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Making a Difference!

Posted by YWM on December 15, 2013

Business and Professional Women’s Foundation, CEO Deborah L. Frett delivered the commencement address at Park University on Saturday, December 14, 2013.  Following is the text of her speech. 

John Frett, Deborah Frett, President Droge, Dr. Molly Droge

John Frett, Deborah Frett, President Droge, Dr. Molly Droge

President Droge, Dr. Molly Droge, Board Chair Ann Mesle and Trustees, faculty, parents, distinguished guests, and graduating students, good morning.  For those of you currently serving or who have served in the military thank you and your families for your service.

It is an honor for me to present here at Park University especially due to your long standing commitment to advance the education and career development of veterans.  This includes Park’s astute recognition of women veterans’ unique needs.

But of course the key group today is you, the graduates. We are here today to honor you and recognize your accomplishment and to celebrate this major life event with you, your family, friends and the Park University community.

We all are very proud of you.  This is your achievement.  Relish it!

But of course know it is not the end.  As Newton D. Baker said, “The [person] who graduates today and stops learning tomorrow is uneducated the day after.”  Therefore embrace lifelong learning!

As you reflect on how you got to this point, I know that each of you did it in your own unique and special way.  And however you did it, as you reflect on your future, it is sometimes too easy to focus on how unpredictable the world may seem right now. In order to identify and take advantage of the opportunities before you, you need to always:

•    recognize and celebrate the progress you have made,
•    seek ways to improve yourself,
•    challenge your ability to see and keep your vision,
•    continually learn from your experiences, and, most importantly,
•    take personal responsibility for and ownership of your life.

You have started down that road by getting your degree today.  Now you need to decide what you are going to do with it.  How are you going to use what you have learned and will you make a difference?

I was very fortunate to have parents who modeled the values I wish to emphasize today:  reaching as high as you can and giving back.  They were excellent role models and ahead of their time.  My mother was a working woman and showed me by example I could do anything I wanted regardless of what others said or thought.  My father encouraged me to play sports, to not be afraid and to appreciate those who served in the military – as he was a WWII Navy veteran. They shared family duties during an era where that was almost unheard of.  We didn’t have a lot of money but had a rich upbringing learning about:

•    teamwork,
•    having one’s back,
•    respecting each other,
•    embracing our individuality,
•    and doing what each of us could to make a difference in the world.

Now, as a graduation speaker, I am in an enviable and humbling position to impart a bit of advice as you move on to your next lifetime milestones whatever they may be. Each will be different, because you are all individuals with your own talents, dreams and visions.  And be sure to think about how you will measure your success. As we all know, one way is monetary, but I don’t believe that money-only is what in the long run you will find fulfilling.  Even Henry Ford said that “a business that makes nothing but money, is a poor business.”

It is vital that you find your passion and find ways to make a difference in your communities and in the lives of others.  Whether it is your paid career or your volunteer avocation, your passion should light up your life. Find what makes you happy and live it. It doesn’t need to be a grand gesture, just one that is true to your inner self.

There are basic but important things you can do in your daily lives that can make a difference. Things you may already do as a matter of course. For instance:

•    To the men in the audience:  Respect the women in your life and serve as that role model for boys and other men;

•    To the women in the audience:  Respect the men in your life and encourage and empower girls and women and serve as that role model for them;

•    And all of us can give back to those who are or have served us and our country.  As an example, you can befriend a military family, volunteer to help a caregiver, or as my organization, Business and Professional Women’s Foundation encourages:  be a mentor.  It is certainly a rewarding way to give back.

As I mentioned earlier, while the world today might seem problem plagued, overwhelming and confusing, we cannot and must not rely on others to change it and make it better.  Each of us needs to take action and make it happen.  Nor can we become complacent or accepting of the status quo.  As Will Rogers observed, “Even if we are on the right track, if we stand still, we will get run over by the next train.”

We each need to keep moving ahead, make our voices heard and take concrete actions to make a difference.  And with your degree in hand it is your turn to step up and set an example for others.

Knowing about the mission of Park University your education here has prepared you to seek ways to serve the greater good. Park is working to help “build the creative, caring workforce and citizenry that our world desperately needs.”  And it is you, the Park graduate, who must take that promise and commitment out into the world and make it a reality.  Park has served you by getting you to this point, now it is up to you.  Go out into the world – find your passion –  and make a difference.  Each of you can make your own impact!

So, how can you actualize your passion, serve others and make a difference?

First,   Set high goals for yourself

Don’t limit your aspirations.  You may not reach all of your goals but reaching is what is important.  Through reaching you will grow and inspire others.  As Eleanor Roosevelt pointed out, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Second Promote your causes in your personal and professional life

I have been fortunate to have had several jobs during my career that helped me live my passion.  As Executive Director of SeniorNavigator, I was on the ground floor in establishing a one-stop resource to help seniors and their caregivers.  This had been a particular passion of mine as I had cared for my mother who was afflicted with Alzheimer’s for over 15 years.  As a caregiver and working woman I understood the desperate need for this kind of service. I am pleased to say that it is still an important central resource for Virginia seniors and caregivers.

Now working for a woman’s organization, I am involved in issues of pay equity, breaking that glass ceiling, stopping violence against women and most recently helping women veterans transition from military to civilian careers through mentoring.  All things I am passionate about.

While I may have managed to marry my passion with my job in recent times, that hasn’t always been the case.  But throughout my career I have found time to mentor others, involve my company in community outreach programs and to do volunteer work outside of the job. And I can tell you that my life is better for the time I spent on these activities.

Third,  Embrace your fears and always make new mistakes

As you leave the safe environs of university life, you will face many decisions and come to many forks in the road. I am not going to tell you not to be afraid but I am going to tell you to do the things you fear and when you make mistakes, which you will, make new ones.  That way you will always be learning. Take the new knowledge gained and use it to forge a new path forward.

Next,  Celebrate Diversity

I urge you to embrace and seek out diversity for that is how we learn about other cultures and discover new ideas. With diversity comes a myriad of opinions and interpretations, both key to innovation and solving common problems. Learning from and appreciating differences will help us all survive and grow.

And finally,  Remember always work-life-family balance

In my current job as CEO of Business and Professional Women’s Foundation, not only do we believe that diverse workplaces are important, we believe that one of the key tenets of a successful workplace is one where you have the flexibility to pursue your outside interests and spend time with family and friends.

Therefore, I hope you will try and achieve work-life balance and enjoy and take time for your family and pursue interests outside of your job. It may be hard to achieve but when you look back on your life, you will be glad you took the time.  A quote I like about life is by Dianne Ackerman.  She said. “I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find I have lived just the length of it. I want to live the width [and breadth] of it as well.” I think that is very good counsel.  After all, life is not just a linear line!

So as you leave this special place of learning and growth, celebrate your achievements, reflect on the many lessons you have learned and use them to develop your vision so you are ready for every opportunity.  In honor and  memory of Nelson Mandela, let’s embrace his words, “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived.  It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
As you head out into the world, degree in hand, remember the enthusiasm and hope you have right now, and use it to make a difference, today and every day!

Congratulations to you all!

Posted in Diversity, Education, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Misbehavin’ Notification: Career Advancement Scholarships Awarded

Posted by YWM on August 23, 2012

Business and Professional Women’s Foundation Scholarships

Help Women Advance Their Careers through Education

 Twelve  women, including one veteran, are one step closer to fulfilling their dream of finishing school and advancing their careers, thanks to Career Advancement Scholarships from the Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Foundation.

BPW Foundation established the Career Advancement Scholarship Program in 1969 to provide financial assistance to financially disadvantaged women seeking to further their education. Scholarships are provided to women 25 years of age or older, who wish to advance in their careers or are soon to enter or re-enter the workforce.  Most of this year’s scholarship recipients are pursing degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) or related fields. Supporting women in non traditional fields has long been part of the mission of BPW Foundation.

“BPW Foundation scholarships have a profound effect both on the women who receive them and on their communities.   Many recipients use the degrees they earn with the help of a BPW scholarship to work in careers that directly impact the quality of life in their communities,” explained Dr. Sheila Barry-Oliver, Chair of the BPW Foundation Financial Aid Committee. “That is why BPW Foundation has the application and screening process done through BPW Foundation state and local Legacy Partners. They know the women in their communities.”

Scholarship recipients must have been accepted at an accredited educational institution and be within two years of completing their undergraduate degree.  Over the years, demographics have shown that the average recipient is a 37 year-old single mother of two children.  Twenty-five percent of the recipients have received public assistance at one time or another and 40 percent of the recipients are the first in their immediate family to earn a college degree.

“Once again I am so impressed by the quality of the applicants and heartened by their stories and drive.” BPW Foundation CEO Deborah L. Frett said. “I am so pleased to be part of an organization with a program that has such a profound impact on women, with limited opportunities but unlimited potential.”

Career Advancement Scholarships are made possible through the long time generosity and commitment of BPW Foundation donors.  For every gift given, 95% directly funds our programs supporting working women, their families and successful workplaces.

Scholarships are for $1,000 or more. Following is the list of scholarship recipients, their home states and degree aspirations:

Career Advancement Scholarships

Rachel Contizano, BBA Business, Denver, CO

Brooke Gianelloni Weiss, BS, Earth and Environmental Sciences, New Orleans, LA

Erin R. Dunphy, BSN, Beverly, MA

Niekeiya N. Williams, BS, Electrical Engineering Technology, Houghton, MI

Shawna Fisher, BSN, Smithton, MO

Rebecca L. Guerrero, BSN, Scottsbluff, NE

*Chanon Robinson, BS, Speech and Hearing Sciences, Fayetteville, NC

Anastasia Mercier, BS, Psychology/Health Science, Franklin, NH

Angela Marie Hoeltje, BS, Electrical Engineering, Zelienople, PA

Susan R. Ledford, BS Accounting/BA Psychology, Spartanburg, SC

Heather Nicole Fuller Albert, BS, Communications Disorders, Woodville, TX

Janet Graham, BS Human Services, St. Johnsbury, VT

The participating Legacy Partners that selected the recipients are Colorado Business Women, BPW/Louisiana, BPW/ Massachusetts, BPW/ Michigan, BPW/Missouri, Nebraska BPW Foundation, BPW/North Carolina, BPW/New Hampshire, BPW Pennsylvania, BPW/South Carolina, Texas BPW Foundation, BPW/Vermont.

*Chanon Robinson is a veteran.

Posted in Education, Misbehavin' Notification, STEM, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

January is National Mentoring Month

Posted by egehl on January 4, 2012

January marks National Mentoring Month in honor of all of the wonderful mentors out there working to help others reach their life goals. All of us need mentors at varying stages of life. Mentors help children to succeed in school, support colleagues with figuring out their career paths, or provide invaluable wisdom and guidance when a friend is faced with a hard decision. Mentors can play many different roles and typically they are someone that has your best interests at heart, and can provide feedback and support that you trust and value.

I am lucky to have found mentors throughout my life who have helped to guide me through a number of important decisions. In this tough job market when networking and building relationships is key to securing a new position, having a mentor can be instrumental in guiding you through that process. Mentors are also extremely helpful when you are still deciding on what type of work to pursue and how to reach your professional goals.

In my experience, mentors have been some of my best fans supporting me in every endeavor I undertake. They know my professional ethic, work product and overall value firsthand and have a clear sense of how to convey it to others. Mentors are the people I go to for recommendations, advice on a job search, or when I am seeking to connect to new people and information. They are my friends, colleagues and confidants.

BPW Foundation has launched a new mentoring program specifically geared toward women veterans. BPW Foundation believes that women veterans especially need mentoring assistance as they make what can be a challenging transition back into the civilian workforce. The BPW Foundation Inaugural Joining Forces for Women Veterans National Summit in October, 2010, identified an ongoing need for women veterans and military spouses to find informed, trusted outlets to assess their goals and navigate their way to successful careers –careers that provide economic stability for themselves and their families.

Therefore to meet the needs of these women, BPW Foundation has launched the “Joining Forces for Women Veterans and Military Spouses Mentoring Plus” program. Through this effort, BPW Foundation will develop the tools, outreach, and capacity to support a long term goal of engaging 100,000 women mentors to connect with women veterans and military spouses. By the end of 2012, 10,000 of the total number will be recruited in collaboration with their launch partner, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The BPW Foundation is honored to have received recognition from The Office of the First Lady and the Joining Forces effort, which has highlighted the “mentorship gap” in their selection of BPW Foundation as the point organization for a large-scale mentoring initiative to benefit women veterans and military spouses.

This month think about becoming a mentor or perhaps strengthen the relationship you already have with your mentor. It’s important to maintain your ties with your mentor and keep them up-to-date regarding your professional endeavors so they know how to help you.  And finally, consider becoming a mentor to a woman veteran by getting involved with BPW Foundation’s mentoring program. For more information please visit the website.

Posted in BPW, Education, Mentoring, Military Families, Successful Workplaces, Women Veterans | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Misbehavin’ Notification: Scholarships Help Women Advance Their Careers through Education

Posted by YWM on December 15, 2011

Ten women are getting early holiday gifts, thanks to Career Advancement Scholarships from the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation.  This enables them to move closer to fulfilling their dreams of finishing school and advancing their careers.

BPW Foundation established the Career Advancement Scholarship Program in 1969 to provide financial assistance to financially disadvantaged women seeking to further their education. Scholarships are provided to women 25 years of age or older, who wish to advance in their careers or are soon to enter or re-enter the workforce.  This year’s scholarships focused on recipients pursing bachelors degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) or related fields. These fields are careers where women are traditionally under-represented.

“BPW Foundation scholarships have a profound effect both on the women who receive them and on their communities.   Many recipients use the degrees they earn with the help of a BPW scholarship to work in careers that directly impact the quality of life in their communities,” explained Dr. Sheila Barry-Oliver, Chair of the BPW Foundation Financial Aid Committee. “That is why BPW Foundation has the application and screening process done through BPW Foundation state and local Legacy Partners. They know the women in their communities.”

Scholarship recipients must have been accepted at an accredited educational institution and be within two years of completing their degree.  Over the years, demographics have shown that the average recipient is a 37 year-old single mother of two children.  Twenty-five percent of the recipients have received public assistance at one time or another and 40 percent of the recipients are the first in their immediate family to earn a college degree.

“Once again I am so impressed by the quality of the applicants and heartened by their stories and drive.” BPW Foundation CEO Deborah L. Frett said. “I am so pleased to be part of an organization with a program that has such a profound impact on women, with limited opportunities but unlimited potential.”

Career Advancement Scholarships are made possible through the long time generosity and commitment of BPW Foundation donors.  For every gift given, 97% directly funds our programs supporting working women, their families and successful workplaces.

Each woman is receiving a $2000 grant. Following is the list of scholarship recipients, their home states, and degree aspirations:

Career Advancement Scholarships

Laura Schumacher, Grass Valley, CA 95949, BSN

Layne Jackson Hubbard, Denver, CO, BS, Neuroscience

Leslie Venable Adams, Denham Springs, LA, BSN

Erin R. Dunphy, Beverly, MA, BSN

Jeannine Padilla, Ronan, MT, BS, Computer Science

Christina Palmer, Weddington, NC, BSCE (Civil Engineering)

Anastasia Mercier, Franklin, NH, BS, Psychology/Health Science

Kristin E. Leonard, Jersey Shore, PA, MS, Forensic Anthropology

Susan R. Ledford, Spartanburg, SC, BS, Accounting/BA Psychology

Michelle Lopez Michaelson, Little Elm, TX, BSN

Posted in Career Advancement, Education, Misbehavin' Notification, Non Traditional Jobs, STEM, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Misbehavin’ Notification: Scholarships Help Women Advance Their Careers through Education

Posted by YWM on October 27, 2011

Five women, including one veteran, are one step closer to fulfilling their dream of finishing school and advancing their careers, thanks to Career Advancement Scholarships from the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation.  A total of $10,000 was divided among the recipients.

BPW Foundation established the Career Advancement Scholarship Program in 1969 to provide financial assistance to financially disadvantaged women seeking to further their education. Scholarships are provided to women 25 years of age or older, who wish to advance in their careers or are soon to enter or re-enter the workforce.  This year’s scholarships focused on recipients pursing bachelors degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) or related fields. These fields are careers where women are traditionally underrepresented.  One Seattle, WA recipient was awarded both a Career Advancement Scholarship and a Women Veterans Advancement Scholarship.

“BPW Foundation scholarships have a profound effect both on the women who receive them and on their communities.   Many recipients use the degrees they earn with the help of a BPW scholarship to work in careers that directly impact the quality of life in their communities,” explained Dr. Sheila Barry-Oliver, Chair of the BPW Foundation Financial Aids Committee. “Because of that fact, this year the initial application and screening process was made through BPW Foundation state and local Legacy Partners in Louisiana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington.”

Scholarship recipients must have been accepted at an accredited educational institution and be within two years of completing their degree.  Over the years demographics have shown that the average recipient is a 37 year-old single mother of two children.  Twenty-five percent of the recipients have received public assistance at one time or another and 40 percent of the recipients are the first in their immediate family to earn a college degree.

“I am impressed by the quality of this year’s applicants and heartened by their stories and drive. The inclusion of a woman veteran this year is very welcome as we work to support this important group,” BPW Foundation CEO Deborah L. Frett said. “I am so pleased to be part of an organization with a program that has such a profound impact on women, with limited opportunities but unlimited potential.”

Career Advancement Scholarships are made possible through the long time generosity and commitment of BPW Foundation donors.  For every gift given, 97% directly funds our programs supporting working women, their families and successful workplaces.

Posted in Career Advancement, Education | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

A Lesson to be learned

Posted by YWM on August 31, 2011

Something to think about as school starts.

This true story has been circulating on the Internet and we thought it was worth sharing with our readers.

Back in September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a social studies school teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock , did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with the permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she removed all of the desks out of her classroom.

When the first period kids entered the room they discovered that there were no desks.

‘Ms. Cothren, where are our desks?’

She replied, ‘You can’t have a desk until you tell me how you earn the right to sit at a desk.’

They thought, ‘Well, maybe it’s our grades.’

‘No,’ she said.

‘Maybe it’s our behavior.’

She told them, ‘No, it’s not even your behavior.’

And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third period.  Still no desks in the classroom.

By early afternoon television news crews had started gathering in Ms. Cothren’s classroom to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room.

The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the deskless classroom, Martha Cothren said, ‘Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he/she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom.  Now I am going to tell you.’

At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it.

Twenty-seven (27) U.S. Veterans, all in uniforms, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk.  The Vets began placing the school desks in rows, and then they would walk over and stand alongside the wall.  By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place those kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned.

Martha said, ‘You didn’t earn the right to sit at these desks.  These heroes did it for you..  They placed the desks here for you. Now, it’s up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens.  They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. Don’t ever forget it.’

In 2006, The Veterans of Foreign Wars named Martha Cothren as their “Teacher of the Year.”

As school starts and we continue our daily lives don’t forget that August was the deadliest month yet for U.S. forces in the nearly 10-year war in Afghanistan with 66 of our brave soliders dying so that this nation’s children can start school.   We can thank them by supporting our veterans when they return home from defending our freedoms and the freedoms of others.  Sign up to get updates on the BPW Foundation Joining Forces for Women Veteran’s Mentorship program and lean how you can help.

Posted in Combat, Education, Joining Forces for Women Veterans, Military, Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Joining Forces: Women Veterans Speak Out

Posted by danielleac on August 30, 2011

Read the latest article of BPW Foundation’s every-other-week Joining Forces feature that brings us the voices of women veterans telling their stories.  If you are a women veteran who would like to share your story, please contact us through our Joining Forces for Women Veterans Facebook page, or email dcorazza@bpwfoundation.org

In the Spirit of Entrepreneurship..

by Danielle Corazza

I’ve got a lot to learn.

I’ve always been a fan of the idea of being my own boss, and in light of the newly enacted 5% set-asides for women-owned small businesses (WOSBs), on top of the existing 3% set-aside for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs), the timing seems right for me to strike out on my own. But first, I needed to figure out how to do it!

Thanks to a grant from the Small Business Administration, Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management has developed a program specifically for women veterans to learn how to be entrepreneurs: the Veterans as Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) course.

After applying and being accepted, my books arrived a week later, with instructions on how to log into the online course that was going to be my guide for the next month (at the end of a month’s worth of online instruction there is a three day, face-to-face conference).

I’m not sure what I expected, but I don’t think I realized how much I needed to learn about the proper way to go about being in business for yourself. I mean, I’ve got an Masters in Business Administration.. I’ve written business plans for school assignments, and I’d consider myself a great proposal writer… but, I have never taken the time to drill down to the aptly named Nuts and Bolts of taking an idea and making it a reality..

Although a bit tasking (you try developing a marketing plan overnight!), the course so far is great. Not only is it thorough, but the other 199 women veterans I’m interacting with are inspiring and the camaraderie among us is growing tremendously as we each find our comfort zone.

Fingers crossed, as I’m not done yet, but I can’t wait to learn more!

(Danielle is enrolled in V-WISE’s Baltimore Session, for more information and a schedule of upcoming classes, visit their website.)

Posted in Career Advancement, Education, Joining Forces for Women Veterans, multigenerational, Small Business, Uncategorized, Veterans, Women Veterans | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Ambition: The Key to Closing the Gender Gap (Really?)

Posted by knbarrett on June 3, 2011

“We will never close the achievement gap until we close the ambition gap,” said Sheryl Sandberg in her commencement address at Barnard College.  Sandberg highlighted the gender segmentation across leadership categories.  From heads of state to the board room – women are under-represented in positions of leadership. In her speech, Sandberg called on young women to “think big” and take up leadership positions because, “leadership belongs to those who take it.” She argued that far too many women make career decisions based on future family responsibilities – e.g. medical student who chooses a less demanding specialization. Instead of “leaning back” from a career before it’s even started, Sandberg urged to women to “lean in” to their careers – full speed ahead. She concluded by telling the graduates of her hope that they would all leave with aspirations of running the world because, “Women all around the world are counting on you.”

The speech left me feeling oddly disturbed instead of inspired. There was something troubling about pinning women’s under-representation in leadership roles to their collective lack of ambition.  Not only is the argument uncritical of the external factors that shape women’s economic outcomes, but it is also uncritical of current definitions surrounding success and ambition.

First, Sandberg’s speech contains overtones of Girl Power. Just believe in yourself – the sky is the limit. Embrace your awesomeness. The problem with the message of Girl Power is that women’s outcomes are linked to their individual ambition and choices.  Social norms, practices and institutions that shape the economic opportunities available to men and women are overlooked. By focusing on the self, gender discrimination becomes a personal obstacle to overcome rather than a societal issue rooted in structural inequalities that must be removed. It’s far easier when it’s an individual issue, right? It means that we no longer need feminism.  We no longer need to belong to a movement that works to identify and address gender-based constraints in the workplace. We no longer need to care about how workplace policies and practices affect men and women differently. Girl Power suggests that all I need to do is show the world that I am a strong, strong woman.

Second, Sandberg’s admonitions are uncritical of current definitions of success and ambition. She seems to define both words using masculine norms – reaching the top. Could it be that we, as a society, need to rethink how we define success? In David Brooks’ recent  op-ed “ It’s Not About You” he argues that the expressions of individualism found in so many commencement speeches – find your passion, chart your own path – do a disservice to graduates. Adulthood isn’t about finding yourself or finding your passion. Instead, “A successful adult makes sacred commitments to a spouse, a community and calling.” The current workplace, however, continues to idealize a worker who is solely devoted to the job.

As a good friend posited, “Could it be that women have it right? They often make intentional choices to live a life that includes work, family and community responsibilities.” As a society, shouldn’t we be more concerned about men’s unchecked ambition? Should men really get a pass on family and community responsibilities because they were pursuing their dreams?  Our country has the most family-hostile public policy in the developed world. These policies are not just women’s issues. They are workforce issues. Masculine norms that lead to discriminating and inflexible work environments are disadvantageous to men as well as women. Addressing differential workplace outcomes for men and women requires a larger social push to examine and redefine the notion of success in the workplace.

The percentage of leadership positions held by women is a key index used to measure gender equality. If we are really concerned about closing the gender achievement gap, we will have to do more than address the ambition gap.

We want to know your thoughts on ambition, success and the workplace. If you are Generation Y woman (born 1978-1994), please consider participating in our national survey on workplace issues. Each participant who completes the survey will be entered to win a $75 gift card.

Posted in Career Advancement, Education, Feminism, Gen Y, Gen Yner, girls, Lifestyle | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Still Waiting for Superman?

Posted by joyinhome on December 7, 2010

 

Yesterday I saw a snippet of Oprah where she revisited a conversation with former chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools, Michelle Rhee, broadcast during the promotion for documentary, Waiting for Superman. Rhee was back to announce her decision to fight for the nation’s children by creating Students First.

Now, as a DC resident, I was not a Rhee fan, but I did not disagree with all of her actions. If you are an educator but are not serving our children you need to go- PERIOD. Too many educators are burnt out, just coming to earn a check and mistreating our children. Yet, I was impressed yesterday by her announcement and her decision to begin a MOVEMENT on behalf of our children.

As a nation, we should be in an uproar but sadly we are not. Access to quality education in this country is inextricably linked to class and race; interestingly, all of our children are losing ground relative to other nations. Until we realize we all have a stake in all children succeeding, it will not be a priority. The resources allocated to our public education system and their management is dispicable, not to mention the resources allocated to our youth, in general. The United States has fallen so behind in education, it is quickly becoming an issue that has national security implications. If you are unable to produce scientists, economists, researchers, engineers…

I admittedly have not seen this movie. As an education advocate, I received invitations to private screenings but was unable to attend any. Yesterday was my reminder that I need to carve out two hours in my schedule to go.

I’m putting students first, will you? Learn more at www.studentsfirst.org

Posted in Advocacy, Education, Families | 1 Comment »

Face AIDS on World AIDS Day

Posted by joyinhome on December 1, 2010

HIV/AIDS is nature’s oxymoron. Sex is supposed to bring forth life, but now, it can potentially destroy it. Let’s ALL stay safe. Know your status. Get tested. Drop the stigma. Face AIDS.

A global snapshot:

  • 33.4 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide
  • 2.1 million of those are children under 15
  • 2.9 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2009
  • 1.8 million people died from HIV-related causes in 2009
  • 67% of the people living with HIV/AIDS are in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Young people account for half of new HIV infections

What will you be doing to commemorate the day?

More at The Red Pump Project.

Posted in Advocacy, Education, Global, Health, HIV AIDS | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »