The Sum – Meaning of the Week: Eclipsed

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

The word of the week is ECLIPSED

As in: Where were you during the solar eclipse?

As in: Did anyone notice Women’s Equality Day is August 26?

As in: And when did the Equal Rights Amendment pass?

Let’s start with the first question, probably the most asked of the week: Where were you during the solar eclipse?

I loved getting emails and photos from friends camping in Oregon, or taking wild, last minute driving trips to Wyoming or Idaho to try to catch the best views. On the roof of our building along with dozens of other people who had never spoken with each other before but now were offering to share eclipse glasses, food, and eclipse stories, I kept humming the lines from the Carly Simon hit song “You’re so Vain:”

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


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.

The Sum Volume #7: Code

“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

My word of the week is CODE: As in Cracking the code, Learning to code, and Rewriting the code

Ada Lovelace, coding pioneer

 Cracking the Code

How much do we love this news of the week? The #WonderWoman movie is doing better at the box office over the longer haul—not just opening week–than any superhero movie in 15 years. The world is truly ready for her/us. That’s what cracking the code is all about.

Aside from the pop culture value of the movie, what really interests me is the role model value to crack the code of cultural gender stereotypes that have for so long defined women in limiting and self-limiting ways. Wonder Woman isn’t perfect on that score but certainly comes close enough that girls and women around the world are embracing the character as never before. And men and boys too, as it turns out. I saw a kindergarten teacher’s list of things that happened in her class during the week after the film’s release.  They included a previously Iron Man obsessed boy asking his mother for a Wonder Woman lunchbox,  and seven girls deciding that that since they all wanted to be Wonder Woman they would be Amazons at recess and not fight each other but work together to fight evil.

Continue reading “The Sum Volume #7: Code”


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.

The Sum Volume #6: Diverging from Freedom

“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, as you would guess, freedom.

And it’s also divergence. As in how the country often diverges from the principles of freedom that we celebrate on July 4th.

I’m a sappy patriot. All four of my grandparents immigrated to this country to escape persecution and enjoy the blessings of a free society. I tear up at the sight of the Statue of Liberty even though I’ve seen it thousands of times, and I grew up believing in the words of Emma Lazarus’s poem at its base: “Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

So I was especially moved by this commentary by Maria Harper-Marinick, Chancellor of the Maricopa Community Colleges. She sees the US from the perspective of an immigrant who grew up in a dictatorship. “I have a profound appreciation for what the Fourth of July represents. It is a reminder of how an open and inclusive society can thrive when it embraces the diversity of its people and promotes respect and responsibility.”

Continue reading “The Sum Volume #6: Diverging from Freedom”


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.

The Sum Volume #4: Heat

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

Word of the Week is: Heat

 I landed in Phoenix @ 120 degrees. Or 122, but who’s counting. Yes, it feels like putting your head in an oven even if it’s a dry heat.

There’s lots of heat everywhere.  They say if you can’t stand it, you should get out of the kitchen. I say this week gave us at least three more reasons why women need to stay in the leadership kitchen.

3 Reasons Women Need to Stay in the Kitchen

Sometimes the pot boils over and it’s a good thing.  Uber founder Travis Kalanick resignsafter the pot of his own making boiled so hot that he had to. It took the cool head of a woman on the board to force the change. Here’s Arianna Huffington’s speech to Uber’s employees. It’s been a rocky ride; she was quoted in Broadsheet saying, “Knowing how to deal with crises without being overwhelmed – keeping one’s head while people all around are losing theirs – is the most important leadership quality.”

Contrast Kalanick’s leadership style (power over) with that of China’s dominant rideshare CEO Jean Liu (#powerTO). Can’t help but apply a gender lens to this though the article did not do so.

Continue reading “The Sum Volume #4: Heat”


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.

The Sum Volume #1: Wonder Woman

“The first responsibility of leadership is the creation of meaning.”—Warren Bennis. Welcome to the first Sum, where I’ll give my take on the meaning of the sum of the week’s parts. I want your voice too. Leave comments here or @GloriaFeldt.

The Sum: This week it’s all #WonderWoman. And #WonderWomen. #WW for short. We’re all around. And, wow are we needed. Here are 3 ways we can flex those superpowers:

1. Spend Our Money and Time Intentionally

Calling all #WW, here’s why it’s important to get behind the new #WonderWoman movie by going to see it this weekend:  Supporting success at the box office by buying tickets, especially in its first weekend, will increase the probability we’ll see more female superheroes women and girls can relate to in pop culture. And the more #WW we see, the more of us will become #WW.

Side note:  Gal Gadot might have the movie role but I’m just reminding you that you’ve never seen me and Wonder Woman in the same room…

Continue reading “The Sum Volume #1: Wonder Woman”


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.

Is Colbert a joke?

What do you think about Colbert’s presidential run? I will tweet the funniest retort.

Stephen ColbertArena Asks: Comedian Stephen Colbert has taken credit for Republican candidate Jon Huntsman dropping out of the presidential race, declaring on “The Colbert Report” that his announcement last week to form an exploratory committee for president has “completely changed the complexion of this race.” Since the announcement, Colbert’s super PAC has already begun airing an anti-Mitt Romney ad, and on Monday night released another commercial urging Americans to “vote Herman Cain.”

Is Colbert’s work raising awareness about campaign finance and elections? Or is the entire thing a joke?

My Answer: Colbert is a joke with a purpose. The question is whether the purpose is realized.

Don’t get me wrong. I love political parody shows like Colbert and Stewart. It’s great that they engage so many people in thinking about the political issues of the day, calling attention to hypocrisy, skewering bloviators, and actually highlighting both the important public debates and arcane nonsense that only political junkies like those of us who write for The Arena care about.

Colbert and Stewart’s brilliant take down of Super PACS and independent expenditures this week is a case in point. After a good laugh, a viewer can feel self-righteous in opposing big, unaccountable money in politics. But then what?

Whether Colbert raises awareness or not, the danger is that people will think they’ve actually participated in the political process when in truth, they’re being passive observers, until and unless they get personally involved on the ground with candidates and issues.

Here’s the link to my original post on Politico


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.

The Difference Between Christmas and Hanukkah (With Bonus Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert Video)

Here’s a holiday message courtesy of Madge Stein Woods that explains the differences between Christmas and Chanukah. Or Hanukkah.

Hope you enjoy as much as I did! Feel free to embellish and add your observations about these two holidays, as well as our other great December days, Kwanzaa and the Winter Solstice.

Just in case anyone asks you what the difference is between Christmas and
Chanukah, you will know what and how to answer.

1. Christmas is one day, same day every year, December 25. Jews also love
December 25th. It’s another paid day off work. We go to the movies and out
for Chinese food and Israeli dancing. Chanukah is 8 days. It starts the
evening of the 24th of Kislev, whenever that falls. No one is ever sure.
Jews never know until a non-Jewish friend asks when Chanukah starts, forcing
us to consult a calendar so we don’t look like idiots. We all have the same
calendar, provided free with a donation from the World Jewish Congress, the
kosher butcher or the local Sinai Memorial Chapel (especially in Florida )
or other Jewish funeral homes.

2. Christmas is a major holiday. Chanukah is a minor holiday with the same
theme as most Jewish holidays. They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s
eat.

3. Christians get wonderful presents such as jewelry, perfume, stereos, etc.
Jews get practical presents such as underwear, socks or the collected works
of the Rambam, which looks impressive on the bookshelf.

4. There is only one way to spell Christmas. No one can decide how to spell
Chanukah, Chanukkah, Chanukka, Channukah, Hanukah, Hannukah, etc.

5. Christmas is a time of great pressure for husbands and boyfriends. Their
partners expect special gifts. Jewish men are relieved of that burden. No
one expects a diamond ring on Hanukah.

6. Christmas brings enormous electric bills. Candles are used for Chanukah.
Not only are we spared enormous electric bills, but we get to feel good
about not contributing to the energy crisis.

7. Christmas carols are beautiful: Silent Night, Come All Ye Faithful.
Chanukah songs are about dreidels made from clay or having a party and
dancing the hora. Of course, we are secretly pleased that many of the
beautiful carols were composed and written by our tribal brethren. And don’t
Barbara Streisand and Neil Diamond sing them beautifully?

8. A home preparing for Christmas smells wonderful – like the sweet smell of
cookies and cakes baking. Happy people are gathered around in festive moods.
A home preparing for Chanukah smells of oil, potatoes and onions. The home,
as always, is full of loud people all talking at once.

9. Christian women have fun baking Christmas cookies. Jewish women burn
their eyes and cut their hands grating potatoes and onions for latkes on
Chanukah. Another reminder of our suffering through the ages.

10. Parents deliver presents to their children during Christmas. Jewish
parents have no qualms about withholding a gift on any of the eight nights.

11. The players in the Christmas story have easy to pronounce names such as
Mary, Joseph and Jesus. The players in the Chanukah story are Antiochus,
Judah Maccabee and Matta whatever. No one can spell it or pronounce it. On
the plus side, we can tell our friends anything and they believe we are
wonderfully versed in our history.

12. Many Christians believe in the virgin birth. Jews think, “Yossela,
Bubela, snap out of it. Your woman is pregnant, you didn’t sleep with her,
and now you want to blame G-d? Here’s the number of my shrink.”

13. In recent years, Christmas has become more and more commercialized. The
same holds true for Chanukah, even though it is a minor holiday. It makes
sense. How could we market a major holiday such as Yom Kippur? Forget about
celebrating. Think observing. Come to synagogue, starve yourself for 27
hours, become one with your dehydrated soul, beat your chest, confess your
sins, a guaranteed good time for you and your family. Tickets a mere $200
per person. Better stick with Chanukah.

This explains a lot.

Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas.

(Merry Kwanzahukahmas)

 


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.

Tale of Two Elizabeths: Bringing Hope to New Hope

By Tamara Fagin, Guest Blogger

I did not grow up watching Elizabeth Taylor on the silver screen. If I did, I’m sure that like many young people who did come of age with her (like my parents), I would have been utterly distracted by her dark-haired beauty, her striking violet blue eyes and all of those marriages. She was a superstar.

I, on the other hand, came of age during the 1980’s. During a period of tumultuous change – somewhat like now come to think of it. I witnessed (on television) the fall of the Berlin Wall, the fallout of Chernobyl and individuals, families and institutions grappling with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The Elizabeth Taylor that I grew up with was the most famous AIDS activist in the world.

Sex, AIDS and No Hope. I remember my oldest uncle telling me, as I prepared to go to college, how young people now didn’t have to wait to get married to have sex like his generation did, but that having sex might kill them. HIV/AIDS put an end to the care-free sexual revolution.

I never imagined that less than 2 years later my youngest (and favorite) uncle, Uncle Bernard, would tell me that he and his boyfriend, Harold, were both HIV- positive.

Uncle Bernard and Harold lived in the quaint artist colony of New Hope, Pennsylvania, a popular weekend getaway for many in New York and Philadelphia. I spent many happy weekends and a summer living and working with them – dancing to Madonna’s Vogue and other 80’s hits with Harold at the Cartwheel, dining at Chez Odette’s and sipping wine like a bona-fide grown up at art gallery openings.

But, AIDS changed all of that. By the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, New Hope’s gay population was devastated by the AIDS epidemic. There was essentially NO HOPE in New Hope. Every week seemed to bring more bad news: someone else was in the hospital with Kaposi Sarcoma or Pneumocystis pneumonia; another friend was no longer able to work and was being evicted from his home; a neighbor had a T-cell count of 4 and had jokingly given each a name (the average count for these infection fighting cells is 500 to 1,500). Dark humor for dark days.

Those of us who lived through this era will recall the hysteria that spread through America regarding how this disease might be transmitted. It was like the dark ages – HIV-positive children, such as Ryan White and Ricky Ray, were shunned and not allowed to go to school or their homes were torched by mobs who feared the spread of AIDS. And, to make matters worse, some praised God for killing the homosexuals and drug addicts with AIDS. It was a lonely time for people living with HIV/AIDS; and my grandmother, a devout Catholic, left the church and prayed at home for her youngest son.

Acting; New Hope. Many stayed at home, afraid. But, thankfully, others, such as Elizabeth Taylor, got angry and courageously took a stand. By her very public actions, she provided new hope for a cure, a vaccine and a better life for those living with HIV/AIDS.

Elizabeth Taylor lost 2 close friends to AIDS. She took the pain of her loss and turned it into something positive – a global movement that changed the way many people viewed AIDS and its victims. She was quoted on CNN.com as follows: “Everyone was talking about AIDS, but talking behind their hands[.]” … “But nobody was doing anything about it, including myself. And then I got really angry.” … “People were telling me not to get involved, I got death threats, I got angrier and angrier. So I put myself out there.”

She tirelessly used her superstar power to raise awareness about the disease and funds ($270 million) for the fight against HIV/AIDS. She is an inspiration to me.

AIDS at 30; Action Required. This June will mark 30 years since the first AIDS case was reported.

So, where do things stand? We understand the disease a lot better now but we still have no vaccine. Certain populations in the U.S. and around the world are “safe” while certain (especially, people of color) are far from safe from HIV. People are living longer and more productive lives with HIV but every 9 and ½ minutes someone in the U.S. is infected with AIDS. (www.nineandahalfminutes.org)

There is still much to be done.

Continue the fight and stand up to those who would take funding away from groups like Planned Parenthood who provide crucial preventative care, education and screening to at-risk populations. Stand up to attempts to repeal provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act that protect people living with HIV/AIDS from insurance industry abuses. Stand up against the mob mentality of the religious right that in the name of budget balancing efforts is trying to erode what took activists like Elizabeth Taylor 30 years to accomplish – do not take your rights and the rights of those less fortunate than you for granted. Inaction when it comes to HIV/AIDS prevention and research is tantamount to negligent homicide or worse. Don’t look the other way. It is your time to act. . Fight for what is right. Use your voice and your voting power to provide hope for a cure and a vaccine.

In memory of Bernard Genest, Harold Wireman and their good friends in New Hope & Lambertville and the two Elizabeths, the famous actress to many, but to me, the fearless and powerful AIDS activist.

Tamara Fagin is a recovering tax attorney, mother of two, wife of one, and closet activist trying to get the courage to Embrace Controversy and Create a Movement.

[Video] Wonder Woman Again Puts Political Into Personal Media Images

Wonder Woman: who she is has morphed many times during her seven decades of existence. Depending on who was in control of her image, and what role the prevailing culture wanted women to play in society at any given time in history, Wonder Woman has been crafted as a superhero and a boutique owner, her muscles and attire symbolic of strength and courage and of bombshell sexiness at various times.

For seven decades, Wonder Woman has formed us and informed our thinking about women’s place in the world. This latest documentary being developed by filmmakers Kristy Guevara-Flanagan & Kelcey Edwards, is called The History of the Universe as Told by Wonder Woman. It’s a project worth supporting–which you can do here.


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.

SHE Should Talk At TED: 5 Ways to Get Started

I get so excited I can hardly stand it when I see women embracing their “power-to” leadership and using the 9 Ways power tools I share in No Excuses.

When it comes to defining our own terms and creating a movement to take action for TEDparity, my “heartfeldt” belief is that women are beyond merely offering an opinion that TED should be more inclusive. We are the majority of population, voters, people with college degrees, and purchasers of consumer goods.  We don’t need to be supplicants. And for sure there are plenty among us who have big and exciting ideas. Please share yours here and on twitter @SheTalkTed and the She Should Talk at Ted Facebook page.

If you’re in NY, there’s still time today to register for and attend the TEDWomen/TEDx636_11thAve follow up round table this evening, sponsored by the New York Women Social Entrepreneurs, to discuss action steps with panelists Rachael Chong, Founder & CEO of Catchafire, CV Harquail, PhD of AuthenticOrganizations.com, Culture Kitchen’s Liza Sabater, and Journalist Adaora Udoji.

With thanks again to CV Harquail, I’m posting here her action-oriented commentary about five next steps we’re taking. You’re taking. Women are taking fro #TEDparity and far beyond.

SHE Should Talk At TED: 5 Ways to Get Started

by cv harquail on December 7, 2010

We plan to support each other in different initiatives with the same big goal— getting women’s ideas out to be shared.

Thanks so much to you readers who got in touch with me to share your ideas about a diversity & inclusion action plan for TED. I had the chance to fold some of these ideas into a live conversation with two of my favorite NYC feminists, Dr. Debra Condon and Gloria Feldt, and together we came up with these 5 possible Action Steps to share with you readers, and with the TEDWomen /TEDx636_11thAve follow-up round table being sponsored by NYWSE. While these suggestions are specific to TED, the general idea behind each step is applicable to any organization.

1. Clarify goals: Gender Parity with Proportional Representation at the next TED, and at every TED & TEDx thereafter.

The goal that we’re working for, at least in the efforts focused on TED per se, is to move to full Gender Parity with Proportional Representation in the next TED conference. As Marie Wilson of The White House Project is known to say, “You can’t be it if you can’t see it.” We need to help people see women as TED speakers and opinion leaders with big ideas, because we are sure that women have at least half the big ideas in this world. But we’re so accustomed to not having that recognized that we have not been helping ourselves to our fair share.

2. Set Up “SHE Should Talk At TED” campaign.

A “SHE Should Talk at TED” campaign will help identify more women as potential speakers at TED and TEDx. So far, the women who have spoken at TEDs have been fabulous … and there are more women out there who also have fabulous big ideas.

“SHE Should Talk At TED” is a tactic for raising awareness of the broad array of women whose ideas are so worthy that we want to see them presented at TED.A first step is to make each of these women more visible by something as simple as tweeting her name and #SHETalkTED. You can also come and join our Facebook group as we get that up and going.

We can make these women visible by sharing a button each one can put on her blog or twitter page. And, we can tell each other that we think each others’ ideas are worth sharing, by sending the button to our female colleagues who “Should Speak At TED”. (The image at the top is an early draft– stay tuned for the real thing!)

3. Invite the curators at TED to meet with a group of advocates for Gender Parity…

… to share suggestions and action steps that TED can take not only to get gender parity immediately, but also to build in a concern for parity and inclusion into all TED activities.

These action steps could included re-examining selection criteria and making a public commitment to inclusion. TED might also look to its own licensees for ideas, and incorporate the inclusion tactics of those TEDx conferences that have gotten closer to gender parity in their presenter line-ups. While we understand that TED is necessarily based on judgment calls about attendees, speakers, and topics, we are certain that a) there are plenty of women who qualify on all fronts and b) gender parity and inclusion of other diversities will have the added benefit of making TED even better and its ideas even more expansive.

4. Plan ahead for a Parity Party.

The next TED conference is not far off. We can start planning now to celebrate TED’s achievement of gender parity at events to be held right after the next TED conference.

5. Stay Open for More Ideas

More ideas, and more specific tactics for Gender Parity at TED, will surely be generated at the NYWSE Round-table: Building on TED & the TEDWomen Conference: How can _we_ make conferences more inclusive spaces?

We anticipate, too, that others might want to look past TED and work toward gender parity and conference inclusion in other ways. For example, some may decide to create an explicit alternative to TED, a conference about ideas worth sharing that is build on the premise that good ideas can come from anyone, and that good ideas can be shared not only in presentations but also in non-hierarchical, ‘sage from the stage’ formats.



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.