In this episode, Barbara and Marcella discuss:

  • The need for retraining women to stand out and take credit for our accomplishments and authority in a way that is recognized by all.
  • The five keys for authority
  • Crashing through the glass ceiling with women supporting women and men supporting women.

Key Takeaways:

  • We have to communicate to men at the highest level in the language that they understand, including specifics and numbers (which you may need to research beforehand).
  • Start with an I statement, then dial back give a recitation of facts. This will hit the categories of authority but without the blow back.  
  • Women must support women. As a result of the #MeToo movement, there is less mentoring happening of women, especially at the highest levels. It is up to us to lift one another.

“What we need to do is, all of us, raise more women up together. When we do that, then we actually have the greatest amount of success.” —  Marcella Allison


Barbara:         Welcome to another episode of Marketing Tips for Doctors. This is your host, Dr. Barbara Hales.

Today, we have a great episode because we have Marcella Allison joining us. She’s the CEO of Copy Harvest LLC and the founder of Titanides LLC.

This is an organization dedicated to promoting female entrepreneurs, marketers and copywriters. As a copywriter, she currently works with some of the top direct response companies in the industry. Her clients — And get this because this is so impressive. Her clients include the Motley Fool, Bottom Line, Advanced Bionutritionals, Money Map Press, Metabolic Living and so many more. I can’t even mention them. Her copy has generated over $100 million in sales for financial trading services, alternative health supplements and information products.

As a mentor and copy chief, she leads Money Map Press’ proprietary training program for inhouse and freelance copywriters. She also mentors over 600 women in the Titanides. In 2018, Marcella was awarded Copywriter of the Year by American Writers and Artists for her outstanding performance and the impact that she had on the copywriting industry. She’s a featured speaker at industry events. Marcella is the co-author of “Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me This Sh*t Before?”

Marcella:       Stuff.

Barbara:         A selection of wit and wisdom from women in business. As the founder of the Titanides, she is dedicated to building a new arena where dynamic, creative women co-mentor, elevate and support each other on the journey to success.

The reason why I have this as an episode in Marketing for Doctors today is because, you know, it saddened Marcella to see so many successful brilliant women questioning their own authority and self-worth. I can certainly relate to that as I was ignored at a medical round table years ago.

Marcella:       Hmmm.

Barbara:         Where all of the male physicians where called upon to give their opinions and I was just skipped over. The leader of the group didn’t even realize that he was doing it. What’s more? The other male members in the group didn’t even realize that they were doing it. So, welcome to the show, Marcella.

Marcella:       Thank you. Oh my god, that story just like, uh, goes straight to my heart. I mean, we’ve all been in those situations but I think I had a flashback there while you were describing that. Wow! That’s intense.

Barbara:         Yeah. What are the key mistakes that women make when trying to establish their authority?

Marcella:       So it’s interesting because part of your story that stays with me is the fact that it was all men in the room, right? And so what we’re learning is that, no surprise here, right, you’re a physician, you know, men’s bodies and women’s bodies and men’s brains and women’s brains have some significant differences. And then you add on top of that how we’re culturally, what you want to say, raised, right, that adds a whole another layer.

I have been fascinated with this sort of nature-nurture almost kind of argument. Like what is happening here at the highest levels? And two women, Anett Grant and Amanda Taylor who are at the Kelley School of Business wanted to know, is part of what’s happening the fact that we’re speaking different languages around authority?

Like is the reason that men are not seeing us as leaders or overlooking us as leaders because we literally are not communicating in the same way about authority? So they took a bunch of folks who were senior level executives at Fortune 500 companies and they compared the men and the women. And they just asked them a simple question. What are the accomplishments in your career that you’re the most proud of?

So that’s a question where everybody is supposed to like stand up and recite your resume, right? You’re supposed to brag about yourself, right? And then they transcribed it and they were shocked at the dramatic difference. And it turns out that women have some — I mean, it’s not surprising.

We’re conditioned to not stand out. We’re supposed to be the nurturers. We’re supposed to keep the tribe together, right? We want everyone to feel included. You know, I’m generalizing but you know what I mean. So, what they found out is so we’re doing that in our communication style.

Even when we do it, when we have created a thing, we will say we and give credit to the entire team almost removing ourselves from our authority in the team. When they went back, they looked at sort of five key things that are like the basis of authority. It’s using numbers.

It’s talking about your positive monetary impact on the bottom line. That’s kind of an obvious one, right? It’s about mentoring or team building. Have you developed products or processes? And then finally, how long have you been doing it? So those were the five key things. So men, 90% of men were hitting three or more of those categories. Less than half of the women even got to three of them.

Barbara:         That’s so interesting.

Marcella:       Right. So, like there’s this huge gap, right? So you imagine the guy next to you is talking about how many — Like you heard — The bio that you read of mine, right, was not my bio nine months ago. Nothing like that.

I read the research and I went back and I had missed like four of the five categories in my bio. And so that’s why like I added in the mentoring. I added in how long I’ve been doing this. I added in how much money my sales have made.

So as women, when we’re communicating, we’re not using those dimensionalized specifics and the men listening to us do not hear a leader because they’re using their own filter in their head, right, which is based on how they communicate.

Barbara:         Right. And so, you know, to a large extent, we need to be retrained.

Marcella:       Exactly, right? And it’s like, like it or not, in the world that we live in, many of the decision makers at the highest level are still men, right? I’m sure that’s true in the medical community. It’s definitely still true in internet marketing, many, many industries, right? You have to understand your audience.

It’s what we know as copywriters, right? Like know your audience. So, you have to communicate to the men at the highest level in the language, in the way in which they’re used to by using specifics, by being able to talk about what you do in a grounded specific way. I’ve mentored this many people.

I’ve made these products. I’ve launched this program. I’ve, you know, generated X, Y, Z in revenue for a company. And as women, we need to want to know those numbers. Half the time, you have to go do the research. I had to go back and add up and talk to some colleagues. I’m like, okay, so how many controls have I had over how many years? And like, you know, I had to do that to even figure out my numbers. They got to know your numbers and they got to be comfortable saying their numbers.

Barbara:         Absolutely. You know, Hedy Lamarr is now known to be really brilliant. She was not recognized as such when she was in office.

Marcella:       No, not in her time frame, no.

Barbara:         But she has a patent that is still being used by the Navy today. However, a quote that she gives is “any girl can look glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.”

Marcella:       Ah! Oh my god! It’s so perfect. And yet she’s in our Women Who Dare deck that we use at the Titanides events, right? She was brilliant. Brilliant!

Barbara:         Yes, she was. So that brings us to our next question. How can women exert their authority without sounding like a bitch?

Marcella:       This is such a double-edged sword, right? And Barbara, I know that you face this too, right? So you learn those five things.

Now, you’re going to stand up and do the five things. And the first that happens is some guy or woman, because women do this to other women, will say, wow, she’s a really aggressive bitch, you know. And they cut you off at the knees, right? And so again, like I wish we lived in a world where women could do that and not have blowback but we know they do have it. So another thing that they found in this study that I thought was fascinating that Grant and Taylor discovered was the women who did this the most successfully, sometimes they said I like I was in charge of, I led but then they would shift to what I call the magic elves solution.

Barbara:         Haha!

Marcella:       So they might say, you know, I was in charge of global expansion for P&G in India or whatever their statement is going to be. Then they would back it down to the project was finished on time, under budget with $2 million saved, 4 million new customers.

So, they didn’t say and I finished it on time and I saved a million dollars and I and — They started with an I but then they would quickly shift back to giving up more specifics without an I statement. And you have to balance it because if you don’t use I ever, then again you lose authority because the magic elves have been running around doing all this lovely stuff and you weren’t there.

But if you use I statements all the time and you’re using all these numbers and being aggressive, then you get the blowback. So the women who navigated that high wire act the best, right, were able to start with an I statement but then used either — You don’t want to use we because we is when you’ve given it away to someone else. And sometimes, that’s appropriate.

We want to give our teams credit, right? But if all you’re using is we, then it just sounds like you were a member of a group, that you weren’t the leader of the group. And again, you’re not perceived as being a leader. So you don’t want to go to we.

What you want to do is try an I statement then maybe go to just a recitation of facts almost with like an it’s or removing the actor, the project was completed. And that seemed to hit the sweet spot of still hitting the categories and not having blowback.

Barbara:         Well, I love the connection between being the leader and also having the magic elves on your team.

Marcella:       Right. Who helped you out? The magic elves helped you out. That’s right.

Barbara:         Yeah. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of times, you know I would hope to have some magic elves around.

Marcella:       Yes. Right. I could use a lot of those these days. I ended up scrubbing my bathroom from top to bottom yesterday. I was like, where are the magic elves when I need them to sanitize the bathroom?

Barbara:         Exactly. How can we as women crash through the glass ceiling?

Marcella:       So I love that you asked this question because I think right now we’re in this weird place and time where there’s been an interesting reaction to the #MeToo movement. And you and I were talking about this earlier where men are afraid to mentor women right now.

They’re afraid of being falsely accused. They’re afraid of having to defend themselves against a lawsuit. Some of the kindest, gentlest, most brilliant men that I work with will now not go to dinner with a young woman unless I’m there. I’ve like become the nanny cam or something. I don’t what it is.

Barbara:         Haha!

Marcella:       And these are good men but they are that afraid, right? Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg’s organization which I love, did a study on this and they found yes, it’s true.

There’s actually less mentoring of women happening at all levels by men and especially at the highest level which is where we need it, in the C-suite and in the executive positions.

I say there is no way we are breaking that glass ceiling unless we are holding the door open to another woman or to stick with a metaphor like I’ve got to throw the pickaxe through it and then I got to turn around and extend my hand to the woman behind me.

Barbara, just like you’re doing in the medical field, right, you have to go through that glass ceiling and then we have to turn around and help the woman behind us. And that hasn’t always been the case, right? There’s often been a culture of competitiveness at the highest level between women. And in fact, women were told not, right — Like no, you just got to focus on yourself and, you know, kind of survival of the fittest.

But actually, the opposite is true. What we need to do is all of us raise more women up together. And when we do that, we actually have the greatest amount of success because there is no one coming to mentor us. We have to be our own mentors.

This is it. It’s you and me and everybody else out there. And I say to the women in my group, you don’t have to have 30 years in the industry. If you have been a copywriter for six months, you know something that the woman who started today doesn’t know. And I’m sure this is true in Medicine as well, right?

A doctor even if you are still in training or even if you are, you know, a year out is going to know something that the resident doesn’t know, right? Like because I think of Medicine as also having a tradition of mentoring, like a long tradition of mentoring.

Barbara:         Absolutely. That’s where the statement comes in, see one, do one, teach one.

Marcella:       Yes. Teach one. I love that. I love that.

We have to post that on the Titanides. I love that idea. And I think that too often again because of our assumption about authority as women we are more likely — I mean, I swear to God. I mean, I love men. But I swear to God, you know, they’ll do it one time and they’ll be like, oh, I got it. I can show you how. And then it’s the classic I don’t read directions. I can figure this out.

And a woman is like if I haven’t done it 750 times perfectly, I couldn’t possibly have anything to say to you about it. And I’m like, bullcrap, bullcrap, you do know. You know more than you know. And you are the expert if you are willing to let yourself just step into that place and know it.

Barbara:         Okay. And by the way, for the men who happened to be listening to the show today, this is valuable for you to know too because I’m sure that you have female colleagues.

Marcella:       Yes, they do.

Barbara:         And you also know — You have to recognize what has been going on, where their mind is at and how you can better help them which in turn will help yourself. It will improve the, you know, environment that you’re working in.

Marcella:       Absolutely.

Barbara:         And it will also help the success rate of whatever as a group you are trying to do.

 Marcella:       And it’s going to attract more brilliant, talented, powerful women. And in fact, my mentor, Henry Bingaman, is the one who sat down with me and helped me redo my resume. I said to him, wait, I’ve got to — You know, he helped me calculate my numbers. He practices —

It’s funny. We had a goofy situation the other day where we’re in a meeting and he’s actually promoting me. He’s like Marcella wrote this. It was our best performing advertorial. I immediately said, oh but you helped me. It was more of a group effort or something like that.

Like I immediately deflected. And I just saw him from the end of the table give me the one eyebrow up, right? And I’m like, oh crap. And I said, what I meant to say was thank you, Henry. Yes, I did a great job on that. So as men, like you can help your women identify their numbers like get really clear. Like sometimes, you have to say to them, but that project was your idea, but you led that entire expansion or you’re the one who came up with that new treatment protocol, right?

So, point that out to them. And then also when you’re introducing them, say that out loud to them. I mean, just Henry doing that at the start of a meeting, everybody in the room then turned to look to me. I had a different authority now in that meeting which is what I wish the person hosting that meeting with you all those years ago, like that’s what a good mentor does, male or female, is hold up, right, their mentees and show them their expertise and help them present it.

Barbara:         That’s true and that segues into a statement that Madeleine Albright said —

Marcella:       Oh, I love Madeleine Albright.

Barbara:         Yes. She said “even before I went to the UN, I often would want to say something in a meeting — only woman at the table — and I’d think, okay, well, I don’t think I’ll say that. It may sound stupid. And then some man says it and everybody thinks it’s completely brilliant.”

Marcella:       Haha!


Barbara:         “And you’re so mad at yourself for not saying something originally.”


Marcella:       Uh-huh. And it’s so true. Like we are our worse self-censors. I swear. Right? Because, you know, the research shows that a man will hit — This is a famous HR study. That a man will hit 80% of the qualifications and he applies for the job.

The women wait until we have 100%. Like literally if it says you can type 90 words a minute and you could only do 89, we don’t apply. Right? Like we are that specific. And so that gets in our way, right? It gets in our way. And we have to learn to just like Madeleine said, just say it, just go ahead and say it. And this is what’s important too. When you say it, do not start out by saying this may sound stupid because you don’t hear guys doing that.

Barbara:         Never.

Marcella:       Guys never.

Barbara:         Never.

Marcella:       Right. So, you have to say — At the most I might say, let me throw something out there or this is just a strawman. They’ll say something like that. But they never say, this may be — Like it’s never derogatory, not this may be stupid or I don’t know what I’m talking about ever. Don’t do that.

Barbara:         How can we confidently display our expertise in a man’s world?

Marcella:       I do think we need to learn how to use these specifics. I mean, for sure, I think that you have to realize that if you are communicating with men, they have a different filter and a different communication style around authority. And we have to become flexible. So we have to be able to thrive in both environments, right?

I love when you said at the beginning, we have to retrain ourselves a little bit, right? I mean, how many people speak two or more languages, right? This is just a different language. This is just a different way of presenting yourself. And the truth is it’s good to do that. It’s good to own our accomplishments.

Barbara:         Absolutely. I understand that you and Dr. Cristy Lopez are building a course. How do you help high-stress professionals get to the next level of success while reducing stress?

Marcella:       So part of what we’ve been doing is talking about the difference between what I call authentic authority and someone who sort of feels like they’re just reciting a script, right?

So if I’m in a situation where I have to credentialize myself and I haven’t done the inner work to be really comfortable with that, to deal with the critic that’s going to cop in my head, to handle self-doubts, like if I haven’t really owned that, then what happens is you have all of this anxiety. It feels like, I don’t know, like you’re standing on stage at Lincoln Center about to sing and you’ve never sung a song in your life, right? Like you’re just like ahhh, right?

So what Dr. Cristy and I are doing is combining the research of where we need to get to, right, this authentic scripts where — We call it an expert positioning statement where you can say, I’m Marcella Allison. I’m the fearless leader of the not-so-secret order of the Titanides. I’ve generated $100 million in sales. But you can do it in a way that feels grounded and authentic to you, not a performance.

And that begins by thinking about your message, your purpose. Who are you in the world? What are you here to do? Why are you doing these accomplishments that you’re reciting, right? Because you’re not just doing them so that you can stand up and tell some guy in a bar what you do.

You’re doing it because that’s where your passion and your purpose and your mission lie. So a lot of the work that Dr. Cristy and I do starts with that fundamental grounding in who you are, what your mission is, what your purpose is in the world. Then we move to addressing your doubts because I will tell you, the first time you get up and you try to say your authority statement, this whole head trash thing, right, really, who are you to say that? Who are you to do that? Well, it wasn’t just you.

There were 10 people with you. Really, you’re going to say you led that? He gave you the idea. Like you will — That little dit-dit-dit. You know this from writing, right? Like it’s that dit-dit-dit. So then we have to deal with that. Then you have to back up. Then you have to say you are the person. Yeah. Who are you? And get really clear about why you’re the person to do that, to say that, to speak that, to lead that. So, we’re starting with owning our authority, moving into handling the doubts then coming back to those statements from a place of a real ownership, right?

Barbara:         Uh-huh.

Marcella:       Ownership and comfort and then still practicing more because like you said, okay, we have to retrain ourselves and that doesn’t just happen at the first sight of the gate. And we’ve decided to do it with women only because of these differences so that we can help each other and feel safe before we have to go try it in a man’s world or even a coed world, right?

Barbara:         So by the way, if a man contacts you, would you let him into the group?

Marcella:       We don’t. What we do is we now, we’ve had so many great men who support us that we now have what’s called male friends of the Titanides.

So, you can become a supporter of the Titanides but all of our coaching always stays women only because the more I look at the research, the more I realize that we need customized solutions because we have different needs and that doesn’t make one better or not better, right?

It’s just so a guy is going to be bored out of his mind because he’d be in general, right, he’d be like, yeah, I already know all this. You know what I mean? Like I’ve used numbers my whole life. Why is this a big deal to you, guys? Just like you know.

Barbara:         Well, I love the fact that it’s customized. What tangible assets can one expect to have at the end of a course that they take with you?

Marcella:       I love how Dr. Cristy and I are doing it. So ultimately, what you’ll have is your expert positioning statement where like just the one that you read of mine at the beginning, right? It’s mine. And I use bits and pieces of it introducing myself or speaking from stages, right? So at the end, you have this script that is your expertise delivered, your authentic authority. But to get there, we have a whole series of writing exercises that we do together.

There are six sessions over five weeks. We have journaling. We have drawing. We have reading our journaling, our writing back and forth to each other. So, we’re deliberately going after each of these.

We have one where we actually go through a conversation about doubts. So you’ll have your journey, almost this whole map of your journey written out and in a visual form to remind you of who you are. And then it’s condensed into this statement but that statement is grounded in that work that we did beforehand. So ultimately, you’ll have the statement but you’re also going to have a pretty amazing body of work around your authority and your background.

Barbara:         Yeah. Like be a zip drive.

Marcella:       Yeah. I love it. I love it. Absolutely, absolutely.

Barbara:         When will the course start? And how can our listeners sign up?

 Marcella:       The course is actually starting on April 7th and we’re doing them in the evenings because we’re recognizing we’re in a pretty crazy time right now. So you may still be going to work, you may not. You may have help at home, you may not. We’re going to do it at 7 in the evening because that’s just a good time for everyone to be able to get on. We start on April 7th and it goes for five weeks but we’re going to squeeze six classes in five weeks. And then best way to find out more information — And you have to pardon me.

This is a mouthful because tech is not my thing. So the best way to get more information is to go to Titanides which is the name of the organization. T-I-T-A-N-I-D-E-S, like Titan and ides of March, dot com slash S-P, like Simon Peter, dash expert dash positioning. So There’s a slash after the dot com obviously. And forgive me for that long length. I tried to reach my tech guy this morning. Like can’t you shorten than for me? He’s like, not in five minutes.

Barbara:         So I want to introduce my listeners to you and your program.

Marcella:       That’s why I’m a writer, not a tech person.

Barbara:         I may be sending all my professional women to you for this because I think it would be helpful to them.

Marcella:       I would love that.

Barbara:         No matter how successful you are, you can always learn by this.

Marcella:       You know, this is funny because when you said that — I have to tell you this. So in this study, there was a woman, one of these women that they researched, right? She had led a project that generated 25 million in revenue for this Fortune 500 company in one month. She had redesigned an entire loan servicing system. She had acquired several customers. She was the chief information officer and she didn’t even hit three of the five categories.

Barbara:         You know, we could all learn from it.

 Marcella:       Right.

Barbara:         I think I would.

Marcella:       Because what I like is it’s not so much about have you done it. It’s about the gap between what you’ve done and how you talk about what you’ve done.

Barbara:         Right.

 Marcella:       We’re falling into that gap, right?

Barbara:         Sure. But I do have another interesting question in my head.

 Marcella:       Lay it on me.

Barbara:         And that is especially since, you know, the kids are home now, what if a professional who is interested in taking your course says, you know, this isn’t just for me. I would like my teenage daughter to take this course because I’d like her to get on it right away.

 Marcella:       Oh wow! Wow! I have not thought about that. I think that could be really powerful. I’d have to reach out to Dr. Cristy but I love that idea. I mean, I think what better way to mentor our young women than to be surrounded by women who are owning their authority. Oh! Oh, I love it.

Barbara:         So you get a 16-, a 17-year-old who is looking towards her future.


Marcella:       Right. 

Marcella:       And she’s going to be interviewing for jobs. She’s going to be interviewing for colleges.

Barbara:         Exactly.

Marcella:       I mean, she needs these skills, right? Oh my god, I love that idea.

Barbara:         And wouldn’t it be great to her started in life right away —

Marcella:       Yes.

Barbara:         The right way instead of having to correct something that we’re all engrained with.

Marcella:       You know, it’s funny because I also, for me, I’m having my team do it with me. I’m like we need to all be doing this for each other, right? So when I speak of you, I want to be sure I’m speaking of you in this way.

I want you to speak of me in this way so that we’re all — Again, the idea that the only way we’re going to break that glass ceiling is if we do this for each other. But I had never thought about doing it with our daughters and I love that idea. So as soon as we get off here, I’m going to email. I’m going to email Dr. Cristy and say — So we are — I will say this.

We are limited because this is a very intensive coaching program and Dr. Cristy has been very generous in saying that I can do 28 but we cannot, we just can’t do more than that because of all the feedback that she gives and the — We want everyone to get attention, right? So we don’t want to do it more than that.

Barbara:         Okay. I do want to point something out, listeners. Because it is a small group, if you are at all interested in exploring this and if this sounds like it’s right for you, jump on the bandwagon now before you are closed out because, you know, it’s not something that comes along that frequently.

Marcella:       I will say we threw in for those who need marketing help, I threw in a bonus which is an hour and a half copy review of a small business, all of their marketing materials, their website, their information emails, their content, their selling. So we added that as a bonus. So even though we’re not doing say product marketing in this, we’re really doing your own personal marketing, we have that as a bonus.

Barbara:         Wow! That is so valuable. That is so valuable.

Marcella:       Yeah. It was a great call. And on it, we had three experts, not just myself. We had Laura Gale who’s a very well-known, respected expert in her field on content, a ghost writer, wrote Brian Kurtz’s book with him. And we had Michele Wolk who was a creative director at Bottom Line for over 20 years. And together, we go through all this material together. So there’s a really nice marketing bonus too while we’re building our authority.

Barbara:         Well, this has been a great episode. Thank you so much for everything that you’ve taught us, Marcella.

Marcella:       Thank you for having me. This was so kind of you.

Barbara:         This has been an episode of Marketing Tips for Doctors. I’m your host, Dr. Barbara Hales. Until next time.


Connect with Marcella Allison:  

Facebook: Why Didn’t Anybody Tell Me This Sh*t Before? & Titanides (Private Group)

Website: &

Book: Why Didn’t Anybody Tell Me This Sh*t Before?: Wit and Wisdom from Women in Business

Vimeo: Titanides Salon

Enroll in the Expert Positioning Mastery Course Now – Course Beings April 7, 2020!


Connect with Barbara Hales: 

Twitter:   @DrBarbaraHales



Show website:



YouTube: TheMedicalStrategist