Answer the call
“In 2018, there were more men named James running Fortune 500 companies than there were women. This year, only one CEO on that list of 500 is a woman of color. Women are 51 percent of the population but hold only 24 percent of the seats in Congress.” –Melinda Gates
The imperative to take action is crucial and women, helping women is a necessity we can not ignore. Here are some quick tips that every woman can use to make a difference…today. Please make the time, we are counting on you.
Step One: Like, Comment and Share on Social Media
Get active on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram – and not just for promoting your own work. Supportive networks strengthen platforms for communication, so following and supporting women on social can increase their reach and improve credibility. Be genuine with comments and compliments, and promote each other’s causes. It may seem like a small step but social support nets big ripples and powerful results.
For example, when I create a post and my tribe of close supporters immediately likes and shares it, the metrics are social proof that the content is relevant and impactful. This confers credibility and an opportunity to promote the post among a broader audience.
Step Two: Forward articles, links and events that might benefit them
This is the age of unfiltered digital chaos. Between phone notifications, news feeds and constant email and texts, most of us experience an unending deluge. According to Statista, the average employee receives 121 emails and over 100 texts per day, not to mention social notifications, messenger and IM on inter-office systems. None of us can catch it all, and we will inevitably miss important, relevant and powerful resources.
Empowering women also means being on the lookout for the best resources to meet their needs. If I see an article that totally supports someone, I take the time to copy and paste the link and share it with them.
For example, my great friend Cosi is a physical therapist serving amputees. I saw a wonderful, inspirational video about the achievements of one amputee and sent it to her. She shared it on her social media. From a simple gesture, she knew that I care deeply about her cause and her success.
Imagine if 10 other women were looking out for you, and the feeling you’d get knowing they had your back. Powerful, right? Challenge yourself to forward the next great event you see to three women. Together we can achieve so much more.
Step Three: Make direct introductions to potentially-great connections
Several years ago I was in a restaurant sitting next to another woman. I overheard her telling the bartender that someone named Karen was looking for a new opportunity. She went on and on about how wonderful Karen was and how she hoped she could help her find a great company. Well, besides being nosy and overhearing, I took the chance to ask her more about Karen, because there is nothing more powerful than a woman championing another woman’s cause and credentials.
I asked her to send me Karen’s resume. I reviewed it, thought of three possibly good fits for her and passed it along. It was not networking, exactly, because I couldn’t recommend her. I did not know Karen and in my book, referrals are sacred and reserved for when you really know someone. So I told my contacts the truth: I had met a woman who was so committed to Karen’s abilities that I felt compelled to pass her information along. Even passing information along is a service we can provide to other women. Turns out, I ended up meeting and hiring Karen (the friend was right!).
Challenge yourself to make direct introductions for potential connections. We can give a helping hand, support and, importantly, hope. Karen later told me that she was stunned my willingness to help her. It was the positive boost that she needed. Imagine if your world was multiplied by 10 people making one great introduction. Women can empower each other honestly, and rock the world.
Step Four: Make the call and ask someone to be your mentor
The best way to create lasting change in your life is to build a relationship with a woman who has been there, accomplished great things and/or is simply a great listener.
After a recent speech at a Women’s Conference, two wonderful women came up and thanked me for my presentation. Later, one of them asked me to be her mentor in launching her new business. The most important step came next: she created an outline for what that meant in terms of time commitment. This way I could honestly commit or refer her to some other great options. In this case, I said yes because she was very clear and specific about what she needed, wanted and expected. We created a plan, a timeline and we were off!
It has been a wonderful experience for both of us, collaborating and strategizing to achieve many goals and long term growth for her new venture. If she had not come up at the conference, she would not have gained a mentor that day. The answer is always no if you don’t ask.
Step Five: Answer the call, volunteer to mentor another woman
No matter where you are in life, your story and experience have value to another woman who is making her way.
There are many kinds of great mentors: some are specific and pointed in their feedback and advice; some listen deeply and ask thoughtful questions. Women building each other up through mentorship exponentially impacts the world. In these relationships, we get over “false competitiveness” and look instead at what we have in common.
One mentoring relationship is all it takes, and you can frame out a time commitment that works for you. If you don’t know where to start, join a local women’s organization, or nonprofit. Share your desire to offer your service with the leadership there.
Some of my proudest moments and greatest achievements have to do with cheering someone else on! For example, when I was a VP of Marketing at a tech company, I sent an email to colleagues about a job opening in my department for a marketing assistant. Claire was a recent college graduate with dual major and she was an amazing artist as well. Immediately I saw her greatness, her potential and her spirit. I hired her and started a mentoring relationship that has lasted through so many changes: I have attended her wedding, cheered the launch of her own business and now her own event planning app called Event Slayer!
Mentoring is a paycheck of the heart you won’t regret. Say yes; take a leap.
Light Your Fire –