Cathy Evans

Why Educate Women about the Power of Money

Beth Sirull, CEO of JCFSD

Beth Sirull says that it’s important to educate women about the power of money, whether it be philanthropic money, spending money, or investment dollars. How you earn it, spend it, or give it away is very powerful. It’s becoming even more important because today 45 percent of American millionaires are women and by the year 2030, two-thirds of U.S. wealth will be under the control of women. We are expected to inherit 70 percent of the $41 trillion of intergenerational wealth that will transfer over the next several years. Beth says that women are more generous than men, but they need to understand how they can use the power of money to support women and help solve critical issues in our world.

Beth is President and CEO of the Jewish Community Foundation in San Diego, California. Under her leadership, JCFSD has become San Diego’s largest philanthropic funder, granting $100 million annually with 70% going to secular causes. Her work is the perfect fit as Beth said that she was raised to help people. Her Jewish mother said that the only thing she needed to remember about being Jewish is that they were once enslaved in Egypt, then they were freed to make sure no one else ever experiences a similar fate. So when Beth searched for work that aligned with her values, she found work to help the low income people in San Francisco through investments in “underestimated communities.” She says that if people in these communities are given access to capital and mentorship that other communities take for granted, they will thrive.

At JCFSD, Beth helps donors and investors find their passion so they can direct their dollars toward the issues that matter most to them. Not all philanthropists and investors are Jewish and many do not even live in San Diego. She describes the foundation like a philanthropic bank that manages the assets so they can build to their capacity. She says that at the foundation they say, “We believe in the power of every individual. And collectively, we can change the world.” Personally, Beth feels poverty and homelessness are unacceptable. She says, “We have an obligation as a society to ensure that we’re able to provide human dignity and a level of living for every member of society.”

How Women Can Support Other Women with the Power of Money

Beth has a special interest in trying to support women because she feels that if women don’t support women, no one is going to look out for us. She describes many ways we can do that with our investing and buying decision, and suggests asking your financial adviser if there are any funds that have a gender lens on them. Do the companies employ women at the management level? She admits that many companies have lots of women in lower positions, but few have women on their boards or at the top levels. It benefits both the investor and supports women to have women in top leadership, because they are shown to be more profitable and successful. There are even new funds that specifically benefit women. She mentioned one in particular that is investing in companies innovating around women’s reproductive health. Beth points out that we are a demand-driven society. If we start to ask “where are the women making these decisions,” investment managers will start to hire them. That’s how we can empower each other with the power of money.

Create a Women’s Empowerment Loan Fund

Beth is excited about the success of a recent fund they created to enable donors to invest in a women’s empowerment loan fund. They set it up to pay a small bit of interest, then a return of the capital with the purpose of lending money to underestimated or low-income women entrepreneurs, especially women of color. She said that once she announced it, it began to fill very quickly. She suggests that other communities try to establish their own and encourages anyone interested to contact her for more information about how to launch it in their area. Beth’s e-mail is beth@jcfsandiego.org.

Listen to this interview for more information about how women can make a difference with the power of money. We can all create social change with the decisions we make, but first we must acknowledge our power and learn ways we can wield it to support others, help solve critical issues in our world and lift women up to create the world we all want to live in. Check out the Jewish Community Foundation in San Diego’s website for more ideas.

Role Models to Show Girls What It Means to Be Strong

Role Models to Show Girls What It Means to Be Strong

Sarah Beach, Publisher

When Sarah Beach realized her daughters had limiting beliefs about what girls and women could do, she stepped up to the challenge and founded a magazine to provide them with role models of strong women and girls—“ordinary girls doing extraordinary things”—and STRONG: The Magazine for Girls was born. Since its founding, many things have changed: “Wonder Woman” hit the box office; Sarah’s daughters grew beyond the tender middle-school age, and STRONG, in publication for over two years, continued to stretch and grow, providing positive messages on pertinent topics to help develop well-rounded, knowledgeable, self-confident girls and young women.

While some things have changed, many things are still the same. Sarah mentions the small number of women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and that there is still only one female for every 2.24 males on screen. Following the golden rule of “you have to see it to be it,” Sarah is careful to depict girls and women in every capacity, from sports to a broad array of professions, and even spotlights ordinary girls who have reached out in their communities to help make positive change.

Being Empowered is Being Strong Enough to Unapologetically Be Yourself

Sarah says, “We all need to be fixing each other’s crowns.” We have to come together and should be building each other up. She says that she teaches her daughters, “Other people’s success is not your failure. That’s not how it works.” We have enough people in our society trying to put women down. The message we’re trying to promote is about, “being strong enough to understand who you truly are and having the confidence to be that person without worrying about what other people think.” It’s okay to be different. And the girls covered in STRONG make that point over and over again by traveling to different countries and discovering different cultures there, and here in the United States.

 

Strong Girls Become Strong Women

Sarah makes the point that with more women leaders in upper management, they will create positive change for women. When Sarah had her children, she didn’t have the flexibility to continue her job. She describes the working world as being designed for men, but even they would benefit from more flexibility to support their families.

Sarah’s dream is to make STRONG accessible to everyone—in every library, every school, in every girl’s hands. You can learn more about STRONG on her website, strongmagazineforgirls.com, and subscribe there as well. Sarah encourages everyone to subscribe—if not for yourself or your own daughters—for a nearby school or library.

 

Listen to this conversation to learn more about the specific sections in each edition of STRONG, and Dr. Nancy and Sarah’s viewpoints on the status of women and how important it is for us to continue to open the door to girls doing exciting things and being all they can be. That’s the true meaning of being strong.

How to Align Your Career with Who You Are

How to Align Your Career with Who You Are

Dr. Grace Lee, Career Revisionist Founder

Dr. Grace Lee is the perfect example of how to align your career with who you are, both in her personal choice, and using her experience in neuroscience to assist others in finding purposeful, fulfilling careers. She calls her technique “brain-based coaching” and has created a new movement, Career Revisionist, for empowered people who are resolved to be inspired by what they do. At the core is her vocational education process, which starts with helping people understand why they do the things they do, so they can change what and how they do things to better align with who they are.

Grace’s own life was upended when her mother was killed in a head-on car crash. Grace herself miraculously escaped being a quadriplegic thanks to extensive rehabilitation. But only two years later, at 10-years-old, her father (now remarried with two young children) told her that she had to find new living arrangements. So, she found herself abandoned, living on her own and working at a restaurant, when at the age of 14, a couple, who were eating at the restaurant, offered her a place to stay, and ultimately adopted her. At 16, Grace gave herself permission to have a better life and pursued the only route she knew at the time to achieve that: go to school, get good grades, and get a good job. Eventually she did all of that pursuing a successful career in neuroscience and publishing her research in several scientific journals. But it did not align with who she is. And once again, she was on her own to create her own career and establish a model for being a Career Revisionist.

Steps to Developing Vocational Confidence

Grace says that clients will often come to her and exclaim that they can’t find their passion. She advises them that looking for your passion isn’t necessarily the first step. While you need feel moved by what you’re doing, it’s important to step back and develop clarity on who you are as an individual and what is true for you in your life. The first step is to identify your highest values. Grace says that no matter what your background, educational or economic status, humans will always act one hundred percent of the time in accordance with their highest values. But that is only one of the four components to developing vocational confidence.

Grace describes four elements that she says are equally important, like a VENN model, each element circle overlapping the others. Your career will naturally be fulfilling and successful when you apply them to your career choice:

  1. Your highest values
  2. What you’re skilled at
  3. Your ability to create wealth around it
  4. How it makes a meaningful contribution to the world

She sums it up by saying, “Your career is not just affording the lifestyle that you want outside of work. Your career is the greatest form of expression of who you are and the impact you want to have in this world.”

From Just Coasting to Work Fulfillment

Listen to this interview to learn more about what Grace says about ending the separation between work and fulfillment. And check out her website, CareerRevisionist.com, and YouTube channel for more of Grace’s explanation about applying business principles and neurological science to your career choice process. Her mission is to help her clients create the career of their dreams and she has developed a system to help them do just that by discovering how to align it with who they are from the inside out.

Give Your Tech a Day of Rest and Reconnect with Yourself

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

Tiffany Schlain

Tiffany Shlain speaks with the unique voice of a woman in tech. In her 20’s she celebrated the possibilities of being connected on the internet when she founded the Webby Awards, but after 2007 when the smartphone was invented, things began to change. Everyone began looking at their screens and not at each other. In fact, she felt so disconnected that she and her husband (also a tech professional) began turning off their screens one day a week. She calls it their “technology Shabbats” and it has improved their lives so much that she wrote a book about it, 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week.

An Emmy-nominated filmmaker, Tiffany asks a key question in many of her films, “When does technology amplify who we are as humans and when does it diminish us?” After the iPhone came out and she could take a supercomputer with her into the bathroom, the bedroom, and everywhere else, she no longer felt present anywhere. While her father was dying with a brain tumor and she was pregnant with her daughter, she thought a lot about life and death and why we are here. She craved time off to refresh and connect and started practicing the 3,000-year-old tradition of Sabbath—a day with screens turned off to rest, think and hear your own voice.

24/6: Memoir Meets Neuroscience Meets Visions of the Future

Tiffany’s new book, 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week, tells about her family’s decade of practicing their technology Shabbat, discovering what gives her joy, and how dinnertime is enriched by personally connecting with family without screens to distract them. She examines what all that screen time is doing to us, and how periods of rest affect our productivity and creativity. She says that we need to disconnect to restore our unique perspective, so we can bring our independent creative thinking back to the conversation. Called a visionary and prophet by some, Tiffany predicts that we will burn out if we don’t stop the way we’re allowing tech to drive our lives every minute of every day. She says there are a host of behavioral scientists and engineers designing ways to keep us addicted to the web, and they’re winning.

She also notes that teen suicide has risen 57% since 2007, (the year smartphones came out). She says, “Kids are handed supercomputers before they are emotionally able to deal with everything coming at them.” She says that as a society we need to ask, “Is this a good way to live?” And she also advises that we need to have weekends off again and suggests several ways companies and governments should get involved.

How Living 24/6 Affects Daily Living

Tiffany says that turning off screens one day a week makes you more intentional about the other six days. She tells how her Facebook group supports each other with ideas of things to use for daily living instead of screens. Tiffany uses a notepad again and a paper planner, because it’s more thoughtful to bring out a notepad instead of a cell phone at a dinner meeting. Nancy talks about the time she is gaining by adopting 24/6 and how she plans to start painting again—something she hasn’t had time for in years.

Listen to this interview for many more perspectives on how cell phones are affecting children, the benefits of taking charge of the way we use technology and more about the root concept of taking a sabbatical to get recharged. Then check out Tiffany’s website for upcoming speaking events, buy the book at 24sixlife.com, and get acquainted with her filmmaking at LetItRipple.org. Tiffany announced in this interview that she will be premiering a new art form which she calls “spoken cinema” at the Museum of Modern Art in February.

Make 2020 Your Happiest Year Ever

Make 2020 Your Happiest Year Ever

Susan Burrell

Susan Burrell is an inspirational speaker and author, and she has written a book to give you the tools you need to make 2020 your happiest year ever. Susan took a powerful life lesson from a contentious divorce, looked deeply at the wonderful guidance she had been giving clients and students for 25 years, and wrote a book, called Live An Empowered Life! A 30 Day Journey. She test-drove the book herself, working through the exercises and journaling her way to discover who she is inside—a divine spark that is completely amazing. Susan says that describes every one of us and we all need to wake up, open up and welcome the gifts life gives us.

This amazing conversation goes into detail about Susan’s story, and includes some of Dr. Nancy’s own journey, as both women share how they realized their mistakes taking responsibility for relationships and events that were not theirs to shoulder. Susan’s personal feeling about her marriage was that she had walled herself up to keep herself safe for 28 years. She had tried to “fix herself” in multiple ways, but all the journaling and transformation workshops weren’t enough, because she didn’t need fixing. Now that she has found her true voice, she encourages women to knock down those walls, get past your fears and choose to be you.

Vulnerability Is A Strength, Not A Weakness

Susan says that she had to realize that vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness, and that we use fear to keep ourselves small. She likens it to the Wizard of Oz, being fearful of who is behind the curtain. Instead, she says the first step to toward the happiness you deserve is trust. You can’t trust yourself if you don’t know yourself. The first exercise in Live An Empowered Life is to write your story. Susan says it’s a tool to empty out your mind and rid it of the ideas that keep us hiding our lights. She said a friend told her that she couldn’t do the first exercise because she didn’t know what her story was. She says that you must be able to tell your story – that is the only way you can face your truth, be available to others, and (most important) available to yourself.

Live An Empowered Life! A Book for Doing More Than Reading

Make 2020 Your Happiest Year EverLive An Empowered Life is designed to be the vehicle for an inner retreat where you can go on a journey and do the work from the comfort of your home.  Some days guide you to dig deep into beliefs that are deeply rooted in family or culture. Other days deliver a gentle ride on your journey. There are pieces that are interactive with Susan’s website with guided meditations, which are also available on Insight Timer.  And there are inspirational videos periodically to prompt your journaling. Susan hopes that everyone will reach the same destination that she did at the end and says, “I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life now.”

More on Setting Intentions & Upcoming Events

Listen to this interview and hear more of Susan’s story, how to allow intentions to work for you and other steps that led her to respect and love herself. Check out Susan’s website, susanburrell.com, to buy the book and access the interactive pieces that make this book and support materials such an amazing self-empowerment tool.  Stay tuned for Susan’s 6-week book study that will be available on Zoom. 2020 is an important year. Turn the page on a new decade and open Susan’s book to discover how you can supercharge your life.

Push Her Forward and Vote Her In

Political Activist for Women

Rebecca Sive

Rebecca Sive was raised to work hard, get educated and in turn, teach others. Most of all she was raised by parents who thought it was important to advocate for democratic values and help get people elected to create equal opportunities and fairness for all. Since the 2016 election, and the subsequent Women’s March, Rebecca has been inspired to increase her advocacy for women and write her newest book, Vote Her In: Your Guide to Electing Our First Woman President.

#VOTEHERIN

Convinced that the time is now, Rebecca points out that a woman already got elected to the presidency by the popular vote. A fact she uses to make the case that the American people, both men and women, are ready for a woman president. In Vote Her In, she helps women – especially those who did not vote for the woman for president – see how they actually voted against their own interests.

Rebecca explains that the road to better health care, improved child care and education for all is by electing a woman president. Women understand the need for these things, which is why it just doesn’t make sense to vote for someone who does not address the issues in their policies. She also explains the ways that a woman president would help women reach parity sooner, first by demonstrating the ways that women make great leaders, and second through policies to promote equal pay and status in the workplace.

“When A Woman Leads, Everyone Wins.”

Women are proving that they can lead every day. In fact, as a result of their leadership, companies are more profitable, and policies are more beneficial to all.  Originally recorded in October, 2018, Dr. Nancy asked Rebecca who might run for president and Rebecca pointed out that women have been running and winning for years. Although only one-fifth of the Senate are women and there are only six governors, there are a number of women who have executive experience. She predicted that after the 2018 mid-terms, a pool of women would start to throw their hats into the ring. Early next year (2019), they will begin fundraising and announcing their intentions for 2020.  She predicted that regardless of where you stand ideologically or politically, you will have a choice and begin to see women leaders speaking out. (Rebecca was absolutely right. At this update, the field of six women running for President has thinned to four, but that’s still more than ever before at this stage of the campaign.)

In the second part of Vote Her In Rebecca encourages women to get behind the woman they choose and help her get elected. This how-to section of the book gives readers advice and direction for how to engage with the political process and push that deserving woman toward the presidency. Rebecca says women do it all the time. We lift each other up and help one another achieve our goals. We can elect a woman president and the country is very ready for it.

Listen to this interview for more inspiring comments and insights. Check out Rebecca’s website and get her book. Use #VOTEHERIN whenever possible and get this movement moving. If all of us push together we can Vote Her In!

 

Stop Blaming and Start Playing: Women Find Your Voice

Stop Blaming and Start Playing: Women Find Your VoiceTrudy Bourgeois challenges women to stop blaming men and each other for keeping us from achieving leadership and equality, and start playing. It’s time to create our individual consciousness and find a shared voice. She says that her recent research shows that throughout history when women inserted themselves into an issue and decided to be drivers, “we were transformational.” Trudy and Dr. Nancy agree that we have a responsibility to speak out, that silence is endorsement for the status quo and when we sit on the sidelines, it makes us just as guilty as others who overtly keep barriers in place to prevent women of all colors rising to leadership.

Trudy and Dr. Nancy met a few years ago at the Diversity Women’s Business Leadership Conference, and Dr. Nancy shares the eye-opening story once again in this conversation. Trudy point-blank confronted Dr. Nancy with the question, “What’s wrong with you white women?” Then she went on to explain, “You had it all with affirmative action and you let it go. What’s wrong with you?” All Dr. Nancy said she could think of was, “I guess we don’t like each other.” Trudy followed up in this interview with, “I think we don’t know each other.” The Diversity Women Conference annually provides the opportunity for women to cross lines, get to know each other, and feel the community and power of their shared voices. It puts inclusion and diversity out there in the open. Dr. Nancy recommends that women of all colors should attend for the opportunity to connect and feel the support of other women. And that, says Dr. Nancy, “is something all women need so badly.”

Trudy Challenges Us to Have Courageous Conversations

Both Dr. Nancy and Trudy talk about the need to lift other women up. For Dr. Nancy, the phrase has become, “Lift as you rise.” For the Diversity Conference, the slogan was “Level Up.” Trudy says that it’s difficult for many women to help another. So, think about how difficult it is to help a woman who doesn’t look like you. That takes a courageous conversation, like Trudy had with Dr. Nancy when they first met. In this conversation, Trudy challenges the listeners—every listener—to sponsor or mentor one woman. She says, “What if we could get every listener to say, ‘I’m going to do that for at least one woman?’ Can you imagine the kind of differences that we could experience?”

“We Have the Power. We Just Need to Use Our Power.”

Trudy says that women sometimes show up as victims, and she asserts that none of us are victims. We need to stop identifying as victims and change the narrative. That’s another courageous conversation. She details how to transform our work environments to create authentic change in corporate America in her newest book, EQUALITY: Courageous Conversations About Women Men & Race to Spark a Diversity and Inclusion Breakthrough. By courageous conversations, Trudy means for us to talk about the difficult topics that get to the emotional level to create buy in. We need to own our own biases, not just blame our lack of equality on the people who have power. Check out more of Trudy’s and Dr. Nancy’s perspectives on biases and the Diversity Women’s Business Leadership Conference. Then get the full strategy in EQUALITY and wisdom in Trudy’s other writings at Huffington Post and on her website, www.workforceexcellence.com.

Listen to this interview for more inspiring messages and tips for how to push the needle of equality forward for all of us.

Inspiration for Helping Others Get Their Voices Heard

Inspiration for Helping Others Get Their Voices Heard

Terra Renee

If you were an aspiring actress and found a thousand women who looked like you applying for the same role, would you be inspired to quit or to get those thousand women jobs that would help them get their voices heard? Terra Renee made the second choice, became an aspiring filmmaker, founded an organization to support women of color, and hosted an event to showcase their works. This is how African American Women in Cinema  (AAWIC) was born, and 21 years later that one-time event is celebrated every year and continues to expand and grow with members, sponsors and partners to help filmmakers tell the stories that touch us in ways that inspire change in our culture and ourselves.

Terra always knew she wanted to pursue entertainment as a career, but when Dr. Nancy asked her who her inspiration was, Terra answered, “Dr. King.” She went on to explain that although Dr. Martin Luther King wasn’t technically in entertainment, he was so powerful that even though he never held public office, he has a national holiday named for him. More recently a conversation Terra had with a director of a peace organization led her to adopt a new role model, Mama Sarah Obama. At 96, Mama Sarah founded a school for Kenyan children  who had been orphaned by the HIV/Aids epidemic. Terra said that if she could create something that powerful to look back on at the age of 96, she will have achieved her purpose.

The Joy of Walking in Your Purpose

Terra said simply, “I’m not a complainer.” When she sees an issue that needs solving, she sets about doing it. So when she saw a thousand women who needed jobs, she wrote a screenplay and founded AAWIC. Recently she hosted an event to give voice to women who suffered from the recent mass school shootings. She said that they have turned “their pain into power,” and she has joined their purpose with her own, providing opportunities for women of color to showcase their work and get it in front of audiences. Dr. Nancy agreed with Terra that it’s fun and joyful to work with others to create change and help support other women. And Terra called it liberating with an energy so strong that you can feel it when you meet someone who is walking in her purpose.

African American Women in Cinema (AAWIC)

Terra invites women and men of all colors to join AAWIC, especially filmmakers. She notes that technology has changed the entertainment industry drastically since she founded AAWIC. In those days, independent filmmakers had to rent a theater and sell enough seats to keep it showing long enough to attract a studio. Now, with YouTube and social media, filmmakers can drive traffic and do much on their own. However, AAWIC also helps in many ways: through the annual event, spotlighting at Sundance and other award shows. Terra also announced a partnership with On-Network, which pays licensing fees and promotes filmmaker’s content on their promotional platform. This gives more visibility and income possibility than the per-click requirements of other website platforms.

Listen to this conversation for more of Terra’s personal story, more about the book she is writing to support and inspire other entrepreneurs, and the documentary she is currently producing that will be featured at Sundance. And go to Terra’s website to learn more about AAWIC.  It’s a registered 501c3 if you’re looking for a  worthy mission to support and tax-deductible gift.  And for aspiring filmmakers, a simple membership can help you get your story told and your voice heard.

When Will We Know Women Have Reached the Top?

When Will We Know Women Have Reached the Top?

Dr. Los Frankel

Dr. Lois Frankel, President of Corporate Coaching International, says that we’ll know when women have reached the top when we quit counting and no longer cite how many women are sitting on the Supreme Court or how many women are world leaders. We’ll really know women have arrived at the apex when the court is populated by all women and we don’t even notice. That is the real test of success for her lifelong work as a best-selling author, keynote speaker, and executive coach. Starting with her first book, Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, Dr. Lois has shown women how to use their voices and skills to go beyond the models we were given as girls and grow into the adult leading women we have the talent to become.

 

What’s New Since Dr. Lois Started the Nice Girls Series

Although she says that change is moving at a glacial speed, Dr. Lois does admit that some things have changed. People are talking and corporations are helping them do it through affinity groups, also called Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). These have cropped up in the last 10 years. She recalled her time at Pepsi when they had 12-14 affinity groups for each diverse group. She said that the company really valued diversity, and they grouped people together who shared common challenges, with separate groups for Asians, one group for Latinos, one for African-American women, and one for LGBTQ. They wanted each group to bring their unique challenges out into the open, share them and together, work on solutions.

In the spirit of In This Together, Dr. Nancy says that we have to talk to each other and realize that each woman is unique in her own way. Lois agrees and adds that we need to embrace our gifts and understand, “We’re all more the same than different, but it’s those differences that bring a richness to our decision-making and to our lives, and to just every aspect of society.”

 

How Nice Girls Speak Up and Stand Out

Dr. Lois’ new book is due out in January as an audio book and is currently titled, Nice Girls Don’t Speak Up or Stand Out: How to Make Your Voice Heard, Your Point Known and Your Presence Felt. She said that people would approach her after she delivered keynotes and ask if there was a book on communication that covered what she had discussed. When she realized that no one book did, she decided that “readers” needed to hear the examples, rather than read them on a page, so she chose to create an audio book.

 

More Perspectives on Helping and Advancing Women

Listen to this interview to hear Dr. Lois’ fascinating personal story, and how she changed course to become a successful entrepreneur and keynote speaker. Check out her website and all eight of her books about and for women. Find out more about her how her Bloom Again Foundation helps women with breast cancer. And learn what’s keeping women from becoming leaders, and how people of all colors and genders need to come together to help women reach the top.

Why We Need More Women in Government and How to Get Them to Run

Why We Need More Women in Government and How to Get Them to Run

Luz Reyes-Martin

Luz Reyes-Martin works hard getting more women in government and showing them how to run for elected offices. She is serving her first year as President of the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee, a non-partisan organization that works to expand our democracy and include more women and feminist policies at every level. In fact, she credits the committee with getting three of the four women trustees elected to the Goleta School Board, on which she also serves. It’s important to note that these are Luz’s extra-curricular commitments, in addition to her day job as Executive Director of Public Affairs and Communications for Santa Barbara City College and a mother of two children under the age of four.

The daughter of hardworking immigrants, she witnessed her classmates’ fear of being separated from their parents when California passed Proposition 187, which criminalized undocumented immigrants. She felt their fear and learned early on the impact government has on everyone’s lives even though she was documented. She says that it is really tragic to see this playing out again at a national level.

Having studied public policy and history, Luz became an advocate in high school and as a student senator at Stanford. And she says that she has seen first-hand how critical it is for people to be involved in the political process and hold legislators and government officials accountable. She pointed out that when women come to the table, questions are asked that wouldn’t otherwise be asked. A woman’s decision-making process is also more analytical, and Luz says they make the best budget decisions. Her message to women is that we need you. “The community needs you. Your voice is important, and it is valued.”

Opportunities for Women to Serve

Of course, Luz is excited at what we saw in 2018 at the congressional level and there has been a ripple effect from having so many women elected. She admits that while that is inspiring, there are a lot of opportunities for women to have an even greater impact at the state and local level. Everyday life is more affected by school boards, water boards, city councils and county supervisors. That is a great place for a woman to get started. They can also be a way to make a long-term difference as often council positions go uncontested for years and people don’t even notice.

She adds that there are many women scientists and water boards or city councils make the decisions that need their expertise. Another benefit is that this is the place to get executive experience for higher office and to be put in a position to appoint women to other boards. Board appointments are still largely made by men, so having more women in those decision-making positions can increase women on boards, and bring even more women to the table. She says that another benefit of having more women in office is that she has a community of peers to consult with if there is a particularly difficult school board meeting or if she needs advice about how to handle a particular issue.

Critical to Have a Strong and Equal Partner at Home

Luz notes that these are frequently volunteer positions, and often women can’t take on a position that is full time and not paid. In fact, it’s impossible without a strong and equal partner at home. Luz says, “You need to have honest conversations with your partner about the commitment that you’re making and why it’s important for children to see moms and to see women in these leadership positions. You have to model it for your children. The old adage ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ is absolutely true. I take my children with me to meetings, so both my little girl and my son can see me and other women in leadership roles.”

Pros and Cons Affecting Women Who Seek Office

Luz says that often it’s a matter of timing. To serve on the school board, she had to make sure the board understood that she needed early notice of meetings, so she could plan to attend. Other women may have different conflicts. She says that it helps them to see how they can get around their obstacles if she explains how they could work it into their lives. The same goes for other difficulties women face when running for office and facing the commitments of community service.

Listen to this interview for more tips, like how to address fundraising—another hurdle that women find difficult—and which Luz faced herself. Check out these links for more information about why women in leadership benefits us all and how you can advocate for getting more women into government, perhaps even yourself.

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