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.


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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Sandberg: Are You Bossy or Merely Showing Leadership Skills?

by Gloria Feldt on April 15th, 2013
in 9 Ways Blog, Gender, Leadership, Workplace

Sheryl Sandberg with quote
I shared this photo of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg from the Take The Lead Facebook page (please go like the page right now, so that Take The Lead will earn a dollar!) onto my own Facebook page.

It has sparked an interesting and somewhat contentious conversation

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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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Smart Women Take the Lead

by Gloria Feldt on March 13th, 2013
in Leadership, Power, Workplace

Smart Women Take The Lead monthly global webcast by Smartwomen Smartconversations (SWSC) and Take The Lead for women in the workplace to launch Friday March 15 at 2:30 pm EDT

smartwomenPerhaps you want a promotion, or a raise, or you feel ‘stuck’ in your career?

Maybe you’re going on maternity leave or returning to work after a few years?

Or perhaps you want to talk to your boss about flexible working, or you want to get on the fast-track for a leadership position?

SWTTL is a live monthly webcast and community for women who want to get ahead. Our aim is to help accelerate effective change for women in the workplace by addressing key issues and creating real breakthroughs!

And our two organizations are modeling the kind of collaboration we think women individually and women’s organizations collectively must if we are to move the dial of leadership parity forward for women.

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I’m Doing It: Wireless Activism for Social Change

by Gloria Feldt on May 9th, 2012
in Employ Every Medium, Leadership, Power Tools, She's Doing It, Workplace

Being an activist does not always mean being political. Recently, I served as the moderator for a panel of media innovators who discussed how wireless technology is bringing about social change.

It was exciting to explore the tools currently being used, invented and dreamed of to create a better world at CTIA Wireless 2012, the international wireless association conference in New Orleans. CTIA hosts this premiere industry conference for wireless, telecom and broadband as well as the key vertical markets that have entered into wireless. Forty thousand service providers, manufacturers, developers, retailers, enterprise end-users and media attend the conference.

The all-woman panel on “Wireless Activism”, presented by the Women’s Media Center, focused on how wireless tools are used by activists to create local and global transformation.

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What’s The Next Great Leap For Women?

by Gloria Feldt on March 2nd, 2012
in 9 Ways Blog, Create a Movement, ForbesWoman, Gender, Inspiration, Know Your History, Leadership, No Excuses, Workplace

You can now find me on My first post will tell you why it took me so long to get started. And now that I’ve jumped into the deep end of the pool, I want to share what I think is the Next Great Leap for women. I’d love to know what your thoughts are. Victoria Pynchon has already weighed in with an amazing piece about sponsorship.

Because my book, No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power, came out officially in paperback on Leap Day—a perfect day for a book about women’s relationship with power, no?—I’ve been thinking hard about what the next great leap forward for women should be. So I thought I’d better check out the history of the every-fourth-year calendar adjustment that gives us February 29.

Watch Out, Men

Leap Day inspired a leap of vision and blazing hope for women in 5th Century Ireland when St. Bridget persuaded St. Patrick to declare a woman could do the unthinkable: ask a man to marry her.

At a time when a woman was, for all practical purposes, owned first by her father and then by her husband, marriage meant not love but economic survival for her and her children. No doubt many seized their one chance to override gendered power norms and choose their own fates.

The tradition continued, with merry belittlements to remind women how little power they had the rest of the time. Men had to pay a fine or give a silk dress if they refused marriage proposals. Women on the prowl for husbands sported red petticoats as warning so poor beleaguered men could dash in the other direction. Haha.

You may be laughing because Leap Day privilege now seems an amusing anachronism. Not only do the majority of men and women think it’s perfectly fine for a female to propose marriage, the End of Men has been proclaimed, Women’s Nation declared, and New York Times columnist Nick Kristof dubs women “Mistresses of the Universe.”

But such puffery masks how far women have yet to go to achieve genuine parity. The next norm-changing leap must be women creating and earning wealth that places the female 51 percent of the population into power balance with their male counterparts.

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She’s Doing It: Shoshana Weinberg Finds Spa Everywhere

by Gloria Feldt on January 11th, 2012
in 9 Ways Blog, Leadership, No Excuses, Power Tools, She's Doing It, Tell Your Story, Workplace

Shoshana Weinberg

How in the world did Shoshana Weinberg get from the “tiny country town” of Clarksville MD to Hong Kong? How in the world did this director of the Four Seasons Spa Hong Kong happen upon my 9 Ways Blog? And what in the world does she mean when she says, “Spa is everywhere?”

I asked those and other questions when Shoshana e-mailed me out of the blue saying she’d found my blog to be inspirational and wanted to be profiled as a “She’s Doing It” woman. I think you’ll find her answers fascinating as she tells her story (that’s No Excuses Power Tool #9 of course!) here…

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He’s Doing It: Is Fatherhood Bonus a Motherhood Penalty?

by Gloria Feldt on December 28th, 2011
in Gender, Inspiration, Leadership, No Excuses, She's Doing It, Workplace

Curt RiceLast week, @UN_Women queried twitter followers, “What is your wish for women around the world in 2012?” I replied, “My wish for women around the world is economic and reproductive justice. Just a small thing…”

One oft-cited variable distinguishing women’s and men’s economic advancement is parenthood. But how accurate are our assumptions? Via twitter also, Curt Rice (@curtrice), Vice President for Research and Development at the University of Tromso in Norway, offered me the opportunity to cross-post his recent pieces on gender parity in academia. The previous week, he had posted on why the so-called motherhood penalty for women. That one won’t surprise you. But the post below tells the other side of the story: fatherhood benefits men’s careers substantially.

Read on and let’s talk about why (and also share your wish for women in 2012):

The fatherhood bonus: Have a child and advance your career

The careers of different men progress at different rates. That’s just as we would expect. Higher performers are rewarded; lower performers slow down. Our accomplishments guide our careers. Good workplaces are meritocracies — do your job well, and you’ll get ahead. That’s what we believe.

Or, at least that’s what we want to believe. But after a few years on the job, we start to wonder. Other factors seem to play a role…

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What Leadership Lesson Are You Most Thankful For? Bonus Gift Edition

by Gloria Feldt on December 16th, 2011
in 9 Ways Blog, Gender, Heartfeldt Leadership Advice, Inspiration, Leadership, No Excuses, Personal Relationships, Workplace

Wrapped PackagesWow! Thanks, for sharing so many fabulous, and fabulously helpful, leadership lessons that you are thankful for! With the season of giving in full swing, here are more great gifts of wisdom shared by women leaders.

Want to give a gift to others? Post your leadership lesson in the comments section below.

And while you’re at it, post YOUR most burning leadership question for the New Year too…

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What Leadership Lesson Are You Most Thankful For?

by Gloria Feldt on November 24th, 2011
in 9 Ways Blog, Heartfeldt Leadership Advice, Inspiration, Leadership, No Excuses, Personal Relationships, Workplace

This is an advice column where I’m supposed to answer your questions. But this Thanksgiving, I’m shaking things up in my life, so I turned the tables and asked some fabulous women leaders this question:

What leadership lesson are you most thankful for?

The outpouring of responses made me exceedingly grateful. Not a turkey among them.

Here with a Thanksgiving feast of delicious wisdom you can savor calorie-free—and use all year.

Saying grace (and listening to it)

Anita Sands last year at age 34 became COO of UBS Wealth Management Americas, and is one of the smartest and best grounded leaders I know. She credits her father with her most important leadership lesson: “common sense is not the common.” Not surprisingly, she then resonated with this advice:

My first boss when I was a young academic really trained me in how to “think”. The first thing he told me was that people who can find the answers are a dime a dozen but people who know what are the right questions to ask are really valuable. So I’ve always tried to employ that skill as a leader – am I asking the right questions, what question is not being asked in the room.

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