She’s Doing It

Dana Kaplan: How Community College Helped Her Change Careers

by Gloria Feldt on May 10th, 2013
in Inspiration, Leadership, No Excuses, Power, She's Doing It, Workplace

Most of our talk about women’s career advancement seems to focus on elite colleges and high profile professions such as corporate leadership. Yet there are many jobs open to women who want to try less obvious routes to career success.
AAUW has long been a leader in workplace advancement and pay equity for women.

Their recent research into the higher student loan debt burden women experience due to the gender pay gap found that many women – more than 4 million – view community college as their best, and most affordable, option after high school.

Dana Kaplan’s story of how she succeeded in a typically all-male field is a fascinating example of how community colleges can help women change careers or to gain the skills they need to advance in any chosen profession.

DanaKaplan450

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Like a lot of recent graduates, Kaplan had trouble getting work in her chosen field — philosophy — after college. She realized she needed a change when she found herself stuck “9 to 5 in a cubicle. I couldn’t stand it.”Or, if you’re an auto mechanic and 2011–12 AAUW Career Development Grantee Dana Kaplan, try something completely different!

I asked Kaplan how she made the jump from one career to the next. “I always knew I wanted to work with my hands,” she said. For a while she considered going into construction, to which people generally responded, “You’re too smart; you’re too pretty [for a job like that].”

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She’s Done It: Betty Friedan, Sheryl Sandberg, and You

by Gloria Feldt on April 3rd, 2013
in Create a Movement, Leadership, Power Tools, She's Doing It

Consider this your Women’s History Month bonus post. In the heated contemporary debate about whether Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s exhortation to women to Lean In will help women in less elevated positions, Ruth Nemzoff, Resident Scholar at Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center and author of Don’t Roll Your Eyes: Making In-Laws Into Family reminds us that this dispute is hardly new. You could substitute “Sandberg” for “Friedan” in most of Nemzoff’s article. And the takeaway lessons for women remain the same too.friedan-collage

Let’s not waste our time denigrating Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique because it focused only on the problems of affluent women, rather, let us praise her for starting a revolution.

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Women’s History Month: How Rosabeth Moss Kanter Led the Way for Women in the Workforce

by Gloria Feldt on March 25th, 2013
in Define Your Own Terms, Know Your History, Leadership, Power, Power Tools, She's Doing It

I remember how excited I was to discover Rosabeth Moss Kanter in the early 1980’s. She was one of the few females writing about leadership and organizational change management. I hungrily devoured The Change Masters as a relatively new nonprofit CEO navigating roiling changes in the healthcare and political landscape while learning to lead a complex organization toward continued growth.Kantor

This distinguished Harvard Business School professor’s influential theories about change in the workforce have permeated much of the thinking about organizational change. And unlike the men writing and teaching about it, Kanter infused her work with a lens on one of the biggest workplace changes of the 20th century: women breaking through workplace glass ceilings.

Kanter, former editor of Harvard Business Review and author of 18 books, has been named one of the “50 most powerful women in the world” by the Times of London, and the “50 most influential business thinkers in the world” by Accenture and Thinkers 50 research.

Her groundbreaking book Men and Women of the Corporation—I mean, who had ever mentioned “women” and “corporations” in the same book title?—remains a classic analysis of power distribution within organizations.

Kanter told the hard truth about women in the workforce, after conducting a five-year study on the American manufacturing company. She explained how women were tokenized to work in clerical jobs rather than management; and how even though there were plenty of women in large organizations, they rarely ran the show. She observed that the first women breaking through to leadership roles were still tokens in a male dominated workforce.

In 1979, she wrote:

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Women’s History Month: New Hampshire’s Barrier Breaking Political Leaders

by Gloria Feldt on March 20th, 2013
in Create a Movement, Gender, Leadership, Politics, Power, Power Tools, She's Doing It

Today’s U.S. Congress is made up of less than 20% of female members—18% to be exact—a far cry from the parity we strive toward. Any conversation about Women’s History Month must include the rather dismal representation of women in American politics across the board.nhwomen

The Congressional delegation from New Hampshire are the exception to that 20% barrier. Last November, two women won Congressional seats, joining the two women who already held New Hampshire’s two Senate seats. To top it all off, the state’s governor, speaker of the State House, and chief justice of the State Supreme Court are all women as well.

These women have made history by making New Hampshire the first state with an all-female Congressional delegation.

The senators include Jeanne Shaheen (D) and Kelly Ayotte (R). The new Representatives are Carol Shea-Porter (D) and Ann McLand Kuster (D). Let’s not forget about Gov. Maggie Hassan (D), the only female Democratic governor in 2013, state speaker Terie Norelli (D) and State Chief Justice Linda Stewart Dalianis.

While this should be celebrated as a historic win for women and women’s rights, the beliefs of these women are diverse, to say the least. On one hand, there’s Carol Shea-Porter, who stands with EMILY’s List and the National Women’s Political Caucus, among other feminist organizations. And then there’s Kelly Ayotte,

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Justice Sonia Sotomayor: The “Wise Latina” Makes History Intentionally

by Gloria Feldt on March 15th, 2013
in Inspiration, Leadership, Power, Power Tools, She's Doing It, Tell Your Story

This Women’s History Month, I want to pay special attention to women leaders who are making history today. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is one woman who is not only making history; she is consciously and deliberately doing so—and telling the story.sonia

In January, Justice Sotomayor released her memoir, “My Beloved World,” which provided an honest look at the life of an American leader. While her role in the government is often sanitized, and many people have no idea what the life of a Supreme Court justice is like, Sotomayor reminds her readers that she, too, is a human being.

Sotomayor comes from humble beginnings. As a young girl from the Bronx, she had to administer her own insulin injections. Both of her parents emigrated to the United States from Puerto Rico, and she lost her father at nine years old. At Princeton, she advocated for Latinos by setting up an action group for Puerto Ricans on campus and by lobbying for Latino professors to join the Ivy League’s ranks.

Even though her job requires her to remain dispassionate about her work, Sotomayor comes off a bit more emotionally in-tune than her colleagues. As the third woman and first Hispanic to join the Supreme Court, her individuality in the courtroom sets a positive example. Understanding her own significance allows her to advocate for the progress of other women and other Latinas who need someone of high authority to be in the public scope, to be visible—to be a role model who can inspire others to achieve as she has done.

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Ladies! Stop Arguing About Work/Life Balance and Work Together to Change the Workplace

by Gloria Feldt on March 12th, 2013
in Leadership, Power, Power Tools, She's Doing It

 Women’s leadership, or not, is the hottest topic of the moment, thanks to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s terrific new book Lean In.  It prompted CNN.com to ask me to write this commentary.Sandberg

They changed my title and last line (I wrote “Leaning In together…” which I thought more apropos than “Striving together…”). And they edited out my fun opening reference to the grey umbrella party favors with the Bloomberg logo that were presented to each guest as we exited into the snowy night, and a few other fun details of the AAA list Lean In launch party. Start reading here, click to the full article on CNN.com, and share your comments here and there (tweets and reposts will be appreciate too):

(CNN) — At the launch party for Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg’s controversial new book, “Lean In,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg complained only half jokingly that the book — which hit Amazon.com’s best seller list well ahead of its March 11 release — is doing way better than his book did. Then he introduced Arianna Huffington, who introduced the woman of the moment.

And this is unquestionably a moment.

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She’s Doing It: Cry at Work? Here’s Why Selena Soo Says You Can

by Gloria Feldt on February 6th, 2013
in Leadership, Power, She's Doing It, Tell Your Story

I loved this blog post by business strategist and founder of S2 Groupe Selena Soo  so much that I asked her if I could republish it here on 9 Ways.

What crying experiences do you have to share? Do you agree with Selena’s reasons why she says it’s OK?

Last summer, my friend introduced me to a potential client (whom I’ll refer to as “Ryan”). Ryan was a highly-respected entrepreneur who had built multiple million-dollar businesses. He was funny, quirky, and visionary. I thought we were a match made in business heaven.
Ryan and I would talk on the phone and on Skype. I sent him five pages of my ideas, and in our next conversation, he hired me on the spot. I was on cloud nine and excited to get started, and then the next day he broke up with me. Ryan told me that things were moving too quickly. “You don’t just marry the first person you date,” he explained.

Ryan said that he would be talking to several other PR and marketing firms. He wanted to make an objective, informed decision. I told him I understood. I thanked him for his honesty.

When he visited New York a few weeks later, we met up for coffee at the Ace Hotel. Then we walked over to Madison Square Park. We sat next to the fountain, talked about our Myers-Briggs personality types, and then he proceeded to break my heart. “I think you’re great,” he explained, “but these are my reservations about hiring you…”

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She’s Doing It: Thank You Hillary Clinton

by Gloria Feldt on February 1st, 2013
in Inspiration, Leadership, Politics, Power, She's Doing It

Hillary Clinton’s star turn as Secretary of State exemplifies an important leadership lesson.

Sometimes, you win when you lose. And by putting yourself forward toward a big goal, even if you don’t reach it, you usually accomplish much more than if you had aimed toward a lower goal and achieved it instead. And what a legacy!

Ambassador Swanee Hunt wrote this marvelous analysis. But Clinton summed it up well herself, in this memo sent by the White House shortly after the baton was passed to now former Senator John Kerry.

 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Office of the Spokesperson

For Immediate Release

January 31, 2013

2013/0102

STATEMENT BY SECRETARY CLINTON

Presidential Memorandum on Promoting Gender Equality and

Empowering Women and Girls Globally

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She’s Doing It: IntergenFem and You…Join In!

by Gloria Feldt on January 23rd, 2013
in Create a Movement, Define Your Own Terms, Employ Every Medium, Leadership, She's Doing It, Tell Your Story

Look who picked me up. Come join us and tweet your opinions at the #InterGenFem tweet chat 1/31 at 2pm eastern. Read the details below:

Intergenerational feminism.

Does it exist? Can we do a better job?

Why does working together across differences (generation is just one of many, including race, class, gender, sexuality, ability) matter for the cultural and political goals feminists are looking to achieve?

These conversations keep happening, and the idea for this TweetChat grew out of a great conversation that happened spontaneously on Twitter between @AndreaPlaid, @erintothemax, @ShelbyKnox, @StephHerold, @veronicaeye and @WentRogue. Along the way we picked up @GloriaFeldt and now we’re hoping to pick up YOU (yes, YOU are enthusiastically invited!) to join us for a broader conversation that is intended to be productive, solutions-oriented and totally helpful to your personal and professional endeavors to realize justice in this lifetime.

Some of the themes to discuss:

  • 1. “Young feminism” – what does it mean?
  • 2. Organizational feminism – what is and isn’t connecting with different age groups?
  • 3. How does race and racial privilege intersect with intergenerational issues in the movement?
  • 4. What is the unfinished business of feminism?
  • 5. What does sharing power look like?
  • 6. What can we all do to better support each other?

Is there more that needs to be discussed? Good. That’s another reason for you to join, so you can bring it up.

TweetChat is Thursday, Jan. 31. Use the hashtag #InterGenFem.

#InterGenFem + YOU = Join In!

Be there 2-3 p.m. and tell your friends.

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She’s Doing It: Construction Woman Nikki Stallion Brewer Asserts Herself

by Gloria Feldt on January 16th, 2013
in Leadership, No Excuses, Power Tools, She's Doing It

I meet the most fascinating people when I speak to groups! Lifestyle brand maven Claudia Chan [LINK]  invited me to be part of a panel at Anheuser Busch Women in Beer [LINK to event post] in (of course) St. Louis. There, I met this amazing woman who went from being an abandoned child in South Korea to running her own construction company in. I’m inspired and think you will be too!

GF: The first question because I am fascinated with women’s relationship with power is this: When did you know you had the power to_____? You fill in the blank. 

Describe the moment or series of events that let you know you had the power to_____. What did it feel like? 

NSB: Assert myself.

I realized I had this “power” when I was around 16 years old and very active in 4-H on a state level. I decided to run for state treasurer which meant, I was to give a campaign speech to an audience of about 500 in the Jesse Auditorium of the University of Missouri campus. When I started speaking, it was the first time I could hear myself outside of my own ears. I did not recognize the voice, the tone, and especially the confidence I heard. In case you are wondering, I did win!1990 4-H State Council Jesse Auditorium of the University of Missouri campus.

GF: Tell a little about your background, your family and how you grew up, and what led you to your current work.

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