Women Helping Women

Stop Blaming and Start Playing: Women Find Your Voice

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

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

Trudy Challenges Us to Have Courageous Conversations

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

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

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

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

Inspiration for Helping Others Get Their Voices Heard

Inspiration for Helping Others Get Their Voices Heard

Terra Renee

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

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

The Joy of Walking in Your Purpose

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

African American Women in Cinema (AAWIC)

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

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

When Will We Know Women Have Reached the Top?

When Will We Know Women Have Reached the Top?

Dr. Los Frankel

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

 

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

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

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

 

How Nice Girls Speak Up and Stand Out

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

 

More Perspectives on Helping and Advancing Women

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

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

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

Luz Reyes-Martin

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

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

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

Opportunities for Women to Serve

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

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

Critical to Have a Strong and Equal Partner at Home

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

Pros and Cons Affecting Women Who Seek Office

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

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

$1 Billion to Expand Women’s Power and Influence to Reach Gender Equality

Women helping womenLast week Melinda Gates took a giant step forward in her work to accelerate gender equality in the U.S. and pledged $1 billion to expand women’s power and influence over the next decade. “Equality can’t wait, and no one in a position to act should either,” Gates wrote in an op-ed for Time magazine, while announcing her commitment to help women claim their power.

She will do the work through Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company working to drive social progress for women and families that she founded in 2015. “This announcement is not a departure for Melinda—it’s the latest chapter in her long-standing commitment to gender equality,” a spokesperson at Pivotal Ventures told Penta.

Gates, like many of us, feels like the time to act is now. A window of opportunity has opened, or as she writes, “More accurately, it was painstakingly pried open by the hundreds of thousands of people who have joined marches across the country, the millions of women who summoned the courage to tell their #MeToo stories, the record number of women who ran for office in 2018 and won.”

History shows that we are all in a position to act. As we wrote in In This Together, “for more than 200 years, women have organized, fought, campaigned, sacrificed, and supported each other to gain the rights to inherit property, to keep their children, get an education, pursue a career, vote, hold office, and the list goes on. Although they often received no credit, women whose intersecting identities left them marginalized with less privilege have nonetheless continued to lead the movements for women’s equality. It’s time to follow their lead. It’s time to exercise all those hard-won rights to achieve true equality now.”

As Gates recently wrote in Harvard Business Review, “The unprecedented energy and attention around gender equality makes this a moment when extraordinary progress is possible — and bold, ambitious goals are appropriate. We shortchange women if we set our sights too low.”

On post-inauguration Saturday in 2017, 4.6 million women and their male allies took to the streets in 642 cities on every continent on the globe and demonstrated for women’s rights. Hundreds of thousands of women continue to march and make their voices heard. Women are speaking out against their abusers and changing the dynamics of the workplace. And record numbers of women are running for – and winning – elected offices at every level.

We are making progress, albeit slowly at times. It’s important to keep in mind that every  act to support another woman counts, and together we can accelerate the pace.  Gates advises, “In order to seize this opportunity, we have to define our goals thoughtfully.”

Her goal is, “to expand women’spower and influence in society.” She added that she thinks of power and influence “as the ability to make decisions, control resources, and shape perspectives. It is something women exercise in their homes, in their workplaces, and in their communities.” Recognizing that “power and influence” are not words historically associated with women, nor that most women associate with themselves, overcoming gender bias to claim this power and influence is a step we must all make to create change now.

While we need philanthropists, like Melinda Gates, venture capitalists, businesses, and policy makers willing to invest in gender-focused intervention, we also need women on the ground working every day to lift one another up. We can all set our personal goal to accelerate gender equality within our own center of power and influence.

We each need to stand by the woman sharing her story, to support the woman running for office, help our neighbor who is struggling, and mentor the new woman in the workplace. As Gates says, it isn’t just grand gestures that got us to this point, it was daily acts of courage, too. And it still is. We all win when we lift others up as we go.

So ask yourself — how can you make your voice be heard? What thoughtful goal can you set to help women get their fair and equal share? How can you be courageous today and use your personal power and influence to support another woman?

Using Connections to Reach 50/50

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

Tiffany Shlain

Emmy-nominated filmmaker Tiffany Shlain is using her skills making connections to address the important issues that shape our lives.  Not contented just to make movies, Tiffany chooses subjects to enlighten audiences about the truth that contradicts commonly held beliefs in our society, then constructs world-wide events to connect people, get them talking, and take action on a massive scale.  In her documentary, “50/50: Rethinking the Past, Present & Future of Women + Power,” Tiffany set out to change the way we think about women leaders when she discovered that 50 countries in the world were being led by women presidents and prime ministers. She changed the story from one of scarcity, illustrating the need to claw our way to the top, to one of abundance, seizing on the strength and momentum we already have to get to a more balanced world. She then founded 50/50 Day, a global initiative to reach gender parity that had 36,334 live events in 68 countries and 700,000 live-streaming attendees in 2017.

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

Everything Is Connected

24/6Tiffany mentioned a feature documentary she made in 2011, called “Connected,”  in which she examined how we live with all of these connections today and proclaimed that instead of declaring our independence, maybe we need to proclaim our interdependence. Every one of us affects the other in so many ways that she has come to focus her work, film, discussions, events, and even her new book, 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week, about the importance of connectivity.

In 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week, Tiffany tells how disconnecting from screens for 24 hours actually helps us get reconnected, with ourselves, what we really care about and with each other in more authentic ways. For over 10 years Tiffany and her family have practiced what they call a “Technology Shabbat” designating every Friday night through Saturday night as the day to reconnect by disconnecting from all technology. They all report how it puts them in charge of their technology, rather than the other way around, and brings balance into their lives. Tiffany says that she laughs more with the screens off and actually appreciates the internet more after being away from it a day.

Character Day is another global initiative connecting, movies, issues and people.  Now in its sixth year, Character Day  took place on Sept 27 and 28, 2019. You can view some of the short films  about character (who we are in the world) , the importance of character, how it has developed through the centuries and shapes the things that we do as a society and individuals that connect humanity.

Connecting People—On Mentors and Mentoring

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

Listen to this interview for more life and society-changing ideas, details about Tiffany’s personal story and what inspired her to take her particular path. Then check out her website, watch some of her films and sign up for her newsletter, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” to stay connected and join in the Tech Shabbat Challenge (going on now!). Buy her book and learn how you can magically take control of your tech, your time, and reconnect by disconnecting just one day a week.

 

 

 

 

Women Drive Change

Women Drive ChangeWomen in the U.S. have always been agents of change, even when they had few officially recognized rights. In Colonial times, women tackled a host of issues, and showed themselves to be tireless workers.  They built upon that in the 1800’s to become skilled fundraisers, passionate advocates, powerful leaders, dedicated volunteers, and irresistible forces for social change. Women of every ethnicity joined voluntary associations to raise money and especially to care for women, widows, and girls.

While times may have changed, women’s desire to make the world a better place has not, and today many women are putting their money behind their motivations. The Women’s Philanthropy Institute reports that, “In order to tackle challenges large and small, our world needs more strategic philanthropy. Women can lead this charge, harnessing their growing wealth and influence to create a more just, equitable, and healthy society.”

It’s easy to understand how women can be a powerful force driving change when you remember that women are responsible for 86% of household’s consumer purchasing decisions, now control 51% ($14 trillion) of personal wealth in the U.S., and are expected to control $22 trillion by 2020.  As Fidelity Charitable points out, “Women today play a central role in philanthropy, leading charitable giving within their families, using their time and skills to advance causes within their communities, and embodying the purpose and heart that underpin philanthropic goals.”

Representing a new era of resources by and for women, Women Moving Millions (WMM) is accelerating progress toward a gender equal world by sharply focusing those investment goals with a gender lens. This community of 320 women is committed to organizations and initiatives benefiting women and girls, and using the power of our voice and influence to inspire and show how women can support women with their philanthropic influence. . Activities in today’s world shows us how leveraging collective strength, networks, and voices can illuminate issues we need to change to make our world a better home for us all.

The recent 2019 WMM Annual Summit in New York, themed “The Power of You,” explored the unique values and vision that each individual philanthropist can bring to the field and how together, we can create an opportunity for unparalleled systemic change. With the opportunity to critically hear from diverse changemakers and reflect on individual values and philanthropy with the needs of the greater movement, we looked at everything from “Building a Supermajority to Organize for Gender Equality” to “Supporting Women’s Movements for Peace, Justice, and Equality.” The topics were engaging, and the speakers diverse. It was an exciting gathering of women dedicated to equality and making change.

However, a summit isn’t the only way we can all come together and drive change. We’re perfectly positioned to become today’s and tomorrow’s leaders in philanthropy, in the workplace, and in the communities we call home. We can donate our time, treasure or talent to support women running for office. We can sponsor, mentor, or help a woman get her foot in the door at work. We can work together to close the pay gap, and to raise women and girls out of poverty. We can join forces to train, position, and elevate women to leadership positions. We can engage our male allies to work with us to build an environment where every person – regardless of gender – is valued, respected, and equally compensated. We can do all of this and more when we remember that we’re in this together.

Women Struggle to Get their Voices Heard in the Movies

Women Struggle to Get their Voices Heard in the Movies

Barclay DeVeau

Barclay DeVeau is sounding the alarm that women are being hidden under gender bias in all facets of the movie business, where they struggle to get funding to get their voices heard, their images seen and their stories told. Barclay grew up in the business as a child actress on the Broadway stage and in movies, backed by a generous and supportive mother and grandmother, and mentored by famous directors. She calls her childhood magical and the magic didn’t wear off until she found herself one of a small handful of women students in USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Even then she continued to be successful after graduation. She won awards (including Emmys), steadily worked in film and television production as a director, writer and producer, and easily received funding for more than 20 years. Then she combined women’s advocacy with her story-telling to pitch her first feature-length movie script: a story with a woman in her 50’s  positioned as the lead character to show what a powerful, determined woman can do when she challenges the people of a small Southern town.  Her long-time investors (all men), who have received good returns on their investments from Barclay’s project for 20 years, refused to back this movie. In fact, Barclay says they even refused to read the script.

Women in Movies by the Numbers

If you haven’t noticed that fewer women than men are shown in the movies, it could be because audiences actually watch more movies starring women. When women are in lead roles, ticket sales increase, making those movies more profitable. However, Barclay says there is a well-known Hollywood myth that denies this fact. And in a world where fiction rules, that story is the one that keeps women hidden under decades of gender bias. Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, seejane.org, was founded shortly after “Thelma and Louise” was released and achieved such outstanding success. At the time (1991), the headlines read, “This Changes Everything.” In fact, Geena just released a documentary by the same name to show how it did not change a thing.

Barclay quotes The Institute report from 2018 showing where women stand today:

  • 7% of directors are women
  • 13% of writers
  • 20% of producers

Even the children are misrepresented. If you believe the images on the screen, the population consists of 3 boys to every girl. This number hasn’t moved since the 1950’s. As Geena Davis says, “If she can see it, she can be it.” Not showing girls and women in their realistic numbers and roles prevents girls and women from realizing their potential. Barclay says this needs to stop. Women and girls need to go wherever their talents lead them. Her women’s organization, Persist NYC, which she formed in early 2017, brings together strong women of all ages and across all sectors who share the desire to support and elevate other women and bring attention to vitally important women’s issues.

The Making of “OPAL”

OPALBarclay feels that the time for “OPAL” is now—because women are speaking out around the world about parts of their lives that they have kept silent for a very long time. Righting wrongs is women’s work. And Barclay is taking it on through her story of female empowerment where a reclusive older woman challenges the past and present wrongs of a town. She says the story parallels what is happening in the country and speaks to the struggles of women against the systems that harm them and hold them back. It’s ironic that the making of “OPAL” seems to be running parallel to Barclay’s own struggles to tell the story. But she says that she is just as determined to tell the story as her lead character is to expose the horrible underbelly of the town she lives in.

Women Are Able to Speak Out in the Movies

Listen to this interview to find out more about the history of the movie business (women actually ran studios in the beginning) and Barclay’s personal history, her famous mentors and inspiration for creating magic with movies. She is not deterred by this current setback, only more determined to go forward. She calls “OPAL” a Southern Gothic Thriller– “Thelma and Louise” verses “Dirty Harry,” and is just starting her fundraising effort to make it a reality. To find out more, contact Barclay directly at Barclay@OPALMovie.com. This is the time for women to really reach out and help other women get their voices heard in the movies.

The World Needs Great Women Thought Leaders

The World Needs Great Women Thought Leaders

Aurora Winter

Aurora Winter’s passion is to help women and men become great thought leaders by harnessing their experience and talents to make a difference in the world. As a life-long learner, Aurora chose to turn her profound grief over the loss of her husband into “post-traumatic growth” instead of post-traumatic stress. She wrote the book From Heartbreak to Happiness and started the Grief  Coach Academy, coaching people to deal with grief in their own lives and help others. Sharing her story and providing people the tools they need to make a right turn instead of making a misstep or getting stuck is at the core of her life work as a coach, speaker and author. Now she is taking a giant leap forward to help people launch the great thought leader within and learn to communicate their messages powerfully and effectively.

What Makes a Great Leader

The secret to a great leader is to find and pursue their “Massively Transformative Purpose.” Aurora says that when someone truly understands their unique gifts and talents, and how they’d like to serve and contribute to change the world, it ignites a fire in them to achieve that purpose. Their attention is turned away from themselves and self-doubt, and directed toward their purpose, people and actions necessary to achieve it. Aurora says that the only thing missing is the skill to speak up powerfully and effectively. She says, “Obviously leaders need followers and what creates followers is a clear message. People want to be part of a vision of something bigger than themselves.” Leaders only have to communicate it powerfully and concisely.

The mistake a lot of people make is to wing it when it comes to communication. Aurora uses her skill at storytelling (learned through writing and producing TV), and neuroscience (learned through her MBA) to teach and augment the messages of her clients for whatever purpose: writing books, public speaking, TED Talks, interviews, and marketing promotions. The focus is driven by meaning, not money. And when service is at the heart of the intention, Aurora says the money always follows.

Launching Thought Leaders

Aurora says that she is really passionate about helping women claim their power. It’s about the phoenix rising from the ashes. When people get stuck in their life situation, they often become blind to the gold in their history. Aurora says that people’s stories are like snowflakes. No two are alike and everyone has something unique to offer. That’s why she wrote her new book, Thought Leader Launch: 7 Ways to Make 7 Figures with Your Million-Dollar Message, to launch a new generation of leaders by showing how matching principles with strategic action has propelled people into becoming the most memorable leaders we’ve ever known. Her examples are Winston Churchill, who as we know, changed history; Arianna Huffington, and Sir Richard Branson, to name a few. The trick is to let people help you get your message out. Arianna Huffington says she never would have been able to write 15 books without good writers and editors to help in the process.

Find Out How to Win $500

Listen to this interview to find out why Aurora says we need women leaders more than ever before, and for more wisdom about how to become a great leader. Be sure to get Aurora’s new book, which is free at this link for a short time or $19.95 on Amazon. Check out her programs through the Grief Coach Academy and her new training coming up to launch thought leaders in September. Finally listen to learn how you can win $500 by connecting with Aurora. Check out her website for more wisdom and insight into how to turn your message into your own lasting thought leader legacy and contribution to the world.

Helping Women Get Their Voices Heard and Support Each Other

Helping Women Get Their Voices Heard and Support Each Other

Dr. Anita Perez Ferguson, co author, Women Seen and Heard

Dr. Anita Perez Ferguson learned early what it means to have loving support in your family, with an extended Mexican-American family of 36 first cousins and two older sisters who taught her to understand her responsibility to help the younger cousins. Anita admitted that while they didn’t always get along, they understood, “that we were there to help one another.”

Now, with a Doctorate in Human and Organizational Systems, a Masters in Counseling Psychology, an undergraduate degree in communications and decades of experience as an accomplished speaker, multi-cultural educator and author as well as  service on many national and community boards, Anita helps other women take their seats at the table where they have the greatest opportunity to get their voices heard and provide real support for each other.

Support is the key ingredient. Whether women follow the traditional model of getting married and having children straight out of high school, or another path, Anita says women today need to put aside their different life choices and work together to build on the purpose that we share. That’s how women advance a particular policy or issue that we agree on. She references the Bible story where the two cousins went their own ways, one as a learner and one as a household keeper, but both had gifts to help the community where they lived.

How to Get a Seat at the Leadership Table

In her dissertation research, Anita set about finding out how people from the Latino or Hispanic community had achieved seats on corporate boards in the United States.  She notes that these corporations are more powerful economically than many countries in the world. “Caminos (Roads): Social Networks of Latinos Serving as Directors in the Fortune 500,” revealed that there were three well-established routes in the literature of the last decade for people of color, women, or minorities of any status:

  1. Some individuals come up through community support groups or advocacy groups.
  2. Others develop proficiency in business and actually climb the corporate ladder.
  3. Still others come up through a fine arts background.

Anita admits that this third group was surprising to her, but supposes, “There is some combination within the fine arts community that is naturally a collecting point for diverse voices and diverse talents.”

Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking

Helping Women Get Their Voices Heard and Support Each OtherFear of public speaking crosses all age groups, genders and cultural lines. Anita says that when we step up to a podium, we’re either approaching a group of strangers and expect to be judged or we know the group and feel already accepted. Whichever it is, she suggests that instead of preparing for your presentation like you’re going to war and picturing everyone in their underwear, you should pretend that you have an elegant silver serving tray and are about to graciously serve them all of the wisdom you have to share.

Anita has co-written two books with Dr. Lois Phillips, Women Seen and Heard. The most recent of these is the Women Seen and Heard Speaker’s Journal, which includes templates that you can apply to your speech. It’s a self-help tool to help you prepare your thoughts with the experience of two strategic communication professionals, whose business it is to help women communicate their messages in a compelling and effective way.

More Advice on Getting Your Voice Heard

Anita said that people are wired for story. Although you may have done a lot of research and have an impressive array of facts and figures, it’s the story that will bring the message home to the heart and make it memorable. Listen to this interview for more advice, to hear personal stories about how Anita has dealt with setbacks, and who she thinks benefits most from reading Women Seen and Heard. Step up your presentation, buy the book at womenseenandheard.com.

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