Today marks Equal Pay Day, the time on the 2020 calendar it took for women to catch up to what their male counterparts earned by December 31, 2019 doing equal work. The data on this topic is extensive. Women, on average, earn .80 for every dollar their male colleagues earn, costing women an average of $10,000 dollars a year. The situation is even worse for women of color.
The pay gap matters even more in a time of crisis. Earning less over time means women have fewer resources to weather critical events. Women are the breadwinners in half of the households in America. That means families depend on their paycheck.
In Alabama, the gender pay gap is even wider. Women earn 73% on the dollar comparing average median income. According to the AAUW, that puts our state in 48th place for equal pay. At the current rate of change, the projection for when women will earn equal compensation is 2059.
The pay gap is not just a matter of individual salary negotiation. Unconscious bias runs deep through all levels of the employee lifecycle: recruiting, hiring, promotion, and compensation.
Closing the gap will require action on several fronts:
- Public policy protections on the national and local level, such as the Equal Pay Act and Lilly Ledbetter’s Fair Pay Act.
- Greater protections at the state and local level, such as salary history bans and wage reporting by gender.
- Build pay equity into your management training. As a leader, you have both the influence and the responsibility to advocate for fair hiring, promotion and compensation practices. The Society for Human Resource Management has great resources for managers here.
The pay equity gap isn’t a women’s issue, it’s an economic issue that affects our society at large. On a national level, if women were paid fairly, we could cut the poverty rate in half and inject $512.6 billion into the U.S. economy. At the state and local level, pay equity would help us recruit and retain top talent, as well as fuel our local economy and improve prospects for education and investments for thousands of families.
Let’s use our Momentum network to accelerate the rate of change in Alabama.
We are all adjusting to the new normal of working remotely amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. I have had the opportunity to work remotely before, I have managed remote team members, and I have conducted countless meetings online. This is the first time, however, that I have been homebound with my spouse, children, and trying to work, so that’s getting interesting.
Here are a few ideas that I have found to be helpful:
- Defining my workspace and setting boundaries. While I don’t have a dedicated home office, I have asked my family to avoid whatever room I decide to work in for that “shift.”
- Set my hours. I work best in the morning, so I roll out of bed, stretch, pour my coffee, and get started straight away. Morning is the best time for me to plan, write, and do any task that requires concentration. I like to do my highly abbreviated “get ready” routine when I need a mid-morning break, then get back to work.
- Check-in regularly with the team. We use Slack to do a morning check-in where we post our priorities for the day. We use Zoom for our weekly team meetings where we go over our top 3 priorities for the week, talk about what we accomplished since last week, and discuss any help we need from one another.
- Limit interruptions. If I need heads-down time, I will shut down Slack and email until my next break. I also let my family know what I am trying to get done and why I need them to let me focus. It’s amazing how much more productive I am when I am not switching gears constantly.
- Break for lunch. Everyone in my house is capable of making their own lunch, so I’ve decided on my workdays that we can each prepare our own lunch, but we try to eat together. This gives us a chance to come out of the quiet zone we’ve been in all morning and catch up. I like to keep lunch simple but tasty, like an unusual salad (this one is persimmon) or buddha bowls made from left over dinner items.
- Move around. I don’t like to work in the same space or same position for too long, so I move around. I also take walk-around breaks for a few minutes every hour. Whether I just go downstairs and put laundry in the dryer, lay down in the floor to stretch, or walk around the block when I get a phone call, I try to move often.
- Self-care is a priority. It’s been a challenge for me to practice self-care my whole career. This pandemic situation is different. If I am not eating well, sleeping, exercising, meditating, journaling, and hydrating, then I can not stay healthy and provide for my family and my community. I’ll admit that I’ve traded time I used to spend on wardrobe, hair and makeup to make time for self-care, and I may just stick to that new routine!
- Indulge in one “perk” a day. I like to spend about 20 minutes in the afternoon to do something I wouldn’t normally do if I was in the office. It might be dancing with my daughter in the kitchen, saying hello to a neighbor, bringing in flowers from the yard, or taking a quick nap. Those little breaks bring me home-bound joy!
I am a long way from having this all figured out. I may have to change things up again next week. I’d love to hear how others are managing their new work from home routine. Feel free to share your experiences and preferences by leaving a comment!
Stay healthy. Stay productive. Stay sane.
How fortunate we were that the Momentum Vision 2020 conference got to the finish line, that most attendees were still able to come, and the majority were able to stay through until the end. There was a lot of elbow bumping over handshakes, and it was super difficult to refrain from hugging our friends. Whether you were able to attend or had to sit this one out, we want to make sure you have some Momentum in your next steps, even during this new normal of social distancing and remote working.
So if you missed the conference all together, or you attended but couldn’t get to all of the keynotes, sessions, and Expo Hall, here are 10 ways you can keep the Momentum going:
- Review the conference materials for each individual session in the conference app.
- Think about each session you did attend and how you can ACT (Apply Change Teach) what you learned.
- Explore the blog posts and articles on D&I from opening keynote Risha Grant, and repost at least one with your own thoughts. Bonus: Order Risha’s book That’s B.S. (Bias Synapse)
- Check out morning keynote Hillary Wicht’s TedTalk on voice and gender.
- Watch this 16-min video that hits the highlights of Robyn Benincasa’s keynote on building successful teams. Bonus: Order Robyn’s New York Times best-selling book How Winning Works.
- Take mini-breaks throughout your day to watch the 2-minute videos of our five Woman of Impact Award Honorees (click their photos for a bio and link to their Award Video.) What inspiration, right here in Alabama!
- Check out the resources from Social U on managing your social media presence.
- Request a mentor from the Momentum Mentor Matching network. You can also sign up to BE a mentor here.
- Follow Momentum on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter for more news and events impacting professional women.
- Pay it forward to help support Momentum and the advancement of women in leadership. Text “ML2020” to the number 41411 to give.
Over the next few weeks of social distancing due to COVID-19, our small Momentum team will carry on! We are working remotely, with each person rotating into the office once a week. We are exploring options for hosting our leadership series via webinar, holding virtual classes, and rescheduling some our celebrations.
These difficult times require extraordinary leadership, and we know women are a great source of strength, reason, and resilience for their families and communities!
Check back in for tips on staying sane, productive, and connected during the critical few weeks ahead.
The Momentum Team
“Did you know that women who attend women’s conferences are twice as likely to get a promotion within a year—and THREE times as likely to get a 10 percent salary bump?” That’s just one of the fascinating data points in this Harvard Business Review article. Having attended Momentum conferences since 2014, I can attest to HBR’s findings.
The first time I walked into the ballroom at the 2014 conference, I was overcome with emotion. I had spent most of the decade in a leadership position in a fast-growing tech company–an industry dominated by men, funded by the male dominated venture capital industry, and in a market where decision makers were 95% white male. I was quite comfortable in that environment, or so I thought.
It wasn’t until I stepped into that room of women, hundreds of them just like me, that I understood the collective power we had. It was like a small city of professional women, all looking to grow both professionally and personally. Women learning from one another how to navigate the unwritten rules in our society. Women inspiring one another to reach higher. Women supporting one another through the stress of work and family obligations. Women helping one another learn to state their value clearly and unapologetically. Women finding the voice to say, “I matter, I have a lot to contribute, and I am my own best advocate!”
I was not alone in feeling that way about the Momentum conference. Now that I actually work for Momentum, I have access to all of the conference surveys! For those of you attending the conference next month, here’s what you can look forward to. If you haven’t registered yet, you have until Feb. 20th…don’t delay!
“I loved the diversity of the presenters and the content. I feel inspired to do more in my personal and professional life.” -2014 attendee
“The sessions targeted very different topics, so everyone could find something to fit their interest.” – 2014 attendee
“I enjoyed the speakers the most; they inspired and empowered me to strive for more in my career and family life. The Keynotes were outstanding, and the Breakout sessions were well-organized and informative.” -2016 attendee
“What a great opportunity to surround myself with successful women. Working in a male-dominated industry, this was a rare treat.” -2016 attendee
“I loved the inspiration of the Keynote Speakers and the Award Honorees. I left feeling inspired and encouraged to do more with my life.” -2016 attendee
“The ENTIRE conference was excellent. I only wish some of the sessions repeated so that I could attend them all!” -2016 attendee
“It was such an uplifting event with so much information. The keynote speakers were awesome and I got very practical tips in the breakout sessions.” -2018 attendee
“The keynote speakers were phenomenal! High-caliber international speakers. What a treat for Alabama!” -2018 attendee
“There was an extraordinary energy and feeling of empowerment through women acknowledging the struggles, challenges and opportunities we share. The speakers, session, and opportunities to network were outstanding. Thank you, Momentum!” -2018 attendee
What the researchers in the HBR article found is that women’s conferences acted like a steroid shot for women to ask for that next promotion or salary increase. The “soft” benefits were equally compelling: more than 70% of women attending a women’s conference felt “more optimistic about the future” and “more connected to others.” I can personally vouch for those feelings as a participant at Momentum conferences. Now, as the lucky leader of Momentum, I get to live it every day!
I invite you to plug into Momentum wherever you can, as a conference attendee, conference volunteer, a participant in one of our leadership series, a member of our leadership program or Upward early career program, a beneficiary of our Mentoring program or as a Mentor. As one of our 2014 conference attendees said, “If we pursue the best of all of us, then each one of us will win.”
As a current or aspiring C-level executive, you’ve probably worked with a variety of leaders over the years—some better than others.
How would you rate yourself as a leader?
If you’re like many executives who have risen through the ranks, it’s likely you’ve taken some kind of assessment along the way that gives you feedback about different aspects of your leadership skills.
It’s easy to get sucked into the self-analysis trap–becoming overly concerned about how you “score” in some areas or how others may perceive you. You may become dangerously self-conscious, questioning if you really have what it takes to lead at a high level.
Self-awareness is critical to be an effective leader, but increasing awareness about issues outside of yourself is just as important.
Broaden your understanding about key issues and emerging trends that drive the business. Learn more about business strategy, culture and how to create a compelling vision. Talk with other leaders you admire.
Take responsibility for your own learning. Don’t wait for your organization to provide just the right training or coaching program.
Attend conferences, workshops or other events that help you increase your leadership effectiveness. Join an executive peer group, think tank or mastermind group.
Learn more about yourself as a leader and actively broaden your knowledge about the world around you.
Be ready for the C-Suite by being ready to continue your learning.
You may arrive at a new level, but the learning never ends.
Dr. Jean Ann Larson, BSIE, MBA, EdD, FACHE, LFHIMSS, FIISE, serves as the Leadership Development Officer for UAB School of Medicine and will be a session speaker at Momentum’s Vision 2020 biennial leadership conference in March.
People often ask me what is one thing they can do to become a better leader. The advice I offer is fairly easy. However, it is not quite so easy to follow.
My suggestion is to improve your Emotional Intelligence (EQ). It is said that 90% of the difference in effectiveness between star performers and average performers can be explained by emotional intelligence according to Daniel Goleman’s, (1995) book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than Intelligence. The good news is that if you really want to improve your emotional intelligence there are actions you can take.
First of all, why would you want to improve your emotional intelligence? Improving EQ not only helps you become a better leader, it also helps you be better at navigating interpersonal differences, build stronger relationships and even deal with change more effectively. Ultimately, strengthening our EQ connects us to more productive reactions to challenging situations.
- Self-Awareness: The ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions and drives, as well as their effect on others
- Self-Regulation: The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods and the propensity to suspend judgment and think before acting.
- Motivation: A passion to work for reasons that go beyond money or status, and a propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence.
- Social-awareness or empathy: The ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people by sensing others’ feelings and perspectives and taking an active interest in their concerns.
- Social regulation or social skills: A proficiency in managing relationships and building networks while wielding effective tactics for persuasion and listening openly and sending convincing messages.
So where to start? It can be very helpful to take an EQ assessment, but even without that, I recommend starting with either self-awareness or self-regulation. The idea is to start with things within yourself before beginning work on external or intrapersonal parts of EQ. I have seen that by focusing on a very few but vital behavioral changes in yourself, it can have a large impact upon how you show up as a leader. Here are some examples of things you can do to improve in each area:
- Practice self-reflection by recognizing your current emotional state – do you experience discreet feelings and emotions? Can you name them?
- Once you identify the emotion, describe it aloud or write it down on paper
- Feel your emotions physically
- To improve your ability to self-assess, ask a family member or trusted advisor to describe your strengths and weaknesses. Compare their perspective with your own self-assessment
- Pay attention to your emotions and behaviors and see if you recognize patterns throughout the day
- Reflect on the connection between your emotions and your behavior
- Know who and what pushes your buttons
- Write in a journal about your emotional responses to situations that were significant
- Practice self-restraint by listening first, pausing and then responding
- When becoming frustrated, identify what brought on that emotion
- Create effective responses to stressful situations by finding strategies for altering a negative mood
- Discuss ways of dealing with change and stress with family members, friends or a trusted advisor
- Focus on events that provide a sense of calm or positive emotions
- Ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that can happen?” in order to consider the reality of the situation
- Journal occurrences during which you were able to regulate your responses or emotions. How did the ability to self-regulate affect the outcomes and your relationship with others?
- Begin regular exercise, yoga or meditation to increase your ability to manage your emotions and relax both body and mind. Exercise regulates your emotions by releasing endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine
- Get adequate sleep and rest. Without it, even with the best intentions, it is too easy to react in a way that you’ll regret.
The lists may seem long and you have many ideas to select from. I recommend you select the one or two items that you can actually incorporate into your daily routine and which you feel will have the most impact on your ability to be a more effective and productive leader.
And if none of the above suggestions work for you, here are general ways to improve your emotional intelligence:
- Improve your non-verbal communication
- Focus on the other person
- Make eye contact
- Pay attention to non-verbal cues
- Use humor and play to deal with challenges
- Take hardships in stride
- Smooth over differences
- Simultaneously relax and energize yourself
- Be creative
- Resolve conflict positively and in a trust building way
- Stay focused in the present
- Choose your arguments
- End conflicts that cannot be resolved
Thanks to a younger generation of professionals who value flexibility as the number one benefit from their employers, our culture is slowly shifting to accepting work-life integration. As flexible job opportunities take hold, women now have more opportunity than ever to maintain successful careers and still take care of family obligations self-care, community engagements, and other demands that often disproportionately affect women.
Here are 6 simple ways to achieve greater work-life integration.
- Change your mindset
Embrace your work as a valued aspect of your life by focusing on the benefits it’s providing you and your family. Don’t feel guilty for liking your work or believing you are a better person when you have a job you feel passionate about. When your professional self stops being the competing side to your home self, you’ll see more clearly how they can integrate.
- Don’t Settle
If you are not growing as you’d like professionally or if your employer is reticent to give you the flexibility you need, chances are you are at the wrong place. Similarly, if you feel like you’ve lost yourself and are not growing personally, you need to find what’s missing. In both situations, burnout will be knocking at your back door soon. Find a volunteer opportunity or profession that you are passionate about doing. This makes getting up every day to a full schedule much more rewarding. Maybe you don’t know what you are passionate about anymore? Listen to podcasts that sound interesting, take personality quizzes, ask your family and friends where they see your skills fitting best. Don’t settle. You have too much to offer.
- Set Priorities
Work-life priorities look different for every woman and every family. Take a holistic approach to priorities and make a list of what you and your family need. Understand that these priorities may change every month depending on the age and needs of your spouse, parents and children. Is flexibility the most important need you have? Is a certain income level your greatest need? Ranking priorities will help you find the opportunity where you will be the most successful. You’ll be able to hone in on roles that would make you and your future employer the best match.
- Block Schedule
Work-life integration does require logistical organization that would make UPS jealous. Try blocking time on your schedule for your top priorities. Blocks can be 30 minutes or an hour and should include exercise and ‘you’ time. Many women who block out their schedule find extra hours in their day by rearranging the order of their tasks or tweaking some logistics. A lot of time is wasted on the mental load of thinking about what needs to be done, rather than the actual doing of the task so blocking your schedule frees up the mental space that may be keeping you from productivity.
Practice creating a block schedule and get realistic about the number of hours you can contribute successfully to your professional self and how many hours you need for yourself outside of work.
- Outsource What You Can
As people strive to make work-life integration successful, new services pop up all the time to make life simpler. There are lots of options for women trying to spend less time on tasks for the home. Try using a grocery delivery app, free grocery pick-up or restaurant delivery apps. The time you save shopping inside the store could give you back up to 1 hour of your day. If making homemade healthy dinners is a priority, find 3 recipes on your phone that can stretch throughout the week. What about a robot vacuum that can get rid of the dog hair while you’re away? Whatever your needs or budget, there is always something you can outsource that is bogging you down at home.
- Set Personal Boundaries
This might be the most important aspect of successful work-life integration. Integration will not work if you don’t set boundaries. Be open with your employer about when you are available and what you are not willing to compromise. For example, maybe you can work all day but must be available to pick-up from school or for 4 pm practices. As long as projects and tasks are completed on time, chances are your employer will have no issue with your boundaries. More companies now know that meeting objectives is more important than how long you are sitting in your office. In fact, they are likelier to be wowed by your productivity during the hours you are available.
Every working woman has to find what works for her career and her family to achieve work-life integration. Having a fulfilling career while also taking care of responsibilities and passions outside of work is possible with the right combination of planning, prioritizing, and boundary setting.
The highlight of the following event was a story about an amazing connection that came about as a result of the Mixtroz “mix.” Recently Rashada LeRoy of LRY Media Group and Ernie Williams of Alabama Power had an experience with the Mixtroz event planning software via one of their attendees.
They held an event called “She. Is. Ready.”The event’s purpose was “Celebrating Black Women in Technology.”
Held in New Orleans and hosted by Bronze Valley, this event featured many black women “techpreneurs” and highlighted their applications.
The connection she needed — who knew she’d find him because of the Mixtroz platform?
K-Rob Thomas, Alabama Power’s Power Delivery General Manager, happened to participate in the event. The morning prior, he was lucky enough to have breakfast with an Alabama judge. He tells us, “Ironically enough, during the Mixtroz session, a young lady in my group expressed a desire to meet that same judge. She had been the inspiration for the pursuit of her own Juris Doctorate degree. She had been working on how to approach the judge for a meeting to seek guidance for her path forward.”
Of course, neither of them had met before. K-Rob was coincidentally able to connect this young lady to the judge with whom he had breakfast with that very same day. “It turned out to be an amazing moment that was truly touching for her,” according to K-Rob. He tells us that she did indeed meet her idol because of Mixtroz. And she was extremely emotional for that chance encounter!
Mixtroz hears about these types of coincidental stories that happen during their mixes over and over. It is natural to make powerful connections using Mixtroz. The software has powerful algorithms that assign attendees in purposeful groups. These groups are in fact specifically designed to make these types of special connections!
Mixtroz is an event planning software that engages and improves events for attendees while collecting data for event hosts. Attendees download the Mixtroz app and complete a virtual name tag and survey customized by the organizer. At a predetermined time, the app simultaneously matches attendees and guides them to an intelligently automated match of people for a curated group connection experience in real-time! At the completion of the “mix,” the organizer gains the visualized survey data collected from the interactions which can be used to drive future revenue-generating cost-cutting measures all throughout your organization. Mixtroz can be up and running at your event instantaneously. So, to get started working less and innovating more, visit Mixtroz at www.mixtroz.com, or contact us here.
So many people say they want to grow in their career. I can understand that because who wants to do the same thing the same way in the same position for the same company for the same 40 years? No one! So, I get it…it’s reasonable to desire growth in your career.
Well, I want to give you 3 ways you can accelerate the growth in your career:
1. Network-yes, that’s right you must network. This is a class they should give you starting in high school. That’s how important it is. It is important that you stay connected to other people to learn new things, learn new people and learn about new career opportunities. In fact, there are a large majority of jobs that are never posted, and you only find out about them through your network. Networks can be formal networks that you have at work with your boss, or other leaders within your company. And networks can also be informal with people from your church, neighborhood or civic organizations you are a part of.
2. Utilize Mentors-yes, everyone needs mentors in their careers. Mentors are helpful to be a sounding board, give you honest feedback and help you navigate your different career moves, twists and turns. There are several kinds of mentors you can have, and many people often have different ones for different things or areas they want to work on.
3. Continuing Education-if you don’t want to be stagnant, then it’s crucial you invest in staying relevant in your field and continuing your growth and development. There are several free and paid options to stay abreast of your field and also to just personally sharpen the areas where you need help. Think about taking free classes at your local library, local universities or at work. Also, consider getting certifications or joining professional organizations related to the field you are in.
These 3 strategies will help you stay on a trajectory of growth in your career and ensure you do not cultivate complacency and stagnation.