Some observations and thoughts…

Molly Q. Ford – Bring a folding Chair

Of all the speakers, Molly’s mission most aligns with my own. Working in creative innovation, diversity of thought, inclusion is a big part of my purpose. I have also felt the isolation of L-only-ness, and I know most of us are all looking for allies and advocates. For a while seeing the ways bias manifest in the corporate world felt like a betrayal and made me very angry and skeptical of business. What I’ve learned since then, listening and coaching and being coached — is the way forward is compassion — for ourselves and others and that this is a fight worth fight. Molly’s talk reminded that I am on the right track — that being frustrated and angry is part of the process. My frustration as a white woman, who can sometimes “blend” and “hide” is not comparable to people of color. Being able to take a “rest” from some unconscious bias, is a privilege and a power, which I can enjoy but also share. We all want to be seen, to know we are not alone. What could be more gracious than elevating others voices? 

Something that I would like to see manifest from her talk – the “decade pledge.” At this rate, it’ll take a century for the wage gap to close. Instead, I’d like to see companies commit to equal pay for equal impact (as well as equal opportunity) — in less than a decade.

Tapati Dutta – The path becomes the purpose

Tapati’s journey reminds of the true meaning of compassion. To have gone through the life she has lived through a childhood of caregiving, gendered oppression, poverty and come through with so much love and empathy – is humbling. As Rumi reminds us — the wound is where the light enters and I think Tapati show us just how true that is.  I’m embarrassed by how messy the drawing came out — but I think also reflects how messy life is — I also am in love with her paradigm for viewing folks holistically. It actually reminds me of a comment from Laszlo Bock, former head of People at Google, when he said he looks for signs of “relative deprivation” when interviewing folks.

Something I’d like to see come out of this – companies applying the Risk/Resilience/Relative Depravation matrix, for inclusive, wholehearted interviewing.

Melissa Spitz – Be curious and compassionate

I posted earlier last week about Melissa’s talk. For me personally, there is some much in her story that I am working through with my own complicated relationships with my four parents. Her journey into compassion and coming to a place of curiosity with her parents is a humbling reminder for me — as I evolve from child to adult and caregiver. 

What I hope comes from this — sharing our stories, being vulnerable and finding the people who make us feel safe.

Claudia Angeli – Never is not impossible

The story of Angeli’s work helping the paralyzed walk again was AMAZING! Although I’ll admit I loved that Claudia began the talk admitting how boring science can be — sadly it’s why I never got into it. That said, I’ve come around to the idea of experimenting in business — which may be similarly boring and is likewise full of failure and rejection, although perhaps with much lower stakes. As someone who has torn her ACL three times — I also have a teeny tiny window in the AGONY of what it is like when your body won’t do what it used to. Of all the talks this one made me cry the most!

What I hope comes from this — I hope this inspires more women to get into science, manifest our human potential and push the limits on what is possible. 

Tamika Catchings – Ad astra per aspera, srsly

You speak with Tamika, you might not even realize she had a hearing impairment – the first thing you notice is her 1,000-watt smile and amazing energy. I loved hearing her journey beginning with the fierce desire to focus on her game – that determination to be the best,  take the shot and find her voice. In every hero’s journey, though, they’re called to something greater. In Tamika’s case, it was to use her platform for those with similar challenges, of course, few of us get Pat Summit to be our Yoda #fangirl #swoon. Pivoting from being a player to being an advocate and inspiration — from being a player to a leader — is just the beginning of Tamika’s journey.

What I hope come from Tamika’s talk — this brings us full circle back to Molly’s talk — and learning to lift up and rise up the voices of others. That we have a duty to the next generation – to leave this world a better place. The time to start is now. You are already enough.

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