Episode 145 – Coffee N5 – How Women Roast Challenges in the Workplace: A Conversation with Ashley Louise

In this episode of Coffee N° 5, host Lara Schmoisman engages in a heartfelt conversation with Ashley Louise, the co-founder and CEO of Ladies Get Paid. Join them as they explore the intricacies of womanhood in the workplace, the power of community, and surely the pursuit of equality. Discover the Ladies Get Paid mission from Ashley Louise herself, and learn about real workplace challenges, while gaining valuable insights on remote work and motherhood. So tune in for an empowering dose of coffee-fueled wisdom and personal stories.

We’ll talk about:

  • The origin of Ladies Get Paid
  • The realities women face in the workplace
  • How to achieve the ultimate goal of equality and equal opportunity 
  • The impact of remote work on creativity, independence, and management
  • Navigating the challenges of motherhood while working, and people’s perceptions

For more information, visit Ladies Get Paid website.

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Also, follow our host Lara Schmoisman on social media:

Instagram: @laraschmoisman

Facebook: @LaraSchmoisman

LinkedIn: @laraschmoisman

Twitter: @LaraSchmoisman

About Ashley Louise

Ashley is the Co-Founder & CEO of Ladies Get Paid, a community of over 45000 women learning to grow their careers and simultaneously their bank accounts. Ashley is also a highly-sought after work and money expert who has dedicated her career to championing women professionally and financially.

About Ladies Get Paid

Ladies Get Paid is a global platform for professional women since 2016. By providing our members access to best-in-class education and a supportive community, we’re a trusted source for any woman who wants to advance in her career, grow her wealth, or equally starting a business.

Lara Schmoisman  0:05  

This is Coffee Number Five. I’m your host, Lara Schmoisman. Hi, you guys. Welcome back to Coffee Number Five. And today, I’m gonna be a little bit myself, I’m gonna be talking about my challenges. As a woman, I have a lot of challenges. I’m not only a woman, I’m Latina. This conversation is extremely personal. And I’m so happy today to have Ashley Louise, welcome here to Coffee Number Five. And she is one of the founders of Ladies Get Paid Claire, which was with us a few years back, but I think it’s super relevant to have Ashley today with us. So welcome.


Ashley Louise  1:27  

Thank you for having me. I’m happy to be here.


Lara Schmoisman  1:29  

So Ashley, I know that you’ve met Claire, in the early stages of Ladies Get Paid. You guys found there the that there was really a need for a community. And we were talking about this before the podcast. And there are things that are not expected that a woman is capable off, were undervalued. Were undervalued, that’s a good word. But at the same time, I have to say like, even in the other side, now that I have my marketing agency, there are a lot of things that are said about me, because I’m a woman, if I will be a man, I will be accepted. I say assertive if I’m a woman, it’s like woman and being a boss, if she’s a bitch, it’s there’s a lot of labeling about woman’s in power and empowering roles.


Ashley Louise  2:21  

Yeah, I mean, it’s, there’s a lot of thoughts on how women should be in the workplace. And I think that comes from every direction, right? You have the side, that is women shouldn’t work at all, they should be at home. And then you have the side that thinks, you know, women aren’t fit for leadership positions, or they are worthless, and then we get paid less. And then you know, there’s kind of the other side of that, where sometimes people get a little too prescriptive about how, let’s say assertive women are about their careers, right? I think we’re in a time when everyone has a lot of opinions on what women should and shouldn’t be doing. And I think the most important thing for us, or one of the most important things that we really try to do with latest get paid and how we talk to our community and women and how we teach them is we want to give you the framework to figure out what your ideal work and life like look like. Right? Like there are some women who want to go all the way in, they want to run their own business, they want to be the CEO, we want to help put you on that track. There are some women who don’t, they want to have a good job, they want to get paid well, but they want to take a little more time off. There are some women who don’t want to work. There are some women who want to run their own businesses and some women who don’t. And, you know, for me, I think, in a lot of ways, everyone’s trying to find the one right answer. And I think the actual right answer is that it’s different for everybody. And at the end of the day, we should just support everyone for the work life that they want.


Lara Schmoisman  4:16  

I was talking at a conference a few months back and this was in a woman empowerment. And I’m which I’m totally okay empowering woman but I think everyone, every individual and we’re leaving there’s so much complaint that you’re not being inclusive. So we need to be treating woman’s as something same as men. I’m not saying empowering woman. And the question for me was what are you planning to do to empower woman’s or to be nicer to woman this year? And I was like, I’m not I’m gonna be trying to be a nicer person. And we are treat everyone equally. And I think that’s what we are not making the right separation. It’s not All, woman’s are better than men, that we’re individuals and who you are who you are. And you deserve to be where you are. Whatever your gender is.


Ashley Louise  5:12  

Yes, I mean, I do think that traditionally, women are not elevated the way men are, right? Men have an easier time raising money for their companies, men get more press coverage, men are interviewed more often, right? So I do think that the ultimate goal is for everybody to be equal, right? Or have equal opportunity. Absolutely. That does mean though, like, women are starting out lower, right. So you need to put more effort into elevating women because most people just don’t. But that’s an entirely different thing than, like, how you treat a person or if you’re nice to someone or not, right? Like, there’s nothing wrong with men, their their life is much easier for them. That’s a reality. Right? So it’s like, what’s the tactic to level that out? But at the end of the day? Yeah, yes. And you know, what, I do want to be treated equally to men, like, give me the man salary. Right, exactly. Let’s do that.


Lara Schmoisman  6:19  

Exactly. It’s funny. It’s also I think, it depends from us that we require, we want that’s a goal to be treated equally, there is something we need to do also, to act equally, and not to demand the difference just because we’re a woman she has to demand because these are my skills, not because we’re a woman.


Ashley Louise  6:41  

Yeah. And I think the issue is even when we do show our skills, and when we do do well, it is not evaluated as having the same value than if a man did it. And that’s like the real thing in there.


Lara Schmoisman  7:01  

Do you think that is something that is ingrained in the woman? So why are not and this is something that I’ve been working a lot on myself to that maybe it’s not me demanding to get more, it’s something that is ingrained, culturally, that I should accept less.


Ashley Louise  7:23  

I think it’s that we feel women, if we are not getting it, then we don’t deserve it. And that’s that’s not true. Right? It’s, you know, the same thing about I mean, it’s not the case anymore. But, you know, it used to be that women didn’t negotiate their salaries often. Yeah, right. Women actually negotiate more now than men do. But, you know, there is that kind of, and I think this probably still applies to getting promoted, where if they felt like I should be promoted, they would promote me. And that’s just not the case. Right? If you want a promotion, you have to ask for a promotion, no one’s gonna hand anything to you, which is shown and now women are negotiating their salaries more, right? But I think that especially because you know, only 22% of women make it past of middle management position. Right. So the people who are making these decisions, and who are giving all the feedback, are all men. And if men inherently are undervaluing women’s work, women are getting these signals in their workplaces constantly, that their work and their talents are less than they actually are valued at. And that’s again, another thing that we really try and hammer home with women is it’s one of those times when I like to say like, use your brain, you know, we always say, write down all your accomplishments, right? Like if you do something really awesome at work, big success, like move the needle for your company, like, objectively, you did a great job. We say keep it in a brag folder, right? And that’s the place where you keep your wins. And so then, you know, this is something that happened to me. I showed up at ladies get paid. Claire had started it a few months before I’d met her. And I had found out that the man that I replaced at my job made twice as much money than me, like literally twice as much. And I just kind of internalize that and I was like, wow, like, he must be twice as good as me. He was not like he just was not like I had objective data points to show me that I actually was accomplishing more than him. Right. And it took me doing that exercise of actually looking at his results versus mine. to then say to myself, Okay, just because this company has assigned us See these two different values does not mean that they’re correct. And that’s what I negotiated my salary. Right. And I was like, here’s, here’s my receipts. Yeah. And so, so much of it is, like our society is built in a way where men are valued more like that’s just objectively true. We almost have to like, de brainwash ourselves, to be able to understand your value outside of what your workplace tells you it is.


Lara Schmoisman  10:29  

There is something else I want to add about this, because I feel like a lot of people feel like they only can grow professional and negotiate their salary, or their position if they get into management. And I’m a true believer that not everyone, it’s built to the management. And it shouldn’t be the only way you grow. Like, for example, if you’re a designer, you can have an amazing career. So designer and head designer, but you shouldn’t be necessarily be a manager doesn’t mean that you’re going to be a good manager. So I think that there is a preconception also that the only way to grow is to be managerial.


Ashley Louise  11:09  

Yes. And that’s how the majority of companies are structured, right? Like, it’s very challenging to work at a company and continue to move up and be an individual contributor. Like, that’s just the truth. And it’s almost like, gotta go do your own thing. And I do wonder if kind of the proliferation of remote work, and how much easier it is to run a business online, and like, connect with clients, not in your immediate vicinity, will allow more people to start working for themselves. And just, you know, greater fields are a great example of that, where you just want to make cool stuff. And you want to be able to do more of it and bigger projects. But why does that have to include managing people, and a lot of people have really bad managers.


Lara Schmoisman  12:01  

I know that, I know that. But I also understand that people are saved, or try to get his managerial positions, because it’s the only way to grow. Yep. And that’s something that I think we need to work on change to, that the companies understand that you can grow and you can bring a lot to the table. And I want to put the designer again, as an example, like the design the this for the company, you can show results, you can show data in any kind of work that you do.


Ashley Louise  12:37  

And that’s the most important thing is finding the data. Yes. Right. And that goes back to you know, my point of like the brag folder, it’s like get have your data, data doesn’t lie, you know, like they are. And that’s the best way to overcome impostor syndrome, right? It’s like, find the evidence and convince yourself, or find evidence that does convince you.


Lara Schmoisman  12:59  

I’m gonna tell you something personal. A few weeks ago, I was nominated for LA Times, inspiration, a woman, which Thank you, it’s an honor. And I just mentioned it to someone casually. I because I was really proud of myself, I know that a lot of people get what they are. And not everyone gets chosen. And, and I have a role. I never pay for media. If they want to interview me, I’m happy to talk. I’m happy to answer anything. But I that’s my role. I don’t pay for media. And this person told me, You’re so good, and I’m getting those things. And that got me thinking I didn’t say anything at that time. I just smile, but it was like, some of the greatest things, I deserve them. I worked really hard for them.


Ashley Louise  13:54  

To the acknowledge, there is something to be said in there, though, that you’re doing your job of advocating for yourself? Well, yes. You know, like, people don’t just hand things out. If you want something you need to go and make the most effective case for why you should get it. You know, and you do that. Right. And you have the evidence to back that up.


Lara Schmoisman  14:19  

Exactly. And those things really help your growth on your profit. Authority. Yeah, is bring your authority and that’s something that everyone needs to learn how to do for the own performance. You need to get the respect and authority of showing that you’re doing your job. Well. Yes. And but let’s talk about reality. Because this is all wonderful and we all work hard. And I know many one woman said they work hard, but also there’s the other side of being a woman and that comment came from a woman who wants sometimes he said well months, sometimes I’ll support another woman’s. And I have to tell you that the worst experiences I had with clients, when I started agency were a woman’s from woman’s communities that were woman’s taken advantage of moments. So there is a lot to be said about that, too.


Ashley Louise  15:19  

As we’ve said before, women and men in a lot of ways are not equal. But in some ways, we are the same. You know, and it’s human nature is the way that it is. And the thing, my my rule of thumb, and I learned this when, you know, I used to be a political organizer, my, like, first job out of college, and you know, the rule was, spend your time with people who you’re already aligned with, and don’t waste your time with people who aren’t, you know, and so luckily, I’m very, I’m a very strong believer of just like, if something doesn’t make me feel good, I cut it out. Excellent. Life is too short. 


Lara Schmoisman  16:00  

You know, I learned to be the same way. But I know also women, we are very sensitive to when we get these messages. This is I think it’s an also it’s a great part of the exercise that we need to do as individuals or put distance of those situations or those personalities that it doesn’t help us growth. 


Ashley Louise  16:27  

Yeah. And then that’s the I think, too. This probably applies more for people and women who run their own companies or like have clients, right? I think women have a much more challenging time saying no to things than men do. Right? So it’s like, you know, at the end of the day, you gotta make money, you need clients, we’ve all got our bills to pay. And, you know, I’ve a handful of times said, This doesn’t feel good. But I’m just gonna suck it up for the money. Right? Like, that’s business. The times when I found that felt the most icky, were some of the worst professional experiences I’ve ever had in my life. Right? Like, it doesn’t feel right. In the beginning. That’s the best it’s ever going to feel, you know, that first impression. It’s like, you know, that even you try to say, No, I cannot say something without knowing that person. But it’s always up to you. And it’s the same thing, you know, interviewing for a job. But if you’re trying to find a new job, I have a client the other day, who was really no, she was interviewing at a very prestigious company, right. But her experience in the recruitment process she just really didn’t like, and she was having a hard time accepting the fact that she could say no to a job offer. 


Lara Schmoisman  18:04  

Right, like the way the interview is. It’s hard to say no, when we’re also talking about money, if you have a good offer, and it’s something that I had to work myself, as an agency is like, is really someone I want to get as a client, is this align with my values? Because I, there’s a point that it’s going to be a friction, and if you’re not align, and if you can not work, it’s not gonna work.


Ashley Louise  18:34  

Yeah. And I mean, it’s all relative, of course, right? Your point of it’s money, like, if you literally have to say yes, to pay your bills and keep the lights on, like, yeah, you gotta suck it up. But if that’s not the case, you also have to think of the opportunity cost, then of you’re going to be spending this time either with a client or at a job that’s not aligned with you, you miss the opportunity to get a client that is aligned with you, and your work will be better and better job, right. Like there’s an opportunity cost there.


Lara Schmoisman  19:04  

It is. It is I believe that opportunities are they are each of us going and to look for it. Yes. I’ve asked for it is I think as a woman’s, it’s really hard to put ourselves out there. I think these all social media will change a little but it’s very different to put yourself out there and social media that haven’t you put yourself out there workwise this


Ashley Louise  19:33  

Because we so intrinsically tie our value as a human to our jobs. Yep. Because we live in America.


Lara Schmoisman  19:43  

But even not living in America is like you have to I accept that. I’m a workaholic. I love my job. I love my clients. I love my team, but also it’s about respect to myself and respect to my team and my clients to put those boundaries. As my clients text me on a Sunday, is this an emergency? No. So it kind of worked until tomorrow, you don’t have to answer immediately. It’s not.


Ashley Louise  20:11  

You know, it reiterates that almost scarcity mode feeling of like, not saying no can set a boundary, I’m so like, grateful for having this opportunity, where not all opportunities are good ones.


Lara Schmoisman  20:26  

How do you get about out of that thought? System? How do you work to get out of it?


Ashley Louise  20:37  

What are my might answer this question differently? My answer to this question,


Lara Schmoisman  20:41  

this is actually not clear. No,


Ashley Louise  20:43  

I know, I know, this is the difference between the two of us. Again, I kind of like to use the use your brain here. If something obviously, doesn’t look right, doesn’t feel right. You just have to put your big girl pants on. And you got to set the boundary. And you got to say no. Like, and at the end of the day, you’re the only person getting hurt here. Right? Like, don’t make your own life harder. The world is gonna throw so much shit at you to make your life hard. Don’t be a part of that. You know, like, make decisions. The right decision is not always easy, right? Decision are hard. And you have to just suck it up and make a hard decision that’s good for you.


Lara Schmoisman  21:32  

I call these uncomfortable conversations. And you can have uncomfortable conversations with people. But sometimes you need to have those uncomfortable conversations with yourself.


Ashley Louise  21:42  

Yeah, you know, we talk about that with salary negotiation, too, right? Or talking about money, right? People like, oh, it just like feels so uncomfortable. And I say to them, is $20,000? Like, are you willing to pay $20,000? Maybe, to not be uncomfortable for 10 minutes? Because that’s like, really what that amounts to right? If you like not negotiating your salary? Or if you’re not asking you don’t feel comfortable asking someone how much money they make. So you know how much to negotiate for? It’s uncomfortable. I don’t want to do it. Are you willing to make $20,000 less to avoid discomfort? I’m like, Yeah, you have to get uncomfortable with being uncomfortable.


Lara Schmoisman  22:22  

Yeah. And but how do you know? How much you’re worth?


Ashley Louise  22:31  

You do your research, right? It’s like it’s data, right? If you are either doing a salary negotiation, or if you’re like negotiating with a client, do market research, right? Like talk to other people. There are people who do similar things to you in the world, right?


Lara Schmoisman  22:48  

Ask them. You’re not, you’re not that unique.


Ashley Louise  22:51  

No one is special. Except you’re special. But no one is like there are. There are billions of people on the earth, right? There are other people who do the same thing as you, right. And they’re all data points. We’re all special. We’re also all just data here, right? And I mean, the thing I will always say 100%. If you are trying to figure out how much money to negotiate your salary for or if you’re pitching a client, you want to know how much to charge for always ask white men, white men, statistically, always get paid more. And they always sell through higher deal values, they get higher loans, they get better rates. Always ask the white men, they always have the best financial situations. Statistically, this is like not a funny little bit. Statistically, they make more money. So always ask them unless you want to keep making less money than white men, and then the or to go for that. 


Lara Schmoisman  23:44  

Don’t be afraid to say to ask for less. Yeah. But also be honest with yourself, do you have the experience that that person has the and that’s why you ask relevant people? Exactly. Like I’m not gonna – sometimes I see. Okay, you’re about to be a mother. And we have on the left edge when are parents and there is that perception that oh, she’s going to have kids. So with the kids, she’s not going to be able to work that hard, or everything is going to change. And yeah, things are gonna be changing. But I took one day off with each one of my kids. And I was back to work. Maybe my schedule was a little different. But I will say well to accomplish my work, but the perception is still there.


Ashley Louise  24:39  

Yeah, I mean, I think women should be able to take a lot of time off after they have a kid or rather, if they want to do that they should be able to write like we have a absolutely abominable, paid family leave policy in America. gotta write, like, two weeks, some people don’t even get anything.


Lara Schmoisman  25:04  

I mean, I didn’t take anything I couldn’t afford back then.


Ashley Louise  25:08  

You know, but it’s, it’s crazy, right? But like, everyone should be able to do what they want. But at the end of the day, we make it so difficult for mothers and fathers, right. Like, I think the number one thing to change this perception here is for men to take their full paternity leave. Right? A lot of men don’t. And if men start doing it, then it’s not weird, right? 


Lara Schmoisman  25:33  

But maybe, but I think the fear comes that if you take a long time, then when you come back, your position can be different or,


Ashley Louise  25:43  

Right. But that’s, I’m gonna try not to use the F bomb. But it’s effed up, you know, like, life is life. You know, yeah, our jobs are important, but we work to live, you know. And that’s your family. That’s the important thing. Yeah, I’ve talked to women all the time who are going through this, and they’re just like, I gave birth two weeks ago, I gotta go do a speaking gig. You know, it’s like, if you want to do that, that’s fine. But the rightful insecurity, right, like, it’s not unfounded. And it just, again, is about a lot of uncomfortable conversations. 


Lara Schmoisman  26:23  

Oh, do you think that this is changing, that we are training our kids to be different? Yes. And this is changing for the generations to come?


Ashley Louise  26:34  

Yes. I think, you know, there’s a lot of conversations about, you know, Gen Z, this whole, like, they don’t want to work thing. And I think something that is changing a lot right now. And I think the pandemic up ended work so profoundly that we aren’t even scratching the surface of the long term changes of how work will work. But I think the relation, the employee employer relationship has changed profoundly. And I don’t think the employers know that yet. Right. For look, I’m not advocating for anyone to like, be bad at their job or to not do the things I need to do at work, right, like you should do your job well. But I think what’s happening is really, people aren’t getting paid enough. They’re not feeling like they’re getting paid enough to do the work that is being expected of them. Right, like, a lot of people. People are, I’m not gonna say struggling, but like 


Lara Schmoisman  27:50  

I would I like talking to specific about – . Here, are we talking about today?


Ashley Louise  27:55  

No, I think I think they are the strongest cohort of doing this. But I also, of course, see it among like, my peers, who are millennials also where it’s like, no, I’m not going to work on the weekend, like, you don’t pay me enough to like, do this right now. You know, like, the person who’s talking to who is going to turn on that job offer. She said they were telling her, you know, like, yeah, you know, we have a lot of people, you know, that this guy, like, had to take a nap in his car, on the way home from work over the weekend, because he stayed at the office for two days. And it was like, What are you talking about? You know what I mean? And I think, people, and I think a lot of that comes from younger generations, right? Like, are learning more about advocating for themselves? And like, what’s appropriate? And what’s not to be asked at your job based on how much you’re being paid?


Lara Schmoisman  28:48  

Yes, I agree with that. But also, I realized that we, our companies are struggling right now. And they’re even struggling to keep jobs. And there is a higher demand that everyone wants more and more. And they think that because there is a perception, I wish that we all can have more, I wish everyone can have the economy at home that they want to have. But the company is in recession many times, many times they cannot afford that. 


Ashley Louise  29:19  

So there is this for, you know, like I agree, but I think but this is what I need, right? Like it’s all in this weird flux right now of everything being very different. Right? And it doesn’t, at the end of the day, and the things that don’t help are like groceries and gas are twice as expensive as they were last year. You know, like it’s a very complex scenario, and I think it will continue to be for a while. 


Lara Schmoisman  29:48  

It will and at the end of the day, you need to do what is right for you. And those are the decisions that we need to make as an individuals on i Under Sometimes you need the money. And then you also need to understand that there are different times of your life. And in different time of your life, you’re gonna say, okay, I can do this for the money right now. And then later, I will be able to change it. And which is, it’s okay to accept that too. And to understand that this is just a stage of your life accepting certain things, and then you’re going to be able to move on.


Ashley Louise  30:24  

Yeah, I think at the end of the day, everyone’s just trying to do the best they can for the most part. And like, there are so many options now. Right. Like, I think that’s also why more people are working for themselves. Yeah, right. It’s like, I can I can do this myself is the thing a lot of people are choosing now. I mean, both of us, right? We own.


Lara Schmoisman  30:44  

We’re both but also I learn a lot from working for others. And I, I don’t think I will be where I am today, if I won’t have those experiences.


Ashley Louise  30:55  

Exactly. Right. And it’s all it’s all everybody’s choice. 


Lara Schmoisman  31:01  

Yeah, exactly. But so my point is that never get for granted. Anything that you have, and the i It’s strong believer that everything that you decide to do in your life, you learned something from it.


Ashley Louise  31:14  

That’s the right way to look at it. Because then you never make a mistake.


Lara Schmoisman  31:18  

Even if you make a mistake, it’s your mistake, and it’s something that you had to learn from it. Right? It is. Ashley, thank you so much for having coffee with me today was such a pleasure, 


Ashley Louise  31:32  

Thank you for having me.


Lara Schmoisman  31:34  

And I we’re gonna keep talking about and advocating for people to get paid what they deserve to get paid and to learn how to negotiate.


Ashley Louise  31:45  

Yes. And you know, if you want to learn more about us at Ladies Get Paid you want to negotiate your salary or get a promotion. Ladies get paid.com/subscribe You can check out our newsletter and follow me on LinkedIn if you want some more tips, and we are very excited to help you get paid more.


Lara Schmoisman  32:02  

Very cool. Thank you so much. And to you guys. I will see you next week with more Coffee Number Five. Everything you need at Laraschmoisman.com Or in the Episode Notes right below. Don’t forget to subscribe. We’re so good to have you here today. See you next time. Catch you on the flip side. Ciao, ciao. What I love about the beauty industries is that there is always room to grow. I love to learn more about innovation, possibilities of investment and partnerships across the industries. If you want to learn more, join me at Beauty Connect this November 6 to eighth in Los Angeles.


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