Lead with Love® Podcast

Creativity. Business. Life.

Stand up & take up space with Martha Shaughnessy

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If you’ve ever felt you’ve come from a world of work where you’re a woman fighting for a seat at the table, then this episode of the Lead with Love podcast is for you. We explore what it means to leave the boys club and redefine work on our terms as female leaders.

In this episode, I get cozy with Martha Shaughnessy, the founder of The Key PR,
and she’s the San Francisco Communications Lead of the Women’s March.

Over the span of her 20 years in communications, working with huge tech brands, startups and nonprofits, Martha has cemented her position as a trusted go-to among journalists.

In 2017, she founded The Key PR with a mission to serve high-impact, low-BS communications services to clients. Headquartered in San Francisco, the team has doubled in size over the last year, and has the pleasure of creating media, messaging and content programs for game changing companies in financial tech, transportation, and consumer brands like Lending Club, Swell Investing, Skip Scooters, and Shopkick.

I’ve had the opportunity to partner with Martha and The Key along with La’Kita Williams at CoCreate Work in bringing The Key PR’s company mission, purpose, values and vision to life. If you’re a purpose-driven company who is looking to scale your business and grow your team while leading with love, fill out an application at www.jadahsellner.com/apply.

I always want to be the kind of leader who will lay myself down in the dirt to protect my team.


What you'll hear (and don't want to miss!)

  • What it looked like in the past when Martha hasn’t been able to bring her whole self to her work [6:27]
  • Her escape plan to leave her former corporate position and the shifts she had to make in order to transition to being an entrepreneur [13:57]
  • Martha’s collaboration with the Women’s March in San Francisco and how the opportunity presented itself, and came together [18:10]
  • The story of how her company was named and its significance in relation to what they offer their employees and clients [20:26]
  • The way Martha turned her shortcomings into her strengths as a team leader and why she views the company as a single team that wins and loses together [23:03]
  • What have been the key ingredients for building a company culture that people want to be a part of [26:12]
  • The benefits she is most proud to offer members of her team [29:02]
  • What big challenges she has faced as the company has grown [31:29]
  • The ladder that Martha has built for equal pay and how The Key PR is creating a money-savvy group of employees [35:35]
  • What she does to unwind and be more present when not at work [41:50]
  • The most valuable marketing Martha says she has done since starting the company [51:41]

Resources + links mentioned:

» The Key

» Connect with The Key on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn!

» Women's March Bay Area

» Cracking India by Bapsi Sidhwa

» Pachinko & Free Food For Millionaires by Min Jin Lee

» Becoming by Michelle Obama

Key Quotes:

  • “I find that our own energy and capacity is expanded exponentially by feeling seen, heard and loved by the community in which we work.” [5:43]
  • “We met the first weekend after the election. It was a total hodge podge group of women, and I knew right away that we were going to pull something off, although none of us really knew how at the time.” [18:10]
  • “I always want to be the kind of leader who will lay myself down in the dirt to protect my team.” [22:13]
  • “Recognizing how important it is to have a culture that is the same for the founders that it is for the most recent hire is something that is really important for me.” [30:49]
  • “If speaking my truth and standing up for values that are core to who I am push people away from my door, then I’d rather have that conversation out of the way early.” [52:04]

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