Paige Oxendine is a walking, talking example of what happens when you live each day to do your best. She credits her parents with instilling in her great values such as contributing to and being part of the community, doing your best, and working hard. Paige took these lessons to heart in her school and professional life to help entrepreneurs with additional support for women.
This articulate young millennial began her journey to leadership during four years of competitive high school debate, where she learned how to develop various communication styles. These enabled her “to communicate with people who may hold different viewpoints from your own and still have a rational and reasonable conversation.” Paige moved on to college, participated in student government, and was elected Student Body President at Missouri State University while achieving her degree in public relations and socio-political communication. But she specifically credits participation in the Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life among the formative events and people that gave her the background and inspiration to pursue community service.
In the 10 years since graduation, Paige’s community work has included Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce managing a team of young professionals under 40. She is currently employed as Program Coordinator for Missouri State’s e-Factory, a business incubator, workspace, network environment, training center and more.
Helping Women Helps Everyone
Like many of her generation, Paige believes in doing well while doing good. The idea that “a rising tide floats all boats” is at the heart of her approach to economic development, and she knows that helping women helps everyone. She works to create programs and an environment that will inspire entrepreneurs to create “the next big thing” that will help everyone in the community.
Transforming the biases we have about what leadership looks like is a really big thing. While participating in the Shear Institute she met women who make policy in the state of Missouri, and debated the issues they face as members of government. Paige told Dr. Nancy that people still envision the U.S. President as a man, a perspective we need to change in ourselves and in the next generation before a woman has a hope of occupying the Oval Office.
Rosie Helps Women Claim Their Power
As told in the final chapter of Dr. Nancy’s latest book In This Together, Paige collaborated with Rachel Anderson to create Rosie, a women’s networking group in Springfield, Missouri. Paige said they were inspired to do this when they noticed that leadership in the region was overwhelmingly “pale and male.” The same six women served on all the boards that had women, and they were overworked because they were afraid if they said no, there would be no women at all. With the help of The Women’s Foundation based in Kansas City, they got a grant for initial funding, and used their community contacts and relationships to start a network that is now 1,000 strong.
Getting Men As Allies and Advocates
Their goal for Rosie was to create a free database of information from local women about their experiences, their interests and their skill sets, so they could link women with speaking opportunities, board openings and jobs outside of their workplace or industry. They expected 60 people at the Rosie launch party but more than 200 showed up. Men wanted to participate too, so they launched Brosie for awesome men who wanted to become allies and advocates. Two-and-a-half years later, the momentum continues and Rosie has an exciting future serving women in the community.
Listen to this conversation between Dr. Nancy and Paige for more personal stories and advice on working together to create opportunities for ourselves and others. Hear more about how these two amazing young women started Rosie and check out the website for more wisdom on helping women by helping our communities.
Order Dr. Nancy’s new book or pick it up at your book store
The story of Rosie appears in Nancy’s new book, In This Together: How Successful Women Support Each Other In Work and Life, as an inspiring example of how you can develop your own community network. Read the 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 for working together to break free from the binds of gender inequality. Buy a copy for yourself and gifts for your friends.