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    Overcoming Barriers to Women’s Leadership

    Recently, in honor of Women’s History Month, I participated in the HR Alliance DC ‘s panel on “Overcoming Barriers to Women’s Leadership.” In preparing for the event, I asked women in my network, including my Nebo colleagues, what they thought the barriers were and what they thought I could uniquely offer (The responses I received deserve their own blog!) 

    Here are some of the points I shared with participants and share with you now:

    • The world is in a precarious state geopolitically, environmentally, racially and in terms of health. What the world needs is self-actualized women and men addressing their shadows and triggers, stepping into their full power and bringing their full and authentic selves to every area of their lives. Doing so can provide courage for others to do the same. People are starving for authentic connection, but what “full and authentic” means will differ from person to person. 
    • Making yourself the sun of your own life makes greater space for you to take care of more than basic needs. It means flipping the priority so that your needs for self-actualization come first and that of others, even kids and parents, comes second. One way to prioritize yourself is to identify what you need to say “no” to so you can say “yes” to what YOU really want and need.
    • Too much of the emotional labor at work and beyond is taken on by women, especially women of color. Yet, this labor is often not rewarded by organizations with compensation, promotion, or some other designation. If volunteering for special projects is not adequately recognized, really think about why you are doing it. 
    • We all have a network that enriches our lives in so many ways. However, a network is a great resource to have until it limits or excludes others who could open new pathways of thinking and operating. 
    • With the loss of two million women from the workforce over the course of the pandemic, much has been lost in terms of resources, institutional knowledge, and in ways that we cannot even imagine. If organizations do not accommodate the new normal for women AND men, they will continue to feel the impact of the Great Resignation. 
    • Speaking truth to power is necessary, even when it is uncomfortable, but doing so should not rest solely on historically marginalized groups.
    • As we come to the close of Women’s History Month, I am deeply appreciative of the ways each of you champion women’s leadership. 

    Many thanks to the women who have inspired me, the women and men who have supported and encouraged me to be my authentic self, and to Friderike Butler and Nancy Choi for coming in-person to support me on a cold and rainy morning in Fairfax.


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