How Women Use Power to Lead in Different Ways

Samantha Karlin is an impassioned leader for social change and has equipped herself with experiences that show how women use power to lead in different ways. She saw her mother behave fiercely and fearlessly when she testified before Congress to get permission for experimental treatment to save her disabled daughter’s life. She learned how women are used as pawns in a world “created by and for white, western, property-owning men.” And she amassed an education with a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy with a specialization in global gender analysis and conflict resolution from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, became a trained mediator, and immersed herself in global engagement with social entrepreneurs on women’s issues around the world.

As founder and CEO of Empower Global, Samantha facilitates training on diversity, equity and inclusion for Fortune 500 companies and oversees a groundbreaking women’s leadership challenge for women leaders around the world. She also hosts Samanthropolitics, a cutting-edge talk show about global politics and women’s rights, where she interviews Washington heavy-weights and feminist activists about foreign policy.

What Compels People to Work for Social Change?

Samantha describes a scene where 15 women social entrepreneurs from around the world, gathered in Bellagio, Italy for a retreat. The conversation shifted to why people will turn from caring only about money to caring about the environment or some social change that would make the world a better place. They concluded it was emotional. When people engage emotionally with a cause, like Samantha’s experience with her handicapped sister, people will move heaven and earth to make change.

In Samantha’s case, the next change-experience happened when she met two “amazing men” at an incubator in Washington, D.C., where they were experimenting with virtual reality to create “equal reality” for diversity and inclusion training. They put a headset on Samantha, and she was completely immersed in the experience. When she looked at her arm, she saw a black arm. She says the script that came with it put her “in the shoes of a black woman, or a handicapped person, somebody who’s not like you.” Really feeling what it was like to be marginalized and treated differently inspired Samantha to do training for them. With her graduate studies in conflict resolution, mediation, gender, and U.S. foreign policy, she saw the potential for how this tool could be used globally on different types of populations. Fortunately, they also needed a trainer.

Women’s Leadership Challenge

Samantha began her Women’s Leadership Challenge during COVID. Like many of us, she realized how much we needed human connection. She also saw how that could be transformed into creating cohorts of women leaders using the tools she had been using in her corporate workshops on women’s leadership, women’s empowerment, and storytelling for women. She created a group course with a curriculum based on her knowledge of the international world and how to create change.

Two challenges are being developed now: one in-person in Washington, D.C. and one virtual. Eight to ten women are chosen to be part of each challenge. Samantha says she keeps the groups small so that everyone will participate. Each person in the group gets to know the other women really well, and there is a lot of time built in for discussion. Samantha says that while she teaches the theory that she has developed to create institutional change, she only creates the framework for learning. She expects the participants to add their ideas and expertise and she can also bring in guest speakers to fill in gaps. There have been enough groups now to create a group of 50 women who have continued to connect beyond their challenge experience. She hopes this ripple effect will keep going and create changemakers throughout the world able to lead in empowering ways.

Samanthropolitics and TEDx “The Power of the Powerless” and More

Listen or watch this interview for more of Samantha’s personal stories to learn how she became impassioned for making social change at the core, where leaders are created. Samantha says that women can gain power by giving their power away and sharing power, which she calls “power with.” In her TEDx talk she explains that this is not inherent, but a learned skill. Giving power away creates more power.

Apply now for the new Women’s Leadership Challenge. And check out Empower Global for more information.

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Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge Grows Women Leaders

Katie Steele Danner is the Executive Director of the Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation, and as a graduate alumnus of the third class of the Leadership Challenge, she has personally experienced how the statewide program grows women leaders in many careers throughout the state. Now in its 32nd year, the Challenge has grown 1,300 alumni that have spread their wings internationally. Katie describes it as a traveling symposium with a class of 30-40 women who meet for a dozen days in four, three-day sessions. Each session does a deep dive into a specific community’s issues, often discovering problems needing solutions in that area are relative to the entire state and intersect with what is happening nationally and globally. It focuses on emerging women leaders, educating them about the state of Missouri and helping them realize where their strengths and leadership can make a difference. Katie says that the Foundation hopes their eyes are open to possibility, not only to their own careers, but also how they can be more engaged in their communities.

In Katie’s case, she was a young Missouri State Representative when she accepted the challenge. While still in her 20’s she ran for office, thinking that she could do a better job than the three men running in her district, and she won. She went on to serve three terms and says that she, “had the opportunity to get to know the state of Missouri in a way that without that experience, I never would have learned the vast diversity of opportunities, and frankly, the challenges of the state of Missouri.”  However, her experience with the Challenge and the Foundation has introduced her to a vast array of expertise among the women in Missouri, including the woman engineer who runs the Callaway nuclear power plant, who is a Challenge alumnus. She says that the networking is phenomenal when you think about over a thousand women leaders now serving on boards and in leadership positions where their voices are heard, literally around the world. Katie says, “We have many women that are working with large corporate firms that are currently based in Brazil, Germany or England, etc.”

How to Apply for The Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge

There are two ways to become an applicant: an alum can refer you, or you can nominate yourself. The referral would introduce the applicant, list her strengths and what she is doing personally and professionally, and describe her as an emerging woman leader who would be successful in the program. To self-nominate, an applicant would say something like, “I’m really interested in learning more about the state of Missouri.” Then list her strengths and describe why she thinks of herself as an emerging leader, and how the Challenge would help her hone her leadership skills and grow her leadership into new areas of potential.

Katie says that the awards luncheon event that Dr. Nancy and Women Connect4Good helped sponsor in Springfield, Missouri, this year resulted in a number of women self-nominating from throughout Southwest Missouri. “And that helps us because we want diverse women, not only diverse industries, diverse experience, but diverse in geography and obviously diversity across the entire spectrum.” She encourages anyone interested to apply on their website at GreaterMo.org, and she will follow up with them.

More Benefits of the Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge

Katie says that she is amazed at the number of industries she has learned about through her years of being an alum of the Challenge. And she encourages others to step up, because even if you feel you don’t know enough, there are women to help you along the way. That’s the purpose of the Challenge – to empower each other to lead. She tells the story of a young Challenge alum named Fatima who immigrated from Bosnia as a five-year-old with her parents and is now a US citizen. St. Louis, Missouri, is the largest resettlement area for Bosnian refugees, a fact Katie also wasn’t aware of until she worked with Fatima and others volunteering for the International Institute helping resettle the Afghanistan refugees in St. Louis. Fatima’s personal story as a Muslim child in a Christian sponsoring family helped with understanding the refugees in the current crisis. Fatima’s job is managing staffing for the mayor pro tem of Kansas City where she uses her experience to talk about homelessness and how partnerships with corporate America work to help fill hunger needs in rural Missouri.

Listen or watch this interview to learn more about how Katie sees the fluctuation to more remote work can benefit women and provide opportunities for women to lead in their communities where they are needed most. Stay in touch with their activities and events on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. And go the website for more information about the Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation, a fascinating organization growing more women leaders in Missouri every year.

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Creating Systems Change to Lift Women and Girls

Kelly Nevins is currently CEO for the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island (WFRI), the job she announced she wanted while getting her master’s degree in leadership. Growing up the daughter of a single mom who struggled to support her daughters while facing challenges that working men didn’t have made Kelly intimately aware of the workplace inequities between men and women. In fact, she says that when policies are made to help people, if they were not created with a gender lens, “Men and boys would continue to rise to the top, but women and girls would fall through the cracks.”  Also, less than 2% of foundational funding goes directly to help women and girls. This was true in 2001 when the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island was created and is still true today. As a result, Kelly has spent most of her career working to change the systems that cause inequities. She says that means the WFRI works in the spheres of advocacy, training leaders to advocate for change in the community and individuals to advocate for change for themselves.

Achievements for WFRI

Kelly notes that while WFRI is non-partisan and does not back women running for elected office, they do offer training programs to inform women how public service can support their vision for change. One success story she shares is how Gail Golden helped pass one of the first paid leave laws in the United States after attending one of the training programs WFRI offers, called the Women’s Policy Institute. Gail then became a senator in Rhode Island’s general assembly and now has moved on to be a senior adviser to the Women’s Bureau for the federal government.

Another success story is how WFRI helped pass the Fair Pay Act in Rhode Island, which changes the definition of what pay means. Kelly explains that the federal equal pay law was passed decades ago, but the courts have narrowly defined what equal pay means. She says WFRI worked really hard to broaden that so that unless there is a specific difference, like more longevity with the company or more education directly related to your job, people must be paid the same.

Advice for Women Today

Kelly says that right now it’s a “buyer’s market.” With one in three women leaving the workforce, employers are willing to negotiate to get good employees. Now is the time to ask for what you want and negotiate for what you need, including flex time, work from home and salary. There are also a lot of free or low-cost training programs out there. Kelly says to search for your state employment agency and see what they are offering. Some are even providing childcare as a benefit of their training. There are also options for gig employees, which is important since more women are interested in starting their own businesses. Of course, when they do that, there are no benefits. However, Kelly says that policies supporting those options are also being discussed. She points out that the pandemic has revealed that childcare isn’t a parenting issue; it’s a workforce issue, and “we need to make it accessible, safe and affordable. And she admits that it’s complicated and won’t be easy to solve, which is why we need women sitting at the table where those decisions are made.

Listen or watch this amazing conversation for more information about women’s funds. Kelly says there are hundreds of women’s funds throughout the country and the world. The Women’s Fund of Rhode Island is the only one in her state because it is so small. To learn more, check out their website (www.wfri.org) or call 401-2-62-5647. Search women’s funding for more information or go to womensfundingnetwork.org for a membership list of over 100 women’s funds.

If you don’t have a women’s fund in your area, you can start one. Kelly tells the story of an international fundraiser, Simone Joyaux, who was angry at the gender and racial inequities she saw and discovered a women’s fund doing good things in Arizona. She came back to Rhode Island and founded WFRI 20 years ago. Kelly says the volunteers and board members of WFRI are “advising at those tables where resources are being allocated and decisions are being made” and working “on legislative change both locally and nationally to set the stage for creating a better Rhode Island and a better country.”

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How the Orbital Perspective Views Unity in All of Us

Colonel Ron Garan’s orbital perspective began as a small boy on July 20, 1969, when he saw a man walk on the moon. He realized that we are explorers, no longer confined to earth, and set a course to be part of that journey. He became a pilot in the military, then a fighter pilot, and eventually a test pilot. NASA chose him from the ranks of test pilots for space exploration but sent him to the Aquarius Research Station in the ocean as his first mission. Eventually, he went to space on the U.S. space shuttle where he helped build the International Space Station, and finally with the Russians on a Soyus spacecraft for six months to work on the space station. It was seeing earth from space, and his experience working with “the enemy” that transformed his perspective of our relationship with others, how interconnected we are and how we can use that sense of unity to see the big picture and solve problems here that affect everyone. His first book, The Orbital Perspective: Lessons in Seeing the Big Picture from a Journey of 71 Million Miles, opens a window on what it was like to work with such a diverse group of people in a small isolated environment and the implications that has for how we live and work here at home.

Three Books from the Orbital Perspective

Ron builds on that perspective in all three of his books, after releasing The Orbital Perspective in 2015, he wrote a children’s book, Railroad to the Moon, about a little girl who goes to the moon and becomes mayor of a city there. Ron’s goal was to show girls and boys they can dream big, and those dreams might come true. Then he released Floating in Darkness: A Journey of Evolution, which is a follow-up to The Orbital Perspective and narrates his perspective of all of his adventures – from fighter pilot to astronaut – and the dichotomy of grappling with mortality in an instant with the infinite sense of seeing all as one that comes from the orbital perspective from space. Most of all he applies those experiences and that perspective to how and why we all need to shift our perspective and accelerate our evolution to address the crises on our spaceship earth.

With Diversity of Perspective We See in 3D

Ron says that he believes most people want to leave the world in a better place than they found it, but if they saw it from “the orbital perspective,” they would see what happens to our society over the course of time. Little actions we take every day affects every other action to change the overall direction. He, like many others, thinks of diversity as a strength. He says, “One of the reasons why diversity is a strength is because with diversity comes diversity of perspective. And when we look at things from two different points of view, we see it in stereoscopic vision. We see in 3-D, and we start to see the depth. And so, the more perspectives we can apply to a challenge or a problem, the deeper our understanding of that challenge will be, the more lasting and effective will be the solutions. And so the very diversity of our perspectives is a source of strength.”

The problem with living in these divisive times, is that people in the political and business world go to a default reaction and assume that a difference of opinion is a threat. Ron says that many people fear that if they acknowledge merit from the different viewpoint, they will lose, and the other person/people will gain. He contrasts that with how 15 different countries, with different cultures, languages and religions came together to build the International Space Station, as big as a football field and possibly the most complicated device every built, and they did it in space. Ron says to do something that significant is to find the one thing you agree on and proceed from there. It can’t be about who gets credit or who wins and loses. Instead of using what we agree on to force a change of opinion in the other country/person, we must build from that common thread to solve the problem together. He notes that if the Russians hadn’t stepped up after the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster, we wouldn’t have a space program.

Awe and Wonder VS Fear

Listen and watch this amazing conversation to hear more of Ron’s “orbital perspective” about how different we behave when we experience awe and wonder instead of fear, his unique perspective on what it means to leave a legacy, the biggest obstacle to organizations wanting to do good in the world, and much more.

Check out all of his books, The Orbital Perspective, Railroad to the Moon and Floating in Darkness, and find out how to expand your mindset, push your boundaries, and elevate your perspective on his website, RonGaran.com. There you can also listen to his “Orbital Perspective Podcast” that features guests who focus on what happens when we zoom out to see from the orbital perspective, observe megatrends happening by the minute and realize how interconnected we all are.

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You Have the Power in You

Sheila_RobinsonWhen Dr. Sheila Robinson said, “You have the power in you,” she was referring to her upcoming book, Redefining Your D.I.E.T. and Transform How You Look, Feel and Perform, but it pertains to practically everything in this conversation, from her childhood story where her mother taught her to work hard and be happy, to the upcoming theme for the Diversity Woman Media Business Leadership Conference, “Empowered to Lead,” and especially how we need to work to fix the broken systems so we can unite and grow stronger together. As Dr. Nancy says early in the conversation, “Happiness is a muscle. You have to work it. You have to believe it. You have to exercise it and you have to use it.” Dr. Sheila agrees and she works it every day in her nationally acclaimed publishing company, Diversity Woman Media, through her two magazines: “Diversity Woman” and “Inclusion,” her online self-care programs, Wellness Wednesday and her conferences throughout the year, culminating with the 2021 National Diversity Woman Media Business Leadership Conference, November 4-5 (registration is underway).

Empowered to Lead

Dr. Sheila stresses the need for all of us to share our resources. We’re all going through something very different. Some of us are home-schooling and may have developed short-cuts or techniques that have helped, so share it with others. Diversity Woman Media is all about that. And Dr. Sheila chose “Empowered to Lead” as the theme for the November 4 conference because by bringing a diverse group of women and men together, they can share resources that empower women to be their best and overcome obstacles and barriers that hold us all back. Sheila is excited about the different virtual ways they’ve developed to help women connect—simple things like clicking on a link to join a table talking about a topic of interest, building unity and energy by wearing the t-shirts with “Empowering to Lead” on them and sponsors on the back, platforms where participants can see one another like direct Zoom calls, and so on.  Sheila says, “Empowered women empower women.” Bringing women together for two days of opportunities to learn from and exchange ideas with some of the most extraordinary leaders is an empowering transformational experience.

Self Care is not Selfish

Like many women, Dr. Sheila was brought up to take care of everyone else first. If they were all happy, then she was too. But that meant putting herself last and the pervasive mindset is to feel guilty if we put ourselves first. However, she learned that if she puts self-care first, she is better able to care for everyone else. When she lost 25 pounds she felt 20 years younger; she was more productive and even her mental ability improved. She wasn’t on any particular program and says that whatever support you need should work for you because “you have the power within you.” Since diet has so many negative connotations, Dr. Sheila chose to make it an acronym for her book title, Redefining Your D.I.E.T. and Transform How you Look Feel and Perform. “D” is for drinking more water and fewer sugary drinks. “I” is for what you ingest. She says you can eat whatever you want, but she ascribes to the 80-20 rule – 80% of what you eat should be to keep you alive and 20% for enjoyment. “E” is for enjoying exercise. There is no sacrifice in self-care. It’s all about you. “T” is for your thought process. Dr. Sheila says , “It all starts there. You got to have a compelling reason to be a better you and to believe that you can. And so anything will work you know, it’ll work.”

Let’s Create Some Win-Wins

All of Dr. Sheila’s work is about creating win-wins, but she is particularly focused on fixing the broken systems that create obstacles for us to unite. She says that the systems keep us apart and the reason people don’t fix them is the fear that they will lose something. The opposite is true when there are winners and losers, we all lose something. She says the have-nots will always turn over the haves. The solution is to create win-wins and be stronger as a country and as individuals.

Listen or watch this conversation for more ideas about empowering ourselves and others through changing our perspective and seizing opportunities to learn, grow and share our resources.

Most of all, register for the National Diversity Woman Media Business Leadership Conference, November 4-5, and look for Dr. Sheila’s upcoming book, Redefining Your D.I.E.T. and check out her magazines and other online programs.

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The Power of Intentioning to Advance Women’s Leadership

Gloria Feldt admits she made up the word “intentioning” to describe what happens when intention becomes an action. While intention is a wonderful word, it’s static, and Gloria wanted an active verb. She says that, “intentioning is an active verb because I want women to know that we’re talking about not just ambition, not just thinking about it, not hoping, not wishing, not dreaming. We’re talking about, hey, we’re doing it.” And her new book, Intentioning: Sex, Power, Pandemics, and How Women Will Take the Lead for (Everyone’s) Good details 9 new power tools to tell women how to use the power of intentioning to advance women’s leadership, starting with their own.

Leadership Intentioning Tool #1 – Uncover Yourself

Because of her own belated start on her career, Gloria starts with the tool she had to use before she could cross the starting line, “Uncover Yourself.” She grew up one of few Jewish people in a small west Texas town. She knew she was different from the moment she was born as the granddaughter of immigrant grandparents with thick accents and very different cultural practices. She didn’t want to be different, so she did what every girl did. She got married and had four children to become a mother just like everyone else. However, by the time her youngest was four months old, she started community college and 12 years later, she says she discovered “that I had what I called a CEO brain, and I’m willing to take almost any level of responsibility in order to be able to bring people together, have a vision and make things happen in the world.” She uncovered herself, and after serving as CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America for 30 years, Gloria uncovered her passion to advance women’s leadership and started on her current career—NY Times bestselling author, motivational speaker, and co-founder and president of Take the Lead Women, which prepares, develops, inspires and propels women to take their fair and equal share of leadership positions across all sectors by 2025.


Gloria armed women with nine power tools with her book, NO EXCUSES: Nine Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. She says that when she did the research for the book, she found that women remained stuck in spite of earning more degrees than men and having broken through many glass ceilings, we remained only 18% of top leadership positions across every sector. She says that she became obsessed with why and “realized that women have been socialized differently around power than men. The history books, all written by men express power in terms of wars and fighting. She says, “It’s about scarcity that there aren’t enough resources, So I have to fight you for mine.” However, Gloria says there is no limit to power. She compares it to a hammer. You can build something with it or smash things apart. She educated as many women as she could with the concept of having the “power to” instead of power over. With “the power to, you can make life better for yourself, your family, your community, your country, the world.”

Now with INTENTIONING: Sex, Power, Pandemics, and How Women Will Take the Lead for (Everyone’s) Good, she takes action with nine additional power or “intentioning” tools to help women dream the impossible dream and then live it. Gloria explains that she uses the VCA method and differentiates it from ambition, which is the fuel that makes intentioning happen. You have to start with the vision, then have the courage to put one foot in front of the other and finally, take action.  She says, “Ambition is I hope. I wish. I want. Intention is heck, yes, I’m doing it. I see it already. It’s happening!”



Watch/Listen for Amazing Ideas

There is so much more to learn from this Smart, Amazing Conversation with Dr. Nancy:

  • On how Take the Lead’s 50 Women Can Change the World Programs really are creating change one industry and profession at a time
  • The richness of diversity as the secret sauce that makes businesses and organizations soar beyond limited boundaries
  • The Intersectionality of racism and sexism and how Gloria sees it as “two heads of the same coin.”
  • The opportunity of the disruption we are experiencing as we emerge from our many crises for the past few years.

Learn more about Take the Lead and upcoming programs at https://www.taketheleadwomen.com/. Order Gloria’s new book at https://gloriafeldt.com/intentioning/. And follow and engage with her everywhere @GloriaFeldt.

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How Activism and Entertainment Can Provide Careers for Women

Inspiration for Helping Others Get Their Voices Heard

Terra Renee

Terra Renee was born to a family involved in activism, but entertainment was her own idea for a career.  The two drives collided when Terra discovered a thousand other women who looked like her auditioning for a very small part in a TV show. Being young and naïve didn’t stop her from instantly realizing that she MUST create jobs for these women. She started writing a screenplay until friends urged her to apply for a grant. She won the grant, which was presented at a luncheon. That luncheon introduced her to another young woman who told Terra that she loved her grant application and wanted to be her publicist. Terra couldn’t imagine why she would need a publicist, but went along, and out of that meeting, African American Women in Cinema (AAWIC) was founded to be a one-time event honoring different women of color in cinema. Twenty-three years later, it is a fully functioning organization helping support women of color to take on roles of filmmaking “from soup to nuts” as Terra says.

Ironically, while writing that first screenplay, Terra took courses in film directing the School of Visual Arts as part of her search. She says that she met a Vietnamese man there who offered “to break her into the business.” When Terra laughed in disbelief, he introduced her to his friends who were producing short films. Terra worked with them in every capacity getting valuable on the job training, and when one of the friends got funding for a feature length film, Terra was hired as the first woman and woman of color associate producer. And when the director submitted it to the Cannes Film Festival, it won an award. The synchronicity of the work, the grant, and the award happening in conjunction with the founding of AAWIC all happened with such an “ease” that Terra says she knew, “This is what you were called to do, and you finally found it.”

YouTube University—A Safe Place to Learn

Terra has talked a lot about the opportunities technology has provided women in past interviews, but in this one, she mentioned how she consults YouTube University on a variety of issues. She says that while some people find it isolating, Terra says, “It’s a very singular space, and it does not allow room for anybody else. That makes it a very safe space emotionally.” So, if she can’t reach a friend on the phone, she types in the subject that is bothering her and says that she finds, “a litany of videos from women who face the same issue.”  She is puzzled that women have been taught so differently. She says that she doesn’t know if they expected us for the next million years to be in the kitchen and raise the children or what. While she thinks there’s nothing wrong with that, she adds, “But God gave us so much more. And we have a responsibility to contribute.” Terra says that it’s also our responsibility to create safe spaces emotionally for one another, reinforce the positive attributes that we have and not focus on the negative. “Balance, in my mind,” Terra says, “is the key to life.”

Women’s Perspectives that Inspire Terra

Terra said that she is encouraged by the women’s groups she has attended recently and the willingness to put differences aside and support each other. She mentioned one in which women announced that they were running for office and could use some help. And others replied that they didn’t have much but offered three or five dollars. Another example was a group of young women in technology who were reaching out to support one another and listen to each other’s issues. And finally, Terra told of being in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when President Biden spoke and how amazed she was to hear women who were born and raised in Tulsa, who had never heard of the Tulsa massacre. What inspires Terra is the new level of visibility for things that have been hidden for so long, and the flame it has sparked. She says it’s about understanding one another without prejudice, engaging, and from that dialogue, putting together an action plan. Terra thinks this is all very powerful, and exclaims, “Oh, Dr. Nancy, there’s another movement!”

Current Activities Giving Voice to Women in Activism and Entertainment

Terra has expanded her offerings over 23 years. In this conversation, she mentions several:

  • An educational series the last Friday of each month where various prominent leaders in the industry talk about various careers. This month, a sound recordist who worked on Michelle Obama’s, “Becoming” documentary is talking about sound as a career.
  • On the Clubhouse App, a weekly filmmaker series every Monday at 6:00 pm talking about the process, so new filmmakers won’t get discouraged and quit before we can see their talent.
  • The next film festival will take place online Nov. 4-6, 2021.
  • Talk with Terra podcast, every Thursday at 7:00 pm on RudyRadio.com.

Listen to this conversation for more of Terra’s insights and story and check out AAWIC website and Terra’s personal website for more information.

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How to Take Control with Mindfulness and Meditation

Retired Navy Seal Commander Jon Macaskill first learned mindfulness and meditation in the Navy where they used breathing drills to take control of their emotions while taking down a target or dealing with explosives. Except, he says, that they didn’t call it mindfulness and meditation, and he had a prejudice against it himself when years later, a counselor recommended it to him as a way to deal with stress and survivor’s guilt. However, he broke through the stigma and found the practice useful, not only to overcome his depression and anxiety, but also to improve his performance. Now he uses mindfulness and meditation to coach high performing teams to accomplish more and do their best. These tools, and several others, help him break through the clutter of multi-tasking and multi-communicating to help managers take control and achieve the most difficult of results—happy AND productive employees.

Mindfulness and Meditation Is a Game-Changer

Jon says that taking time to listen to a guided meditation or just being quiet and paying attention to your emotions and your physical sensations in the here and now gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes to focus your mind and pay attention. He calls it a game changer because he says when you are present with yourself, you’re present with everyone else, including your family and your co-workers. The small investment in self-care has an enormous return in terms of better communication, higher productivity and greater enjoyment of what you do.

He uses two examples in this conversation. When he first started meditating he shares how he reacted to his baby daughter’s 3:00 am feedings—first it was stewing about the pressures of the day and returning to bed for a sleepless night. After three months, however, he enjoyed her cooing and appreciated the miracle of her being, then slept until morning refreshed and ready to tackle the day.

With his second example, he shares how multi-tasking reduces the flow produced by mindfulness and actually causes more errors and reduces productivity. In his consulting business, he charts the communication in the organization for quality verses quantity. He says that he is always asked how can we communicate better in this day of hyper-connectivity? So he analyzes their interactions: if they’re sending a million e-mails, constantly sending SLACK messages and keeping the channels open while working on other things, a lot of communication is getting lost. Jon advocates “mono-tasking and focusing on one single thing at a time.” When people object that they don’t have time, he shows them how it creates more time and he points out that “not only are you going to feel better at the end of the day, but you’re going to have gotten more done.”

The Line Between the Leader and the Boss

Jon differentiates between the leader and the boss in the way they lead. The boss comes in with the heavy hand of a tyrant and objectifies his workers, so they serve as objects. Everyone is working for the bottom line. A leader, by contrast, knows he/she is leading people with lives and concerns about work and families, and enlists those people to work towards goals as part of the organization, not just as the head of the organization. Jon’s ideal leader is the “loved leader.” This is not a weak leader, but is strong and resilient. He says, “(A loved-leader) is somebody who is compassionate, can see what his or her people need. And if he or she is not the person individually that is able to support their people, then they can leverage their sub leaders, their subordinate leaders, to get their people what they need, so that they can accomplish the mission. I mean, I’m former military, so we’re always talking about accomplishing the mission.”

Men Talking Mindfulness, Strong Male Ally and Corporate Consultant

Listen or watch this podcast to find out more about Jon’s podcast, Men Talking Mindfulness where he and a co-host discuss different aspects of mindfulness, but do not limit their topics to men. Jon welcomes women guests, and they discuss feminine energy, masculine energy and issues and strengths of both. Jon also talks about his wife and mother as strong supportive women in his life that he depends on for support and who provide the foundation for his support of women’s equality and equity in the world. Check out his website, Macaskill Consulting to learn about his four pillars that build the foundation for success: grit, resilience, compassion and preparedness. Listen to this conversation for more about his work with Space Force and other organizations to identify blind spots and help them become more resilient with foresight for the challenges ahead.

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How A Champion of Women Lifts Women Up and Transforms Lives

Linda Rendleman is a passionate champion of women, who says that her path began when she was a child and always wanted to hang out with the children who had less than their peers. Helping others was at her core, so empowering women and girls through various means became her life’s work: as an author, the Women Like Us book series; an inspired speaker,  the visionary and founder of the Women Like Us Foundation, a global charity with the mission of transforming lives of women and girls who change the world, and most recently a transformational coach helping women rediscover their worth, gain clarity and healing from the past, and create their most confident next chapter.

Always forward thinking, Linda began one the first city women’s magazines in the country, “Indianapolis Woman,” and she started a website for women called, Business Women Connect, before anyone understood the impact a website that helped women network and share workplace strategies could have on the lives of women. After getting cancer, her life was redirected and she dusted off her dream of having a charity—a social profit that could transform the lives of women and girls and change the world in the process.  She turned her for-profit into a nonprofit (social profit) and set out to help as many women as possible.

Getting Clear about your Mission

Linda says that early on in her work with the Women Like Us Foundation, she was very involved in sex trafficking and homelessness, but the overarching piece was always education. That was key in her own way forward, and she saw that as the path for others. However, they found themselves trying to change everyone’s lives. She said that, “you can’t do that. It’s like the story of the starfish. You know, you can help that one—throw that one back into the sea.” Then the foundation began narrowing their vision. As a result, she advises women starting a social profit not to waste time trying to help too many people. Narrow your vision until you have a clear message.

Now, Linda says Women Like Us works mostly in Kenya. They began supporting a woman who rescued girls from female genital mutilation (FGM). A tradition in Kenya undertaken by grandmothers and mothers to ensure their daughters are considered good marriage material. Linda says it is done because men don’t want the women to run away after they marry them because of their sex drives.  They also helped a woman named Anne who started a school in the deep Rift Valley area of Kenya called Victorious Teens International. Girls eventually drop out of school when they start their menstrual cycle and are made to sit in dirt or the grass.  Linda became close friends with Ann Kabui and was shocked when she found out the woman had died and was a victim of domestic violence herself. In the process of bouncing back, Women Like Us founded the Women Like Us Center in Nakuru, Kenya, to educate women on ways to transform their lives. They learn to sew and get a certificate so they can get jobs as domestics or start a microenterprise. They are also learning computers now; they grow vegetables to feed their family and have chickens and sell eggs. Linda says it gives her cold chills thinking about how happy she is for these women.

Women Like Us Book Series and Documentary

Linda wrote her books to share women’s stories. When we hear one another’s stories, we are inspired to learn more and support each other. In the 70’s and 80’s when Linda began her education and career, women did not support each other at all. They competed for the few jobs allotted to women and did not reach out to lift other women up. Linda says she was always a feminist and was outraged at limitations placed on women. Among her many radio and television shows, she also executive-produced the film documentary, Women Like Us.  Three Journeys.  One Mission. To Change the World, which follows three women through their travels, experiencing their personal journeys of adversity and evolution, along with witnessing the unimaginable social injustices women face around the world. She says that women she works with to support other women all feel like they are instant best friends because of their shared passion.

What’s Next for Linda and Women Like Us

Linda is reaching out to individual women who are wanting to understand their own next chapter. As an attentive listener, Linda is able to cut through the noise to hear the messages of personal stories that no longer serve us and need to be reframed. Check out her website, whatsnextforwomenlikeus.com for more information. And listen to or watch this conversation for more insight into Linda’s personal story and her rewarding work as a champion for Kenyan women and girls.

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How Passion Can Prevent and Finally End the Cycle of Abuse

L.Y. Marlow found her passion to prevent and finally end the cycle of abuse when she realized that it now threatened the life of her infant granddaughter, the fifth generation of her family to be a victim of unimaginable, life-threatening violence. She halted her 20-year corporate career and founded Saving Promise to raise her voice and join with others to end abuse as a way of life once and for all.

L.Y. followed her grandmother and mother onto the path of victimization. But she rejected it when she began to care more about the baby she carried in her 17-year-old body more than herself, and told her abusive boyfriend that he couldn’t hurt her or her baby any more. His answer was to kick her in the abdomen with his boot. L.Y.’s way out was education, which she pursued for 16 years at night while working and being a single mom. She got an MBA and worked for IBM to “create a new glass ceiling” until she became ill and was told by her doctor that it was not the lump in her breast that was killing her; it was her way of life. His famous words to her were, “Change your life or change your life expectancy.”

Get Still and Reflect on Your Passion

Before passion and purpose was “a thing,” and certainly way before working from home was even considered, L.Y. told her boss at IBM that she wanted to work from home three days a week. She decided that she wanted to write her story in the form of a novel called, Color Me Butterfly. It won 10 awards and L.Y. thought she had turned the corner on abuse. However, the same year the book came out, her daughter was almost killed by her abuser, and he threatened to kill Promise, who was only six months old. In desperation, L.Y. wrote to Oprah, looking for a voice louder than her own to finally stop the abuse. But when Oprah didn’t answer, she realized that stopping the violence was her purpose and it was her voice that had to be amplified to end the cycle of abuse.

Don’t Look at the Monster

L.Y. pointed out that young people today had not been born yet when she wrote Color Me Butterfly, so she turned to non-fiction and told her own story—the story of the generations of women in her family that accepted abuse from their mates as part of their relationships. In her book, Don’t Look at the Monster: One Woman’s Journey to a Purposeful Life, L.Y. shares her life struggle, including her ah-ha moment when she realized that everything that happened to her was either “a gift, a lesson or a blessing.” This viewpoint transformed the way she looked at her suffering from that point on. The “no” response from Oprah became a gift. Returning to abusive relationships became lessons. She took a close look at her own monster, faced her fears and set out to win this fight for herself and the future generations of women in her family. What drives her is the knowledge that she isn’t the only one being victimized. There are many more women and generations of families that accept violence as a way of life. She carves a new path with Don’t Look at the Monster to get still and choose your own path, an empowered path that refuses to be the victim of a bully in the guise of love.

Focus on Prevention

L.Y. says that all of her efforts –trying to raise money and trying to change the trajectory around abuse –is to get people to focus on prevention, rather than reacting once the abuse has happened. She advises listeners to, “Try to find the gift, the lesson or the blessing in whatever you’re struggling with.” She launched “Monster Rise” as a platform to help women confront their fears and show them they can do anything they set their mind to do. She says that on the cusp of COVID, she sees this time not as a time of quarantine, but as “a time to become still, reflect and to say, when will I reemerge? When I emerge, who will I show up as?”

Visit LYMarlow.com and take the master assessment to find out what your monster is. She invites you to get it out of the closet. She is also offering a free strategy call called “FAST,” through which she helps women figure out their vision and mission in only three days.   To find out more of L.Y.’s story and perspective, listen to or watch this podcast. And be sure to get the whole heartbreaking, transformative story of using her passion to end the cycle of abuse in her book, Don’t Look at the Monster.

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