Podcasts

Power Forward to Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging

Dr. Sheila RobinsonDr. Sheila Robinson has grown her company, Diversity Woman Media, over two decades to become a nationally recognized, multifaceted resource that helps customers drive and deliver business results through diversity, inclusion and talent development initiatives. Sheila says that she has two customers: the internal customers – corporations and organizations that she helps drive and deliver business results, and the external customers – the women who are leaders and future leaders of our world. Her hallmark initiatives for the external customers are “Diversity Woman Magazine,” which provides ideas, solutions and resources to help women advance their careers, and the annual Diversity Women’s Business Leadership Conference.

Dr. Nancy credits the Diversity Women’s conference for changing her life and helping her understand the true meaning of inclusion. After that first conference several years ago, she became a sponsor and an advocate for the Diversity Woman brand. She says that if you want to really understand what coming together over differences and belonging feels like, and how that fresh perspective can propel us all to greater success, you must attend the Diversity Women’s Business Leadership Conference.

Register Now! October 8 & 9, 2020. It’s Virtual!Power Forward

 

For the first time the Diversity Women’s conference is going virtual, so it’s easier than ever to attend. Sheila and the conference team are making it as compelling as possible in the virtual mode and have a slate of impressive speakers. Dr. Nancy and Trudy Bourgeois are scheduled to deliver their presentation about how we’re better together, “Together We Can – Supporting One Another Across Differences.”

Sheila says Power Forward describes where we are today as women—all women—all races, cultures and backgrounds. She says that we can’t afford to take one step back and let the crisis caused by COVID and outrage over racial injustice distract us. She says, “We’ve got to continue to move forward. And Power Forward is about escalating that.” While acknowledging that we are facing a number of challenges, the speakers are geared to help us power forward, with the mindset to keep us resilient, courageous, and adaptable, to reimagine and work with what we have, and to seize the opportunity to move it  faster and further than ever before. Sheila adds that it took white women 100 years to get the right to vote and women of color even longer. We absolutely cannot go backwards or allow our progress toward equality to stall out.

Free Stuff—Win-Win-Win and More!

Listen to this conversation to hear more of Sheila’s story, how she feels about her purposeful work, and Nancy’s views about how the Diversity Women’s Business Leadership Conference is a win-win-win for everybody who attends. Check out Sheila’s free webinar series, “Moving Forward–from Fear to Focus.” Instead of making masks in her living room, Sheila responded to the pandemic by revising her work to help women trying to remain visible at work while working remotely in their living rooms, how to handle the additional stresses of quarantine and possible loss of income, and other issues with expert guests like Dr. Nancy O’Reilly. Available here.

Own Your Own Power and Influence

Sheila’s parting words of wisdom are for women to realize that we influence the conversation at our dinner tables. That’s why she likes working with women so much. She says that no one person or race can cure systemic racism and biases built into our various cultures. But women have a power that we only have to recognize and use at our dinner tables, “We do influence how our children—even our adult children—go out into their play places, their workplaces, school places. We influence how our spouses go out into their workplaces and play places.” She urges women to take advantage of this influence and know that by influencing our families, we also reshape our community, our society, our country, and our world. Read more on diversitywoman.com.

A Women-less History Teaches Girls They Are Worth Less

Rachel_VogelsteinRachel Vogelstein serves on the board of the National Women’s History Museum, a virtual museum that in part provides curricula for teachers and students and resources that share the stories of the women who contributed to our country’s founding and advancement in support of our democracy and human rights. Rachel has a rich history of professional services for women, including currently being a professor of gender and U.S. foreign policy at Georgetown Law School, and as a Douglas Dillon senior fellow and director of the Women and Foreign Policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations. However, she said that her awareness of women missing in our history books has become sharpest as a parent, whose children are missing vital information about half of our nation’s citizens.

It’s these missing women that compelled a group of women to fight long and hard to create the Museum. It began when they noticed that the only statue of women in the Capitol building, among hundreds of men, was the suffragist statue displayed in the basement, aka “the crypt.” They got it moved upstairs, figuratively elevating women’s contributions to center stage in the Capitol hall. That effort, 25 years ago, launched a campaign to build a museum to commemorate women and transform the way we teach history in our schools. While it hasn’t been physically realized yet, Rachel says that they are committed for it to be built on The National Mall in Washington, D.C., where the other national monuments and museums are located. She says that there are museums for practically every issue and idea, including postage stamps, textiles, all kinds of arts and craft, but nothing to commemorate the women who have served the nation.

Millions of People Visit the Online Museum

The Museum’s online presence has attracted millions of visitors with curricula available for teachers and resources for students. They have historians who have worked with the museum to curate online exhibits and information about a range of women, not only the suffragists, but women who helped shape the future of our nation at its founding, and others who fought for human rights and civil rights. These were really powerful leaders that provide role models of bravery and courage to create change. They are inspirational figures who can teach us ways to shape our own future.

How to Get Involved

Rachel encourages listeners to become a member of one of the committees fighting for the creation of this Museum. She says that there are hundreds of thousands of people across the country who have been affected by their virtual work, but we need to let our congressmen know that we consider building a physical presence a priority—whether that’s through letters, phone calls or social media. A physical structure will give the Museum the credibility to take a more important place in our nation’s capital. They have a capital campaign to raise funds for the building and it is a 501c3 organization, eligible for charitable tax deductions. In the meantime, the Museum will continue growing its online offerings to increase women’s presence in the story of our history. Rachel says that every time a young girl opens a history book and sees a women-less history, she learns that she is worth less and perhaps this country doesn’t belong to her.

Listen to this conversation for more information about Rachel and the Museum. Go online on August 26 to check out the full day of programming celebrating the signing of the 19th Amendment.  As Rachel says, “When women see women accomplishing their dreams and daring to do the impossible, they begin to believe in their own potential.” The National Women’s History Museum aims “to complete our nation’s history, and empower future generations to build their dreams.”

Creating Opportunities for a Diverse Workforce in Tech

Krista PeryerKrista Peryer is passionate about helping women, people of color, and anyone who is underrepresented to find a way into the tech industry. Krista says, “The great thing about it is the tech industry will never tap out on jobs. There will always be new jobs and new resources and that is why the tech industry is so fascinating to me is that it’s not just workforce development and economic development, but it’s personal development as well, because there’s endless opportunities to learn new things and to make yourself more valuable and to earn more money.”

That’s why five years ago, she co-founded The Geek Foundation, Inc. and for the first four years, Geek concentrated on partnering with the library and other community organizations to put on programs to expose children to tech in ways that helped them explore future job opportunities in the industry. She herself had hit the “gatekeeper mentality” in tech when she tried to enter the field. The white males working in it discouraged her, advising that unless you’d spent your life in tech, it would be too difficult.

Krista refused to believe that. She loves tech and was a mathlete as a child. Also, every tech company needs employees. They are constantly hiring and there aren’t enough people to fill the jobs. She sought a traditional degree, but found that for what she wanted to do, she would need to go to school another six years. Then she talked to the people who hired for the tech companies. They said that as long as the applicant could pass their technical exam, they didn’t need a 4-year degree. Krista arrived at the conclusion that college degrees are great for some things, but certain positions in tech, like front-end developers and IT positions, are thought of as a skilled trade, rather than a college-bound profession.

The Geek Foundation Wins Its First Grant

In 2019, The Geek Foundation partnered with The Northwest Project, Drew Lewis Foundation and Pitt Technology Group and won the Collective Impact Grant from The Community Foundation of the Ozarks– $24,000 to develop a curriculum for a three to five month program to result in useful and relevant IT certifications to help place more low-income women into second-tier information service positions. Krista said when COVID hit, they refused to let it slow them down, so instead of having spring and fall classes, they put on two classes in June: one in online web development and a second in IT. Krista said announcements were sent out through organizations like SingleMomzRock (http://www.singlemomzrock.com/) and Minorities in Business. Both classes were full in two weeks. And half the students were women. Krista is really excited to see what happens when they open the classes up to the public. And the larger goal is to expand into more communities, across the nation and around the world.

The Impact of Working in Tech on Low Income Neighborhoods

Krista is a big picture thinker. She imagines that giving women and other under-represented people access to tech can transform individual lives, neighborhoods, cities and the world. She runs through the issue. Suppose someone is making the federal poverty level of $17,000 a year. Average starting pay in tech jobs is $40,000 to $60,000 a year, with health benefits. Imagine how that can transform a family and the neighborhood they live in. A larger tech workforce in the community would attract more tech companies to the city and that would create a greater need for a skilled workforce. Individual quality of life improves with well-paid jobs and economic prosperity is shared by the larger community.

The Future of Tech

Listen to this conversation for more about how Krista sees the future for tech, the maker industries including robotics, wearable technologies like Google glasses and other possible branches for positions. Dr. Nancy and Krista also discuss what stops women from going into STEM fields and why it’s all nonsense. Krista says that with social media we have more ways to change our perspective and get over artificial hurdles for women in tech. Check out The Geek Foundation website and sign up for their newsletter to receive notices of new programs when they happen. For specific questions, e-mail info@thegeekfoundation.org.

Women–Use Your Voice and Be the Leader You Want to Be

Felicia DavisFelicia Davis is a riveting speaker, author and award-winning leadership coach who works with emerging and experienced women leaders to develop effective leadership brands, compelling communication skills and the confidence to show up and be the leader they want to be. But she wasn’t born that way. She tells Dr. Nancy that she was born to 14 year-old children, then nurtured by her grandmother and an array of aunts, her father, teachers and friends (who both challenged her and supported her) until she emerged from college committed to help women take a stand for what they believe in.

Today, she offers that transformation for women leaders through her Branding Institute, with the “Brand Your Brilliance” workshop for high velocity leadership, and a hundred more initiatives. She calls her propriety branding process a “change catalyst” and agrees with Dr. Nancy that you have to find comfort in discomfort in order to grow. Felicia says, “I tell you Dr. Nancy, in every single big initiative I’ve taken on for myself personally, you can bet your bottom dollar, two things are sure. Number one is it scared the be-Jesus out of me. Number two, I didn’t have everything figured out.” She explains that she doesn’t start with a 10-point plan (no one does), but figures out step one, then step two and the rest evolves along the way. If you’re feeling stuck by life’s circumstances, read this post to see how Felicia pushed past her own roadblock to lead even more powerfully than before.

Why Women Don’t Use Their Voices

Felicia did a seven-city empowerment tour to support women to step up boldly and use their voice. But she also had many small group and one-on-one conversations with women to learn what stopped them from using their voices. She found it all hinged on three big things:

  1. Hiding out and thinking results alone would get them a seat at the table
  2. Ambivalence in decision making and being unwilling to trust their inner voice to make a decision
  3. Risk-aversion and not forming the personal self-confidence to get things done.

These open, honest conversations helped Felicia understand what shaped their identity and thinking. Dr. Nancy brought up the question that people asked her along the way, “Who does she think she is?” And Felicia said the real problem is when you say that to yourself. The self-critic and internal biases begin within and are the first roadblock to using our voices.

How to Succeed in the Post-Pandemic World

Felicia says there are three things we need to do to lead and succeed whether we go back to our jobs or try something new:

  1. Be able to have courageous conversations to speak up about what has weight in your heart.
  2. Have full-on clarity around why anyone should be led by you. This means you have to have a common goal or issue to get thing done. Felicia asks, “What is your vision for your industry in a post-pandemic world?”
  3. Gather your collaborative crew. She suggests that you find a diverse mix of people to serve as your allies, co-conspirators, supporters and mentors.

Both Felicia and Dr. Nancy agree that our biggest strength is to support one another—and that’s everyone. Black, white, male, female, all identities, cultures, ages and races must identify as “we.” Dr. Nancy says, “It’s richer and more fluid; it’s more creative. It makes more sense”

Listen to this conversation for more words of wisdom and guidance about how to shed your barriers and find your voice, and the other missions that Felicia supports:  Take the Lead, whose mission is Parity for All Women by 2025, and the Black Women’s Collective that she founded after the Black Women’s March to remind black women who they are, to amplify their voices and give them more space to be seen in the right rooms, at the right time and in the right places. Visit Felicia’s website for the Branding Institute, her inspiring blogs and other programs to help women become the leaders they/you are destined to be.

Gender Partnership Lifts Women Up

Gender Partnership Lifts Women UP

Rayona Sharpnack

ENCORE: Originally Recorded in June 2019

Rayona Sharpnack calls gender partnership her life’s work and sees it as a means to lift women up and help them claim their power. Growing up in rural California with only three brothers to play with, Rayona learned to excel at sports so she could play with the boys. However, when she tried to get a scholarship for her athletic achievements, there was nothing available for girls. She worked to get Title IX passed throughout her college career, which it did in her senior year. But she didn’t stop there. She went on to fight for gender equality throughout her many devoted decades of commitment to create breakthrough results, founding both the Institute for Women’s Leadership and the Institute for Gender Partnership. Rayona said that when she started the institute 20 years ago, she put a stake in the ground and said, “The future of civilization is completely dependent upon the full partnership of men and women.”

Cracking the Code on Gender Equality

30 years ago, Rayona’s vision was that we had to work on three fronts all at the same time to crack the code on gender equality.

  1. Empowering women with and for each other—working together to lift each other up.
  2. Engaging men as allies and advocates.
  3. Removing institutional barriers and blind spots.

Rayona says if you don’t do all three simultaneously, you won’t get enough traction to change the ecosystem. Today, with all the problems that threaten our way of life, we need gender balanced teams in government, commerce and education to solve them.

The Guys Who Get It Awards

Rayona founded The Guys Who Get It Awards to “amplify positive deviation.” The phrase was coined by a Jerry and Monique Sternin who worked to solve a hunger crisis for Save the Children. After watching the villages in Vietnam for some time, they realized that the villages that did not have starving children were fed bits of river crabs or snakes along with their river weed soup. The bit of protein helped these children thrive. Their solution was to have the mothers who were doing this train those who were not. In this way they redirected their ecosystem in a positive way.

Through The Guys Who Get It Awards, Rayona amplified and disseminated the best practices of men who were practicing gender partnership. Her goal was to keep other guys from going to sleep thinking, “I don’t know what to do.” The buzz created by the awards made the guys who received it proud. They wanted it on their wall and they amplified the effect by sharing their awards and reasons for getting it with others.

Every Guy Can Be A Male Ally

There is something everyone can do. For guys, Rayona says they need to understand the difference between mentorship and sponsorship. Both are important, but sponsorship requires stepping out there and taking a stand. She also advises that guys can just pay attention. If they see a woman not taking a seat at the table, or one of her ideas being adopted by a man as his own, they can speak up and support her, or redirect and take it back to the point of origination. Finally, Rayona said that often guys think they’re helping, when they are actually practicing benevolent sexism. For example, when they don’t allow a woman to take that new job because she has young children at home, they hold her back. It’s important to let women choose if they can accept the promotion, rather than choosing for them.

There is much more wonderful advice in this conversation. Listen to Rayona’s insights and check out The Institute for Women’s Leadership, The Institute for Gender Partnership and The Guys Who Get It Awards for more information. Also, check out Rayona’s leadership book, Trade Up: 5 Steps for Redesigning Your Leadership & Life from the Inside Out.

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

In This Together BookRead more about Rayona’s Guys Who Get It Awards and how to engage male allies in Dr. Nancy’s new book, In This Together: How Successful Women Support Each Other In Work and Life, 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. After you’ve read it, please, leave us a 5-star review on Amazon. Your review will help us reach more women with proven techniques for achieving gender equality by working with other women and our male allies.

Redefining Business as a Tool for Building a Better World

Stacy_Jurado_MillerNine years ago, Stacy Jurado-Miller started and built a business with her husband called the Vecino Group, which became a $100 million real estate company devoted to building a better world, one community and one development at a time. She did this with no experience or interest in real estate development, but with a belief that if you develop a business with the goal of building a better world, that business will be successful. Stacy says that the traditional model of business for profit was developed by men. This male-driven capitalism model has brought us to where we are today. Stacy calls herself a passionate communicator and says, “The thing I’m most passionate about at this moment in time is the untapped power of using business to build a better world.” In fact, she says any business can be redefined as a tool for a mission-driven business and the pandemic right now presents a huge opportunity for change.

Gender Equity and Redefining Leadership

Stacy says the question for women is do we want to change the world by continuing to work our jobs within the traditional male-driven companies or is it quicker to develop our own system and create a new path for change? Feeling frustrated in her traditional company, Stacy’s passion for nearly four years has been the lack of gender equity and how traditional business defines leadership. Male-driven business values assertive competitive risk-takers as the natural best leaders. Whereas Stacy thinks it’s very contrary to that and says, “I think if you’re a good listener, if you’re empathetic, if you can identify what people are saying and what they’re needing, and play to that, that’s true leadership.” So in January, she took a leap of faith and quit her job, even though she says she is as proud of that company as she is her children.

Work That Doesn’t Feel Like Work

Then in March COVID-19 hit along with stay-at-home orders, homeschooling and all the rest. But like a lot of us, Stacy has had time to think. And one of the things she is thinking is that if you turn your passion into your business, you can’t help but succeed. She says that when you pursue something that creates fire in your belly, you will do it every day. Work doesn’t feel like work. And barriers get dissolved.

Barriers that Stop Women Starting Their Own Companies

Stacy says that women face two sets of barriers. Our internal barriers are confidence and insecurity, and that women feel they need to have everything figured out before we will do something. Of the external barriers, Stacy thinks funding is the biggest hurdle. Women founders have trouble raising capital because of the traditional ways success and leadership are defined by men. She says that if the potential looks different, investors see it as too risky. In fact, Stacy sees it as less risky and a more solid investment.

Stay-tuned to find out where Stacy’s vision will take her next. In quitting her position at the company she helped found and grow, she realized that she could do it all again with another business. One that truly ignites her fire in her own belly in ways that feel like personal activism for female equity.

Listen to this interview for more of Stacy’s personal story and how she and Dr. Nancy believe women will change our traditions and redefine business to build a better world.

A Strong Woman’s Voice for the People in Congress

Stephanie RimmerStephanie Rimmer is answering the call to transform our government into a body that serves the interests of the people. She’s running for Congress in the 6th District in Arizona and her primary is on August 4. Stephanie is driven to fix the things she sees that are broken: lack of pre-kindergarten education, lack of healthcare for many, widespread poverty, environmental  sustainability, lack of government accountability, tax incentives for small business and entrepreneurs, effective job training and much more. As a mother of four daughters, Vice President in charge of Finance and Operations for Rimmer Lighting, LLC, which she owns with her husband and a life-long public servant, Stephanie wants to build a strong future for the next generation. She has studied and made lists of policies for 20 years that Congress could reverse and transform the wrongs that are actually hurting American citizens rather than supporting them.

Why Elect Women to Congress

Stephanie says that what has been lacking in our country is the exposure to real world problems that women are solving every day in our communities. She notes that these are experiences you can’t come into contact with while you’re busy building a resumé. You get them by volunteering for the Boys and Girls Clubs, The American Heart Association or Feed My Starving Children. By serving on boards, helping develop strategic community plans, working on international trade relations for American-made products, raising children who you protect, guide and equip to lead healthy productive lives and to be the next generation of leaders. Stephanie says that she isn’t worried about her political career, only about being effective. Simply put, Stephanie says, “We need women who are not building careers, but who are building the future. And that is what I represent.”

Stephanie Rimmer Platform

As a mom, Stephanie thinks children first. In this conversation, Dr. Nancy brought up the ERA and Stephanie responded that what the ERA would do is give everyone, not just women, equality from the first moment of life, before thought or being able to choose whether you want to be a boy or a girl. That levels the field for everyone and that is key to two of her platform issues:

  1. Medicare for infants. Stephanie says that once you have healthcare, no one can take it away. She argues that people who propose moving the age of Medicare recipients to 50-something are only tweaking the real problem, which is lack of healthcare, and a lack of care for the most vulnerable populations.
  2. Federally funded pre-kindergarten. Stephanie says that in her home state of Arizona, English as a second language holds children back. Everyone is qualified for Head Start, but many don’t know it. Their children get no pre-kindergarten education and are not ready to learn when they get to kindergarten. They’re behind before they begin.

There are many more points to Stephanie’s platform. Check out the complete list here: RimmerforCongress.com/platform-sr And check out the remainder of her website. RimmerforCongress.com Follow her on Facebook at Rimmer4Congress, and on Twitter and Instagram.

Listen to this interview for more of Stephanie’s personal story, and how she doesn’t feel different from other women who just do what must be done in the reality of life. As she says, “Life happened. I was never afraid to take on more and do more and I’ve never found it to be problematic and overwhelming.” Stephanie says that the hundred new people we elected to Congress don’t know the reforms we need, but she firmly believes that she does know and is ready to step forward and be a strong woman’s voice for the people of Arizona.

 

How Girl Up Initiative Uganda Empowers Girls to Lead

How Girl Up Initiative Uganda Empowers Girls to LeadMonica Nyiraguhabwa stored her experiences of injustice as a young girl in the slums of Kampala, Uganda, to fuel her passion to empower girls to lead, to know they are important, help them find their voices, and use their many talents to “Girl Up” similar to how boys are taught to man up. Monica’s own desire for leadership was stalled by the fact that she was too poor to have shoes and all the family’s limited resources went to her younger brother—his educational needs, uniform, etc. Girls are not a priority in Ugandan culture and most do not finish school. It wasn’t until Monica went to a Catholic high school and met a teacher who convinced her of her self-worth that she began to shine. Her grades improved and two college degrees later, she met Kimberly Wolf, a young American girl, with a like-minded passion to help empower girls. Kimberly supplied $100 as seed money and the two young women co-founded Girl Up Initiative Uganda.

“I think this has to stop and it stops with me.”

In college Monica says that her education helped transform her ideas into reality. She began to understand the issues of patriarchy and gender bias. Combined with her unmet needs as a child, she describes it as an accumulated hunger to respond to the injustices she had endured. She went to work for a women’s rights group, which was where she met Kimberly. When Kimberly addressed the problem of the lack of money, Monica said that she didn’t need money. She said, “I was the capital. I knew I could speak.” Monica used the $100 to buy snacks for children, starting the momentum with one school, as a part time effort. Today, they’re in 20 schools, with over 2,000 students and doing this program for the whole year.”

It’s important to empower adolescent girls, Monica says, while they are still naïve and haven’t accepted the limitations that culture has placed on them. The program is also holistic, supporting girls with educational and economic needs. She explains that if girls don’t have sanitary supplies during their monthly period, they won’t go to school. Also, many of them are going hungry, so nourishment is also important for Girl Up to support. Finally, they teach them skills to use their creativity and help them support themselves. And they mentor them in the way Monica herself was mentored by her teacher to understand they are worthy and important and can become a change-agent in their own families and communities.

Women are the best investment in the future

Monica says that women give the best return on investment. She says that she really believes in women because when you pass the right information on to a woman, she will share it with her children. It’s in our character. We want to speak the truth and share that wisdom with other women. In fact, she is delighted about the new Big Sisters Camp for the alumni of the Adolescent Girls Program. Read more about it and other Girl Up programs here.

Nancy expressed a concern over the lack of women in world leadership, and how if women and men supported other women in leadership, anything would be possible. Monica agreed. She said, “I believe you a hundred percent. And I think if we are to fix leadership crisis in the world, then women need to take charge of the world.” Nancy replied, “Well Monica, I think it’s time for you and I to take charge. It’s time.”

Greatest Need Is Partnerships

While Monica mentions that with the current COVID-19 crisis, Girl Up is challenged to figure out how to operate amidst the pandemic. Schools are closed; dawn to dusk curfews are in place. But she anticipates this time will be short. The biggest challenge is keeping people fed, because like in the U.S., the people of Uganda are experiencing economic hardships. Watch this video for more about what is being done now.

The organization’s biggest need is partnerships. As the Girl Up Initiative grows, Monica feels the need to partner with different organizations who are doing similar work. She says that they haven’t created Girl Up alone. They have benefited from other organizations offering them advice, support, resources and introducing them to different networks. To continue to grow, Monica says that partnerships among people working toward similar goals is crucial.

Listen to this interview for more valuable information, more of Monica’s personal story and Dr. Nancy’s views on how much better off the world would be if we would understand that we’re all equally important. Check out Girl Up website for ways to support their work, and to learn more about how they are empowering girls to lead and keeping hope alive.

Calling All Men—Stand Up and Advance Women

Jeffery_Tobias_HalterCorporate gender strategist Jeffery Tobias Halter is calling on men to put action behind their claim of being male allies. Jeffery is the leading expert on engaging men to advance women and he says it’s fine to say you’re an advocate for gender diversity and inclusion, but the follow-up question is what are you doing about it? He says that men need to do more than simply mentor or be an ally for women. They need to get out front and pull women up to advance them at the same rate as men. He points out that gender equity has been stuck in relatively the same place for 20 years, but things are changing. He reports that the white guys like himself (boomer men) are retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day. These were the figures prior to the COVID-19 shift in workforce numbers.

Jeffery says this exodus is causing a macroshift where the workforce will look significantly different than it does today with jobs being filled by women, millennials, and people of color. However, with the pandemic, companies are going to have to reorganize and restructure. Those that were operating fragile business environments and don’t get the need to strategically advance the new diverse workforce will ultimately be the huge losers and probably close their doors. To make his point he says, “When did Sears figure out it was Sears? 20 years too late.”

What Makes Men See the Need to Advance Women

Why Women bookAs President of YWomen, Jeffrey conducts business to business programs for men (no women in the room) to talk about being advocates. He says, “These are the opposite of the me-too knuckleheads. These guys are never going to make a headline. They are just great leaders and great managers.” But no matter how much most of them want to be advocates, the real motivator is a personal connection with a woman, especially if they have a daughter. He says male advocates can practice all of the other skills, but if they aren’t helping advance the women who are working with them, their daughters will face the same issues as women today, making only 83% of their son’s wages, lack of promotions they deserve and little chance of making it to the c-suite.

His book, WHY WOMEN, The Leadership Imperative to Advancing Women and Engaging Men, spells out exactly what is needed to advance women in the workplace. As the first man to write a book on advancing women, Jeffery sees women as an organization’s most valuable asset and feels it is absolutely critical for businesses to understand this and hold their men accountable for the advancement of women. He calls men 80% of the problem, but  says they are also 80% of the solution since they hold the management jobs that are responsible for bringing women up through the ranks.

More Resources at YWomen.Biz

Listen to this interview for more of Jeffery’s ideas about what managers need to do to improve their strategies for advancing women. Check out his website, www.ywomen.biz, for more information, his white papers, including “Women on a Broken Rung.” and watch his TEDx St. Louis Women presentation. Jeffery invites all listeners to take the quiz on his website to find out how you rank as an advocate for women. Are you just thinking about it or are you doing something? Jeffery says just thinking isn’t enough. We all have to work together to help women advance.  Read WHY WOMEN and find out how.

Trust and Building Relationships One Conversation at a Time

Stacey EngleWhen Stacey Engle joined Fierce Conversations, there were only six people on the team. Now, with corporate offices in Seattle and Stacey serving as President, Fierce, Inc. is adapting its business-to-business training to equip both individuals and companies with the tools to have conversations to develop deep connections and trusting relationships that blend the personal-professional world of work while social distancing.

Stacey has always been a people person and a self-proclaimed “off-the-charts extrovert.” Although she didn’t know there was a corporate training industry when she began her business career, a few years later when she found Fierce Conversations, it was a perfect match. She became president at 33 and she has been a key driver to its double-digit growth, including a 30% sales growth in 2018. Stacey says that people avoid conversations, thinking they’re going to be difficult or tough. What is tough for you may not be very tough for someone else. The biggest mistake is avoiding them, because the missing conversations are the most costly. She says that it’s not about self-confidence necessarily. It’s about having “some core knowledge of self,” and always showing up as that person that creates trust.

“We All Experience Reality Differently. And There Isn’t One Right Way.”

In a typical working day, Stacey says almost any company and any professional, not just the leaders will have six conversations. She describes them as coaching, giving feedback, confronting, creating accountability and getting perspectives. Conversations become tough when we let them build up around issues we’ve avoided talking about. At Fierce, they provide tools for distinguishing between confrontation and feedback. Feedback is strictly a curiosity—naming something you witnessed without citing the impact and assumptions based on your own judgements. This is very different from the old methodologies used by companies where people are asked to analyze the issues. Stacey says there is no one right way. And everyone, especially leaders have to “interrogate” reality to really understand what’s true.

Stacey says that there is no status quo. You’re either going one way or another. People often object that their company’s culture doesn’t support certain actions that the trainers at Fierce suggest. Stacey says that when you’re having a conversation, you are the culture. You need to go ahead and have conversations that you’re afraid of. There’s uncertainty for everyone. You have to trust in yourself and go forward. There are repercussions whether or not you have the conversation.  Trust starts one conversation at a time.

Free Online Mini-Course from Fierce Inc. Now Available!

woman and his dog sitting at the kitchenStacey is excited to announce a mini-course for every single individual. Since we’re all having tough conversations right now working remotely amongst our partners, our children and our pets, the blending of personal and professional life is accelerating. Stacey said this mini-course is less work-oriented and provides personal stories from three generations of Fierce Conversations leaders: herself, the founder and CEO Susan Scott and the SVP of Learning Ronna Detrick, downloadable tools and actionable insights.

Listen to this conversation for more insights into what matters in the world of building personal and professional relationships. And check out Fierce Conversations website for more tools on their blog and other ways to engage with them and learn to build relationships one conversation at a time.

Most of all sign up for their free mini-course: In less than 30 minutes, you can learn how to have the conversations that strengthen your relationships with the people who matter most in your life. Enroll today!

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