The Heartfeldt Blog


These “Brave Enough” Women Create Technologies That Change Your World

Who Says Women Can’t Rule Stem? 

I’m so glad I didn’t let the nasty rain and snow deter me from attending a Women’s Forum of New York-hosted panel called BRAVE ENOUGH: INNOVATORS TRANSFORMING OUR WORLD at one of the fastest growing and chicest women’s workspaces, The Wing, in New York’s SoHo neighborhood.

Wing co-founder Audrey Gelman welcomed an audience that melded the Forum’s accomplished members largely of a “seasoned” generation with The Wing’s younger, edgier, up-and-coming members. “We use words like ‘badass’ a lot around here,” Gelman said. Yes, and a neon sign blares “No Man’s Land,” the name also of the Wing’s new magazine.

I think The Wing might be the real Themyscira.

Moderator and Forum member Sarah Beatty Butler barely had to throw one question at the panelists to get them going. Dr. Nina Tandon, Hahna Alexander, and Dr. Leslie Dewan: these entrepreneurs are disrupting health care, battery chargers, and nuclear power respectively. Brilliantly.

The urgency, in my opinion, is this: until women are creating technologies that change how we think and live, along with wealth at the level of Bill Gates (or fill in your favorite tech giant), we won’t reach parity.  Women like that will come from women like the ones on the panel. Continue reading “These “Brave Enough” Women Create Technologies That Change Your World”

When Did You Know?

One of the most intriguing questions I ask in speeches and training is “When did you know you had the power TO _____?”

You fill in the blank. There is no right or wrong answer. Think about it. When did you know? Where were you? What did it feel like, look like, sound like?

Just like when I delivered a mini-workshop this week to women who are managing directors and directors from two prestigious financial institutions, RBC and BlackRock, the answers are varied, individual, and often quite touching. “When I was 11 and I won a dancing contest and my father called me a ‘little winner.’” “When I learned I had diabetes and decided I would take charge of my life rather than let the disease control me.” “When I was given a challenge I didn’t know how to do but I did it.”

Right this minute, many women are experiencing a collective “Power TO moment.” Fired up by the Women’s March, #metoo, and #timesup, women are taking a hard look at the cost of waiting for gender parity and doing something about it.  A record number of women have signed up to run for office in 2018, and women are asserting their right to workplace change from pay equity to respect and freedom from sexual harassment.

The unifying thread is like the activist classic sung by Aretha Franklin, “Sisters are Doing It for Themselves.”

It’s all DYI these days. No waiting for anyone else to do it for us. Continue reading “When Did You Know?”

Fashion in the time of #metoo

A Vintage Tem-Tex shirt

My father manufactured western shirts (Tem-Tex, “Styled in the Heart of Texas”), so I grew up building structures with empty thread spools on the office floor, wandering around the clattering sewing machines that smelled of 3 in One Oil, loving the fabrics and their textures, reveling in the endless range of colors, trims, and patterns.

Little wonder that I love fashion now. So when the Maggy London women’s clothing brand asked me to be one of their “Women Who Make a Difference,” I didn’t hesitate to say yes.

Saying yes to unexpected opportunities in life was one of the pieces of advice I shared.

I spent a fun afternoon doing the photo shoot with Maggy London’s amazing creative team and wearing several of their beautifully styled dresses. Especially the red ones of course, but the black ones are lovely too. I stayed on brand. Continue reading “Fashion in the time of #metoo”

Are You Marching?

Tips for Getting From #MeToo & #TimesUp to Real Change

 The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements are much needed, but how can they lead to systemic lasting change? Here’s how to get there.

This article is slightly edited from an interview I did with the Omega Institute.

Omega: These past months have shown the power women have, with the #MeToo movement, with Matt Lauer and Harvey Weinstein being held accountable for their actions, and with so many women coming together. What do you think about this, and how do you think we can move forward?

Gloria: This is an incredibly opportune moment. The worry I have is that righteous indignation feels really good. It’s so important for women to get in touch with the power they have inside of themselves, and use it intentionally to create change. Writing #MeToo is cathartic. Saying #TimesUp and suing perpetrators is necessary. Talking about it openly is incredibly important, but it’s just the first step.

To make real systemic change, we have a long road ahead. It’s not going to be easy. We’re up against a few millennia of culture. We need to gird our loins and be ready to use “power to,” in a positive way. We need to transform power to make the world better, to claim our space and not let anybody push us back.

It’s good to march. It’s good to picket. It’s good to write stinging blog posts, and it’s good to use the power of our voices to raise these issues. But, again, it’s a momentary feel good. It’s something that we need to do because it lets us know we’re in solidarity with others. We have to take that solidarity moment and turn it into real action, and that’s the slogging hard work of real movement building. That’s what we have the opportunity to do right now.

This is hard work but it’s also joyous work. It’s energizing work. Often people don’t know where to begin, so they default to doing one small thing. It certainly does take an accumulation of small things to make big systemic change—there’s no doubt of that. But it must be strategic and aimed at a collective goal. Continue reading “Are You Marching?”

Ready for a life-changing 2018?

Warning: it gets messy

 What’s your relationship to power?

“What is your relationship to power? On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being, ‘I don’t like the idea of power so I don’t seek it,’ 10 being, ‘I love having power,’ and the middle range being, ‘I’m not so comfortable with power, but I know I need to deal with it,’ where do you place yourself?”

I asked this question as the keynote to a conference of 200 of the most powerful women lawyers and judges in the country. Not one of them raised theirr hands when I asked who rated herself a perfect “10.” A few hands went up at the other end of the scale— 1’s or 2’s. Most hands raised in the 5-to-7 range. After a few minutes discussing the question, one table of women burst out in laughter. “We agreed we could own up to being 9’s,” they told the group, “but 10 just seemed too pushy.”

(Secure your seat for Power to Lead: 9 Leadership Power Tools to Advance your Career today!) Continue reading “Ready for a life-changing 2018?”

3 lessons (not about poker) from “Molly’s Game”

Molly Bloom has been keeping me awake at night.

Not the Molly Bloom of James Joyce’s equally outsized and out of the box character.

I’m talking about the hard-driving, elite high stakes poker game running protagonist of the acclaimed new movie, Molly’s Game based on a true story.

It could as easily have been called Molly’s Power Game.

Within Aaron Sorkin’s riveting direction, we get a finely drawn picture of how a girl pushed mercilessly by her philandering psychologist father to excel at competitive skiing survives major injury only to apply that same ruthless quest to running the Olympics of underground poker games. In both instances, she succeeds wildly at a man’s power game but ultimately is done in by it.

What kept me awake were the realer-than-life alpha male characters, one more scurrilous than the next. Whether around the poker table risking $100,000 stakes, urging her to dangerous speeds through the icy snow, or clapping handcuffs onto her in a righteous quest to clamp down on the traveling game, I felt I was seeing patriarchy in its most wretched incarnation: amoral, seeking power over others for the sheer thrill of it, almost feral in its wily dog-eat-dog approach to the world. Continue reading “3 lessons (not about poker) from “Molly’s Game””

The Sum – Word of the week is complicit

As in if you see something, not saying something

As in actively or passively joining harmful acts 

As in’s word of the year.

Despite the web-based dictionary’s attempt to lighten it up by spoofing that “covfeve” had been given the annual honor, the actual top word, complicit, hisses with disgust, epithet, curse. 

And yet it describes, well, pretty much everyone.

Culture is the glue that binds us together and the barrier that keeps others out. Our treasured sense of who we are and paradoxically also the source of the insidious implicit biases that shape our stereotypes of who and what humans like or unlike ourselves can be.

Rebecca Traister has once again outdone herself with her piece on complicity.  Take the time to read it if you missed it.  She gets to all the complicated, raw aspects of what is undoubtedly a sea change in our culture—or can be if we handle its consequences well.   Continue reading “The Sum – Word of the week is complicit”

Word of the week is Powertopia

As in sometimes you have to make up a new word to say what you mean. 

As in a world where power and leadership are shared equally by men and women.

As in Take The Lead’s amazing performance event, “Powertopia: Women, Power, and the Art of Leadership”

 If you could take one day to change the world as we know it, would you? If you could take one day dedicated to discovering specific strategies and tools you can use right away to achieve gender parity in leadership across all fields within the next seven years, would you do it?

Well, if you were with me in person or online on November 14, Take The Lead’s inaugural Take The Lead Day that we named Powertopia, you have already done just that.  I want to hear from you about what you learned, your experience, and what parts of the day you benefitted most from.

On this great global day of action, thousands of ambitious, intentional, and determined women met to achieve leadership parity for good—their own good and the good of their organizations, families, and the world. And there were some very supportive men too. If you missed it, you will be able to see it here if you sign up now and we’ll notify you when it is ready.   Continue reading “Word of the week is Powertopia”

The Sum – Meaning of the Week: Break

“The first responsibility of leadership is the creation of meaning.” Warren Bennis

Welcome to The Sum, where I share my take on the meaning of sum of the week’s parts. I want your voice too. Leave comments here or @GloriaFeldt

Word of the week is BREAK.

As in groundbreaking ideas about sex and gender.

As in honor on those who broke through barriers.

As in breakthrough to leadership parity.

The bagpiper was a woman. One more gender stereotype broken.

I decided at the last minute to go to the memorial service for the groundbreaking feminist writer, artist, and activist Kate Millett.

With preparations for Take The Lead Day coming up November 14 pressing on me, I nevertheless felt a deep need to immerse myself in the roots of second- wave feminism whose leaders I knew would be assembled at the Fourth Unitarian Universalist Church on New York’s Upper West Side. The uber-feminists I sometimes call them lovingly.

Continue reading “The Sum – Meaning of the Week: Break”

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.
Continue reading “The Sum – Meaning of the Week: First”