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Celebrating Phaidon International’s Exceptional Women in Sales at the 2023 WISA Awards

Phaidon International is delighted to share that six exceptional employees across our specialist talent acquisition brands were finalists in the prestigious 2023 Women in Sales Awards (WISA) North America, and three went on to win their categories:

WISA is dedicated to encouraging and celebrating the achievements of women in the traditionally male-dominated field of sales. The awards also aim to increase awareness of the need for better gender diversity in sales and leadership teams and help grow the pipeline of future female sales talent.

We caught up with some of our finalists and winners to find out what their achievements mean to them, how Phaidon International supported them throughout their sales careers, and what the WISA nomination process is like.

Championing Womens Achievements

Emma Maddox had been nominated for a WISA award earlier on in her career, but at the time felt like she hadn’t accomplished enough to move forward with her application.

“Now I am at a very different point in my career,” she states, “and I have accomplished quite a lot. We move at a million miles an hour every day here at Phaidon International, so I thought this was a great opportunity to reflect on my achievements and celebrate everything I’ve accomplished.”

Emma also explains how Phaidon International provides their nominees with guidance and resources throughout the intense nomination period:

“Phaidon International was incredibly supportive. Women that have been put forward in previous years were assigned to this year’s nominees as mentors throughout the process. There’s a lot of support internally and people in your corner, all giving you as much advice as possible to put you into the best position to win. I felt like everyone was cheering me on the whole time across the board. I also worked closely with Breonne Williams throughout the process, who sits in the Charlotte office with me. We practiced our presentations on each other and both won together this year which was amazing.”

Sharing Experiences to Break Through Barriers

As Emma mentioned, Breonne Williams won WISA's coveted Sales Newcomer award. She used her nomination to share her story and voice an important message to other women in the industry: While sales isn’t always easy, you can overcome any hurdles and forge a successful career by persevering and leaning on the support of your professional network.

“When I first got the e-mail saying I was nominated for a WISA award I was shocked but ecstatic, because the journey I had at Phaidon International wasn't the smoothest when I started. I wanted to use my nomination to share my trials and tribulations, and show other women that it's not the be all and end all if you have a rough path for a month or two.

“When I started out at Phaidon International I joined with another male consultant, and we built out our area of the business from scratch. We initially placed our first candidates within days of each other, but after that I didn’t place anyone for the next three months and watched my counterpart consistently find success. I wondered what I was doing wrong and constantly compared myself to him, but then something switched in my mind. I reached out to colleagues in different brands and offices within the company to see what I could do to be better. 

“The more people I spoke to, I realized that a lot of us started out the same. It’s so important to not get into your head and lose sight of your ultimate goals. So that's what I really wanted to share with others: when you put that aside and really focus on yourself and what you can do, it's limitless.”

Embracing Accomplishments and Celebrating Successes

Another challenge many of our finalists faced was finding the confidence to talk about themselves and their accomplishments throughout the nomination process. As Madison Scribner explains:

“The WISA nomination process really puts you in a position where you have to acknowledge a lot of your achievements and voice them, and as women we're not always used to representing or speaking about ourselves that way. But it was great to have a history of my accomplishments over the past few years all in one place, and it validated a lot of my hard work that I've put into sales over the last five years and the time I've dedicated to the business.”

Christine Dejoux experienced similar feelings: “The questions asked in the WISA nomination process ranged from why I deserved to win the award to detailing my achievements and asking how I embodied diversity and inclusion in my work. Often as a woman, negative words like ‘bossy’ or ‘egotistical’ can be used when talking about achievements, when in reality it is something to be proud of. This ended up being my favourite part of the process as I could really give thoughtful answers, see my achievements written down, and have the opportunity to showcase them authentically and positively. 

“I have also developed a heavy focus on diversity and inclusion in my work, which came naturally to me coming from a big family of women. Approaching technology recruitment from a space where I want to bring women to the table has been something that I've not only enjoyed, but I'veactually made a difference in this industry, which I was honored to talk about.”

Proudly Reflecting on WISA Wins

This year’s WISA ceremony took place at Chicago’s iconic Millenium Knickerbocker Hotel on 22nd June 2023, and brought together some of North America’s most exemplary women in sales to recognize excellence, network with likeminded individuals, and enjoy an evening of celebration and entertainment.

Erika Gerdes won her category just one and half years in her sales career. She shares the sense of achievement she felt on the night, and how she’ll bring what she’s learnt forward with her throughout the rest of her career:

“I was the only recruiter in the Software Sales category which was quite intimidating, as selling software careers is very different from selling software platforms. After doing some research I found out that the other finalists in my category had at least 15 years of industry experience, so I pivoted my approach during the nomination process to focus on my empathetic approach to sales learned from my previous job working with people with mental health issues, and what I could accomplish by winning this award so early on in my career.”

“I was really surprised, proud, and honored to win on the night, and it made me feel even more confident about my ability to speak about the industry. I now manage a growing team, so moving forward I feel like my consultants can look up to me even more because I won an award like this. I now want to continue scaling my team and act as a role model to them and to others around me, to show that you can accomplish so much if you just put your head down and work hard, even in a tricky market.”

Following an incredible year for our female sales talent at WISA, Christine sums up the whole awards process perfectly:

“It was a very metaphysical experience of women supporting women for this women's award, all helping and making time for each other throughout every stage of the process.”

Find Your Path to Empowerment at Phaidon International

At Phaidon International we’re proud to recognize our employees for their achievements and to be part of a movement that spotlights extraordinary female sales professionals. 

Take a look at our careers hub and join a company that respects, supports, and celebrates each and every individual on their unique professional journey.