I wanted to share some personal reflections about our very successful and recent Female Leadership event we conducted in the New Jersey/New York region. These opinions are my own and in no way reflect the opinions of others who participated at the event.
Contrary to what often happens in social media, where people usually post their most successful moments, I want to bring some reflections that I hope will generate productive discussions moving forward.
The GOOD: The event got great reviews from participants, as we have profusely shared on social media. I would say the best part was the energy in the room, the discussions generated by guest speakers and coaches, and the friendliness. Please see photo gallery and testimonials!
It was a Saturday and a long day! Even if most attendees agreed that it was worthwhile, it was a very long day. Thanks to our volunteers and all the people who helped us put the event together, we pulled it through but I felt I had been run over by a truck the next day … and the next! We will definitely review our format for a more productive day.
The white elephant in the room is, why women do not support each other? We discussed it at the event and with some of the speakers, and there is always a dose of extreme judgment about each other in women in any position or role.
In the words of Arlene Quinones-Perez, partner at the hosting Corporate Sponsor and one of our speakers, ““Other women would judge harshly their female counterparts –even more than men do,” she said. “Being a woman is like having a cross on your back that makes you more visible.”
In my own experience, men are usually more readily eager to give a hand, open a door, say a word of support or are even more forgiving than women. I have found it difficult to deal with women who have the power to make decisions to support me and still choose not to –people that know me personally, not talking about strangers.
I understand that conditions are not always in favor of supporting a project or an initiative –I do not expect positive results 100% of the time but… Send me a nice response acknowledging my efforts. Pick up the phone and get to know me better -after all, I am one of you! Tell me NO with a reason and a smile, for God’s sake!
And then, of course, there are the great exceptions to this rule, and those who ALWAYS take the time to answer an email or pick up the phone, no matter how high in the structure or how busy they are –and you know who you are!
You might say I am venting with you and yes, I am! Because we need to bring these topics to the table if we are authentic in our promises to rising together. I’ve been in large Latina leadership meetings in which final conclusions of the meeting were around supporting and empowering each other and then… nothing!
So today I want to share with you a fantastic NO response I got from a company based in New Jersey. It is an example of professional courtesy and exceptional vision, in my view, because it talks about the culture of a company. I knew nobody in the company and my request was a total “cold call.”
And here it is:
My name is Flor Wickham, I support Rita Mitjans and the ADP Foundation. Thank you for your email.
As you can imagine, the ADP Foundation receives many more requests to participate in funding endeavors than our limited resources will permit. This leads to difficult decisions in establishing priorities and means that a number of important activities and requests, such as yours, cannot be supported by the Foundation. Our focus is to support our associates philanthropic giving by matching associate donations, supporting education through scholarships for children of ADP Associates and giving to key education partners, and with the remainder we try to focus giving where there is significant associate engagement. Our sponsorships are based on a more national/global reach aligned with our CSR pillars.
Best of luck to you and we commend you for the work you are doing with female leaders worldwide.
Flor Wickham | Director
Corporate Social Responsibility
Kudos to you, Ms Wickham, and for raising the bar on professional courtesy!
There is no one person who can do this alone- you might think you can but reality is, we all need to work together! Be willing to open doors for other women, because others have opened doors for you! That is the practice of true leadership!
What is your experience on women supporting each other? Do you find it more often in certain environments than in others? And what can we do to make it better?