2021: Are we there yet?

Our first rainy day in months is welcome, but it has made me stare into some of the gloominess of the last 6 months. It has made me turn for a minute to reflection on this last week.

This last week I crossed over my six month mark of working from home. Six months of endless zoom calls, six months of starting work earlier than ever and a sense of never really leaving it each day. And, it was a hardest week yet at the “office” since this pandemic started.

This last week a friend died. He left us and the outpouring of support is immense. If he only knew how much he was loved, and that he wasn’t alone. I am reminded how complex mental illness is, and how we can’t assume we know the story for people. We can only reach out, support each other and be present. I am reminded that it is okay to talk about not being okay. And, that so many people out there are hurting right now.

This last week we had our highest days of COVID cases in Utah, and neared 200,000 deaths in our country. It feels like it will never end. That “normal” won’t return.

This last week also marked the loss of a hero to me. Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at 87 last night. It was honestly a punch in the gut. In a world where so much of our public discourse is filled with personal attacks versus attacking the issues, she was a beacon of hope for demonstrating what persistence can do for the world. I am so appreciate of her leadership, her willingness to be an unrelenting vocal advocate for what she believed and for all of us who try to follow in her bravery.

But, as I sit her cozy in my beautiful mountain town, graced by autumn colors, the sun peaking out between light rain showers, I also think about the good of the last week.

This last week, I was able to join like minded leaders in a small work group within the Park City Community Foundation board and talk about what the biggest needs of our community will be in the next five years. It was inspiring and helped me see the change that we can each be in this world.

This last week, I was able to watch my kids confidence grow at the sports that they are participating in. Matthew had a great flag football game, and he came bounding in the door after the win telling me he was a “defensive specialist” and had two interceptions in the game to help his team with a shut-out. Katharine did three runs with her new running club. And, she smiled about them and was proud of her own accomplishments.

This last week, I felt the support of Jon in all of my hours. No matter how long the days were at the office, he was by my side (literally at times). Bringing me coffee, water and lunch. Checking in between zoom calls and supporting me with hugs when I needed them.

This last week, I was available for my friends and my family as they needed me. I talked to co-workers that I hadn’t connected with in awhile, and I felt them support from so many.

On balance, I still wonder if 2021 is here yet. I commit in tribute to RBG to move forward with persistence, and I commit in memory of Zach to move forward with a smile while knowing that I am never alone.

My Career: Should I have a plan?

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I have been helping a number of my teammates on their growth and development plans over the last quarter.  In doing so, I have been reflecting on whether or not having a career plan is a key to professional success.

The benefits of a plan

  • A plan forces you to think about what is important to you for the future.  It is impossible to think about a plan or a roadmap for your career without consider the question, “where do I want to be in 1, 3 or 5 years?” In thinking about this question, generally the only way to answer it is to work hard to look internally to identify what is important to you.  To me, this is one of the largest benefits of planning.
  • Even if the plan is a loose set of steps, it helps you to take a step.  Sometimes in my professional life, I have felt frozen – like I don’t know what to do next.  A plan can help nudge you forward.  It may help you to read a new book, attend a new online training, or have a mentoring discussion with someone that you respect. Even a small step is better than none.
  • Having a plan allows you to share with those around you what you are interested in doing and why.  This becomes important because at times, those around you can see things that can help you that you may not be able to see.  If you have shared your plan, you can get help from your people.

But there are downsides to a plan as well.  I appreciate how real some of these downsides can feel.

The downsides of a plan

  • You can spend too much time thinking about the plan and not enough time taking steps to make it happen.  The act of planning alone can be what freezes you.  If this is the case for you, an imperfect a step forward or one that isn’t on a “plan” is much better than continuing to stay in place.
  • With a plan, sometimes you can get so focused on executing your plan, the steps that you have outlined, that you miss an opportunity that isn’t wasn’t on the plan.  Todays world of business (and life for that matter) is changing very quickly.  In fact, in my 20+ years of working the speed of change has never been greater.  So, we all have to stay adaptable and willing to let whatever plan we have change based on opportunity.
  • Sometimes by having a “career” plan overemphasizes this part of your life.  It is hard to keep life in balance and planning holistically for your life is probably a better way to think about it.  I will let you know if I ever do this well.  It is hard!

So, my question for all of you reading is which side do you land on?  Is having a “career plan” a priority for you, and how has it helped? or hurt?

Expect Leadership

I wanted to share an email that I wrote to my close friends and family this morning. I got enough positive feedback on it, that I wanted to share it here in hopes to help with the Movement. These times make me reflect on one of my favorite leaders with some wise words from Abraham Lincoln. #BlackLivesMatter

Hi friends and family,

These are challenging times across our country.  I hope that this email finds you healthy and happy.  

Many of you may have seen my facebook or LinkedIn post, but if not, I wanted to communicate to you directly this way.  I know that this message finds us all at different points in our lives, with different points of view.  I believe that part of our role in society is to learn more than ever about all sides of the issues in front of us.  Through educating ourselves, and remaining vulnerable and open-minded, I believe we can all make change.  I know so many of you for the good that you do in the world, and am hoping that this set of content can only help you to do more good, your way.  I don’t intend to offend you, nor assume that you haven’t seen nor read any of these items.  My goal is only to play an active role in a conversation that matters.  

First, the Facebook post I posted this last weekend said this… “As the world has spun out of control around us in the last few months, I have worked hard to focus on doing what I can do to help.  Whether it be at work, at home, for my family, for my mental health or for others.  The last two weeks simultaneously deepened my sadness, anger and despair for the realities that we live in, for the lack of equality for our Black brothers and sisters, and provided me hope that THIS IS THE MOMENT that we ALL begin to act to start the movement to fix systemic racism in our country.  We all must stand up, use our voices, learn the realities of the big and the small acts of discrimination that are pervasive in this country for our Black friends. AND, make change happen.  Don’t just learn, ACT.   #BlackLivesMatter”

Here are a few things that I hope that you will read or listen to on a quest to learn or in hopes that you have seen them before.  If you have unique articles and perspectives that you are consuming to help you understand, please share back with me.  

The original videos  or compilations of the specific horrible acts over the last 3-4 months:

  • Ahmaud Arbery video plus Wikipedia page regarding the incident  
  • Amy Cooper video plus Wikipedia page regarding the incident.  
  • George Floyd investigation video plus Wikipedia page regarding the incident.
  • Article on COVID-19 Impact on Black Community (you will need a free login from National Geographic for this, but it is worth it

A few videos and articles discussing the issues:

  • Trevor Noah video trying to help us understand.
  • FOX news article about George Bush response.  Most of you know I am not a FOX news reader normally, nor a GWB fan.  But, I appreciate his leadership on this issue.
  • The article by General Mattis in the Atlantic.  
  • And a short video on the blind spots that we all have (implicit bias).  Business has done a good amount of content on implicit bias if you want to learn more.  

I know that we may never agree on politics, but my perspective, as a leader in business, is that leaders need to pull people together for a common cause.  Our job is to motivate action.  To me, the most important cause for all of us as leaders is affording all humans (race aside) equal human rights.  Our Black brothers and sisters don’t have this privilege.  Jon and I are on vacation this week, and we were driving through a beautiful lake-side country club area yesterday.  We decided to pull in, and walk down to the water to capture the view even though we weren’t supposed to be there.  We did so without fear.  It struck us that even that small act may be scary for a Black couple who feel the daily biases built by our history (either conscious or unconscious).  We must change this. 

We can control how we behave:  the words we choose, the actions we take and where we put our money.  We can control what we teach others, especially our children, but also what learning happens in our circles through table-talk, and at our business and community/religious institutions through the topics we take on.  And, just as important or more, we can control what leaders we follow and what we expect from them (political, religious, social, community, business).  If they fail the cause, we can control how we vote both locally and nationally, how we support businesses/organizations based on their leaders.  

So, it is BOTH personal and political.  Even if your local or political leaders have other things you agree with, please consider that this issue is MORE important than any issue that you may be aligned on as you prepare for the voting season ahead.  Please consider supporting businesses and community organizations that have leaders who meet these expectations.  Do your research, don’t assume based on what you see on Facebook, or in the media.  

This cause is more important than all others because without basic human rights, we have neither a stable society nor one where the other political issues matter.

#BlackLivesMatter

With respect,

Leslie 

Reflections on COVID-19: Humanity, not Politics

I sit here tonight, after watching some of the the One World: Together At Home broadcast (which was an awesome representation of good people), and after reading a few Facebook posts (which makes me sad), and I feel perplexed.  I want to be able to stand on the top of a mountain and yell to everyone that this is a crisis about humanity, not politics.

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This COVID-19 crisis is a struggle to do what is right around the world.  It is about making the best choices possible to help the most people knowing that every choice made will hurt someone.  It isn’t, and shouldn’t be about political positioning, or making a name for yourself.

In these times we see the best and the worst of people.  And, unfortunately social media is an amplifier of those characteristics.  I even found myself commenting back today on someone’s Facebook post that wasn’t worth it.  This is a humanitarian crisis.  Every decision has a downside, but we all have to do the best we can to help our country and the world get through this.

A few stats that will make you cringe:

  • As of today over 150,000 people have died in the world from COVID-19.  In the United States this number is nearing 39,000. The first US death occurred on 2/29, a mere seven weeks ago.
  • To help put this in perspective, let’s compare to three tragedies that most all of us can all agree were horrible events in the world:
    • Over 400,000 American lives were lost in WW2 over a long six year, world changing tragedy.  The US lives lost were dwarfed by the 75 million estimated dead around the world.
    • Almost 60,000 American lives were lost in Vietnam.  The global death count was again much more severe, but losing almost 60,000 American lives remains one of the largest tragedies in our history.
    • 9/11/2001 had over 3,500 lives lost in the day.  We also put brave soldiers in harm’s way as follow up to this terrorist attack.  We all remember where we were the day of this horrific tragedy.
  • Currently, estimates of American deaths by the end of August 2020 (just six months after the first death) range from 60 – 100K.  This will make the COVID-19 crisis surpass Vietnam in its impact on our people.  Not to mention all of those around the world.

Everyone is sacrificing right now in order to help to minimize the global impact of this crisis.  There are people out of work, without food, with “elective” healthcare procedures that they can’t get completed even though tumor removal doesn’t sound elective when the tumor is growing in your body.  There are situations where families are housebound with an abusive adult in the home, there are mental health challenges developing.  And, it sucks.  It is bullshit.  But, so is 60,000+ projected American lives lost from a Coronavirus.

My call to action for all of us is to do is to do our best every day, to be human, to not politicize this crisis, and to support each other however we can by offering help to those in need.  And to STAY HOME and socially distanced as long as the CDC recommends.  Trust scientists and help the crisis be as short as possible for humanity.

We are One: Silver Linings during a Pandemic

More than anything the last month has helped me to remember that we are one human race.  The actions of one country, the actions of one government official, the actions of one leader, the actions of one small community, the actions of one business, the actions of one family are interrelated in a way that I believe we as Americans have forgotten.

The world is a scary place right now.  This is something that none of us ever wanted to experience in our lifetimes or in the lifetimes of our loved ones.  We can think about how we are interlinked through the negative view, being mad that we are all quarantined at home in a state of fear, blaming people and countries for their choices, being mad at politicians.

OR, we can think about the silver linings that show up once we accept the facts at hand.

So, if you are watching too much news, or sucked too much into the fear of the situation, whether it be about the healthcare or the economic impact of this crazy time, I thought I would share 10 positive things that showed up to me this week.  My personal silver linings this week in a pandemic.

  1. At my company, CHG Healthcare, we pulled out all of the stops and got all 3,200 of our employees working from home within 4 days of the decision.  Volunteers from everywhere in the organization pitched in to make it happen.
  2. In Park City, Utah, a women started a Facebook ground called CoronaKindness to try to encourage our community to support each other. The comments and examples have been uplifting to read at a time when online time tends to be depressing.
  3. Companies around the world opened up their educational tools to be free to all of us parents trying to teach our kids at home.  Not to mention the preparation the teachers at our Park City schools, and schools around the world.
  4. Two organizations in Salt Lake City, Silicon Slopes and the Women’s Tech Council rallied the community to help get more testing happening in our state.  Entrepreneurs used their skills in innovative thinking to help bring support across business, political and community leaders.
  5. Individuals all over the world donated money if they have the means to help local communities.  A great example of this was our local Park City Community Foundation created a COVID-19 Community Fund to help local non-profits and raised over $150K in a week.  This created the ability to grant to a few local charities that are helping to serve food to those in need.
  6. Our family spent family time together – maybe more than we have in years.  We went on walks, we played games and did puzzles, we disagreed with each other, we hugged and we cried.  Not every minute was good, but we reconnected without the pressure of running to the next thing on our schedule.
  7. In our house, Katharine taught Matthew french lessons so that he could keep on learning in these times at home.  She even dressed up for the lesson to help her be the teacher.
  8. We called more people (versus just texting) and we remembered why our social interactions help us thrive as humans.
  9. I personally saw leadership in action every single day.  From co-workers, from business members in the community, and from politicians that despite my disagreement with their politics.
  10. I heard a business story about innovation in workforce planning where a company leadership team literally created a business model overnight in order to keep their workers employed.  Creativity and innovation will be the key to our future through these times. [cryptic as story confidential]

I know it is bad out there.  I understand, more than most, the challenge of our healthcare system in a time like this.  I worry about friends and family losing jobs.

But today, I choose to think about the silver linings and to think about how we are one human race.  I choose to think that maybe even writing this blog post may be the one thing that I can do to help some of you feel better for even a 3 minute read.

If you have silver linings to share, comment and let me hear yours too.

 

Building Your Personal Brand

I had the opportunity to speak on the Women in Science and Technology (#WiST) panel this week hosted by Recursion Pharmaceuticals along with some bad a$$ other female leaders.  Thanks to the Recursion team for putting on these networking events to help connect women and men around Salt Lake City on important topics.

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This topic is an interesting one for me.  I have to admit that I am skeptical of the topic as described, but sincerely appreciate the discussion, and will try to reframe the topic for you in a way that hopefully helps.

Let’s start with why I am skeptical of this concept.  Throughout my years in the marketing industry, I have seen many companies and brands define their “brand promise” as something that was a stretch – too aspirational – and sometimes even inauthentic.  Then, they have continued forward spending a lot of time, energy and money marketing this brand when instead the company could have worked to actually achieve the service excellence or product performance or company culture that would have made the brand aspiration real.

Sometimes, I have been a part of or watched marketing professionals develop brands or marketing campaigns for the sake of creative marketing alone versus for the sake of business growth.  Don’t get me wrong, there are great brands, authentic marketing and excellent marketing professionals out there who work to do it right – but the variability I have seen makes me skeptical about most “branding” not to mention “personal branding” headlines.

I shared in the panel that over the last 10-15 years I have reframed my own thinking about personal branding instead to focus on a broader question:  What is my purpose?  I believe that answering this question starts by reflecting on what you want to be known for – what you want to leave as your legacy.  The more clear and authentic your thought on this question, the more effective the answer can be in determining your personal brand or purpose.

Through this reflection, I have decided that my purpose is to build great things that leave a lasting positive impact on the world.  I choose to do this by…

  • Truly CARING about those in my life
  • ASKING questions to LEARN
  • Taking a STEP FORWARD every single day
  • DREAMING BIG and not being afraid to TRY and FAIL
  • Assuming POSITIVE intent in all of my relationships

I try hard to let this be my guide in my behavior and my decisions.  And, I work hard to have it show up most importantly in my daily behavior.  I also allow it to show up as a part of my marketing (e.g. this blog, linkedin, other social media, etc.).  I am not always on point, but the more I work on it, the happier I am.

So why do this personal development?  To me, the more clear you are on your purpose, the more effective you can be at making decisions you are proud of, deciding how to prioritize your time and ultimately choosing the tactics you will take in your personal marketing (if any!).

Lots of more great thoughts from the group of panelists at the event – Kat McDavitt, Chief Marketing Officer, Collective Medical; Brooke Clark, Senior Director of Talent Acquisition, Recursion; and Heather Kirkby, Chief People Officer, Recursion.   These ladies rock!  Follow them up on twitter if you want to hear their point-of-view.

Watching my Daughter

Despite what has been a year-long respite from my blog, I have been wanting to write. Seemingly life comes with many trade-offs, even though I often resist accepting that reality. Blogging has been one I have had to give on (temporarily).

I am sitting on vacation, drinking coffee, overlooking Lake Champlain, thinking about my daughter. Katharine is 9 1/2 now and this last week of vacation has been filled with storytelling, giggles, cartwheels, reading, snuggling, sass, and an occasional pout or a tear.

I love spending time watching her, seeing her discover new places and learn about the world around her. I love hearing her speak French when ordering croissants in Montreal, paddling a kayak solo across a lake, casting a fishing rod over and over again confident that she will catch a fish, swimming in the pool and orchestrating her cousins in the filming of a movie on my iPhone (see outtake scene below).

I also see love watching her grow up. But, it is also hard to let go of those little kid things that seem to be fading quickly.

She will still come and give me a hug in the morning, and sit on my lap for about 3 minutes, but then is off to do make herself breakfast.

She will still color with her little cousins for just a few minutes, but then is decides to go upstairs to “rock-out” to music in her room.

She will still play with Legos with her brother for a few minutes, but then is off snuggled up in a chair in the corner reading her Kindle.

The passage of time is real. She is such a good kid. But, I don’t know if I am ready.

Lessons for Women in Leadership from ‘Hamilton’ the Musical

I finally had the opportunity to see Hamilton the musical a this spring at the amazing Eccles Theater in Salt Lake City. After all of the hype, I was worried that I would be let down….but the show didn’t disappoint. From the opening scene, where the characters were introduced through the opening song “Alexander Hamilton,” to the closing scene where Eliza Hamilton sang about telling her husband’s story in “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story?,” I was captivated.

Since seeing the show, we have listened the songs on repeat with our children, and have had many a discussion about what it means to “not throw away your shot” at something, and why the King of England sings funny songs about coming back to him. But, more than that, what I have reflected on within the music are the lessons that are present for women in leadership. On this July 4th, I thought it only fitting to “tell my story.”

Don’t Throw Away Your Shot

This theme (and song lyrics) are present throughout the story. Early in the show, Hamilton commits to not throw away his shot through one of my favorite songs of the show. His commitment is to make a difference and to shape the future of our country. This motivates him to make the decisions that ultimately lead to his death in a duel with Aaron Burr.

The lesson for women in leadership (or for everyone in leadership) is to take the shot. As I work with up-and-coming people within my team, I often see women who are highly skilled not raise their hand for new opportunities, whether it be new projects or promotions. I also coach managers about how to have the conversations that they are having with both their male and female talent about opportunities. They need to sound different. Research from Bain & Company and LinkedIn in early 2017 shows, via a survey of 8,400 professionals, that “women are less likely than men to seek out an opportunity if they knows their supervisor might not be fully supportive.” In other words, women aren’t willing to take the risk at the new opportunity for fear of failure or upsetting the apple cart.

“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.” – Sheryl Sandberg

This is particularly important early in life/career. Jack Zenger, an inspiring author and researcher, and CEO of Zenger Folkman (who I happened to meet via a board where we were both helping advance women in leadership), comments that this confidence gap early in a career is particularly stark between men and women, and thus early opportunities for growth may be missed by women not “taking their shot.”

Credit: ZFCO research

Hamilton would advise differently to women in their careers. His advice would be to take your shot when you have it. He stayed true to his advice through the entire musical except at the very end where his shot (literally) could have saved his life.

Talk Less, Smile More

In the song “Aaron Burr, Sir”, Aaron Burr gives Hamilton the advice “to talk less, smile more.” He proceeds to say “don’t let them know what you are against or what you are for.” Hamilton won’t have it. This perspective couldn’t be more opposite of his belief to take a stand. As their relationship continues, Burr’s philosophy ultimately drives Hamilton to support Jefferson for President (despite their disagreements) versus supporting Burr, who he believes stands for nothing.

Although smiling (and listening more) is a good lesson especially as it enables you to gain perspective from others, I am with Hamilton here. It is critical to take a stand for what you believe in. More often than not, I see women in business struggling to bring their unique perspective to the table. I have particularly seen this as I have moved up in my career. Women, myself included, see role models for success in business around us (mostly men). Although learning from others’ successes and failures is important, it is critical to maintain your unique perspective and approach. This is a fine line, learn from others, but be yourself.

Diversity of perspective is critical in decision making. In order for organizations to make the best decisions, differing perspectives need to be valued and encouraged. If I could write the lesson in leadership, it would be “talk less, listen more, but take a stand.”

There is Room for All

Aaron Burr sings in “The World Was Wide Enough” about his duel with Hamilton. The song begins with an emotion-fueled countdown to the shot, and Burr closes with a somber ballad about how he “should’ve known the world was wide enough for both Hamilton and me.” In Lin-Manuel Miranda’s visionary scene, you feel the emotion in Burr’s voice. Fear first, regret second.

As I think about becoming an executive leader, I remember moments long ago in my career where I felt like it was either me getting the opportunity or someone else, and I found myself thinking of it competitively. Often this created internal storytelling, me thinking about it as “her/him” OR “me”. This competitive energy, although good when it comes to business challenges, is ineffective when directed towards people. The storytelling got particularly bad when it was two women vying for the same opportunity. I had a feeling that only one of us would be allowed at the table, as our styles and perspective were so different from what was “valued.” I have learned over time how ridiculous this was, as it not only hurt my effectiveness, but also limited bringing diverse perspective to the table in so many teams.

There is so much room. Instead of being competitive, my job is to support and help strong, confident, smart, resilient women (and men) up the ladder with me. No fear, no regrets.

Thank you Alexander Hamilton, and Lin-Manuel Miranda for these leadership lessons. Happy birthday America.

To All The Mothers on Mother’s Day

Thank you to all the mothers out there (especially mine!). Your tireless and constant commitment to caring for, loving, praising, teaching and supporting your kids is what makes this world a better place.  I only hope that I can give to my kids what I see so many of you giving.

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I was lucky enough today to spend the day with my mom (and of course my lovely kiddos and Jon),  I consider myself the fortunate beneficiary of her love over all of these years.  Thanks Mom!

 

Get Off The Sidelines

I haven’t been posting for quite some time with the excuse that life (work and family) has gotten in my way. What I realized after some reflection this week is that I miss writing about things that matter to me. This blog has been an outlet to make that happen, so here we go again. No promises of my frequency, but you will know, if I am writing here I am probably a bit more balanced than if I am not as it means I am creating the time to reflect (and write). So, I am getting off the sidelines and back in the game.

Over the last week, I have had the fortunate opportunity to attend two separate events that are motivating me to get off the sidelines in a number of ways. The first event was the first ever Utah Wonder Women Summit. The Utah Wonder Women is a group of influential women leaders in Utah working to help each other succeed. The day long summit was an opportunity to convene with a focus on building the visibility of female leadership in Utah. This event was followed by SUREFIRE girls, an event for teenage girls in Utah to help them see the magnitude of opportunities available to them. A big shout out to Jacki Zehner, the original Utah Wonder Women, for her relentless dedication, drive and initiative to make these two events happen.

So much inspiration at these events. This photo is a picture of the SUREFIRE ambassadors, ranging from junior high through seniors in high school, on stage talking about what they are hoping to learn from the SUREFIRE event. I was struck how powerful it was for these teenagers to see a room of 100+ female leaders in the audience focused on helping each other, developing our skills, aspiring to help Utah be a better place for female leadership tomorrow than it is today. But, what made me even more amazed was the energy that I took from these ladies reminding me of my role to get of the sidelines and dedicate even more time and energy to making the community, the state, our business environment and the country a better place for these ladies than it is today.

In case I wasn’t inspired enough leaving the UWW Summit, I headed this week to FORTUNE magazine’s Most Powerful Women Next Generation conference. It was an honor to be able to attend this. I guess you can call it part two of a reinforcement to get off the sidelines. With all of the stories recently about sexual harassment and assault, much of the event had a theme of being vocal. Stories of both a pursuit for gender and race equality as well as the recent #MeToo social movement came from all sides of the room. Business leaders, athletes and entertainers spoke of their own experiences with a call to action to be vocal and through our voices ensure that equality and respect are what we expect. Hope Solo, former goalie of the US Women’s National Soccer team, spoke candidly of her pursuit for pay equality in US Soccer, and her own personal experience with harassment. She also shared her clear belief that she was fired for being vocal.

One of my favorite speakers across these two events was Pat Mitchell. Pat is known for her leadership in the media industry as a CEO, producer and curator. She has used her position of influence and leadership as a force for social change. Among other great accomplishments, she is the host and curator of the global TEDWomen conference. Her talk was on power, and how we need to own it and use it to lead and drive change. Her eloquent speech was calm, reassuring and enabled me to center myself. We often perceive power to be masculine, but it isn’t. The definition of power is the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events. Nothing masculine about that. One of the quotes she shared was from Bella Abzug, a lawyer, member of the US House of Representatives, and social activist and leader of the Women’s movement.

“Women will change the nature of power, rather than power changing the nature of women.” – Bella Abzug

Both of these events came at a great time for me. I have been working very hard lately and am probably off balance with how I am spending my time. I am still home for my family in the evenings at a reasonable time, working out a few times a week and trying my best to be a great spouse. So, it isn’t about work-life balance. That said, I am relentlessly moving when I am gone, pushing myself to always keep taking a step forward on the issues that matter every day in my work. There is a lot of good in this (especially for our business).

What I recognized after this week is that by dedicating so much energy here, I may be missing some of the things that I need to be doing to fulfill my purpose. I need to get off the sidelines, but not in a way that drives more “movement” at the office, or more stress. Instead, getting off the sidelines is about choosing to channel my “movement” to more effectively influence positive change for women in business, media and policy. So, thanks Pat for the advice. I am planning on owning my power and using it to drive change.