’ve ever had any trouble voicing opinions or what I wanted to do, or strategies or anything. And then when I locked myself in the middle of a large corporation, I didn’t understand this whole political arena, what do you mean, I can’t get in front of the person who I can solve their problem. I mean, that’s my role is enablement. And it just threw me a curveball. And there, there were no like mentors for enablement, there was no wise for me to go to. And so my entire and again, it’s a little bit of my personality, I’m going to challenge the status quo, because it just is rational to me, why would we not move forward with with an idea or something. And so I really thought about this. And, you know, the challenge has happened over a span of the last eight years. And there have been big challenge moments in my life where I had to, you know, just stand up and say, This is how things should happen, because it’s what’s right in the world. And other times where it was, you know, me taking time that no one else saw, to empower myself and get more educated on this certain topic, though have, you know, conversations with different people there, you know, there there are some very, very renowned experts, in my opinion in this field that I would just say, Hey, can we talk about this? And I would go empower myself. And to be honest, you know, I can’t say that I have gotten to where I am today, all by myself. I have told Raina this many times, there’s that saying, she said she could. So she did. There is some truth to that. But I would be remiss if I didn’t say my my faith in God. And the strength I get from that has helped me through every one of those challenges. So I love to be able to wrap a bow around my story saying it’s not one event. It’s waking up every single day and going out and saying what can I do to improve the world, my company, my area of influence. That’s and, and taking the bull by the horns.

Pooja Kumar
Wow, I love that. Very inspiring. Shannon, thank you so much. Raina before I don’t know if you have a story, but I do have a question you

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
do. But I can I can wait if you want to if you want to have a question,

Pooja Kumar
how are wait for the question, I’ve got another question from the audience. But uh, wait for that tell me your choose to challenge story.

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
So when so I agree with Shannon to me, I am a big believer in each one of us challenging ourselves, to learn to grow to lean in to be better version of ourselves. To be the most prepared in that room like to show up for every meeting, like no matter how small or how little to really be on our a game. For many, you know, many of you may not know, I’m an immigrant, I came to the US when I was 11. Very little, very, very little. And we were, we were afforded the opportunity to come to the US. And there were absolute times when I felt insecure and afraid with the language barrier, that cultural differences. But I was my biggest critic. And like Shannon, I had people around me that that somehow the universe and God brought them in my life and, and I pushed myself and I’ll give you an example, I I spent a lot of my high school years in the library. Like if you go to my little town where I immigrated to, they’ll probably I was part of their, their their structure in the library. Because that’s how I learned and I got tutored, I got involved in activities that totally took me out of my comfort zone. I was afraid of public speaking. So what did I do in my freshman year, I signed up for debate and competitive speech. I volunteered and to give updates to my leadership team. When I started my career, I remember in my 20s just shaking, standing in front of the whole company presenting, but I knew I knew that I had to push myself and challenge myself and I share this story not to talk about myself. But to tell anyone that is listening. That Yes, it can be hard. And it can be harder to some of us. I’m living proof that I feel like it is harder for for me in certain certain situations. But you have to believe and you have to start by challenging yourself. And when you are in doubt, you got to step back and ask yourself, why not? Is it fear? Or is there something irrelevant reason of why I’m not saying yes to presenting or I’m not saying yes, to going after the C suite and landing that deal. I think that the ability and they’re willing to take these calculated risks and challenging ourselves is something that I I’ve learned to do all my life and doesn’t mean it’s not very, very scary. But that’s I believe, what is the first challenge that I’ve put upon myself?

Pooja Kumar
You know, what I love about both your stories is, is we all like to think that we challenge ourselves every day? Well, I do. I like to think that I’d like to challenge myself every day. But you’re making a conscious effort of it. You’re making a conscious effort to say, every day I choose to wake up, I choose to learn something new, I learned to I choose to, to get out of my comfort zone. And I choose not to be scared of public speaking today. Or to overcome my fear of public speaking today. And that’s what I love about her because we all like to think that hey, you know, get up, get get up every day and do something that really pushes you from the boundaries. But the thing is, the truth is, and as I’m listening to you speak, I know that I can see that in myself. The truth is that I’m not really setting a goal every day or every week or every month to make that happen. And clearly you ha ha so thank you for that. And and that’s very inspiring. For me, personally. Thank you. We do have a question from a listener. How How could you bring the same empowerment practice from midscale organizations to big corporations?

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
Shannon, do you want to take that or so what I

Shannon Hempel, M.Ed.
the crux of enablement is you have to be credible. You are working with people to empower them and you cannot be successful until they know you have walked in their shoes or you can empathize with him. So what I would I have done in the past when I can’t meet with 30 people is I formed that very strong relationship with their direct manager And I am then empowering that direct manager to go forth and do things. Now granted, you have to relinquish control because you cannot be all things to all the people in a larger Corporation. But it really is the same mentality, you just have to raise it up a level and get those people managers and their buy in.

Pooja Kumar
Yeah, I agree.

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
And another thing for folks that are trying to bring it to big corporation is to have almost like an advisory board made up of your stakeholders, makeup of your customers, make up of your raps, where you have a touch point with these folks to ensure that you are on track that nothing has changed. That if there is something you can catch it early, and address it. And so making sure that you are connected to the voice and bringing the voice of your customer continuously in a scalable approach in a system that you can get feedback systematically where it is it feeds into. And you can incorporate that as part of your continuous strategy. Because strategy is it’s not a five year you create a strategy. And that’s it has to continuously be reviewed and modified, especially in today’s world that we live in. Absolutely,

Pooja Kumar
yeah. Gosh, what is a five year strategy these days?

Unknown Speaker
Yeah, right. Like.

Pooja Kumar
But I agree with with both of you, I think it is about it is about creating a vision with the with the leadership, and engaging them as sponsors of your vision. And then like you said, right now, it’s about creating those champions to test out the vision and the strategy with and keep aligning. I know, in ASEAN and India, one of the biggest pieces is the change, right change. I know it happens around the world. But we live in a super fast paced environment and in our countries, especially in the midsize organizations. So it might need a monthly review, rethink design, check into to see if what you what you’re doing is still creating that business impact for the sponsors.

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
And you know, what I hear from sales leaders also is that they want us to be excited about their customers, they want us to sit on calls and listen with their customers. They want us when we used to drive and go to our customers to go with them and ride along. Because to them, that is how we can create enablement that is effective because we understand their world, we understand their challenges. And that is important to really understand our customers customers, and how can we help our reps and our sales leaders influence their behavior and help their customers?

Pooja Kumar
Great point. Okay, so we’re kind of getting close to to the hour. And I want to get to a couple of really important points. So what would you both like the audience or anyone listening to this in ASEAN or India to take away from today’s session about women in sales enablement, or wise?

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
So one thing that I want folks to to as you guys are listening to, to us, wise came together as women supporting women. And as my friend Lee mentioned, in our, in my conversation with her this collective support leads to higher levels of competence and confidence as individuals. When we focus on the on that we can do anything, when Li Shan and Kelly and I came together, what brought us together is that support that celebration of each other’s success, that vulnerability of helping one another. And really, this is what wise is. And so if folks are listening, and they’re thinking, you know what, I don’t know how many people we have in our circle that are in enablement, or in that will be interested but I want to start something I want to start a community. That’s when I would highly recommend that you reach out to us. Because you the wise community are growing wise in our mission. And I want folks to start thinking that they can make an impact and bring others together and create what we’re what we’ve created in our community.

Pooja Kumar
That’s fantastic. Yeah, sorry.

Shannon Hempel, M.Ed.
No, go ahead. agree with everything that she just said. One of the things that it occurred to me as we were talking and and I just read a book from a pretty impressive leadership author, and it’s all based on values, the changing the world, in your area of influence is based on value. And that is what has driven why, and we just said it here in this that’s what makes Keep going is the values that you hold and, and you can learn values and in all of those things and so what I really want everyone to take away from this is, no matter how small your influence your realm of influences right now, you can change someone else’s life, someone else’s perspective. And thus change yourself and grow yourself. And you can do it by taking ownership of your own future, you can do it one day at a time, no matter what area of the world you’re in, or what you’re even if you’re not in enablement or want to be there’s something else that you have an influence over, that you can really make a difference in someone else’s life. And that’s in your own

Pooja Kumar
passion, and I’m going to bring you to my next motivational talk at work. Just got me fired up that is so true. And so amazing. Thank you. And, and, and enablement, as we said earlier, is the whole structure from marketing to customer success and anything in between, that enables an organization to grow and thus customers to be in a better position than we do have. I did actually, do you have any chapters of wise or women in sales enablement. In India? Or ASEAN?

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
We we have that closest is Australia.

Pooja Kumar
Okay.

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
But we don’t and we’re No I don’t, we don’t have one in India or, or Singapore or Malaysia or them wonderful countries,

Pooja Kumar
listeners reach out. Okay, so actually, let’s talk about that how in case and I hope I really hope that there is people on this call or listening to this podcast that want to start a chapter after that amazing motivational conversation and that wrap up from Shannon. So tell me, how do they reach you.

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
So LinkedIn is the best way we have the wise group that is public, you can follow us there. There’s also a wise group that is for women in sales enablement that is also private that you can prescribe to it. Also, we can see our logo, our logo is very unique. And once when you see it, this is how you can recognize us. And also you can reach out to us on LinkedIn, Raina, Solman, Ra Ma, Sal ma n. And I will, we will get you connected. And usually we have a meeting with you to tell you more about the values tell you more about the chapter lead responsibilities, tell you more about the expectations. And what we want to do as we as you are a chapter lead is not to add things to your plate. So it’s not a job. It is it is something that organically grows. So we share with you ideas and and feedback of our experience of how to grow wise, have it be another job another thing on your plate? And so how do we do it naturally? And we’ll work with you through that and talk to you through that.

Shannon Hempel, M.Ed.
The other thing I want to add to that? I’m sorry, go ahead.

Pooja Kumar
Sorry. No,

Unknown Speaker
I was just gonna say anything I want to add.

Pooja Kumar
I will say,

Shannon Hempel, M.Ed.
okay, the other thing to add to that random mentioned to grow wise, and so one of the things that is, you know, the first thing that pops into some ladies minds is Oh, no, I don’t know that many people. What do you mean, grow it, it’s got to be like vaping success with lies is a giant group. And we do not like that at all. That is not the way to think about why it’s growing your chapter, in essence, have people know about it, you have meetings where you do rich work while you’re there. So, you know, an organization with three or more people is great, you don’t need to have 15 people in your group to be considered successful. So don’t let that keep you from anything like that.

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
Absolutely. It’s about the quality, not the quantity. And we started with three, four women. And we we started engaging people coming in, and sometimes we have four people attending. Sometimes we have more sometimes we have 20, right? It’s the impact that we’re making with this one or two or three people that we meet, not only on their company, but on themselves. And I also think about the families that they’re they’re part of the community that they’re part of the impact that we’re making on them as well by embracing them and by bringing them to our community. So

Pooja Kumar
and I think that that is exactly where what the sweet spot is, right? It really does need to be about authentic, communicative, authentic. interactions where you’re helping and supporting each other. And that sometimes is not as easy to do in a large communities starting small is a good place, or at least, you know, or even being small is a good place to be as long as you’re enriching people’s lives. Wow, this is, this has been an incredible conversation. I’m going to ask you both one last question. I also want all our listeners to know that this will be posted on my LinkedIn. So if you need to contact or if you’d like to contact Raina and or Shannon, you can go in through there, they’ll be tagged on the post, and you can contact them that way. But before we go, last, last last. What are so there’s already a question over here. But what are your favorite learning resources? and Shannon definitely would like to know what book are you talking about?

Shannon Hempel, M.Ed.
Oh, okay, well, my favorite resources, I have two of them. And the books that I’m talking about right now is by Don Maxwell, called change your world. And it’s the one where he talks about transformation tables in values. And the other one that has been very influential in my life is called woman of influence. By Oh, my goodness, I’m forgetting her name, joe miller. And that one is the woman of influence. I think, for any one who’s watching and wants to grow your leadership or get that courage. It is a great resource for that.

Pooja Kumar
Wow. Okay, fantastic. Thank you so much. And I do have to apologize. I didn’t kind of put this in my question. I do think it’s important though, to learn from such inspiring women. Thank you very much, Shannon. Reyna,

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
your favorite, one of my favorite books is the Man’s Search for Meaning by Dr. Viktor Frankl, and it’s really just a very deep, it’s a quick read a quick read, but it every time I have certain things in my life, I go back to that book, and I listen to it on my walks, and then my runs. And so that’s one book, but from a resource perspective for sales enablement. You know, I, I look at a lot of the psychology and the sociology, just because we’re at the end of day we’re influencing behaviors. I look at peer reviewed journals, I look at journals like Harvard Business Review, and to see okay, what are the data or the surveys or the studies that are showing us, I also talked to customers, I mean, this is where you really get a lot of the reality of what’s going on, and you start finding patterns and common big common things that are going on. And then you start having a hypothesis. So this is my hypothesis, this is my educated guess. And then you start testing it. So I use different, different resources to help me in my personal and my professional life. And really most important is my ability as a researcher is to go out there and be courageous enough to ask questions. And to test what I’m reading is, is that happening in the world? Or is it just theories? And I also present guest lecture at universities? Because I also want to know, what are what are these young people? What do we want to teach them? But also, what can they teach us about what they’re seeing and what they’re doing? Because they’re, they’re incredible. And our younger generations are so savvy, that we cannot miss out as leaders of not going and reaching out to them, as we’re helping them. But man, they’re, they’re brilliant, we also need to make sure that we’re listening, we’re listening to that, and that two way.

Pooja Kumar
It’s actually a good point. Thank you so much. You know what, it’s 9pm on the dot. And I can’t think of you have both been so gracious of giving me your time. And it’s very early in the morning in Austin, Texas, and Shannon’s having internet problems or server problems. And I really appreciate you both being here on the other side of the world, in ASEAN and India to share with us your experiences, I really really do hope wise grows I love and honestly have been humbled by the couple of experiences that I’ve had so far with with the amazing women in the in the chapters that you have around the world. And I am inspired by today’s conversation. So thank you so much for having me. Thank you for being here with me. Thank you.

Rana Salman, Ph.D.
No, thank you for having us. And thank you for that collaborator and happy coffee and I hope you guys have a great evenings around the world and afternoon. So thanks