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Showing posts with label interview. Show all posts
Showing posts with label interview. Show all posts

11 May 2015

Forecasting women’s leadership with Ford’s Chief Futurist

One of the best outcomes from Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In,” is that the issue of women in leadership has taken center stage in the public conversation. Concepts such as the glass ceiling, the wage gap and gender bias in the workplace have a renewed sense of purpose. What also has renewed activity is the debate over having it all and work/life balance. I got the opportunity to speak to Sheryl Connelly, Futurist for Ford Motor Company. Yes, I got to speak to a woman who is high up on the leadership ladder whose job it is to spirit the future.

First thing's first, what is a futurist? Connelly says, "Well, I am not a fortune teller and I do not try to predict the future. What I try to do is pick up on trends that will be important to Ford’s long term plans." According to Connelly, any organization that does long term planning and strategy is futuring.

Considering that the conversation about women's equality, especially in the workplace and elected positions is always "in the future," why not ask someone who is an expert on trends? Don't we all want to know when we will see enough women in leadership roles to see meaningful chances to the USA towards paid leave, paid sick days and affordable child care? Connelly admits that the USA is behind the curve globally, but sees parallels to marriage equality. Change sometimes looks like it happens overnight, but it never is. "I have two daughters, 11 & 13. I took the 13-year-old to see Arianna Grande. Many people see Grande as an overnight sensation, she is not. We saw her 18 months ago for $25 and this year she sells out a Detroit stadium. Grande worked hard to get to this level. Things do not just happen." Connelly returns to talk about watershed moments and the decades of building blocks in order for marriage equality to be where it is now.

The way she reads the tea leaves, women are on a precipice of change. "Women are outnumbering men in education. In the cycle of a generation or two, women could be the majority of the workplace. As we move from an industrial economy to a knowledge economy, what is prized are things that women are really good at." The change is part of a public dialog. Advertising and marketing messages like "Run Like a Girl" are important for girls at a very young age. But Connelly says we need to realize that women's issues are systematic. "Women communicate differently. When you ask men for something they say, 'Consider it done.' Women will say to me, 'I'll do my best.' I see women only apply for jobs if they fit 100% of the criteria. Men do not hold themselves to the same standard." She advocates that we need to be teaching girls and young women to think the same way.

As I consider my own future path, I wanted to know how a futurist plans for her personal path. Turns out she's not very good at it."I'm a busy mom. I'm like the cobbler whose kids have no shoes. I do think about the future of my kids. I do want my children to be generalists and not specialize at five." 

How does a futurist relax and unwind? Like the rest of us by binge watching Netflix. "Also, I am big into family. I have a twin sister and a lot of siblings. My sister lives very close. I also like to escape to quiet places in the world and unplug. You have to take time to enjoy the moment."

And since Connelly is a futurist and seems to be tapped into trends, I had to ask her the big question...Are we ready for a woman president?

"Yes. I also hope by the time my kids are older, that gender, race and other descriptions are a non-issue. We need to focus on who is the best candidate for everything, not just President."

With that I let her get back to figuring out which car we might be buying in 10 years, while I still ponder if we are ready for the world she says is just around the corner.

29 July 2013

Stuff I've written that's been posted elsewhere...

Just a quick note to point out two pieces that I wrote for other sites that perhaps you missed...

1) I interviewed US Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius while she was in town for Blogher '13:
This week a little boy was born in London. One day he will grow up to be the King of England. This week a little boy was born in Chicago. Who knows what he will grow up to be. One thing we do know is that the future king’s birth most likely cost half as much as baby boy Chicago. 
The state and cost of health care in the USA is why the Affordable Care Act is an important piece of legislation. I am unsure if the cost of health care will go down under Obamacare (I hear it won’t), but we do know that everyone will be mandated to have insurance. This, hopefully, should put health care in the affordable category for most of us. But will it help minimize health disparities in the US? This is what I asked Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

 To read the rest, visit The Broad Side.

2) Latina Lista asked me to write a short summary of the MALCS 2013 Summer Institute that I attended and presented at:
Columbus, Ohio is not the first place you would guess for an academic gathering focused on Chicana/Latina and Native American women studies with a feminist heart. But last week it was!

The MALCS 2013 Summer Institute is an annual gathering of Chicana and Native American scholars. This was my first time attending. I have failed to attend in the past mostly because I have not felt that my academic work had focused on Latinas enough. But after learning that MALCS also had a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) track, I knew I needed to go to present my work and hopefully learn from other attendees.

Within the STEM track, there were presentations on the low number of Chicanas/Latinas in STEM at all levels, from undergraduate students to faculty members.

Jean Rockford Aguilar-Valedz, PhD, used Gloria Anzalduan’s writing to frame her solution of the decolonizing science education. “Why are the advances that the Incas, Aztecs and Mayans made not discussed in the same manner as European civilizations?” I could not help but hear Edward James Olmos as Jaime Escalante saying, “You burros have math in your blood!” 
Read the rest at Latina Lista

23 July 2013

#NineforIX Interview with Christine Brennan

This summer espnW is celebrating Title IX, the federal law that has provided girls and women access to athletic programs, with nine films. One film, "Let Them Wear Towels," which premiered July 16, documented the rise of the woman sports journalist and their biggest hurdle to success -- the locker room.

Today we don't bat an eye to see journalists, like NBC Chicago's Peggy Kusinski, grab an athlete right after the game and pepper them with questions. Sometimes she's in the locker room, sometimes she's on the sideline. She goes where she needs to get the story. And that is exactly why in the 1970s and '80s women sports journalists fought to gain access to the sweatiest and grossest place in sports. Earlier this year, to former Chicago Bear Jim Harbaugh for questioning the policy to not let women into locker rooms. If we had to rank the feminist battles of the 20th Century, and some people like to do that, this might not be in the top 10. But it no less important than other glass ceilings that continue to be shattered.

I had the honor to speak to award-winning journalist
Christine Brennan about the early part of her career, what the future holds for women sports journalists and how young women can take inspiration from her generation's battle.

VLF: I have to say that I watched what your generation had to endure in the locker rooms and am in awe. The poise you had in the face of some awful treatment and harassment is inspiring.

CB: Thanks, there were times when I would be the only woman in the press box. But most of the women in the film were ahead of me by a few years, five to seven years. They opened a lot of doors for me. I personally do not have any horror stories, at least not like what the other women went through. I was pretty lucky. In fact, I often I didn't notice I was the only woman. I wasn't looking for it. I was honestly blissfully ignorant that I might be the only woman in the press box. I was so focused on my job, that nothing was getting in my way. It was the men who would usually be the ones who pointed it out to me.

VLF: "Let Them Wear Towels" is set in the 1970s and '80s, yet there are still fields where women still feel as one of the few women. What message could today's young women in those fields, especially science and engineering, take away from this documentary to help them with their lives?

CB: I feel that if you have naivete and gumption, if you can combine those two then you got what you need. You can't always sweat the small stuff. Continue to do your job and hopefully do it very well. The women in the film were my mentors. You can see that they had great spirit and that nothing was going to stop them. This film is about winning. We won! If you can persevere, you will be fine. You are on the correct side of the issue. Inclusion will always win.

VLF: Yes, this film is about a huge win. BUT... to what extent are the highest echelons of sports journalism still a boys' club?

CB: I was just at the Association of Women in Sports Media conference. It was the 25th anniversary conference and had the largest turnout. That said, it certainly would be wonderful to have more women as sports editors and directors. Billie Jean King likes to remind us that we need to be charge. I do want to point out that the largest circulated sports section is at USA Today and our editor is Mary Byrne! But we can still do better. With that in mind, we need to remember that budget constraints are hindering the hiring of women sports journalists. We will get there, but it will take time.

VLF: What responsibility do you believe women sports journalists have to women's sports?

CB: For me, I cover far more men's sports than women's sports. But I did calculate my work for 2012, 25% columns were about women and that was in 2012 an Olympic year. Olympic years always see an upswing in reporting on women's sports. I do see myself as being aware of what is happening, alerting editors and writing about it. But I am not a promoter of only the good news. No one was more critical of Tonya Harding or Marion Jones than I was. I do not promote women's sports, but I do cover them. When I was at the Washington Post, every year they covered the men's US Open, but not the women's US Open. I went to my editor, pointed this out and he agreed that we should cover it, so I went. Over the year, eventually the golf writer took over the coverage, which was a good thing. When they're not writing glowing pieces, but covering the event.

I did express my disappointment in men coaching women's sports, especially when US Soccer hired a man as a head coach. He's a great guy, but his hiring sends the wrong message. The US women's soccer team is the most visible team and to have a man as head coach, when we have plenty of qualified woman after a generation of them playing and coaching soccer, it is just the wrong message. Girls who look up to players like Alex Morgan should see her being coached by a woman.

VLF: It is clear that there is a strong sense that one needs to be beautiful to get a broadcast job, even in sports. I was watching a sports talk show and half of the men were very schleppy looking -- wrinkled polos, beer guts, not clean shaven. When will we get women on sports shows that look like that?

CB: I hope we don't, cause that's gross! I have to say that we're closer than people think to seeing parity in sports talk shows, including having women who are not traditionally beautiful. Yes, we see beautiful women on the sidelines and I root for them. And I am especially rooting that when they are 50, that they are doing as much TV as they are now. I do not have beauty pageant looks, but I am doing more TV now in my 50s than ever before.

I know that I am getting all this TV not because of looks, but talent, brains, and opinions. Looks come and go, but you can't lose your brains, smarts, talent. We have been blinded by some hiring -- but I still root for them -- but I really think we are almost there at parity. Just look at all the veteran women who are thriving on air. I think you need to be smart to be on TV. Sure, we still love good-looking people, male or female, but sports is welcoming of veterans too, the not-so and good-looking.

Tune on Tuesday, July 23rd for the next installment of the #NineoforIX  series with "No Limits," the story of Audrey Mestre who died on Oct. 12, 2002 while attempting a world-record free-dive off the coast of the Dominican Republic.

Cross-posted at Gapers Block Tail Gate

08 July 2013

Interview with Tylan of Girlyman

Did you know that Tylan of Girlyman has a solo CD, One True Thing? Well, you probably do because her Kickstarter was a smashing success! I was lucky to chat with Tylan about this and much more.

Viva la Feminista: You were recently in Chicago to play at Space (actually in Evanson). How was the show?

Tylan: The show was amazing. It was honestly one of the best shows on the tour. The place was packed with love and support.

VLF: Who are your musical influences?

Tylan: I like really great songwriters. Paul Simon was the first one I obsessed over. Springsteen, Patty Giffin, Indigo Girls....and a lot of my peers who are not famous, but are playing shows and writing great music.

VLF: So...pick one act who most of us don't know about, but should?

Tylan: Oh, don't make me choose! (long pause...Jeopardy music....). Coyote Grace is a trio, and yea, my partner is in the act. But really, they are so talented. Their songwriting is so good and performances are so exciting.

VLF: Do you have a dream collaborator? Or have you already achieved that?

Tylan: I have gotten to work with a lot of my heroes. But so far never Patty Griffin or Ani. They are two huge influences and I would love to work/tour/collaborate with them in some way.

VLF: When did you write your first song?

Tylan: I was 14-years-old and wrote it for my English class. Our assignment was to write something, anything based on the book "Of Mice Men." I submitted a tape & lyric sheet. When I got it back it had A++++ on it. I already knew that music was important to me, but had never really tried my hand at songwriting. That teacher and her feedback really encouraged me.

VLF: You address the Pandora/Spotify phenomena on your website. Can you say more as to how these sites (which I admit I use) endanger musicians livelihoods?

Tylan:  I don't want to vilify any site. I think they are a bridge to the next way of doing things for musicians. The problem is that they aren't really compensating artists. I use Pandora every day. I like how it helps people discover new artists. It's a really different way than radio. This is an evolving industry. We have no idea what will fill that gap. Is it artists making money through airplay/album sales? How do we sustain this? How much do these music sites have a responsibility to sustain the artists that they build their business on? It's all pretty exciting. Musicians need to demand that we get compensated.

VLF: What was the Kickstarter experience like? Who should never Kickstart a project?

Tylan: It was life changing. It was my first big project on my own, as a solo artist. The response was quick. I had a $20,000 goal - the bear minimum for recording a professional album and within 36 hours I hit the goal. The Kickstarter ended with donations totally more than double! It was a clear mandate to make this album. I learned that what I do, personally, matters. It matters to people enough that they will put their money behind it. Kickstarter is starting to fill the gap. Kickstarter still has an assumption of ethics. You have to go into it asking yourself, "Do I need this money? Will I be able to deliver? Do I need this money for this project?"There is no one big rule, rather a self-administered ethical test. There is a sacred trust and no accounting for how money is spent. trust. quality control. ethical agreement?

VLF: What is your goal with your music?

Tylan:  It's a calling. It is something I've always been called to do. It also makes no sense! It makes more sense to get a 'job,' but I've always been called to create music. It is healing and a way to connect more deeply with the world & other people.

VLF: What is the kindest thing someone have done for you lately?

Tylan: Oh, so many things! It blows my mind. Just yesterday my partner & I were looking for a place to live in the Bay area. As we were looking at houses, my phone dings..it's a paypal notification of donation…Just out of the blue. The note attached said, "If you ever had any doubt, if you what you do is worthwhile & have a talent, here is something to remind you." This like this have been happening more so since I took this solo journey; Emails, cards, and physical notes of encouragement. So much love comes to you when you are following your path.

Tylan One True Thing-08-Love Then by Effective Immediately PR

10 January 2012

Interview with Merle Hoffman

Merle Hoffman is the publisher/editor-in-chief of On The Issues Magazine and one of the most outspoken advocates for progressive and feminist issues.
Merle established Choices Women's Medical Center to provide abortion services shortly after New York State legalized abortion in 1971. Today, Choices has grown to become one of the most comprehensive and nationally well respected providers of a full range of gynecological services for women, including abortion to 24 weeks of pregnancy, birth control and pre-natal care.
In 1983 Merle began On the Issues Magazine as a newsletter of Choices Women's Medical Center to communicate with other health care providers, pro-choice activists and the reproductive health care community generally. Within a few years it had developed into On the Issues, the Progressive Woman's Quarterly, gaining accolades as a motivating, challenging and controversial magazine of ideas and action. After ceasing publication in 1999, On the Issues Magazine was reborn as an online publication in Spring 2008 and publishes all-new, themed editions quarterly with new articles added weekly.
~ Biography from MerleHoffman.com

Loretta Ross (l) and Merle Hoffman (r)
I was privileged to grab 10 minutes of Merle's time at the 2011 National Women's Studies Association Conference. Her memoir, Intimate Wars: The Life and Times of the Woman Who Brought Abortion from the Back Alley to the Board Room, is out now. You can get a copy directly from Feminist Press, Powells or IndieBound.

VLF: Why now? What made you write this book now? 

MH: well it's the 40th anniversary of Choices. I thought it was time for me to look back and reflect on the whirlwind that was my life. I wanted to create a narrative for myself. I have also lost an lot of people recently and that put me in a place that was very self-reflective. It was very therapeutic. The other part is that I have a 10-year-old daughter and I wanted to leave her this testimony. I'm sure she'll read things about me when I am gone, so i want her to have my side. After all these years, this issue is front and center with more virulent attacks against abortion rights than ever before. Sometimes I feel like I'm that movie "Groundhog Day." I just woke up and it's 40 years later and it's still the 1970s. It is still just as difficult to have abortion without apology as it was all those years ago.

VLF: What has been your most memorable moment? 

MH: You mean from my life on the front lines? Going to Russia. That was amazing. I was going to save Russian women and being rushed by thousands of people because I had some condoms.The whole opening up of the consciousnesses. My civil disobedience action in front of St. Patrick's cathedral which was the first time pro-choice forces were ever arrested. It was a very powerful action. The first patent whose hand  I held [as she underwent an abortion]. That really was the most memorable because that's what catalyzed my involvement into the movement. I don't her name or her face, but basically it was her hand and that intimate personal connection. You know Euripides wrote that woman is woman's natural ally. And it was that connection at what I would say was her most powerful and vulnerable point of her life that actually was the catalyst to get so deeply, deeply involved.

VLF: Let's talk about the growing movement of abortion doulas, or rather the growing awareness of abortion doulas. 

MH: Choices has abortion doulas, we always have. Our doulas work with both our pre-natal and our abortion patients. And the patients love them, of course they would because they focus on the reactive part of the procedure, the emotional and psychological issues. We also have counselors, but the doulas are more specialized because they with the women in the recovery room, as they are waiting to be called in, they are there to ease the anxiety that comes up.

VLF: It's hard to reconcile that abortion is one of the most common outpatient procedures for women to go through, but it also the most isolating procedures for women to go through. They go through it alone.

MH. Absolutely. And they go through it alone, but once they lay themselves down on that table, they become by that act, an integral part of the sisterhood of what that reproductive choice connects them to. It is the challenge of the movement, the leadership, the activists, the scholars to help politicize the understanding that just by having an abortion women have done a political act. And to help them not distance themselves immediately afterwards. They want to deny, put it behind them. It's a very common reaction.

VLF: Do you have any personal regrets? 

MH: None. Every choice in my life has led me to point I am at now. Whether at that point of time they were difficult, the challenges I welcomed because they strengthen you, they give you courage and I made some very difficult ones. It was been a very singular life. But I see it as a privilege that I use my energy, my talents in this cause, in this movement.

VLF: Any critiques about the movement? What you wish it had done? 

MH: I wish they had come out thousands and thousands strong when Henry Hyde cut off Medicaid funding.  There is this bifurcation between providers and academics/activists. Abortion can be a dirty business, you get your hands dirty in the trenches with the women. One of the things that I've always wanted is for the activists to come to the clinics and see the women. Then the racial and class bifurcations that have gone on. That was very clear when Hyde cut off funding. Nobody marched because it was just the poor and the minorities and the young.

VLF: What does your daughter know of what you do? 

MH: She's ten. She knows the word abortion. She knows "My mommy fights for women's rights." She works at Choices and does some filing. She's learning about it. So yes, she knows.

VLF: Do you think she'll be proud of you?

MH: Oh, she's proud of me now.

VLF: When I read Dr. Wicklund's memoir she said a lot about her daughter. There are sacrifices we make to do the work we do. Sometimes our daughters pay a price. 

MH: Of course. It is very difficult. She was in my bed the night before I left and I explained to her that I have this work. I call and text the woman who is staying with her. I just got a photo from the soccer game. Being a mom is struggle. Every day, every day. Bring them into the movement, like my friend Jen Baumgardner. She's got her little ones running around her. Let them see. It's better than bringing them shopping.

* This is a summary of our conversation, not a complete transcript.

* *Powells and IndieBound book links are affiliate links. If you buy your book from them I could make a very small amount of money that goes towards this blog by helping me purchase books for school. Thanks! 


This blog is my personal blog and is not reflective of my employer or what I do for them.
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