Trudy 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.