It's no secret that today's women have made boundaries and impenetrable walls hurdles of her past. This year gave our nation a front-row seat to watch a woman enter the White House not because her husband brought her with him, but because she paved a path of her own to the front doors. Forbes wrote an astonishing article highlighting a handful of women who in, 2020 and 2021, stepped into CEO roles, leading the helm at some of the biggest giants within her industry. Their upward mobility crafted stories of being the first in more ways than one.
If you listen closely, you can hear the cracking and shattering of glass all around you. Women are no longer asking for permission. She takes the bull by the horn and pulls up a seat at any table she so desires. You don't have to make room for her. She's clearing space and making room for herself. Heidi Parsont, President and CEO of TorchLight Hire, is no exception to this rule. For almost a decade, Heidi and her team have helped leading ladies (and gentlemen) in breaking a little glass of their own.
TorchLight is a leading marketing and communications recruiting and staffing firm in the Washington, DC area. Heidi and her team of dynamic women connect some of the region's most top employers with the perfect marketing and communications professionals. From event planner to sales and then staffing, Heidi found her career shaping up to one built on forming lasting relationships.
Before she began TorchLight, Heidi worked at the internal communications consulting firm, Melcrum, where she built a client base saturated with more than 300 of the Fortune 1000 companies. As McKinley Marketing Partners' Director and Vice President, Heidi worked with senior marketing, communications, and PR professionals to fill more than 150 positions.
Heidi's career path led her straight to her road of passion.
"I got into marketing staffing through my sales and business development experience," Heidi shares. "I found that marketing staffing was a great mix of creativity and helping people. I love both and was sold!"
Today, Heidi and TorchLight are breaking norms with the firm's all-female team to include a powerhouse of senior-level staff members. It wasn't easy to begin or build in this manner. "When I started TorchLight nine years ago, there were multiple women-owned businesses, but I still found the old boy's club in many places that I went," Heidi describes. High testosterone levels especially ran the gamut at conferences or large events Heidi frequently networked. However, in the new climate of virtual events, she finds the playing field has leveled slightly.
In addition to the social distance brought on by the pandemic way of life, organizations are striving to expand their roster of suppliers allowing women access to opportunities not extended to her before COVID. "While I don't think the patriarchal culture of companies is going to disappear overnight, especially with large organizations, I am optimistic that our future will include more diverse individuals," Heidi envisions.
Indeed there is still more work to be done. So then, how do women #choosetochallenge? How does she make glass ceiling conversations irrelevant? Heidi recommends doing so by playing together. "I think it's important to get out there, to be vulnerable, and to ask for help from peers and mentors." The women who have gone out ahead are excellent springboards. Raising hands and reaching out to the ones in front, asking to pull from her wisdom, is the starting line. Women plowing through roadblocks as if they never existed, take another lady with you. "Don't go it alone. We're all in this together."
Ladies in marketing, here's a final note from a woman helping to connect dreamers to their realities. Know that there are countless opportunities for women in marketing right now. Numerous companies are trying to reposition themselves and put women and diverse candidates into senior positions. Wise leaders recognize that differing viewpoints matter. That you matter. "And most importantly, there are a lot of unfilled jobs out there in marketing. It is a great time to be a marketer!"
The final question is quite simple, then. Who's ready to make it rain glass?