Champions for Change

Speaker, Author

Trudy Bourgeois

Trudy Bourgeois urges women to become champions for change. Trudy is a renowned and respected authority on leadership development and founder of The Center for Workforce Excellence, which transforms organizations through focusing on developing leadership skills with an emphasis on learning how to develop talent across differences. She built her outstanding reputation by experiencing a lifetime of “firsts.” Growing up African American during segregation in the South provided her ample opportunities to strive for equality and simultaneously check each advancement off for herself and other women like her. She says that she is grateful for each of her “firsts” because they help her understand how to help people get to their next level and reach their greatest potential.
When Trudy was the first woman of color vice president in the tobacco industry, diversity and inclusion weren’t even business concepts. Women were told they were too collaborative; they needed to be more strategic.  Now, she says that we’re in the fourth industrial revolution where technology outpaces technology and we can only out-distance the competition by investing in our people—our most important resource—and bringing everyone together. Companies who don’t leverage their talent and ability to change will not be in business long in this new competitive environment

Equality Depends on Having Courageous Conversations

In her third book, EQUALITY: Courageous Conversations about Women, Men, AND Race in the Workplace to Spark a Diversity and Inclusion Breakthrough, Trudy describes “5 Brutal Facts for Obtaining Equality.” She lists the old paradigms that used to work for companies, including outdated leadership models where leaders don’t understand “how to manage the most diverse workforce in history,” and points out how most of the research has been done on men and most of the research that includes women, focuses on white women. Bottom line, although there’s a lot of talk about diversity, leaders are not held accountable for leading in inclusive ways.
But women can change all that. Trudy discusses how the pendulum is swinging back the other way from the 90% white male power structure to an awakening of the female spirit with the #MeToo movement. She says that for a long time, when women rose to the top, they didn’t want to admit they were women. They took on the male persona. But that is changing and organizations are gaining an appreciation for the natural skills that women have exhibited all along.

Women Must Reach Out to Other Women

Trudy talks a lot in her new book and in this conversation about how women need to step up as thought leaders and be champions for change with no apology. Women haven’t been told we are good. We need to do that for ourselves and for other women. She encourages women to reach out and “pour into another woman” whenever there is an opportunity. Reach out to someone who is not like yourself. She also urges women to listen and learn. In her book, she uses the example of how Marilyn Monroe gave Ella Fitzgerald a hand-up by sitting in the front row of her nightclub performances to get her career started in clubs that wouldn’t hire a black singer. We may never have heard the name of Ella Fitzgerald, or more importantly never received the gift of her voice without another woman using her privilege to pour into another woman.
Listen to this interview to learn more about how Trudy says women must come to grips with our own biases and work together for equality. Check out her social media pages, her website, read her blog at Huffington Post, and get her amazing book to learn more about how she says we can be champions for change by reaching an olive branch out to someone who isn’t exactly like us.

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 and follow Patricia on Twitter @culturalmusings.

Momentum Increasing for Women Leaders

Women's Economic ForumWomen are making history every day, raising the bar and heading toward parity across the globe. It was never more evident than at the recent Women’s Economic Forum (WEC) I recently attended in India. I had been invited to present the goals of the Statue of Responsibility and put women’s roles in the forefront of that initiative. There, I joined thousands of women, men too, who came  to share their messages, learn about others and create a union among like-minded individuals who together can change the world. It’s this union of diverse people from around the world that has me convinced that the once-slow evolution of women leaders is becoming a movement that is placing strong, resourceful, resilient women in charge of the private sector and at the helm of ships of state worldwide.
I felt a similar wave at the Diversity Women’s Conference in Orlando last fall. The welcoming inclusion among all the women in attendance felt like a homecoming for me of women reaching out to support other women. In talking with Dr. Sheila Robinson about the upcoming conference in 2016, she said, “It’s about US.” That’s the point of the conference. It provides an event for individual women with their individual talents and strengths to come together and join their abilities to make, not just a difference, but an enormous positive impact in our world today.
An African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.” I would be nowhere at all if it weren’t for my sisters. In these larger groups, I began to understand that when a significant group of people also know and understand the power of the greater whole, it strengthens all of us: I am far better with you. I’m much stronger and have multiplied my resources. When I’m together with all these people in a room, I can do anything. That is truly empowerment.
All women are leaders in some capacity.  Our goal now is to educate them to perceive themselves as leaders. Collaboration, cooperation, inclusion and vulnerability have only recently been valued as valuable leadership traits. As more people are willing to combine their resources and develop working relationships, we will be astounded at the ease with which transformations will take place.
When times were tough, my women friends have been there for me. That’s one of the most important things I learned from those times: to value the gift of mentorship. When we give it, we receive far more. It is genuinely a two-way street. The more freely we share, the more bountiful are our gifts.
I want to urge all women to embrace this idea: reach out to others and ask them without any reservation, “How can I help you?” I have been doing this for years and have heard the astonishment in women’s voices at the idea, “You want to help ME?” These recent conferences I attended put me in touch with hundreds of people who had the same idea, to freely help one another. Ideas, praise, celebration and inspiring stories flowed so freely, I experienced some of my most cherished moments.
Are you reaching out to help others or are you attempting to hold them back from success? When I started to get my doctorate, people (often other women) asked me, “Who do you think you are? Who will raise your kids, take care of your family?” It made me work harder to prove that I could do it, to show my daughters what they could do in life and to provide a good role model. It’s time to stop trying to hold other women back. It’s time to encourage one another and support success for everyone. This is how we can increase the momentum so that women seeking and achieving leadership truly becomes a worldwide movement for positive change.
~Dr. Nancy

Sheila Robinson Turns Adversity into Opportunity

Sheila Robinson Turns Adversity into Opportunity

Dr. Sheila Robinson

Dr. Sheila Robinson is the poster woman for turning adversity into opportunity. As an African American born in the South, she faced barriers based on her looks and background that she didn’t think possible. She focused on solutions, not problems; she looked for ways to make things better and urged others to be the best they could be. Her journey through her life experiences, which sometimes hurt to the core, hardened her resolve to be a courageous advocate for women helping women and lifting up everyone from all races, cultures and backgrounds.
Sheila founded Diversity Woman Magazine for women seeking career advancement and a national conference that ranks among the most beneficial in the country. Among her many awards is being named one of the 50 Top Women in Magazine Publishing for her significant contributions. Her book, Lead by Example: An Insiders Look at How to Successfully Lead in Corporate America and Entrepreneurshipprovides practical guidance for women to succeed in corporate America and entrepreneurship, based on her own valuable experience. And most recently, Sheila became Dr. Sheila Robinson when she was awarded her Chief Learning Officer (CLO) Doctorate of Education at University of Pennsylvania.

We Are All Leaders

When Sheila wrote her book, she did it to share her journey, not understanding immediately that she had been developing leadership skills along the way. A question was presented to her once, “Are you born a leader or do you learn to be a leader?” She decided that it’s a bit of both. And in answering the question, she realized that we are all leaders, from administrators to CEOs. Her administrative assistant is the most phenomenal leader she knows and Sheila credits much of her success to her assistant.
Mothers are leaders who guide their children through behavior on the playground and at school.  Many women have a tendency to try to hold other women back when they try to be successful. Both Dr. Nancy and Sheila discuss how they confronted this behavior during their journeys. Sheila wonders if women have been so beaten down by society that we see ourselves as servants and can’t imagine being leaders. Her mission is to dispel the myths and help women see their best selves and their best potential for achieving their dreams.

Key to Advancing into Leadership- Mentorship

Sheila’s research demonstrated that one of the key elements to advancing is to build strategic relationships—in which mentorship, sponsorship and networking are at the core. She defines a mentor as being a person who agrees to share her expertise with another person for free. Since they aren’t being paid, the person being mentored needs to make it mutually beneficial for the mentor. Sheila lists several ways to make it a win-win relationship in this interview, but finally, she urges us to take the advice. No one wants to offer advice and see it go nowhere. She told a story about how she asked Dr. Maya Angelou what she could do for her, to which she replied, “Sheila, continue to do what you’re doing. That’s the greatest thing you can do for me.”

Women Helping Women—All of Us Working Together

Sheila credits her success, not to people who look like her, but instead acknowledges that her achievements come from the women and men from all races, cultures and backgrounds. That’s why she works so hard to educate and include everyone in the potential to be their best. Check out for more information about Sheila, her book, magazine and the 2016 The National Diversity National Women’s Leadership Council in Baltimore, Maryland, in October.
Listen to this interview to hear Sheila tell her own amazing story and Dr. Nancy’s and Sheila’s discussion about how women helping women and everyone working together can make anything possible.

Women Leaders Create Positive Change

Leadership Expert

Monique Tallon

Women leadership expert Monique Tallon is on a mission to show women how to tap into their feminine strengths and change the way corporations are led. Citing an international study of what people want in their leaders, Monique sees the 21st century as an opportunity for women to use their natural talents of caring, compassion and intuitive collaboration to change the business model and climate from the ineffective top-down masculine approach to management. She created a visionary roadmap for women, “The Feminine Leadership Model,” to help women recognize and embrace their feminine strengths for more influence and impact.
During her corporate experience, Monique wanted role models and mentors, but found that even other women were mimicking the men in their management style. She followed her own path and experimented with using vulnerability and inclusive management to empower teams to step up and take ownership of a common goal.
Today, she works to provide guidance for other women that she could not find for herself. Monique is CEO of her own company, Highest Path Consulting and founder of the Women and Power Forum, which specializes in developing 21st Century leaders through executive coaching and training programs.

 Leading Authentically

Leading Gracefully by Monique TallonHer new book Leading Gracefully: A Woman’s Guide to Confident, Authentic and Effective Leadership,  analyzes both women’s and men’s different styles and looks at how today’s world requires the intuitive and collaborative strengths women naturally possess. It can be used as a self-coaching, how-to guide with exercises and resources for acquiring more confidence to use your natural talents and get that next promotion into management, or possibly into the C-suite. Women make competent, effective leaders; they just need to understand how to leverage their skills into those top positions.


Next Step—The Girls Club

Monique and Dr. Nancy discussed the need for women to support, hire and promote other women. Like men have “The Boys Club” where they high-five one another for their successes, women need “The Girls Club” to celebrate their own victories. Backstabbing and sabotaging one another have made women their own worst enemy. That may have seemed necessary in the last century when there were few positions for women at the top, but today their ranks in management are growing. Supporting, mentoring and helping each other up the ladder is crucial if the old stereotypes of men and women in the workplace are to be eliminated.

 More Tips and Tools for Feminine Leaders

Listen to this interview to hear more stories about women leaders and Monique’s work. Check out her website, and follow her Facebook page for speaking events and workshops. Her book is available on Kindle and in hardback. Dr. Nancy considers it a must-read for any woman with aspirations to become a leading woman.
Listen to this conversation to learn more about how this very successful entrepreneur looks at work, life and how to get the best of both.

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