Your Voice, Your Seat

Helping women be heard & claim their seat at the leadership table

How dare you sit at the table!

I walked into the conference room about 5 minutes before the meeting time. There were several guys already in the room chatting. I sat down at the table and said hi to a few that I knew. Several of the men in the room were giving me a side-eye look, obviously wondering why I dared to sit at the table. This was outside their experience for these weekly meetings. The women who attended sat in the back, along the wall and took notes. They didn’t sit at the “big boy” table. Wrong! As QA Manager had some items they needed to hear, and I was not sitting in the back. I belonged at the table just like they did. Once I was introduced and some of the senior men on my team deferred to me, attitudes changed, albeit slowly.

The reality was I was 25 years into my career and really didn’t care what the men in the room thought of me being in my role. I knew what I brought to the table and was comfortable with it. Honestly, it was kind of fun making some of them squirm.


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Why are you on this team?

credibility teamwork Sep 16, 2020

Over the past week I’ve heard several women comment on statements from male team members that question why the woman is on that team or how they got there. Grrr…. These comments make my blood boil. There was an implied and inherent assumption that the woman couldn’t be qualified to be on the team, despite years of relevant experience and expertise. Fortunately, the women involved had heard it before and quickly put the guy in his place.

My mind then started wandering back the Patrick Lencioni’s “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” because there seems to be an absence of trust (Dysfunction #1) on these teams. Lencioni uses the word trust in the context of being confident that each team member has good intentions and it’s acceptable to be vulnerable with each other. The phase he uses that resonates for me is “Members of teams with an absence of trust …. Jump to conclusions about the intentions and aptitudes of others without...

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Enough People Pleasing Already

assertiveness balance Sep 10, 2020

There are so many demands on our time right now. Work from home, homeschooling, virtual meetings galore, house work, cooking, self-care, child-care, and on and on. The list seems endless on a good day and 2020 has seemingly eliminated those. We have so much to do between our families and our work.

Do you feel that you need to jump in at work to help at work whenever asked? That’s great – until it takes away from the things that are important to you. Are you overwhelmed because you are scrambling to get your work done because of the time spent helping others? If so, it’s time to step back and gain perspective.

It is important to help others, that is one of key requirements of being a part of a team. However, your personal success is dependent on what you get done. You must be someone who gets things done in order to move up. So how do you find the right balance?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does this request take away from a critical task I already have to...
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Tap into Your Inner Strength

inner strength resiliance Sep 02, 2020

During these difficult times it can be hard to find the strength to keep going. It seems like every day brings new challenges and worries. Yet we don’t have the option to stop and do nothing, life is calling us. How do we keep going?

The key to making it work is to tap into your inner strength. It’s at the core of your being, it helps define who you are and where you will go. Often it sits there quietly, lending us the courage to move ahead without us even realizing it.

Some of you may be familiar with the movie Steel Magnolias, a comedy-drama focusing on the bonds of women in a small southern town. The name implies the women can be strong as steel and as delicate as flowers. Having a mother who was raised in the deep south, who the epitome of a steel magnolia. She faced some interesting challenges throughout her adult life, including becoming a widow at 55 with a kid (me) in college. Mom never went back to work, but she became a tutor for an adult who couldn’t...

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Improve your mindset by shifting your focus

focus mindset Aug 26, 2020

Are you finding yourself struggling with the chaos, the negative, fear and confusion right now? If so, you are like most people right now. We are facing so many changes, conflicting information and uncertainty as our society moves towards a new normal.

The challenge for most of us is that wallowing in our despair isn’t productive or conducive to a happy life. While tempting, we don’t feel good when we embrace the chaos and negativity. Our jobs, family and health are impacted by it all. How do we avoid this sink hole?

First, we need to acknowledge the feelings that we are experiencing. Admit this is hard and we are worried about the future. Recognize where you are right now and accept it. Our feelings are part of us and yet they don’t have to define us or drive our actions.

Next, identify where you would like to be. Are you ready to find a more positive outlook on things? Are you willing to look for the possibilities of a better outcome? If so, admit that it’s...

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Mind Your Mindset

How do you look at your ability to handle problems, challenges, plan changes, or the unexpected? Do you see it as insurmountable or a hurdle you will get over? Do you get stuck in your feelings or do you get fired up to find a solution?

These are indicators of your mindset towards problems. They show you if you are inclined towards a fixed or a growth mindset. With a fixed mindset the belief is that it is what it is, and it can’t improve or get better. This is particularly true for skills, knowledge and abilities. A growth mindset sees the possibilities to learn more, grow and overcome challenges. As complex creatures we always have some of both in us. We may have a fixed mindset towards some things, like my ability to be an athlete, while having a growth mindset in other areas, like my ability to create a website.

With all the challenges facing us right now how we approach them will have a huge impact on the outcome. When we think of it as a problem to solve, we open our...

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Save your sanity with work boundaries

Things are crazy right now. Are we working from home or not? Are kids learning in school, virtual, hybrid, or home school? Do we go out or do we stay home? How can I get a break from being on 24/7? Can we get delivery, carry-out or do I need to cook again? It’s exhausting!

Add on to all that stuff workplaces are ramping back up. More work is needing to be done, often by less people or in fewer hours per week. Some of this would be overwhelming alone, and all together it’s way too much for anyone. So, it’s time to give yourself credit for all you’ve accomplished and the fact you have kept things together so far.

How can we move forward without going completely off the deep end? First, know you are not alone, even if it feels like it. The world is upside down right now. We all need to find our balance again and we will find it.

Now that you’ve accepted that you are managing to get through the mountain of challenges it’s time to create a strategy for...

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You’ve gotten feedback, now what?

feedback positivity Aug 04, 2020

You’ve gotten feedback, now what?

Most of us appreciate getting feedback on how we can grow and improve. Sadly, the most helpful feedback can be found in the harsh criticisms of our boss or colleagues. When we feel unjustly attacked for an error or perceived slight it’s easy to slide into a negative spiral.

When we hear something that feels unfair or overly critical, we want to ignore it and blame the giver for being mean. Yet, we too often dwell on the comments and they become part of our inner dialog. thoughts circle around and around in our mind about how we screwed up, or we failed, or we don’t deserve this treatment. Our inner critic latches on and we can’t escape the negativity.

This cycle is horrible for two reasons. First, we are harming ourselves and our confidence by allowing the inner critic to keep picking at the feedback. We can get stuck in the feeling of failure and can’t move forward which impacts our performance and relationships....

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Assert yourself when facing a bully

Forcing someone to see things your way makes you a bully. Right now, there are a lot of issues that are emotional on all sides, whether it’s wearing a mask or not, school in person or virtual, peaceful protests or terrorists, a pandemic or a hoax and more. Many people are entrenched in their perspective and see anyone who disagrees as “the enemy” which leads to bullying, berating and belittling.

In these uncertain times we can all do ourselves a favor by being curious, being kind, and being humble. There is no one who has all the answers, situations are changing daily, more data is pouring in so stances shift, and stress is climbing for everyone. The confusion about what to do to return to work and school has stressed parents, communities and organizations. When we focus on finding information, seeking new perspectives and actively listening we can help reduce our stress.

Giving into the stress and fear can drive us to become rigid and unable to consider options....

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Us versus Them Helps No-one

When we find ourselves thinking in terms of us versus them, we are starting down an ugly path. This creates competition and the need to win. This is great in sports and yet it is very detrimental elsewhere.

Creating a situation where there are “sides” sets up a confrontation. It is very rare that people will be able to maintain a sense of curiosity if someone else is arguing that their side is correct. We get defensive and more entrenched in our stance, then we will go on the attack to prove our point. It creates hostility and shuts down the ability to find a solution.

This is not to say that it is possible to avoid conflict in every case, it’s not. We have different opinions, different experiences, different ideas and that’s great. Yet, it can lead to disagreements on which approach will work best or how to proceed. The key is to keep an open mind and actively listen to the other perspectives. Who knows you may learn something new! Equally we should expect...

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