Last summer, when I was thinking and designing the LatinasInBusiness.us website, I had to decide on different options for the title, the feel and look of the website, its structure and font styles, etc. However, I never had a bit of doubt about the color: it had to be RED.
According to experts, red is “a positive color associated with our most physical needs and our will to survive. It exudes a strong and powerful masculine energy… it is energizing and excites the emotions while motivates us to take action.”
I guess that was the same idea behind the Red Shoe Movement (RSM), the only women empowerment platform born from a grassroots movement and sustained by a movement. Their leader, a world-renowned thought-leader, international speaker, corporate consultant, best-selling author and recently named one of the “25 Mujeres Poderosas” by People en Espanol is Mariela Dabbah, a fearless Argentine-American red-haired whose power and determination has impacted the lives of thousands of women around the globe… and counting.
I have crossed paths with Mariela at different events but never had the opportunity to talk with her about the #RSM. This time we did connect and the conversation went easily into the topic of empowerment.
“Most women looking for empowerment usually end up trying to find a formula that worked for someone else without realizing that their characteristics and personality are likely very different from the person they are trying to emulate. The success of the Red Shoe Movement is based on providing tools for women to find their own definition of success and to follow their own style,” she said.
“Many know the Red Shoe Movement because they have either participated in our signature events, have received training through their workplace, or read my book Find Your Inner Red Shoes,” Mariela told me. “From these experiences, they have discovered what makes them unique, helping them to better align their motivations with their career goals, a very necessary step towards defining your own success.”
And of course, she chose red –the color that excites the emotions and motivates us to take action– for Red Shoe Tuesdays, the idea she coined to encourage women to show weekly support for women’s career advancement by wearing red shoes to work on Tuesday. “We are redefining the leadership development model because we believe it’s broken. For each person, attaining success is a journey that they embark on with their own singular style. What success means to me might not be the same thing it means to you,” she shared.
Mariela believes that our society has set up “male genetic markers” as leadership features, which need to be achieved in order to be considered “successful.” Even if women reach those same levels of success, their genetic makeup is different and consequently, it is hard to transform ourselves into someone we are not. “Unless we redefine the concept of leadership to include the feminine aspects and strengths, it will be very hard to move the needle in female representation at the highest decision-making levels,” she said.
In her book, Find your Inner Red Shoes: Step into Your Own Style of Success, Mariela challenges the concept of success and failure. “The word success derives from the Latin succedere which means ‘come after’ and ‘accomplishment of desired end’…the word failure comes from the old French word faillir, which derives from the Latin fallere: ‘to cause to fall’ or ‘to disappoint’… For each person, success…is a journey which each of us embarks with our own singular style… When we understand success in these terms… it’s possible to move away from the simplistic success and failure dichotomy, which can ultimately create a suffocating ‘no way out’ situation…” (Excerpts from the book’s Introduction).
In response to high demand for its programs, the #RSM now offers the RSM Step Up Program- It’s You.Amplified! It’s a way for individual professional women to access phenomenal content (podcasts, Master Classes, the book, and so on,) have a large, powerful network of year round supporters, and receive other benefits. The program is available in English and Spanish.
“Our approach is a program that motivates and engages women so they take control of their careers and grow. We created a number of tools so it could become a sustainable platform for implementation in organizations that we could replicate and measure. Now, these same tools are available to individuals through our new program that anyone can subscribe to through our website,” Mariela said.
The program has been designed to empower already successful women who want to do even better, tweak their leadership skills, or start them on the journey to achieve new professional as well as personal levels of success. And who cannot use that kind of empowerment?
And Mariela promises in her book: “Once you understand that success is what works best for each person, you’ll be able to shake off the stress that ensues when trying to meet goals you haven’t set for yourself, and most likely don’t even make you happy.”