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.

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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.

After the bagpiper’s dirge, one after the other, the likes of Yoko Ono, Phyllis Chesler, and Gloria Steinem spoke, makers of history weaving their rendition of it as they recalled witty and touching memories of one of their sisters in the revolution. The audience locked arms as Holly Near belted out feminist anthems “Singing for Our Lives” and “I Am Willing.

I didn’t know Millett, but I knew her from my bookshelf of 1970’s feminist writing where her groundbreaking book Sexual Politics resided. It was shocking at the time, an immensely influential critique of sexuality and gender as patriarchal social constructs.

The service made me piquantly realize what the Kate Milletts of the world were up against 50 years ago. How brutally hard it is to challenge and then change the culture. What they said must be changed was so radical, so profound. How could people privileged to be comfortable with their lives not either laugh or lash out against them?

They made possible today’s #metoo movement.

They made possible the vision and mission of Take The Lead, that we will reach gender parity in power and leadership in all institution of society by 2025.

I am personally so grateful to these boundary breakers.

And I am humbled to carry on the work.

Won’t you join me in New York November 14 at the Helen Mills Theater, 137 West 26th Street to take the next steps together toward a more equitable and prosperous world?

Here’s the amazing speaker line up for the afternoon symposium and evening cocktails and performance event — and as a little extra sweetener, I’m sharing with you the special package full day ticket made possible by our Presenting Sponsor Dow Jones:

Here is the afternoon symposium schedule:

12:00 — Registration & Networking

12:30 — Opening Power Panel Take Action — Create a Movement: Leadership Parity from the Living Room to the Boardroom

· Jewelle Bickford, Co-Chair, Paradigm for Parity

· Rohini Dey, Owner & Founder, Vermilion

· Patricia Russo, Executive Director, Women’s Campaign School at Yale University

· Raahkee Mirchandani, Senior Content Development Editor, Dow Jones Media Group; Editor-in-Chief, Moneyish

· Nathalie Molina Niño, CEO & Founder, BRAVA Investments

· Gloria Feldt, President & Founder, Take The Lead (moderator)

1:45 — Networking & Coffee Break

2:05 — Series 1 Workshops (choose 1)

Embrace Controversy: How to Reach Gender Parity in Tech
Technology Track

· Eileen Carey, Founder & CEO, Glassbreakers

· Alok Kapur, Senior Global Leader, SAP

· Patricia Jerido, Leadership Ambassador, Take The Lead

· Katica Roy, CEO, Pipeline Equity

Define Your Own Terms: Negotiating for What’s Important to You

· Georgene Huang, CEO & Co-Founder, Fairygodboss

3:00 — Networking & Coffee Break

3:20 — Series 2 Workshops (choose 1)

Wear the Shirt: Making Your Business Match Your Values
Entrepreneur Track

· Cheryl Najafi, Founder, Love Over H8

· Carrie Hammer, Chief Role Model, Role Models Not Runway Models

Employ Every Medium: Using Your Voice Powerfully

· Natasha Alford, Deputy Editor & Digital Host,

· Michelle Herrera Mulligan, founding editor of Cosmopolitan for Latinas

· Sarah Maslin Nir, Journalist, New York Times (moderator)

· Katie Orenstein, Founder & CEO, The OpEd Project

Here is the evening cocktails and performance program:

Women, Power and the Art of Leadership Parity.

Cocktails, wine and appetizers from 6 -7 pm, followed by the performance promptly at 7 pm.

This intimate evening program combines industry and advocacy with remarkable spoken word, theater and musical performances exploring this year’s Take The Lead Day theme of Powertopia — a future world where women occupy their fair and equal share of leadership positions.

Featured presenters including actress, producer and activist Alysia Reiner, actor and activist Kathleen Turner, Former Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios, President & Co-Founder of Take The Lead Gloria Feldt, and performance artist Brooke Axtell, along with a musical performance by BETTY! to headline the evening.

Thought leaders including Claudia Chan, Founder, SHE Summit, Christina Vuleta, VP Women’s Digital Network, Forbes and Jamia Wilson, Executive Director, Feminist Press will join a unique interactive talk back with you — the audience — through three provocative, smart, original theater pieces presented by Women in The Arts.

I echo Yoko Ono’s parting words in her speech at the Millett memorial, “We are all feminists now and we should be in the world with a big smile.”

Photo credit: Carol Jenkins

TAKE THE LEAD prepares, develops, inspires and propels women to take their fair and equal share of leadership positions across all sectors by 2025. It’s today’s women’s movement — a unique catalyst for women to embrace power and reach leadership parity. Join us online, sign up for our newsletter and have insightful news and advice delivered weekly, and check out our Virtual Happy Hour, our leadership programs and other offerings.

Take a Lyft on November 14, and you’ll be making one GIANT lift for woman-kind.

Remember — NEW USERS: Don’t forget to Sign Up with Lyft, get the app and use the code TAKETHELEAD for $5 off up to 4 rides for yourself, and $10 for Take The Lead!

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