Women Leaders in Business: Cynthia Johnson


Cynthia Johnson is a dynamic go-getter and her efforts to be successful in the male-dominated field of technology have lead her to be featured by major publications like Forbes, AdWeek, The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, TIME and many others.  LinkBird has listed her as one of the Top 5 Women in SEO and Inc. says she’s one of the top people to follow on Social Media.  All of that coupled with the fact that she’s a genuinely nice person who is innovative and focused on educating others about the field makes her the perfect example of all that a modern day business woman can be.

Chicago Planner Magazine was fortunate enough to be added to her list of those permitted an interview with the high-demand lady.

What Lead You To Become Involved in Marketing?

I worked in Social Media, and I found that Social Media and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) collided, which was contrary to what people thought at the time about the two.

What Did You See as the Future of SEO & Social Media?

I worked for large companies at a national and international level, consulting for fields such as Behavioral Health Care, Banking and Construction – “less sexy” companies.  I  had to show them the value of social media, being involved with their audience and how social media could be a key way to drive their SEO and reach.

Did You Find Yourself Facing Additional Challenges as a Women in a High-Level Role?

Yes and no.  Some of my biggest challenges weren’t necessarily gender related.  There were so many struggles, particularly in introducing concepts to people who weren’t marketing-focused and didn’t understand what I was trying to tell them about SEO and Social Media being effective for their brands and what they were trying to accomplish as a business.  But there are always challenges for women in business.  I had to learn to ask for what I wanted.  Women take on a lot and tend to not ask for the things they need to do it.   Or at least they don’t ask as quickly as men do.  As women we tend to be worried about what we think someone will say – it’s hard for us to think about and then accept what we really want and then go out and get it.  I went through that but eventually I had to say to myself “How do I make it work for me?”

Is There One Key Piece of Advice You Have For Women, Particularly Those Wanting to Start Their Own Business?

Say yes before you say no.  You will work for free.  Not because you don’t want to be paid or don’t value your own work but because it is part of the process.  In order to stay up with trends you have to work hard and do a lot.  You have to prove yourself.

Also, women need to talk to each other.  I’ve been asked to be on panels or work with esteemed male members of my field and have been told “You just need to look pretty.”  But when women talk to each other and open up the conversation, we find we share many of the same struggles and it makes it easier to push past those people who are belittling or frustrating.  Now, when I go to events, the same people who wouldn’t give me the time of day are waiting in line to talk to me.

Cynthia Johnson is now working with the United Nation’s US National Committee, Los Angeles Chapter for Women’s Equality.  

To learn more about Cynthia, visit her website: www.cynthialive.com

If you’d like her to speak at your upcoming event or would like to work with her, you can email her at cynthia@cynthialive.com


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