I had the opportunity to attend the Women in Leadership Symposium put on by the Tristate Diversity Council in East Hartford on 5/3. It was great to learn from and connect with female professionals supporting (and quite frankly, "being") the increase of diversity in business leadership. The theme of the day was Center Stage - Standing Out and Speaking Up. The inspiring speakers were: Jill Albertelli, VP of Quality at Pratt & Whitney; Lisette Martinez, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Yale New Haven Health System; Mary Barneby, CEO, Girl Scouts of Connecticut; and Migdalia Diaz, Chief of Staff, MA Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.
Key takeaways from the Panel Speakers:
1) Gain (male) allies with data...consider the positive effect on a business's profitability when you ensure the team reflects your potential customers. We know that women lead in graduating from college and with advanced degrees, did you know that they are also 52% of the breadwinners in the household?
2) Get a mentor and mentor others. This is something we consider essential and facilitate in our UP community! Mentors come in all shapes and sizes. People with your shared experience and also sometimes valuable without it for an alternate view. They can be internal or external. Even when not in a formal mentor role, speak for other women's accomplishments, amplify them. Make sure they are heard.
3) Be authentically you. Know the value you bring to the table as well as your UNIQUE perspective. Create and foster a work environment where the whole person can come to work. Where your cultural identity may not be the "majority" but where that knowledge and insight is valued. Reach out to those who may be holding back. Be respectful, relate as humans, be curious and aware. Many can relate to hiding being a mother not so long ago. And now it's so vital to discuss the work-mom juggle to get those tips and tricks needed to be successful, but also to normalize conversations around caregiving while working. We need to de-mystify what it takes to be successful in both roles. Flexibility. Creative scheduling. A part-time role option. Teams backing each other up.
4) Forgive this incomplete re-telling, but there was a Michelle Obama quote that resonated with the room, something like: "We're so grateful to be at the table, we don't think about shaking it up." There is more work to be done. For the UP community...think of all the great things you could take on at work without fear, now that you've had the perspective and challenges of caregiving. Value those challenges and what they've added to your skillset for this next chapter!
How will you #standUP in this next chapter in your work journey?