GWC Summer Speaker Series With Bozoma Saint John: Lean On Your Sisterhood
Our Summer Speaker Series brings leaders and activists together with our CEO and Founder Reshma Saujani to have conversations about bravery, activism, and tech, broadcasted exclusively to our girls.
We’re so grateful to Bozoma Saint John, CMO of Endeavor and Girls Who Code board member, for helping us kick off our Summer Speaker Series. This has been a challenging time for so many in our community — so we wanted this to be a moment to come together and celebrate the beginning of SIP and this wonderful sisterhood.
Check out what we learned from Bozoma and Reshma below.
Lean On Your Sisterhood
Bozoma reminded us that sisterhood is about more than just cheering each other on during our victories. It’s about the tough moments as well — when you don’t feel heard, when you’re feeling down, when you’re feeling alone. That happened to Bozoma, who said that without some tough love from her sisterhood about not giving up, she wouldn’t have created #ShareTheMicNow — a campaign that encouraged white women to use their platforms to elevate the voices of Black women.
Perhaps, most importantly, our speakers reminded us to accept help from our sisterhood. We all get so focused on what we’re doing for others, we forget that we need support too. As Bozoma said, “we’re not giving the most of ourselves because we’re not receiving.”
Know That You Are Enough
We all question our worth — am I a good friend, sibling, worker, leader? We spend so much energy looking for validation because the world has told us that we aren’t enough. As Bozoma said, “it is not easy to find the confidence to move in a world which tells you that you shouldn’t.”
But she also warned that this lack of confidence can stay with us for the rest of our lives, no matter how qualified we are or how old we are, if we don’t find that confidence with ourselves. It might take the support of our sisterhood to make it stick, but first we need to find the confidence within ourselves.
You Have Influence
When you’re starting out in college or in the workforce, it’s hard to feel like your voice matters. You might be afraid you’ll anger your manager or your professor or your teacher when you have something important to say. And you might feel powerless. But Bozoma reminded us that in order to create change at the macro level, we have to begin at the micro level. Every single one of us has a network that we can engage with — and that’s how you build a movement. It’s why protests are so powerful, because every extra person comes together to form a group that’s too big to ignore.
So if you want to create change in your company, talk to your co-workers. If you want to create change in your community, talk to your family, talk to your friends. Because you will have a big impact and together, your voice will be heard.
It’s Ok to Be Angry
While the headlines may make it seem like inequity is new, we all know it’s been around for centuries. We’ve felt it our whole lives — and it takes a toll. It makes us sad, angry, frustrated. Bozoma reminded us that that’s ok. But while you have that anger, use it — channel it and let it push you to take action.
Women of color have been facing oppression for years and have been forced to swallow anger. Bozoma and Reshma are both saying “enough is enough,” because as Bozoma said, “if you want to see an angry black woman, she’s right here.” And she’s making a difference.
Bravery Takes Work
Maintaining the courage to be brave doesn’t come naturally. It takes work. Reshma always says you have to practice flexing your bravery muscle. But if you want to make a difference, you have to forgive yourself for not being perfect and just start practicing bravery. But it always helps to have a community there cheering you on. So build yourself a council of sisterhood, and keep pushing each other to be brave every single day.
Huge thanks to Bozoma, and of course, to Reshma for having this conversation!
The Girls Who Code Summer Speaker Series is a set of conversations between Girls Who Code Founder and CEO Reshma Saujani and leaders and activists broadcasted exclusively to girls enrolled in our Virtual Summer Immersion Program. Girls have the opportunity to listen in to a fireside chat and then to ask their own questions about bravery, leadership, and tech. To find out more, read our press release here.