The Sum – Meaning of the Week: First

The word of the week is First.

Word of the week is FIRST.  As in the original.

As in the first woman to break through.

As in the inaugural — yes you guessed it — Take The Lead Day

As the leaves morph from green to red and gold and the mornings turn chilly in Central Park, as New York was  abuzz with preparations for the marathon this past weekend.

Visitors were here from around the world to run or cheer on runners, and businesses in the area welcome the more than 21,000 other runners registered for the race.

For the first time in 40 years, an American woman, Shalane Flanagan, won the NYC marathon.

According to journalist and historian Beverly Wettenstein, women now make up 58% of all U.S. runners. Yet only one woman ran in the first New York Marathon in 1970, along with 126 male starters. That first breakthrough woman was named Nina Kuscik. She dropped out that year due to illness but won the marathons in 1972 and 73.

Women weren’t even allowed to register officially in any marathon until 1972, the same year Congress passed Title IX, the first Federal law requiring equal access to educational and sports opportunities for women and men.

In much the same way that the original women to utter #metoo were breaking through millennia of prejudices, early female athletes had to break through misbegotten beliefs that their reproductive organs would fall out or be damaged by vigorous exercise, or that their bodies were simply unfit for sports.

I was thrilled when executive coach Bonnie Marcus asked me to comment in Forbes on the connection between women’s relationship with power and the #metoo phenomenon this week, and when I also had a chance to discuss this with the World Weekly. It means there has been a cultural breakthrough in understanding that abuse and harassment are about power over women by dominating their bodies, plain and simple.

Now that change is truly a first to be celebrated and more importantly to be nurtured.

Multiple firsts can become true breakthroughs. That’s how systemic change is made, sometimes reaching critical mass when we least expect it.

Here at Take The Lead, we are counting down to the inaugural Take The Lead Day to push the fulcrum faster toward leadership parity by 2025.

That’s why we’re so excited about a first of its kind partnership with the rideshare company Lyft. The theme is “Lyft women to parity” and we are all in together. Here’s all you have to do to benefit from this new partnership and benefit yourself:

If you are a new user: Sign Up with Lyft, get the app and use the code TAKETHELEAD. You’ll get

$5 off on up to 4 rides for yourself, and $10 for Take The Lead!

Already a user? Use the code TAKETHELEAD17 for 25% off up to 4 rides)

Lyft’s actions for parity do not stop there: They’ve asked Take The Lead to provide 3 virtual leadership workshops to all their women drivers.

The cumulative effects of actions like this are how leadership parity can happen for the first time in recorded history during our lifetimes.

We’re just 10 days away from Take The Lead Day, and it is our time for global action. Your time. We already have over 110 events globally on that amazing day, and the good news is you still have time to create your event, sign up for the livestream, or attend the New York Powertopia symposium and evening performance events.

I believe in you, you believe in Take The Lead, and we are working together for the most important mission in the world. It’s obvious that there is so much more work to be done to create a culture in which women are respected and have the tools they need to reach their full potential. We’re on the forefront with training, mentoring, and so much more.

Take The Lead Day is not your usual conference. It’s a global day of action for leadership parity. We’re all about solutions. Check out the afternoon panels emanating from our NY hub here, and attend or livestream the evening performance event featuring “Orange is the New Black” star Alysia Reiner, actor/activist Kathleen Turner, former US Treasurer Rosie Rios, the great female rock group BETTY, much and more, including an audience talk back with the stars on the topic of #Powertopia, or gender parity across the board.

My deep gratitude to Lyft and its co-founders and staff — I’m proud to welcome them as a partner on Take The Lead Day so that we can continue and scale that work. I expect and invite other companies to follow Lyft’s lead as we commit to closing the gender leadership gap and achieving parity by 2025. Its good business and the right thing to do.

Are you a first, original, inaugural woman to do a particular job, achieve a breakthrough in any field, start a movement? I’d love to hear from you so we can highlight you on Take The Lead Day. And I hope to see you at events in New York or around the world on November 14.

Take a Lyft on November 14, and you’ll be making one GIANT lift for woman-kind.

Remember — NEW USERS: Don’t forget to Sign Up with Lyft, get the app and use the code TAKETHELEAD for $5 off up to 4 rides for yourself, and $10 for Take The Lead!

Take The Lead Day gives you the power to change your life — join us for yourself!

TAKE THE LEAD prepares, develops, inspires and propels women to take their fair and equal share of leadership positions across all sectors by 2025. It’s today’s women’s movement — a unique catalyst for women to embrace power and reach leadership parity. Join us online, sign up for our newsletter and have insightful news and advice delivered weekly, and check out our Virtual Happy Hour, our leadership programs and other offerings.


Gloria Feldt is the author of No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. Buy the book here. Engage Gloria for a Speech or Workshop. Tweet @GloriaFeldt and connect on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ Gloria is the co-founder (with Amy Litzenberger) of Take the Lead, a new initiative to prepare and propel women to leadership parity by 2025. Find them @takeleadwomen and on Facebook.

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