Know Your Worth with Dara Treseder
As part of the Ladies Get Paid Book Tour, sponsored by Comcast NBC/Universal, Claire Wasserman, founder and author of Ladies Get Paid, spoke with Dara Treseder, Peloton‘s SVP, Head of Global Marketing and Communications, about how she’s broken boundaries, learned to own her worth, and taken command of her career.
Claire Wasserman: What’s it like joining a company in a pandemic?
Dara: It’s been an amazing six months. That’s really because of all my Peloton teammates.
What I’ve loved so much about Peloton is that it’s kind and it’s high performing. It’s got the best people in the world, the most amazing culture and spirit, and we get a lot of stuff done. We get it done effectively and efficiently. it’s been an amazing experience even joining remotely. I think that it speaks a lot to the soul of the company. The fact that I have been able to join and feel even within six months of not having met most of the people I work with in person, but I feel very plugged in and very connected and able to thrive.
Claire: How do you develop relationships and as a manager how do you make sure that people are working well together?
Dara: I think that what I did in my first 30 days was about investing in people. When you first join an organization, everybody wants to leave their mark. You get in, you want to quickly show a win. I actually say the biggest quick wins you can get, especially as a people leader, is investing and getting to know your people.Establishing that trust is what is most important.
It’s getting to understand, “Hey, what is this person looking for? What expectations do they have of this role? Would they like to partner with this rule?“That’s the right foundation. You can then build on that. It also allows you to figure out what are the things that you should focus on. Everyone you know, I’m a planner, but the reality is that you don’t know what you don’t know. Coming in and investing in people gives you the space to learn. Be a sponge.
Claire: Did you ever struggle with the balance of tooting your own horn and “I don’t want to seem ‘arrogant’,” versus making sure that you’re recognized?
Dara: I struggled with that and I still do to be quite honest.I think it is important for you to share your accomplishments. I always say, it’s not about the what, it’s about the how. [For example], in the middle of the team meeting where you interrupt to say, “Hey.” That’s not the place to give you a recap.
Claire: Women can be really hard on themselves. Have you struggled with that? How do you get out of your own way?
Dara: Yes, I certainly have and I think that what was hard for me was I found that, when I was early in my career, I was constantly being asked for my receipts when my peers were not and it wasn’t lost on me why that was happening. I was like, Okay. Sounds like people want to make sure the Black woman deserves to be here but I don’t really see anybody asking other colleagues and checking in on them to make sure that they deserve to be here.
That affected me because it made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. Then I had a reframing. A mentor of mine helped me reframe and I started to realize that, No, this isn’t about me, this is about you. You’re the one who has to deal with your issues, I deserve to be here. I think that changing my mindset and realizing that when people are, whether it’s microaggressions or actually just passive aggressiveness or even straight-up aggression, has more to do with them than it has to do with me.
Claire: Office politics, whether or not you should, when do you confront somebody? When do you not? when you needed to have a direct conversation?
Dara: I am, “What you see is what you get; I got to tell the truth. (By the way, my face always tells exactly what’s going on.) I will always want to treat others as I want to be treated.Whenever there’s a situation, I always want to have a direct conversation. I believe I will go to the source of truth.
That’s one of my values and my ways of working. If something happens, I’m going to come to you directly but I’m going to do it in a way that I would want it done to me. I’m not someone that likes to be shouted out in a large meeting with 100 people. I would not want that to happen to me so I would never do that to you.but I will very directly address whatever it is, whatever the situation might be.
Claire: Do you feel like getting an MBA helped propel you forward in your career?
Dara: For me yes. I think each person’s situation is so different. I knew I had what it took to excel in business.
I wanted to be in marketing for technology or innovative products, disruptive products. That was what I was mostly attracted to. The reason for that is I grew up in Nigeria and I saw how much technology transformed an economy. I remember coming back and all of a sudden cell phones were everywhere. When I was growing up you couldn’t even get a reliable landline call to someone, and all of a sudden cell phones are everywhere. E-commerce is enabled, and that was so powerful to me.
I wanted to have a real seat at the table. I want it to be able to have a conversation about what’s going on in operations and what’s going on in the supply chain or what’s going on. We’ll talk to the CFO in an intelligent way really. I always like to say, “Show me the ROMI, show me the return on marketing investment.” is the kind of person like he can take courses online and he will get exactly where he needs to. He mocks me all the time because we paid for my MBA, and he didn’t need all that.
I think about some of the things that were so formative for me in terms of how I see the world, I have to go back to my mom. My mother [had these sayings]; one of them was that “Character is beauty,” and so the idea is in my mother tongue it’s Iwalawa, which means a character is beauty. It doesn’t matter what you accomplish or what you achieve. If you don’t have good character, nothing else really matters.
She also used to always say to me, “Ambition with contentment”, and I didn’t know what that meant. When I was growing and I felt like, “What did this mommy have seen? The ambition with contentment?” It’s so funny but I literally hold on to that so much and I think about that so much, and it shapes every single thing I do, every decision I make. When I was looking at even taking the Peloton job, I had a couple of different opportunities and I knew that was where I needed to be.
Watch the entire conversation with Dara Treseder here.
A big thank you to Comcast/NBCUniversal for sponsoring this series.