Leading Ladies

No, I haven’t taken up the theater.  I’m talking about women in leadership.  Over the weekend, I finished reading Tough Cookies

I’d written one heck of an essay yesterday, but we’ve had connectivity issues at work and I’ve been busy in the evenings, so… no posts for you.  Thanks for checking up on me; all is well, but I suspect this is the new norm for my life.  

I’ve blogged before about the author, Kathy Cloninger.   Her book is a powerful reminder that the gender gap is alive and well and we owe it to ourselves, the future and to the pioneers who went before us to stay on task. 

For me, it was also an affirmation of my own leadership style.  I was raised by a Girl Scout troop leader and a Scout Master, so I find it almost humorous that adult me never gave Scouting any credit for my leadership style, even after Ms. Cloninger pointed out in her remarks in Houston that almost all of us at the Junior League winter leadership conference were in fact, past scouts. 

I remember my first County-wide leadership experience in the fire service, nearly two decades ago.  They affectionately teased me about wanting the entire City-County, Career-Volunteer emergency services to all hold hands and sing Kumbaya.  Well, yeah… why not?  Together, we’re stronger, smarter… better suited to serve the public.  Duh?  Turns out that was just me, leading like a lady.  Today I call it collaboration, and it will be the main theme of both my speech at the May dinner and my time as president of the JLC.

You’ll have to get a copy of Tough Cookies if you want the data to support what I’m babbling about here, but there are hard facts that prove that countries and companies with balanced mix of both genders in leadership are more successful.   The countries with the higher percentages of women in politics have weathered this on-going economic crisis better than the rest of us, just to give one example.

I’m having a great time noting the similarities between Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of America, and Mary Harriman Rumsey, founder of the Junior League.  Both were socialites who well could have just gotten Daddy to write a bigger check and called themselves being helpful and socially aware, but instead, both gathered up their friends, got their hands dirty and changed the face of our nation and the world. 

It’s all about collaboration and recognizing our own strengths and weaknesses.  What have you read recently that gave you pause?

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9 comments on “Leading Ladies

  1. gmariesews says:

    Just your blog. You know I don’t read anything with any depth. Good convo this morning – I do think we are stronger together and it’s amazing what you can accomplish as a group working together. I will be watching your year of leadership. I know you will do amazing! g

  2. AlisonH says:

    I’m chuckling (and, truth be told, wincing a little at what the word has come to in popular and political speech): having grown up in the 60’s and 70’s, holding hands with strangers and singing “Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya” in a coffeehouse with like-minded people in search of peace with one another was actually a very moving experience, never to be forgotten.

  3. AlisonH says:

    And as a protest against the Vietnam War…

  4. Nichole says:

    I might have to check that one out!

  5. Nancy says:

    I’ll look for Tough Cookies.

  6. Sue says:

    I’m reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Talk about strengths and weaknesses!! I truly admire his intelligence and his imagination, but I know I’d hate him if we ever met. His social skills were those of a neanderthal and I don’t much care for people who are rude just to amuse themselves.

    I wasn’t sure I wanted to read this and he’s disagreeable enough that I sometimes think of not finishing it, but he was so amazing at the same time that I can’t stop reading.

  7. Amy says:

    I grew up a Girl Scout (from Daisies to Cadets. Sadly, there was no one in my area willing to support three girls who wanted to continue to Seniors.) While there were things that I wanted to learn (how to tie knots, start a good fire with nothing, etc.) I still really enjoyed the Girl Scouts and hope that my daughter will one day join if she so chooses.

  8. kathy b says:

    Kumbayah …indeed. WHy not?? Ha hah ah. As nurse in a female dominated profession we have much to learn about organization, leadership and moving ourselves forward. THis week used to be called National Nurses week, now it is EMPLOYEE week at my hospital . HEaven forbid we have a day just for nurses…..
    Nurses are being asked to donate to a charity during nurses week and forgo the customary scoop of free ice cream from the hospital. Oh c’mon. I think I could go on and on.
    BUt we have always had this problem. WE need some woman to lead us in a new way.

  9. Have I told you lately how much I wish the girl scouts were more of a thing in our sleepy little town? I might see if one of the nearby cities have a more active troop.

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