The future is right now

WNBA x Players’ Tribune collaboration inspired by this Nneka Ogwumike’s announcement

I watched this Female Quotient live stream on The Future Of Masculinity the other day & one part really caught my attention — surveys show that more men are disengaging. Less men are mentoring. More men are taking inaction. Later that day I asked my 9 year old what “The Future is Female” means to her. Quickly (like, immediately), she said “it’s RUDE”. Confused, I asked her to explain. “Dad, why would we wait for the future? Now… is female. The future is right NOW”. She’s right.

In 2015, a colleague & I stood on stage in front of a couple of thousand Twitter Colleagues (Tweeps!) and asked them to join the #HeForShe movement. To take the pledge to stand in solidarity with women. To not only mentor, but sponsor women to become the next generation of leaders. To do what’s right as HUMANS. “This isn’t a female issue, this is an ALL of us issue” I said — and asked the room to send a DM if they were interested in being a part of this movement. The truth is I didn’t know how people would react. Would 3 people reach out? 10? Before I was off the stage, my phone had buzzed over 300 times. Mostly male colleagues from all over the world from Japan to Dublin to Colorado to everywhere in-between were reaching out to express their passion to get involved.

This confirmed what I believed to be true. There’s no doubt it’s better when the very top of your company supports gender equality. But to drive real change — you need to push from within. I’d love to see us spend more time educating people at every level in organizations around the benefits of equality & diversity. I think back to my early days at Disney. I was at ESPN and part of the HR seminar during your FIRST week included the importance of building diverse teams. Throughout my ten years there, there were numerous sessions and meetings, teaching the ins and outs of why this was critical to our future. Diversity training wasn’t an event. It was something we lived daily.

Numbers don’t lie. Once you truly understand that your company will be more successful (it will) with more females represented across the highest levels — you’ll take action. Once you understand that more innovation will come from diversity of thought — you will start to take action. You’ll start to reach out to sponsor more women. You’ll start to build the most diverse network of people. The more diverse your network becomes, you’re more likely to hire diverse candidates. You’ll start to advocate for more diversity training, for equal pay. You’ll start to hold each other accountable. Best of all, you’ll start to do all of this because it’s the HUMAN thing to do.

Look, we all know the world needs to change. Men must be part of the change. Now is not the time for inaction.

Like my 9 year old said… “the future is right now.”