It will take all the men

June 15, 2011  |   |  No Comments  |  Share

Men, are you ready? (a she-said, he-said account)

Pam:
Let’s just say that we start fostering diversity through gender balance, as we’ve suggested in our Soluna Institute mission.  The irony of the movement [currently take on by women’s organizations and supported by women’s initiatives] then is that the major tipping point for women will have to come from men!!  If women make up 15% of the C-level roles, then the leaders who will take this on for all of us will be – – to a very great extent – – the men who currently sit at that level in the other 85% of the CEO positions!!  Guess we’d better invite them to the conversation a bit more often!!!

So, gone are the days where we women can discuss our futures just among the other women in our affinity group.  (Okay, so, yes, these groups give us a lovely sense of ourselves and a necessary bond with other women that gives us strength, BUT….)

What do men need to do/know/be to help us all foster the diversity we need for better decisions, stronger families and more successful communities?  Seriously, guys, what do you need???

You are about to hear one man’s answer.  Hey, Charlie Elkins, are ya ready?  Will you help us all?  [Oh, and by the way, Charlie just happens to care a lot.  He is not only a Board member here at Soluna and a marketing leader in his industry, but he enjoys helping men and women make sense of their marriages.  He even wrote a book to offer some witty guidance to his son on the subject of understanding the other sex.]

Charlie, if you (and other men, of course) are meant to do-this-diversity-stuff along with all of us, what do you need?

Charlie:
I’ve been married 24 years as of a month ago.  One of the keys to a long, successful marriage is being a student of your mate’s behavior, and your own.  Studying her behavior helps me anticipate situations that will arise.  Observing my own behavior as objectively as possible helps me recognize my tendencies and perhaps modify my responses to better accommodate her.  To keep it interesting, I try to find humor in each situation.

One of things I struggled to understand early in marriage was my wife’s desire to share a seemingly moment-by-moment account of her day.  This usually occurred right as I walked in the door from work.  It felt like a flood of words washing over me.  I found myself frantically asking myself, “what am I supposed to do, what am I supposed to DO?”  I think this is pretty common husband/wife behavior.  Eventually, I learned that my wife was simply sharing her day with me and there was usually no “to-do” attached with any of it, although there was the risk that I would be expected to remember some nugget of information at a future date.

If you study marriage as I have done, it becomes pretty obvious that men and women approach it with very different, perhaps even opposite expectations. Most men approach marriage, and everything else for that matter, in terms of action and accomplishment–what am I supposed to do?  Men want to know what they are expected to do and how it should be done.  Most women approach marriage in terms of emotions and relationship.  Women want to share their feelings, both shallow and deep, with their husband.

I think the working world mirrors marriage in various ways.  Certainly, those of us in management find ourselves inundated with information, much like I did as a young husband coming home from work.  In the working world, we frequently receive reminders about the company’s commitment to diversity and such.  We are told that diversity is important.  We have programs and metrics related to diversity.  Yet I don’t think most of us really know what we are supposed to do.  It can’t be just theory and it shouldn’t be limited to purely token actions like putting a female on the board or setting a quota for racial balance in a department.

If diversity is really a serious objective, we need to find positive, practical ways to enable each person in the business to know how to bring about diversity in their department.  We need to take it out of the realm of pithy statements by executives and generic posters in the breakroom.

I have some thoughts on how to make accomplishing diversity practical and will share them in future blog posts.

Ladies and Gentlemen, What do you think we should do?

It will take all the men

April 4, 2011  |  Diversity, Gender Diversity  |  Comments Off on It will take all the men  |  Share

Men, are you ready? (a she-said, he-said account)

Pam:
Let’s just say that we start fostering diversity through gender balance, as we’ve suggested in our Soluna Institute mission.  The irony of the movement [currently take on by women’s organizations and supported by women’s initiatives] then is that the major tipping point for women will have to come from men!!  If women make up 15% of the C-level roles, then the leaders who will take this on for all of us will be – – to a very great extent – – the men who currently sit at that level in the other 85% of the CEO positions!!  Guess we’d better invite them to the conversation a bit more often!!!

So, gone are the days where we women can discuss our futures just among the other women in our affinity group.  (Okay, so, yes, these groups give us a lovely sense of ourselves and a necessary bond with other women that gives us strength, BUT….)

What do men need to do/know/be to help us all foster the diversity we need for better decisions, stronger families and more successful communities?  Seriously, guys, what do you need???

You are about to hear one man’s answer.  Hey, Charlie Elkins, are ya ready?  Will you help us all?  [Oh, and by the way, Charlie just happens to care a lot.  He is not only a Board member here at Soluna and a marketing leader in his industry, but he enjoys helping men and women make sense of their marriages.  He even wrote a book to offer some witty guidance to his son on the subject of understanding the other sex.]

Charlie, if you (and other men, of course) are meant to do-this-diversity-stuff along with all of us, what do you need?

Charlie:
I’ve been married 24 years as of a month ago.  One of the keys to a long, successful marriage is being a student of your mate’s behavior, and your own.  Studying her behavior helps me anticipate situations that will arise.  Observing my own behavior as objectively as possible helps me recognize my tendencies and perhaps modify my responses to better accommodate her.  To keep it interesting, I try to find humor in each situation.

One of things I struggled to understand early in marriage was my wife’s desire to share a seemingly moment-by-moment account of her day.  This usually occurred right as I walked in the door from work.  It felt like a flood of words washing over me.  I found myself frantically asking myself, “what am I supposed to do, what am I supposed to DO?”  I think this is pretty common husband/wife behavior.  Eventually, I learned that my wife was simply sharing her day with me and there was usually no “to-do” attached with any of it, although there was the risk that I would be expected to remember some nugget of information at a future date.

If you study marriage as I have done, it becomes pretty obvious that men and women approach it with very different, perhaps even opposite expectations. Most men approach marriage, and everything else for that matter, in terms of action and accomplishment–what am I supposed to do?  Men want to know what they are expected to do and how it should be done.  Most women approach marriage in terms of emotions and relationship.  Women want to share their feelings, both shallow and deep, with their husband.

I think the working world mirrors marriage in various ways.  Certainly, those of us in management find ourselves inundated with information, much like I did as a young husband coming home from work.  In the working world, we frequently receive reminders about the company’s commitment to diversity and such.  We are told that diversity is important.  We have programs and metrics related to diversity.  Yet I don’t think most of us really know what we are supposed to do.  It can’t be just theory and it shouldn’t be limited to purely token actions like putting a female on the board or setting a quota for racial balance in a department.

If diversity is really a serious objective, we need to find positive, practical ways to enable each person in the business to know how to bring about diversity in their department.  We need to take it out of the realm of pithy statements by executives and generic posters in the breakroom.

I have some thoughts on how to make accomplishing diversity practical and will share them in future blog posts.

Ladies and Gentlemen, What do you think we should do?

It will take all the men

April 4, 2011  |   |  No Comments  |  Share

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April 4, 2011  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments  |  Share

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Why don’t women lead?

April 4, 2011  |  Gender Diversity  |  Comments Off on Why don’t women lead?  |  Share

Why don’t women lead in any sector,

in any country,

with men?

– as per ‘Breakthrough’, a report prepared from the World Economic Forum in Davos, 2009.

Currently, the only millennial promise yet unmet from the World Economic Forum in Davos is ‘Women in Leadership’. It has been proven that if women lead proportionately in business and elsewhere, profits will increase and the impact to their own communities will be positive.

So, we know the ‘what’ and the ‘why’… and now the Soluna Institute has been created as a non-profit institute and foundation, dedicated to finally addressing the ‘How’! Because the Soluna Institute is a non-profit, we are able to encourage individuals and businesses to jointly invest in research and education that is more comprehensive and actionable than the efforts that currently exist within siloed company walls.

We all profit when we work together, men and women, as evidenced by the following:

“Closing the gender gap… would have huge implications for the global economy, boosting US GDP by as much as 9%, EU GDP by 13% and Japanese GDP by 16%”
– Goldman Sachs’s Global Economics Paper No: 154

Women reinvest 90% of their income in the families and communities, compared with men who reinvest only 30% to 40%
– former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright

“Eliminating gender discrimination in relation to occupation and pay could increase women’s wages by about 50% and national output by 5%
– Rachael Mayanja, UN Special Advisor on gender

Companies with 3 or more women board of directors, return on equity was 16.7%, compared to the average of 11.5%
– Groundbreakers report from Davos

Restricting job opportunities for women costs the region between US$42 billion and US$46 billion a year in GDP growth.
– UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Countries

Why don’t women lead?

April 4, 2011  |   |  No Comments  |  Share

Why don’t women lead in any sector,

in any country,

with men?

– as per ‘Breakthrough’, a report prepared from the World Economic Forum in Davos, 2009.

Currently, the only millennial promise yet unmet from the World Economic Forum in Davos is ‘Women in Leadership’. It has been proven that if women lead proportionately in business and elsewhere, profits will increase and the impact to their own communities will be positive.

So, we know the ‘what’ and the ‘why’… and now the Soluna Institute has been created as a non-profit institute and foundation, dedicated to finally addressing the ‘How’! Because the Soluna Institute is a non-profit, we are able to encourage individuals and businesses to jointly invest in research and education that is more comprehensive and actionable than the efforts that currently exist within siloed company walls.

We all profit when we work together, men and women, as evidenced by the following:

“Closing the gender gap… would have huge implications for the global economy, boosting US GDP by as much as 9%, EU GDP by 13% and Japanese GDP by 16%”
– Goldman Sachs’s Global Economics Paper No: 154

Women reinvest 90% of their income in the families and communities, compared with men who reinvest only 30% to 40%
– former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright

“Eliminating gender discrimination in relation to occupation and pay could increase women’s wages by about 50% and national output by 5%
– Rachael Mayanja, UN Special Advisor on gender

Companies with 3 or more women board of directors, return on equity was 16.7%, compared to the average of 11.5%
– Groundbreakers report from Davos

Restricting job opportunities for women costs the region between US$42 billion and US$46 billion a year in GDP growth.
– UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Countries

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April 3, 2011  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments  |  Share

Social [Media] Hours

February 14, 2011  |   |  No Comments  |  Share

We like the social.  Do we like the media?

Back in the day, when I was the social chairman of my sorority, it was my job to give my Tri Delta sisters a social etiquette tip each week.  Picture me now.  :)  Drop-waisted dress with a peter pan collar, white tights and patent leather flat shoes.  Yes, there was a giant bow in my hair.  Um, I wasn’t the only one!  [I’m sure there’s a picture on facebook!!!]

There.  You have your ‘visual’ and I have a social tip for you all this week.

Online Social Networks are definitely worth our time.  I do understand you when you tell me that you don’t have even one more second in your day to add this to your life, but – I am here to tell you –  it might actually save you some time, give you access to the right people on your own time or even allow you to be two places at once, so to speak.

Here are a few reasons that I think you might want to try it [or take it to the next level].  I’m going to speak on the subject of how it could help you, personally.  [there are tons and tons of reasons it is good for your business, but that’s for another blog]

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Who, who, who?

February 14, 2011  |   |  No Comments  |  Share

No one does anything alone.  Right?

Well, I know I didn’t.  In starting this blog, and now this company, I ran across the most amazing individuals who are smart and sweet and willing to help. They each, tirelessly, gave me the gift of their talent. [and, by tirelessly, I mean that I’ve spent many very, very late hours, speaking to these people about you, when they could have been sleeping!]

As I toyed with the idea of ‘helping women in the workplace’ somehow, I sat with the most amazingly elegant and worldly woman I have ever met to dream about what this could be.  Christa Dowling, former Editor-in-chief of Conde Nast/Vogue in Germany, has written a book called “The Unkept Promise”, a Woman’s Journey.  She is an example to me, a mentor and a friend.  I credit Christa for giving me the energy to begin this blog.  She had me to breakfast at her home, on the most beautiful china I’ve ever seen, and she said, when I was finished, “Pamela, why not?”  I thought, I don’t know.  So, I did.

First, I asked Trevor Hill, of Genesis Media Works (www.genesismediaworks.com), to create a blog for me.  He quoted me this ungodly low, friends-and-family-only-amount, to do the project, and I, with all the naivety in the world, built the biggest blog he had ever seen.  I kept calling and saying things like, “Could I do something like this?” or “Is there a way to do that?”  And, he said, yes!  The blog was built so far over the scope that he originally imagined that I wired him more money on Xmas Eve because I felt like Scrooge, working him like I did.  He did me so many favors, and I wanted to ensure that the people he paid were not an additional sacrifice on his part!

Relationships matter.  My friend Geof Bowie, founder of a business created to support Mac Computers in business, www.thinkfixed.com,  is another one of those people who knows that relating to others in barter-and-trade is a kind of currency.  It feels like he and I are a part of every business that the other one is in.  I helped him with his staffing and he helped me with my IT stuff.  Emails and domain hosting were done with seemingly no effort at all.  My friends feel like family.  My business feels like a giant holiday dinner table, and the gifts are treasures.

After a bit of success in the blog, I knew we were on to something.  I sat for two days at this lovely little bungalow outside Portland, Oregon, with Laurie Drew.  She is a master of learning design and really understands blogs [see hers at www.trainersblog.com].  She was the first person I had a conversation with about what was possible in a mix of high tech and high touch, when it comes to taking your message forward from this blog.  I was completely energized, and promised myself I would never eat pulled taffy, again. [I ate a whole bag of the homemade confections that I had gotten to bring to my nieces.  Don’t worry, Auntie Pam bought more at the airport.]

While I started working on the Corpus Operis project, www.corpusoperis.com, about the new paradigm of work, I kept bringing up the gender diversity issue.  My partner, John Chaisson, had a fabulous idea for an event that I could have with you [maybe just to shut me up, but it worked].  It’s in the works, and I will keep it a surprise, for now.

In the time between my dad’s death and today, I told you I was struggling.  I couldn’t get my head wrapped around a sequence of activities that would need to take place to get this business going.  I wanted to help individual women, create curriculum for Universities on the subject, relate the learning from your blog discussions to my regular corporate culture business and give to charities that help women, economically.  A lot.  This movement became the most important thing to me, and I knew it would be done.  I just wasn’t sure what for or how.

As luck would have it, I met Sheri Jenkinson, a gorgeous woman who is a bundle of energy in life.  Her goal was to create a foundation to help women make a better life for themselves.  Oh yeah, and she was the the Director of the Professional Development group, the Mentor Program and the CMO Roundtable the local chapter of the American Marketing Association!  All I had to do was tell her what was on my mind, and she jumped in with both feet.  Between the two of us, we created a model that would do the things that I wanted – to create and sustain gender diversity in leadership – and what she wanted – to support women, globally, in sustainable economic change.  The model is pretty amazing, as it associates the two together as one.  It’s new and different, and it’s fun.  We’ve had so many laughs creating this that I can’t call it work.

Then, it became time to put our money where our [loud and exuberant] mouths were.  We put our business plan into the State Comptroller’s office.  I will spell it all out for you when I can.  Andrew Jee, a lawyer at www.sumnerschick.com, created all the paperwork we needed out of the goodness of his heart.  If you need a lawyer to help you with your business, I most certainly recommend him.

As soon as the fax machine spit out the ‘ok sent’ page, I got on the phone with a favorite client, Steve Lopez, and I began to tell him how much I wanted him involved.  I believe his comment to me was, “You had me at ‘will you’, so the answer is yes”.  He is a global expert on people practices for companies of all sizes, and I love working with him, especially when our meetings are over margaritas.  [Liquid creativity!]  He signed on to be a Director, immediately.

It’s so important that we look to those in our corner for support and challenge.  When I have an idea or imagine something should be different at work, it just makes sense to gather together some people and get talking.  [This is the advice I have given many of the women that I have coached over the years that have felt ‘alone’ on the career ladder.]

So, first, thank your lucky stars that these amazing people said yes to me.  We are going to take your messages forward and make some things happen.  Then, pick up the phone and thank the people who you trust to support and challenge you at work. [or imagine who they might be, if you don’t have your very own personal board of directors]

No one does anything alone, is right.

Ladies,
Who is helping you help yourself to success in your career [besides us!]?

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