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3 Things I learned this week (and one sneak preview)

Did you know that only 2% of women’s businesses crack the $1,000,000 revenue mark?

I learned that this week when I had the pleasure of speaking at Kristi Hall’s 2% club mastermind group.

While it’s not easy for any entrepreneur to build a business, according to a study by EY, businesses owned by men are 3.5 times as likely to reach that million-dollar threshold.

Kristi, founder of Conscious Connections, an 8000-member strong network of “business-savvy women who lead first with heart, consciousness and the unwavering belief that everyone is destined to find and profitably do their right work,” had invited me to share some tips with the group of women who have been meeting together for two years to support and learn from one another.

Because I know entrepreneurs have to be scrappy innovators, the Power Tool I chose to share with them was #3: Use what you’ve got. The resources you need are almost always there if you have the wisdom to see them and the power to use them.

Here’s one of the exercises we did — try it out and get deep into appreciating your own points of power.

I learned this week that the gentlemen in Congress finally realized that they had better not mess with Mother Nature, and especially not with human mothers in their midst. In a rare bipartisan general consent vote, newborns under one year are allowed on the U. S. Senate floor AND can be breastfed there.

Michele Weldon, Take The Lead’s Editorial Director, has written this piece for our newsletter next week — Power of New Working Moms: Beyonce, Pulitzer Winners, Political Leaders Shine — and I want to share it with you in advance because the title is everything. From New Zealand to Coachella and to the Senate floor, women are taking on a new power to get things done. Michele points out how that while women in the spotlight can afford things like childcare, these activist moms are “are also shedding light on the need for paid parental leave policies and adequate, affordable child care so that all working mothers can achieve their goals and fulfill their creative and professional ambitions.”

Can I love this hashtag via Elisa Kreisinger’s Pop Culture Pirate newsletter any more? (And you should totally subscribe.)

#RealBabiesBeforeManBabies

As CNN reported:

llinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who gave birth this month to her second child, becoming the first US Senator to do so while in office, spearheaded the push for the rule change and applauded her fellow lawmakers who she says helped to “bring the Senate into the 21st Century by recognizing that sometimes new parents also have responsibilities at work.”

Um hum. And perhaps we should ask: what would our institutions look like if women had created them? It’s not like having babies is anything new. We would have figured out how to manage childcare and work a long time ago.

I couldn’t resist tweeting this only slightly snarky response to another example of women figuring it out.

This week I relearned the power of the cohort to capture imaginations and move women farther faster to leadership parity.

I met with Take The Lead AZ’s Leadership Council and briefed them on the progress of our #50WomenCan Change the World programs for women in nonprofits and Media and Entertainment, plus the equally exciting ones upcoming for women in healthcare leadership, Human Resources, finance, childcare policy, and tech.

(If you are an AZ friend and want to know more about our one and only local chapter Take The Lead AZ, tweet me @GloriaFeldt and I’ll connect you. )

Wow, we were immediately off and running with ideas to do them for women in education, entrepreneurship, executives across sectors, and on and on.

Leadership parity moment is now and making it happen is just my cup of tea. (This photo courtesy of my lovely daughters and sister who took me for a birthday tea at the iconic AZ Biltmore.)

I hope it’s your cup of tea too because my sneak preview is to get ready for Tiffany Shlain’s 50/50 Day. I’ll be sharing from their feeds all day and Take The Lead is proud to be among the many sponsors and partners. You can learn more and join up here.

Till next week, power TO you!

“You had the power all along, my dear” — Glinda the good witch to Dorothy in The Wizard of OZ.

But as Dr. Susan Wilder, founder of Lifescape medical practice said at the mastermind, “You have to believe you deserve to commit. “

What Makes You Happy on Your Birthday?

What Makes You Happy on Your Birthday?

Issue 45– April 13, 2018

You guessed it: it’s happy birthday to me today, Friday the 13th. A day to think about what makes for happiness.

For me, it’s a day to be grateful for the many gifts I’ve received all year —the love of family, an amazing husband, an opportunity to do work I’m passionate about, good health, and friendship to name a few.

The Power of Gratitude — and Handwritten Thank You Notes

This week, I hope you had a chance to tune into my Virtual Happy Hour.

I had a vibrant conversation with three women — all of whom are changing the odds to speed gender parity, one in business, one in politics, and one in media. They are:

Tiffany Shlain, filmmaker, activist & Founder of the global 50/50 day movement;

Glynda Carr, co-founder of Higher Heights, a nonprofit dedicated to building a national infrastructure to harness Black women’s political power and leadership potential;

• and Kathy Coover, cofounder and executive Vice President of Isagenix, a billion dollar business, and direct sales expert.

Continue reading “What Makes You Happy on Your Birthday?”

How do we get to 50/50?

My husband and I were mindlessly watching a Seinfeld  rerun circa 1989, the year the “show about nothing” started, when an ancient computer in one scene caught my eye. 

It was a tiny-screened, block-shaped desktop like the one that had changed my life when I received it about that same time.  It had been sent to me by a way-ahead-of-it’s-time executive leadership course I was taking. The Western Behavioral Sciences Institute program was one of the first to create an online community of the sort that today is part of almost everyone’s daily life. I loved it!

That laughably outdated, painfully slow desktop computer with the dial-up modem is a good reminder of the nature of social change.

There are trailblazers like WBSI’s late visionary founder Richard Farson; there are the early adopters where I usually find myself; and there are latecomers brought – sometimes benignly, sometimes with violent backlash- into the new order.  Continue reading “How do we get to 50/50?”

Leadership at the Crossroads Part 3: Courage to Speak Boldly When it Counts.

Are you thinking about deleting your Facebook account in the wake of revelations about how your personal data may have been misused?

I’m not. 

I’ll be honest. Social media is my water cooler. It came of age about the time I traded a position where I interacted face to face with hundreds of people daily to one where I worked largely alone. The new media (as it was called then) was an exciting way to tell the world about the books I was writing while keeping me in touch with far-flung family and friends.

Sure, it’s a time suck filled with inane cat pictures. Still, how many meaningful photos of Passover gatherings and Easter celebrations filled our feeds last weekend while filling the miles and time that separate us from loved ones? It’s a wonderful thing and I’m sticking with it. But despite my rosy view, there is clearly trouble in paradise. Trouble of the sort that creates a leadership crossroads like those I wrote about here and here.

Little did I realize a decade ago that this remarkable technology’s connective tissue with such benign purpose would come with such a potential for harm.

I suspect that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, one of the company’s founders, was equally naive about it. Yet now he is facing a crossroads of classic proportions.

Because the solution to a problem always changes the problem. Businesses are built on solutions to human problems that in turn bring new problems leaders must grapple with. Continue reading “Leadership at the Crossroads Part 3: Courage to Speak Boldly When it Counts.”

11 Top Quotes About Feedback and One Big Ask for Yours

When I went looking for a great quote about feedback. I quickly noticed how few women are quoted in collections of quotes, especially those pertaining to leadership.

So then, I deliberately looked for quotes by women about feedback. Here are a few:

  1. “There are two things people want more than sex and money… recognition and praise.” —Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay cosmetics, which she started after being passed over for promotion by a man whom she had trained–talk about using feedback productively!
  2. “Everything in my environment is offering me feedback, if I will only listen.”–Sharon WeilChangeAbility: How Artists, Activists, and Awakeners Navigate Change 
  3. “In fact, all of us are very susceptible to having our humiliating experiences turn to shame, especially when the person who is putting us down is someone with whom we have a valued relationship or someone whom we perceive to have more power than we do…”–Brené Brown
  4. “Policy was not reconsidered because the governing group had no habit of purposeful consultation.” —Barbara W. TuchmanThe March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam
  5. “If you put out a new product and it doesn’t sell at all, that tells you something about what your audience does and doesn’t want. When we look at praise and criticism as information about the people giving it, we tend to get really curious about the feedback, rather than dejected or defensive.” —Tara MohrPlaying Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message
  6. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” —Oprah Winfrey (who needs no introduction)

The message in all of these quotes is to listen to what the universe is telling us, don’t let shame or defensiveness deter us, and to give feedback as well as receiving it. Continue reading “11 Top Quotes About Feedback and One Big Ask for Yours”

How to Make History Herstory

Here’s the thing about history: those with more power generally get to write it.

But that’s a changeable paradigm if we think of history as a dynamic, unfolding reality rather than a static past. Not only is history subject to interpretation; history is made by intentionally

Our new Leadership Ambassadors meet in NYC ready to take on gender parity!

shaping the future. What each of us does today creates the history for tomorrow.

Or Herstory. Her Story.

I had the best time this week interviewing two women who are making and shaping history—one by telling stories with her films and one by philanthropy and social action. Our topic for Take The Lead’s monthly Virtual Happy Hour was “Women Making History Today.”

Too often, women have been written out of history. Sometimes they’re simply ignored, regarded as not sufficiently important to be recorded. Other times, women’s accomplishments have been stolen, credit taken by male colleagues, husbands, superiors.

March is Women’s History Month. Think about why for a moment.  Continue reading “How to Make History Herstory”

Hear Our Voices – Best of International Women’s Day 2018

March 8 marked the 107th International Women’s Day at time when women’s voices are being raised more prominently than ever to say, “We are here and we expect equality.”  This year’s theme was #PressforProgress. Happy #IWD – it’s a great time to gather up your 9 Leadership Power Tools and do just that.

“You do not disregard my voice”, actress Kathleen Turner said to me in her resonant tones when we were working on her memoir, Send Yourself Roses. When I call a restaurant and say, ‘This is Kathleen Turner,’ they say, ‘Yes…yes it is.’ And I get a table.”

A Bit of History First

Esthetics are not an unimportant aspect of a woman’s voice. But when it comes to International Women’s Day founded March 8, 1911 (Broadsheet’s brief history is a good overview) in Copenhagen as part of a socialist movement to gain not just a seat at the table for women in global society, but also policy gains like the right to work, safer working conditions, and women’s suffrage, a woman’s voice has larger meaning: it’s a metaphor for women’s equality.

Its socialist roots have long been severed, women have made stunning advances in many parts of the world, and many ask: “Haven’t women found their voices yet?” Is a global day for women still needed, given U.N. declarations like CEDAW, World Bank programs fostering women’s economic development, and advances women are making in global leadership? Continue reading “Hear Our Voices – Best of International Women’s Day 2018”

WOMEN, OUR HEARTS, AND OUR POWER TO

It’s the call none of us ever want to get.

A sudden heart attack has hit someone we love. And in this Women’s History Month, it’s important to remember that the history of women’s healthcare in this country has been uneven at best.  Luckily, Go Red for Women is an organization whose mission is changing the odds for women’s heart health.

Today I am headed out into this latest Nor’easter to be a part of Go Red for Women’s panel talk on resilience.  I’m looking forward to the conversation with the distinguished women Go Red for Women has assembled for this event and I will be sharing with all of you what the panelists discuss.

I thought I would share something today I wrote in honor of another Go Red for Women event that Take The Lead co-sponsored. The message remains true today and maybe in this year of #metoo and Time’s Up even more so when women are being called to understand, take on and redefine power like never before.  A critical element of owning our power is taking care of our lives—our hearts—in ways that allow us to see our biggest intentions through to their bold ends.

Here’s my speech and my call to action for each of you.

Continue reading “WOMEN, OUR HEARTS, AND OUR POWER TO”

5 Lessons I Learned About Risk from a Fictional Rabbit

The recently released controversial Peter Rabbit movie reminded me that one of my favorite childhood stories was Beatrix Potter’s classic tale of the spunky bunny whose misadventures in Farmer McGregor’s vegetable garden were told as though they were meant to teach kids to mind their mothers and shy away from risky behavior.

I, however, drew five distinctly different lessons from it.

Briefly, the story is this: Peter and his three sisters, Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail, lived with their mother Mrs. Josephine Bunny, in a cozy rabbit hole. The protective Mrs. Bunny sternly warned her brood that while they could play in various places, they must never, ever go into Farmer McGregor’s garden. Surely terrible consequences would befall them there, as she recounted had happened to other rabbits.

The three girls obeyed but Peter went straightaway into the forbidden territory, where he blissfully munched on carrots, radishes, and French beans. It was rabbit paradise—until the farmer saw him and gave chase.  Peter got away after a series of heart-pounding near captures, but he lost his new blue jacket and a shoe and arrived home bedraggled. Mrs. Bunny punished her bad boy by putting him to bed without supper, whereas Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail “who were good little bunnies” feasted on blackberries and cream.

I must have asked my grandmother, who was my main caregiver, to read this book to me hundreds of times. Continue reading “5 Lessons I Learned About Risk from a Fictional Rabbit”

Power TO

In a week marred once again by a horrendous mass shooting, I have been contemplating the work I do to help women change the power paradigm that has long shaped our culture’s narrative. I ask them to shift their thinking from oppressive, often violent, scarcity-based “power over” to expansive, innovative, abundant “power TO.” Every time I do this, I see women’s faces relax and the mental lightbulbs go on.

For we have known and often borne the brunt of the worst aspects of power over us, from being collateral damage in wars we didn’t start to the harassment and abuse that today’s #metoo and Time’s Up movements aim to eradicate.

I spent last weekend in Los Angeles, launching our 50 Women Can Change the World – Media and Entertainment along with Leadership Ambassadors Tabby Biddle and Elisa Henderson Parker.

Leadership Ambassadors Elisa Parker and Tabby Biddle

Once again, I had the opportunity to see how important it is for women to make that simple definitional change in order to embrace their power fully, with intention, confidence, and joy. Continue reading “Power TO”