Who's That Gal: Ashley Paré, Own Your Worth
Name: Ashley Paré
Occupation: Negotiation & Career Coach - Founder Own Your Worth LLC, & HR Director @ Tufin Technologies
Where you call home: Boston, MA
Currently reading: Own Your Glow, by Latham Thomas
Favorite Fall activity: Hiking and jumping in piles of dried leaves
Hi Ashley! Can you share more about your background and how you found yourself in your current role?
I have over 12 years of corporate HR experience supporting technology start-ups and public organizations. My experience as a Business Partner afforded me the opportunity to work with and coach senior leaders and see first hand the gaps in business from workforce development, talent shortages, inexperienced managers, and lack of pay transparency. My passion in HR is to enable organizations to better support their workforce to meet business needs through equal pay, leadership training and development, and feedback culture. I’ve had some great successes in my career, but there was a point when I felt like I wasn’t able to do enough. Culture runs deep and without leadership team committed to fair and equitable programs internally, it is hard to move the needle. I wanted to impact more change to better serve women, minorities and the next generations entering the workforce. I want to serve women looking to grow their career and partner with organizations looking to implement employment best practices.
Was there a definitive moment or experience that lead you to start Own Your Worth?
Yes, for sure. I attended a salary negotiation workshop and had an epiphany. I needed to be teaching the content! With my advantage of understanding the ins and outs of HR and employer hiring, I still hit many roadblocks when advocating for my own career. I had recently been denied a raise request by my boss at the time and he told me he was angry at me for even asking. I knew in that moment during the workshop I needed to create a tribe of women who were ready to advocate for themselves and break through barriers. It’s my mission to empower women and employers, share HR secrets and bust through the myths, and provide women the skills needed to advance and be paid fully for our contributions in corporate America.
Your mission is “Breaking glass ceilings through career negotiation.” Today women are paid 20% less than their male counterparts and represent less than 30% of C-level roles. What do you think we can teach both women and men of our current workforce and the future workforce to create change?
As a woman, if you don’t ask the answer is always “no”. The pay gap is real and we have to do our part to help close it. That being said, teaching women the potential barriers they will face as they climb the corporate ladder will better enable them to navigate for success. Women may be faced with bias and pushback, but it is our response to those barriers that makes the difference.
Women supporting women is another important lesson for success. Women - it is acceptable to negotiate for more. It also acceptable to walk away. Let’s hold our employers accountable to do the right thing.
We need the support of men to make progress on closing the pay and leadership gap. We need to expose the data which shows real consequences of the gender gap. We need to teach our men entering the workforce to be aware of potential pitfalls that perpetuate the gap and to be advocates for women and diversity.
The data shows diverse teams outperform homogeneous teams, diverse workforces attract diverse talent pools, and the fastest growing startups are 75% more likely to be led by women (2017 annual startup report). The workforce gap is growing and companies will need all available resources to meet the goals of the future. It is projected that by 2018 2.4 million STEM jobs will go unfilled (Upwork’s future workforce report). This is a societal problem, not a battle of the sexes.
Can a “flexible” work schedule make a difference?
Yes! Having the option to work remote can help fill talent gaps. The cost of living in cities is high and commuting is a problem for many. Companies that expand their search outside of headquarter locations have greater access to talent pools - from small US towns to around the world. The ability to attract talent from across all geographies opens the door for women and minorities.
Do you think the day will come where the wage gap will cease to exist? Are there any industries that are close to eliminating the gap?
Yes, I believe it is possible but we aren’t moving fast enough toward the goal. (Some reports project it will close in 42 years). Sales, finance, management, and service occupations experience the smallest salary differences according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. ME, VT, RI are the states with lowest pay gap.
We’ve heard that the rising cannabis industry is predominantly run by female CEOs. If you were running a workshop at a cannabis conference, what would you say to both the male and female attendees about maintaining equality in the workplace?
I would challenge them to do better than industries that came before them. I would remind them of the amazing opportunity and honor they have to be better, to set an example of success for other industries to follow. I would promise them maintaining equality would pay dividends. I would ask them to speak out about what is working.
Can you give us a quick peek into your coaching sessions? What are some quick tactics you think every woman should know?
Oh, we do work in our coaching sessions! Living authentically requires some soul searching but doing the work to deal and heal are so worth it. We get real. I work with women who are ready to uncover the fears that are holding them back from pursuing their dreams. I believe our career, life, and relationships all benefit when we make choices and live from our core. My work starts with identifying personal values, diving deep to better understand what drives us, and learning from our failures. Then we take the leap into strategies, approaches, research, and practice that enable us to show up authentically at work, advocate for ourselves, and build a career of our dreams. I hold up a mirror for my clients to see themselves reflected. I am in awe of the women who have so graciously opened their lives and hearts to me. Women are unstoppable.
- Preparation and practice are key. Do your research. If you make an emotional ask, you will get an emotional response.
- Deflect the “salary history and salary expectations” questions during the interview process at all costs!
- You are enough. You are worth it. You will succeed.
Who do you look to for guidance or inspiration?
Marie Forleo, Robin Wright, Lady Gaga, and Tony Robbins are inspirations! I look to meditation for guidance, my mentors, and my younger self who I can stand up for now.
What’s next for you and OYW?
I have an upcoming workshop Get What You Want from the Year End Performance Review on 11/28 in Boston, I’ll be leading a Webinar on asking for a raise with Tech Ladies on 11/15, and will be opening registration for a group coaching program in January. I am always looking for opportunities to speak at corporations, universities and women’s organizations!