Despite women making up 50.6 percent of the U.S. population and acquiring 60 percent of all undergraduate and master’s degrees, only 16.9 percent of women hold Fortune 500 board seats. But we have made strides. In 1980, there were no women in the top executive ranks of the Fortune 100; but by 2001, 11 percent of those corporate leaders were women.

We interviewed five female DEG directors that do what they love and love what they do here at DEG.

At DEG, we have always prided ourselves on giving equal opportunities to the people we work with, applying a “best idea wins” mentality and entrepreneurial spirit allowing anyone the chance to grow the company. We have seen our female leadership almost triple in the last two years, with now 41.6 percent of our department directors being female.

So naturally, for International Women’s Day, we needed to look no further than our own four walls to find inspiring women worth recognizing. We interviewed five female directors that do what they love and love what they do here at DEG. From how they take their coffee to their favorite motivational mantras, read on to see how each of them responded.

Women's Day DEG

Name and Title 

Jen Forrest: Director of Social Media
Quinn Sheek: Director of Demand Generation
Cara Olson: Director of Relationship Marketing
Joey Barnes: Director of Client Services
Dawn Kernen: Director of Analytics and Insights

What’s the first thing you do when you get up?

JF: Put on my glasses – I’m basically blind without them.
QS: Turn on all of the lights in my bathroom to try to force light in my eyes.
CO: Get ready to workout. Depending on the day of the week I’m either at the gym for weights or running outside.
JB: I hit snooze on the alarm. I am a night owl. I am efficient and known to do my best work – both in quality and volume – after everyone else has gone to bed. Once I get up, I plan and strategize my day by looking at my calendar, email and to do list. Time-management is hard to maintain if you don’t have your priorities in order before the potential of chaos occurs during a given day.
DK: I work out at o’dark thirty.

Three things you can’t get through your day without? 

JF: #AlltheCoffee, hugs from my family, and cliché as it might be: social media.
QS: Coffee, my phone, and a little bit of sugar.
CO: Chasing down my golden retriever to pull a shoe out of his mouth, making multiple to-do lists to keep my sanity at both home and work, and good night kisses for each of my loves.
JB: Hugs and love from the men in my life – my husband and son – a good laugh, and an hour or so of down time to read (news or a book) or watch TV (a reality TV show or a political drama).
DK: Kindness, inspiration, and a good belly laugh.

Favorite motivational mantra? 

JF: Your biggest risk will be the one you don’t take.
QS: “Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Hellen Keller
CO: Strive for progress, not perfection.
JB: Dreams don’t work unless you do!  I believe that the most important ingredient in success is vision. So dream big and then go and achieve it.
DK: It’s all about accountability and integrity.

How do you like your coffee? 

JF: Frequent.
QS: Black, or with vanilla creamer if I am feeling indulgent.
CO: Flavored. I have my own “coffee bar” setup at home. Two pumps of Starbucks Vanilla syrup and 1½ pumps of Starbucks Crème Brulee sauce with a Keurig pod of Starbucks Caramel coffee. Plus, I add a little fat-free half and half. Voila – a homemade caramel macchiato.
JB: On occasion as a treat. I start and end my day with water at room temperature and drink plenty of soda in between.
DK: I’m a green tea girl.

What advice do you have for young women in this industry? 

The first step I’ve always taken is to meet and learn from others who are sitting where I want to be.

JF: Find a great mentor or many if you can! The first step I’ve always taken is to meet and learn from others who are sitting where I want to be.
QS: Be confident and try to develop a strong understanding of yourself. This will help you understand what you want out of a career and how you can motivate yourself to achieve your goals.
CO: Having a family and having a career are not mutually exclusive. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for choosing to do both.
JB: Make sure that you have a true passion for the work you are doing, because it is more difficult to have faith in yourself and others during challenging times when you are less inclined to invest the energy needed to overcome obstacles and succeed. I also recommend looking at work/life balance in weeks and months versus on a day-to-day basis, while emphasizing quality over quantity.
DK: Enjoy the constant challenges and growth; keep your life in balance.

Complete the sentence: _______ is my biggest inspiration.

JF: My mom.
QS: My Daughters [are].
CO: Picturing myself on vacation with family and friends.
JB: My family is my biggest inspiration. Tied to my favorite motivational mantra, they often influence my vision. I find it rewarding to align myself with their dreams and feel honored when my contributions help make them a reality. On the flip side, I often depend on them to help me fulfill mine.
DK: The great outdoors.

What do you love about DEG? 

JF: The people I work with! I work alongside such diverse talent and everyday I learn something new from wicked smart colleagues.
QS: The ability to share ideas and learn from other brilliant people.
CO: The autonomy, the flexibility, and my awesome team and colleagues.
JB: The entrepreneurial spirit is the driving force behind DEG success. It is this hunger that creates opportunities, innovation, and new value for each employee and the company at large.
DK: I get to use my passion for data to help clients, and I have the best team in the world!

Follow these fearless women on Twitter:

JF: @jenforrestkc

QS: @sheek

CO: @EmailGirl

JB: @jbarnes

DK: @DawnKernen

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