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gender equality, gender equality in business, gender equality in the workplace, diversity at work, diversity employment, diversity and inclusion, women in leadership

How to Make Your Employee Resource Group More Successful

By | Communication, Diversity, Employee Engagement, Gender Equality, Leadership, Talent Retention, Training | No Comments

Employee Resource Groups have been around for decades.  Also known as affinity groups, business resource groups, or diversity and inclusion groups, they are voluntary, employee-led groups that foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with organizational mission, values, goals, business practices, and objectives.  A noble purpose indeed.  Yet, their impact on the bottom line is often questioned, and many organizations find it difficult to justify the time and funding necessary to ensure success.

After talking with a number of women’s employee resource group leaders experiencing similar pain points, I wanted to share the challenges and ideas to overcome them.  This article is for you if any of these barriers sound familiar.

Does your ERG…

  • Have a reasonable budget? If not, your organization is not serious about its success.  Studies show organizations that achieve gender equality invest to make it happen.
  • Have a strategic plan? When ERGs have a mission, vision, value proposition, and goals aligned with the business it supports, engagement and traction increases.
  • Have senior leadership support? To be successful, the most senior leaders need to be present and in the loop on ERG initiatives.  With organizations still hovering around 20% women in the C-suite, having male ally support is critical.

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gender equality, gender equality in business, gender equality in the workplace, diversity at work, diversity employment, diversity and inclusion, women in leadership

2018: A Year for Male Allyship

By | Communication, Diversity, Employee Engagement, Gender Equality, Goal Setting, Leadership, Talent Retention, Training | No Comments

2017 is coming to a close, and not much has changed for gender equality.  In fact, according to Catalyst’s March 2017 report, women account for:

  • 5.6% of CEOs
  • 19.5% of Board seats

When I share these data with leaders, I often hear, “Be patient, it’s changing.”  Yet, when we reflect on the journey of feminism, the statistics remain stagnant.  According to the Pew Research Center, women in 2007 accounted for:

  • 2.4% of CEOs
  • 14.8% of Board seats

In fact, gender equality organizations estimate that women will not balance men in pay for equal work until 2059.  Women still earn 83% of the salary of men in similar roles doing similar work.  Rather than voice frustration at these slowly changing statistics, let’s have a voice in promoting positive change together.  Let’s make 2018 the year where the statistics truly start to shift.

That means getting men involved the discussion.  We are not going to solve the gender equality challenge alone, or in rooms of women alone.  Men are decision makers and need to be included in the process.  And, they want to help.

Based on our interviews for ONE (copies available here), we confirmed common traits associated with successful women:  they engage men in their career development as mentors and sponsors, speak up for what they want, and draw clear boundaries between their personal and professional lives.  According to Harvard Business Review, we are 54% less likely than men to have a sponsor.  That’s because men in leadership roles seek to promote those resembling themselves.  On top of that, there are many unconscious biases still affecting women according to Joan C. Williams’ What Works for Women at Work:

  • The maternal wall:  If she has another baby, she won’t want the promotion.
  • The tightrope:  She’s so aggressive, she needs to tone it down or people will think she is a bitch.
  • Prove it again:  She did it once, but can she really do it again? Maybe it was a fluke.
  • Tug of war:  There are only so many seats for women at the table. I don’t want them stealing attention from me.

Let 2018 be the year we change the conversation from problems to solutions.  Leverage the strategies, ideas, and stories from ONE to bridge the gender equality gap in your organization.

  • Heart: “Channeling the Women You Empathize” for male allies, and “Starting the Dialogue with the WIIFM” (what’s in it for men) for women leaders
  • Story: “Asking for HERStory” for male allies, and “Sharing Your Story” for women leaders
  • Speak: “Speaking up with Her” for male allies, and “Speaking Up with Him” for women leaders
  • Work-Life: “Doing the Fair Share at Home” for male allies, and “Practicing Self-Care” for women leaders

For men, how will you support women leaders as male allies?

For women, how will you engage men as male allies?

Here are some actionable ideas for you to try:

  • If you do not have a male ally group, form one.
  • If your organization has a women’s professional development group, invite men to participate.
  • If you are a woman, seek out a male ally to garner support.
  • If you are a man, think about women that could benefit from your support.

Remember, organizations embracing male allies outperform those that do not.  You are leaving money on the table if you are not facilitating male allyship.  Becoming an ally is a journey.  Start your journey at NextPivotPoint.com.

We believe strongly in our message to spread male allyship and develop women leaders.  If you do too, share our mantra below or post your stories and thoughts with these hashtags:  #genderequality #ONE #heforshe #maleallies #femaleadvocacy.

Our Mantra

I believe in gender equality.  I believe women and men, partnering together for gender equality, is what is best for all humans.  By collaborating together, we will improve the lives of future women leaders and girls who will grow up in a world where anything is possible.  My voice matters.  I make choices every day supporting gender equality.  We are all in this together.  I commit to supporting male allyship.  We are stronger together.  We are ONE.

gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

WIIFM: What’s in it for Men that Support Women Leaders

By | Communication, Conflict Resolution, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Gender Equality, Leadership, Talent Retention | No Comments

Gender diversity drives business performance.  This is something both genders benefit from equally. When opportunities, pay, and promotions are based on performance instead of gender biases, organizations thrive.  This is a competitive advantage for organizations that get it.  When there is gender equality in organizations, teams perform at a higher level and profits are higher.

It’s not a zero sum game, we all stand to benefit when we partner together.  And, we need male allies to support women leaders to make this happen.

Some key statistics to support increasing gender equality in your organization:

  • There is a 16% higher profitability rate with gender equality and $12 trillion could be added to the U.S. economy by 2025 if companies advance gender equality.
  • 91% of Americans choosing “agree” to the statement: “It is very important women have the same rights as men in our country.”
  • Women currently hold 5.6% of CEO positions in the U.S. and 19.5% of Board seats, and earn 83% of the salary of men in similar roles doing similar work.

At Pivot Point, we recommend women leaders share their stories with male allies.  We need to start the discussion with the WIIFM with our male allies.  This is why we have a section in our new book ONE:  How Male Allies Support Women for Gender Equality (get your copy here) dedicated to starting the dialogue with the WIIFM: What’s In It For Men (that support women leaders).

For women looking to engage male allies in the conversation and gain their support, we recommend the following blueprint.  Think of these as talking points to have in your back pocket as you prepare to start the dialogue with male allies:

  • I know you are busy, and I wanted to talk with you about my career path and gender equality at our organization. I see you as a great male ally for women because you have done X, said Y, or believe Z.
  • As a woman, I realize there can be unconscious biases impacting our career paths and the pay decisions made at organizations. Gender equality is important to me because when both genders partner together and have inclusive conversations like this, research shows businesses profits are 16% higher.
  • Currently, women continue to be paid 83% of what men in similar positions are paid, and only account for 5% of CEOs and 80% of board positions. I have noticed our organization has A% women in leadership and/or B% pay gap. What do you think?
  • Supporting gender equality is important to positively driving business performance. We can do this better together than separately.  Research supports men as mentors, sponsors, managers, coaches, advocates, and advisors have a big impact on women’s success. How do you think you can help women?

Even the male allies we interviewed indicated a low awareness of the gender inequities facing women in the workplace.  They see the world through their lens, which often has gender privilege.  They don’t know what they don’t know.  We need to involve them in the discussion so they know how to help.

How will you start the dialogue with your male allies?

We believe strongly in our message to spread male allyship and develop women leaders.  If you do too, share our mantra below or post your stories and thoughts with these hashtags:  #genderequality #ONE #heforshe #maleallies #femaleadvocacy.

Our Mantra

I believe in gender equality.  I believe women and men, partnering together for gender equality, is what is best for all humans.  By collaborating together, we will improve the lives of future women leaders and girls who will grow up in a world where anything is possible.  My voice matters.  I make choices every day supporting gender equality.  We are all in this together.  I commit to supporting male allyship.  We are stronger together.  We are ONE.

gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Work-Life Management: Practice Self-Care

By | Communication, Delegation, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Gender Equality, Leadership, Positive Thinking, Self-Care | No Comments

Work-life balance is impossible.  While women leaders and male allies want to achieve perfect balance between work and life, our research has found that this is not a realistic expectation for working families.  The two spheres live in conflict, where work may dominate one week, and life (family, caretaking, and self-care) may dominate the next.  It’s more like a teeter totter than a perfect balance beam.

In our work with women’s leadership groups, our survey data revealed the top challenge for the overwhelming majority of members is balancing work and life.  Digging into the facts, it is understandable that this challenge largely falls on women.

  • Women still spend more time on household labor averaging 2 hours and 15 minutes per day, while men average 1 hour and 25 minutes per day (a ratio of 62/38 women to men).
  • From 1997-2015, the number of businesses increased by 51%. Of that increase, 74% of the companies are women owned.
  • 24 million females in the U.S. care for others 25+ hours/week. In fact, they leave the workforce on average 12 years to care for children and relatives.

This illuminates the need for work-life integration for women leaders and families with dual careers.  When women feel trapped in jobs without flexibility, they self-select out of rigid corporate America.  If your organization is not engaging these women leaders, they are likely losing them.  These are smart, talented people who could bring tremendous value to our economy and to organizations, yet we accept – and even encourage – opting-out of their careers.  We make assumptions about the preference to be at home or need to be with the children, whereas the same assumptions are not often applied to working men.

With the challenge of managing work and life, women leaders tend to put themselves last.  This is why we have a section in our new book ONE:  How Men and Women Partner for Gender Equality (get your copy here) dedicated to practicing self-care.

Saying “Yes” to yourself is hard.  Rather than saying “Yes” to everyone else, choose to say “Yes” to the right things.  Remind yourself that you are saying “No” to a lot of things when you say “Yes” to the wrong things.  For women looking to practice self-care, we share these strategies from ONE:

  • Outsource activities you do not have the skill or will to do. For example, we hired a housekeeper to clean our house once a month, and have enjoyed the ROI of having more time with my family, and more energy and time to do the really important things professionally and personally.
  • Say no to FOMO (fear of missing out). Prioritize what is important for you to be happy, overcoming the fear of missing out on the wrong things.  Social media is a big influence here. Before you say “Yes,” remember it means “No” for something else that may be important.  Do say “No” if something does not drive your happiness.
  • Get more sleep. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night.  Unless you have a genetic mutation, this means you.  Very few women we coach get the required seven hours of sleep per night, which is dangerous for their health.
  • Implement the 80/20 rule. Make sure 80% of your energy is aligned with your “why”.  Twenty percent is for the other stuff (routine tasks, things only you can do, etc.).
  • Show compassion for others. Find everyday-ways to genuinely, meaningfully help others.  Giving fuels our energy.
  • Practice gratitude. Journal what you are grateful for each day.  Intentionally choose to focus on what is good in your life.
  • Have a plan. If you do not know what you want and where you’re going, you will fall victim to others deciding for you.

Remember that women leaders that practice self-care, manage their work and life more successfully.  They have more energy to give to others, and are more likely to achieve career success and be happy personally as well.

We believe strongly in our message to spread male allyship and develop women leaders.  If you do too, share our mantra below or post your stories and thoughts with these hashtags:  #genderequality #ONE #heforshe #maleallies #femaleadvocacy.

Our Mantra

I believe in gender equality.  I believe women and men, partnering together for gender equality, is what is best for all humans.  By collaborating together, we will improve the lives of future women leaders and girls who will grow up in a world where anything is possible.  My voice matters.  I make choices every day supporting gender equality.  We are all in this together.  I commit to supporting male allyship.  We are stronger together.  We are ONE.

gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Negotiation: Ask for What You Want

By | Communication, Confidence, Conflict Resolution, Diversity, Gender Equality, Leadership, Positive Thinking | No Comments

Research shows that men are four times more likely to negotiate than a woman.  Women leaders do not speak up and ask for what they want, especially if it feels selfish.  Yet, women are more successful negotiators than men when negotiating on someone else’s behalf.  We have the skill, just lack the will.  This is why we have a section in our new book ONE:  How Men and Women Partner for Gender Equality (get your copy here) dedicated to speaking up.

For women looking to strengthen your negotiation skills, practice:

  • Channeling your purpose and passion
  • Opening the discussion from a place of positive intent and common ground
  • Aligning your ask with your audience’s wants to find win-win solutions

Channeling your purpose and passion

Humans are wired emotionally.  We are far more likely to take action based on a strong purpose or “why” than the tactical “what” or “how.”  Simon Sinek’s book, Start with Why, articulates this beautifully with proven research.  That means that when we decide to negotiate, knowing why we want what we want is pivotal.  And, when we share our ask with conviction, passion, and confidence, our audience is more likely to respond positively.

Preparation pays off.  Thinking about what you want, why you want it, and how it will work is key.  We encourage women leaders to document their negotiation plan.  Outline the what, why, and how, focusing on your unique purpose and passions.

Choose your battles.  Ask for what you want that align most with your purpose and passion areas.  We may get finite chances to ask for it, so it is important to be strategic and focus on what you truly want vs. nice to haves.  Reflect on this question, what is one thing that will have the greatest impact on me (personally, professionally, etc.)?  That’s your winner.

Opening the discussion from a place of positive intent and common ground

Establishing common ground early in a discussion is important.  With our plan in hand outlining our what, why, and how, we’re armed and ready to initiate a dialogue.  Once we have stated our ask, pause and take a breath, and ask our audience, “what do you think?”  Such a simple, yet powerful question.  When we ask the question early, we involve the audience in the discussion and facilitate a brainstorm collaboration vs. the oppositional “what I want” vs. “what you want” unproductive conversation ping-pong.  This establishes common ground based on both parties’ interests.

Positive intent is a game changer.  Assume your audience has positive intentions, just as you do.  Most people are good people.  That means they want to help us.  By putting yourself out there with your ask, you have demonstrated vulnerability, and most people respond by mirroring that vulnerability.  If you are communicating with the decision maker, assume that they are aligned.  They just need to understand the what, why, and how of your ask to get there.

Aligning your ask with your audience’s wants to find win-win solutions

Remember that you have likely been thinking about your ask much longer than the party you are speaking with.  This may be the first time they have thought about it.  To facilitate their thinking, ask lots of open-ended questions.  Powerful questions start with “what” and “how,” or my personal favorite “tell me more.”  Good negotiators listen more than they speak.  They take copious notes and have already anticipated what their audience may want too, or what their questions will be.

In your preparation plan, make sure to brainstorm areas of alignment.  Where are the places you both win.  Offering up something that helps your audience early encourages them to engage and support you.  Emphasizing commonality vs. differences bridges the gap in perceptions.  Be sure to give your audience space and time to think too.  Once you have articulated the what, why, and how, and asked at least three questions, it’s okay to back off.  Do be sure to schedule a follow up time to talk, or ask for the expectation of decision making time frame.  There is nothing worse than having the tough talk, and then nothing happening.  It’s your job to follow up.

My women’s leadership crush

I had the thrill of meeting one of women’s leadership crushes last month at a conference.  I actually spoke after her, which was surreal.

Linda Babcock, author of Ask for It, taught us a simple four step process to practice to be better negotiators.  It reinforces this approach.  Above all, practicing the negotiation conversation is critical for success.  When we practice, we have a vision of success during the real discussion.  We’re far more likely to be confident when prepared.

Her steps include these phases:

  1. Identify what you want
  2. Make a plan
  3. Get ready strategically
  4. Get ready psychologically

We believe strongly in our message to spread male allyship and develop women leaders.  If you do too, share our mantra below or post your stories and thoughts with these hashtags:  #genderequality #ONE #heforshe #maleallies #femaleadvocacy.

Our Mantra

I believe in gender equality.  I believe women and men, partnering together for gender equality, is what is best for all humans.  By collaborating together, we will improve the lives of future women leaders and girls who will grow up in a world where anything is possible.  My voice matters.  I make choices every day supporting gender equality.  We are all in this together.  I commit to supporting male allyship.  We are stronger together.  We are ONE.

 

gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Five Questions to Ask to Get the Gender Equality Conversation Started in Your Organization

By | Communication, Diversity, Employee Engagement, Gender Equality, Leadership, Talent Retention | No Comments

Organizations that believe and achieve gender equality outperform those that do not.  Yet, this is often a delicate conversation to begin within organizations.  Even for those that deeply believe in it.  Leaders just do not know how best to achieve it.  Men want to be male allies, yet sometimes do not know how or what to do.  The fear of saying the wrong thing, or being labelled a feminist still holds men back.  And, women leaders do not speak up and ask for what they want, especially if it feels selfish.

That’s why we wrote ONE:  How Men and Women Partner for Gender Equality (get your copy here).  Think of it as a guide packed with strategies, ideas, and stories for male allies and women leaders to partner together.

We are lucky that our readers have given us feedback already.  They really want a discussion guide to get the dialogue started in a healthy, productive way.

You asked, we listened…

Five Questions to Ask to Get the Gender Equality Conversation Started in Your Organization

  1. What would our organization look like if our gender equality goals were met…
  2. What are we missing out on by not maximizing the talents of both genders…
  3. What do we see that tells us we have room to improve our gender equality…
  4. What are examples of times we have gotten gender equality right…
  5. What is one thing I can do to make a positive impact on gender equality at our organization…

We believe strongly in our message to spread male allyship and develop women leaders.  If you do too, share our mantra below or post your stories and thoughts with these hashtags:  #genderequality #ONE #heforshe #maleallies #femaleadvocacy.

Our Mantra

I believe in gender equality.  I believe women and men, partnering together for gender equality, is what is best for all humans.  By collaborating together, we will improve the lives of future women leaders and girls who will grow up in a world where anything is possible.  My voice matters.  I make choices every day supporting gender equality.  We are all in this together.  I commit to supporting male allyship.  We are stronger together.  We are ONE.

ASK JULIE A QUESTION JOIN OUR NEXT WORKSHOP

gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

ONE Call to Action

By | Communication, Diversity, Gender Equality, Leadership | No Comments

The day has finally arrived.  ONE:  How Men and Women Partner for Gender Equality, is available!  And, you can be the first to get your copy here.

We’ve touched on the key strategies throughout this series – Heart, Story, Speak, and Work-Life – for male allies to engage with women leaders to support gender equality.  There are great male allies out there that have shown us what good looks like, and we need to multiply our male allies.  Those featured in ONE – and those you know – are not enough.  We need more.

Positive peer pressure works.  Spread the word to other potential male allies on the fringe, who want to help support women (but may not know how).  For organizations looking to encourage male allyship, focus on what you will do to create positive change.  If you do not have a male ally group, form one.  If your organization has a women’s professional development group, invite men to participate.  Men and women, get curious to learn from one another.

Organizations embracing male allies outperform those that do not.  You are leaving money on the table if you are not facilitating male allyship.  Becoming an ally is a journey.  From our research, we found organizations with gender equality offer these best practices:

  • A culture setting gender equality, inclusion, and diversity as a nonnegotiable belief, and acts as a basis for “fit” with the organization
  • Goals to improve gender equality as a part of their strategic plan, with full transparency of statistics by gender for leadership roles and pay
  • Women’s professional development groups that include male allies (and have a budget)
  • Accountability for behaviors to support gender equality: heart, story, speak, and work-life

Call to Action

Our goal in writing ONE was to create a call to action for more male allies to engage with women for gender equality, and for more women to engage with male allies for support (personally and professionally).  Men, if you believe in equal rights, it is time to step up.  Channel the women you empathize, learn HERstories, speak up with them, and do the fair share.  Be their mentor, sponsor, advocate, coach, advisor… whatever role that benefits them and is aligned with your strengths.  Women, start the dialogue, share your story, speak up with men, and practice self-care.  We’ll leave you with this Male Ally Challenge: share our mantra below on social media using hashtags #maleallies, #genderequality, #femaleadvocacy, #ONE, and #heforshe.

Our Mantra

I believe in gender equality.  I believe women and men, partnering together for gender equality, is what is best for all humans.  By collaborating together, we will improve the lives of future women leaders and girls who will grow up in a world where anything is possible.  My voice matters.  I make choices every day supporting gender equality.  We are all in this together.  I commit to supporting male allyship.  We are stronger together.  We are ONE.

To spread the word on the importance of male allies, post your stories and thoughts with these hashtags:  #genderequality #ONE #heforshe #maleallies #femaleadvocacy.

Order your copy here and we will include a commemorative bookmark with our mantra for a limited time.

gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Pivotal Journeys: Stories that Will Inspire You Part Two

By | Career Game Plan, Coaching, Communication, Confidence, Goal Setting, Leadership, Pivot Point | No Comments

At our pivot points, women I coach often are asking, “what’s next?”  I call this a pivotal journey.  While the answers are often inside ourselves, we may not have the confidence, risk appetite, or belief that we even know what we want.  In our last blog post, we shared the story of Ashli and her pivotal journey asking for what she wanted.  This post features Carrie, and this story brings tears to my eyes every time I share it.  It is another great example that illustrate that we do know what we want when we prioritize the time to reflect and give ourselves space to self-discover.  Also, it is our choice to believe in ourselves and fuel our confidence to take the risk and make the change.

Similar to Ashli’s story from last time, Carrie was also at a cross roads personally and professionally.  She took time to reflect on her true passions and purpose and renewed a love of running marathons.  Once she knew what she wanted, she prioritized her passion.  Here’s Carrie’s story…

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gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Pivotal Journeys: Stories that Will Inspire You Part One

By | Career Game Plan, Coaching, Communication, Confidence, Goal Setting, Leadership, Pivot Point | No Comments

At our pivot points, women I coach often are asking, “what’s next?”  I call this a pivotal journey.  While the answers are often inside ourselves, we may not have the confidence, risk appetite, or belief that we even know what we want.  In our next two blog posts, I wanted to share everyday stories of women doing remarkable things.  When these women shared these stories, it brought tears to my eyes.  They are great examples that illustrate that we do know what we want when we prioritize the time to reflect and give ourselves space to self-discover.  Also, it is our choice to believe in ourselves and fuel our confidence to take the risk and make the change.

In this story, Ashli took a risk and asked for what she wanted.  Through our discussions, she took time to reflect on key questions:

  • What are the tasks/goals that get you most excited? (will)
  • What are the tasks/goals that you are doing on your very best days? (will)
  • What are the tasks/goals that people continuously praise you for? (skill)
  • What are the tasks/goals that you seem to be most effective at? (skill)
  • Who are the people that are most important to you in your life? (skill/will)

Once she knew what she wanted, she was more confident in asking for it.  Here’s Ashli’s story…

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gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Leading Across Generations

By | Coaching, Communication, Diversity, Employee Engagement, Leadership, Pivot Point, Team Building, Training | No Comments

Research indicates that Millennials will be 75% of our workforce by 2025, and with this, organizations are struggling to engage top talent across generations.  Often, with leaders I coach, they ask, “how can we change the millennials to be more motivated, and less entitled?” to which I respond, “they are far less likely to change for us; they are far more likely to change us.”  There are so many wonderful traits this next generation brings to the workforce:  a genuine passion for making a positive impact on the world, a desire to work to live rather than live to work, and an uncanny ability to find solutions to complex problems.  Yet, there are some distinct behaviors and expectations that do not always align with organizational values and processes.

The Pew Research Center outlines generations by birth year range as follows:

  • Millennials: 1981-1997
  • Generation X: 1965 to 1980
  • Baby Boomers: 1946 to 1964

Much attention has been placed on Baby Boomer and Millennial alignment, as they represent two ends of the spectrum, and have the most differences between them.  However, Generation X is the next generation of leaders, and represents the majority of small business owners.  They are a force to be reckoned with as well, yet often blend in with the Baby Boomers or identify with the Millennials as the pendulum swings.  Humorously, at a conference I was at recently, the speaker talked about Generation X being overwhelmed by the Baby Boomers.  Due to their sheer size, Baby Boomers made Generation X into mini Baby Boomers.  Partially true, Generation X seems to be amicable and the most flexible to each of the other larger generations.

In order to effectively lead an organization today, leaders must inspire and engage across all generations.  In this post, you will learn:

  • Understanding how “coming of age” experiences shape generations
  • Learning how to “flex” your leadership style to meet the needs of each generation
  • Aligning cultural values consistent with generational expectations

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Diversity is a candid conversation.

Start the Dialogue.

  • Get our guide, The 5 Questions to Start the Gender Equality Conversation.