Women in Business – The Legal Art of Self-Defense

Contributed article in our Women’s Health series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

There was a time when women were called the “weaker sex” or the “fairer sex,” both implying that she was too weak to do much about defending herself if the need should arise.

Royalty Free Photo

Things have changed greatly in the past few decades and women are now better armed than many men and can fend for themselves with the right set of ‘tools.’ If you are a woman in business, chances are at some point in your career some ill-advised robber will try to attack you for perceived money or goods they think you might be carrying. Why not focus on learning the totally legal art of self-defense? Continue reading

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WHY PUT ON A SHOW IN THESE TURBULENT TIMES? by Pamela Rose


As if spending two years researching, writing, collaborating and rehearsing with extraordinary artists wasn’t challenging enough, lately I’ve been dogged with the question  – why bother, in these turbulent times, to ‘put on a show’?

BLUES IS A WOMAN is a story I can honestly say that I’ve been driven to tell.  The fierce, audacious voices of women in the blues have always inspired me – and of course, carries on the mission of the Wild Women of Song project to honor key women in music.
I began my career as a blues singer: a teenager belting out Bessie Smith and Koko Taylor songs. The fierce, independent messages written and sung by powerful women, helped shape my own identity as a feminist — especially in the mostly-male world of live music in the early 1980’s.

What I did not imagine was just how RELEVANT it all has turned out to be. In Act 2 of BLUES IS A WOMAN, the ensemble turns an eye to post WW2 music and culture.  Everything was changing so fast – as soldiers returned home from the war, there was an uneasy feeling that somehow things should, but wouldn’t, go back to the way they used to be.  Lots of women didn’t want to give up that factory job.  Proud black soldiers couldn’t stomach being called ‘boy’ again.

It was a tectonic shift in American culture – as Aretha sang “Respect” and “Freedom”, protestors took to the streets for Civil Rights and Women’s Rights.  Nina Simone’s “Backlash Blues” is an extraordinary cry against political hypocrisy.

Why put on a show about women and the blues?  Well, as it turns out, there couldn’t be a more important time to remember and celebrate our cultural inter-connectedness.  It turns out this is exactly the right time to celebrate black culture, it’s importance to all popular music, and to hear the voices of powerful women.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
Pamela Rose is a professional musician: vocalist, bandleader, songwriter and educator. While performing weekly in the Bay Area, Rose has also been touring nationally with the Wild Women of Song project, a concert series devoted to giving voice to remarkable women in American music.

Upcoming shows:
Thurs Feb 2 – Angelica’s Redwood City, 7:30 to 9:30 pm
Thurs Feb 16 – BLUES IS A WOMAN show debut – Kuumbwa Jazz Club, Santa Cruz, 7:00 pm
Thurs March 2 – Angelica’s Redwood City, 7:30 to 9:30 pm
Thurs March 30 – BLUES IS A WOMAN CD Release and concert – Freight & Salvage, Berkeley, 8:00 pm
www.bluesisawoman.com
www.pamelarose.com
prosesong@gmail.com

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Finding Women in the Information Systems Environment by Beata Green

Beata GREENThere is a marked gap between the number of male and female students enrolled in computer science in schools. That means very few women are entering into a computing career. Moreover, this is a concern, because the lack of women in information systems careers can actually slow down the economy. Not only that, but the risk trickles down to companies who are missing out on the more diverse teams that studies say will make their businesses more successful.

There are a host of benefits to acquiring female talent, one being better returns. Women, when placed in general leadership positions can offer far higher returns to shareholders and investors.

The fact that there are fewer women in information systems means that they can be very difficult to find, let alone attract for a business. However, there are ways to locate the talented female coders you seek.

Explore Different Networks
Do you currently know any female developers? If you don’t, chances are you won’t be able to use your existing networking channels to find them. Instead, try and connect with individuals from other networks, and explore your opportunities there.

Support and Encourage Existing Female Talent
Are there women who are already working for your organisation that would be a good fit in the developer role? Identify the strengths and qualities you want in a female developer, and then set about finding and interviewing them. Ensuring that potential female developers feel supported and encouraged will help them to feel more comfortable with new challenges.

But the challenge lies not only in finding women to work for your company; it will also require a change to the way your existing company culture is structured. It also requires you to effect a change in how women developers are perceived by those who already work for your company.

Change Your Company Culture
If you are currently working with teams of male coders but want to harness female talent, a culture change will likely be necessary. Many business owners believe that new female team members will simply adapt to the existing company culture. However, this won’t be beneficial to the new team member or to your business. To make any team member feel welcome, you must understand how they communicate, and then learn how to communicate in their language. That includes new female team members.

A Non-Competitive Environment
A non-competitive culture can provide far more benefits to your company than a competitive one. When everyone is on the same playing field, individual talent can be utilised far more efficiently. This kind of environment places importance and value on all team members, and can present a much more welcoming place for coders of all genders to work.

Don’t Change the Focus for Female Interviewees
Believe it or not, talking about the work-life balance your company offers will not impress female interviewees. A woman engineer, coder or developer will be interested in the challenges they will be solving at your company, just as male interviewees would. If you have a set of especially difficult challenges that you are dealing with, put the spotlight on these at the interview.

Some studies suggest that even simply removing any gendered pronouns from employee communication before handing it to your team can be enough. When management shows no gender bias, it can set an example for employees. Although this may seem like a simple solution, it can go a long way to communicating to existing and potential employees that you are interested in talent, regardless of the gender from which it may originate.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Beata Green is Managing Director of HeadChannel Ltd., London based bespoke software development company. She is responsible for overall strategic direction and overseeing the company’s continuing growth, building closer client relationships and maintaining best working practices. She enjoys brisk country walks with her red fox labrador and then relaxing in front of a TV crime drama with a glass of red wine.

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Shirley Wiefling, an Inspirational Early Women Entrepreneur!!

 “I’m particularly thrilled to see Shirley’s story here because . . . she’s my inspiration, my closest friend, and  . . . I’m very fortunate to say that I’m her daughter.  I’m so proud of you, Mom!” – Kimberly Wiefling, Author, Scrappy Project Management and Scrappy Women in Business

Mother by Day, Entrepreneur by Night: Shirley Wiefling Shares Her Inspirational Experience as a Woman at the Forefront of Business.

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Stand up and Sing: Pamela Rose Shares Her Story of Celebrating Women in Early Jazz and Blues by Shannon Galiotto

BiD-Women award 2014 pic Pamela RosePamela Rose presents Wild Women of Song is a captivating showpiece celebrating the lives, times and music of the Women songwriters of the Tin Pan Alley era. With dramatic projected images, and superb storytelling, Rose artfully delivers a cultural retrospective while treating the audience to a wonderful live jazz and blues concert.

I had the wonderful chance to interview Pamela on the phone.  Let us hear her story.
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Interview with Barbara Nunes by Mahima Dutt

Barbara Nunes NEWTalking on the phone with Barbara Nunes, a member of Board of Trustees of the Fremont Union High School District was an honor. Nunes has served as a professor in the SJSU Urban High School Leadership Program for administrative credential candidates; as co-director of Tomorrow’s Leaders Today (a community program for teens); and as a representative on the National Merit Scholarship Advisory Board. She was employed by FUSHD for over 35 years and is caring, hardworking and passionate about her career in education. Nunes discusses her personal reasons for entering the welcoming field of education and what her job has been like a trustee on the board. She also shares memorable aspects of her work as well as learning experiences that helped her grow and succeed.

Q: What prompted you to pursue a career in the field of education?

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Simply Dream Your Own Dream by Madalina Bucheru

madalina_bucheru_blog  KWBeing from Eastern Europe (Romania) always gave me a special view of the world, and pushed me to move forward. Eastern Europe is a wonderful place for vacation trips, river cruises and short 15 seconds bits in the news… For me, as a journalist fresh out of college, it was way more: it was my battle ground, the place where I would become someone, make a difference, have my voice heard. Well, it turned out that was not the case, as getting a decent job in any kind of media would actually be reduced to just two simple basic skills: copy and paste! So there I was, after 4 years in college and working at small newspapers, completely lost and confused on whether journalism has actually a voice in Romania. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a job posting within a nonprofit. And that was the beginning of my own dream.

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Blessings from the School of Hard Knocks by Dr. Kevin B Kreitman

kreitman_kevin_1-9-21-11-6490-2Maybe it was my name.

My parents named me Kevin, although no one had the courage to tell me how, uh, unusual a name like mine was for a girl.  That is, until 3rd grade when a little boy named Kevin joined the class and I asked the teacher why his parents had given him a girl’s name.

I was also blessed with parents who told me that I could do anything I wanted to do that I put my mind to.  I’m sure they didn’t intend for that to include my early career as a motorcycle mechanic and several years as an owner-operator in the long-haul trucking business.
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Closing the Confidence Gap: Stop Waiting for Permission! by Kathy Klotz-Guest

(Originally posted at Kathy Klotz-Guest’s Linkedin Blog on May 06, 2014 – www.linkedin.com/in/kathyklotzguest)

Last week, I wrote about the Confidence Gap for women and how important it is to step up to uncertainty and re-frame the way we look at risk. In that post, I talked about a key concept from improvisation – the cornerstone principle of “yes, and” – that we can use to exercise our risk-taking muscles and build confidence.

Closely related to confidence and risk is the issue of permission. Too many people are waiting for validation and permission to do the most important thing in the world: be themselves and do the things they are passionate about. Stop waiting for the external OK to be you and build what you need to build in the world.

If you want to be great, stop asking for permission.

Kathy Pic1-2 real

Truth In Comedy and Life

There’s truth in comedy. In improvisation, we endow our on-stage partners with character traits: gender, relationships, names, idiosynchrasies, etc., in order to build great scenes.

It’s also important to endow yourself on stage and off. In improvisation, I often hear from women, “Why am I always endowed as a mom, or a teacher, or a girl, or a whatever?” That usually means an uninteresting and weaker character. There is some truth here – men tend to endow women with certain qualities. Hell, I’ve said this very thing in frustration a number of times. Years ago, a great male friend and fellow improviser finally said this to me: “What the hell are you waiting for? Why don’t you jump in there and force the guys to keep up? Don’t put up with that!” He was right. I’ve started a business and an improv group for Pete’s sake. Yet, here I was expecting someone else to endow me, to recognize me…to give me permission to shape my on-stage character. Why? What the hell! It made no sense. I should know better, right?!

Listen, we can’t control what others do. We can control our choices. Where is it written that we can’t self-endow? We don’t have to wait for permission. Permission comes from within.

The next time I was endowed as a mom, I endowed myself as a werewolf. And a mom. See, they are not incompatible. You want to endow me as a mom? Fine. I will be the biggest, most badass mom – on my terms so I am “yes, and-ing” others ANDmyself.

That’s the key. You must “yes, and” yourself, too. Give yourself permission to be, do, explore, discover, and create.

Kathy Pic2-2

Successful People Don’t Wait for Permission; They Choose Themselves

Dharmesh Shah of Hubspot calls it “selecting yourself.” You get to discover yourself and act on your talents. You don’t need to wait for someone to fund you or give you that column in a magazine, or promote you, or tell you how how great your ideas are. Get your ideas out into the world. When you see a need, step up and use your talents.

Here are some ways to give yourself permission:

1. See it and do it. If it’s something that compels you, find a way to do it. Partner with others if you need to. Start first. You don’t have to know all the answers ahead of time. Life isn’t a straight line; it’s a series of comically (at times) twisted turns.Visualize the start and end. You don’t have to know all the pieces in between just yet. Just start. Somewhere.

2. Speak up. If you feel you have something to say and contribute to a conversation, don’t talk yourself out of it. Your point of view is as valid as someone else’s. How many times have you wanted to say something and didn’t? You censored yourself. Unless it’s a tacky comment or an expletive in an inappropriate setting, what’s the worst that could happen if you speak your mind? You would be surprised at the support you might get.

3. Dare to ask the basic questions. You won’t look silly; you’ll learn.

4. “Yes, and” and ask, “What if?” Engage in possibility thinking. Asking “what if” can be a very powerful tool to jump start possibilities and new ideas. “Yes, and-ing” others and yourself can create a positive dynamic. Remember, “yes, and” doesn’t mean wewill do it; it’s simply opening up a space that says to people, “I hear you.” And when you do this, most people will reciprocate that positive energy.

5. Stop apologizing when you don’t need to. “I’m sorry, but….this may be wrong but….” Nope. Stop. You have a right to your opinion. Own it. We use an apology to soften our stance or lower our status to be equal to others. While men do this, too, women do this far more often in my personal experience. It signals a lack of confidence and that we are waiting for approval. You don’t need no stinkin’ badges and you don’t need no stinkin’ approval. Unless you are a jerk or hurt someone’s feelings, you don’t have to apologize for an idea, a presentation, a failure, etc.

6. Take your seat at the table. Stop waiting for the invite and invite yourself. Donna Brazile, well known democratic strategist and CNN contributor, tells a great story of how she wasn’t invited to a meeting early in her career. So she found out what time the meeting was happening and showed up. All the seats had been “taken” by briefcases – where men had claimed their spots. While they standing and discussing, she marched in, physically moved aside a briefcase and took her spot! She spoke up at the meeting and acted as if she belonged there. The results? She was invited to future meetings. She stopped asking to be invited.

You have something to say and something to offer the world. When you own who you are unabashedly and act according to your values, you step into something pretty great – your own power.

Got that blog or book you want to write? That company you want to start? That non-profit that means so much to you? Or maybe it’s just being a badass mom in an improv scene.

Whatever it is, do it. Stop waiting for permission. Choose yourself.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kathy Klotz-Guest, A marketer and storyteller, helps clients tell compelling stories that get results. The founder of marketing strategy and communications firm, Keeping it Human, she also performs improvisational comedy and kicks jargon’s butt.
Email: kathy@keepingithuman.com.

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Men “Versus” Women…NOT! By Pat Obuchowski

PatObuchowski“Women upset everything. When you let them into your life, you find that the woman is driving at one thing and you’re driving at another.”
– George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950) “Pygmalion” (1913)

I spent many years of my career climbing the proverbial ladder in Corporate America. I did what I think is typical of so many women who want to succeed in their careers and be promoted into leadership positions. I looked at who was above me, modeled them, was mentored by them, and got promoted by them. The only problem was that these were always men. I was constantly trying to act less than myself and more like men, even if I would never admit this. Men were my only role models.

As a woman in business, I am always fascinated with the behavior between men and women in the work place. I picked up the latest book by Annis and Gray “Work with Me” in which they define 8 blind spots between men and women in business.

As they state, “There is a conventional wisdom that women and men are no different from each other, have the same aspirations, and are expected to achieve their goals in the same fashion.This is precisely why we are experiencing cultural breakdown today instead of the equality breakthroughs we expected by now.”

“Men and women belong to different species, and communication between them is a science still in its infancy.”
– Bill Cosby

As I do my work in many different organizations, I see that in chastising men for behaving as men, and trying to fix women to act less than themselves and more like men, we are perpetuating a cycle of miscommunication and misunderstanding.

We are not being authentic or honest to each other and more so, to ourselves. Annis and Grey bring an objective (as much as one can be objective) viewpoint into gender intelligence. They find women are not as content in today’s workplace as men are and that women feel valued differently then men. Women feel dismissed for their ideas and excluded from events and opportunities for advancement.

On the other hand, men are generally comfortable in corporate cultures. Their blind spot is not being aware of how their behavior in this primarily male-designed environment affects women. Women’s blind spot is in assuming men’s behaviors are intentional.

In a 2005-2011 Gender Survey by Barbara Annis & Associates they found some very interesting statistics:

  • 82 percent of women say they feel some form of exclusion – whether in business social events and casual meetings, in conversations, or in receiving direct feedback.
  • 92 percent of men don’t believe they’re excluding women.
  • 79 percent of men feel they have to be careful and indirect when providing women critical and timely feedback.
  • 82 percent of women say they want to receive direct feedback from men.
  • 79 percent of men feel appreciated at work while only 48 percent of women feel the same.
  • 82 percent of women want to be recognized for their effort in achieving the results.
  • 89 percent of men want to be recognized for their results.
  • 72 percent of men state that women ask too many questions.
  • 80 percent of women say they prefer to ask questions even when they know the answer.
  • 95 percent of men and women consider trust to be the foundation of a working relationship.
  • 92 percent of women say men earn their trust through caring and concern.
  • 89 percent of men say women earn their trust by showing credibility and competence.

WOW! These are not small percentage differences in culture.

I don’t offer any magical formula to fix this. I just know this needs to change as it is causing a lot of stress and unmanageability in the workplace which overflows into personal lives.

What I do offer is that it doesn’t have to be one side ‘versus’ the other. There are many ways to find the common ground and bridge these gender differences. We simply need to understand where the other gender places his or her greatest value and importance, and why.

“Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation.”
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Pat Obuchowski is the CEO (Chief Empowerment Officer) of inVisionaria. inVisionaria is a company devoted to  helping people and organizations find and achieve their vision and their voice. She works with individuals and organizations that are looking for structure, focus and accountability to set and achieve their goals. She also works with people who are ready to make big changes in the their businesses and their lives and step into the leaders they’ve been yearning to be. People who are ready, willing and able to begin playing their “bigger Game” No kidding. Right now.

The approach to achieve this and create this alliance is individually based and is designed between Pat and each of her clients. She is also a contributing author to “Scrappy Women in Business: Living Proof the bending the Rules Isn’t Breaking the Law.”

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