Define Your Own Terms

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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Join The Conversation: Is It Time To Lean In To Feminism?

by Gloria Feldt on March 18th, 2013
in Define Your Own Terms, Leadership, Power, Power Tools, Workplace

A very interesting conversation between InPower founder Dana Theus and myself led to this upcoming webcast. I hope you will join and put in your two cents worth. Women are making history every day. But we don’t always realize that. On the other hand, we do love to analyze ourselves, and the topic of intergenerational communication about feminism is always a hot one. See all the details and join up for the live broadcast or via replay!


Join this Cross Generational discussion about where Feminism is and where it’s going. LeanInWebinar

Our Panelists include YOU and:

Gloria Feldt– Past President of Planned Parenthood and Author of No Excuses: 9 Ways WOMEN Can Change How We Think About POWER

Emily Bennington – Author of Who Says It’s a Man’s World?

Eva Swanson – Student and Women’s Advocate at the College of William & Mary

Dana Theus – Founder, InPower Women (Moderator)

Questions we’ll explore:

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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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SheBrand Superstar

by Gloria Feldt on October 19th, 2012
in Define Your Own Terms, Leadership, No Excuses, Power, Power Tools

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.”

Please enjoy this reprint of her interview.

Name: Gloria Feldt

Occupation: Speaker, Author, World Changer

1. What are three words that best describe your personal brand?

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She’s Doing It: Eve Ellis to Komen Leader Nancy Brinker: Relinquish Power for Real

by Gloria Feldt on August 22nd, 2012
in Define Your Own Terms, Leadership, Power Tools, She's Doing It

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:

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She’s Doing It: Racing Champion Robyn Benincasa’s Leadership Essentials

by Gloria Feldt on July 18th, 2012
in Define Your Own Terms, Inspiration, Leadership, Power Tools, She's Doing It

Today’s She’s Doing It features a guest post from Robyn Benincasa, a two-time Adventure Racing World Champion, Guinness World Record distance kayaker, full-time fire fighter and leadership expert.

After fighting back from crippling osteoarthritis hip surgery at age 41, she is launching Project Athena, a non-profit that encourages women who’ve endured life-altering medical set-backs to try athletic pursuits they have always dreamed of doing. The project pays their expenses and provides coaching and equipment for whatever sport you decide to try. It is a survivor helping survivors project with the goal of women helping women.

Here, Robyn shares what she’s learned about how to take a team from ordinary to extraordinary, her analysis of leadership styles, and how to change and/or use them effectively in business.

When we are faced with a challenge, whether it’s in sports, academic, business or relationships, many of us operate out of fear of failure.

We focus our attention and efforts on not falling short, on trying to stay just one step ahead. But the greatest team builders think differently. Sure, they are cognizant of the possibility of failure, and they prepare to deal with the things that go sideways, but their main focus is on doing what it takes to win versus simply not lose.

For Maximum Performance, Hope is a better place than Fear

When a team member gives up hope and says “it’s over. There is no way out for us,” brainstorming is shut down and entropy takes over our souls. That’s not to say we shouldn’t master the tactical agility to make a U-turn whenever necessary because that’s an important skill. But the best team builders can even position a U-Turn in a positive light, as merely a new set of challenges.

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In Which I Reveal a Painful Salary (non) Negotiation Truth

by Gloria Feldt on June 29th, 2012
in Define Your Own Terms, Equal pay, Leadership, No Excuses, Power Tools

Census Bureau statistics cite that women on average earn about 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. On Tuesday, the Senate GOP blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act, introduced by Democrats to the senate floor.

This promising legislation would have bolstered the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, barring employers from retaliating against workers who inquire about pay disparities.

What can we as individual women do retroactively to create a work life for ourselves in which we don’t have to resort to investigating discrimination by our employers?

In this interview, Gloria encourages women to define their own terms: at meetings, “Say the first word, say the last word and establish yourself as an authority.”

Meg McSherry Breslin: For women who feel frustrated and unable to move up in their companies, what are some concrete things they can do?

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Think Women Can’t Have It All? She Means Business Aims for More

by Gloria Feldt on June 26th, 2012
in Define Your Own Terms, ForbesWoman, Leadership, Power Tools

There’s big buzz about Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article in The Atlantic rehashing the tired trope that women “can’t have it all.”

Personally, I think, most people, male and female, would love to have this high-powered woman’s problems (She was the first female director of policy planning at the U. S. State Department and is currently a Princeton University professor, author, and public speaker with a professor husband who shares child raising responsibilities).

All of life is about making choices. Everyone struggles. So I wish Slaughter, and others who lay the responsibility on women for difficulties we didn’t create, would quit whining already and tackle the real problems like pay inequity, implicit gender biases, and the need for structural change in the workplace so everyone can have a life and earn a living.

That’s why I’m impressed with an extraordinary group of women venture investors and entrepreneurs at She Means Business. They’ve launched a new campaign that when funded will do far more to create new solutions than Slaughter’s public angst about her personal life choices.

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She’s Doing It: Katie Couric’s Advice for Making Media Breakthroughs

by Gloria Feldt on May 16th, 2012
in Define Your Own Terms, Leadership, Power Tools, She's Doing It, Tell Your Story

At the start of this video interview with Katie Couric, the first female major TV network evening news anchor, Katie politely but pointedly calls out interviewer Katie Corrado for introducing her initially as “the lovely Katie Couric.” Much like her interviewee, Corrado is perky and cute. She appears to be a generation younger than Couric.

That Corrado needed to be called out is cause for concern about what lessons are being transmitted from one generation to another, and how the dominant cultural narratives imprint even an obviously intelligent young media professional.

Fortunately, Katie’s willingness to apply No Excuses Power Tool #9 Tell your story, is the best antidote for those women whose consciousness needs to be raised about the remaining barriers to gender equality.

Corrado then asked a stereotypically leading question about whether women compete or support each other in the cutthroat media business.

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She’s Doing It: Kristal Brent Zook Defines Her Own Chaos

by Gloria Feldt on March 28th, 2012
in Carpe the Chaos, Define Your Own Terms, Power Tools, She's Doing It, Tell Your Story

Continuing the series of asking women I interviewed when I was writing No Excuses “What have you learned about your relationship with power since we talked?” here is a beautiful essay from Kristal Brent Zook explaining her answer about a very personal choice.

How Gloria Feldt’s No Excuses Reminded Me of My Power

By Kristal Brent Zook

Not long ago, my friend Gloria Feldt, author of No Excuses, asked me to take another look at her 9 ways women can embrace power to see if any of the strategies had resonated lately, in the year or so since the initial release of her book.

Since we all know how political the personal will always be, I thought immediately about the upheavals of the past year in my home life.

Last February, my husband and I decided—on a whim, really—to relocate from Manhattan to the suburbs of Long Island.

“Why not leave the city?” we asked ourselves. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Get some fresh air. A yard. A real house. It would shorten my commute to Hofstra University; and of course, we would be saving all that money.

A charming, two-story 1923 Colonial about 30 miles east of the city caught our eye: it was more than 5,000 square feet, with two sun rooms and front and back yards. The rent was $1,200 less than our midtown high-rise, and ditching New York City taxes meant another $1,000 a month in savings.

“Let’s do it!” we agreed excitedly, handing over a check for the first month’s rent.

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