WOW! That's how I sum up the 4th Annual Women Business Collaborative (WBC) Action for Impact Summit which took place September 21 and 22. Over the two days, I was amazed at the quality of the speakers and panels, and the excitement and energy that were so evident. From using data to achieve DEI, to rethinking your hiring, to “The Talent War is over and talent has won,” there was so much to absorb and apply to your business, your career, your life. If you missed it, the links to all the talks are below. Enjoy, and please share.
I started my career as an academic anthropologist, then shifted my focus to banking and then healthcare. As a consultant or an executive, I quickly found that whether it was a staff meeting, a board meeting, or a client meeting, I was often the only woman in the room. When it was my turn to make a presentation, I watched with wonder as some of the men left to get coffee. When I shared my ideas, my insights or wisdom were often ignored.
I realized that my male colleagues weren’t going to change the prevailing culture and suddenly include a woman in "how we do things here." Things had to change if they were going to accept me, listen to me, follow me. But for the culture to change, I had to be the enabler of those changes. I had to help others feel comfortable letting me be part of their team as a highly competent, albeit female, teammate. As I stated in a recent Authority Magazine interview, which you can read here, here are the strategies that helped me do that. I wrote this article to help other women better choose the firms with which to work and create the right cultures for the future in which men and women work better together.
Want to help change the world for working women?
Please be our guest at our 4th Annual Women Business Collaborative (WBC) Action for Impact Summit taking place virtually on September 21 and 22. Join WBC members and hundreds of business people like yourself for a day and a half of high-level panels and speakers discussing how best to create equal position, pay and power for all women.
Photo courtesy of The New York Times. Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Multiple news outlets, including the NY Times, published an announcement on July 7th, 2022 that the Las Vegas Raiders (sorry, I still think of them as the Oakland Raiders) hired Sandra Douglass Morgan as their President, the first African American woman to hold the role in N.F.L. history.
Why is this important for leadership?
The hiring of Ms. Morgan is important for three reasons:
First, in a male dominated sport, until recently it went against the established norms to hire a female senior executive. Three of my previous blogs talk to this point:
- Two Incredible Women Who Are Succeeding In A Man's World
- Women "Firsts" Shatter Stereotypes, Look Forward
- No Women Coaches In The NBA? Yeah, Becky Hammon Changed That.
Second, Ms. Morgan is a person of color, and while the Rooney Rule (expanded this year to include women) doesn’t appear to be working in hiring head coaches of color, something does appear to be working in the front office with the hiring of a minority CEO.
Third, women handle problem-solving differently than men. Perhaps this will work well for both the Raiders and the National Football League.
With all that's going on today and in your world, do you sometimes feel down? Overwhelmed? Wishing there was a way to feel happy, joyful, fulfilled?
Me too. That's why I was thrilled to be interviewed recently by Authority magazine for its interview series "Finding Happiness and Joy During Turbulent Times." They're talking with experts, business leaders, authors and mental health professionals who share lessons from their research and experience about how to find happiness and joy during troubled and turbulent times. And boy, aren't those the times we're living in. You can read the interview here.
As I waited to present to a group of male CEOs at a conference, I listened to several men complaining about how hard it was for them to attract a diverse workforce and integrate them into their current culture. One man said: "It took me three months to finally find a capable woman of color. She was great but lasted three months. She just didn't fit with the rest of the company. What am I going to do? My board is urging me to diversify and change my organization. Where do I begin?"
Probably a familiar story requiring new leadership skills
Recently I had the great honor to be the keynote speaker at the MLive 2022 Women’s Summit in Detroit, MI. It was a wonderful experience and a true joy to be surrounded by a room full of bright, energized women entrepreneurs eager to learn and achieve and break down barriers in their lives, both professionally and personally. The title of my talk was "Leading Forward," because I feel that is so important today — encouraging women leaders, particularly women in business, to boldly pursue the best that they can be. You can watch and listen to my address here.
I am thrilled and honored that my book, Rethink: Smashing The Myths of Women in Business, was recently given the bronze award for Best Women in Business Book by Axiom Business Book Awards. (My first book, On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights, also won Axiom's bronze award.) Presented in 23 business categories, these prestigious and competitive awards serve as the premier list to help readers discover new and innovative works, says Axiom. Previous medalists include Nobel laureate Robert Shiller, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Pulitzer Prize winner Doris Kearns Goodwin. So I'm in good company.
11,000 business books are published each year. Why was mine honored?
All the press are celebrating the agreement by The United States Soccer Federation to align the Women's and Men's Soccer teams' pay and distribution of prize monies. It is time, isn't it?
The Federation has reached landmark collective-bargaining agreements with its men's and women's national teams. The terms create pay parity, aligning the men's and women's teams’ pay and creating a unique mechanism to share the prize money coming from their respective World Cup competitions. This deal recognizes that regardless of sex, people are people, and they should be paid for performance, not for gender.
Photo courtesy of Jake Pollock/NY Times
In soccer. In football. In basketball. Now in ski patrols. More and more, women today are breaking barriers and smashing glass ceilings in fields that traditionally have been men-only, not just in sports but across all disciplines: business, politics, medicine, law, tech...the list goes on.
Which causes me to ask the question: Is one of the reasons women are finally making strides in male-controlled fields and changing the status quo the fact that men themselves are changing too? The February 11, 2021 New York Times article, "A Surge of Women in Ski Patrols, Once Nearly All Men," speaks to this point. It describes how "as the number of women in ski patrols has increased, so has acceptance that the service, a network of volunteer and professional organizations nationwide dominated by men for decades, is finally catching up to the times."