Back when Jimmy Choo co-founder Tamara Mellon was on the company's board, she asked for a raise and got an upsetting response.
The former chief creative officer of the luxury shoe line recalled how the mostly male board of directors for Jimmy Choo (she was the only woman on the board) rebuffed her request for a pay raise, even though she came to them with research on what fair market value was for her title.
She told CNN Money that she was making 70% less than her competitors. "You feel undervalued. You feel sort of patronized," she said.
In a separate Forbes op-ed, Mellon revealed that she had asked for the salary hike after accidentally discovering during a sale of the company that male executives in the company's C-suite were making more than her. "I was judged, even penalized, for asking," she says.
Mellon, who now runs her own eponymous shoe line with mostly female executives, offered up some advice for other women working against the wage gap. For starters, she tells women not to stay silent on the topic of pay and to know your worth — even if you're feeling insecure (in other words, don't succumb to imposter syndrome). Even though she didn't get the raise she wanted, looking back, she would have told her younger self to speak up even more.
And when it comes time to have the salary talk, she suggests not rattling off a laundry list of personal accomplishments. Rather, focus on how you've exceeded your job description, what future projects on your plate will contribute to your growth, and what you do to help your supervisor on a day-to-day basis.
At the end of the day, asking to be paid what you're worth is about speaking up for yourself. "I can’t think of a more important practice that showing up for yourself," Mellon wrote. "And it’s just that — a practice, a daily exercise in walking the walk."