The amazing dialogue about gender equity is still alive nearly a month after Growing Your Voice: Inspiring Stories from Female Leaders. We are inspired by the hard work of our women team members at Metric Theory, and this week we interviewed Talia Pilorge, Digital Media Planner. She sat down with us to share her career path and her thoughts on negotiating with confidence in a professional setting. Read her interview to learn more about Talia and her commitment to constant growth by always asking for constructive feedback.

Let’s talk a little bit about your background and how you came up in your career. What was it that got you interested in pursuing a career in marketing?

I sort of fell into it. I have an undergraduate degree in Psychology and always thought that would by my career path. But after my dad encouraged me to travel abroad, I came across a masters in marketing and creativity program in Europe — and that was it!

What was your first job out of college? Do you feel like that job helped shape your career trajectory, either by ruling out any career paths or helping you realize this is what you wanted to do?

I became a sales associate at BCBG Max Azria right before graduating and continued there for about six months post-grad. The job definitely helped me get organized and gave me exposure to consumers — how to communicate to them, what they wanted, how to get them back in store, etc. I was able to use this experience in my interview for my master’s program by talking about how essential it is to know your consumer in order to find ways to bring them back into the store, and it worked!

What was your support system like as you advance in your career? Did you have a particular role model?

My family has always been my support system, particularly my parents. They’ve attended every graduation, every “first day,” and have been there through all the tears, laughs, and proud moments. My father has been a great role model, as he is self-made. Having that kind of determination in front of me everyday really helped set the mindset that achieving anything is possible.

What steps do you take to ensure you are always learning and improving in your job?

Always accept and ask for feedback! I ask for feedback all the time — you have to trust those working above you have been there and thus may have a better approach to handling things.

Do you have any creative outlets, or something outside of your job that helps you balance your work?

A good workout routine always helps me feel balanced. I also used to dream of being an actor growing up, so I always put on different accents and goof around with my family and boyfriend to destress. It’s important for me not to take work life too seriously and be myself. Other than that, as much as I love staying home, going out and engaging in social activities is a great way I maintain my work/life balance because I love connecting with new people.

If you could go back and talk to yourself in her early 20’s, what advice would you give her?

Just because society says it’s wrong, doesn’t mean it is. Or — don’t wait, go for it!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Always be prepared!!! And “Don’t feel guilty, guilt does not belong to you.”

When you have engaged in negotiations in your career in the past (whether it was salary negotiation, client-facing negotiation, or negotiations between your colleagues), have you ever feared coming off as pushy or unlikeable or even that there would be repercussions for negotiating as a woman? 

Absolutely! I am thankful to my boyfriend, who has always pushed me to negotiate for what I want. I think the biggest fear for me was that if I negotiated, the company or client would go with someone else. It is so important, however, to negotiate and show how much you believe in yourself. On the other hand, always be understanding of what the opposite end is trying to communicate, and then move forward with your pitch.

What additional advice, if any, would you give a woman looking to lead?

Believe in yourself — I still have to tell myself this before I ask any kind of question, and I’m still working on it. The goal is to aim for zero hesitations!