Self-Promotion for Women: How to Advocate for Yourself and Achieve Your Goals

Women are less likely to self-promote than men—let’s change that.
Mady Dewey.

Mady Dewey.

Welcome to Dews & Don’ts, where Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model Mady Dewey shares stories and lessons she’s learned navigating her relationships, career and well-being in her twenties. New stories release twice a month on Wednesdays.

At 21, I graduated college, packed my bags, moved across the country and started my career at Google.

My journal from the weeks following graduation was lined with affirmations, gratitudes and accomplishments that I was proud of, like being the first woman in my family to graduate from college, paying for my education, landing a great job and being an involved sister to four siblings.

However, during a company onboarding training called “I am Remarkable”, I soon realized what lived comfortably inside my journal was not so comfortable to say out loud.

In fact, it was nearly impossible.

When asked to share my accomplishments with a group of strangers, I wanted to run out of the room and never come back. It was a combination of shame and guilt; I didn’t want people to know what I had been through, nor did I feel that what I was proud of was “worth” being celebrated.

Through “I am Remarkable,” I was taught that this feeling of unworthiness when talking about accomplishments is actually a common occurrence, especially amongst women.

In a study conducted by Christine Exley, associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School and Judd B. Kessler, an associate professor of business economics and public policy at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, women were less likely to self-promote even when they clearly performed better than others.

I left the training and made the decision that I didn’t want self-promotion to be uncomfortable. After years of practice, I feel proud to share loudly what I’ve accomplished, and I want other women to feel the same. Which brings us to today’s Dew’s and Don’ts on self-promotion.

When to self-promote at work and when not to

Do (Dew) start small

Start by practicing with the people you’re comfortable with. Whether that’s a family member, friend or mentor, start sharing and start celebrating your accomplishments.

Do (Dew) own your work

Was it your work or was it the team’s? Being honest about the work you did doesn’t make you any less of a team player.

Don’t expect mind-reading

You can’t expect people to read your mind. This goes beyond just your career, it’s important in your relationships, too. You need to verbalize what you have done and what you want.

By verbalizing your accomplishments, you are not only advocating for yourself, but strengthening the communication between you and the people around you.

Remember, it’s O.K. that self-promotion doesn’t come naturally, but with a little bit of practice, you can take control of your career and encourage others to do the same!

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Mady Dewey


Mady Dewey is a cohost of the Socially Well podcast and SI Swimsuit model. The Santa Clarita, Calif., native is an advocate for female founders and hopes to create change and increase accessibility to resources for women in male-dominated VC and tech industries. She is the founder and CEO of a metrics-free social media app, Herd, catered to women and nonbinary people. The app is meant to be a safe, casual and kind space for people who want to share without comparing or being compared. With more than 85,000 users, Dewey is now focusing on taking what she learns from the app and expanding it to the world. She is the 2022 SI Swim Search winner and is a rookie in the ’23 issue.