There's no doubt that women are still facing the challenges of stereotypes, especially when you're a woman in a male-dominated industry. Transitioning from sports to tech, Lindsay McCormick successfully proves that women can break the traditional workplace roles.
McCormick is a sports broadcaster whose career has taken her from hosting live events for the Super Bowl XLIX to being a guest correspondent for Showtime. Now, she is taking over the world of tech as an investor on Elevator Pitch. We sat down with McCormick to chat about the challenges and successes she faces in her career, and the impact of being a female in a male-dominated industry.
1. From your experience and success in the field of sports broadcasting, what did you learn about the traditional roles of female broadcasting? How are you challenging those roles?
2. Can you share a specific moment, anecdote, where you experienced sexism? How did you react, and overcome it? (Many women don't know how to react in these situations because of fear of losing their job or opportunities, our audience would love your tips and advice on this).
3. Being in male-dominated industries, do you think women are still judged by their appearance instead of their achievements? How can we change this outdated narrative?
I think anyone on TV is judged by their appearance, hence why even men can spend hours in hair and makeup. Are women judged harsher? Yes. I'm not sure this will change anytime soon.
4. What inspired you to leave the sports world to build an impressive tech resume and judge Elevator Pitch with Entrepreneur?
I don't view it as leaving the sports world, as the two are starting to go hand-in-hand. Look at how big e-sports are becoming! I was fortunate that Ray Brown, executive producer of a movie I was in, “The Bounce Back," introduced me to Trevor Doerksen, CEO of ePlay Digital, who is launching Big Shot (essentially the sports version of Pokemon Go). I'm grateful that Trevor wanted Robert Horry and me to tag along on the ride as advisors and in-game avatars. This is how I first got involved with the world of tech.
5. What are some of the challenges you had to overcome to succeed and thrive in the tech world? Are they somewhat similar to what you encountered in the sports world?
When I first started in sports, you could count the number of women on television on one hand, and everyone knew their names: Robin Roberts, Suzy Kolber, Linda Cohn, Lisa Salters. I can't tell you how many job interviews I went on where employers would flat out say, “You are too young," or “Prove your sports knowledge to us. Male viewers won't believe a woman understands the game." I felt that with every interview, I had to go in as David against a Goliath of female stereotypes. That being said, I've found the tech world—and business in general right now—to be quite receptive to working with women. Much of this newfound openness may be cynically tagged as a desperate correction to the #metoo movement, but that's fine! It's up to women to take advantage of the new opportunities!
Photo courtesy of lindsaymccormick.com
7. As an investor, what do you look for in startups and founders? How does a founder or an idea get your attention?
The first thing I look for is a strong work ethic and passion for their product or service. Secondly, do they have experience in the marketplace? It's always more comforting to invest in someone who has had previous success, but I'm also open to those with less experience.
8. What's next for you and how will you be using your success and story to uplift and support other women?
"There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before." -Willa Cather
A logical fallacy called bifurcation (yes, it sounds like a disease) is used to make people believe that they can only choose between two extreme choices: love me or leave me, put up or shut up, etc. In relation to my career and my love life, I was once stricken by this crazy malady.
I spent over a decade in and out of love relationships that undermined my career and drained my creative energy along with my finances. The key problem was that I was convinced that I had two options: be a kickass, and powerful professional who scares off any prospective mate or surrender to that deep and profound love such that my ambitions blow away in the wind. For years, my psyche ping-ponged between these two choices like that was the only game in town. But why?
Turns out we women are often programmed into thinking that we can't have love (at least that good, juicy heated kind) and any sort of real career. This is not actually that surprising given the troubled history that America has with women in the workplace. Post WWII, women were supposed to quit their jobs and scurry back home and leave the careers for the returning men. And if you think we've come a long way from making women feel they don't belong in the workplace, consider Alisha Coleman. In 2016, she was fired because her period leaked onto a chair!
But try to keep a good woman down, and well, you can't (Alisha sued her former employer). Given enough information we will always find a way to overcome our situation. As we teach in my practice, Lotus Lantern Healing Arts, we are all our own gurus. The light in the lotus just offers a way to illuminate your path.
So what was I missing so many years ago when I kept struggling between two suboptimal choices? The answer is the understanding that if I wanted to have it all, I had to start living right now as if I could. For me to be with someone who supported me having a fantastic career, I had to believe that that was actually one of my choices and start living that way.
Of course that is easier said than done (like most life lessons). So once I made that realization, here are the three key changes I made (and no they didn't happen all at once):
First, I stopped apologizing. Why the hell do women always feel the need to apologize for everything! (Sorry for swearing! Jk.) In particular, why do we have to feel bad about time away from the homefront? Remember Don Draper stopping off at the bar before heading home? I took a Madman lesson from him and stopped apologizing for my free time and let go of my usual rush to get back. Instead I focused on enjoying the transition, which was often needed to release the stress of work. Whether I was slow-driving listening to my jams and singing at the top of my lungs or stopping off for a pedicure, a little ritual went a long way to making me feel like a real human when I walked through the door.
Second, I let go of perfection in order to be present. I stopped stressing over a work deadline and instead rescheduled it to tend to my love life or postponed a romantic dinner because a juicy work opportunity appeared. In this way, I did not force an unnatural choice or one I did not want but really paid attention to what felt right. Instead of feeling subpar in each realm, I end up getting the most out of my time in both places.
Third (and perhaps most significantly) I began to welcome and expect encouragement from the most significant person in my life. I made it clear to my partner that I wanted insight and not criticism. And since I knew I needed understanding and not saving, I said, "Please help me look at my career woes from a different angle instead of offering me advice." Ultimately, I only accepted partners that truly supported my dreams and didn't let me play small.
Today, some of the most exquisite pleasure I feel comes simply from my partner witnessing me. Having a cohort who really appreciates my struggles, helps me integrate work and life, and enjoys the wins together can be mind-blowing. Likewise, when the shit hits the fan (again, not sorry!), it's really important to have a partner that can hold space for you and help you remember those wins.
It's a constant battle. Our culture still perpetuates the myth by pitting love and career against each other (ever see Fatal Attraction?). Men don't always get this message, but then we don't need to wait for them to get it. All we have to do it start living right now in the way we truly deserve and bring others along with us. When my friends see me and my partner together separately killing it in the career department and fiercely loving each other they say, "Your relationship gives me hope."