There was a time when I swore that I would never work for a woman again. That was until I started working at Spencer Reed and met some amazing women.
For example, Jill Smith took me under her wing and taught me so much about sales and client development. Starr Zizza acted as my big sister and helped me navigate my 20s. Janise and Michele mentored me about HR and law issues. Amy Kirke, Sara Coffman , Marilyn Hayes , and Elisabeth DeCoursey made sure my billing and payroll was correct. Angie Washington greeted my candidates with a smile. Melanie McGreevy and Cerena Dvorak were always willing to go on joint sales call and the most fun during “happy hour” They now run a highly successful business.
My list of amazing women in my life is LONG, from the successful women in my recruiting network to the women in my lunch network who helped me form friendships in a new town. I know amazing women at church, moms at school, and the “softball moms”. My most loyal clients and candidates are women. I haven’t even mentioned the women with whom I’ve been friends for 40 years, my sorority sisters from college or my own biological sister. I am truly blessed to know some amazing women.
I’m attending an event on Friday, March 8, to celebrate International Women’s Day. I had never heard of this special day, so I did a quick Google search to find out more. According to Wikipedia:
International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 every year. It is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights. After the Socialist Party of America organized a Women’s Day on February 28, 1909 in New York, the 1910 International Socialist Woman’s Conference suggested a Women’s Day be held annually.
I’ve been very lucky in my career. I’ve worked in some male-dominated industries and have generally been accepted. I was invited to golf tournaments (although I was the handicap for the scramble) and felt like I had a seat at the table at Spencer Reed. I’ve never felt any sort of glaring discrimination.
Here is what I perceive as the problem: some women get in their own way. They make their way up the ladder, but forget to grab the hand of younger generation members to help them along. The result is that less women are in the C-Suite and board room.
We must ask ourselves: are we being discriminated against . . . OR are we hurting ourselves by not helping each other out?
I’m not a social scientist, so I don’t have the answer to that question. However, I think it’s important for every woman to ask if they have protectionist tendencies that could be hurting our gender.
The great news is that confident and secure women are not afraid of other women. They do offer a hand and can be the greatest sponsors and advocates. I am very lucky to have surrounded myself with amazing, smart, and confident women.
I would encourage everyone to look at their executive suite. If you need some gender diversity, now is the time to add it. Women are amazing creatures. We carry other human beings in our bodies and give birth. We survive 36-hour labors We juggle kids, calendars, bills, careers, and aging parents and do it all seamlessly. Business women offer clear-cut solutions to problems. We hate meetings just for the sake of having meetings. Women have amazing creative ideas.
I’m sure there are some naysayers thinking, “But women are more emotional.” It’s not typically emotion, it’s passion. I will even challenge that notion and encourage you to read Brene’ Brown. In her book Daring Greatly, she states, “There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Are people in your organization afraid to take risks because of the potential consequences? Wouldn’t our workplaces be even better if we were authentic and vulnerable in all of our dealings? Wouldn’t all these amazing traits that women have bring some exceptional flavor to your board room?
Today, I challenge you to reach out to the amazing women in your life. The ones that brought you along. The teacher who gave you a spark to start your career. The “competitor” who encouraged you to start your own business. The vendors who keep your business running smoothly. I would even encourage you to reach out to women who you might not know but admire and look up to.
This is the week to celebrate all of the amazing women you know!