(This is an excerpt from my speech given in Dallas, at the invitation of Linda Descano, president of Citi’s Women & Co and head of digital media.)

Women’s issues seem to be at the forefront.
Through the fog of controversy, we are getting some kickin’ coverage on the issues. From the Atlantic Monthly, July 2012, article by Ann Marie Slaughter, saying women can’t have it all to McKinsey & Co, releasing the “Women Matter” studies, stating that keeping women in the workforce are our competitive edge in business. Women Matter Asia supports the same.

If you agree or disagree with Professor Slaughter’s article, you can tell her on Twitter @SlaughterAM

When I was Head of Marketing and Branding at MPI (Meeting Professionals International), from 2006-2008, we learned then that the wealth of the world was going to shift from the Western countries to China and India and other countries. I didn’t realize then that the ground (and much of the job opportunity) would soon shift beneath my feet (and out of my 40lK). The shift didn’t hit me hard until 2009. So I am taking these studies and their recommendations very seriously – how our country, and other countries must understand what we need to do to keep women in the workforce in order to compete.

It’s a new day. We have to do more with less, man or woman.

Cinderella may have earned her crown. But today, we have to tilt our crowns, move them back on our heads, not tiara-like, but more like a bicycle racer. And in this environment, it requires more discipline, more self-confidence and more grit than ever….to continue to win.

Have you heard the term Radical Openness? It’s the theme of the Global TedTalks. Radical Openness has been described as “Pulling ourselves out of context….getting out of our comfort zones in order to come up with new solutions. “
Examples:
• No more keynote speakers for events. It’s crowd connections and discussions. Impromptu panels.
• There’s a guy who left Wall Street to go into farming. He couldn’t afford farm equipment, so he started sourcing to create DIY farm equipment, that anyone can afford and build in order to farm and make a living…
• You get the idea, it’s upside down thinking that leads to solutions
Women in business are used to reaching out of their comfort zones, whether we like it or not – we do it. We have to.

Yesterday, I taught a class to a truly blended class of college undergraduates in their early 20’s. Students from Mexico, Peru, China, San Francisco, Dallas and New Jersey, just to name a few were in attendance.
–One said they hated email and technology. When I mentioned downloading the text book on Kindle, one said “No, I prefer the hard cover book.”
– It’s a small class, but no one owned an iPad
– The most interesting thing about this – is that 4 months ago, the majority of the students in my class, at the same school, had iPads, and I would be disciplining some who were texting in class, Let’s just say, I’m taking note, I am paying attention and I am listening, and who knows what the next 4 months will bring.
—————————————————————————–
– Do you tweet? Blog? Want to write a book? Produce videos?
– Write letters?

“Publish or Perish” is not JUST for academia or for doctors anymore. Not that everyone can be the next J.K. Rowling or write the next 50 Shades of Grey book series.
– But as we adjust our crowns to grow our businesses, I strongly encourage YOU to publish. We may think it takes time away from gaining clients or looking for a job, but it doesn’t. It helps us grow our brands. It helps you grow your business. Blog, tweet, write a letter, develop content, speak. Get it into public viewing and discussion. Some of us women in the Southern United States, were raised to speak when spoken to, well we kicked that habit didn’t we?!

When my first book was published, the process of finding an agent and a publisher, writing and rewriting proposals with my co-writer took 4 years.
Today, self-publishing is very respected, and it’s extremely affordable. – However, the expertise of a professional book agent, a book publisher and an experienced editor is extremely valuable, and I encourage you to put your own team together, if you can’t find a major publisher. But remember, you’re leaving your mark and you’re growing your business.

I have specialized in reputation management for a long time now and the rules are the same, self published or publisher backed…. Take responsibility for your words, clearly communicate, differentiate yourself, and have a strategy. Our audience, our target markets are all reporters now too. Yes, your words could show up on the front page of the New York Times, or an influential blogger’s blog or tweet. Have you heard of Klout scores ? The good news is that the world is your oyster. Caution: the oysters all talk to back now and to each other, and not just in months without R’s in them {sic}.

This is a great time to….Tune up the wheels, pull away from the writers block and lead the pack. The emerging talent out there is just waiting to work. There are so many wonderful young women and men to mentor and it’s a two street. We are able to be teachers and we learn more from them. Delegate so that you can develop your content. Collaborate with businesses around the table and across state lines and globally.

I recently coached a young woman on how to write her first proposal to a large consulting firm. She works with Miilenials/Gen Y. She shared an interesting story with me – that Google top decision makers will only listen to R&D teams w/new ideas who come forth as a multigenerational team. And look at Facebook’s success early on with the Boomers. FB included boomers into their target market. They zigged when everybody else zagged. The lifetime value formula said boomers were too old and didn’t know technology. They may have been the laggards, but they gave Facebook staying power.
Billions of dollars later in profits, marketers and brands have resurrected respect for the boomers.
…. 15 years ago, the hotel industry thought marketing to women was a crazy idea, a laughable idea. Trammell Crow , the man, who started Wyndham Hotel brand, had always surrounded himself w/strong women (married a strong woman, hired them and raised of course Lucy Billingsley). Our CEO who had been in the retail industry, understood the power of women making retail, purchasing decisions. Young people, like me at the time, who had no fear about expressing an opinion, in a growing company w/40 hotels who wanted to compete with Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott (we called them the big boys) wanted to win. I wanted to win. It’s a powerful combination for a business to have thought leaders who are brave, and at the top of the food chain, who will listen and cultivate young, diverse talent and listen to the drum of innovation through a diverse workforce. It’s lucrative. It’s smart business.

I have spent a great deal of my career engaging in the wellbeing of women’s business organizations. I want to stay in touch with people I’ve known and yet to meet. I crave it. I look around the room, and I see my life, new and long time colleagues, friends, and my connections.

Just like publishing or perish, I believe we have to connect or perish.

I thank the innovative thinkers for LinkedIn and Facebook. I absolutely love it. And we still have to get in front of people, just like a a CEO of a large corporation. We are our companies’ sales and marketing leaders.

It took 5 years to grow the women’s marketing program from 1995 – 2000, and the competition laughed while our market share just continued to go up – up – up. We increased revenues by hundreds of millions of dollars per year, by engaging women. I wonder if with Twitter had been invented, if it would have taken 2 months!)?.

The Women On Their Way case study I’ve just shared, is very relevant to the work I am doing with a Japanese bank and their Diversity & Inclusion Council. As an advisor, I am helping the team develop a very similar program to Women On Their Way within a global Japanese bank. It is more of an internal program than an external one. It’s an exciting time for this bank, moving toward developing women in management, developing an inclusive culture and embracing diversity within the workforce, to reflect their client base, also increasingly more diverse, and growing globally. As my client said, we’ve done more in two years than the last 200 years.

Because for every action, there is still a reaction, and the ease of getting on the highway still means we can have a wreck if we’re texting while driving. But we can’t be scared to get on the road either, even if we’re in the slow lane.

So let’s reach across these tables to each other here today, across state lines, across global cultures, across gender identities and connect or perish. I’ve featured a few books on my Pinterest Book Page from some of my colleagues that may be of interest. You can download or flip the pages. I am also anxious to read Leslie Grossman’s new book on the importance of connections, Link Out, due out by Wiley publishing in 2013.

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About Cary

Cary Broussard is a communications expert, speaker and author of the book, From Cinderella to CEO. She is a partner in Broussard Global, based in Dallas and New York. You can find out more about her on LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=7585595&trk=tab_pro
This entry was posted in Advice for CEO's, Advice for Entrepreneurs, Advice for Students and Parents, General, Getting Along in the Workplace, Japan, Respect in the Workplace and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to

  1. Cary,

    It was great to see you in action and the topic is certainly thought-provoking. I especially liked the bicycle helmet on your head. What a visual! That drove the point home!

    Thanks,
    Regina L. Burns

  2. Christine Marsden says:

    Cary
    Congratulations on a really engaging and stimulating article.
    I’m so proud of you.
    Christine

  3. One cannot have it ALL, but we should have it all to choose from.

  4. Cary says:

    Christine, so glad to hear from you all the way from Australia! We miss you over here. Will let you know when I’m coming “down under.”

  5. Cary says:

    Ditto, Suzanne. And protecting that freedom of choice. Great to hear from you.

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