Wednesday, June 6, 2012
5:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Deloitte, 555 Mission Street, San Francisco
The Friends of the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women in cooperation with the UC Davis Graduate School of Management invite you to participate in an engaging conversation to highlight the current positive trends and identify proactive initiatives for the future.
“The world that you want to live in and that you need to live in needs you to create it; needs you to create it. It needs your input. The world needs to hear what you have to say. The last word has not been spoken...The last word has not been spoken." - Beah Richards
The landscape for women in corporate leadership is evolving. While the “numbers” according to studies done on a national level by Catalyst and UC Davis for California, have shown that the representation of women in senior leadership positions has stalled in recent years, the national and global conversation is heating up.
With women graduating with advanced degrees in record numbers, there is a drive on the part of the younger generations of women to seek more expansive opportunities. We are also seeing the growing economic contribution and clout of women as both earners and consumers.
These trends are significant for global and local economies and with both positive and stagnant trends it is important to stay focused on the positive steps that still need to be and can be taken to move the agenda along at a more rapid pace.
The evening’s panel of both female and male experts will address the following questions:
What is really happening in the numbers?
What does this mean for our economies and why is it important?
What are some companies and agencies currently doing to promote gender equity?
How can we, as individual women and men, corporations and leaders, encourage the continued advancement of women and offer support to our current and our future women leaders?
The goal of the event is to inform, inspire and empower people - women and men - across industries and across generations to more purposefully and successfully advance women to increase the voices of women at the leadership tables in the public and private sectors.
The conversation will not stop with the panel as we will ask all event participants to engage and interact in developing solutions. This is an inclusive conversation that invites active collaboration.
After the panel presents, each table will engage in a facilitated conversation about concrete next steps that can be taken and visionary ideas for the future. The results of these conversations will be compiled into a “Call To Action” paper that will be available to all the participants via the Friends website to be used as the foundation for further conversations, events and research.
To answer the "call" on June 6th, please register through the following link.
Television doesn't always provide us with the best of role models. With characters that become successful drug lords who use their sexual influence to manage the people in their lives (Nancy Botwin from Weeds), it's not hard to look to primetime television and see a slew of corruption and misbehavior by powerful lead characters. That's part of what makes TV so engrossing. Shows create these characters that are flawed and interesting in ways that real life just can't support. These flawed characters somehow receive our sympathy and our encouragement. However, among the numerous negative role models on television, there are also numerous characters that display strength, tenacity, and passion that is both inspiring and influential to our generation of TV watchers. These three female characters on television today are wonderful role models that demonstrate strength, intelligence, and determination in their own ways on the silver screen.
Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation
Running for four seasons now, Parks and Recreation has become a sitcom that approaches political satire and comedy in a fresh and interesting way. The show's central protagonist, Leslie Knope, is endlessly optimistic, smart, and successful. Knope is dedicated to her job, demonstrating the drive and determination it takes to succeed in today's professional atmosphere. Though this character is, just that, a fictional character, she is nonetheless inspiring and influential as a positive female role model in the world today. Knope is ambitious and hard-working almost to the point of flaw (almost). Dedicated to her job as Director of the Pawnee City Department of Parks and Recreation, Knope uses her intelligence and unending spirit to reach her noble goal of creating a better city. Fiction or not, we can learn a lot from Leslie Knope as a female leader in today's society.
Lisa Cuddy from House MD
Lisa Cuddy has been followed and supported by thousands upon thousands of fans for seven seasons of the hit television series House. As the Dean of Medicine at the fictional Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, Cuddy displays astounding strength in difficult situations of all sorts, superior intelligence, and endless dedication to her job and her employees. Though many aspects of Cuddy's character are flawed, they are so in a way that demonstrates some very real issues in today's society. Cuddy's personal, romantic, and family life suffer under the pressures of her job and due to her dedication to her career. It would seem that Cuddy's character communicates that professional success is unattainable without sacrificing all other aspects of your life. However, Lisa Cuddy manages to run one of the most successful hospitals in the nation, manage one of the most brilliant and challenging doctors in history, raise a child as a working single mother, and maintain her own personal integrity through it all.
Catherine Willows from CSI
CSI Las Vegas is not known for its great writing (though I adore it) or for its particularly unique point-of-view, but nonetheless the show has managed to create several dynamic and engrossing characters. Catherine Willows is the Senior CSI Shift supervisor for much of the series, leading her team of CSI's through challenging cases and personal struggles. CSI Willows is smart, good at her job, a strong leader, always calm, and morally upright throughout. As a single mother and strong career woman, Willows demonstrates some the best qualities a modern day woman can possess. If there's one thing we can learn from each of these fictional characters on the silver screen, it's that professional success comes with dedication and hard work.
Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online colleges, online degrees etc. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.
Recently, I learned about the duck syndrome from a friend of mine at Stanford University. The duck syndrome is apparently running rampant at many colleges (and from my research) at many high schools as well. What is the duck syndrome? Well, think of the duck gliding along the water. S/he looks very serene, calm and pleasant. Then, look under the water and s/he is paddling frantically.
That is the duck syndrome.
Too many students on the outside are appearing calm, cool and collected while on the inside they are completely stressed out. As women, we want to see ourselves being able to have it all. To be the great student, great athlete, and well-liked by her peers, which typically means being social. But what price do we pay? Proving we can do it all has transformed into an ugly state of unattainable expectations and extremes, which are unhealthy for any girl at any age.
This is a recipe for disaster that really goes against what feminism truly stands for.
I believe high school is where this syndrome starts to formulate. Many of the girls that suffer from the duck syndrome in college were probably “big fish in small pond” at their high school. Most teens want to be popular, and to be popular these days means that you can do it all. I see high school students staying up ridiculously late doing homework, always wanting the A, playing on one if not two sports teams, and also expecting to go out every weekend. All this can lead to anxiety, depression, and unhealthy habits. When they get to college, which could have 12 to 20,000 students, being big fish is not so easy anymore so the stakes get higher.
During college, the classes (typically) are more difficult with more homework, papers and tests. If they see their peers staying out late and still getting good grades, they feel the peer pressure to attain the same and compete among the top percent, to be popular, to be perfect. This means more competition and pressure for top grades with less sleep. We need to teach our teens that setting limits for themselves never means failure, but in fact it means a healthy and happy life with realistic and attainable goals.
Paddling frantically is literally for the birds.
Bio: Dr Carol is a former Associate Provost and Dean, trained therapist, researcher and soon-to-be-author.
Presently, she hosts a blog to offer practical advise and guidance on self-esteem issues as a tool for teen girls and young women.
Connect with Dr Carol
Big things often start out small.
Like the little pink ribbon, which was created by Evelyn Lauder, who endured breast cancer treatment herself. Lauder and her friend, Alexandra Penney, former editor-in-chief of SELF magazine, created the Pink Ribbon campaign in 1992 to increase breast cancer awareness and remind women to get regular breast exams.
This was a cause Evelyn cared about enough to finance herself; initially she and her husband paid for the small pink bows handed out to women at department store makeup counters. Her efforts added up. She continued to hand out Pink Ribbons, promoted the color pink as a breast cancer awareness symbol, received media attention, used the advertising Estee Lauder placed in popular magazines, and persuaded many influential friends who were also in the health and beauty industry to promote breast cancer awareness.
In 1993, Evelyn founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, establishing the Pink Ribbon as its symbol; it has raised more than $350 million.
Responsible for international breast cancer awareness, today the “Pink Ribbon” makes headline news. It’s a brand strategy, and it’s responsible for raising millions of dollars for breast cancer research. It’s even spun off some backlash.
Activists talk about “pinkwashing,” and several media outlets have suggested that “Pink fatigue” has set in. Concerns include whether or not “pink products promote a false sense of doing something about breast cancer, the funds collected are directed effectively, the pink campaign fosters gender stereotypes, and if some pink products are actually harmful to women's health,” according to medpagetoday.com
Whether the buzz is good or not-so-good, the Pink Ribbon has done exactly what Evelyn Lauder intended: increase breast cancer awareness, and help fund breast cancer treatment research.
In a way, the Pink Ribbon campaign’s rise to success and popularity replicates that of Evelyn Lauder herself.
The daughter of Austrian immigrants who fled to the U.S. from war-torn Europe in 1940, Evelyn grew up in Manhattan. She met Leonard Lauder in college, married him, and helped with the then-small family business wherever she was needed.
"We had five products in the line,” she told cable news channel NY1 in 2005. "It was a baby company." The Estee Lauder Companies grew in popularity, prestige, and profits. Fulfilling many different roles, Evelyn eventually became the Senior Corporate Vice President and head of fragrance development worldwide.
Evelyn Lauder didn’t start out as a leader, and her Pink Ribbon didn’t start out as an icon. She started out working hard, doing whatever she could for the causes in which she believed. The Pink Ribbon started out as one ribbon handed to one woman at a cosmetics counter.
Evelyn Lauder lost her battle with ovarian cancer this month, but the campaign she launched continues. The Pink Ribbon is everywhere. More than 115 million Pink Ribbons have been handed out worldwide. Breast cancer treatment is being researched internationally. Survival rates have increased significantly, and the messages that breast health and early detection saves lives are prevalent.
Like the Pink Ribbon, it’s the small things in life that make a difference.
Jesse Langley lives near Chicago. She divides her time among work, blogging and family life. She advocates for online mba programs and has a keen interest in women's leadership roles in contemporary society. She also writes for www.professionalintern.com.
Elizabeth Fraley is the Founder and CEO of Single-Sourcing Solutions, a team of consultants that specialize in everything related to dynamic product information creation, publication and delivery. Industries served by their organization include: Defense Contractors, Aerospace, Commerical Manufacturing, Life Sciences, Communication and Government.
Elizabeth attributes the success of her organization to maintaining transparency in all of their relationships. Her team and network of partners are empowered to propose new ideas and constantly be a part of the decision-making process. Futhermore, the organization maintains an open salary policy and encourages its employees to donate 10% of their time to community educational efforts.
To meet Elizabeth and connect with her in person, please RSVP through this link and join us for brunch at 11AM on Sunday, April 19th at Lisa's Tea Treasures in Menlo Park.
Question#1: Tell us about your background
I have both a BA and an MA in English and a BS in Computer Science, done in that order. I find that the combination of these disciplines has uniquely positioned me to do what I do today here at the intersection of writers and programmers.
My team says that I build clubhouses. I keep trying to find new ways to share information and strengthen the ecosystem of professionals around me. This means that I give back. I've been a volunteer/officer for the Association for Computing Machinery since 1998. I've volunteered for Society of Women Engineers at various events over the years. I started the Arbortext PTC/User group and continue to donate resources and logistics to help it flourish. My dedication to growing the community is so strong that it's carried over into the way Single-Sourcing Solutions does business. Each one of our team members is active in one or more on-line user communities and it is expected that each one devote a portion of their on-the-job time to helping people find answers to problems.
Question#2: What were some of the biggest work-related challenges you have experienced? How did you overcome them?
The biggest ones have come in the last several years. Growing a company is hard work. You’ve got to be a bit of a gambler to start a company. I’ve learned an unbelievable amount about professions I never really got to see when I was an engineer – sales, marketing, management, finance. It’s challenged a lot of preconceptions that I had.
I work with a company that has no women in positions of leadership. I’ve had to build partnerships and credibility in a channel that is extremely difficult. We’re taught to react to situations, almost from the time we could talk. A lot of the time, we end up beating our heads up against the wall. It’s one of the biggest challenges for leaders: Stop, look, listen, then react.
It’s been a constant battle but we haven’t let it determine our company’s future. You take the controls on your own destiny. No one feeds it to you and just because everyone else does it one way, doesn’t mean you have to. Once you realize this and learn how to capitalize on it, then you can really strike out ahead.
Question#3: Tell us about the mentors you have had in your life (male/female).
I’ve always had strong women and men around me. A long-time family friend was Chief of Staff for a US Congressperson for nearly her entire professional career. She’s probably the earliest advisor I remember. She was inclusive, collaborative, consensus building in everything she did. You have to be, to survive in that kind of position. You have to know how to bring people together and how to get things done.
My brother is another. We’ve been classmates, coworkers, and good friends for most of our lives. We’ve cooperated and collaborated on all sorts of things from recreational game play to professional projects. I still go to him whenever I want to sanity check my ideas. He’s a consummate learner who brings ideas together.
I’m lucky enough to work with a very good friend who’s been absolutely essential to my growth as an effective executive, professional, mentor, and leader to others. Her background is an interesting blend of Engineering and Psychology. Her professions have given her insight into people and strategy that is unparalleled. That I get to borrow her perspective from time to time is a gift.
I’ve also been greatly inspired by a number of writers – classical and colloquial – throughout my life. My background’s in literature. It shouldn’t be surprising that I read 500+ blogs, newsgroups, feeds, information sources daily. There are a lot of people I follow and learn from. Not all of them know it.
Question#4: Anything you wish you had known when you were in your earlier stages of your career?
I wouldn’t change anything, my experience as brought me to where and who I am today. I stayed in school a really long time. I don’t regret it, I don’t think I could have gotten “here” without having been in the many past “there’s” first. And I really love what I do. It would have been interesting to have arrived here a little earlier.
One of the things we’ve learned over the last year is that there’s no alternative to being yourself in whatever role you take on. It sounds cliché, but people buy from people. Customers come to you for who you are. People hire you, buy from you, work with you. You have to be genuine. You have to be who you are. That’s the only way it works.
Question#5: What are leadership qualities you value in others?
There are so many qualities I respect. Strength of character; the inclination to try, especially when failure is a real possibility; self-knowledge and an ownership of both strengths and weaknesses; and the commitment to improve, grow, and work with others for the betterment of everyone. Above all of these, I feel the team building skills are the most valuable to me.
Collaboration and respect for differing opinions is one of the key defining characteristics in the people I respect. At Single-Sourcing Solutions, we have a circular, rather than triangular reporting structure. We’re more team lead than individual led. We vote on important decisions. It may take us longer to make a decision, but once a decision is made, we’re all behind it and we’ll defend it with our lives. Without the support of other people required to make it a success, you can’t get very far or sustain growth for very long.
Question#6: What is your greatest achievement?
I collide worlds. I have a knack for gathering people around me and connecting them to each other. In one sense, you can see this with the team we’ve gathered at Single-Sourcing Solutions. I trust my team to do what they do well and they trust me the same way.
Everyone has responsibility, expertise, and an equal voice.
It’s the same with our customers. We work with them as partners. What we do is very technical and the knowledge in our industry is very tribal. We are constantly educating our customers so they can grow their own knowledge, skills, and proficiencies. It’s a good thing for our company and a good thing for theirs as well.
Question#7 - Who inspires you?
This is a long list. I’ve been inspired by family, friends, writers, people of history. My mother made sure my first toy was a truck. I can’t tell you how much that inspires me. I remember that truck. She was always encouraging me to try anything and everything. Failure was never something to be afraid of.
I’m inspired daily by the people I work with. They’re amazing and incredibly good at what they do. I love it when they’re the stars and when they save the day.
If there’s one person that I’d call out, it’s Ricardo Semler. He writes about how a business can be both successful and a democracy. When I first read, “Seven Day Weekend”, I was amazed. If you take out the anecdotes (and there’s a lot of them), 40% of what he said had come out of my mouth at my last corporate job. I knew there was a better way. I worked that way, even when the organization around me didn’t value that approach. Here he was doing all that and more. It inspired me to push even farther than I thought possible.
Question#8 - Do you have a mission statement or tenet that you try to live by?
I own my weaknesses as much as I take advantage of my strengths. I am constantly learning and asking other people for help. I push myself to see other people for who they are. I want them to be successful. For me, this means helping them take advantage of who they are without trying to get them to be someone or something they’re not, while still giving them the opportunities to stretch themselves and grow.
Guest Post by Kate Stence:
Last week Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke at a town hall meeting in Oman where she called for the inclusion of women in business as vital for the Arab world to thrive according to The Associated Press. President Barack Obama expressed a similar vision in his June 2009 speech in Cairo where he called for a greater collaboration with the United States and Muslim communities and populations. In late April 2010, Secretary Clinton first announced the TechWomen program during President Obama’s Entrepreneurship Summit.
The Institute of International Education (IIE), a not-for-profit founded in 1919, offers a range of excellent support to scholars and students, one of their most well-known being the Fulbright. Heather Ramsey, Director of three women-focused programs designed, initiated, and managed by IIE West Coast Center in San Francisco recently shared how TechWomen, Women in Technology, and E-Mediat: Tools, Technology, and Training are all moving Muslim women closer to being active and successful entrepreneurs. All three programs are sponsored by theUS Department of State and focus on both empowerment and capacity building through technological innovation in the Middle East North Africa region (MENA).
In the summer of 2011, TechWomen will match women in Silicon Valley with their counterparts in the Middle East and North Africa for a mentorship and exchange program at highly regarded technology companies. The plan is to harness the power of global business, technology, and education. According to Heather, “using innovative technologies, cutting-edge content, and social networking tools, TechWomen will foster and develop the next generation of women leaders in the technology field by providing women and girls with the access and opportunity needed to pursue tech-based careers.”
With Microsoft as one of their strongest private sector supporters, for the past five years, Women in Technology (WIT) also empowered entrepreneurial women by concentrating on three core goals:
(1) To provide substantial capacity building to Partner Organizations to expand their reach, sustainability, and ability to serve low and middle income women in underserved areas.
(2) To create a strong base of women with vital IT, business and professional skills, enabling them to advance personally and professionally.
(3) To empower women to play an integral role in shaping their country’s future.
After launching in September 2005 in Yemen, Heather shares the program exceeded expectations from the start. “By focusing on empowering women and expanding their participation in the workforce and civil society by providing partner organizations, and the women they serve, with cutting-edge training in business planning; professional development; and Information Technology was implemented in collaboration with local partners in nine countries: Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Yemen.”
Currently, WIT has trained more than 10,000 women and helped and build the capacity of more than 60 local women’s organizations along with 650 trainers in nine countries in the MENA region. More and more statistics indicate a link between women who are economically and technologically empowered lowering the need for humanitarian aid yet raising elements of community health, economy, and peacekeeping in the countries where they live. Heather cites, “there is strong correlation between women’s education, empowerment and employment and economic and political stability. Through the Women in Technology program, we have seen thousands of women gain new skills, confidence and in many cases, livelihoods. This positively impacts their daughters, families, communities and societies. Knowledge of technology is incredibly powerful, and seemingly innocuous. Women armed with technology are change agents. They use these cutting edge skills to build networks, lead their families, gain employment, start businesses, and build civil societies.”
The story of Rana Hadi, a student at the Science College of Baghad, is one of WIT’s most exemplary. She ascended from bomb survivor to wheelchair to WIT member then returned to college. On the day of the attack, she watched her closest friend die while her other one was torn to pieces. “Today, and after all this time has passed, I still relive the disaster minute by minute. The echoes of our giggles preceding the screams are still resonating in my ears whenever I immerse in my thoughts … And whenever I wake up I find my fist clenched in a bloody fist,” said Rana, in late 2008 when WIT asked her to share her story.
She calls her life after the bomb, “my second life, with hope.”
Heather acknowledges how deeply the programs impact not only the women’s lives who are changed by them but how deeply affecting it is to lead such innovative change. Challenges exist, of course, but Heather shares how great the reward of working on the three programs. “As with many women, balancing work and being a (single) mother continues to be my biggest challenge. And, truly, I am so fortunate to have a supportive employer and to work on projects with many extraordinarily strong women and working mothers around the world. This challenge is also my greatest joy. I am proud that these projects will help pave the way to a better future for the women of my daughter’s generation, many of whom may not be as fortunate as she. Practically speaking, I try to take one day at a time, otherwise I can feel overwhelmed, I value the simple joys of seeing my daughter develop each day, and I always remind myself of the enormous challenges faced by the majority of women around the world and the incredible strength and perseverance they exhibit. They inspire me each and every day.”
IIE West Coast is always looking to take WIT and its model to other regions and countries. If you have ideas, questions, or would like to be involved, please contact: Heather Ramsey, Director, Global Partnership, IIE West Coast Center, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Overcoming Your Fears: The Entrepreneur's Journey
So you want to be an entrepreneur, right? That was my life dream. It was my solution for "having it all": a successful professional, personal and family life. These were my motivations. What are yours?
Like many entrepreneurs, I had major fears before taking the plunge. Having the entrepreneur’s dream, and making it a reality are two different beasts. There are many mental roadblocks that can inhibit you from taking the plunge:
I’m not sure about my idea. What if I fail?
Failure is what happens when you stop trying. No idea is perfect. Ideas evolve much like people. They grow, change, and need to be nurtured to blossom. Too many people think the idea is the key to entrepreneurial success. In reality, the idea is just the starting point. The challenges come with the journey that follows.
When I started Marry Me Live, I was a true idea romantic. I quickly realized that business success could not rely on the idea alone. Execution and evolution is the key to business prosperity. Although we are still true to the original mission (enabling everyone to attend the wedding regardless of geography), everything else about the business has evolved and changed in one way or another.
It is such a big risk. Is it worth giving up job security?
We all say we want to be an entrepreneur when times are bad. The question you need to ask yourself is “Would I still be willing to give up my job when times are good?”
Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. There is risk. There are ups and downs. It takes a certain mindset to stay positive when things look bleak. If the entrepreneurial drive is stronger than the benefits you receive at the best of times, it is time to re-evaluate your situation.
Look yourself in the mirror and determine if your current position is getting you closer to your entrepreneurial dream. If the answer is “no”, staying in your current situation is the “bigger” risk.
I'm scared. How do I get over my fear of “taking the leap”?
You are likely reading this article because you want to take the leap. You are halfway there. You’ve done your research. If you have not done your research, start by talking to entrepreneurs. You will realize that they are not super humans, but everyday people like you and me. Those individuals took the leap because their passion for their business overtook their fear of failure.
Still not convinced? Do something that scares you just a little bit everyday. Talk to that handsome stranger in the elevator, go skydiving, sing karaoke in a very crowded bar, whatever it is that gets you out of your comfort zone.
When you realize you are still alive and breathing, you may be closer to taking that leap after all.
I cannot afford to be an entrepreneur! How will I finance the business?
If you are passionate about being an entrepreneur, you will find creative ways to make it work. It could be a part-time job, friends and family investment, small business loan, or being a full-time employee/nights and weekend entrepreneur.
Keep in mind that you may not be able to afford your current lifestyle. Being an entrepreneur takes sacrifice. But, when you have the vision, the sacrifice is worth it.
These are a just a few of the many thoughts that I’m sure are swirling around in your head. After reading this, if you still think you want to be an entrepreneur, the best advice I can give you is to not over-think the process!
The biggest hurdle of all is keeping your fear of the unknown in check. The entrepreneur’s journey is risky, but it is that same risk that can make your dream a reality. You will never feel completely prepared, but that is what makes the journey so thrilling. Once you realize this, taking the plunge is much easier than you think. So step back, relax and jump!
About the Author:
Stacy Yamaoka is the co-founder of Marry Me Live, a live wedding streaming and wedding webcasting service enabling wedding couples to share their wedding LIVE with family and friends around the world. Stacy Yamaoka is also the Director of College Mentorship for Future Women Leaders.