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.

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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 – 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”


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 – Meaning of the Week: Join

The word of the week is JOIN.

As in come together.

As in take part.

As in join me for Take The Lead Day.

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

I did something I’ve never done before. I joined those admirable ones of you who refuse to power through when you need to take time to do something for yourself instead.

You see, I’m dentally challenged. About once a year I lose a crown, inevitably when I’m supposed to stand in front of an audience and deliver a presentation. It is mortifying.

Last week I joined Take The Lead’s Leadership Ambassadors for their first ever recertification conference, beachside in Marina Del Rey CA.

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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 – Meaning of the Week: One

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

The word of the week is one.

As in one woman speaking her truth gives courage to others.

As in the power of taking that one step that starts the march to progress.

As in one woman’s story and then another and then another can bring down a titan.

So Harvey Weinstein grabbed the headlines this week. But the real story was the bravery of each one of the women, starting with Ashley Judd, who came forward to tell her personal story years after her life had been changed, not for the better, by one man’s abuse of powerFortune’s “Broadsheet “has this guide for keeping track of the facts.

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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 – Meaning of the Week: Positive

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

Word of the week is POSITIVE.

As in posit your own terms.

As in position yourself.

As in having an optimistic outlook for the sake of your health, happiness, and success.

Yesterday I arrived at my Arizona home to find my car had a dead battery. I didn’t have time to deal with it because I needed to get across town to see my sister (thanks to all of you who sent good wishes after I mentioned her kidney transplant last week—she’s not out of the woods but doing much better).

So I hopped into a Lyft and pulled out my cell phone to catch up on what had happened while I was traveling. I knew my whole team was hard at work putting Take The Lead Day together and that my usual overload of messages would be on steroids. It was.

My driver, however, began ruminating out loud about how he used to be very interested in politics and now is feeling disengaged. “I don’t know why,” he said, ”but I think there is so much negativity out there right now that I just can’t deal with it.”

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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 – Meaning of the Week: Transform

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

Word of the week is TRANSFORM.

As in the women who transformed Rwanda.

As in women transforming lives and communities through philanthropy.

As is in a transformational confrontation with one’s power demons.

Ever have one of those weeks when you have to, as I used to hear people say when I was growing up in Texas, holler “calf rope?” Well, I just hollered, and that’s why “The Sum” is coming your way on Monday instead of last Friday.

No Excuses to coin a phrase, but I did have reasons, such as my sister’s challenges as she recovers from a kidney transplant and preparing for the launch of the 50 Women Can Change the World program for emerging women nonprofit leaders in Arizona.

Summer slid imperceptibly into a vertiginous array of fall events. Save the date of November 14—exciting details coming soon about the first ever Take The Lead Day—it will be epic and transformational and I imagine my team and I will all holler “calf rope” by the time it’s done.

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


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 – Meaning of the Week: Light

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

Word of the week is LIGHT.

As in seeing a path where others have not walked.

As in illuminating big intentions.

As in shining the light that only you can.

Seeing a Path Where Others Have Not Walked

Time Magazine chronicled 45 living female firsts this week and I started to worry. Some of their trailblazers you know well, like Hillary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey; others are less famous but created new paths just as difficult, like Lori Robinson, the first woman to lead a top tier combat command. (BTW, congrats to Rosalind Brewer, just announced as the first woman and first African American COO and Group President of Starbucks though not in the Time article)!

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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 – Meaning of the Week: Love

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

Word of the week is LOVE.

‪As in what matters when your house is flooded.

As in the secret to dealing with hate speech at work.

As in the human capacity to rise higher than Harvey’s waters and help each other.

What matters

Suddenly we were overtaken by Hurricane Harvey, relentlessly pummeling the eastern coast of Texas, then fanning out to Louisiana. It was all I could think about. My son and daughter-in-law and their two sons live in Sugar Land, a suburb of Houston, and I have many cousins and friends in the area.

The media’s saturation coverage—can’t help the water allusions—meant that no one could escape Harvey’s wrath emotionally even if we weren’t there physically. Who among us didn’t feel for the people who lost their homes or worse, their lives or loved ones? Continue reading “The Sum – Meaning of the Week: Love”


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 – 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:”

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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 – Meaning of the Week: Crossroads (Part 2)

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

Word of the week is Crossroads (part 2)

As in Charlottesville

As in the junctions in life where we must choose hate or love, war or peace, yes or no.

‪As in if ever there was a week when we have to address the moral crossroads of leadership that I talked about in last week’s Sum, this is it.

‪I was walking the Highline yesterday with a friend who has two small children. The first topic after “how are you?” was not surprisingly “how do you explain white supremacists and the violence that killed Heather Heyer to your kids?” Sheryl Sandberg wrote a moving post (on Facebook, of course) about the challenge of sharing a book about the Holocaust with her 10-year old daughter and the importance of having those difficult conversations with children as a way of teaching them to be vigilant in fighting bigotry and hatred like that displayed in Charlottesville. She said, “The brave Heather Heyer’s mother Susan Bro said she wanted her daughter’s death to be ‘a rallying cry for justice and equality and fairness and compassion.’ Let us honor her by teaching all of our children how to honor and respect those values.”

Continue reading “The Sum – Meaning of the Week: Crossroads (Part 2)”


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.