Sunday, June 4, 2017

Proud Product of Women's Communities

Emerge California, Class of 2015

The best way to change the world is to empower women leaders, and those from other underrepresented communities. As the American suffragist Alice Paul declared almost a hundred years ago, "There will never be a new world order until women are a part of it.” My personal definition of feminism is creating an equal world, free of all forms of discrimination and oppression such as sexism, genderism, racism, heterosexism, ableism, ageism, etc. My vocation is this feminism.

The best way to empower women leaders is to give them a supportive community to grow in. While the path to empowerment is an individual process, one person can only take themselves so far in his or her growth. Being in a community, where everyone shares their stories of overcoming struggles and supports each other in such growth is imperative to personal transformation. A person needs to know they are not alone in their challenges. They need to see others who have made it to inspire them to become the greater self they seek to be. This is especially necessary for women and those from underrepresented communities who look up the career ladder and don't see many leaders that look like them.

I have dedicated my career to building inclusive communities, predominantly for women. Moreover, as I have grown in my career doing such, I have and continue to have great challenges growing as a female leader myself. I truly hope to write a book someday soon about this epic journey! I am eternally indebted to the countless women who have supported me along my leadership path. I literally could not have done it alone. As an alumna of these various groups, my community continues to give back and support me.

As a cisgender woman, I have personally found it incredibly valuable to be a part of communities just for women. While I strongly believe in inclusiveness and inviting men and people of all genders into feminist conversations, a unique safe space is established in women only spaces. When people from underrepresented communities are together with each other, they can feel safe to be vulnerable and share their experiences of discrimination. A special bond is created that produces deep, meaningful relationships through this shared identity. While co-ed groups must also exist, single sex environments have special benefits for empowerment.

Below are the various women's communities I have been a part of, many of which I have be privileged to help build. In the future, I hope to write my PhD dissertation examining the best practices to create such sustainable communities.

I encourage you to click on the links below for the various groups I have been a part of. While I have been and continue to be a part of many organizations, these are the ones that have been the most meaningful to me. I challenge you to seek out similar communities for yourself, or even to build new ones that do not yet exist.

As Madeline Albright often shares, "There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." I spend every day of my life making sure I don't end up there!

Training Programs

Congressional Fellowships on Women and Public Policy (formerly WREI)

Emerge California

We Lead program, American University

WILpower program, Leading Women in Technology

Progressive Women's Voices

FemFuture

The White House Project & Ploughshares Fund Women in Nuclear Security program

Professional Women's Organizations

Ericsson Women in Leadership (WIL) group

Women Get It Done

Watermark

Women in Government Relations

Nonprofits & Higher Education

Women in Management (WIM) groups at Stanford GSB

Women's Information Network

Alpha Omicron Pi (AOII)

American Association of University Women (AAUW)

UPWARD

Running Start

Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN)

Sewall-Belmont House & Museum

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