Tag Archives: Board of Directors

Woman Up, Man Down?

The world we live in is one of conflicting viewpoints, mixed messages from the media/pop culture and the ability to share your opinion broadly without hesitation in seconds. This creates the perfect storm of disagreement all over, both virtually and in person, which could complicate how we as women choose to use our voices.

Within this world, women are rising, for a multitude of reasons. One reason is the solidarity the #MeToo movement has created. While not part of that community, I can see its power. Women who were abused are standing on each other’s shoulders to hold their male abusers accountable. Their bravery is inspiring, their tenacity empowering.

There is no doubt in my mind that there are bad men out there. Ones who abuse, denounce and berate women at every opportunity. Those men must be held accountable. For certain, that’s not all men. As women, for us to make that generalization, one I hear in lots of places, from song lyrics to conference calls to presidential debates, is ultimately doing us a disservice.

Being pro woman does not mean you have to be anti men.

There are 33 female CEOs leading Fortune 500 companies this year (2019). While that is a record high, it’s certainly not where we want to be. So tell me, what play do you call here? Engage men differently to achieve success or minimize their existence altogether? We’re not going to change the landscape of leadership alone. We will need our brothers as allies to support our journeys.

It’s complicated, creating this dialogue, especially considering we live in such a polarizing environment. I’d offer taking a look internally at your own perspective would be the logical first step. Here’s a few ideas I plan to try as I wrap up my summer and head into my busy fall season.

  1. Review my personal board of directors. How can I engage more male perspectives and in which areas of my career/life would those be helpful? What current relationships could I leverage to build out these new relationships?
  2. Leveling up my personal vibrations by surrounding myself with positive influences, whether that be people, media outlets (there are still a few!), brands, businesses, etc. Negativity and hate perpetuate stereotypes and generalizations I don’t want to waste my energy on.
  3. Challenges assumptions – my own and other people’s. You can sing ‘You Don’t Own Me’ at the top of your lungs and then pull up your dating app to engage in productive (fingers crossed) conversations. It doesn’t have to be one way or another. Developing meaningful relationships with men – in any context – doesn’t mean you’re handing in your ‘Who Run the World? Girls’ card.
  4. In every situation, stay open and base your opinions on facts, not the story you’re telling yourself. This is the hardest one for me. I have to unwind stories I’ve told myself about men, especially when it comes to dating. It’s a dance, one that I’m now more conscious of so I can see when I’m making excuses for my conditioned behavior.

None of this is easy. Give yourself a level of grace as you carefully unwind these twisted stories that potentially aren’t serving you. More on that later this month too!

Broadening My Board of Directors

I can remember sitting in one of my first college classes listening to my professor talk about building your board of directors. I was confused; what did I need a board of directors for? I was just an 18 year-old freshman who didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do with my life. At this point, my board of directors consisted of my mom, my best friend and the professor from this class. Luckily, I’ve built up my board of directors during the last few years.

During college, you don’t realize how many relationships you establish and maintain. From professors to professionals, if you do it right, your list should be very long. Throughout my college career, I made sure I got to know professors and introduced myself to every professional that spoke at our PRSSA meetings. By the time I graduated, I had a nice group of contacts. I had used these people as my board of directors, asking them questions about classes, internships and anything else I needed help with. However, after graduation, I wanted to take my board of directors to the next level.

When I started my job search, I would send tons of resumes out each week via email or online applications. After a few months of that failing, I started reaching out to my board of directors. If they didn’t know of any jobs, they gave me the name of someone who did. Within the last two months, I’ve talked to about 20 people. Each has given me advice about my résumé, cover letter and the job search in general. These connections have proven much more effective than just sending my résumé everywhere. During this process, I’ve grown my board of director from primarily Philadelphia contacts to contacts in New York, Washington D.C. and Chicago.

I never thought something I learn during freshman year would turn out to be so helpful. I’m glad I paid attention to what my professor said and used it to my advantage. Making contacts and building relationships, both inside and outside of your field is always going to be beneficial.

How have you built your board of directors? Feel free to share your tips and stories with me!

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