Remember the Marlboro Man, who symbolizes rugged individualism? Minal Bopaiah is here to suggest that the idea of the “making it on your own” is and has always been a myth. That’s because there is always, inevitably, a social context that favors one group more than another. It’s not that individual efforts aren’t valid; it’s just that the story is always more complicated, and those in positions of power are eager to camouflage the degree to which the “game” is tilted by factors like gender, race, and of course relative wealth. Beyond corporate life and the usual topics covered when discussing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), this episode also explores the world of non-profits, where “doing good” has aspects to it that should welcome reform. Get ready for a passionate guest. Minal Bopaiah doesn’t deliver “talking points” – “feeling points” is closer to the mark.
Minal Bopaiah is the founder of Brevity & Wit, a strategy and design firm focused on DEI initiatives. She’s written for the Stanford Social Innovation Review and TheHill.com an author, among other activities and career accomplishments.
The statistics are, frankly, exasperating. Gender equality remains a mirage. For instance, the proportion of female CEOs at major companies in America struggles to break 10%. On Fortune 500 boards, only about 20% of the seats are held by women. The problems with achieving gender fairness go on and on. Fortunately, my guest Colleen Ammerman covers solid ways of addressing the injustices still present. Those steps include not tolerating bad behavior from “rainmakers”—even to the point of disallowing severance pay or other benefits if that person gets terminated due to sexual misconduct. Declining invitations to events that don’t prioritize gender diversity among its speakers is another avenue of applying pressure for change. For anybody who wants to witness both structural and cultural changes within companies, this episode is well worth a listen.
How is it that $8 billion a year gets thrown at diversity training and yet next-to-nothing changes? One person who isn’t giving up is Sue Unerman, who along with her co-authors Kathryn Jacob and Mark Edwards favors a full array of changes that can improve the degree to which women get represented in the ranks of senior management at companies. The scope of this episode is broad: from how meetings are run, to how teams are built, and of course who gets promoted and receives how much in compensation. A particular focus is detrimental “banter” that’s hardly as light-hearted as it’s claimed to be. Add to that the Glass Slipper problem of people trying to fit into a corporate culture that should, instead, be blown wide-open and allow everyone to thrive, and all-in-all you get a sense of just how committed Unerman is when it comes to the interlocking topics of gender, fairness, and reform.
There are so many sayings that involve the face, but perhaps none is more central to Asian culture than “saving face.” That’s because it represents retaining one’s dignity versus being embarrassed or humiliated in front of others. In truth, though, everyone wants nothing more than to be appreciated, as the psychologist William James recognized long ago. In this episode, Maya Hu-Chan puts “faces” into a business context for listeners. In a meeting between Western and Eastern executives, for instance, how will a long silence be handled? Odds are that Americans will jump in first, breaking the silence. Given more than 20 years of international business experience, Hu-Chan takes listeners through why regional, company and individual personality differences matter so much. Are you a high-context or low-context person? It’s time to find out by taking in this episode that involves the platinum rule, i.e., treating others they way they wanted to be treated.
Maya Hu-Chan is the founder and president of Global Leadership Associates and the co-author of Global Leadership: The Next Generation. She’s trained and coached leaders from Fortune 500 companies to non-profits around the world.
The correct answer is B. As recounted in Angelica Malin’s new book, in which a study of the largest 250 companies on the London Stock Exchange found that companies with more than one third of women in their executive committees enjoyed a profit margin greater than ten times higher. Most times, money talks – or to quote Bob Dylan: “Money doesn’t talk, it swears.” So . . . why in the world haven’t more companies pursued a policy of adding more female executives? Is it possible that (white) male leaders are choosing their own comfort level over what would aid the company? Is it possible they are simply unwilling to share the “reins of power” out of fears of being replaced? One’s head spins given all the interpretative possibilities of such a stark, startling statistic. Malin’s book is nothing if not a call for more female entrepreneurship, more empowerment, more determination than ever to break through. No wonder the book is dedicated in part to Taylor Swift.
Angelica Malin is the Editor-in-Chief of About Time Magazine and she’s the UK’s rising voice for championing women founders and entrepreneurs. She’s appeared on BBC News and LBC Business Hour and has been featured in The Telegraph, Forbes, and Real Business.
The correct answer is four percent. So, in corporate America, while women constitute about 30% of the personnel in management, African-American women are only one eighth of that 30% total. Or to put it another way: in a more fair world, since black women collectively form 7.4% of the U.S. population, that four percent should be twice as large. You might ask “What are the percentages for other women of color?” The answer is 4.3% for Latinas, and 2.5% for Asian women. No wonder my eloquent guests on this episode refer to the situation women are facing as—not a glass wall—but a concrete wall! Remember Ronald Reagan telling the Soviets to “tear down that wall”? Just like the Berlin Wall, this issue is a matter of justice and liberty, too. To rectify the situation, more compelling steps must be undertaken than mere lectures about the need for greater diversity. For instance, Ella Bell Smith mentions that at Dartmouth’s Tuck School where she teaches, they’re about to take executive groups on an immersive experiential journey: visiting the anti-lynching museum in Alabama. Of all the interviews I’ve taped, this is one of my favorites.
Ella Bell Smith is a professor of business administration at the Tuck School of Business. She’s also the founder and president of ASCENT: Leading Multicultural Women to the Top. Stella M. Nkomo is a professor in the Department of Human Resource Management at the University of Pretoria. She was the founding president of the Africa Academy of Management.
The correct answer to this week’s quiz is answers A and C, though B is hardly out of the question. That conclusion comes courtesy of Melody Wilding, a self-described Sensitive Striver. What characterizes this type of person in Wilding’s estimation? Sensitive Strivers tend to be sensitive obviously; also thoughtful, responsible, vigilant and full of inner drive. They’re committed and kind-hearted, hence conscientious about the details and eager to get along with others. Their tendency to be “over-everything” can get them into trouble. In other words, they’re perfectionists who get burdened with more work than they or anybody could readily handle. Stress results. To overcome what Wilding calls the Honor Roll Hangover and subsequent burn-out, she suggests cutting your to-do list by 70%. A safer route is to ditch an all-or-nothing approach for something more modulated and realistic. If you can do that and keep your job, another way others might describe you is a Miracle Worker!
Melody Wilding has been named one of Business Insider’s “Most Innovative Coaches” with clients across a range of Fortune 500 companies. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Oprah Magazine, Fast Company, The Washington Post, and elsewhere. She received her master’s degree in social work from Columbia University.
The correct answer to this week’s quiz is 15 slides, following the title slide. That number comes courtesy of Debi Kleiman, who’s seen it all; she’s witnessed over 1,000 pitches by the entrepreneurs of start-up companies based on her own business world experiences. Having been the Executive Director of the center for entrepreneurship at Babson College, the nation’s #1 school for entrepreneurship, Kleiman developed a pitch deck formula she calls the 4-H Framework: Headline, Heart, Head and Hope. A good pitch hits all four bases, and the pitch might be a home run if delivered well. Sadly, the odds don’t favor females, who receive a measly 2% of all venture funding despite owning 38% of all the businesses in America. No wonder Silicon Valley has also been called the Uncanny Valley, a reference to what it feels like to have to interact with uncaring robots!
Debi Kleiman is now the managing partner of The Upside Angels, investing in early-stage startups and providing strategic advisory services to founders. After her BS from Cornell University and her MBA from Harvard University, worked at Coca-Cola, Welch’s, Procter & Gamble, and Babson College before launching her own firm.
Actually, the answer was the women’s faces about 80% of the time, with the remaining 20% split more or less evenly between the women’s bust lines and the products on sale at various price points. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Faces reveal a lot, if you’re paying attention. For instance, in Nicole Tersigni’s book that pairs 17th-19thcentury paintings of men and women together alongside snarky, pointed captions, what are the women being portrayed in the paintings feeling as they listen to the men hold court?
When the topic is mansplaining, it’s often anger—perhaps due to men trying to control how the women should “see” the world. When the topic is men pretending to be concerned, it’s often contempt—perhaps due to the women not trusting that the men have their needs and wants most at heart. And when it’s men giving guidance regarding sex and deportment, it’s often fear—perhaps due to the women’s discomfort with having their private space violated by men making insinuating moves in their direction. Do the men in the paintings notice how the women are reacting? No, they don’t; instead, the men are mostly smiling—at ease, despite failing to comprehend, or perhaps enjoying that the women in their company feel uncomfortable.
Released today: episode #53 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Nicole Tersigni, the author of Men to Avoid in Art and Life. Check out the audio link below to get oriented or click on here to get to the new episode.
Nicole Tersigni is a comedic writer experienced in improv comedy and women’s advocacy. She lives in metro Detroit with her husband, daughter, and two dogs.
First, let’s clarify that prejudice is a consciously-held bias against others based on gender, race, religion, or other factors. As for our little quiz, “I” statements may work best in responding to people not even aware that they have a bias problem. The reason is that telling these people how their bias impacts you personally, as a victim of bias, increases their awareness, and makes them take responsibility for the bias rather than (falsely) attribute that bias to others. A “You” statement is a way to get bullies who are being mean-spirited and exercising power to back off – in very personal terms. You’re fighting power with the power that your response will have consequences for the bully in question. That leaves an “it” statement as your best tool in countering prejudice because you’re dealing with a fixed attitude, a bias or essentially, an unmovable object that must be called out objectively for what it is: a cancerous problem.
Released today: episode #52 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Kim Scott, the author of Just Work: Get Sh*t Done, Fast & Fearand her business partner, Trier Bryant. Check out the audio link below to get oriented or click here to get to the new episode.
Kim Scott and Trier Morgan co-founded the company Just Work to help organization and individuals crate more equitable workplaces. Scott was previously a CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, Twitter, and other tech companies. She’s been on the faculty at Apple University and led various teams at Google.