Teamwork

How to Balance Your Crazy Busy Holiday Season

‘Tis not the season to run yourself ragged, but I know that for many women, that’s what happens during the holidays. If your constant companion is an endless to-do list, you are not alone. As women, we tend to give, and give, and give some more taking care of people at home, at work, and in the community. Now that we’re well into the holiday season – aka the season of giving – we ramp that up and our time revolves around (likely unreasonable) expectations about parties, shopping, gifts, and spending time with friends and family. In the quest to hit the deadline, find the perfect gift or attend the next party many of us lose sight of our own health and wellbeing. If we’re not careful, we find ourselves overwhelmed, too exhausted to do or give another thing, and waiting anxiously for the holidays to be over.

With all you have to do, it may seem counter intuitive to reach out to another woman for help. Sure, she’s busy too, but your women friends really can help you get through a stressful holiday season with year-end deadlines at work. With their encouragement, you will find new ways to be kinder to yourself and maybe even cross things off your list, as long as you can find the courage to ask for the help you need. As we wrote in, In This Together, “You can put five women together in a room, and within an hour they’ll have analyzed the problem, made a plan, divided up the action steps, and begun to work toward a solution. Women share skills of problem solving and mutual respect and complement one another’s strengths.”

With our “tend and befriend” approach to stressful situations, women can be your strongest allies and your greatest source of encouragement this time of year. A quick cup of coffee with a friend could help you prioritize and develop a path forward. A quick phone call with a colleague can give you an action plan and make your unmanageable situation suddenly doable. We have been taught to conceal our vulnerability. But when we act authentically and invite others to help us solve a problem, we discover strength and power to accomplish things far beyond anything we can do alone.

Kathy LeMay, founder, president, and CEO of Raising Change, knows that it’s a balancing act and that it can be tough to manage overwhelm at the end of the year. At this time of year, leaders like Kathy can be thinking, “I can’t believe how much I have to do. I can’t believe other people have already done their holiday shopping while I haven’t done laundry in a month.” Kathy recommends three tips to manage end-of-year overwhelm:

  1. Write everything down to manage the details
  2. Take your time on each task rather than rushing
  3. Take yourself for a walk at least three times a week

Those are all great, effective ideas, and I want to add: Reach out to other women. Especially during the holidays, each of us needs to support other women everywhere. Not one of us is as creative, skilled, and powerful as we are together.

Ultimately the most important thing you can do for your health and well-being this season – and every other day of the year – is to be true to yourself. You really can’t be all things to all people. No, you can’t. So take a break, take a breath, and nurture yourself and your connections. You deserve a happy holiday season, too! And the better care you take of yourself, the more you will have to give. It’s a miracle!

A New Day for Women

by Dr. Nancy D. O’Reilly

With so many voices crying out to be noticed right now, it’s difficult to hear each individual message. Like everyone who watched the Golden Globe Awards, I cheered Oprah’s message about how Sidney Poitier’s winning the Oscar affected her as a young black girl watching from the cheap seats and how she is aware of the young black girls watching her today. For me, too, role modeling, mentoring and bringing up the next generation of women leaders is a strong motivator. But the most important part of her message for our times is her emphasis on using our stories to expose those who abuse their power over others. This power of our stories is what women are accessing today. If you listen carefully, you will hear one tale composed by many voices speaking all together, and as Oprah said in her speech, “women are the story.”
Now is the time for us to accelerate the momentum that began with the Women’s March a year ago by supporting #metoo and “Time’s Up.” We need to change the culture in permanent ways so these events and stories don’t fade into a forgotten history. This month Leadership Ambassadors Tabby Biddle and Elisa Parker are rolling out 50 Women Can Change the World in Media and Entertainment. This Take the Lead initiative both inspires women storytellers who work behind the cameras in Hollywood and gives them the tools to rise to roles where they can tell the stories women and girls need to hear.
Women are stepping forward to run for office in record numbers, with pro-choice Emily’s List reporting last November “nearly 21,000 women interested in running since last year’s election, up from a record 920 who expressed interest in the 2016 campaign.” We have a mid-term election cycle this year and with so many veteran senators retiring, there are opportunities for women candidates to replace elderly white men. In fact, black women’s solidarity in the South is credited for defeating Roy Moore in the Alabama special election and the call is out for more capable smart women leaders of all colors to step forward and serve their communities.
The Millennial women I speak with inspire me. Unlike my generation, they refuse to betray their gender to lead as men. They step forward as educated, talented young women who expect the companies that employ them to satisfy their needs for fulfillment at work, challenges and equal opportunities for advancement. But they also expect that workplace to be led by people who look like them, with women in direct proportion to men, especially on boards and in the C-suite, where women are notably missing. Their vision is of people of both genders working together as partners with respect for one another’s skills and accessing all that is available for a sustainable future for all of us.
As special correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning, Oprah interviewed a group of Hollywood activist women involved with Time’s Up, which they described as a campaign without a leader. Women can get it done without a specific leader. Their goal is to maintain momentum for women who cannot speak – because we have the spotlight. So far Time’s Up has raised $16 million legal defense fund to help plaintiffs get a lawyer. When Oprah asked if this movement was going to succeed in ending harassment and abuse, Lucas Film President Kathleen Kennedy said, “The time’s up for silence. We can start there.” Actress Tracee Ellis Ross said, “There’s a constructive fury for a resolute pursuit of equity.”
Yes, perpetrators need to gain an understanding of consent and respect and some men need extensive relearning. But the culture is still so toxic, there are many areas where even strong powerful women are still afraid to speak up. For now, let the focus remain on hearing and healing the women, rather than immediately shifting the spotlight to forgiveness and helping the perpetrators. Let the abusers feel uncomfortable for a while and listen to women. Reece Witherspoon paraphrased a quote by Elie Wiessel, “Silence helps the tormentors, not the tormented.”
I agree with Oprah and the other activist women that a new day is on the horizon. The time is NOW! I really believe we are ready to step forward and take charge of our future. Women and men are tired of feeling less and being used and ignored.  We want equality at last. In time, we can move forward to reconciliation and re-education. But right now, let’s reach out to support other women telling their stories, embrace this concept, open our hearts and souls to this new day, and heal together.

50 Women CAN Change the World

Founder See Jane Do

Elisa Parker


Media maven Elisa Parker travels the world to connect people through their stories. Founder and host of the radio show, See Jane Do, she is a dedicated activist for women, social justice and the environment, which is why she became a Take the Lead Ambassador almost two years ago and co-launched the initiative, 50 Women Can Change the World in Media and Entertainment with fellow Ambassador Tabby Biddle.  Elisa says that 50 Women Can is a game changer, as media creates how women and girls see themselves in our culture. To write a new history for women’s leadership, the storytellers have to be women, telling stories to empower women and show them how they can use their intrinsic power.

Feminine Power

Elisa’s own story about redefining power came when she left her high-paying job and had to become reliant on her husband’s income. She suddenly had to re-evaluate her value and self-worth. As a result, when she created See Jane Do, she sought to share stories to help women identify their own self-worth without regard to position and income and base their leadership potential on more intrinsic qualities. Now, she says we’re at a paradigm shift and are redefining the essence of power: power can be love, relationships and shared resources. Women increase their power when they come together and support one another to work toward the same goal. It’s about power with and power to, not about power over.
That is the momentum behind 50 Women Can Change the World in Media and Entertainment. As a Take the Lead Initiative, 50 Women follows a format where 50 women are nominated to be THE women in their field that can change the world to help achieve gender parity by 2025 (the mission of Take the Lead). Dr. Nancy put the support of WomenConnect4Good, Inc. behind the Media and Entertainment initiative to help transform the way women and girls see themselves. Until the stories about women are told by women, we remain stuck in the patriarchal system that holds women back.

The Progress of 50 Women Can

Elisa is very excited about the progress and the way this initiative works. The 50 women are just now being notified if they were selected, and Elisa credits the advisory committee with helping to produce an incredible cross section of women. Specifically, they wanted to choose from those women who have the most influence in shaping the story, which includes being able to develop, support and fund the content. In other words, they wanted to bring together women who are really making the decisions for female-led and female-centered content. Representatives ranged from executives representing most of the major networks, to women who have their own production studios, who are producers, directors, writers, cinematographers, and so on. The group is diverse, and ranges throughout ages, abilities and races. In the end, there were at least 40% women of color, as opposed to the 12% that represents the industry at large.
The selection process is only the beginning. The goal is for these 50 women to put their expertise in one place and use it to change the dynamics of the stories that show women what they can be. In this interview, Dr. Nancy talked about “Hidden Figures” and what it meant to budding girl-scientists. In fact, there were many women’s voices speaking out this year in the kind of unison that gets things done.

Perfect Timing

With the #Metoo movement, Elisa said that she feels like they are embracing the controversy at this very moment. However, she also stressed that they need their “man fans,” and count among their partners male advocates that are helping as well. As they move forward into their next phase, they will fine tune the program. The 50 women will most likely break out in smaller groups to co-create something together. What they will do will ultimately be determined by them.
Stay tuned for announcement of the winners and more about the progress. Listen to this interview for more inside stories about how Elisa and Gloria met, and how Tabby Biddle and Elisa came to launch 50 Women. Check out the interviews and other posts on See Jane Do,  and more. These are exciting times, and Elisa and Dr. Nancy both urge you to participate. Women can do anything together.
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Five Must-Do’s for Women Seeking Greater Influence in 2017

Charlene Ryan had never been political, but the polarizing candidates in 2016 changed that. For the first time, she worked to elect a candidate and even donated money. Since the election, although nervous, she is ready to play a leadership role in her community, but where to begin?
The first step is to lean into her circle of women friends. The 20 women now in the US Senate – from both sides of the aisle – have made news by meeting for dinner every quarter to work together. One of their most notable agreements prevented a government shutdown in 2013. One commentator joked, “The women are the only grownups left in Washington.”
No one party or person has all the good ideas, so the important thing is for us all to work together for the good of the country. Here are a few useful strategies I’ve learned from the smart, amazing women co-authors of my book, Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business and Life. These strategies will increase your ability to advance your beliefs and increase your influence.

1. Look closely at how you feel about exercising power.

Today, many women and men are willing to step up and act. Feldt’s nine power tools help women understand who they are so they can define their own terms. Women have plenty of ambition, but too often fail to use it to develop their plan, and take responsibility for working it.
Although the doors to power have been open for decades, women haven’t been stepping through. Co-author Gloria Feldt says when power is defined as “power over,” women want no part of it. When she redefines it as the “power to” work with others, women feel quite differently. With this simple paradigm shift women can “choose power over fear to lead authentically as women.”

2. Build your power by speaking in public. 

By speaking up, “A woman is transcending conventional attitudes toward the woman’s role and the woman’s place,” Phillips says. That’s OK. Claim your outsider status as a badge of honor. Draft your bio carefully and let the emcee establish your expertise so you get the respect you deserve.
“Delivering a presentation that achieves its purpose can be empowering,” says co-author Lois Phillips, PhD. Success requires planning, so start by deciding: What do I stand for? What do I believe? Am I willing to take the heat for asserting my ideas?

3. Plan ways to keep the floor and make yourself heard. 

For example, if another woman acknowledges an interruption by saying, “Now, let’s hear more of what Elaine was saying,” she is more likely to regain the floor. When a man offers Elaine’s idea as his own, her ally could say, “Thanks for supporting Elaine’s idea. Let’s ask her to give us a few more data points.” There are personal strategies to help a woman recover after an interruption, but she is much more likely to succeed with allies.
Men are accustomed to talking over women, says gender communication expert and co-author Claire Damken Brown, PhD. To combat that, strategize with other women to get the message out.
When you do have the floor, make sure you don’t numb your audience with every detail. Keep it simple, and offer one word, one sentence and then one paragraph to keep the attention of the audience.

4. Gather Your Nerve and Take Your Rightful Seat

“Women have been trained to hide their skills,” says international speaker and co-author Lois P. Frankel, PhD. She urges women to claim the seat they deserve at the table, regardless of how many men are present.
“Think strategically but act tactically,” says Frankel. While it’s tempting to roll up your sleeves and jump into an assignment, ask yourself some questions first, such as, “Will doing this add value? What is the most efficient way to do it? Should I be doing this or is someone else better suited? What might be a better idea?”

5. Strategize and Use Your Feminine Leadership Skills

Bringing dissenting sides together, knowing when to push, when to pull, and when to stand your ground is typical of feminine negotiation styles. These so-called soft skills are in fact hard to learn and apply, according to-author Birute Regine, EdD. Considering all sides of an issue, listening attentively, empathizing and keeping your focus on the big picture are feminine skills that help women develop beneficial policies.
The quarterly dinners of Democrat and Republican women senators are an example of this willingness to work together. “The women are an incredibly positive force,” one woman confided to a TIME reporter. “We work together well, and we look for common ground.”
Women like Charlene Ryan get involved when they want to change something. That’s great! When you learn a great change technique, apply it in your own life and share it with another woman. Let’s create a world in which every woman claims her power, sees her advice and expertise valued and respected, conquers her internal barriers, and works together with other women and men.

We All Must Change the Status Quo

The recent cases of manterrupting in the news have refocused the spotlight on the age-old problem of men who, intentionally or not, monopolize the discussion or interrupt women’s speaking turns. As Tali Mendelberg and Chris Karpowtiz told CNN, women need more than a seat at the table, and their studies revealed that women are silenced when they hold a smaller percentage of the room. Further academic studies, dating back to as early as 1975, make it clear that being interrupted, talked over, shut down or penalized for speaking out is nearly a universal experience for women when they are outnumbered by men.

While women have to be able to gain equal time on the floor and be shown enough respect to make their ideas heard, the burden of changing the status quo should not fall only to women. As recently reported in The Atlantic, “Part of the problem with the usual advice for curbing these interruptions is that it puts the onus on women to do something differently. They are frequently encouraged to speak up—even though this is what they are so often prevented from doing in the first place and even though some men seem to view any amount of speech from a woman as annoying and superfluous.”

Judith Williams, a diversity consultant and former head of unconscious-bias training at Google warns that we have to be careful about ‘fix the woman’ type of thinking. At Google, Williams developed and led a “bias-busting” presentation, and later a workshop, which took on a range of patterns related to unconscious bias as it plays out in meetings, mentorships, and promotions. She recommended methods such as taking turns and stating a “zero interruptions” policy at the start of a meeting. She also encouraged an atmosphere where it’s okay to gently point out when a colleague is being interrupted and redirect the conversation back to them, no matter how senior the guilty party is.

There are many ways that male leaders can value, praise and advance women. To change the way men and women communicate and make their voices heard in the workplace is going to take all of us working together. Several companies are beginning to take note of the issue, and are taking steps to curb the problem – making sure employees feel comfortable and empowered at work, no matter their gender.

Anne-Marie Slaughter writes in Financial Times that she has witnessed a number of techniques used by effective male leaders to ensure everyone is heard. For example, not only should male leaders give a women credit for a point or idea when she makes it, it is also important to make sure that all women at the table have a chance to speak. Slaughter also writes that if a woman is interrupted, it is important that leadership makes sure to either forestall the interruption or to come back to her. That practice will again emphasize that you genuinely value what she has to say, rather than just hearing her voice. It is of course an excellent practice when men are interrupted too.

PR Week points out that the status quo is limiting. It’s damaging for women to be seen as bossy when they speak up at work. While much progress has been made, the reality is that there is a lot of work to be done before equality is achieved. By recognizing the problem, and working together to solve it, we can create workplaces that attract and retain top talent, and reach parity sooner rather than later. It is time that we truly work together to level the playing field, and create an inclusive workplace that supports both women and men.

Make Room for Social Justice

Lead Coach Leadership Matters Consulting

Patricia Jerido


Patricia Jerido has earned her MSW, and served over 30 years as an advocate for social justice, so when she founded Leadership Matters Consulting, she engaged her skills to help those well-intentioned people who wanted to do good but needed a road map and guidance to truly make a difference in the world. She says the stakes are too high to rely on simply wanting to do good; we must employ strategy, discipline, review, candor, and compassion to make our work effective.
Since she was a small child during the Cold War, Patricia thought adults were way off the mark in focusing their energy on ways to destroy the world instead of making room for the people who could make the world a better place. Given that there are so many talented people in the world, Patricia wonders at the inefficiency of a society that would limit their participation. In fact, her view is to level the playing field by assisting those who need a step up to help create a socially just system that uses all of its resources for a sustainable way of life.

The Challenge Is to Dream Bigger

When Barack Obama was elected president, Patricia realized that she hadn’t been dreaming big enough.  The possibility of a black president had never occurred to her and suddenly it was real. To enlarge her dream, she became a Take the Lead Leadership Ambassador to help women reach parity by understanding their relationship with power. Patricia says that power is about connection. She realizes that she is more powerful when there are more people like her who have power. When she is the only person in the room, that’s when she has the least advantage. She says the key is to build your network by working with other people like yourself. Parity isn’t going to come by itself.
Like all social justice initiatives, we have to develop strategies and work toward that end. Patricia has her eye on the long view. Today, she speaks to groups about the need for patience to stay sane in this political environment. As an example, she explains that the Underground Railroad existed 35 years before the Civil War. Then she reminds them that it’s only May.

Mindfulness Meets Social Justice

Many of Patricia’s words of wisdom center on staying alert to what’s around you. With things so easy In today’s world, we’re apt to go on auto-pilot. Patricia warns against it. She agrees with the Dalai Lama who told Dr. Nancy that the fate of the world is in the hands of the western woman, but she must wake up to improve it. Patricia says that we must be aware of what we do and live our lives fully. To find out more, listen to this conversation and visit Leadership Matters Consulting.com and follow Patricia on Twitter @culturalmusings.

A Collaboration Crash Course

How to Join Forces With Other Women (When You’re Used to Going It Alone)
Collaboration is an incredibly valuable skill in today’s marketplace, and what’s more, women are naturals at it. But if you’ve always been the “lone (she) wolf” type, you may not know how to get started. Dr. Nancy D. O’Reilly offers 10 tactics to kick-start your collaborating career. 
We all know that the ability to collaborate is a crucial skill in the global economy. And it’s not hard to see why. The problems faced by today’s organizations have gotten so incredibly complex that a diverse range of skill sets is needed to solve them. After all, no one can possibly be good at everything. No two people will ever arrive at exactly the same solution. And of course, there’s an amazing synergy that arises when we join forces with others.
And here’s the coup de grâce, says licensed psychologist Dr. Nancy D. O’Reilly: Women are perfectly poised to catch and ride the collaboration wave to unprecedented heights.
“Women are hardwired to connect, to share ideas, to combine resources, and yes, to change the world,” says O’Reilly, who along with 19 other women, cowrote the new book Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business, and Life (Adams Media, 2015, ISBN: 978-1-440-58417-6, $16.99, www.drnancyoreilly.com). “This ability is the cornerstone of the women-helping-women movement that’s taking shape.
“Women are at our most powerful when we join forces, so if we don’t do it, we squander our greatest strength,” she adds. “Plus, working together for the greater good feels good!”
So what is collaboration? “Basically, it’s what happens when you put five women in a room and watch how they can make anything happen. The word impossible disappears from the language when we apply our individual talents with our power to achieve a common purpose.  We not only get it done in record time, we have a lot of fun doing it.”
“Magic happens when we collaborate,” she explains. “We’re influenced by each other’s take on things, and ideas begin to evolve. We draw from each other’s energy. Something entirely new is born, and it’s often far greater than anything one person could have come up with alone.”
One thing’s for sure: Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur seeking to start something new, an employer wanting to expand her company, or an employee hoping to “lean in” further, collaboration is an incredibly valuable skill for staying viable in today’s marketplace.
So if collaboration is as natural as breathing for women, why can’t YOU seem to do it? Maybe you’re steeped in the “rugged individualism” mindset. Maybe you’ve had some bad experiences with “group projects” in the past. Maybe you’ve even bought into the outdated notion that other women are competitors. For whatever reason, you’re just not used to seeking out other women to join forces with—and it’s time for that to change.
Here, O’Reilly shares 10 tactics to help you unlock the “power of sisterhood” by tapping into the women-helping-women movement:
Understand up front that collaboration goes beyond mere “connecting.” Technology may have made it easy to reach out to and network with a large number of people, but collaborating in a strategic way goes far beyond collecting LinkedIn connections, Facebook friends, or Twitter followers. (Not that there is anything wrong with doing these things; actually, social media can be a valuable collaboration tool.) How deep and how broad our reach is, and how well we can partner with other women, determines our success.
“Collaboration is about building a real relationship with someone, not just striking a business deal or adding another name to your digital Rolodex,” O’Reilly comments. “So don’t rush to the close. Take it slow, get to know each other, take an interest, and follow up. Don’t miss out on the satisfaction of gaining a new friend.”
Think creatively about who you might collaborate with and why. Sometimes potential collaborations are fairly obvious. For instance, if you have expertise as an interior designer but lack experience with bookkeeping and managing a staff, you might partner with another woman who does have those skills. But other times, fertile collaborations aren’t so obvious. Think outside the box about who might have the same needs and goals as you.
“For example, let’s say you sell home alarm systems,” says O’Reilly. “You could seek out other businesses that have a customer base you’d like to tap into—like contractors and home builders—and pay them a percentage for referrals. I’ve even heard of women who collaborate with competitors. If one person is approached by a client who would benefit more from a competitor’s expertise, she refers that client—and vice versa. Ultimately, everyone wins—each woman is able to play to her strengths, and the client walks away happy.”
 Don’t gravitate toward women who are like you. It’s a natural human tendency to seek out and spend time with people who share our viewpoints, opinions, attitudes, and methods. It feels good when others validate how and what we think. But on the flip side, that’s not how we learn.
“Be careful that your efforts to collaborate don’t turn into groupthink or an echo chamber,” O’Reilly warns. “Instead, seek out women who have skills and strengths you don’t already have. Remember that as long as respect and civility are present, debates and disagreements are a good thing. That’s how amazing, higher-level creativity is fueled.”
 Set a collaboration goal. Put some numbers with it or get it on the calendar. Good intentions don’t mean much when it comes to successful collaborating. If you don’t have a finite goal to work toward, it will be all too easy to “think about it tomorrow,” Scarlett O’Hara-style.
“Decide that you’ll connect with X women a month or meet X times a month with a collaboration partner,” O’Reilly suggests. “Insert your own numbers depending on your circumstances, goals, and personality. Quantifying your intentions will force you to be accountable. Otherwise, your desire to collaborate will remain just a vague dream.”
Assume nobody is off-limits. You may assume that “eligible collaborators” have to work in your industry or be within a few rungs of you on the corporate ladder. This is not true. The world is full of all kinds of women, in all different industries, and at all levels of authority with whom you might mesh perfectly. In an ever-flattening world where hierarchies and titles are less important than ever, it doesn’t make sense to categorize potential collaborators this way.
“Don’t let how busy or important another person is hold you back from reaching out,” O’Reilly urges. “If you want to collaborate with a thought leader or C-suite resident, ask. I am usually pleasantly surprised by how willing women are to share ideas, best practices, advice, and support—even with so-called competitors.
“One of the things I love most about working with other women is that there really is a sisterhood that supersedes making money and getting ahead. Women who have achieved success know how much it means to help their ‘sisters’ get a leg up.”
When you approach someone, don’t just wing it. Whether your proposed project involves a business venture, a community cause, personal development, or something else, have a few ideas going in. Put together a convincing pitch and be prepared to sell your idea. If your idea is too vague and unformed, what should be a dynamic meeting of the minds can quickly fizzle out or turn into a rambling gab session (which is fun but doesn’t count as collaboration).
“You don’t need to (and in fact, shouldn’t) have every little detail mapped out, but you should be able to explain your overall goals for the project and what you envision each person bringing to the table,” O’Reilly notes. “While there is incredible synergy when talented minds meet up, they still need a plan to follow. Don’t expect something great to coalesce from idle chit-chat.”
On the other hand, don’t be too rigid or dominating. Even if you initiated a particular collaboration, stay open to the other woman’s thoughts and input. Let the interaction unfold organically, even if it veers from the path you’d envisioned. Nothing squashes creativity and innovation faster than a perceived lack of respect for others’ opinions.
“Believe me, I understand how difficult it can be to unclench, take a risk, and let other people have partial control of your ‘baby’s’ destiny,” O’Reilly acknowledges. “It isn’t always comfortable, but setting aside your original vision and staying open to 360-degree feedback is the best way to spot problems, work out kinks, and discover the most innovative ideas.”
Keep ideas doable (and fun). Keep in mind that most potential collaborators are likely to have plenty of preexisting commitments and responsibilities of their own. If you make your idea seem like just another box the other woman will have to check off her to-do list, you’ll be less likely to get her buy-in.
“All I’m saying is, don’t overwhelm the other woman by making your project seem like a ton of work or a huge drain on her time,” O’Reilly comments. “Your ideas need to be realistic and energizing so that she will want to be part of them.
“Often, it can help to pair your collaboration time with other activities,” she adds. “It doesn’t have to happen at a conference table during business hours. Get creative about when you collaborate. For example, you might ask the other woman to join you on your daily walk to discuss ideas. Or have a tête-à-tête while your kids play together at the park. And so on!”
 Make sure you’re not just a “taker.” Sure, collaboration is a group effort—but it’s one in which you need to pull your own weight. Even if you’re approaching women with more experience and/or resources, you must bring value to the table. Show that you are prepared for and invested in the project and make it clear that you are willing and ready to work hard.
“The women-helping-women movement isn’t about free lunches; it’s about combining forces,” O’Reilly comments. “Both parties need to benefit. Think long and hard about your knowledge and skills and how they can help your fellow collaborator. Spell this out up front so she won’t think you’re just looking for a free lunch.”
Think long term. If you can’t make a project happen with someone right away, don’t write her off forever. A “no” today might be a “yes” six months or a year down the road. Remember that successful women often have a lot on their plates, so whenever possible, stay flexible with your timeline. The wait will probably be worth it.
“If you get a ‘maybe later’ answer from a potential collaborator, check in every once in a while,” O’Reilly advises. “Be persistent without being annoying, and keep the other woman updated on any new ideas or progress that might affect how you work together.”
“Over the course of human history, many wise people have observed that we become like the people we spend the most time with,” O’Reilly concludes. “So why not seek out and work with as many smart, talented, passionate women as possible? Together, we have the power to change our lives, our industries, our communities, and our world!”

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First appeared in Imperial Valley News on February 26, 2015. http://www.imperialvalleynews.com/index.php/news/living-and-lifestyle/1826-maximize-your-collaboration-skills-a-crash-course-for-the-lone-wolf.html

Imperial Valley News is an online publication for the Imperial Valley Weekly, a weekly newspaper serving the El Centro, CA area.

Three Ways You Can Help Change the World


An estimated 4.5 million Americans, mostly female, made history when they joined the Women’s March the day after the 2017 presidential inauguration. Since then, many have taken up political activism for the first time. According to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, women are rethinking how they allocate their time and energy. They are either engaging in political activities, joining grass-roots groups or finding new career paths, including running for office, to further causes they believe in. In fact, organizations that recruit and train women to run for office have reported unprecedented interest in their programs at every level nationwide.
The recent election has motivated women at all points on the political spectrum to get involved. Many people are recruiting women to become candidates, and overall volunteer numbers are on the rise. Many women realize that running for office isn’t the only way that they can advocate for a cause they’re passionate about; funneling energy into community activism can also make a difference.
It’s definitely an exciting, perhaps unprecedented time for activism. Actress Kerry Washington summed up the connectedness many women are feeling right now in Glamour, “That idea of holding each other’s hands at the Women’s March – it feels like we are being invited to do that every day. So many of us are feeling attacked, and feel the need to protect and defend our democracy. And the march toward the dream of being ‘We the people.’ So that’s exciting, scary, and frustrating. We’re awake. We are awake more than ever before, and we have to stay awake.”
The sense of activism that’s swept the country is undeniably powerful, and history has proven that women who are passionate about a specific cause can be highly effective. So, the question is, if political office isn’t in your immediate future, how can you best get involved? You should definitely volunteer. Here are three great ways you can get busy making a difference in your community today.
Support a candidate you believe in. Whether you’re canvassing neighborhoods, making phone calls, or helping organize special events, female candidates need women like us to support them and help them reach their goals. It is only by helping them get elected that they can be our voice and help bring about change. Women are underrepresented in politics at every level of government. Whether the candidate is running for school board, city council or a state or national elected office, she needs our help. A simple phone call to campaign headquarters can get you started.
Align with a cause to move women forward. Whether it is joining the fight for fair wages or women’s equality, there are plenty of established causes and new outlets popping up every day that can help you make your voice heard.  You can spend a few hours each week doing everything from making calls to Congress to helping get voters educated or registered. Look locally and nationally for causes or movements that resonate with you, and make the call to get involved.
Connect with what matters to you. Is it education? Animals? Parks? Literacy? Food assistance? What excites you? What pulls at your heartstrings? Volunteer for something that is meaningful to you. All non-profits love volunteers, and you can usually get started with a phone call and a few simple forms. If you don’t have a particular organization in mind, there are several online resources like VolunteerMatch.org that can help you choose just the right outlet.
Whether you have a few hours a month or a few days a week, getting out there and getting immersed in your local community is where change starts. By lending our time, treasure, and talent to the places that we call home, we can build a solid foundation for growth. We need to work together to make our voices heard, and celebrate the women who are out there paving the way. When women get involved to help other women, we all win! It is time to help one another and change the world for the better!

This Season is the Perfect Time to Invest in Women

10498411_621812561264504_955884005606031384_oAt the recent Fortune-TIME Global Forum in Rome, Cherie Blair and Bineta Diop joined New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof to discuss the ways that the private sector has both a moral and commercial interest in harnessing the power of women and girls to grow their business. All three speakers agreed that focusing on girls’ education and female economic empowerment is not just a matter of social responsibility but is instrumental in driving growth.
“It’s not just about doing good,” said Diop, Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security for the African Union. “It’s also doing the smart things because women have the capacity and knowledge and competence to bring another dimension into the workplace.”
There has been extensive research suggesting that investing money in women, whether in education or supporting women as entrepreneurs, is highly cost effective. USAid, a U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty, reports that aid programs that provide women opportunities to better their health, education, and well-being have effects far beyond a single individual. In fact, a woman multiplies the impact of an investment made in her future by extending benefits to the world around her, creating a better life for her family and building a strong community.
Melinda Gates has found that helping women and girls is not only the right thing to do, it is essential to global development. She recently was quoted in Fortune Magazine as saying, “If you want to make life better for a community, you should start by investing in its women and girls.”
“When I talk to women, a universal desire is to bring every good thing to our kids. Women tend to spend their resources on their families—prioritizing things like healthcare, nutritious food, education, and all the building blocks of a thriving society,” Gates said. “The way I think about it is that when we invest in women, we invest in the people who invest in everyone else. So, when we match their commitment with our own, great things are possible.”
On the global front, Convoy of Hope and their Women’s Empowerment program has a tremendous impact helping women around the world to realize their value and reach their potential through job training and education. As a result of the program – which features a Women’s Micro-Enterprise Program, Mother’s Club, and Empowered Girls components – many women throughout El Salvador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Kenya, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Tanzania now own businesses that enable them to feed and care for their own children. This matters because of the 1.3 billion people living in abject poverty, 70 percent are women. As Kara Edson, director of the program says, “That’s unacceptable. We’re helping women break the cycle of poverty.”
On a business front, it boils down to encouraging female participation in the workforce and clearing the way for women to reach leadership positions. Morgan Stanley research teams recently reported that calls for more female participation in the economy have grown louder, often based on political or cultural arguments founded on fairness. Yet, a persuasive argument for diversity and equality is also anchored to the bottom line. Quantitative analysis showed that ensuring that more women are working and leading in the workplace is simply good business, especially for investors who not only care about the ethics, but also want returns.
One way you can invest in women is by advocating for women in the workplace and by being a mentor. Mentors matter, and many women in business today attribute part of their success to lessons learned through a mentoring relationship. On one level, a mentor helps women become empowered, with more self-confidence and resolve. On another, mentors serve as a guide, role model and advisor.
When women win, we all win, which is why now is the perfect time to reach out and look for ways to help. It is up to all of us to build strong support systems, and help one another while connecting in the workplace, the community, and the world at large. And bottom line, the best investment you can make is a personal commitment to help a woman step into her own power and create the life she deserves!
 

Building Trust Is Key to Successful Business

Principal at HCS

Summer Anderson


Summer Anderson founded the California-based Human Capital Solutions (HCS) to help companies build executive teams to support innovation and profitability. Her 15 years of global executive recruitment for Fortune 500 technology and fast growth e-commerce equipped her with the expertise to understand what her clients need to move their business to the next level and beyond.
The most important trend today is getting the relationships right. Summer says when you have trusting relationships with top management it eliminates fear, which frees everyone to be their most creative and take risks necessary to propel growth.

Transformational Verses Transactional Leadership

Summer has seen a lot of top-down transactional leadership, but her goal is to provide transformational leaders who complement the company culture and existing management. To do that, she must learn the company from the ground up, have access to all the principals involved and talking with the entire team to learn what’s working and what needs tuning up. Once the existing team understands that HCS only wants to help, they buy into the process and lose any fear they have of being replaced. It’s this kind of approach that helps her attract quality candidates who can add value and synergy to the team.

Women Leaders in Executive Management

Although Summer’s mentors were mostly men, she mentions several women role models in executive leadership who influenced her.  She talks about women she admires and how they lead with strength, but humility. She would like to see more women in the executive ranks, but comments that the movement of women leadership is exponential. There are more women in the workforce today, but management is only now supporting them in ways that helps them creatively drive the companies forward. Those that employ more women have more varied approaches and outcomes and increased profitability.

Women Need to Support Women

Both Dr. Nancy and Summer talk about what can be accomplished when women support one another. Summer urges women to call out and debunk the “girl games” that start in the third grade. If we shine a light on them for what they are, then we can end them. We’ll never get anywhere fighting one another. Dr. Nancy agrees and comments on how much more fun it is to work and play with like-minded women and men.
Listen to this interview for more stories about Summer’s experiences and views on team-building in the tech industries. Then check out HCS website’s mission to find the impossible and how being human can ensure the best success.

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