mentoring

Using Connections to Reach 50/50

50/50: Rethinking the Past, Present & Future of Women + Power filmmaker

Tiffany Shlain

Emmy-nominated filmmaker Tiffany Shlain is using her skills making connections to address the important issues that shape our lives.  Not contented just to make movies, Tiffany chooses subjects to enlighten audiences about the truth that contradicts commonly-held beliefs in our society, then constructs world-wide events to connect people, get them talking, and take action on a massive scale. Her documentary, “50/50: Rethinking the Past, Present & Future of Women + Power,” set out to change the way we think about women leaders when Tiffany discovered that 50 countries in the world were being led by women presidents and prime ministers. She changed the story from one of scarcity, illustrating the need to claw our way to the top, to one of abundance, seizing on the strength and momentum we already have to get to a more balanced world. She then founded 50/50 Day, a global initiative to reach gender parity that had 36,334 live events in 68 countries and 700,000 live-streaming attendees last year. Watch the pledge video to see how you can connect.

Tiffany connects the dots, the media and the ideas about the issues that shape our world in a way that truly forges new directions. She founded the Webby Awards while in her 20’s to recognize excellence on the internet and sold it 10 years later. Then she founded her film studio in San Francisco, Let It Ripple to connect films with the power of the web to make social change, and has now presented four films at Sundance. With over 80 awards to her credit, Tiffany was honored by Newsweek as one of the “Women Shaping the 21st Century.” And also noteworthy is her inclusion as one of the 100 visionaries continuing Einstein’s legacy in the upcoming book, Genius: 100 Visions of the Future.

 

Connecting People—On Mentors and Mentoring

Tiffany said, “Everyone knows something that someone else doesn’t.” She used the example of her daughter’s elementary school where the 5th graders mentor kindergarten children. Her own mentors have come to her throughout her life: her mother, who is still living; her father, who was an author, a strong feminist and wrote about the goddess and rebalancing society; her film professor at UC Berkeley; the CEO of the male-lead publishing company she worked for while she was running the Webby Awards; women funders of her current projects, and many more. Tiffany regrets the current dynamics that make men cautious about mentoring young women. While she welcomes the current momentum to change, she urges balance and finding a way we can connect and help one another.

Everything Is Connected

Tiffany mentioned a feature documentary she made in 2011, called “Connected,”  in which she examined how we live with all of these connections today and proclaimed that instead of declaring our independence, maybe we need to proclaim our interdependence. Every one of us affects the other in so many ways that she has come to focus her work, film, discussions, events, and even her upcoming book, 24/6 Life, about how disconnecting from screens for 24 hours actually helps us get reconnected, with ourselves, what we really care about and with each other in more authentic ways.

Character Day is another global initiative connecting, movies, issues and people.  Now in its sixth year, Character Day  takes place on Sept 27 and 28, 2019, and uses short films about character (who we are in the world) to engage conversation around the world (in schools, organizations, businesses and communities) about all of the things that we do as a society and individuals that connect humanity. Tiffany has also founded Cloud Movies, where people can connect to make movies together digitally.  And of course, 24/6 Life designates every Friday night through Saturday night as the day to reconnect by disconnecting from all technology. Tiffany and her family have been doing it for over ten years and report how it puts them in charge of their technology and brings balance into their lives.

Listen to this interview for more life and society-changing ideas, details about Tiffany’s personal story and what inspired her to take her inspiring path. Then check out her website, watch some of her films and sign up for her newsletter, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” to stay connected and up to date. Stay tuned for her new book and sign up to participate in Character Day this coming September.

Order Dr. Nancy’s new book or pick it up at your book store

Tiffany’s inspiring messages of abundance in her film, 50/50, inspired the positive voice in Nancy’s new book, In This Together: How Successful Women Support Each Other In Work and Life, Her ideas are expressed, along with thoughts, inspiration, and stories from 40 successful women across a variety of careers—from authors to actresses, CEOs and professors—encouraging women to support each other in the workplace and in life. Learn about action plans on how all women can work together to break free from the binds of gender inequality. Then remember to get your copy – and gifts for your friends.

 

 

 

Who You ARE Makes a Difference

Founder of Blue Ribbons Worldwide

Helise “Sparky” Bridges

Helice “Sparky” Bridges had it all – a big house on the Pacific Ocean, fancy cars, beautiful sons and an emotionally abusive husband – when she hit the wall. She fell to her knees and cried, “Stop the world I want to get off!” and a voice answered,” You can’t end your life because you are going to sing and dance and write.”Later on she also understood that she must also make a difference in the world. The fact that she couldn’t sing, had never danced a step or written much beyond a real estate contract didn’t stop her. She left home with a potted plant and some clothes and did those very things in spite of apparent shortcomings because of what she IS–outrageous.
Sparky realized that everyone just tries to be the best mom or dad or teacher, but what everyone really needs is to be recognized and loved, just like she did.  She created a symbolic hug in the Blue Ribbon ceremony in 1980, now called “Blue Ribbons Worldwide” with a goal of uniting humanity through the power of love and within three months 35,000 people were honored with it. Sparky’s goal is to reach one billion people by 2020. That’s one in seven people in the world, the mathematical tipping point for social change.

“Bing!” is the sound of making dreams come true.

With over 40 million people and counting, Blue Ribbons Worldwide is working hard on its goal to unite the world through the power of love. Sparky calls it the glue that’s missing from our lives. The blue ribbon she created says, “Who I Am Makes a Difference” and the ceremony requires seven steps, beginning with looking the person in the eye and honoring them for the qualities that make them special, asking permission to place the ribbon over their heart and for them to receive the honor, and finally “Bing!” to signify making their dreams come true. Each blue ribbon presented is followed by two more with a request for that person to pay it forward to two others.

Sparky tells her own story and the inspiring stories of how the Blue Ribbon Ceremony made a difference in people’s lives in her book, Who I am Makes a Difference: The Power of Acknowledgement, Stories that Connect People Heart-to-Heart and Ignite the Human Spirit. One story on how the blue ribbon prevented a teen suicide is also featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul. That is at the heart of Blue Ribbons Worldwide, to end teen suicide, heal the world by helping one person at a time understand how much she/he matters. Today more than 40 million people have been honored with blue ribbons, but 2020 is only a couple of years away.

#BLUERIBBONCHALLENGE

Sparky says that people need to have personal connections and not be in such a “doing” world, but in a “being” world, where we can see each other’s hearts and the beauty in people. She is inviting others  to join her in becoming sponsors of a new initiative to train 40,000 middle and high school students to discover who they are, why they were born and the difference they make. The students will be honoring each other, honoring their parents and writing stories about it to unite the community in supporting everyone else’s dreams. Besides reducing teen suicides, bullying and the other epidemics that are infecting our teens, Sparky says that it will elevate education in America by developing social and emotional literacy. Instead of concentrating our efforts on conflict resolution, the Blue Ribbon Ceremony will focus on elevating our relationships to a higher bond of respect and love. To learn more about Blue Ribbons Worldwide, contact Sparky directly at her e-mail: sparky@blueribbons.org.
Listen to this conversation for more inspiring stories and to hear the 7-step Blue Ribbon Acknowledgement Ceremony from Sparky to Dr. Nancy. Check out Sparky’s website and ways Blue Ribbons Worldwide is uniting the world through sharing love with 40 million people and counting.Find out how you can help make it One Billion by 2020 at Blue Ribbons Worldwide.

Empowering Girls Creates Empowered Women

by Dr. Nancy O’Reilly
My mission of empowering women began with my own daughters. I embarked on a college career while my girls were still young to provide them with a role model of infinite possibilities for their own futures. I had wonderful role models in my mother and both of my grandmothers, so I know how important this is to growing up strong, self-reliant and having the skills to live the life you want and deserve. Unfortunately, too many girls don’t have these benefits resulting in our juvenile justice system being overrun by girls. In fact, the fastest growing population in our juvenile detention centers is girls.
Girls Inc. is working hard to stop this trend and to equip and inspire girls to be strong, smart and bold. I recently had the opportunity to participate in this mission at Girls Inc. of Santa Barbara. Their summer program built on the Wonder Woman theme and invited women to share their stories with the girls involved with Girls Inc. The initiative continues in their after school program, so it’s not too late to get involved. If you’re not in that area, Girls Inc. is national organization, which has supported girls for 150 years. Recently it was ranked among the top high-impact youth service social profits!
“If you can see it, you can be it!” Those words inspired Geena Davis to found the Geena Davis Institute for Gender in the Media, SeeJane.org. I firmly believe this is true. I try to show up every day as an example of what feminine leadership can achieve. Sharing my story with the girls at Girls Inc. was tremendously rewarding. Their enthusiasm and warmth was contagious and I want to encourage you to share your story, too. If you don’t have a Girls Inc. chapter near you, please seek out other girls clubs. They need our support and inspiring examples. We’re all Wonder Women under the skin.
Here’s a shortcut you can use for your proposal to speak to a girls’ group near you. It’s the invitation Leah Tabas, Center Director for Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara put together for her Wonder Woman program.

Are you someone who is passionate about life and would like to inspire girls to be STRONG, SMART, and BOLD?  If so, please consider participating in our Wonder Woman project. This volunteer opportunity involves preparing a five to ten minute presentation about yourself – What YOU love about your life, your job, your hobbies, and how YOU got to where you are today.

Your story can create a spark and help motivate girls to see how much opportunity there is for them.  Your enthusiasm and experiences will encourage girls and help them see they CAN achieve their goals and even their wildest dreams.

WHO:  You and a group of fourteen 5th–6th grade girls (+ one of our staff to help with behavior management and participation).

WHAT:  A 5-10 minute INTERACTIVE presentation or activity that discusses and introduces your professional and life experiences, how you’ve gotten to where you are and ways that your story and passion can relate to these girls all while encouraging them to pursue their dreams whether it be in a similar field or something completely different.

WHERE:  Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara – 531 E. Ortega St. Santa Barbara, CA 93102

WHY:  There is nothing like a positive, encouraging and successful role-model who is able to relate to young girls and spark their interest in a variety of careers as well as open their eyes to the possibilities that lie before them.  At Girls Inc. we encourage our girls to actively explore the world around them, find their own voices and strive to be responsible, confident and independent young women and would love your help in doing the same!

DO:  Talk about what you LOVE, your hobbies and your job.  Ask the girls about their interests and try to find ways to relate these interests to specific skill sets within your hobby or profession.  Share what you loved doing as a kid and if it influenced your career choice.

WHERE TO BEGIN:  Please contact Leah Tabas, Center Director at ltabas@girlsincsb.org

Whether you contact Leah, another Girls Inc. director, or some other group near you, please do reach out to share your story. There is nothing more empowering than telling girls how you grew into the person you are today. Every day that offers us a challenge also offers an opportunity for growth. Telling others how this happened to yourself may say something special that you cannot imagine. I especially want to encourage you to reach out to girls. They are the women leaders of tomorrow and they need our help today. Check out the good works of Girls Inc. and the many ways a little support can transform lives when they need it most.

Making Leadership Appealing

While women make up about half of the workforce, there is a huge gender gap in leadership positions nationwide. Francesca Gino, a Harvard Business School professor, points out that women only represent 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs, 15 percent of executive officers at those companies, less than 20 percent of full professors in the natural sciences, and 6 percent of partners in venture capital firms.
As recently reported in Scientific American, scholars of the leadership gap suggest that some of the explanation for the gap directly correlates to how people perceive and react to women, and the fact that compared to men, women are perceived as less competent and lacking leadership potential. Women also receive fewer job offers and lower starting salaries, and are more likely to encounter challenges to, and skepticism of, their ideas and abilities.
New research also points out that women simply may not want to take on the task of leadership. While we may be on the right track working to get more women into leadership roles, we need to look at how appealing those positions actually are. Summing up a paper by Hilke Brockmann and her colleagues, Gino writes that overall, women seem to be significantly less enthused about the prospect of being a manager, and more likely to take a significant hit to their happiness should they be elevated to such a position, than men.
Brockmann’s research demonstrates that for women in positions of leadership, the level of happiness and life satisfaction is lower than that of their male counterparts, and when it comes to advancement, women may, “Find the position to be as attainable as men do, but less desirable. The reason is that they see the position generating not only positive outcomes (such as money and prestige) as much as men do, but also negative ones (such as tradeoffs they’ll need to make and time constraints). That’s where men and women differ: in how much they predict these negative outcomes will affect their lives.”
Whether it’s a concern about the loss of flexibility, goals outside of the workplace, family constraints, gender based discrimination, or sexism, there are things that companies can do to address the issue directly. Gino writes that organizations can influence a woman’s decision by structuring and compensating managerial work differently, building in more breathing space for leadership positions, and allowing for flexible career paths.
When women don’t try for promotions, they move us further away from parity and reinforce the idea that women don’t belong in leadership roles. Women must rise into top positions in order to advance gender equality. Here are three things that we can work towards immediately to make leadership positions in the workplace more appealing to women, and move us closer to parity.
Flexibility Flexibility needs to work. People with adaptable work environments – both men and women – tend to have healthier habits with time for both self-improvement and family and friends, which makes them more productive and efficient when they work. Flexibility doesn’t just benefit women’s work performance. Research has looked at more subjective areas affected by schedule flexibility, including people’s happiness and satisfaction. Studies show that when people can choose to do things, like take their kids to school, sleep in or help their spouse that they’ll enjoy better relationships, a better quality of life, and be happier with their employment.
Establish a Mentor Program – A good mentor provides career advice, counsel during stressful times, and unwavering support. And you don’t have to be a member of the C-suite already to provide guidance to another woman. We can all build strong support systems, encourage and mentor one another every day. The benefits of mentoring flow both ways and both mentor and mentoree learn from each other. Successful women are guiding others through the ranks and sharing their experiences. Mentoring relationships can provide the boost to propel mid-career women into top management positions.
Provide Routine Feedback – One area that is frustrating for women is a lack of feedback. Feedback is critical for improving performance, but despite asking for informal feedback as often as men do, a 2015 study found women receive it less frequently. Direct feedback helps employees take the steps they need to improve their performance and advance. And we all know that without clear, actionable advice and performance feedback, women aren’t able to see a clear possibility for change or a way to reach the next level in the workplace, which can be very frustrating. Following established criteria and clearly identifying key issues and potential for growth will lead women to invest more fully in the workplace, not to mention the fact that providing specific feedback can help us close the gap and create a path forward for all women.
We need women to see the path to leadership clearly and without hesitation. While this latest study shows that some of the reasons women aren’t rising to the leadership challenge go beyond potential discrimination and access to resources, if we build firm foundations in the workplace, well qualified women may decide to go for it, and to take the leadership positions. We need to level the playing field and create a workplace that encourages women to seek top positions and advance gender equality.
 

Five Ways to Create an Environment Where Women Can Lead

new report takes a look at why women hesitate when it comes to competing for top jobs. The researchers found that a woman’s desire to reach the top ranks has less to do with family responsibilities and more to do with her working environment.
The data shows that existing gender diversity had a big impact on how workers felt about pursuing more senior roles. In environments where men and women believed that progress was being made towards gender diversity, women were more likely to aspire to a leadership position. At such companies, 85 percent of women were seeking top spots. At companies that weren’t seen as making progress in gender diversity, just 66 percent of women reported such ambitions.
The stereotypical explanation says that while many women begin their careers eager to climb the corporate ladder, this ambition diminishes due to family obligations or feeling that they’re unfairly held to higher standards. A more nuanced view notes those issues can definitely be a factor, but the researchers argue ambitious women are also rational and respond to the realities of their work environments. This environmental effect can stall women in our communities too.
Why is it so important to get closer to a 50-50 blend of women and men in leadership? Research has proven repeatedly that having more women leaders actually creates better results. In one of the most recent and comprehensive of these studies, companies in the top 20 percent of financial performance have nearly 30 percent female leaders, while the poorest financial performers have under 20 percent women in leadership roles.
We need more women in leadership for so many reasons. The question is, how do we create an environment in which they want to pursue those positions. Here are five ways that we can create a culture that fosters equality and make leadership more appealing to women in the workplace and community.
Make me a mentor. A good mentor provides career advice, counsel during stressful times, and unwavering support. And you don’t have to be a member of the C-suite already to provide guidance to another woman. We can all build strong support systems, encourage and mentor one another every day. The benefits of mentoring flow both ways and both mentor and mentoree learn from each other. Successful women are guiding others through the ranks and sharing their experiences. Mentoring relationships can provide the boost to propel mid-career into top management positions.
Actively sponsor other women. Women with senior positions should keep an eye out for promising younger female talent and actively seek to cultivate them as protégés. It can be hard for younger female employees to break into a company, so senior women should make the workplace friendlier for advancement and help mentorees find a place. Younger females may hope to get noticed for doing good work, but they also need to find opportunities to network with women at the top, asking them to lunch or for a meeting to seek career advice.
Flourish with feedback.  Feedback is critical for improving performance, but despite asking for informal feedback as often as men do, a 2015 study found women receive it less frequently. In fact, women are 20% less likely than men to receive critical feedback that improves their performance. Following established criteria and clearly identifying key issues and potential for growth will lead women to invest more fully in the workplace and move forward.
Opt for diversity and inclusion. Recruiting and retaining a diverse, inclusive group of employees makes an organization reflect the outer world. It also enables a team to develop fresh ideas and solutions to meet customer and  community needs. True gender and cultural diversity requires promoting as many diverse, smart, talented, passionate women as possible.
Cultivate powerful confidence.  When something goes wrong professionally, women blame themselves. When things go right, they credit others. Women are also more likely to be perfectionists who wait until they’re 100% sure of their desired outcome. This limiting self-programming, along with a lack of confidence, makes it unlikely women will apply or re-apply for an executive job or other leadership position. Being passed over doesn’t have to be a defining negative event in your life. See it for what it is – a moment in time. Rejection and success go hand in hand, and all successful women have received their share of rejections.  How they handle that rejection is what defines them.
If you’re in a workplace or community situation that doesn’t feel female friendly, it’s not your fault. Just recognize it for what it is and keep moving forward. We achieve parity one woman at a time, so whether you have to work on your confidence or find a woman to mentor, remember that working together is the only way we will accomplish gender equality in leadership.
When women don’t try for promotions, they move us further away from parity and reinforce the idea that women don’t belong in leadership roles. Women must rise into top positions in order to achieve career goals and advance gender equality. It’s the only way to create leadership environments that support both women and men.

Reach Out to Help Another Woman Lead

by Dr. Nancy O’Reilly
Women keep saying to me, “This is our time. There has never been a better time to be a woman.” It’s true. We have more degrees and opportunities than ever before and, even though we lag behind men in earnings, more women are achieving independent means than ever before. My Leading Women coauthor, Joanna Krotz, tracks women’s progress toward wealth in her chapter, “Redefining Sex and Power: How Women Can Bankroll Change and Fund Their Future.” Joanna says, “Women alive today belong to the most affluent, educated, and longest-lived generations in history.”

It’s no wonder many of us who promote women empowerment are impatient to see women take their seats at the tables of policy and power. It’s time for each of us to step up and speak out to create a better world for all of us. It’s proven in study after study that when women lead, their policies benefit the lives of the people they serve. It’s not rocket science then to conclude that having more women leaders will make the world a better place.
I’ve been on this soap box for quite awhile now, encouraging women to reach out and help each other. Leading Women: 20 Influential Women ShareTheir Secrets to Leadership, Business, and Life was created by 20 skilled leaders who did just that. They reached out with expertise and wisdom to share actionable tools women can use to accomplish their passion and purpose. With the influx of women signing up in recent months to learn how to run for public office, its messages are especially relevant today. The expertise in this book comes from a broad range of ages, races and countries. Women everywhere are looking for ways to continue — and accelerate –the momentum of the world-wide women’s march. That’s one reason why women are reaching out to share their time, talent and treasure.
And women do give, and at higher rates than men. Women give at all levels and by all means. Many establish foundations like my own WomenConnect4Good, Inc.
Leading Women co-author Linda Rendleman established her Women Like Us foundation to support other organizations working to benefit women and children. Her chapter, “Poise, the Final Ingredient,” tells how she developed the perspective to define herself in ways that would help her create social change. She chose Audrey Hepburn for her role model, because of her “poise” and quoted the actress as saying that her ambassadorship for UNICEF was the most difficult role she ever played.
If you read history closely, you’ll find women throughout the centuries who stepped up to care for those forgotten by society. They founded schools, charities, hospitals and agencies to fill countless social needs.
My co-author Shirley Osborne tells the story about one such school in her chapter, “Information: The Best Philanthropy.” A simple school that began to help female immigrant factory workers learn English became Simmons College, which instituted the first MBA designed specifically for women’s career and leadership success. That’s where Shirley, originally from a tiny Caribbean Island, received her MBA and gained the tools to realize her personal and professional vision.  With that inspiration and the stories of the women she met there, including one from China who hid her studies from her husband, Shirley noted the improvements in the lives of women and girls brought about by women philanthropists. In fact, Shirley Osborn has gone on to become the recently elected Speaker of Montserrat’s Legislative Assembly and Executive Director of The Women’s Resource Center.
There are literally thousands of such stories, in which one woman reaches out to another, in turn empowering them to do the same for still others, as did all 20 of the Leading Women co-authors. The single message here is that now we have an opportunity to engage women like no other time in history. Women are stepping forward to say, “I care. Women’s Rights Are Human Rights. I want to be respected. I want to make a difference. Feminine leadership is powerful leadership.” As my co-author Gloria Feldt says, “It is not power over; it is the power to” join with others to create a world that supports a culture of respect for all of humanity.
We have a responsibility as citizens of a free world to protect and exercise our civil rights. This is the way to protect ourselves and our families and create more women leaders. Most women already function as leaders in their families and communities; we just need to believe in ourselves and gain the self-confidence to go forward. Read the stories in Leading Women to find out how others overcame their fears, stepped into their “power to,” and achieved their purpose while helping others achieve theirs. The stories in Leading Women will inspire you to step up and make a difference in the world.

The Historic Women’s March Is Over. What’s Next?

By Dr. Nancy D. O’Reilly
“Women Marched; Now What?” was the theme for a recent discussion of Women and Power at the famed National Press Club in Washington, D.C. An amazing group of people met to discuss how women can advocate for gender equality in leadership, which I believe will make this world a better place for all of us to live in. Being at the National Press Club felt like being on hallowed ground. The pictures on the wall reflected so many historical greats who had spoken at the Press Club, including Gloria Steinem, Chris Everett and our own Gloria Feldt (who joined me in facilitating this discussion) pictured during her term as national CEO of Planned Parenthood.
Take The Lead and Women Connect4Good developed the program to introduce the concepts in Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share their Secrets to Leadership, Business, and Life to the Washington D.C., community. Interest in the topic has escalated since the recent general election. Whether people were happy or disappointed by the election results, the example set by Leading Women, namely a collaboration among 20 women leaders in various fields of expertise reaching out to help other women, demonstrates the most productive path into the future. The need has never been greater for women to step forward and take their seats at every table where decisions are made. We must collaborate and support one another to protect our women’s rights as human rights and to work to protect our basic freedoms and the well-being of our communities in the future.
The most important aspect of the evening was bringing people together to talk. The March demonstrated the enormous energy generated by the 2016 general election, but a hundred or more causes were represented in the demonstrations. In order for that energy to create positive change, individuals and groups need to create a focused agenda for moving forward.
Many answers were offered to the questions: What will I do now? What can I do now? Some are looking at running for an elected office. Others are talking about how they can communicate their activism and invite others to join. Suggestions came in many forms, including one woman who described how her grandson’s Facebook group in Virginia formed to stay abreast of political issues. Another suggested supporting other women in workplace meetings, keeping the recognition honest as to who was contributing good ideas and helping each other’s voices be heard.
These may seem like small actions, but the March itself began as a small action–a grassroots dynamic that grew organically and by January 21 had attracted millions of participants all over the world. Every day small actions we make change the world in unforeseen ways. It’s important to have these conversations that dig into the culture and how we allow it to shape us with regard to gender, especially if we want to change that culture into one that supports us equally. For gender parity in leadership to happen across all sectors, men and women must work together to achieve results that will benefit all of us.
We need to recognize how much stronger we are together than when we are polarized around divisive issues. The more we choose sides made up only of people who think exactly like ourselves, the more we limit our outcomes and the possibilities for future generations. We must release feeling that it’s “us-against-them” and focus on us, We The People, to fulfill our promise as a nation that offers a light of hope to the entire world.
Our discussion followed the positive flow of women united in wanting to engage and move forward in making a difference. Words like hope and inclusion, and actions like mentoring each other set the tone. The need for women to trust and support one another must form the foundation if our actions are to succeed. To get to trust, we must continue to talk, even if it’s about things that make us uncomfortable. That became a mantra for the evening. “Get comfortable talking about the things that make you uncomfortable.” This is how women can Take The Lead and join together, engaging at a meaningful level to transform our country and our world into a place where gender equality and human rights are available to all.
I am grateful for the organizations who supported this event and deserve your generous support:
Convoy of Hope Women’s Empowerment Program gives women the opportunity to generate income, which not only impacts their families, but positively impacts their country’s economic standing as well. Their goal is to empower women in El Salvador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Kenya, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Tanzania to make strategic, independent life choices through community-based training in peer-oriented cooperative savings groups and non-traditional micro-enterprise development. Convoy of Hope helps to facilitate sustainable income-generating activities and entrepreneurial thinking that equips women to make positive choices for themselves and their families in the area of health, education and economic welfare.
To find out more about how to help make a difference through Convoy of Hope Women’s Empowerment program, click here: https://www.convoyofhope.org/what-we-do/womens-empowerment/
Take the Lead is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that thinks like an entrepreneurial start up. Because we have set the ambitious intention of gender parity in leadership by #25not95, our scaling up strategy is collaboration. We believe that just as power is an infinite resource, when it comes to accelerating women’s leadership, the more there is, the more there is.
We partner with a wide variety of nonprofit, academic, and for-profit organizations and generous funders. To find out more about participating in our programs or supporting our goal of gender parity, check out our website, https://www.taketheleadwomen.com/
Women Connect 4 GoodThe Mission of Women Connect4Good, Inc. foundation is to educate people to develop women-helping-women networks to raise the status of women and change the world.
“We should celebrate women’s accomplishments in this male-dominated culture, even though we still earn less than men, the ERA is still not law, and millions of our sisters around the world suffer violence at staggering rates. We must follow in the steps of our fore-sisters, who founded The Red Cross, The United Way, and won the right to vote. We must connect with our sisters and create a new women’s movement of women helping women.”~ Dr. Nancy
To find out how you connect with WC4G, click here https://www.drnancyoreilly.com/women-connect-4-good/

Five Ways to Make 2017 A Year for Women!

It doesn’t matter how you ended 2016, I think we can all agree that it was a rough year. At the end of a particularly brutal – and for some heartbreaking – political cycle, many women felt a range of emotions from fear to desperation and hopelessness. As a result, the prospect of a new year didn’t feel promising, to say the least.
But others have rolled up their sleeves and dug in to re-energize their efforts to help empower other women. Our WomenConnect4Good team is ready to put our time and talent to work and make this the year for women.
The dynamics that come into play when women come together is profound. Doubt it? Look what a very committed group of women were able to accomplish in just 24 hours for Take the Lead Women! December 20-21, 2016, men and women joined in a Charidy.com crowdfunding event to help Take the Lead in their mission to propel women to parity in all sectors by 2025. They didn’t just meet the goal they beat the goal and raised $312,160. Helping other women along, and strengthening the communities we live in drives all women. It’s our nature to want to help others and doing so fulfills our sense of purpose in a real and authentic way.
Here are five great ways we can come together and change the status quo this year.
Volunteer with an organization that helps women. There is no shortage of organizations and causes that need our time, talent, or treasure. In fact, there are many, many organizations who could use your help today. From the work we do with Women Connect4Good, to Take the Lead Women, to Convoy of Hope, find and plug into an organization that fights to protect and advance women’s rights or ensure women are able to get the help and support they deserve.
Be a mentor. Mentors matter, and many women can 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. The benefits of mentoring go both ways. Both the mentor and the woman being mentored learn from each other during the mentoring process. Successful women are guiding others through the ranks and helping them with their own experience, and through mentoring relationships, we can help women to top management and beyond.
Support female politicians or run for office yourself. I recently read at Care2 Causes that one important way to make sure women’s rights are protected is by making sure women are equally represented in government, which currently, they’re not. As Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider recently told me, having only 19% women in the US Congress creates lopsidedness in legislation and a lack of diversity that hinders good governing. No one is leader by herself. Elected officials need a group and coalition to lead. It’s a two-way process of leadership and support with everyone working for the greater good.
Look at the global picture. Yes. Things are a mess at home, and your community and your country need your help, but things are also pretty scary for women and girls all over the world. There are so many worthy programs that can make a difference. For example, my Leading Women co-author, Rebecca Tinsley’s Network for Africa is doing amazing work. Convoy of Hope’s Women’s Empowerment Program is also having an impact through micro-loans, job training, and education – helping women and girls gain self-esteem and build self-confidence. In Ethiopia 1,000 women have attended the program since 2010. As a result, these women have experienced a 240% increase in income since joining the program. The Women’s Empowerment Program is proof that when women are given the opportunity to generate income, it not only impacts their families, it impacts their country’s economic standing.
Support other women. Find out what the women in your life need, and look for ways to help them. My Leading Women co-author Gloria Feldt works to inspire and propel women to reach parity in leadership across all sectors by 2025. Gloria has always supported other women, starting with providing birth control for teenage girls in a west Texas Planned Parenthood and rising to become President and CEO of Planned Parenthood’s national organization.  Gloria debunks the idea of a finite “you-win-I-lose” pie. The pie is actually infinite, she says.  “The more there is the more there is.” Her approach can be duplicated. We can reach out to women in the workplace and in the community to give them the tools they need to advance. That’s what the women-helping-women movement is all about, and when one woman wins, we all win.
Keep in mind as we go into the new year that mentoring, advocating, and volunteering provides you with opportunities to stretch yourself and step outside of your routine. It provides the opportunity to make a positive impact on the greater community.
Is there an organization in your community that resonates with you? A place where you can donate your time, treasure, or talent? You don’t have to donate a million dollars to make a difference. Instead, focus on what you can to do to improve the status of women and girls in today’s society. We are all sisters, and women need help all over the world. It’s our job to help them. When we do, we have an impact, not only on their lives, but on the lives of their children and future generations, entire countries, and indeed the world.
 
 

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!
 

Calling All Women Ambassadors and Expert Trainers

AmbassadorsPostcardEverywhere you look, women are changing the face of leadership. Why? Because they are tired of waiting. They want to see gender parity in leadership in their lifetimes. At the current pace, this will not happen until 2095. Some powerful leaders of today’s women’s movement are gathering in Santa Barbara April 19-21 to help bring about that change. It’s all about collaboration and women helping other women.
Like Elisa Parker, Grass Valley, CA, who started her SeeJaneDo radio program six years ago with a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. “My girls were then four and seven,” Elisa recalls, “and they were questioning why their world seemed so broken. I felt I had to try to create a world that served them, to create a platform for women’s voices to bring about change.” Part of her strategy is to participate in the April Santa Barbara training to become a Leadership Ambassador.
Women made great progress in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties, yet their share of leadership has remained stuck at less than 20 percent for decades. It’s even worse for women of color. Doors have been opened, yet most women still do not step through to join the ranks of leadership.
Activist leaders have noticed their reluctance and begun to organize in earnest. Contrary to the stereotype of bitchy women, these women love to collaborate and partner with others. Elisa’s effort is one of thousands, led by ordinary women and stars alike, all determined to change the power equation: Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, Kimberly Bryant’s Black Girls Code organization, Rinku Sen’s Race Forward organization, Jennifer Seibel Newsom’s #AskHerMore campaign, Geena Davis’s Institute on Gender in Media, just to name a few. This movement is characterized by mutual support, encouragement and collaboration.
Longtime women’s rights advocate Gloria Feldt, a former national president of Planned Parenthood and co-founder of Take The Lead, says these powerful leaders are ready to take it to the next level. She says women can achieve parity in leadership across all sectors by 2025, that she can teach them how, and that it’s time to share her knowledge so others can do it, too. Exemplifying the collaborative trend, Take The Lead currently partners with more than 40 universities, leadership organizations and businesses.
Dr. Nancy agrees. That’s why Women Connect4Good, Inc., is underwriting Gloria’s next Train-the-Trainer in Santa Barbara, April 20-21. An application form to participate is available online. After interviewing Gloria years ago for a podcast about women’s relationships with power, they collaborated on Leading Women.
Gloria began sharing her signature 9 Power Tools curriculum with other expert trainers last year in order to accelerate women’s progress. She trained 16 diverse Leadership Ambassadors in New York City and Phoenix in 2015, all of whom were already experts working in the field, and now are qualified to deliver the training to companies and organizations.
The Santa Barbara training is the third Train-the-Trainer offered by Gloria and Take The Lead Head of Strategy, Lex Schroeder. Gloria said, “We are so excited to connect with courageous women leaders on the West Coast, by bringing Take The Lead’s training to California.”
Fast Facts

  • Women make up more than 50% of the population, are 59% of the college-educated, entry-level workforce, and control 85% of consumer spending.
  • The rapid advances women made into leadership in the 1970s and 1980s have largely stalled.
  • Whether counting women on corporate boards, in the C-suite, in politics, behind the camera or at the editor’s desk – none of the percentages rise above 20%, and most are much lower.

About the Training

  • Certified trainers can incorporate the material into their own brands or teach as a certified Leadership Ambassador with Take The Lead.
  • This training focuses on:
    • Achieving gender parity in leadership, which means advancing women to occupy half of all top leadership and decision-making roles across all sectors by 2025. This goes beyond just teaching them leadership skills.
    • Cracking the code of implicit bias that has held women back to less than 20% of leadership for decades.
    • Changing the definition of power itself. Rejecting the oppressive “power over” and claiming the “power to” accomplish something by joining with others. These concepts change women’s feeling about power from “love-hate” into “I can’t wait to use this!”
    • Fostering “Collaboration as strategy” to achieve collective leadership and systemic change through strategic partnerships.
    • Creating an intergenerational movement of women leaders,
  •  Women who become trainers join a diverse, supportive community of powerful, motivated women of all ages and backgrounds. Some are building their training businesses; all are motivated primarily to uplift and advance other women.
  • The certification process includes marketing assistance and membership in the supportive community of Leadership Ambassadors.
  • There is a fee, however organizers will seek to match participants with scholarships where possible.
  • To apply to take part in the training or for more information http://www.taketheleadwomen.com/leadership-power-tools-training/

About Take The Lead

  • Take The Lead’s 2014 launch, co-sponsored by Arizona State University and dozens of other local and national groups, filled a 3,000-seat auditorium and reached 500,000 globally via livestream.
  • Take The Lead prepares, develops, inspires, and propels women to take their fair and equal share of leadership positions across all sectors by 2025. It’s today’s women’s movement, the needed game changer, a unique way for women to embrace power and leadership parity.
  • In addition to offline leadership events, Take The Lead regularly hosts online learning programs, including free monthly Virtual Happy Hours and on demand learning programs, including the online certificate course version of the “9 Leadership Power Tools To Advance Your Career” workshop.
  • See more than 40 partners in Take The Lead mission
  • Read bios of diverse Leadership Ambassadors

What are you waiting for? If you are an expert trainer and want to join other women leaders, redefine power and help uplift and advance other other women, this Leadership Ambassador Train The Trainer is for you. As a Leadership Ambassador, you will bring this transformative work to new audiences so that together, we can bring women to leadership parity by 2025. Remember, it’s all about collaboration and women helping other women, and together we can do more then we can ever do on our own. Find out more about Train The Trainer HERE.
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