Piloting Your Life: In-Flight Entertainment (Warriors Against Mainsplaining) (Aug 7, 2018)
Welcome Back My Feisty Passengers:
I woke up this morning to a beautiful, blue sky and perfect weather. I had a decent night’s sleep after a fun and boisterous evening with some friends where I didn’t overindulge. There was nothing scheduled on my calendar for the day and the work that I needed to do wasn’t expected to be overly taxing or pressing (including drafting this note). In other words, it was all good.
Except that it wasn’t. I also woke up feeling feisty (or feistier than usual). I’d had a couple of experiences where being polite and diplomatic didn’t lead to the outcome I wanted and knew that a change was in order. To change the world, a few feathers need to get ruffled.
I didn’t want to be seen as one of ‘those’ people who engaged in arguments for the sake of the argument without having adequate experience or information on the subject. The thing is, I was avoiding ‘getting into it’ to preserve the peace and was shutting up too quickly on subjects where I did have knowledge and strong opinions. Since I don’t like conflict, I was avoiding engaging entirely.
During a call with my executive coach Bev Ryle last week, we talked about a situation I was recently in where I was being mansplained about something. At that particular time I decided not to engage and, in essence, ‘set down the rope’ in the game of tug-o-war. I just didn’t feel like getting into it and was struggling with why I even had to with these gentlemen who I considered friends and allies. I felt good about how I dealt with the situation (at the time) but Bev pointed out that I still left with the ‘hot potato’ when I should have left it with them. Thanks to Bev, I now have another tool to use when I am in a similar situation.
So why is this important to me today? Right now?
The other night I was in a verbal battle with a gentleman and his daughter on a topic around the double standards applied to women. His daughter, a recent Stanford grad, and I were on the same side. I watched her stand up for herself, for women, and for what she believed to be right. She was so eloquent and so confident. It was beautiful to watch and to be a part of. I left totally inspired by her and with the realization that my generation is not alone in this battle. I look forward to being warriors, side by side, in this battle for equality.
I also realized that to stay silent and avoid the discomfort of standing up for what I know to be right means that I am complicit which is unacceptable. This is especially true around the topics of sexism, racism, other forms of discrimination and abuse.
It’s going to continue to be a battle and not everyone is playing fair. We know that playing fair hasn’t been 100% effective because look at where we are right now. The progress that we have made for women is being pushed back every day by those who are terrified of a level playing field. But we are definitely having an impact as we can see by the extent of the resistance against us. We need to keep pushing against the resistance because now is the time for all of us to come together, men and women, to work to create an equal society and world.
Tuesday Interview: I couldn’t think of a better way to end Season 1 (aka Year 1) than with this week’s guest, Jennifer Ehlen of Brazen Global. Jennifer has a background in private equity and saw inequity in the way that female founders were treated and funded and decided to do something to change this. She started Prosper, a women’s accelerator, and spun out some of the technology into a for-profit company called Brazen Global. She is based in St. Louis and has expanded Brazen Global into 6 other cities and is looking to expand further. I was introduced to Jennifer through a gentleman named Paul Heirendt (also out of St. Louis) whom I met while waiting in line at Launch Festival in April 2017. Paul is a true female ally and I will be forever grateful to him for having introduced me to Jennifer and quite a few others in the St. Louis area. Enjoy and be inspired by my conversation with Jennifer.