Lauren Rochholz is a Project Manager based in Seattle and a long-time member of our Emerging Leaders Committee. Here, she recaps her takeaways from our recent Women’s Day panel.
Our Emerging Leaders were so excited for International Women’s Day that they kicked it off two days early with United Way’s second annual Women’s Panel. The sold-out event at the Riveter featured Angela Stowell, the Chief of Everything of Ethan Stowell restaurants (and current Campaign Co-Chair!) moderating a panel of some of Seattle’s most inspirational women: Caryn G. Mathes the General Manager and President of KUOW, Kate Joncas the former Deputy Mayor of Seattle, and CEO and Co-Founder of the Riveter, Amy Nelson.
With an electric air in the room, the panelists jumped right into the opportunities and most pressuring challenges of being a women in today’s America, including #MeToo, #TimesUp, #BlackLivesMatter, gender pay inequality, and the expectations placed on women which men do not have to face. They spoke with resonance about their stories and the strategies to break the glass ceiling. The message of International Women’s Day — #PressforProgress and find allies in your communities — was heard often.
Each panelist chose to reach behind them and pull their fellow women up alongside them. After all, if men can, why can’t women do the same? But, they pointed out, strategies that work for men are not the same for women. Women lead more with respect and kindness, and often get better long term results for their different style. And if men think there is plenty of room at the top for all of them, there certainly is plenty of room of at the top for all women too. A big takeaway: None of us women will get ahead by letting men pit us against each other as competition or by putting down other women. By choosing community, we build a network and find allies to help us along the way.
Women need to make a pact to support other women in the workplace, especially when your voice is not being heard until a man repeats your idea. Call out the man and next time you see a women being ignored repeat her idea and give her credit where credit is due. Gender bias in the workplace is a real problem especially when women are not receiving equal pay or promotion opportunities.
The panelists offered even more tips for overcoming workplace bias in the:
• Support female coworkers. They are not your competition. One women’s advancement should be an opportunity for all and not at the cost of another’s.
• Manage up by making yourself valuable to the leaders. Make them look good and keep chaos away from them.
• Don’t settle and let a boss keep you where you are at for their convenience. Ask for what you want and know the value of what you contribute.
• Manage up, down and across. Be the manager you want above you.
• Look for opportunities to build a network with those around you. An informal network of influencers usually exists in companies and its best to know who they are to figure out how to influence them.
• Create allies with the men in your workplace by starting with a conversation. The #TimesUp movement is allowing the men who are allies to gender parity to have a larger platform to aid in the change.
• #PesterPower. Keep engaging and asking for what you want.
• If you can’t get leadership opportunities in the workplace, look to building your leadership skills through volunteering.
Now’s the time to create lasting change. The movements underway have the potential. Let’s build a community to support one another and push for the change which has been long coming. It’s time for this generation of women to pick up the mantle from the generation ahead of us. #TimesUp #PressforProgress