Thamina Stoll, a Senior Client Solutions Manager and Global Women@LinkedIn Comms Co-Lead at LinkedIn, is driven by her passion to empower women.
In her daily role, she supports thousands of women worldwide to become better advocates for themselves in both their personal and professional lives. In 2022, Thamina founded Give Her Dollars and launched an accompanying podcast. Her goal is to help women generate wealth for themselves and others, despite the challenging economic environment. Thamina is also an active advocate for women's reproductive health, having lived with an incurable chronic condition that has impacted her fertility.
We had the opportunity to interview Thamina, asking her about her journey in landing her current job, her most exciting project to date, and her advice for anyone embarking on a similar path.
Q: How did you land your current job?
A: As corny as it may sound, growing up in Germany, I always dreamed about living and working in New York City one day. Especially as someone who has been cultivating an interest in marketing and media for many years, I couldn’t imagine a better place than the Big Apple. Prior to moving to New York, I was based in Dublin, Ireland. When a completely new organization for our business line’s most strategic clients was created, I was very intrigued. Many senior leaders across our Europe, Middle East, and Africa region recommended me to the North American Region team, so they transferred me from Ireland to the United States. Initially, I was slightly intimidated because all of my teammates and leaders across my organization were more seasoned professionals than me. My skip manager used to be the Head of Advertising at Vogue; how cool is that? But I got up to speed quickly and was promoted only 15 months into the new role.
Q: What piece of advice has played the biggest role in your career so far?
A: Early into my career in business, a dear mentor told me that making your manager look good in front of their manager is key to climbing up the corporate ladder—and they were right. But I would add that it is just as important to create visibility for yourself and help your manager advocate on your behalf by consistently feeding them favorable talking points—this is especially critical in the months preceding an anticipated promotion or raise.
A common misconception that many people have is that “my work speaks for itself.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t. When a leader has several direct reports, it becomes very challenging for them to keep close tabs on everything that is going on in an individual’s day-to-day. So help your manager know how awesome you are. To make this more tangible, I recommend keeping close tabs on all of your accomplishments in a Google Doc and quantifying your impact as much as possible. Then on a monthly or quarterly basis, write a summary and email it to your manager. That way you can not only “prime” her months ahead of your performance review but you’re also making the process a lot easier by having given her a lot to talk about. I personally keep an “I am awesome” folder on my desktop where I put screenshots of favorable messages colleagues and clients have sent me. Never forget that if you are successful, it’ll automatically make your manager look good in front of their manager; but only if your success is visible.
Q: Did you always know that you wanted to be in a leadership role one day?
A: Absolutely. It’s funny because now that I think about it, I’ve actually been honing my leadership skills for more than 20 years. I started as early as elementary school and I took on various leadership roles in high school and college, including student body president, class president, varsity team captain, president of our graduation committee, senior yearbook co-editor, president of HeForShe@Duke, and Duke Student Alumni board member, to name a few examples. When I reflected on what type of organization I wanted to join post-graduation, it was important for me that there was a clear path to professional success and moving up quickly while also continuing my gender equality advocacy work. Today I’ve been promoted four times over the course of four and a half years with my current employer and am the youngest global employee resource groups leader in the company’s history.
Q: What leadership skills are you most proud of having honed?
A: I lead with compassion, honesty, and vulnerability, and I create and hold space that enables others to comfortably do the same. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that when I show up as my most authentic and vulnerable self, either in one-on-one conversations or when I present in front of an audience, it is much easier to get the people around me to be invested in both my individual success but also the broader mission we’re working toward. I believe that intentionality behind building meaningful and symbiotic relationships has been one of the biggest contributors to my success, and it has resulted in many mentors, coaches, and senior leaders across the different spaces I have been operating in to go the extra mile for me.
Having sponsors who advocate on my behalf—some of them include Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, internationally recognized entrepreneurs and academics, as well as business leaders—has been absolutely critical, especially as a woman whose first language isn’t English and who is used to always being the youngest person in a room. And now that I myself am in a position where I can pay it forward to future generations of women, I do so with enthusiasm and compassion.
Q: What does your current day-to-day look like?
A: In my core role, I’m advising and supporting one of our biggest clients, a Fortune 30 company, on their digital marketing and sales strategy. As a strategic partner, I help them execute their strategy across our ecosystem and measure the value of their marketing activities on their bottom line. So I spend a lot of time on client-facing engagements and internal strategizing with my cross-functional team to ensure we can solve our client’s complex business challenges and add as much value as possible. Aside from that, I invest a lot of time and energy into coaching, mentoring, speaking engagements, my podcast, and my various board and committee responsibilities. I’m very involved with my alma mater, Duke University, because the community gave me so much when I was a student. I always prioritize giving back and paying it forward. One of my biggest passions is women’s financial health because I genuinely believe that getting more money into the hands of women and teaching them how they can leverage their financial resources for social impact would have a tremendously positive impact on our society. We women invest more alongside our values and what we believe will benefit our children, our communities, and our planet as a whole. I always like to say that systemic discrimination won’t be solved overnight but a wealthy woman can walk out of almost every room she feels uncomfortable in and create opportunities for other women along the way.
Q: What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on to date?
A: I’d say becoming a podcaster and having the opportunity to interview some of the smartest and kindest women in business and entrepreneurship. As a marketing and branding nerd, and trained radio journalist, I’ve been fascinated with podcasts for many years now. They’re a medium that has grown massively and the pandemic only accelerated that trend. Today, podcasting is a $2 billion industry and it is projected to be worth $4 billion in 2024—that’s a year from now!
I see a massive opportunity for an increasing number of marketers to advertise on niche shows because it gives companies and brands access to very targeted and very loyal audiences, and that can do wonders for brand salience. I recently read a research paper in the Advertising & Society Quarterly journal where they talked about a study that revealed that not only did 81 percent of participants state that they are sometimes or always attentive to podcast ads, but the majority of listeners had actually purchased a product after listening to an ad on a podcast. With Millennials and Gen Z listening to podcasts the most and these two generations having a combined spending power of about $1 trillion, which will only continue to grow, introducing products to consumers through podcast advertising can give a boost to the economy by capitalizing on Millennial and Gen Z media consumption habits.
Q: What do you most look forward to every day?
A: Solving complex problems and amplifying the voices and work of women in business and female entrepreneurs. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of countless women who’ve been investing in my potential over the past 20 years and beyond. There is so much power in women coming together in support of one another and to engage in vulnerable conversations about the shared experiences of womanhood. I also work for a company whose mission it is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce, and as a Women’s Advancement Advocate who deeply cares about women’s economic empowerment, I very much identify with that broader mission and am grateful that I am able to contribute to this mission every day.
Q: What’s something you do outside of work that makes you a better leader?
A: I read academic papers, consume feminist content, and train my writing muscles. These practices have helped me become a thought leader and effective public speaker by enabling me to create and share language around a lot of the complex experiences and challenges that women in the workforce face on a daily basis. Many women know when they experience discrimination or gaslighting but not everyone is able to call it by its name. In order to make progress and create sustainable change, we as a society need to be able to call injustices by their name.
Q: What’s been the #1 lesson you’ve learned about hiring since you started at your company?
A: Hiring based on potential is more important than hiring based on experience. Sure, some fields definitely require hard skills, such as medicine or law. But in the world of business and marketing, your attitude, work ethic, and how coachable you are is significantly more important. Marketing concepts and tools can be learned, teaching someone how to be a go-getter, a supportive teammate, and show resilience is much more difficult to teach, and that’s what I’m looking for when I interview job candidates.
Q: What advice would you give someone starting out on the journey you’re on?
A: Network, find community, and be intentional about building your personal brand, both internally and externally. If you have a strong and visible internal personal brand at your company, you will attract opportunities as opposed to having to proactively fight for them. Being involved in impactful projects and initiatives outside your core role that are tied to your employer’s overall strategic priorities—diversity, equity, and inclusion and employee resource groups work being good examples—and building a strong digital presence can go a long way and truly accelerate your career.
Thamina is a member of Dreamers & Doers, an award-winning community that amplifies extraordinary women entrepreneurs and leaders by securing PR, forging authentic connections, and curating high-impact resources. Learn more about Dreamers & Doers and get involved here.