This morning I spoke at Goldenwest College, for a leadership lunch they put together in honor of International Women's Day. To be honest, this year I have been feeling a little salty about Women's Day -- it came during a week where I was feeling a lot of sexism very keenly. I had a string of similar client conversations about how misogyny plays out in relationships, the political news of the world was getting me down... I was frustrated with the idea that we can treat so much of the population so terribly, so insidiously, and then pay lip service one day a year. I didn't post on my social media, I didn't do a blog post... I just avoided it.
So I get to the college today to speak, and I immediately have a moment of -- deep breath, Roya. You know what you want to say. I was worried that it would be a room full of people congratulating themselves and patting each other on the back, in a week where I feel like we all have So Much Work To Do.
I was so, so pleased with the overall event. There were 5 speakers, myself included - and I felt like we were a Venn Diagram of women's experiences in leadership -- a lot of shared stories and similar processing, but through very different venues. We had an architect, an activist, a student, a therapist (hi!), and a politician. No two people shared the same cultural background (props to the organizer for that!) and I left feeling a lot more energized than I did when I walked in.
I was taken by the intersectionality of the event, and the way that these women were all really claiming their femininity -- making the criteria for "good leader" much more accessible to traditionally under represented populations. I loved the combination of big picture inspiration, with the stories of real life equality opportunities, like
"we need a daycare during meetings," and "we need a women's restroom at this location."
The last little exercise we did was to look across the table at someone and say - If I can do it, you can too.
It felt inviting. I felt encouraged.
I spoke about the power of play in fostering leadership, and I left a little more excited to carry on my mission.
Being in spaces that support women is a really important thing. It's why I work with so many mothers, both in my practice and as a leader for the MOB Nation. If you don't have a space like that in person, find some online. Make them. I'm so grateful for the student life employees who are creating these events for students on their campuses. I'm so grateful for groups like the MOB Alliance, changing the face of female owned business, and what leadership looks like.