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 #5: Move

“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.

The word of the week is MOVE.

As in a movement has to move to be successful. (Grab your iced tea or mint julep—this Sum will be longer than usual.)

From Suffrage to Full Equality: What’s Next for Women’s Rights?

Barbara Williams, Executive Director,
NY State Women’s Suffrage Commission

Have you seen the new Wonder Woman movie? If so, you probably noticed the reference to suffragists. William Moulton Marston, Wonder Woman’s creator, was inspired by the suffragists.  So on this weekend leading up to the long July 4th weekend celebrating all that America aspires to be, let’s raise our glasses to celebrate the women who fought for our being part of that vision.

Continue reading “The Sum Volume #5: Move”


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 #3: Don’t Shhhh Me!

“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.

The Sum of this week is voice.

To put a positive spin on it, we’ve had many examples of the power of a woman’s voice.

It started last Sunday during the Tony Awards, when best actress in a musical, Bette Midler, kept speaking her piece long after the escalating music signaled she should get off the stage. She took her time, thanked the women who came before her, and imperiously waved the orchestra off, declaring she had the floor. The way she took her time and space to make her voice heard felt outrageous and liberating at the same time. Her assertive presence must have made Amy Cuddy proud.

We’re accustomed to seeing women engage not by such screeching vehicular feats of daring, but equally intense though too often silent tests of their personal agency. Cultural norms die hard. May this one rest in peace.

Continue reading “The Sum Volume #3: Don’t Shhhh Me!”


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 #2

“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.

It’s about power this week.

Of course with me, every day of every week I’m obsessed with women’s relationship with power.  That’s because it’s so central to the decisions women make to aim for those higher salaries and leadership positions, elective offices, and grander entrepreneurial ventures – or not. The relationship is so profound, it’s almost spiritual, and often fraught with ambivalence.

The news of the week reveals the two kinds of power I talk and teach about as the basis for changing the power paradigm: power over versus power TO.

Continue reading “The Sum Volume #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.

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.

The Evolution of Male-Female Relationships: An Interview with Leon Silver

I recently had a chance to speak with my friend and Take The Lead board member Leon Silver, co-managing partner of the Phoenix office of law firm Gordon & Rees. Leon is a lifelong supporter of women’s rights and co-founder of The Liberty Project nonprofit.

Gloria Feldt: You recently welcomed your first grandchild to the world, a baby boy named Greg. Looking forward to his future, can you tell me what you want the world to look like 25 years from now—in terms of gender roles and relationships both at work and at home?

Leon Silver: Simply put, I’d like for us to not to have to talk about gender roles. I would like to see an equality of judgment and an equality of merit. I don’t want Greg to live in a world where you are defined by your gender or by other people’s expectations for what you ought to be because of your gender. I’m not a fan of defined gender stereotypes or judgments or conclusions that get made based on gender differences.

G: In the legal field, women who choose to work and to be mothers often find themselves at a disadvantage. According to 2014 figures released by NALP earlier this year, only 17 percent of equity partners were women and only 5.6 percent were racial/ethnic minorities. What’s holding women back?

Continue reading “The Evolution of Male-Female Relationships: An Interview with Leon Silver”


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.

Embracing Controversy Means Standing By Your Convictions

Tuesday’s elections were disappointing, to say the least, for me as a progressive woman. But this isn’t the time to throw up our hands in defeat. It’s time to regroup and lead ourselves forward. Today I listened and tweeted up with the Name It Change It campaign. I learned that their polling data backs up my contention that it’s a good thing to embrace controversy, rather than run away from it, if you’re a woman in politics (Republican or Democrat–as pollster Celinda Lake commented “Sexism is one of the very few bipartisan things”).:

Celinda Lake, of Lake Research Associates, spearheaded research measuring how gender-based attacks negatively affect voter perception of female candidates…Lake explains, “Up until this research was conducted, I often advised women to ignore toxic media sexism. But now, women candidates are equipped with evidence that shows they can recover voter confidence from sexist media coverage by directly addressing it, and standing up for all current and future women leaders.”

Isn’t it great to know that if we stand firm in our convictions, we not only gain supporters but maintain our own integrity and get to express our true beliefs?

Let’s encourage the women in our lives to embrace their power. Download the No Excuses postcard and send it to 10 women in your life. It’s time for us to embrace our power, step up and hold the Democrats accountable for squandering the past two years.

If you missed them earlier the 9 Ways blog posts earlier this week, here’s more discussion of Power Tool #4: Embrace Controversy, and Different Approaches to Controversy Yield Different Results.


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.

Questions for Democrats Post Election

What If?

In many ways, today is like where I came into national leadership. It was 1996, after the1994 Gingrich revolution Republican sweep of Congress, in a huge Tea Party-like backlash against the progressive initiatives of President Bill Clinton’s first term.

While I’m processing the key question in my mind–why do the Democrats never learn????–I want to share questions that Political Voices of Women’s Pamela Kemp put forward last night:

This election has been all about the economy but What If?
What if the Obama administration had realized from the beginning that the kids across the aisle just don’t play nice?

What if, in 2009, the newly inaugurated Obama administration had responded to calls from the Democratic base ( aka the professional left ) to investigate the misdeeds of the Bush/Cheney administration?

What if for the past two years the American people had been reminded that the Bush administration inherited a budget surplus from the Clinton years which they, in turn, squandered, leaving the largest budget deficit in history?

What if for the past two years the national political dialogue had included a real discussion of the cost of the Iraq war (which was entered into under false pretenses) and how those costs contributed to the national debt?

And what if the American people had been reminded day after day that the corporate friends of Bush/Cheney (Haliburton, Blackwater, KBR, et. al) made billions from the government contracts secured during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq?

What if the Democrats had reminded the American people that the bank bailout was a parting gift from the Bush administration?

And what if the Democrats had reminded the American people day after day after day that the deregulation policies of the Bush era lead to the housing crisis and the great exodus of US jobs to foreign shores?

What if the Obama administration and the 111th Congress had realized early in the game that when you have an opponent on the ropes, you keep him there.

I hope that President Obama and the Congressional Democrats left standing will ask themselves these questions. And that they answer them with the same spunky attitude that Kemp begins to use here (big shout out here to the inimitable Barbara Boxer):

Today’s reality is that the Democrats have two years of landmark policy accomplishments to their credit but weren’t able to convince much of the American public to stay the course.

Yet, what if, it’s true that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.   As Senator Barbara Boxer told her supporters after winning her bid for re-election, her opponents threw everything at her but the kitchen sink, with money from known and unknown sources. Yet she overcame it all.

So what if, in some strange way, this all works to the Democrats’ advantage. After all, now the Republican controlled 112th Congress will have to “man-up” and put up or shut up. And best of all, the Republicans won’t have Nancy Pelosi to demonize in 2012.

What if, having to survive near death political death during campaign 2010, it’s just what the Democrats’ needed to re-energize the base?

What if indeed. I suspect that we the people, in particular we the progressive women, will to have to lead ourselves and the Democrats forward if we want any of those “what ifs” to become future reality.

And that future starts today, the first day of election 2012.


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.

It’s Time for Women to Step Up

Nicole Baute from The Star asked me to share some of the central messages of No Excuses when she interviewed me last week. Here is an excerpt from that interview.

You called your book No Excuses. Do you think that women are coming up with excuses for why we aren’t getting a little more power and a little more pay?

The honest truth is that my title was Unlimited and the publishers made me change it. They wanted something more controversial. I tend to take the positive approach. I think this is the moment for women, but I did want to sound a clarion call to women to say, this is a moment, but you have to take it. Things won’t just happen.

Why would you have preferred Unlimited?

Because I am hopeful, I am optimistic and I believe that this is just an incredible time for women.

Why is now an incredible time?

Well, the rest of the world knows it. I’m not sure we always do. For example, the World Bank has done studies that found that Parliaments that have 30 or 40 per cent women on them make better decisions, they have less corruption, the performance is better. Marketers know that women buy 85 per cent of the goods.

That old thinking, why is it still persisting?

It’s hard to change a culture while you live in it. And by the way, it’s easier sometimes to change the law than it is to change a culture. We’ve been able to change most of the laws, we’ve removed most of the legal barriers. It’s the cultural barriers that are difficult to contend with now.

You wrote about how your life changed a lot after getting married as a teenager and having children young, and that you realized that you could have more control over the car you were driving, and turn it around. How did you make that happen?

You do it by doing it. First, I started college and just being with other people who were learning and doing things changed how I looked at everything. I immersed myself in reading and I became involved in the civil rights movement. I realized at one point that women have civil rights, too. That was an epiphany.

You got fired up.

I got fired up. There’s nothing better than being ticked off about something to fire you up.

Come back on Thursday, when I’ll share more of the interview here on the 9 Ways Blog. If you don’t already have a copy of No Excuses, The Progressive Book Club is giving away free copies of my book to readers who join the book club by October 27th.

I’ll be speaking on Book Talk Radio tomorrow with Salon.com’s Joe Conason. RSVP to join the discussion. And if you’re in Arizona, join me this evening for a No Excuses event at Changing Hands Bookstore.


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.