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Women’s Leadership Conferences Best Practices

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

A participant, sponsor, founder, and frequent speaker at women’s leadership conferences, I have collected the best practices I have seen work first-hand.  The conferences that are growing consistently year-after-year know they must not only empower, but engage participants.  That means it must be a collaborative dialogue, where male allies are a part of the discussion, and participants leave with actionable tools for positive change.

Take Integrating Woman Leaders Foundation.  Since 2010, this organization has been driving influential change through inspiration and impact.  They do not merely empower women to make positive changes in their careers, they provide tools to support and connect like-minded women.  Their workshops are interactive, and keynotes have plenty of time for questions and answers.  And, they encourage male allies to be a part of the discussion.  In 2017, they had 60 male allies in attendance, of the 900+ participants.  Also, featuring a male ally panel, with a candid discussion about gender equality, received rave reviews.

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Are you Unintentionally Mansplaining?

By | Communication, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Employee Engagement, Gender Equality, Leadership, Talent Retention, Team Building, Training | No Comments

Chances are you don’t even know you are doing it.  Mansplaining is a real thing.  It is a behavior traditionally gender socialized by men that can be described as talking down to women, or over or under explaining when communicating with women.

Have you heard or said this before?

“I will explain it to you later, you don’t understand.”

“This is really complex, let me explain”….droning on…

This is mansplaining.

We’ll break down this unhelpful behavior and help you understand what it is, what to do when you notice it, and clever callout conversations you can easily have that make this potentially uncomfortable conversation more comfortable.

So, what is mansplaining?

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What Do Male Allies Do?

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

Male allies cannot declare themselves to be male allies, they are genuine male allies when women recognize them as male allies.

I learned this from two of the very best male allies, Dave Smith and Brad Johnson, authors of Athena Rising, a guide for cross-gender mentoring.  As male allies and advocates for gender equality, they have been connectors, endorsers, interviewees, social media supporters, and mentors for me throughout the daunting process of writing a book.  To me, there is no greater example of male allyship in my career and business.  Their support continues to astound me, and I am stronger today because of their support.  Male allies provide a variety of support just as Brad and Dave do – they may play a role as a mentor, advocate, coach, sponsor, or support women as managers.  They play the role she wants and needs them to play.

We are stronger together.  We are ONE.

A mantra I often sign in copies of our book, ONE, on male allies.  I find stories help showcase what male allies do best.  One my favorite stories of male allyship comes from a male ally I follow, Adam Grant.  Adam is author of Give and Take and Originals, both compelling reads to shake up our views of giving and original thinking.  Being a fan of his work, we reached out to Adam when writing ONE.  Knowing he is incredibly busy, we thought: what is the worst that could happen?  As a genuine and intentional giver, Adam politely declined an interview, but gave us five names of men and women passionate about male allies.  All responded, and this book is far better with their input.  From his male allyship, I got to meet famous authors, experts, and speakers at the forefront of gender equality, Adam’s support paved the way for other men to follow our movement and engage in the content.  One such group he connected me with were the Wharton 22s, a male ally organization at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Why It’s Important for Women to Engage Male Allies

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

After finding myself in the 20th room of all women trying to fix “women’s issues,” I had an aha moment.

How are we going to fix the challenges facing women by ourselves?  Given that men are still the majority of decision makers inside organizations (95% of CEOs and 80%+ of senior leadership), what are the chances of success when we exclude them from the discussion?

Not very good.  And that is exactly what has happened in the last 30 years of feminism.  We have been successful in gaining awareness around gender equality and the challenges holding women back.

Yet, the success has largely been limited to consciousness raising, not consciousness shifting. 

We have been excluding a key demographic in this conversation – men.  50% of our population and most of the leaders inside organizations making decisions, they have been left out.

We told men what NOT to do, not what to do.

We can see some of the likely consequences of this non-inclusive behavior in the recent rash of sexual harassment allegations.

The conversation cannot just be about the problems – it has to also be about the solutions.

In our research for ONE, we found that men want to be engaged in the dialogue.  They care, and not just because they have daughters, or were raised by single mothers, or have been positively influenced by women in their lives; they believe in it.

Male allies support women because they believe it is the right thing to do. 

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Sexual Harassment Training Do’s and Don’ts

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

Just mention sexual harassment training, and you will likely elicit a wide-eyed awkward response.  A necessary, yet scary topic in many organizations today, sexual harassment training is top priority following recent political and social stories.  As a society, we are grappling with how to detect and prevent this behavior.  If our team members are being harassed, they likely do not feel safe at work, and are not doing their best work.  Preventing this behavior is not only is the right thing to do for humans, it’s the right thing for business.

So, what is sexual harassment?  Defined by the EEOC as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature,” these behaviors have an adverse effect on organizational health.  Yet, most training is meant to comply with EEOC requirements, with limited success.  It tells us what not to do, yet not what to do.

The recent New York Times article cites challenges with traditional training approaches as:  making people feel uncomfortable, prompting defensive jokes, or reinforcing gender stereotypes of masculinity as powerful and femininity as vulnerable, therefore, potentially making harassment worse.  The root cause of these negative behaviors is encouraging sexual harassment in the first place.

So, what do experts recommend?

  • Empower the bystander: Male allies call out bad behavior.  Often the bystanders witnessing sexual harassment, they can be the ones to teach men how to treat women, and set the example of what good looks like for other men to follow.

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What Women Entrepreneurs Want

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

Being a huge fan of women in business, I got curious about the fast-paced growth of women business owners recently.  And, the statistics tell an interesting story.  According to Entrepreneur online:

  • Women are founding companies at a historic rate, with more than 9 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. today
  • Over the past 15 years, women-owned firms have grown at a rate 1.5 times other small businesses and are estimated to provide more than 5 million jobs this year
  • Businesses with a woman on the executive team have 64% higher valuations at the first round of fundraising

So, this begs the question, why are women leaving Corporate America to start their own gigs?  Our client data suggests these key themes:

  • The 8-5 just doesn’t cut it. Why do we need to be in the office 8-5?  This is an outdated work standard that needs to change.  This doesn’t mean women are not willing to work the necessary hours to get work done.  In fact, women business owners report working much longer hours than they did in Corporate America.  They integrate work and life.  If only corporate America could provide work from home flexibility or flex time to accommodate men and women that are caretakers or have other life duties.
  • Work must have meaning. Women, even more so than men, are looking for purposeful work.  They want to know that time away from their family matters.  Women want to be a part of building something bigger than just them that will impact the world positively.  What better way to ensure that, than to create something of your own.
  • Corporate America does not promote women (especially during the child bearing years).  This is sad, yet true. The recent McKinsey Women in the Workplace report illustrates this trend is not improving.  C-suites and corporate boards are still less than 20% women.  While women believe this will change early in their careers, after years of hard work without advancement, they opt out.  At least in their own businesses, they call the shots.

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

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

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

Retaining Women Leaders

By | Career Game Plan, Coaching, Gender Equality, Leadership, Talent Retention, Training | No Comments

We’ve been writing and sharing data that continuously supports that when organizations have more women in senior leadership positions and on corporate boards, performance increases.  Yet, as organizations are initiating women’s groups, diversity officers, and inclusion initiatives, the numbers of women at the top continue to stagnate.  In my research for our new book, ONE:  How Men Partner with Women for Gender Equality, I found that strong women leaders often have access to sponsors and mentors, and many of them are men.  These women leaders believe strongly in the purpose of their work, and the positive impact it has.  We also found another pillar focused on coaching.  Managers of strong women leaders coach them, provide real-time feedback and help her be her best possible self.  They do not solve her problem for her, they help her self-discover her own plan forward.

To increase gender equality at the highest levels of organizations, we must engage women in other ways.  In this post, you will learn proven strategies from our research that outlines these three pillars.  To retain top female talent, leaders focus on:

  • Improving access to sponsors and mentors
  • Aligning their value and purpose with their work
  • Coaching women to success

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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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Gender Equality can be a tough topic at work

  • -Learn how to make a tough conversation more comfortable and positive from the experts behind ONE


-Other free resources through email, such as the Male Ally Action Plan and custom ONE Mantra Bookmark