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The largest fintech community in the world. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on the latest in news opinions, and all things financial technology.

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Beyond Two Percent: Imposter Syndrome

"Every time you've been in a situation where you feel like an imposter, try to assess the situation, what went well, and what didn't, and then go to other people for feedback." - Katie Evans, Head of PR at Swarm

Beyond Two Percent: Imposter Syndrome

"Every time you've been in a situation where you feel like an imposter, try to assess the situation, what went well, and what didn't, and then go to other people for feedback." - Katie Evans, Head of PR at Swarm


Hi all! Julie here.

I'm so excited to share the first episode of Season Two of Beyond Two Percent! Launched in late 2022, BTP analyzes the critical questions, issues, and dynamics that affect people differently by gender - and the intersection of those dynamics with finance. In this season's premier, we're lucky to be joined by Kelly Soderlund, Senior Director of Global Public Relations for Navan, and Katie Evans, Head of PR for Swarm. Tune in below!

You can find this episode on Apple, Spotify, and all other listening platforms.


Helen 0:16
This is the Beyond Two Podcast, and I'm your host Helen Femi Williams

Julie 0:20
and I'm your second host, Julie VerHage-Greenberg!

Helen 0:22
We're so excited to dive into our second season of Beyond Two Percent. This podcast is brought to you by This Week in Fintech, which is on the front page of global Fintech news, fostering the largest Fintech community through newsletters, thought leadership events, and of course podcasts.

Julie 0:37
In Season One, we covered everything from motherhood to intersectionality. This season, we'll take a look at what it's like to build an emerging markets as a woman, and impostor syndrome. We encourage you to give us feedback on the topics you think we should be discussing and asking in our future panels. Let's dive in! Kelly Soderlund has led global public relations and communications for Nevan, formerly known as TripActions, since 2020, and has 10 years of experience within the consumer travel, corporate travel and fintech space. Prior to Navan Kelly, led communications at TripIt, SAP Concur and Hipmunk specializing in funding news, product innovation and data storytelling. Kelly's work is frequently featured in outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, Today Show, New York Times, CNBC us today, and more.

Helen 1:30
Katie Evans is a financial service and DeFi communication expert with over 10 years experience focusing on crypto capital in commodities markets. She heads up communication for Swarm, having previously worked on a multi asset investment platform eToro, where she worked with capital and markets, analysts and comms specialists across several countries in Europe, APAC and the US. Prior to joining eToro, Katie worked in future market at the London exchange metal. Hope you enjoy this episode!

Julie 2:05
I'm excited to have you guys on. I guess to get started out, Kelly, I'll turn it to you. And I just want to start by asking What does imposter syndrome mean to you? Like when we reached out and asked like, Hey, can you talk about this topic? You seemed super excited? Like, Oh, totally. Why?

Kelly 2:21
Yeah. So impostor syndrome for me, you know, here's the thing is that I started out as a journalist, and I went to, I really had thought that I was going to be a reporter, all of my life. And so I came into this role, but I got an internship at this company called Hipmunk. I don't know if you all know that company. But it was started by Steve Huffman, and Alexis Ohanian, and a gentleman named Adam Goldstein. And at that time, they had sold Reddit to Conde Nast. Right. And so they were looking for their next project. And they had an overarching philosophy of trying to solve problems that had what they refer to as the most suckage. Right. And there's trouble in especially, it's any kind of like, travel at that time was only being sorted by price. And so it was really kind of this area of art, where this traditional legacy industry that had been done by things like travel agents, if you remember those, and in some of those services, it was a new era of online travel agencies meta searches, and it just wasn't, it wasn't very user friendly. So they went in, they attack to this kind of thing. And they came up with this new search algorithm that really kind of took into account not just price, but things like time, how many stops, how many stops, we were going to have all of these things, and then they would show the results based on what was called an agony score. And so as they were in this process of building this startup, they wanted to do data storytelling. And so they hired someone with a data storytelling background, which was me. And all of a sudden, I'm thrust into this startup worlds, right. And at the time, I don't know if you guys ever watched this, but Silicon Valley was on HBO. And it was one of those things that just hit very close to home and I kind of was all of a sudden with these people who had gone to MIT, and a bunch of ivy league schools and had lived in this world of tech and startup, startup tech specifically, and I felt very much out of my In depth there, I felt like I went to San Francisco State, I went to UC Irvine, I didn't know anything about this world. I didn't know anything about PR. I never worked in a PR agency. And so for me, I think that there were about the first five or six years to be honest, I, I wasn't sure that I knew what I was doing. And so it took me a long time to kind of get over that hump and realize that I was bringing my own special brand of knowledge and awareness, and that I could be quite successful at this job without having a traditional PR agency background.

Katie 5:38
Um, so when I was asked to do this podcast, on impostor syndrome, I instantly thought I'm not qualified to talk about that. And then I realized I'm perfectly qualified to talk about that, because I had that thought. And that, to me sums up perfectly what impostor syndrome is feeling like you're a fraud free feeling like you don't belong, and that you're, you're gonna get found out you're a phony. I was actually thinking about when, in preparation for this as women do, thinking about when when my earliest thoughts of feeling like an imposter or feeling like a bit of a phony. And it was actually when I was about to start secondary school. When I came from primary school, it was a tiny little school in the middle of nowhere in the north of England. And I mean, there was four girls in my year. And I remember thinking going to secondary school where I had to sit an entrance exam, I'm, I'm going to be the most, you know, the least intelligent here. There's all these girls that have been funneled through from the from the primary school that feeds into that high school, and I was coming from this tiny little village in the middle of nowhere. And I thought, I'm not going to know anyone, and I'm going to be the dumbest kid in there transpires I was probably I would say, one of the top performing kids in my class, so I didn't have anything to actually worry about in the end. But this idea of going from tiny little village to massive unknown, where I thought everyone knew each other, terrified me. And that's what I've had going into the world of work as well. You know, feeling like I'm going into new industries, where everyone's, everyone's in it together, they've all grown up together. And then I'm joining sort of, as an outsider,

Helen 7:18
I definitely can attest to that. Like, I, I finally I didn't, I never felt like an imposter. When I went to school. It was actually more when I started to grow up. It was kind of when I went to university when I was kind of picked for certain things. Like, actually, I remember, in my last year of school, I did this, this very weird. What do they call it articulation prize, and I was the only kid from state school who didn't go to private school, he was picked her son, she ended up winning the whole thing. But it's for me, imposter syndrome always shows up in this element of people are gonna find out that I don't know what I'm talking about, people are gonna find out that I'm like, winging it, and people are gonna find out that I just like, I literally don't want to say, and it's really funny, because I do think it goes back to gender in a sense that in a lot of times men take that same thing and say, Yeah, only know 50%. So I'm just going to continue with that. And for women, it's like, no, I need to know 110%, for me to start. And I think with what Judy and I have seen, even when it comes to investing in VC, and all these things, it shows up within these spaces. So I guess my question is, like, do you have examples? Kelly, where it shows up kind of in your space, where you're kind of thinking, How do I? How do I only know 50%? But I'm not even gonna try because I need to know 120 for me to even

Kelly 8:41
start, you know, that's a great question. I, I want to circle back on this idea, though, about before we jump into that, about this being about gender, because I do see this showing up quite often in some, when women go and they ask for a raise, say, and I you see all of the research on this. And women usually have to couch it within this sphere of I'm, I need a raise because my family or because of this or because of that. Whereas men are able to come in and say like, I deserve a promotion, just based on my because I'm entitled to one right, I deserve one. And it's just a very interesting dynamic. I think that this is kind of having to do with impostor syndrome to like this feeling that I need to be perfect. I need to be 120% in order to be able to move or move forward within my career versus like, I'm entitled to this because I've done a really good job. Um, but moving back to examples of imposter syndrome. You know, I've in the PR world, there is a very Um, there's intent, they tend to be there. When I came in, I kind of got this impression that it was kind of almost like this Fembot world or a sorority or something like that, where everyone was showing up in, you know, black, Gucci, you know, loafers and a black blazer and there was just a certain type of hierarchy that went and the women were very, very buttoned up and prim and proper. And Julie knows that that's not really me, I curse kind of like a sailor, I am pretty aggressive, I think about a lot of things, I think I have a lot of masculine energy in the sense that I feel that I shouldn't, I shouldn't be quiet about certain things, or I need to be outspoken, or all of those things, I don't really fit into this PR agency box. And I think that for a very long time, I tried to I remember the first time I showed up at this SAP PR summit that they were doing, and all of the women show up this way. And I didn't have any agency background at all. And so I felt like I didn't know what anyone was talking about. I didn't understand certain ways of certain lingo. And it was one of those things where I just kind of decided that I was going to fake it until I make it kind of situation where I just kind of kept, I tried to keep my mouth shut a little bit and try to act the part. The funny thing is, is that I really did realize at a certain juncture that it wasn't serving me to try to fit a mold that was not actually benefiting my strengths. And I think that there was a tipping point, I'm sure that you guys all had this in your own careers, where you where you really learned, like, the things that I'm bringing to the table are unique to me, and being able to lean into that uniqueness instead of trying to try to mask it in a certain sense. And I will say, though, that the first time that I ever produced something, I didn't really even know how to use Excel, which is funny, I was good at math, right? Good at stats. But my mentor, when I first started was a woman named Roxy, young, she is the CMO of Reddit now. But I remember the very first story that I ever brought to her, I had this yellow legal pad, and I was kind of like, okay, and here's my work. And she laughed and was like, Oh, honey, like, we're gonna set up time and doing Excel. But that was like a really good example of me feeling like, hooray, I'm gonna try something, I probably don't have the skills to do it. But just going through those motions and being willing to learn was was really, really very helpful. But you know, the first couple of years, I really felt like, I have no idea what I'm doing here. No,

Helen 13:04
I totally agree with that. And like, it's all kind of like, like, we're constantly over valuing our expertise and like what we're trying to do and these types of things. Katie, I know you kind of working again, you kind of work in like quite a male dominated environment. So what are your views on that, like where gender and impostor syndrome takes place? Because I kind of feel like Kelly were, when I kind of was in a more corporate job. I wanted to fit in, I wanted to do everything that people wanted to do. But I didn't realize that the best thing about me was being that was that I was different. But I didn't know how, like, I didn't know in my mind, where to place that. And what to do with that. And so in a sense, you start doing stuff, and you're like, I actually can't even even if I tried to do what everyone else is doing. It just becomes very obvious, and very clear. But I can't like it like the mask falls off after like five minutes. So can you what is your experience of that? Like? Have you had a similar experience or a different experience?

Katie 14:01
Yeah, so I think my PR career started off in the fashion industry. Then it moved into nonprofit and then into financial services. So I entered the Financial Services round when I was 24, or 25. And feeling very much like I didn't belong even down to the clothes that I wore. And I remember my manager pulling me aside and saying, dress dress for the job you want not for the job you have. And I went out and bought a whole new wardrobe. Probably one that I couldn't afford, but there was kind of some merit I thought to what she was saying because I acted differently when I was wearing those clothes and it felt me made me feel like I fit in a little bit more. Then when I moved over to the crypto sphere, and that is very much male dominated. A lot of crypto bros to be around. But one thing that I'm lucky with in this instance is that crypto is such a NAS and technology and a Nason industry everyone's kind of faking it until they make Get because no one's a real true experts. There's definitely expertise within the sector. But I wouldn't say, you know, there's a lot of sort of crypto heroes that everyone's just falling off or hanging off every word. So I've got that bit on my side. Plus also something that's really helped me as having really good people around me. So the cofounders of the company I worked for, for swarm, they're real champions of women and champions of people that don't necessarily have all the crypto knowledge but are willing to learn. So working with them has actually been amazing in so many respects, because I've it's probably the first company where I felt truly comfortable to go to them and say, I don't understand this, please explain it to me. And then once they have, I've then been propelled into certain situations that I hadn't before. So one situation where I didn't feel that I was necessarily the most qualified, but did it anyway, was my first panel discussion. And that was done on the topic of decentralized finance, which is quite a technical topic as it stands anyway. And I knew I went in there, knowing that I wasn't going to be the most the most experienced on that panel, but I knew I had some good points to say. So that's what I focused on, I focused on what I knew and didn't try and pretend I knew anything different. And in fact, I used it as an opportunity to ask other panelists or challenge them on certain thoughts. Because sometimes you'll find yourself in a room with all these people who claim to be experts, the minute you start asking or unpack or asking them to unpack what they're saying, it's actually quite wobbly underneath. So have a little bit of empathy. I guess, being a bit humble, and just understanding that, you know, everyone's kind of in this together. I also to Kelly's point around, you know, wanting to stay quiet and try and fit in, I actually think there's a real power to that. Because that when you're quiet, you're listening, or you're more likely to be listening. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that either. So whilst we're still learning the ropes or trying not to get found out, as it were, I think it's actually a really powerful tool to be able to just sit in a room and listen to those around you.

Kelly 17:10
You know, one of the things that you brought up, though, is, is a great point, right? I think that there's this it's a double edged sword, right, when you're dealing with impostor syndrome, about asking questions, you know, asking questions is what is obviously going to be the best way that you learn. But you also get terrified to ask questions, right, less to be found out. And having that ability to having the confidence to be able to ask sometimes, like what might be what you might fear is an obvious question, oftentimes leads to the best learnings, right? Because then you're actually able to challenge maybe challenge things in a new way that you hadn't thought of before. Or even maybe challenge like, why are we doing things? The way that we're doing things? Are we doing things right here in this company? Because this is the way that things have always been done? Or is it? Because or could there be an opportunity here for growth or learning or maybe rethinking things, and sometimes I think that that leads to the best outcomes. I also think, to your point here that, you know, as a PR person, my best advice always, to people, especially right to any executives, you want to show up as yourself, because that's going to resonate the most right with other people. When you're trying to act as if you know more than you do, or have expertise outside of what you do, that's when you end up getting into trouble, right. And so, as the speaker in those kinds of panels, and as a PR person, as I provide that kind of advice. I always counseled people to just show up as themselves, you are your expert of your own domain. And that's fine. Don't try to go outside of that or speak to things that you may not know about, because then you end up getting yourself in trouble. And so I feel like oftentimes, this is advice that I give, and that I also want to live by. It's a good reminder, I think for us here for this discussion as well.

Helen 19:24
I kind of have like two points on that though. Like you know, what you were saying earlier about, like how you potentially have more masculine energy in the workplace. I feel like when it comes to like asking questions and these types of things, women often kind of don't want to or like don't want to in that don't want to necessarily challenge it because they come off all of a sudden it's like you go from I've asked a question to she's very aggressive or she's very difficult to work with or like all these little dog whistles that essentially are basically saying like, this is a woman who's who won't like stick in her place. And so I think you know, as a when you're first starting out in your career, it becomes very difficult to create that space where like, actually, yeah, it's a really stupid question. But I have this question. Because if you don't come across as someone who knows what they're talking about, but not knows what they're talking about too much to a point where you're challenging the business, then like, people don't want to work with you, or people are just like, Oh, she's she's challenging are these types of words that are often used to talk about very ambitious women. And like you, all three of you on this call are those are sitting in that category. So it's very difficult to kind of walk that fine line.

Katie 20:30
Can I just challenge that, though, just very quickly, because I think just because you're asking a question does not mean you're perceived as argumentative. So if someone's explaining something to you, and you haven't fully understood it, or maybe you need to them to, you know, clarify something, you know, just simply turning around and saying, Well, what do you mean by this? Or is it because of x? Or have you thought about why? That's not an argumentative way of asking a question. And in actual fact, I have found a lot of people love their egos to be played to. So if people think that they are teaching you, they love it. I also

Kelly 21:04
think, though, that it also comes with experience, right? Like there's a certain point, right, within my career, I know for myself, where I don't care, guess what, you guys, I have the experience now. And I'm allowed, you know, or I'm allowed to ask these kinds of questions. I'm allowed to show up this way, because I've been around for long enough. And I think that like my work has spoken for itself long enough to say, like, Hey, I know what I'm doing. You know, there's times oftentimes in the workplace, I sometimes I deal with, it's almost always men who think that they understand the press better than I do, even though they don't work with the press, right? And they, they'll be like, oh, did you pitch Bloomberg? Oh, no, I never thought of that, you know, like, thank you. Or, hey, you know, and or, Hey, this is how I think that we should go to the press. And I kind of want to be like, I'm glad that you have that. But here's what let me tell you what I think because I know what I'm doing. And having that confidence to be able to show up that way. It does take a little bit of time, right. I didn't get to that place organically. And in fact, it does. It's one of those things. My husband often reminds me my husband is amazing. He's like my biggest supporter. But there was a long period of time there, right? Where I felt like maybe these were flukes, that I was getting a massive amount of press hits, because I got lucky or because you know, there was grit because I was determined, right? Because of this imposter syndrome that I had. I think it made me work a lot harder. I was determined to I was not going to let myself fail. And I worked harder than other people that I knew, like I would just keep pitching in my head. It was like Dory, right? Just keep pitching. Just keep pitching. I'd be doing research. I'd be like looking at Twitter, like finding out like what is the thing that's going to what's my in? What's What's this? What's that right? Am I Am I actually really taking the time to research the reporters that I am talking to to understand their beat, am I doing all of these extra things, a lot of it was just driven by this idea that I am terrified of failure, right. And it made me work harder, I feel like but the good thing is that after a certain amount of time, you do feel like okay, I know what I'm doing. It's okay, now, you know, and now I'm going to be able to go ahead and push back on some of these things that I maybe earlier in my career would have been a little bit more quiet about and I have to tell you guys like that does feel good, right? It does feel good to be able to have gotten to a place where you're able to say I know what I'm doing. But a lot of that had to do with my imposter syndrome for so long. That was the reason why I've gotten to the place where now I feel confident about the role that I perform in what I bring to my company.

Katie 24:20
So would you say that that's motivated by imposter syndrome? Or is that just lack of experience? Because you can't walk into just a job just straight out of uni and be like, Yeah, I've got this I know how to push back. It's, it's a learning curve. And I wouldn't necessarily say that that's necessarily a problem of or a symptom of imposter syndrome. I think that's just getting through, you know, learning your way in and rising up through the ranks. That's just experience. I think the imposter syndrome element comes in when you finally get that experience. You have that experience and you still feel like you're not worthy or if you were sat here telling me Kelly that you still didn't feel comfortable going to Bloomberg or justice by going to your, you know, your executive who's had this great idea about you going to Bloomberg, why you couldn't then push back. That's when I think imposter syndrome would play would kick in.

Kelly 25:09
Yeah. And I think that I dealt with those dually, though, right, because I never worked in PR. And so I was coming in to do PR, but had no I have no clue like how to do it, I only came from like a journalist's perspective. And so I felt like there was like this huge chunk of knowledge that maybe I would never gain, right, or like, there was just something missing for a long time, I may not be doing things the correct way, I might not be following certain structures. And so 1,000% I think, to your point that the imposter syndrome comes, there's education and experience, and then there's the imposter syndrome. But I do feel like, for me, they kind of like went hand they went hand in hand. At the same time.

Julie 25:55
I think maybe it's also just any gender can experience it. To a certain extent, I think it just takes female identifying members of society a bit longer to get to that point where you do feel comfortable doing that, like say it took Kelly 10 years, it might take a man like five years or something like that, like those are just random, arbitrary numbers. But I think that might be one of the the key differences there where everybody has this sort of feeling that you know, you have to do so much in order to feel that way. I think women just tend to set a higher bar until they do get that sense of confidence.

Katie 26:27
I think that's a fair point. I've also been in situations where my imposter syndrome has felt worse or been more accentuated in environments where actually by other women, where they've they've, you know, come down on me or have tested me or made me not feel adequate in my role. Whereas every time and I know, this is a very personal experience. Every time I've worked with men, I've actually been more encouraged. And, you know, to take opportunities that maybe I wouldn't necessarily have done before, or to feel good about, you know, the progress I am making. So I think we also, you know, there needs to be a little bit of celebration here on what men are doing to help women feel better in these environments.

Kelly 27:09
Julie, can I ask you a little bit about this, because it's something that I know that you're the first writer for, like fintech writer at Bloomberg, right, and you're a woman and this was like a very, like fintech, especially having, you know, talking about new industries that you have to learn like as a PR person, like I have to, I had to learn all of a sudden about the world of fintech, which itself was pretty new, and admittedly, pretty male dominated. And so I wonder about that what that experience was like for you,

Julie 27:43
I would say that I had been at Bloomberg for like three to four years before I pitch, I guess I pitched it earlier than when it actually started. Took a couple months to make the transition. But I'd been working at Bloomberg for awhile, I'd been covering fintech on the side for a little bit as well. So it just gave me a sense of one if I had like, just been at Bloomberg like a month, but like, oh, like you need to create this job for me covering fintech, I wouldn't have had the courage to do it at that point. But since I'd been there a few years, I'd covered fintech on the side for a year and had these data points saying, hey, stories, you read about Robinhood stories, right about PayPal stories, right about Bitcoin, et cetera, are doing really well. And our readers are really interested in them. And we're missing stories to competitors. Because we don't have someone dedicated to this, like, that's an issue. So having all of that, behind me to give me the support. And like the thing to, to build this up on was crucial in that element. For sure. There's no way that just starting out at Bloomberg or just starting out after uni, I would have had the courage to do that. Because I had to, you know, have meetings with the head of the newsroom and send emails and a memo to the head of the newsroom. And that's not something you really do is like a 21 year old that's been on the job for two months.

Katie 28:54
That's amazing. Everything we said before about needing experiences, obviously go out the window without glasses. And one thing that just popped into my head, actually, when you were just talking just now was this idea about how we kind of we market ourselves to the wider community or to future employers. And maybe there's something in the way that we speak about ourselves that might help curb impostor syndrome. And before when I used to talk to people about why I wanted to move into financial services, I used to say that, well, I need money for shoes, and financial services pays. So that's why I want to move in. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'll always need money for shoes. But also my brain didn't feel like my brain was being used to its full potential. And I actually went into the first area of financial services I went into was working for the London Metal Exchange, which has got one of the most complicated market structures you could possibly get to grips with. And then after that went into crypto, like I haven't made life easy for myself. But that is that's how I should be presenting myself now. not, oh, I need money for shoes. And I think that might help curb the imposter syndrome slightly because it's like, no, I'm worthy of doing this. I know I've got a brain, I know I can do more. And I've gone out and I've got those jobs. I think one

Julie 30:10
other thing that has helped me is becoming a mom, because it's something that you can't train for. Like every single day, I feel impostor syndrome, because it's like, well, like, somehow I'm taking care of a human being

Katie 30:23
great. And they're still alive. They're still alive. That's

Julie 30:26
literally they're like, How's the baby doing? I'm like, they're still alive. So I can't be doing that. Good job. But I do find that and even just seeing like, how my husband handles it versus me. Oftentimes, if something bad happens, I instantly blame myself, even if it's like completely out of my control. Whereas my husband, even when it's kind of his fault, he's like, Well, like that's gonna happen, like we're raising a kid. And that's not a wrong thought. My thought isn't wrong, either. But like, I could also have that thought, I think that's just totally agender thing is that I'm more inclined to have the thought like, if I had been there, and like I had read this article first, then that bad thing wouldn't have happened to my baby wouldn't have been crying for 10 minutes. Versus via like, raising a kid, she's gonna cry. So like, just do the best we can.

Kelly 31:09
You know, I love this analogy. Honestly, this the motherhood because there's no, there's nowhere that you feel are parented, I guess we should say, just in general, there's a. But from my own experience, motherhood was just one of those things where I was literally terrified that it was going to kill the baby for so long. It's like, I can't keep a house plan. You know what I mean? Like, where? How am I going to have time to take care of this child, you know, you like you wake up every day in a panic. They're still breathing. Okay,

Julie 31:40
he's 11. Now, so you've, you've survived.

Kelly 31:43
And I had another and that's the thing that you kind of want to talk about here is that like, the first time I read every book, you know, like I was there for, like, every stage, it was like a Google, Google everything, you know, are they? Is he been potty trained early, like obsessed with like development? Right, you know, and making sure that my oldest son Karen, was just, I don't know, you're just so involved, because you're terrified because you have no idea what you're doing. And then the second one, the second time came around, and I literally did not even read a book, like I did read a single book, I didn't do anything, because you find out like very quickly that children are on their own schedule. And as much as you want to prepare all the best preparation in the world will never be enough for inexperience in a given moment. Because it's a learning curve, right? Like you learn in each and every single moment. And every child is so different, and they develop differently, and they have different needs and different personalities. And once you've kind of gotten over, like, once you've gotten the experience that just kind of comes with doing it once you you realize like, Okay, this is tough, but this is tough, but I'm not. I know what to generally expect and I'm not going to kill the baby this time. You know, like, I'm not worried about killing the baby this time around like as much and so it is it does show up like how experienced as mitigates a lot of that impostor syndrome, and I don't really know how, how you get around that. But I do feel like it's a tool, right? I think that we're all saying what we're all coming back to is this idea that imposter syndrome is a tool if leveraged in a way that we're it's not where it doesn't paralyze you, if you don't let it paralyze you, and you lean into it like a little bit. It can be an amazing tool in motivator for us, especially as women I know for a fact that they pushed me to, to work harder. At the end of the day, you know,

Katie 34:04
I really wanted to find points of contention and disagreement, but I actually totally agree with everything you've just said, I wanted to make it more interesting for people listening. But it's so interesting that you actually bring up the topic, the the analogy of motherhood, because randomly today, I was speaking to my orthodontist about this, I don't have children. But she was saying, you know, the difference between her approach and her sister in law's approaches, the sister in law is reading all the textbooks, Googling everything has a whole plan. And she's just going off instinct. And I think applying that to imposter syndrome in the world of business, you can do both right? It can motivate you to to read more, to understand more to be more comfortable with your subject matter. But then there's also a certain amount of instinct that has driven you to either the industry or the field that you're in. And there's a reason why you've been hired. It's not because your authority or rode, it's because you instinctively are good at what you do most of the time. And I think that having self awareness around you know, moments when you need to sit back, listen, ask questions and moments where you're, you know, you can propel yourself a bit further forward, because you have done this work and you have done the, the reading and the research. And understanding your position within an organization, whether you're at the beginning of your career, or you're a bit further on or you know, you're leading a team, it's really good for you to understand and hopefully mitigate them that impostor syndrome and feel good about where you are.

Helen 35:34
I think as you guys were talking, I was trying to write down all the tips, because I feel like the next logical question is like, Okay, so now we've talked about imposter syndrome, like, what do we do, but I feel like, as you've talked, you've basically explained it. So I mean, we've got kind of like, the self awareness of it, we've got around changing the language from I fell into it to kind of, or I need money from shoes to like, actually, no, I, I actually got myself here. And I deserve to be here. I have the experience, you know, to Kelly's point that, that means that I met, I meant to be here. And then I think Julie's point was kind of around like, well, motherhood is a real test of imposter syndrome. So anything else is like, on the floor? So I feel like those are good points. Did I miss anything out? Like in terms of points, I feel like those are, I think

Katie 36:24
one other thing is just, every time you've been in the situation where you feel like an imposter is try try to assess the situation, what went well, what didn't, and then go to other people for feedback. Because I think trying to have a judgement by yourself is really good for your own self esteem, and then getting you know, positive or constructive feedback from other members of the company or whoever was in that situation with you can then add to that, rather than going straight away to people for feedback and letting that color in your judgment. Surrounding so being able to have that sort of self judgment is real, that critical eye of your own behavior is good. And also, I would say surround yourself by people that make you feel good. You know, I've been in situations where I was in fairly toxic work environments, and I got myself out of those. And now I'm in one of the most, if not the most amazing work environment I've ever been in. And surrounding myself by people who make me feel good. Whew, I enjoy working with them, making them look good. I'm working together in a really productive environment.

Julie 37:31
I think the main message for someone that would be like, in school or just early on in their career is use imposter syndrome as a tool, not a crutch.

Katie 37:41
100% It's a it can be such a good motivator in so many ways. It's it's not necessarily a bad thing.

Kelly 37:47
Here's the other secret. Everyone has it. Everyone has it, you know, and we all deal with it. Whether you're a man or a woman, literally, I've had this conversation with so many people, and we all kind of have it, you know, especially as you enter the workforce, I feel like we're entering a new industry, there's always going to be this just general, just this amount of Do I belong here? Do I have enough? Do I have the knowledge? Do I have the skill set? Like some of that just comes with with the territory? And it does. It does feel like we all think we all suffer from this thing. And no, nobody wants to admit that they that they do. And I think that just the knowledge that we all go through this is for me, extremely, extremely helpful. Whether you come from an Ivy League background, or you come from a community college, or whether you're entering a brand new industry, it really doesn't matter. I haven't met that many people in life that was just like, full came in to something fully formed, you know, and ready to go. And so that has been that learning had been really, really helpful for me, like within the professional world. I think that having mentors that you can talk to other strong women who can kind of let you know that it's okay. To feel a certain way, as well has been has been really, really helpful. For me. It's also been really great to see successful women really strong, successful women who show up and knowing that it's doable, right? It's not like that this is a path that you can go on as well in finding success.

Helen 39:43
Yeah, I mean, I totally agree. The only thing I would say is like, you know, I think everyone has it, but to a lot of varying degrees. Like I'm black and I'm female. And the intersection of that in environments like where we work does come about because I think if you're a white man, the reality is you see People who look like you at the top at the bottom, everywhere, I can go into certain spaces, and the only person who's Black is like the cleaner. I'm not gonna lie. And it's very, it can be very difficult sometimes, you know, to have role models that don't exist and to create and to essentially like, be like, okay, I don't have impostor syndrome. But realistically, no one in this x company gets past middle management. So I know that that shows itself in other in so many different ways for different people. But I think there are varying degrees of impostor syndrome. And I think, the more you see people who look like yourself at the top, it's, you just won't necessarily have it as bad because you can see where it takes you. Or you have a community of people who look like you. So you're like, you know, I've worked in environments where, like I said, I was like the only one who looked like myself. So trying to essentially say, oh, yeah, I meant I meant to be here. It's very difficult. That's, that's a psychological thing. Because no one is black, no one is female. And I'm just pretending like, like I said, look at the language I'm even using. I'm saying, I'm pretending I wasn't pretending I work there. But I have this idea that I'm pretending because I'm in a group of people that in a lot of ways I would never interact with beyond work or or never have interacted with. So the imposter syndrome really plays out for me or has played out for me. Because no one looks like me in a lot of spaces that I've worked. And what do

Katie 41:26
you do in those situations? Like do you? Does what we've said about it being motivated to work harder, do more, like hit us up in uncomfortable situations? Does? Is it the same for you? Or is it because it's to do with the color of your skin? And that's something completely different?

Helen 41:42
Well, I feel like it's Kelly's point, kind of about me pretending like me, trying to fit in is kind of the worst thing I could do, if that makes sense. Like, you know, I'm gonna, in any job I've done. I've always been good at my job. So don't have impostor syndrome in that sense. But it's more around, I think, yeah, like, I think the strength of what I have is that I'm different. But I didn't. But when you're 21, and you've just graduated from school,

Katie 42:09
you don't want to be different. I don't want to be different. Right? Yeah. So you get older you celebrate? Exactly. Yeah. Like, it's I know, I walk into conferences, and I'm usually the only woman and love it. Because I don't have to do anything to stand out. Yeah,

Helen 42:21
but I didn't. I didn't really have that feeling. As Yeah, like as a 21 year old graduate, you're just trying to like do your day, you know, you just want to do the day. But you already feel like you don't belong. But yeah, like I would say the worst thing you can do is try and or like the worst thing I tried to do is for a very long time, like just try and do what everyone did. Or like I said a lot of the time like, I think minorities, like there's certain topics that we don't even know what what people are talking about. And then like, we're just pretending we do just to fit in. Because then, because then asked me like, What are you guys even talking about? I have no clue. So instead, you're just like, oh, let's continue this until it just ends, and then like, go back to something else. So even even down to like the cultural aspects. Sometimes even as someone who was born and raised in England, sometimes I'm incredibly confused. So yeah, I think the best thing is to Yeah, is to just be yourself, which sounds very cheesy, but the reason why it's cheesy and said all the time is because it's true.

Kelly 43:17
You know, here's the thing, though, is that you bring up such a great point. And something that I that I talked about, too is, first of all, what you're talking about is why it's so important to have really strong leaders who show up right? And who understand that diversity actually makes your company stronger, better, brings different viewpoints to the table, like oftentimes, like when we're talking about like product, right? Like if we're talking about product creation, or any kind of feature or anything like that. I'm like a huge believer that you need to have as many diverse opinions showing up to the table to or working on a product working on a product feature or whatever that is, in order. So otherwise, you're missing things right product created in silos doesn't work. This is also like why I am a huge believer in having like, I don't know how other PR programs run, but I always run mine where I'm in lockstep with product design, right? Like as it's being created, as we're doing function as we're bringing something to the market. I want to get in early, right, because I'm going to be able to bring a broader perspective about how this will actually land in a market right versus versus starting from being I think that oftentimes product can get into this trap of building something for them. Right we see it all the time we see it with like how Google images shows up. We see it with AI like what now with generative AI The answer is that it provides right if you are creating stuff in a silo I'm with people who only look like you who only have your background. It's not going to work for for a broad, it's not going to be successful broadly, or it's going to have a harder time. I think it's not it's not best practice when building products. That's what I would say, as well. But getting to that point of feeling competent, to be able to bring that background and that perspective to the table, I think is is the point that is, it's hard to get to where you feel competent enough to your point, you know, I feel like

Julie 45:38
That's a great place to wrap up to where it's just, you know, I've learned so much in this episode, even though I thought I knew a lot about impostor syndrome to begin with, but the way that both of you have framed it, I think is really brought it to a new light to me too. So I really appreciate you guys coming on.

Kelly 45:54
Thank you so much. This was so much fun to be here feel qualified to talk about Imposter Syndrome now.

Helen 46:09
Oh my god, I really thought that was such an amazing episode. There's a lot of assumptions I had when it came to impostor syndrome because I think imposter syndrome can be such an isolating feeling when you start thinking about it, when it comes to yourself and how you feel. And it was so amazing to hear three very powerful women talk about their own experiences, how they use it to their advantage, and just like how they overcome it. So what an amazing episode and next episode is also going to be really, really good. We're talking about mental health, women, fintech, how those things intersect with each other. So tune in next month for that episode. I think it's going to be such an awesome episode. And also it's mental health month.