The Power of Voice in the Age of #MeToo
Fast Company recently ran an article on how senior professional women mentor in the age of #MeToo.
A few of the quotes from the article that most resonated with me include:
TEACH THEM WHEN IT IS TIME TO SPEAK UP
Growing up in a Chinese household, Gladys Kong was instilled to keep mum with her opinion, especially as a girl. She didn’t agree with it then, and doesn’t now, both as the CEO of her company, UberMedia, and as a mom of three. But for Kong, it is not only about feeling empowered to voice thoughts, ideas, and perceptions. Rather, it is about how and when to state a perspective so it has the best chance of impact.
This means teaching young professionals to think through answers and to create an environment where they are encouraged to talk–and expect to be heard. “How do you not talk yourself out of the need to have challenging, sometimes uncomfortable conversations? How do you decide when it’s time to speak up? And how do you do that with a clear goal–not to just complain but to drive action and resolution?” she says. “When you learn these skills, the idea of participating in challenging discussions doesn’t seem so scary. Over time, you learn how to use your voice and how to listen, which sets the tone for how you interact with almost everyone you cross paths with.”
AIM FOR GENDER PARITY IN HIRING
There are still very few women at the top of companies. But for the ones who are holding their position steadfastly and surely, creating an equilibrium between sexes is not a nice thought, but rather, a priority. Jennifer Tejada, the CEO of PagerDuty, has achieved gender parity in executive leadership and engineering, which she credits to improved levels of employee retention and productivity. Though, by law, hiring must be fair to all applicants, ensuring there are female-led initiatives and opportunities for growth throughout every sector of the company fosters a healthy attitude toward equality and balance.
Inspired by the article, I’ll add one of my own.
The promise of the #MeToo platform is the power of many. Strength in shared experiences. Encouragement for women to speak their truth. The way I translate this into the business world, is to encourage my mentees, colleagues, industry peers and superiors to develop their own personal brand and raise their industry visibility throughout the entirety of their careers.
While there is considerable talk of companies across multiple industries striving for diversity and inclusion, the natural barrier to success is blamed on a female talent shortage. It’s not a pipeline issue. I tell women to own their voice, thought leadership, and images; that every professional has the opportunity to create a powerful digital footprint. If they aren’t cultivating it, their brand is being assigned to them.
There is power in voice and visibility; women can be more heavily recruited, promoted, sought after for board seats, speaking, etc. When we have more women in leadership positions, we’ll see the true power of diversity and women can more confidently determine their worth rather than having others determine it for them.
Do you have thoughts? Please share them in the comments.
This post originally appeared on my LinkedIn. Visit it here.