Jeff Kravitz: Getty Images

Octavia Spencer may be an accomplished actress, but she is not immune to the gender wage gap. She made headlines when she recently turned to LeBron James, a producer of her upcoming Netflix series (about legendary entrepreneur-millionaire Madam C.J. Walker).

How could a basketball star aid a film star? James helped Spencer negotiate her compensation after she realized she wasn’t getting a “fair deal.” It was one of the latest examples of how closing the gender wage gap is more effective when men and women work together.

There is good reason for such male-female collaboration: Last month, April 2nd marked…


“If we show emotion, we’re called dramatic. If we want to play against men, we’re nuts. And if we dream of equal opportunity? Delusional.”

Listening as those words escaped from Serena Williams’ mouth in the newest Nike ad campaign, Dream Crazier, I felt a surge of emotion — I felt seen.

There have been many points during my career where I’ve been called crazy. Crazy for dreaming too big, for relentlessly pushing to close the gender gap, for striking out on my own even though I had a steady job. Crazy for creating a remote workforce when it was…


A recent study from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco found that the United States is operating at full employment. What does this mean for businesses?

Unfortunately for employers, it means that it’s never been more difficult to retain employees. Case in point: the quit rate in the U.S. is now at its highest level in 17 years.

To keep business going, almost every organization is increasing its dependence on gig workers. According to Staffing Industry Analysts, an estimated 48 million people took on gig work in 2017. And, much like their full-time counterparts, flexible workers also have their…


Many staffing firms are laser-focused on sales right now. The demand for talent is strong and business opportunities have never been greater. Yet, I am baffled at how much money staffing firms spend getting in the door of a prospect, but then don’t invest to grow their existing clients; potentially leaving millions of dollars on the table. Case in point: ClearEdge Marketing’s recent Executive Pulse survey of C-level, marketing and sales executives points to driving sales growth as the number one concern, even over candidate marketing.

One reason behind this pain is too much focus on the hunt for new…


Midterm elections are just weeks away and the temptation to talk politics will get even harder to resist. But is the office the right place for potentially heated discussions? How much should employers tolerate and how do you keep it civil?

When work and politics mix, tensions can rise. Add in 24/7 news alerts and an abundance of divisive, deeply personal issues, and polite conversations can quickly inflame. While casually talking politics may be harmless enough during everyday situations like team meetings and water cooler chats, the potential fallout can be far more serious.

Recent headlines illustrate just how pervasive…


Here are five tips for getting comfortable wearing the CEO hat.

Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, the idea of starting my own business at age 33 was already part of my DNA. Confidently stepping into the role of CEO was where the real challenge began.

Until 12 years ago, I had spent my career in traditional corporate environments, working my way up the ranks. Before I started my firm ClearEdge Marketing, I was faced with a life-changing choice: Move to Atlanta, far away from friends and family to keep my job, or stay in Chicago and take a different…


Whether it’s a latte or a vacation in Belize, we’re all accustomed to paying for a service and receiving the benefits. For the most part, these simple give-and-take transactions of our personal lives deliver what we need. But, when it comes to interacting with vendors for your business, it’s a whole different ball game.

The relationships you forge now with your vendors can define your business for years to come. Businesses don’t grow in a silo, and we all need outside support, expertise and knowledge to get to the next level. …


“Alexa, tell me how voice is set to change marketing.”

I recently embraced voice-activated commands for texting, listening to music, car navigation and ordering paper towels from Amazon Prime (among many other things!) In between my searches and commands, it got me thinking about how so much of what we do as consumers helps drive the future of business-to-business interactions and behaviors. More than 35 million Americans use a smart speaker at least once a month, and the global market for these devices is expected to grow to $2 billion by 2020, according to Gartner. …


Last month at the Oscars, Frances McDormand gave a powerful acceptance speech after her Best Actress award win. It viscerally captured the tone of the event. After a year filled with sexual misconduct revelations about major Hollywood players, and the reverberations that spread through pretty much every industry, the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements were on everyone’s minds.

McDormand asked every woman in the room who was nominated for an award to “stand with her,” and in doing so, simultaneously showcased the power of all those women being seen, rising to their feet together. At the same time, it was astonishing…


There’s no shortage of 2018 predictions out there. Experts in every industry have staked their claims on what we’ll see in technology, weather, and even beverages (hello turmeric latte!) over the next 12 months. When it comes to marketing, the buzz is all about influencers, increased use of automation and data, and a doubling down on voice-activated tactics (more on this topic to come!). While we don’t know exactly how these trends will play out, companies have to adapt their marketing strategy to the changing times.

This is as true as ever in the highly competitive, explosively growing staffing industry…

Leslie Vickrey

@ClearEdgeMKTG CEO & Founder. @ARAmentors Co-Founder. @icstarschicago & @Chi_Innovation Board Member. Passionate about #womenintech.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store