I met Juliet Asante through a most remarkable friend, Eva Haller. Eva can always be counted on to be surrounded by people who are doing amazing, significant things for others in this world, and Juliet is no exception. So I was thrilled when this media entrepreneur and activist, the founder of Eagle Productions Ltd, (an events and communications company; developing and aggregating content for multiple platforms; with operations in a number of African countries), agreed to answer a few questions.
I think you’ll be inspired and agree that Juliet is definitely a woman who is Doing It!
Gloria Feldt:When did you know you had the power to_____?
Juliet Asante: I knew I had the power to change my world and make a difference when I, (as an African girl, at a time when not many people dared) was able to raise money to start my first television show; having started out with only a cell phone and absolutely no money or guidance.
GF:Describe the moment or series of events that let you know you had the power to:
JA: My first major event on my path was getting the part in an HBO movie that starred Omar Epps. “Deadly Voyage,” a true story based in Africa, was auditioned for by the ‘best’ in the industry… and I got the role I auditioned for. This gave me the confirmation and credibility I needed at the time to explore my talents.
The second event I remember, was winning the writing competition to produce a road show for a product to Unilever, and producing this while in my final year of University in another city. I commuted for 8 hours between two cities in every 24 hours for my entire final year at school.
I felt powerful. I felt my mental limitations drop away. I remember feeling like I could do it and I could see the world opening up to me. I also felt that my path was going to be a one of resistance, as I had already begun to see that in many ways, but I knew I’d find the strength to move on. I just knew….
GF: Tell a little about your background, your family and how you grew up, and what led you to your current work.
Recently, I sat down with Liz Dennery Sanders of She Brand who shares the secrets of successful branding with women entrepreneur, coaches and consultants, saying “those who put this secret to work in their business never have to worry where their next client is coming from.”
In Liz’s SheBrand SuperStar series, she features female entrepreneurs “who are out there in the trenches each and every day, making things happen and affecting other people’s lives for the better.”
Women tend to score higher than men in emotional and spiritual intelligence. We have a natural tendency to develop skills the world desperately needs. Imagine what capitalism could look like if multiple intelligences were used in decision-making. Imagine if long-term good for future generations and the planet mattered to our corporations as much as or more than short-term gain. Women tend to balance these things more easily than men. So why don’t more women step into leadership roles?
Strategies to Redefine Power and Lead with Intention
The largest women’s conference in the state of Pennsylvania, the PA Women’s Conference, once again lived up to its reputation. 6,000 women came together in Philly to connect, share information, and gain inspiration.
To me, a leader is somebody who gets something done. And while we make choices about what level and responsibility we take on as leaders, I believe that the most important leadership values are honesty and courage.
I was honored recently to be included as one of the Top 10 Leadership Experts to Follow on Twitter. Career Bliss writer Ritika Trikha compiled the list, which appears below.
But wait. Something was missing. Mine is the only female name on the Career Bliss list. Surely there are many terrific women who are leadership experts.
Let’s create our own list of women who ought to be on this or any other top leadership expert list. I’ll start with Bonnie Marcus whose GPS Your Career is brilliant.
Share your recommendations in the comments! If enough are recommend, we can give the list a name and publish it as the definitive Top 10. Why not?
And if a leader is someone who gets something done, then LisaBeth exemplifies leadership too. She uses the power of her artistry to make a difference for the causes she—and YOU—believe in. When you or I wear one of LisaBeth’s cause pins, we’re also using Power Tool # 6: Wear the Shirt –showing the world what we believe.
I’ll bet LisaBeth would love to know what you want on your pin, if she were to design one for you. So tell her in the comment section below.
How do I know Gloria? Our paths were destined to cross, and they finally did back in 2004 at a campaign event in Pennsylvania. Having defined a mission of making a difference in the world over 20 years ago, I’ve always channeled my core beliefs into my work. It seems inevitable that my creativity and mission would manifest into a line of handmade pins for causes that began with a pin about CHOICE.
As an artist and activist, I realized that an art-pin could be like a mini-billboard for people to ‘wear their heart on their lapel’, to spark conversation, and to effect change.
Over the years, I developed cause pins for politics and voting, peace and social justice, women’s rights, the environment, animal rescue, and more. The pins found their way to many non-profit organizations that have utilized them for fundraising and awareness.
Executive leadership coach Ora Shtull understands the power of using your voice. In her lively guest post and the accompanying video, she tells women that it’s not enough to sit at the table; talk at the table if you want to have an impact on decisions and be recognized for your ideas. When I was writing No Excuses, I came to realize that power unused is power useless, and unless we are sharing our knowledge and ideas, they are not helping anyone, including ourselves. So, here’s how Ora tells it:
What is it about nines? Nine is the number of lives that cats are said to have. The Beatles sang “Revolution 9” on their White Album (in almost nine minutes!). And when you look pretty darn good, you’re “dressed to the nines.”
It’s no secret that I am a big admirer of Gloria’s work. Her rise from teen mom and high school dropout in rural Texas to CEO, author and acclaimed expert on women and power is nothing short of extraordinary.
Coincidentally and perhaps cosmically, I too have a belief in nine.
“Before I got pregnant, I was full-steam ahead in life,” said Carolina Pichardo, cofounder with Mary Targia of the educational and inspirational New York-based organization and website YUM (Young Urban Moms).
“I’d received a partial scholarship to New York University, after traveling abroad and interning at the New York City Public Advocate’s Office and Tor Books Publishing.”
But when she found out she was pregnant, the resulting harsh remarks and judgmental looks threw the slim, stately Harlem-born Pichardo off her track—for a while: “I just became angry. I didn’t know what to do with that anger, so I simply worked hard to prove those around me wrong.”
With some of the same rebel instincts that had propelled her parents to immigrate to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic—where her mother was a teacher and her father a doctor—she stayed in school through most of her pregnancy. She took a semester off after her daughter Lyanna (known as Lulu), now age 11, was born. Then she returned to earn her bachelor’s degree in communications from NYU “with leaky boob stories galore.”
Today I was feeling frustrated. I’d been working hard on a project but it wasn’t moving forward. I thought of a quote from the humorist Will Rogers, one I’ve often used when speaking about strategic planning or leadership. He said, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
How often do you find that a great quote can inspire you, inform you, give you just the kick of encouragement you need at a particular moment?
Happens to me all the time.
I’ve long collected quotes that speak to me in various files and electronic folders. I turn to them for inspiration and I often share them in writings and speeches. People tell me they look forward to these morsels of wisdom, encouragement, and power. In fact one friend told me she was addicted to the quotes I post on Facebook and twitter.
Former Susan G. Komen for the Cure NYC board member Eve Ellis became devoted to the cause of finding a cure for breast cancer after her sister, sister-in-law, and one niece all battled breast cancer. They survived.
But her other niece, Hally Yaccino Steiner, wasn’t so fortunate. She died of breast cancer 6 years ago at age 36.
Every year since she became a Komen NYC board member in 2004, Ellis, a wealth advisor who lives in NYC with her spouse, theater producer Annette Niemtzow, raised money for them enthusiastically, and since 2006 she raised it to honor Hally’s memory.
Every year until this one, that is, joining many thousands of people who have withdrawn their support for Komen since it created a tsunami of protest by discontinuing funding of Planned Parenthood at the behest of a politically motivated staff and board members.
I wrote about the incident for the Daily Beast in case you need to review the gory details that saturated the media.
In that showdown, at least for the short term, Planned Parenthood won. And recently, founder and CEO of the national Komen for the Cure Nancy Brinker stepped aside from her top leadership post, no doubt under severe pressure. However, she remains chair of the executive committee.
So this year, instead of her annual appeal for funds, Ellis is asking people to sign this petition urging Brinker to step out of all powerful leadership roles.
I signed the petition and hope you will too. If you have reservations, here are Ellis’s reasons why she hopes you reconsider:
Wednesday, Oct. 2-Nov. 13, 2013Gloria will teach a 6-week online course "9 Practical Leadership Power Tools to Advance Your Career".This is a Take The Lead event in partnership with Arizona State University Online. Participants will receive a certificate to enhance their resumes along with practical skills and understanding of power dynamics in the workplace. Don't miss this opportunity and register today!