How many times have you stopped short of being you in order to fit in? Or you acted out of alignment with who you are (without even being aware you were doing it)? And how did it work out for you?
Today’s topic is bringing the whole you (including the feminine) to the workplace and leadership and hopefully by the end of the show you’ll be inspired to step into your power as a leader with all of your self in order to make a bigger impact in your work and the world. If you feel you’ve been holding back, or trying to fit it by acting in ways that are not aligned with your true self, this episode is for you. Not to mention the powerhouse guest I have on this week to talk about this and a whole lot more.
My guest today is Jennifer Palmieri. Palmieri is one of the most accomplished political and communications strategists in America today. Jennifer served as head of communications for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and White House communications director under President Barack Obama. She was also White House deputy press secretary for President Bill Clinton and national press secretary for the Democratic Party. She is currently President of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, has been a frequent contributor to the Washington Post and other national print outlets, and is a frequent guest commentator on MSNBC news shows.
In her new book, Dear Madam President, Jennifer Palmieri uses hard-earned experiences and lessons from her days in the Obama White House and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign – to name a few – to pen an empowering letter to the first woman president and, by extension, all women seeking positions of power. She aims to forge a new model of leadership that fully embraces their feminine qualities and demonstrates that women can best serve by being themselves.
What you’ll learn in this episode:
What Jennifer did the morning after the 2016 election
Which event planted the seeds for her book, Dear Madam President
Why she wanted to change the conversation about women and leadership
The issues she’s focused on now
How she felt she let the country down and what she did about it
What she figured out sitting on the tarmac in Florida just days before the election
What do you do when you face a dark period? When your energy and reserves seem spent and there doesn’t seem to be a clear way out? For many of us, this is the time we cling tight to our resources and close off to anyone other than our immediate loved ones to weather the storm. When we face dark times our instinct is to create borders. The assumption is if we lay low, the dark time will pass and we can go back to our normal way of life. According to spirituality scholar Vera de Chalambert, it is in these times of darkness, when we hit our lows, that our spiritual awakenings often happen. And through these spiritual renewals we find a new, full, and deep source of energy and connectedness.
Vera de Chalambert is a mindfulness facilitator, spiritual storyteller and Harvard educated scholar of comparative religion. Through deep contact, conscious inquiry and holistic modalities Vera works with her clients’ energy-consciousness system to invoke wholeness, restore balance and invite deeper levels of integration and awareness to the client’s energy field, body and life. She is a graduate of the the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, and has studied nondual healing with Jason Shulman at the Institute for Nondual Healing and Awakening. Vera works with clients and gives talks and presentations on spiritual topics and was a speaker at SAND Science and Nonduality Conference in the US and Europe and Sister Giant in Washington DC. Vera holds a Master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School. In this episode Vera and I talk about the importance of letting yourself feel darkness and chaos, why strong, feminine energy is significant in the current political climate, and how to use spirituality to find strength when times are dark.
What You’ll Discover in this Episode:
- How you can change your perspective to see the low times in your life as part of your spiritual journey
- What Kali represents and how learning to recognize her in your life can help you to get through dark times
- How shedding your ideas about yourself can help you to become stronger, more independent, and more spiritually balanced
More about Vera
As we grow and discover what we’re drawn to and away from, we create stories about ourselves. We develop a sense of identity and place deep faith in the validity of the reasons that it has been formed. When this idea about ourselves gets questioned or even shattered, it shakes us to the core. According to Vera, this dark time is actually “essential for the spiritual healing and awakening process.” But that doesn’t mean it comes easily. “What we really discover very often,” she admits, “is that the spiritual life makes us into losers.” We lose our superficial ideas about ourselves and we “begin to lose our ideas of god and our old certainties.”
For Vera, this is the “process of the Kali dance.” Vera describes Kali as a dark feminine energy that shows up in nearly all spiritual doctrines. Kali is “the great mystery that envelops us when we come into contact with a quality of reality that includes life and death, birth and resurrection.” Kali is the time we associate with darkness. This time is darkness because it encompasses everything; both dark and bright times, and that sort of seeming contradiction is difficult for our minds to accept, so in our confusion we cling to the darkness. But Kali is not bad, Vera explains. While she encompasses “life and death, [she is also] birth and resurrection.”
Vera asserts that we are going through a ‘Kali dance’ right now, throughout the world. Times appear dark and hopeless, but in reality it is a process that is leading us to universally shed “so many of our false beliefs.” Vera encourages those who feel hopeless to think of this as a natural part of the cycle of life and a time of “being intimate with aliveness.” “We have one certainty in life,” she stresses, “and that’s that there will be times when things fall apart.”
Check Out the Links Mentioned in this Episode!
Many of us have been raised to think that the way to get ahead is to make a plan. Schedule, structure, and plan if you want to succeed. While thinking of the future is important, we no longer live in such a rigid, structured world. Information develops and changes rapidly, so much so that a plan that may have made sense yesterday no longer makes sense today. According to social change entrepreneur Merle Lefkoff, we ought to be more flexible in the ways we look at problem solving if we want to get ahead in today’s fast-paced world. How can we do this? By changing the way we think about problems, she explains. Instead of viewing challenges and our relationships to them as one-dimensional, we ought to recognize the complex networks and systems that contribute to their development.
In this episode I speak with Merle Lefkoff, a social change entrepreneur whose practice is devoted to the application of nonlinear complex systems thinking to whole system change. Merle holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, USA and has been a mediator, facilitator, and leadership trainer in conflict zones around the world. Merle received a research appointment as Guest Scientist and Affiliate of the Center for Non-Linear Studies at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she worked with computer scientists, physicists and mathematicians exploring in computer simulations how groups form collective identity. She is Founder and CEO of the Center for Emergent Diplomacy which applies the self-organizing power of Complexity Science to global policy agendas in order to reach resilient and collaborative agreements that address the critical issues of our time. Merle and I talk about how we can view problems as complex systems, how we can use adaptability and flexibility to overcome them, and why this is a particularly important and intuitive relationship for women.
What You’ll Discover in This Episode
Merle’s recommendations for getting your kids involved in political thought and activity
How you can change your perspective to incorporate a centering morning routine into your day
How you can use adaptive solution finding, role sharing, and flexibility to overcome any challenge
More About Merle
As a social change entrepreneur who studies complex adaptive systems, Merle is accustomed to studying humans’ responses to change. She notices that in recent years in social science, there’s been an interest in embracing the notion that “change is happening constantly, evolution is happening constantly.” What this has led to is greater fluidity in roles, or role sharing. While historically one person may maintain one career title their entire lives, in today’s world people jump around in titles, roles, and careers. And this is a useful thing, she explains. With so many morphing challenges arising all of the time, “being as adaptive as possible” is the only real way to succeed.
As a woman working in social sciences, Merle is thrilled by this shift. She suggests, “women have always collaborated in these ways. Now we have scientific validation of these models.” Merle sees this movement as a sign of a shift toward a more feminine presence in the corporate world on a large scale. Since the notions of role sharing and flexibility are strongly associated with feminine approaches to overcoming obstacles, it only makes sense to include more feminine thinking, and therefore more females, in the workplace. She sees that “small changes can change the whole system,” and “one of the ways these organizations can move [these changes] along is by letting women rise to the top.”
Check Out the Links Mentioned in This Episode!
We tend to associate success with hard work. If we didn’t sweat for it, it doesn’t count. Unfortunately, that can sometimes result in us discrediting the successes we have that came easily. Perhaps we ought to change that attitude. If something comes easily to us, we ought to acknowledge that we have an intuitive ‘knack,’ and take advantage of it. For Women Make a Difference founder Val Romero, this struggle is very real. After working for years in finance and always viewing her people skills as just something that didn’t matter very much, she’s finally come to appreciate and benefit from those skills.
Today I speak with Val Romero, founder of Women Make a Difference. Women Make a Difference is a monthly luncheon meet-up developed to help women network and meet others in their community. Women Make a Difference has been hosting luncheons for over a decade and offers tech classes, a business directory, and services focused on increasing visibility and exposure for business owners. In 2015 Val was named a Woman of Influence Winner by Albuquerque Business First. Today I talk with Val about connecting with other women to get ahead, recognizing the strength in what comes easily to you, and learning how to network.
What You’ll Discover in This Episode
Tips for starting up a conversation and making connections, even when you’re feeling out of your comfort zone
Why it is so important to be engaged with your female community and use each other as resources and sources of strength
How you can recognize your innate skills, and use them to help yourself and skill share with others
More About Val
Before starting Women Make a Difference, Val worked in finance in bookkeeping and office assistant positions. In these positions she excelled because of her social skills; she was always chatting with clients and making connections. She didn’t give much credit to her social skills, thinking of them as just being an insignificant part of the job. “Often if there’s something easy for us, we don’t count is as a value,” she reflects. It was only after years of friends and coworkers complimenting her networking skills that she began to consider doing something with this ability.
With Women Make a Difference, Val is able to utilize her social skills to help her career, as well as to help and train other women to grow in theirs. The foundation of Women Make a Difference is an emphasis on the importance of women helping one another. Val models this principle by showing other women how they can be social, network, and make authentic connections. She also urges women to own their innate skills. “When people are acknowledging you for things you’ve done that were easy,” take credit for them, she encourages. The decision to take ownership of her innate skills is how she ended up where she is today with Women Make a Difference. Seek strength from one another, she suggests, because we are all stronger together.
Describe one personal habit that contributes to your well-being:
Having a positive attitude.
What super power did you discover you had only to realize it was there all the time?
I’m easy to build rapport and trust with.
What advice would you give to your 25 or 30 year old self?
Set more boundaries and learn to say no.
Check Out the Links Mentioned in This Episode!
In the corporate world, it’s less common for women to have high positions of power. This means that financial decisions are happening in a male-dominated space. Statistically speaking, male dominated spaces tend to present masculine modes of thinking, leaving out feminine contributions. According to Halla Tomasdottir, it is not merely more fair when feminine perspectives are present, but businesses are much more effective when there is a balance between the masculine and feminine ways of handling money.
Halla Tomasdottir is an Icelandic entrepreneur, a co-founder of Audur Capital and a key founder of Reykjavik University. Halla has worked for companies like M&M/Mars and Pepsi Cola and held the role of managing director and executive board member of the Iceland Chamber of Commerce. She has sector experience from consumer products, healthcare, education, media and mobile communication and financial services. Halla was recently a candidate for President of Iceland, of which she was runner-up. She received the Cartier Women’s Initiative Award for outstanding women entrepreneurs in Europe and in March 2011 Newsweek named Halla one of 150 Women Who Shake the World. Today I speak with Halla about why it is so important to have a balance between the masculine and feminine, in every aspect of our lives, what feminine perspectives are in the workplace, and how you can implement some of these gender balance practices in your own business.
What You’ll Discover in This Episode
- How you can implement a balanced feminine/masculine environment in your workplace for sustainability, happier employees, and greater success
- Why balanced gender roles isn’t just more fair, it makes for better business practices
- Specific recommendations for incorporating Halla’s ESG model (Environment, Social, and Governmental) into your business for more efficient, successful work
More About Halla
Halla’s assertion that businesses would do better with a greater balance of masculine and feminine thinking isn’t just a notion; it’s been statistically proven. For example, when you include more women in corporate world, they tend to integrate a dedication to community and the people involved in a product rather than have the focus exclusively on shareholders. This small adjustment leads to happier employees, better performance, and an emphasis on sustainability rather than only output. As she puts it, “it’s not just a women’s rights issues, it’s an economic issue.”
For those new to the notion of a feminine and masculine , Halla describes simple ways to begin incorporating feminine modes of thinking into areas where they are currently lacking. She focuses on three areas where practices can be implemented; environment, sociological; and government. By incorporating policies that emphasize concern with governmental, social, and environmental issues, your company focus shifts to have concern for “health of the community,” and your business will more successful. In the simplest terms, when feminine perspectives are included in business there is a shift from focus on output to focus on community, and this shift actually leads to greater output and performance.
While Halla does identify as a feminist, she explains that her push for gender balance in business does “not come from a women’s rights standpoint.” She explains, “when women are empowered, the economy is empowered. Society is empowered. It’s about economic development and society development. It’s good for women and for the men.” Halla does not merely preach this doctrine, she exemplifies it in her in her business and life. Halla was recently ran in the Icelandic presidential race, where she was runner-up. “I’m convinced,” she says, “if we’re to build a world that makes sense and is sustainable in economic and social terms, we ‘re going to need more women.”
Check Out the Links Mentioned in This Episode!