Dr. Nancy

You Can Be the Woman Who Is Helped Today

Keynote Speaker, Author, Leadership Coach

Judy Hoberman


After a successful 30-year career in sales and writing numerous books on gender differences in business, Judy Hoberman has found her true purpose and has focused on her newest goal, “to help one woman a day.” When she announced this goal to different groups of women, she was always surprised when a woman in the audience would raise her hand and ask, “Can I be the woman you help today?”
This is why Judy has expanded her reach in two ways: she wrote her new book, Walking on the Glass Floor: Seven Essential Qualities of Women Who Lead, and launched her new foundation at the same time. Judy knew that her purpose was to give women the tools they need to succeed in their careers, provide for their families, and have time to do what they truly desire. She already did this through the business she founded, Selling In A SKIRT, which is an acronym for:

  • Standing Out
  • Keys to Success
  • Inspiring Others
  • Results Oriented
  • Time Management
  • All while having Fun!!

Through coaching, consulting, sales training, speeches and a weekly radio show, Judy gives women important tools to help them succeed at their purpose.

Women Who Are Mentored Become Amazing Role Models for Other Women.

Walking on the Glass Floor is different than anything Judy has ever done. She began with the idea that if you have cracked through the glass ceiling, you are now walking on the glass floor. If you’re there, you have a responsibility to help other women get there too. Her purpose turned the corner of feminine leadership, to help women realize that we are phenomenal leaders and many of the skills that we don’t think of as being leadership skills are in fact the best tools for effective leadership.
Growing up and being told that she couldn’t do certain things because she was a girl created an obstacle for Judy that she felt she must overcome. In the process, she discovered her gifts, one being the way that she coped with being told that she couldn’t do something. It fueled her fire and she became all she wanted to become and in turn, was determined to help others do the same.

Create Relationships Before You Need Them.

Although her career was in sales, Judy doesn’t think of what she did as selling. She saw it as a form of communication and creating relationships. She helped people and worked with them to achieve what they needed. She advises her clients now to make relationships. It doesn’t matter who you are speaking to, there is always an opportunity for a wonderful relationship.

Help Another Woman Today

This conversation is full of helpful information for women leaders. Judy comments on women’s lack of self confidence. Even women who are at the top of their field have told her that the most difficult thing for them is having the courage to show their self-confidence. Dr. Nancy adds that it’s also fear of failure that holds many women back and comments on how much she likes Judy’s chapter on taking risks. Judy says she knows how important this information is for women and that is why she formed the foundation, to get the book into the hands of the women who need it and to help women in more ways than she could otherwise. The mission is to support women and women’s initiatives through writing, workshops and publications.
Underneath it all is Judy’s desire to help women know what incredible leadership skills they already possess. It only requires a shift of perspective to see how passion, a sense of purpose, a talent for creating relationships and working in collaboration can be essential tools in the hands and heart of a gifted leader.  Check out Judy’s website, Sellinginaskirt.com, for more information and listen to this conversation for more of Judy’s personal story and why she and Dr. Nancy say we desperately need more women leaders.

Your Voice Matters


Celebrated writer, speaker and women’s leadership coach, Tabby Biddle is on a mission to help women realize that they own something more precious than they ever realized living in a male-dominated culture – a Feminine voice that needs to be heard. In the process of her own journey to make her voice heard, she discovered a little-known fact. According to June Cohen, TEDx Producer, only about 20 percent of the short-listed TEDx Talks that came to her for consideration on TED.com were by women. Worse than this, only 15 percent of the recommendations that came in for the main stage TED were women. That led June to ask  an important question, “Where are the women’s voices?”
Tabby’s response was to assemble as many women for TEDx and TED Talks as she possibly can. After delivering her own TEDx Talk at St. Marks, Tabby began a coaching workshop where she not only prepares women to take the TED stage, but helps them find a TED venue where they can be accepted and successfully use their voice.
If you’ve never thought you could be a TED speaker, think again. Speaking on the TED or TEDx stage can be the highlight of your career. As a female leader or an emerging leader, delivering a TED talk is an incredible vehicle for you to spread your message, build your brand and share what matters to you most. So what’s holding you back? If you’re not convinced that your message is really important, consider that according to the latest studies, when more women are leaders, communities and organizations are more productive, profitable, innovative and successful. When more women are leaders, we also change society’s view of what leaders look like, how they operate, and how they respond to social, economic and political needs.  When more women are leaders, we raise the aspirations of women and girls around the world.
You are important. Your brand of leadership is important. By stepping on the TED stage  and using your voice, you can potentially change, not only your own path, but the path of thousands of other women and girls. More women like you need to share their stories and change the cultural conversation. It’s time to shed the fear and self-doubt and accept the responsibility to make your voice heard.
Tabby urges women to make the dream of speaking on the TED or TEDx stage a reality. She provides the practical support and guidance necessary to take your rightful place on the stage and step into your legacy as a change-making feminine leader. The next course takes place in January, 2018. Early registration is October 1. You can participate from any location in the world. Now is the time to share your idea and story. Imagine transforming your life by sharing your message with thousands of other people and making the impact you’ve always dreamed of making. October 1 is fast approaching. Share your story and become the feminine leader you are destined to be. Your voice matters more now than ever before.  Click here to find out more about how to touch the lives of the people who are waiting for you, and become the thought leader that you know you are meant to be.

BE the Change You Want to See in the World

entrepreneur and philanthropist

Mea Boykins


International philanthropist and entrepreneur Mea Boykins may have been born with service in her heart. She started early helping others and her passion developed quickly. While still a junior at Spelman College she founded the Student Emergency Assistance Scholarship to provide funds to two friends who faced expulsion when their money and resources ran out. To date, she has awarded five scholarships and launched a speaking career telling people how she did it. Now a 501c3, her foundation also works with disadvantaged youth and displaced individuals around the world. Mea is a positive force on a global scale connecting with others to live her mission to BE the change she wants to see in the world.
Mea credits several things for propelling her into her life of service. First, her small town upbringing in Opelousas, Louisiana, where opportunities were few and education wasn’t valued, exposed her to people living in impoverished circumstances. However, it also exposed her to a broad range of church-going experiences. Mea was curious and attended churches with everyone she knew. Whether they were Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholic, Mormon or Pentecostal, she tagged along. The result: she became deeply spiritual and opened her heart to other people.
Moving to New Orleans in her teens to live with her father transformed her life. She enrolled in a private Catholic school, where she was the only black student. The emphasis there was on community service and she participated by helping the elderly. She also traveled to Paris for the first time, where she learned French. Her well-established taste for travel and experiencing different cultures deepened during her time at Spelman College. Although a liberal arts college for people of color, Spelman’s students represented 49 states and 15 countries, including the Caribbean Islands. The heritages represented are rich and varied. Mea followed that education with two master’s degrees: one from Kings College in London in Child Psychology and a second in International Studies in San Francisco during which she also studied in Spain and Asia.

“You can never do too much. There is always more.”

When Dr. Nancy asked Mea, “What makes you different? You saw a great need and reached out to solve it. Why don’t more people do that?”, Mea answered, “Because of all the hardships I had to overcome, I realized that my life’s purpose was bigger than me.” When she would face an obstacle, she felt that God put it there for her to overcome, not just for herself, but so she could help others overcome it also. She is empathetic, but warns that you also have to be balanced, stay focused and do the inner work within yourself, so you can be happy and whole and continue to be a vessel and servant to do God’s work. She stays focused on her spiritual path and her purpose in life.

Most People in the World Are Good

Having lived in five countries and developed positive relationships with people from dozens of others, Mea is firm in her belief that people really do want to get along. She says that only a few have hate in their heart, but they get a lot of attention. She also credits the imbalance of wealth as a root for world-wide problems with the top 3% not doing what they should to help equalize it.
In April Mea founded a company: Global Management and Marketing, LLC, providing project management, event planning, sponsorship, proposal writing, marketing, branding, social media management and web development.  Beginning with global clients that she met while traveling, she is already starting to spread her wings in this new business venture. She is also directing  strategic relations for Noirbnb, a travel company for millennials of color that identifies accommodations people can rent and unique venues for fun experiences. She says they are looking for organizations and rentals that fit their target market and travelers to take advantage of what they offer.
Check out Mia’s website and listen to this interview to hear more of her inspiring journey to live her life’s purpose and BE the change she wants to see in the world.

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.

Amplify Women’s Voices Around the World

Lauren Anderson


International Geopolitical Consultant Lauren Anderson is excited about the huge world-wide momentum that’s building of women reaching out to help one another across the boundaries of professions and countries  in the many organizations where she serves. Driven by the need to be of service to others and the benefits of justice and equality in our world, Lauren has journeyed through a 29-year distinguished career as an FBI executive, both in high-risk domestic and foreign service, overseeing anti-terrorism and FBI relations with 24 different countries to present-day global efforts on many fronts to empower and help women and girls become leaders in their chosen professions. Lauren serves on  numerous boards and in many capacities, including service as a public speaker and expert with the Women’s Media Center , as Global Ambassador with Vital Voices, Leadership Ambassador with Take the Lead, and  more.
While in the FBI, she saw an enormous amount of talent not being used. In fact, cultures in many countries actually held women back from contributing their skills and talents. While she saw the limitations, she couldn’t dream of all the possibilities. When she became a fellow with the International Women’s Forum, she says it exploded her world open. For the first time, she was in an environment with women from all sectors and many nations from around the world. She saw expertise, knowledge and sharing that could go beyond what she had considered with her background in law enforcement, intelligence and diplomacy.

Vital Voices Partners with Leading Women to Make Their Vision A Reality.

Founded in 1991 by Hillary Clinton and others, Vital Voices is made up of powerful bi-partisan women. Lauren says that Vital Voices identifies and works with women leaders around the world. They started where women had no capacity, in the Middle East, Africa and south Asia, regardless of their sector. Their programs range from something as basic as how to write a business plan to the global ambassador program that Lauren is part of. They select women who are at a tipping point in their profession and pair them with another successful woman. She says that the beauty of Vital Voices is they cross sectors and match people with their skill sets. For example, she currently is coaching a Somali obstetrician-gynecologist, a Filipino businesswoman and a woman in Beirut who makes cookies, though her own sector is much different.

Red Dot Foundation-Safe City Identifies Hot Spots to Protect Women.

Lauren was just asked to be the board chair for Safe City in India. The program was started by Elsa DeSilva after the horrific rape, torture and ultimate death of the young Indian doctor in 2012. Compelled to do something about the violence and sexual harassment in the streets that women go through, she and a couple of friends created the The Red Dot Foundation–Safe City. Lauren says that when it was formed, it was the only crowd-sourced and crowd-funded platform where women could share their stories. Now, Safe City has collected 50,000 separate stories of women who have experienced everything from sexual harassment to rape. The analytics this collection is providing has helped the police identify hot spots within 4 cities in India where they can increase coverage to protect women.
The Safe City model is so successful that it has expanded into Kenya, Nepal, Trinidad,  Nigeria, Cameroon, and others are set up to come on board in the future.  The United States is also looking at ways this model can be used in work environments and on college campuses.

Taking Take the Lead to Global Ambassadorship

Now Lauren and Gloria Feldt are looking into taking Take the Lead’s Leadership Ambassador program world-wide. The Leadership Ambassador  program  applies Gloria’s “9 Power Tools” to help women transform their relationship with power so they can use it to accomplish their intentional goals. They partnered with the Leadership Foundation Fellows of the International Women’s Forum and delivered a partial version of “The 9 Power Tools” to a group of women from around the world. The Leadership Ambassador program expands  beyond Take the Lead, as each Ambassador teaches entire new groups of women, so the message and the method grow exponentially.
Listen to this interview to learn about more collaborative programs where women are reaching out to help other women around the world. Check out the links of the programs that offer these opportunities for more details about how you can become involved in the movement of women reaching out to help other women around the world, and visit Lauren on Linked-In, Twitter and Facebook.

Friend-Raiser for Gender Parity

by Dr. Nancy O’Reilly

A Few of the Take the Lead Board Members: Gloria Feldt, Loretta McCarthy, Amy Litzenberger, Dr. Nancy O’Reilly! and Shelly Esque


Last week, I was pleased to join in a celebration with other empowered women and men, founders and directors, leaders, students and authors from different fields and many young women future- leaders for a Friend-Raiser at Anika Rahman’s home in New York City. We were there to celebrate Take the Lead co-founder and Leading Women co-author, Gloria Feldt’s birthday and to engage the participants in the planning and coordination of Take the Lead Day to promote “Powertopia, A World Where Gender Parity Is Achieved,” which will take place in November.
It is so inspiring when powerful women come together to do something important. Nothing is more crucial to our future success than gender parity. The statistics differ among countries, states, careers and races, but the fact remains that women are still significantly underpaid and under-represented in top leadership in both the private and public sectors. We continue to be paid less for the same work and remain undervalued in the halls of power where we can make the most positive difference in the world today. Take the Lead’s mission to reach gender parity by 2025 is central to achieving the 50/50 balance of women and men that we need to create a world that supports and sustains healthy and fulfilling human life.
Our hostess for the event, Anika Rahman, is an attorney, the founding director of the International Legal Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights and has served as President and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women among many other accomplishments. Amy Litzenberger, co-founder and board chair of Take the Lead and a former investment banker, who lends her expertise in funding and strategic planning to start-up companies and social profits, introduced the evening and the topic of Powertopia.  Gloria led the discussion about women’s ambivalence to power and how our culture has taught us to shun power as a force people use to make others do what you want. Instead, Gloria has embarked on educating women to embrace their power as a means to accomplish their goals, concepts first expressed in her book, No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power, and later in her chapter in Leading Women.

Photos courtesy of Alexis Buryk for City Love Photography
or @citylovephotog for Instagram or Twitter


 
Coming together as we did at Anika’s home shows how we can shift the conversation if we work together. We are uniquely designed to do that very thing. Women naturally collaborate to share the load and integrate one another’s talents for the best outcomes. But as I spoke to young women in attendance and listened to their questions, it was clear how much work we have yet to do. Their concerns were mostly how they could get along with other women at work. On a personal and professional level, their daily concerns are still centered on problems of working together. Women must reach out and support other women. We must not hold one-another back, but urge each other forward. Be a mentor to another woman and seek out a mentor for yourself. Together we can do anything. We have proved it over and over again. As the African proverb says, “If you want to go far, go together; if you want to go fast, go alone.”

Actor, Caileigh Scott and Gloria Feldt


Let this Friend-Raiser and gathering be an example of what happens when we collaborate to advance women and men everywhere. When one succeeds, we all succeed. As we change our relationship with power, we can write a new chapter in human history that truly supports the common good of all, not just a few. Stay tuned for more about the Take the Lead Day in November and trainings and events to promote Powertopia, a world where women are totally equal and gender parity is achieved.

Wonder Woman Film Inspires Kindergarteners, Entrepreneurs and Hollywood Actresses

Humans are meaning-making creatures. We love to tell stories, and these shape how we see ourselves and our world. That’s what makes our ever-present media so powerful.
“Anytime we see women in powerful roles on-screen it challenges narrowly defined and antiquated views of leadership,” said Stacy L. Smith, communications professor at the University of Southern California. Smith is quoted in the New York Times about the impact “Wonder Woman” might have on young girls. “Whether women are serving as C.E.O.s or, in the case of Wonder Woman, striding across ‘No Man’s Land’ and taking enemy fire, it broadens our notions of who a leader can be and the traits they exemplify.”

Stories from Kindergarten

Small children readily imagine themselves heros, and a woman who works at a kindergarten posted comments from five- and six-year-olds the first week after the film’s release. Their stories were filled with power and possibility. One group asked to wear superhero costumes when they sang their song about bunnies. When a girl asked if she could ditch her school uniform for Wonder Woman armor because she “wanted to be ready if she needed to save the world,” her classmates took the new look in stride. Seven girls playing together during recess decided that since they all wanted to be Wonder Woman, they should all be Amazons and not fight but instead work together to defeat evil. Another little girl said, “When I grow up I want to speak hundreds of languages like Diana.” A boy who had been obsessed with Iron Man asked his parents for a new Wonder Woman lunchbox instead.
The teacher who posted these comments closed with this comment: “Consider this your friendly reminder that if this movie completely changed the way these girls and boys thought about themselves and the world in a week, imagine what the next generation will achieve if we give them more movies like Wonder Woman.” Imagine indeed.
Adults are slower than children to suspend disbelief and after researching and writing a book on Wonder Woman’s complicated origins, author Jill Lepore says in an interview that she remained puzzled about the character’s appeal. One day, however, an eight-year-old visiting from foster care “found this box of postcards … covers of original DC Comics from the 1940s. She started picking through them, pulled out all the Wonder Womans, and she lined them up in a row and she just looked at them. Then she looked at me and she said, ‘She is so strong.’ It just knocked me out. This is why Wonder Woman touches people.”

Stories Inspire Entrepreneurs

Even two male writers told stories showing how Diana’s many strengths offer lessons for entrepreneurs. The way John Rampton tells the story, the years the Wonder Woman franchise spent pivoting and rebranding would be familiar to most business owners navigating a changing marketplace. His verison of the story highlights Diana’s truth, peace, equality, empathy, fearlessness, and the power of mentoring. Diana is no loner but instead shares the glory. When Steve Trevor says she saved the day her response is, “No, we did this.” The story told by another journalist, John Boitnott, highlights Diana’s ability to inspire others with her courage and compassion, those precious attributes women display in abundance.

Stories from Women in Hollywood’s film Industry

How did women in Hollywood working on the film tell the story? They – like other diverse groups – are still struggling for representation and equal opportunity in the movie industry. The women who played the fierce warrior gods in the opening scenes of the film said working with a female director and a majority female cast made all the difference. “Everyone just walked with more power,” said Brooke Ence. “They walked with this Amazonian vibe.” “Many of the other Amazons are also mothers,” said Doutzen Kroes. “So we were all able to have our families with us during filming … it was simply incredible.” “I have never been around that many strong women at one time,” said Ann Wolfe. “It felt like we were real, true Amazons.”
Speaking of gender equity in the Hollywood film industry, Women Connect4Good’s producer Cathy Evans observed that Gal Gadot only earned $300,000 for this role, a fraction of what established male superhero stars make. Yes, and Hollywood contracts are byzantine patchworks of bonuses, royalties and percentages, and this is, after all, a brand new franchise. Evans hopes the sequels will correct some of the perceived problems, empower more women and girls, and earn Gal closer to the 79 cents the average woman makes on a man’s dollar.
Some reviewers, not big action hero fans, asked instead for more movies like “Hidden Figures,” an inspiring story based on actual human women. Agreed! But as psychology professor Christopher Ferguson points out, “’Wonder Woman’ and ‘Hidden Figures’ are not in conflict, but both move toward greater egalitarianism in film, albeit in different ways.” He goes on to caution, “All advocacy efforts, no matter how deserving, can run the risk of developing rigid, jargon-filled, political views that make the perfect the enemy of the good.”
In todays’ Women Helping Women Movement, let’s make room for every woman’s imperfect experience, even a retro comic book super hero. This is how we will pave the way for tomorrow’s real sheroes to step into their full and rightful share of leadership.

What Wonder Woman Story Do You Tell?

A recent Google search for “Wonder Woman Post” pulled up nearly 50 million hits, so it’s safe to say that the new film is generating a lot of attention. It’s the first in the super hero genre directed by a woman and strong attendance rapidly propelled it to become the number one film in the world.
Most of the attention is positive, but the acclaim is not universal and a few critics have framed the Wonder Woman story from a negative perspective. In their telling, the film demeans and disempowers viewers along with its lead character. Why? Every viewer focuses on a set of details that forms a context for the film and this framing determines the messages they take away.

Telling a Different Story

Stories can create great transformation, but they can also limit us and hold us in place, says my Leading Women co-author M. Bridget Cook-Burch. “Are you telling yourself stories—about your family, your past, your abilities, your relationships—that are negatively affecting how you present yourself to the world? If so, what new, empowering stories of love, honor, and celebration could you be telling instead?” She urges women to tell stories in which they play the “Shero.”
Women have been telling a story of scarcity for so long, they are overlooking the (admittedly modest) abundance of women leaders emerging around the world, says Tiffany Schlain in her 50/50 movie. It can be hard to get others to join a movement that tells a story of loss and defeat. Psychologists point out we are much more likely to change behavior if we praise what people are doing right, rather than criticizing their failings.

It’s Not Perfect

Women’s rights advocate Tabby Biddle found many aspects of the movie disempowering. (Full disclosure: I’ve interviewed Biddle, who is awesome and a brilliant Leadership Ambassador with TakeTheLead Women, an organization I strongly support.) Biddle said that during the all-female opening segment, she felt happy, invigorated and inspired. But then, “The film takes a huge turn. We are no longer watching a sisterhood collective of powerful women.” Biddle felt the heroine lost her power once she left the safe feminine island and entered the world of men.
She goes on to detail other shortcomings—typical male hero’s solo journey, evil female scientist lacking redeeming characteristics, Diana’s special powers bestowed by Zeus rather than developed on her own, she’s described as a god rather than a goddess.
Steve Rose, a reviewer for The Guardian, was also disappointed and describes Diana as a “weaponised Smurfette,” a lone female character dropped into a man’s world. The Smurfette Principle, first identified by New York Times writer Katha Pollitt, was later expanded by Feminist Frequency’s Anita Sarkesian.
We can honor these perspectives as different ways to tell the tale, but have you noticed that the perceptions you focus on expand? While some viewers find fault, other viewers describe the movie as empowering because they focus on different threads of the story and interpret them in their own ways.

Reframing the Wonder Woman Story

Look what happens when viewers frame the story from a positive perspective as Cook-Burch advises. “The greatest thing about Wonder Woman is how good, and kind, and loving she is, yet none of that negates any of her power,” said director Patty Jenkins. Diana refused to be dissuaded by soldiers who said it was too dangerous to save the village. She did not lambaste them for their weakness on the battlefield, nor did she argue or try to convince them they were mistaken. Instead, she simply charged out of the trench to save the village – and by her example inspired a small band of men to follow her. Jenkins described this story as a fine model for women trying to “be strong women leaders and retain our loving female traits especially in the business world.”
Yes, Diana lacked a supportive sisterhood during the war, but she stayed true to her values and gained support from men. She persisted and prevailed. And how refreshing was it was to see a woman being the rescuer rather than the rescued?
In the midst of the pastoral beauty of the opening scenes, Diana’s aunt and combat trainer, played by badass Robin Wright, shouted the most trenchant reminder for all oppressed groups fighting for equal opportunity and power: “Never let your guard down. You expect the battle to be fair. The battle will NEVER be fair.”
Read stories told by Kindergarteners, Entrepreneurs and Hollywood Actors

Stepping out of the Circular Firing Squad

Our diverse histories and realities lead us to tell specific stories about our experiences. For the sisterhood to advance us toward equality, we need to accept that all these perspectives are valid. I understand that Biddle wants Hollywood women fully empowered right now! So do I.
But I also agree with Dawn Poindexter, a Facebook friend, who read Biddle’s post yet defended the movie. She wrote, “Wonder Woman is based on a comic book written by a man in 1941, and I would have been appalled if it wasn’t somehow true to its origins. I was proud to tell my granddaughter, ‘See, you can be smart, beautiful, and badass.’” For all the sweetness of Diana’s childhood home, few women are interested in a world without men. “Sisterhood is great but I also have brothers in the world,” she continued, “and I want equality and respect for all of us. ‘Wonder Woman’ is not meant to be the poster child for feminism, but it could show a woman could direct sequences as great as any man!”

Sisterhood Is the Answer

Viewers who like or dislike ‘Wonder Woman’ are not necessarily working toward different ends. WomenConnect4Good social media pro Cory Goode pointed out that their differences “reinforce the importance of maintaining sisterhood while women (and men) work together to heighten the female perspective in cultural narratives.” The movie is providing a mega-platform for women to share their stories (50 million posts!). Bring on the energy of controversy, which Take The Lead founder Gloria Feldt says women can harness in their drive to achieve equality.
For anyone seeking to deliver a message through a creative medium, Biddle’s complaints also highlight an artistic dilemma. At what point would an authentic and engaging retelling of a 75-year-old comic book story become a blunt instrument of feminist propaganda? The miserable, gray, male-dominated wartime scenes were difficult to watch, sure, but wasn’t the filmmaker making a metaphorical visual point about the dark forces arrayed against the champions of love and nonviolence? Real life women who labor in corporate trenches today can certainly identify with the bleak absence of peer supports and the need to rely on their own powers.

Where Does Wonder Woman Leave Women?

Wonder Woman began, after all, as a World War II comic book character wrapped in Greek mythology, psychology, suffragist history, feminism, Vargas pinup girls, soft porn and the fight for legal birth control. This heritage makes her nearly as complex as a typical woman’s psyche.
The ways we react to this cultural artifact reveal the vast differences in the ways we frame our experiences, attitudes and beliefs. The film is a beginning, and we look forward to the evolution of a robust franchise with empowering and inspiring sequels. Maybe Diana, missing the Amazon community to which she can never return, will develop her own group of supportive, powerful women CEOs and world leaders. Maybe she’ll create a mentoring network for SuperGirl and her peers. Possibilities abound.
To continue to move women and men forward, let’s accept rather than undermine each other’s efforts, even the imperfect ones. By joining together in today’s women helping women movement, we can succeed in spite of our failings and accelerate change in adverse circumstances. We can highlight our wins in the film industry – and all industries – so that women are no longer under-represented and under-valued.

Five Must-Do’s for Women Seeking Greater Influence in 2017

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

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

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

2. Build your power by speaking in public. 

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

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

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

4. Gather Your Nerve and Take Your Rightful Seat

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

5. Strategize and Use Your Feminine Leadership Skills

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

Speak Out | Use Your Feminine Voice

Women's Advocate and Author

Tabby Biddle

Tabby Biddle is a passionate best-selling author, a celebrated women’s leadership coach, and women’s rights advocate whose mission is “to help women awaken to the Feminine within themselves. Honor it. Remember their  wisdom. And put it forward into the world through speaking, teaching, writing and leadership.” She arrived at this mission after growing up in a patriarchal world, and as the only girl in the family, she felt she had to adopt the masculine model to get her voice heard. Many years and chapters later, her journey lead her to California where she discovered the Feminine and knew she had to do her part to amplify feminine voices to bring awareness about the human rights abuses that were happening around the world and silencing the voices of women and girls.
In this interview, Tabby says that women must tell our stories and become leaders in the world so that we can come into a place of balance between the feminine and masculine, and bring about peace. We must not see war as the solution, but compassion, diplomacy and empathy as our ways toward the future. Her best-selling book, Find Your Voice: A Woman’s Call to Action, acknowledges that women often suppress their ideas and their presence in the world. Tabby reaches out with her personal message to women to help them discover their feminine voice and inspire and show them how to pursue their calling.

50 Women Can Change the World

Tabby serves as one of Take the Lead Women’s Leadership Ambassadors working toward the foundation’s mission to prepare, develop, inspire and propel women to take their fair and equal share of leadership by 2025. Along with two other Leadership Ambassadors in California, Tabby’s current initiative is “50 Women Can Change the World,” aimed at the entertainment industry, which is staffed by 90% men. So naturally the stories are told through the male lens.
The program is set to launch in California in January 2018 with the intention of bringing both the studio executive and creative sides together (the female directors, producers, writers, cinematographers, editors) with the greater intention of building a collaboration between the creative and the executive, because both sides must work together. Women in the film industry have to bring along their male allies as time moves on, because we can’t do this alone.

Step up to the TED or TEDx Stage

Tabby teaches an on-line course, “Women on the TEDx Stage.” She says that women represent only 20% of the TEDx speakers and only 15% of the TED speakers. With so few women speaking, there is little in the way of feminine perspective shaping the conversation both in how we see ourselves as women and our place in society. Tabby’s course helps women clean out the cobwebs that inhibit women—the individual and the collective—and supports them through the whole process from telling their story, relating the story to the idea they’re presenting, mastering the delivery and matching them up with the right TED-x event.

Check out Tabby’s website for more about her courses, her blogging and her compelling personal story. Find out more about how important she says it is to find the courage to tell your story and your responsibility to your sisterhood of women and to yourself.  Listen to this conversation for more from Dr. Nancy about how she has learned from her daughters and more of Tabby’s insight into how women are adding to the conversation.

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