In light of Women's History Month, we’re shedding light on the amazing accomplishments and achievements from female leaders transforming the live events industry.
I had the opportunity to speak with Laura Moran, Director, Global Events Programming & Revenue at HubSpot to learn about her experience rising through the ranks over the past decade. From managing up, to advocating for yourself and setting boundaries—the discussion is packed with advice for any young women looking to gain confidence and grow their career.
Dive into the full interview below for Laura’s “pinch me moments” from working INBOUND, the female leaders who’ve inspired her growth, and her outlook on the evolution of hybrid events.
- The last live event Laura attended just for fun
- Laura's story and how she ended up at HubSpot
- Laura's favorite “pinch me” moment from INBOUND
- Advice to avoid getting starstruck from famous speakers
- Female leaders who inspire Laura
- Laura's biggest challenges she overcame early on in her career
- Laura's advice for managing up
- How to learn to advocate for yourself
- The secret to accelerating your career growth
- How women at HubSpot advocate for one another
- How HubSpot ensures equal representation of female speakers
- How INBOUND sessions & content stays on the cutting-edge
- Laura's predictions for hybrid events in 2022 & beyond
What’s the last event you attended just for fun?
“Right before we knew COVID was a thing I went to Celine Dion in Boston and had the time of my life. It was December 2019 and I didn't know what was ahead and thank the lucky stars that happened when it did.”
Tell me about yourself, your story and how you ended up at HubSpot?
“I started out in PR and Media Relations, a role that tends to have events fall under it. When I came to HubSpot, I continued my PR and media relations role but overtime it evolved to join the events team. It was really just a path of doors opening and saying yes to them. In 2017 we started INBOUND Studio which was an experimental branch of the INBOUND brand intended to extend the conversations and content that we were highlighting at INBOUND throughout the year and beyond the week of the event each fall. Through this initiative we were able to reach new talent and speakers and naturally I started to take on content and programming for all of INBOUND.”
What’s your favorite “pinch me” moment from INBOUND?
“I have gotten to meet some of the most incredible people as speakers - there always continues to be pinch me moments. This past year I had the opportunity to interview Oprah! When you’re behind the scenes you get to meet speakers of all calibers and I love seeing how the right content, speaker and story can blow an audience away.”
How do you not get starstruck in that environment?
“I’ve had to learn and teach myself this over the years. What’s true is they are just people too. Always remember that. I can’t do my job if I’m fangirling. I just keep it in check and remind myself they are human too.”
Who are a few female leaders that inspire you?
“My number one is Katie Couric - I grew up wanting to be her and still want to be her. From a career perspective though, I’ve always looked up to Kim Darling, who was instrumental in creating and running INBOUND over the years. I learned so much from my time working with her about how to get the job done, the intricacies of management and navigating internal complexities within an organization.”
What were your biggest challenges early on in your career that you had to overcome?
“Managing up is a huge one because it requires practice - you can’t just learn it in a text book. It’s really day in and day out and I think it’s important for young women to learn how critical managing up is. It’s a web of communication that is essential for anyone trying to grow personally and scale within a business.”
As you learned how to manage up, did you ever struggle finding your confidence?
“Confidence and finding my voice was never a struggle - a lot of that came early on naturally by watching young women at HubSpot speak up in meetings and pushing myself to do the same. By nature of what I've done with HubSpot I've found myself as the most junior person in many scenarios. While I may not be the decision maker, I always found support from the women on my team to voice my own opinions. If I don’t say what I feel, I’m not doing my job and it’s only really doing a disservice to the greater team.”
How did you learn how to advocate for yourself?
“My best advice is to surround yourself with mentors and guides (women or not) as a sounding board. You need someone to gut check with who understands the environment you’re in. You need someone who gets the scenario, gets the scene. Be transparent about pay, what’s working and not working - be open about what you don't know and where you need help. It takes a village and you won’t know every answer on your own."
What's the secret behind how quickly you’ve accelerated in your career growth?
“The best thing I've done for growth is to say yes to new opportunities that come up - I have never shied away from something if I feel in my gut it’s the right move. Rather than approach a situation with uncertainty, ask questions where you need and don’t get caught up on the fact that you aren’t the perfect fit. On the flip side though, you need to know where to put your foot down. It’s always a balancing act and I make that clear. If I say yes to this, I have to put this on hold. If you don't say anything, things will continue to grow on your plate. You have to be the one to say when you are full. It’s cliche but so true.”
What have other women at HubSpot done to advocate for you throughout your career?
“As women it’s so helpful to advocate for other women and people on your team in rooms they are not in - people have done it for me on countless occasions. Especially early in your career, you’re not always in a position to advocate for yourself and you need someone to be your voice and stand up for you.”
How do you ensure equal representation of female speakers at INBOUND?
"From the beginning, HubSpot has done an incredible job to support women, people of color and underrepresented groups. We have internal programs to support women in their growth and elevate our female leaders. At INBOUND we’ve always goaled ourselves to ensure we have 50/50% representation for gender. It’s not all men on stage. Over the years we have a primarily female audience that attends—it’s usually a 60/40 split from women to men.”
How are you staying on the cutting-edge with INBOUND sessions & content?
“We always ask for feedback and ratings from all attendees on each individual session (why they rated the way they did. It’s a tried and true system for rating our speakers for quite a few years to compare annually, see how they improve, if they aren't improving, etc.”
How do you foresee events evolving and what have you learned from this past year?
“Hybrid is a buzzword. While the Pandemic taught us we are capable of operating in multiple channels within this hybrid world, I don’t think it’s always the right strategy for everyone. I think that the concept that everything needs to be hybrid is flawed logic. This year will be hybrid heavy since it has to be as we continue to navigate the pandemic. But, I believe that hybrid events will be a constant evolution—one that should be driven by consumer behavior and not by FOMO or necessity. This year we will learn a lot about what doesn’t work with hybrid and I predict that in 2023 and 2024 it will be more of the 'starting from scratch' approach.”
Join Other Like-Minded Women in Events at INBOUND 2022
If you’re a conference or trade show manager looking to connect with other growth-oriented leaders, check out HubSpot's INBOUND 2022. INBOUND is an annual event, powered by HubSpot, that unites thought leaders from over 161 countries across marketing, sales, customer success, revenue operations, and more. This year is their first-ever hybrid event, taking place September 6th - 9th, 2022 in Boston.
Lennd is a next generation event management platform that simplifies operations and logistics so event teams can work smarter, move faster, and improve their ROI.
To learn why some of the most respected event teams trust Lennd to power their operations or sign up for a demo: www.lennd.com