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The Non-Conformist

April 12, 2018

 

Being a conformist didn’t inspire me or anyone else.  Early in my career, I thought that conformity was necessary.  As I matured in my career and formulated what I wanted my impact to be and what legacy I wanted to leave I stopped conforming.  I realized that I wasn’t leading, I was following.

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Sharing Wisdom

March 19, 2018

My best days are spent with those willing to share their wisdom. They most often give their gifts through inspirational story telling.

Reflections on International Women’s Day

March 12, 2018

The action that took place on International Women’s Day was invigorating.  The articles and stories I read gave me energy and fueled my hope that our workplaces, homes, and society will embrace equality.

I heard a lot about the importance of mentoring, sponsorship and finding a voice.  I wanted to hear more about how we are educating our children about prejudice, equality and double standards.

Admitting the inequities exist was the first challenge, finding our voice to talk about the issues was the second. Seeing the world accept and validate they exist is what we see happening today.  The actions that took place on International Women’s Day renewed my faith that we will get to equality.

Failure doesn’t wait

March 6, 2018

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Big breakthroughs and big breaks don’t happen to you, you make them happen. You must push boundaries, move beyond what others believe is possible and most importantly you must take risks that others will not. You have to be the person that is not afraid to fail. So how do you get there? How do you develop that kind of courage? First, you must define failure. There are many quotes about failure and often it is defined as being afraid to try. Whatever your endeavor you must view it as a journey, one that you will learn from and one that will deliver positive and possibly negative outcomes. Decide up front what you will do with the negative outcomes. Will you learn from them? Will you share them so that others don’t make the same mistakes? The most effective thing you can do with failure is to take it and create you next roadmap for success.

Just ask “why”, one more time

March 1, 2018

Today a young man asked me how I became a leader.  I told him I asked “why” one more time than everyone else.  Sounds simple but it takes courage, a commitment to learning and the willingness to be relentless in your quest to answer “why”.

3 things I no longer fear:

February 27, 2018
  1. Speaking up when I am the only woman in the room. I don’t let the fact I am a woman dictate how I handle myself, my ideas and my contributions in a business environment. Most importantly I am not trying to compensate for the fact I am different, I have learned to celebrate it.
  2. Protecting women in the workplace who are demonstrating poor leadership just because they are female. There have been many times where I have been expected to support and advocate for a woman who have demonstrated poor leadership solely based on their gender. I find that hypocritical. I want to be judged on my merits and that is how I measure others. I work tirelessly in my personal time to support educate and sponsor gender equality and diversity in corporate America, but I expect those women who want and those that have leadership positions to earn them through their actions and their words.
  3. Worrying about what is said about me behind closed doors. It doesn’t matter who “they” are, I am simply no longer concerned. Now I have to get over the fact that I lost so much sleep worrying about what people were saying. This took a lot of intentional work and maturity but I feel so free!

Fostering Inclusiveness

February 20, 2018

 

Getting to the table is important but being accepted as a key contributor is what matters. We all want to be included but if you look or act different from the core group and those differences are not embraced we often disengage, derail or walk away. We have focused our time and attention on getting women to take a seat at the table but are we equipping them with the tools to stay, contribute and sit up tall?

So, whose responsibility is it to foster inclusiveness in the workplace? How much can we accomplish on our own? How long can we be the outsider before we throw in the towel? Our mentors and our sponsors coach and guide us to leadership positions and often walk away believing their job is done but for us it’s just begun.

Most women I know, even at the highest leadership positions grapple with the issue of feeling included and accepted. They talk about not being invited to the happy hour but when they are they feel out-of-place. They struggle with being the only women in the room and then argue with their inner voice that says, “this is what you wanted!” They feel guilty that they even have these thoughts, so they often suppress them, push them down and don’t talk about the isolation until it affects their ability to be effective.  We build communities where we talk about these issues and that makes us feel marginally better but often the groups we go to for support are not inclusive to the broader audience that is the source of the struggle. As a society we need to develop tools sets and venues that address diversity and inclusiveness, it’s not enough to get a seat at the table.