Wow! Is it past mid-November already and almost Thanksgiving! It’s been quite awhile since I published a post (except Quotable Mondays, which has a quick turnaround)! It’s not for a lack of trying, though. I’ve been going through some life changes, thankfully, all positive, which have left me with so little time to share my musings with you. Thank you for your patience and sticking with me. 🙂
Don’t you just love it when you get lucky? It doesn’t happen often for me but when it does, I can’t help but share my good fortune with someone. This past week, I felt really lucky. I got a free pass to attend a keynote by Sheryl Sandberg at Dreamforce 2013, the biggest cloud computing event of the year organized by Salesforce! No doubt an event I could hardly afford to attend at a whopping $1,200 expense. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be in the presence of a woman that I deeply admire. She had inspired me with her thought provoking best selling Lean In book and commitment to eliminate the gender biases, stereotypes, discrimination, and fears that hold women back in the workplace.
Even though I was seated too far away to get an up close and personal look at her or a chance to meet her, I was still honored to be there and to hear her share her thoughts and experiences. She challenged all of us (women and men) to lean in and break away from the habits that continue to keep women away from essential leadership roles. Aside from coming away with a free copy of her book, which I happily gave to a friend since I already owned a copy;
Here are my 11 key takeaways from the keynote:
Stop calling little girls bossy:
Whenever you hear someone say to a little girl that she’s been bossy, tell them that she’s not been bossy but just showing her executive leadership skills!
Ask the necessary questions:
When people come to you and complain that a woman is been aggressive, take a breath and ask for specifics! Request that they outline exactly what she has done to warrant that description. Inquire whether they would feel the same way if a male colleague was behaving the same way. Most of the time, the answer is no.
Demand for a level playing field:
When pursuing equality, minimize resistance from others by framing the conversation along your desire to achieve a level playing field with your male counterparts as opposed to wanting special treatment.
Do the laundry:
No, really! If you want to have more sex with your wife, girlfriend or partner, help out with the laundry.
Stop holding women back:
Eliminate gender bias, discrimination and stereotypes. Begin by sending women the same messages that you send to men in terms of accomplishing their goals. Refrain from asking questions, such as “Are you sure you want to do this? Who’s going to take care of your kids? How do you do it all? Instead, encourage them to pursue their dreams and support their efforts by creating an environment that allows them to thrive, lead, and succeed.
What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
Challenge yourself with this question everyday. Acknowledge your fears and make the changes necessary to help you overcome them and begin to lean in.
Give qualified women the opportunity to lead:
Girls and young women need to see more women in leadership roles so their expectations and aspirations can change. Exposure to more women in these positions in the workplace, business, political arena, and community gives them something tangible to emulate as they develop their careers.
Diversity is good:
Companies with more women in leadership positions do better.
Give women a platform to shine:
We won’t know how successful women can be if we deny them the chance to lead.
Help young women plan for the future they want:
Reduce the number of women dropping off from the workplace because they want to get married and start families. Communicate that you understand this part of their journey and provide support to help them with the transition so they do not feel the pressure to choose family over career. There is no better tool to build loyalty and dedication from young up and coming talented women who might be fearful that their intentions to start a family might harm their career.
Active fathers are essential:
Children with fathers that are actively involved do better and are well positioned for success and to develop meaningful relationships.
I hope that these key takeaways will inspire you as much as they motivated me. Dead battery or not (yes, I left the event only to find my car battery completely dead at 7.30 p.m. ), it was truly an enlightening, empowering, and worthwhile experience!
Have you read Lean In? Check out our blog post with helpful tips from the book that we published earlier this year. The best selling book is a must read for every girl, woman and man.
Want to listen to the entire keynote, check out the video here:
Stay empowered and Happy Sunday!