Image courtesy of #WOCinTech Chat.
The organizers of International Women’s Day are asking us to #BeBoldForChange – a notion that ties back to the change we are pushing for all year round. As we come together to continue building a more inclusive, gender-equal world, we asked editors from Black Enterprise to share their wisdom around a few questions:
What’s something you’ve learned from a woman of a culture or background different than your own?
Who is a woman who inspires you and how?
Tell us about a time at work when another woman helped you gain confidence or navigate the workplace.
Here’s what they had to say:
“Ellen Petry Leanse, former Apple and Google executive and leadership coach, taught me about leading with curiosity. Ellen is White and a truth-seeker. She works passionately to get to the truth behind discomfort and unknowingness by leading with questions instead of answers. That taught me that we don't need to think of goals in terms of finding "facts" and "need to knows." This has enhanced how I get information to make decisions in all parts of my life.” – Maryann Reid, digital managing editor
Princess Leia, as played by the late, great Carrie Fisher, Star Trek’s Lt. Uhura, Ellen Ripley from the Aliens franchise, and, more recently, the trio (plus Leslie Jones) that made up the cast of the new Ghostbusters are great examples of women achieving – in large part because of their STEM skills. These movies and characters are odes to women using their brains and skillsets to problem solve. When I was a kid, there wasn’t a big push to get kids, especially Black girls, interested in computers and science. There certainly weren’t the wonderful organizations that exist now like Black Girls Code. But there was Star Wars.”
– Samara Lynn, tech editor
“The best advice I received from a woman of a different background came from my friend and radio co-host Jaqi Cohen. We’re both millennials, but I am African American and Jaqi is White and Jewish. A few months ago, she advised me to imagine myself as a White man while I was negotiating the salary for a new job. This has taught me to embrace the value of my skillset, professional experience, and what I have to offer to a company. Like many women, I’ve suffered from internalized feelings of inferiority, especially in the workplace, and it’s prevented me from feeling like I am deserving of a raise or promotion. On the other hand, because little White boys are socialized much differently than little Black girls, they often feel more entitled when it comes to getting something that they want. With Jaqi’s help, I’ve embraced “thinking like a man” in order to be less afraid of speaking up for what I believe I deserve.
– Selena Hill, associate digital editor
“As an entrepreneur immersed in an ecosystem of all cultures and races, the one thing that I’ve noticed through observation is that although we may have grown up differently, we all have worries, fears, and bleed the same blood. For the most part, healthy women embrace women who embrace them. Throughout my career, I’ve found that if I show love, it is reciprocated regardless of the race of the recipient. Making the right connections leads to allies, and my allies have become part of my incredible support system.”
– Sequoia Blodgett, tech editor, Silicon Valley
Want to join the conversation about where you find the inspiration to be bold for change? The Black Enterprise team is taking questions and comments on Twitter with the hashtags #AskBE and #InternationalWomensDay.