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Relentless Incrementalism

Sunday, August 10, 2014 @ 9:08 PM

As a long-time journalist, I'm always looking for the "edges" of cultural change and fresh thinking. Here are several items related to women's leadership and the global gender gap, which have caught my attention recently. 

 Relentless Incrementalism -- Compelling two words that a U.S. State Department Foreign Officer recently shared with me over a cup of cofee in Washington, DC. They are her mantra for making a positive difference when working in a new culture and country, which is her life's work.  "First, you have to look for and understand where the cultural "edges" are," she told me. "Then, you try to steadily move them in a positive way. That's relentless incrementalism." I love the image -- two very powerful words that can be a great mindset for just about anything you're trying to accomplish. 

The Confidence Gap -- Atlantic Magazine recently published an article that made my blood boil. Here's the subtitle: "Evidence shows that women are less self-assured than men—and that to succeed, confidence matters as much as competence." I'm sick to death of articles on "what's wrong with women" compared to men. There's NOTHING WRONG WITH WOMEN. We've spent nearly five decades educating ourselves, learning the rules of every professional arena (written by and for men) and acquiring the professional seasoning and savvy that centuries of women were denied the opportunity to learn. Here's the Atlantic Magazine article that had me ranting.  What do you think? Would love to hear your reactions. 

Having It All -- Matt Lauer asked GM CEO Mary Barra whether she could be a both a good Mother and an effective CEO. And Indra Nooyi, long-time CEO of PEPSICO, was asked the same question at the Aspen Institute's recent Ideas Festival. This question has been put to women leaders ad nauseum! It's time to start asking this question of male leaders. When a male CEO recently spoke up about this issue, his frankness made national news. 

Diversity Toll -- Did you hear about the research just released by the University of Colorado, which found that women and people of color can pay a “political price” for aligning themselves and leading around issues of Diversity & Inclusion?  But guess what.  White men earn points for taking the lead on diversity and inclusion! The news made the Wall Street Journal.  This doesn't surprise me, but confirms my believe that the the engagement of men is the "Leadership Missing Link" needed for us to make significant progress. And as for "the price" women may pay for speaking up about the gender gap -- remember Mother Teresa's mantra: Do It Anyway! 

Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund (PXWEX). Finally, here's the most exciting development I've come across in months.  Sallie Krawcheck, former Wall Street SuperStar and now owner of Ellevate (fomerly 85 Broads) has teamed up with Pax World Funds to create a stock mutual fund that invests in 400 of the top female-focused global corporations, including Blue Chips such as Microsoft, Nestle, Xerox and Lockheed Martin.  I recently interviewed Joe Keefe, CEO of Pax World Funds, who told me, "If you don't put your money to work in support of your values, you are leaving your most powerful arrow in your quiver."  Here's the segment that the PBS NewsHour did on the new fund, including interviews with Krawcheck and Keefe. Women’s fund seeks share of prosperity for female-focused firms.  I'm planning to invest. Hope you'll consider doing the same and share this news with your network.

Finally, just for fun, here's a photo with Sloan, a big, powerful, fabulous mare.  Horsin' Around is my favorite way to re-charge my batteries.  

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