Upcoming Michael Best Events

Michael Best is pleased to announce two upcoming, complimentary events:

Best Summit for Life Sciences, University and Higher Education – How Does the Legal Landscape Affect Your IP Portfolio?
September 8, 2017

The day will begin with a welcome by attorney, Chair of Michael Best’s Life Sciences and Chemical practice, and Be Your Own Best Blog founder, Lisa L. Mueller, followed by five presentations led by Michael Best attorneys and several guest panelists from the Midwest, across the United States and throughout the world. Sessions include:

  • IP and Strategic Alliances
  • Patent Protection and Enforcement for Life Science inventions in the Middle East and North Africa
  • Presenting Oral Arguments at the PTAB – Mock Trial
  • Patent Term Extension, Supplementary Patent Certificates and Other Ways to Extend a Patent Term
  • FDA Predictions

For more information, click here.

Stop, Breathe, and Think! A Mindful Approach to Work and Career

September 7, 2017

Featuring speaker Lauren Pagenkopf of Laurus Consulting, LLC, will discuss how in the 24/7, hyper-connected world in which we live and work it can sometimes feel as if we have no control, life is happening, and a work/life balance is an impossible goal. Mindful thinking helps us become aware of the thoughts and behaviors that hold us back, gives us the space to make choices and trade-offs, and empowers us to redefine what success looks like. Lauren will also discuss myths and truths about mindfulness and how to cultivate an intentional approach to work and career.

For more information, click here.

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Women: Develop Qualities to Become an Extraordinary Mentor

35 years. 1,098 wins. 8 National Championships. 18 NCAA Final Four appearances. 1 undefeated season. 100% graduation rate. These are just a few of the remarkable accomplishments achieved by the legendary University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach, Pat Summitt, who lost her battle against Alzheimer’s disease on June 28, 2016. Many commentators credit Coach Summitt not only for paving the way for women’s basketball but for all women’s sports in general. Specifically, many point to the high salaries college women basketball coaches currently receive and the significant increase in television air time for all women’s sports as a direct result of her influence.

I have been a huge Lady Vols fan since 1985. Since then, I’ve spent a significant amount of time in Knoxville watching Lady Vols games while also traveling the country to attend nine NCAA Final Four championships (including Tennessee’s back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008). Moreover, I was fortunate to attend the recent Celebration of Life remembrance service for Coach Summitt in Knoxville.

After the service, I reflected on the indelible impact Coach Summitt had, not only on her players, coaches and assistants, but on many women, myself included. Over the years, I have met a number of women at Lady Vols games who were attending the games not so much for the basketball but because they had been inspired by Coach Summitt. In fact, many of these same types of women traveled from various parts of the country to attend the Celebration of Life service. This lead me to ask what was it about Coach Summitt that lead to her having such an impact on so many women both inside and outside the world of basketball?

Not surprisingly, over the last month many words have been used to describe Coach Summitt – friend, teacher, champion, mother, leader, mentor, pioneer and hero. Of all these wonderful descriptions, I believe it was her role as a mentor that is one of the reasons she has had such a far-reaching impact on so many women.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “mentor” as “someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less-experienced and often younger person; a trusted counselor or guide.”  Interestingly, the word “mentor” has its roots in Greek mythology. Specifically, in the Odyssey, Mentor was a character who advised and protected Odysseus’ son Telemachus.  Later, in 1699, in Les Aventures de Télémaque (“The Adventures of Telmachus”), we are introduced to Mentor, Telmachus’ tutor and the ultimate hero of the story who is also revealed to be Minerva, the goddess of wisdom in disguise. It is believed that the word “mentor” may have arisen from this book.

For many women, Coach Summitt was a trusted counselor and guide. Let’s look at some of the traits that have made her such an extraordinary mentor for so many diverse women.

  1. Coach Summitt was an excellent communicator. Coach Summitt believed that developing good communication skills was extremely important because “[C]ommunication eliminates mistakes”. Moreover, she believed that good communication involved using more than just using your voice, but listening, making good eye contact and using your body. In fact, many of Coach Summitt’s players were keenly aware of what Coach Summitt was communicating without a single word being spoken when they received her famous steely “stare” after making a mistake or not following her directions.
  2. Coach Summitt believed in self-reflection and never shied away from examining what she did and why and how it could be improved.  In her book Reach For The Summitt, Coach Summitt wrote that when a good plan works, “you don’t write it off to luck or good fortune. You examine it, and ask yourself why things turned out so well.” Throughout her career, she was constantly revamping and tweaking the Lady Vols offense and defense, always looking to new ways to improve. For example, in the mid-1990’s, she studied and ultimately put her own spin on the triangle half-court offense made famous by the Chicago Bulls. This new offense is believed to be one of the factors that contributed to the Lady Vols winning the first of three straight national championships from 1996-1998.
  3. Coach Summitt believed that confidence came from hard work and practice. In fact, she phrased it quite simply when she said, “Here’s how I’m going to beat you. I’m going to outwork you. That’s it. That’s all there is to it.”
  4. Coach Summitt demanded excellence not only from herself and everyone around her. It was well known that Pat Summitt was extremely competitive. Not only did she demand excellence from herself, but all those around her as well – players, coaches, staff, etc. To her, effort or intensity was not optional. In fact, she treated every practice with the same focus as her 18 NCAA Final Four appearances. According to Coach Summitt, “You can’t always be the most talented person in the room, but you can be the most competitive.”
  5. Coach Summitt was honest. No matter the circumstance – good or bad, win or loss, Coach Summitt was always straightforward and honest and was never afraid to pull any punches. She valued the honesty in others stating, “[T]he absolute heart of loyalty is to value those people who tell you the truth, not just those people who tell you what you want to hear. In fact, you should value them most. Because they have paid you the compliment of leveling with you and assuming you can handle it.”
  6. Coach Summitt was compassionate and had a generous spirit. While extremely tough on her players, Coach Summitt was equally if not more compassionate for her players when necessary. Of all her accolades, Coach Summitt said that the one she was most proud of was the 100% graduation rate. To her, she not only wanted her players to succeed on the court and at Tennessee, but also in life.

“You win in life with people” – Pat Summitt

Posted in Be Your Own Best, Lisa L. Mueller, Michael Best, Uncategorized, Women, Women Blog Posts, Women Blogs | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Inspirational Women Series – Meet Leticia Delgado-Herrera

This is the eighth post in the Be Your Own Best Blog’s Inspirational Women series. This series highlights exceptional women across a diverse spectrum of occupations and industries, and allows them to share some of their insights with an equally diverse audience.

Meet Leticia Delgado-Herrera

Global Project Leader, Inflammation, Immunology and Gastrointestinal Disease
at Astellas Pharma

Greater Chicago Area

How would you define a “successful” career and what needs to happen for more women to achieve that level of success?
I have defined a “successful” career as having an impact on society while learning, having fun, and enjoying all within a set of pre-specified principles and criteria. In order for more women to achieve this level of success, it is important for each one of them to define as early as possible the individual meaning of a “successful” career.

What is your proudest career accomplishment and why?
Professionally, I am proud of having been blessed with the opportunity to bring to millions of patients around the globe a number of pharmaceutical products that have made a huge impact, not only on society, but also to the lives of friends and family members. In the case of my oldest daughter, it was an inhalational anesthetic I worked on that had just been approved. The head of anesthesiology department at Children Memorial Hospital asked if I was comfortable with him using the drug during my daughter’s surgery in view of the potential toxicity associated with this new medication. My faith in our science was un-wavered and her operation was a success. My career accomplishments have spilled into my two daughters upbringing and interests. My oldest, daughter is a sophomore at Notre Dame where she is majoring in chemical engineering which makes me very proud as a professional but most importantly as a parent.

Please describe a challenging problem that you had to overcome in your career and the steps you took to do so.
It is extremely challenging to have a successful career while being able to have a successful personal life. I am not the exception, as a daughter, wife, and mother I have to choose between continuing to climb the corporate ladder and work/life balance. Although, very hard at the time, I selected the latter by moving to an organization that provided not only the work/life balance that I was looking forward, but also allowing me to continue to do what I enjoy and do best.

If you could be mentored by anyone, who would it be and why?
Although I admire a number of successful individual whom their mentoring would be an honor I am fortune to have the best mentors in the world with me at all time. They are my family in particular my mother, daughters, and husband. Every day I learn from them about what is important in life; the values, characteristics and approach one most have to be successful in life.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Do it all over again and continue to enjoy this incredible roller-coast ride called life.

What words do you live by?
Be yourself, be honest, respectful, have integrity and treat others the way you would like to be treated, enjoy and have fun with everything you do. Learn to move on when it is time to do so, and do not look back.

If you would like to suggest an inspirational woman for consideration, please e-mail Lisa Mueller at llmueller@michaelbest.com.

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Inspirational Women Series – Meet Grace Marshall

This is the seventh post in the Be Your Own Best Blog’s Inspirational Women series. This series highlights exceptional women across a diverse spectrum of occupations and industries, and allows them to share some of their insights with an equally diverse audience.

Meet Grace Marshall
Head Coach, Chief Encourager, Author and Productivity Ninja
United Kingdom
Grace Marshall

Grace’s Background
Educated with a degree in International Management and Modern Languages, I was prepped and primed to climb the corporate ladder. I worked in marketing. I was good. I worked hard. And I was a quick learner. But at the end of the day, I wasn’t passionate about advertising numbers and response rates. Numbers just don’t excite me. People do.

The irony of course is that since setting up my own coaching business in 2008, I am immersed in marketing on a daily basis, but my approach is all about people, communication and relationships – not numbers!

As a qualified coach, NLP practitioner, author and Productivity Ninja, I coach, train, write and speak on productivity. I give people new ways of working and thinking about their work, to replace stress, overwhelm, fatigue and frustration with success, sanity and satisfaction – from startup founders to corporate managers, artists to engineers, students and CEOs.

My first book ’21 Ways to Manage the Stuff that Sucks Up Your Time’ topped the Amazon UK bestselling ranks for Time Management, Business Management and Small Business Entrepreneurship. My second book, ‘How to be Really Productive: Achieving clarity and getting results in a world where work never ends’ is published by Pearson, and has been described as ‘a breath of fresh air’ and ‘a very “real world” approach to productivity.’

How would you define a “successful” career and what needs to happen for more women to achieve that level of success?
What a great question! Career success is work that calls the best out of you and honors what matters most to you – and that’s why we all have to define success on our own terms.

For me I usually know I’m on the right track when there’s a sense of adventure – being excited and terrified at the same time – growth – calling me to develop and stretch outside my comfort zone – and satisfaction – doing work that does me good as well as the good I am doing.

I’m a big believer in working hard but I also believe that sacrificing what matters in the hope that it will pay off in the future is a gamble and even if it pays off, often a pyrrhic victory.

So Ii think it’s important to define success in action as well as outcomes and goals. For example, if I want to build my business, gain more clients, speak on more high profile platforms, success in action means sowing seeds, developing relationships and building my reputation by giving my best to the clients I have today. In other words, success isn’t about what I’ll have when I get there, it’s about I have today and what I’m doing with it.

What is your proudest career accomplishment and why?
My books. I wrote my first book in 2012, “21 Ways to Manage the Stuff that Sucks Up Your Time” and despite being a newcomer with a small niche publisher, it launched to No.1 in several bestselling categories on amazon.co.uk. Being invited by a big publisher to write my second book “How to be Really Productive” was a big achievement too, and seeing it in the business charts in airports in 2015 was definitely a highlight! There were so many reasons I could have used to discount myself – the fact that I’m naturally disorganized for one! But I decided that as long as my writing helped someone, I would keep on doing it. That’s my proudest accomplishment – refusing to let imposter syndrome stop me.

Please describe a challenging problem that you had to overcome in your career and the steps you took to do so.
Starting my business was challenging. I was emerging from what I now affectionately call “my mid-life crisis in my mid-twenties” and recovering from the initial shock of parenting. I started my business very much from scratch in a new profession and a new town, with a young family in tow. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that as a strategy but it was what I had at the time!

It sounds like a big leap when you look at it like that, but ultimately big transformations come from taking baby steps. The steps I took in the day to day were small, daily decisions and actions – some worked out better than others, some went round in circles, but being willing to keep learning and keep improvising (i.e. make it up as you go along) and to get up more times than you fall down – probably sums it up!

If you could be mentored by anyone, who would it be and why?
Brene Brown is one of my all-time favorites to learn from – as a storyteller, communicator, thought-leader, people-researcher, and all round great human being. I love her down to earth style, her absolute integrity and her knack of speaking uncommon sense. I’d love to learn from her how she handles being human on a big platform, how she works out her professional, family and personal life, as well as her experience and insights into honing your message and speaking your truth.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t let what makes sense on paper overrule what makes sense in your heart. Have the courage to take your own path – and if you go the wrong way, you always have the right to change your mind.

What words do you live by?
I adopted this in my early days of parenting, from someone much wiser than me. It speaks to the recovering perfectionist in me: to be good enough, most of the time, with intermittent lapses into hopelessness and brilliance.

If you would like to suggest an inspirational woman for consideration, please e-mail Lisa Mueller at llmueller@michaelbest.com.

Posted in Be Your Own Best, Inspirational Women Series, Lisa L. Mueller, Women | 1 Comment

Inspirational Women Series – Meet Kristine Kelley

This is the sixth post in the Be Your Own Best Blog’s Inspirational Women series. This series highlights exceptional women across a diverse spectrum of occupations and industries, and allows them to share some of their insights with an equally diverse audience.

Meet Kristine Kelley
Senior Director, Editorial, Tax & Accounting U.S.
Wolters Kluwer

Kristine’s Background
After getting my B.A.. in journalism from Michigan State University, I worked as a Chicago-based reporter for a McGraw-Hill group of trade magazines for the chemical industry. Over the next 10+ years I worked at a variety of publishers covering industries from hazardous waste to beverages to travel. As esoteric as it sounds, it was pretty fun, and helped me get comfortable with a very man-dominated world. I interviewed senior executives at some of the largest global brands, even sampling beers with Pete Coors and August Busch IV (in separate interviews). Being confident and relaxed was key to getting the information I needed to share with our readers.

Once the world starting going digital, I left print publishing for a news editing job at Arthur Andersen, which was building client portals with original industry-focused reporting. No one was actually paying for anything online at that point (late 1990’s), so we rolled the group into arthurandersen.com. After the collapse, I took a bunch of the team to Deloitte, where I led the global digital team until I landed my first consumer-facing spot as managing editor of motorola.com. It was a tremendous learning experience.

After Google purchased Motorola, I went back into the accounting world as head of editorial and content strategy. My team of two grew to a team of about 40 after the proposal-writing team and then digital were added to my responsibilities. A short time later I was recruited to work as head of the Research & Learning editorial team for Wolters Kluwer’s U.S. Tax and Accounting team.

How would you define a “successful” career and what needs to happen for more women to achieve that level of success?
I think the definition depends on your personal goals. Success for me is having grown over my career from staff reporter to team leader of 120 writers at a $4.5B global publishing and information services company. I build on what I learn in each of my roles, taking what works and applying it to the next thing. For more women – or anyone – to meet their “success” goals, they need to feel confident and empowered. At least part of that (at least for me) comes from listening – listening to your audience, your customers, your colleagues, bosses, family and your own self. When you digest all that, you learn what feels right for you. And when you do what’s right for you, you’ll feel you’ve succeeded.

What is your proudest career accomplishment and why?
Probably that I’ve made it this far on a B.A. in journalism. I considered getting an MBA because for a few years, it looked like you couldn’t move into a leadership role without one. But more school wasn’t for me, unless you count the time a few years ago when I took a bunch of botany classes, thinking I might drop out of this stuff and get a Ph.D. in plant biology and conservation. I decided my kids probably needed to get through college before I went back again.

Please describe a challenging problem that you had to overcome in your career and the steps you took to do so.
The Arthur Andersen shut-down took some serious navigation. As head of the global digital marketing team at the time, I was part of a small group that stayed on for several months to work through shutting down the .coms and archiving all of the content. Some of the biggest challenges were the mental and emotional ones. They wouldn’t let us throw anything away, so boxes were piled along the hallways, while at the same time movers were taking out the plants and artwork, and our colleagues and friends were let go. Cubes were left empty in the middle of meetings, as everyone tried to continue on “business as usual” until they were brought to HR for their final packages.

To get through it, I focused on seeing how much of my team I could keep together as we moved to Deloitte, and working with folks to get mail lists and resumes together.

And of course we used lots of gallows humor. One day we spent making lists of jobs we’d fall back on, including working at an ice cream store, driving the tram at the Chicago Botanic Gardens and becoming a professional bird watcher.

If you could be mentored by anyone, who would it be and why?
I’d stick with my mom. She’s done a pretty good job so far.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
There’s usually a whole lot more behind some of those decisions you think you’d do better at making than the person who’s actually making them. In fact, once you see what’s going on, you might find that you’ll make the same crummy decision. At some point, you’ll need to get over yourself.

What words do you live by?
Oh, that kind of depends on what’s going on. There are a lot of words, and I’ve made a living out of them, so I guess you could say I live by all words.

To address the sentiment, my current favorite meme is, “When something goes wrong in your life, just yell ‘plot twist!’ and move on.”
If you would like to suggest an inspirational woman for consideration, please e-mail Lisa Mueller at llmueller@michaelbest.com.

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Inspirational Women Series – Meet Cynthia LaConte

This is the fifth post in the Be Your Own Best Blog’s Inspirational Women series. This series highlights exceptional women across a diverse spectrum of occupations and industries, and allows them to share some of their insights with an equally diverse audience.

Meet Cynthia LaConte
CEO and President,
The F. Dohmen Co.

How would you define a “successful” career and what needs to happen for more women to achieve that level of success?
I think success is about finding fulfillment in what you do every day, knowing that it’s a match to your gifts and capabilities, stretching to learn new ways to be useful to others and always being a little uncomfortable. For me, a successful life is more important than a successful career, and I measure that by how many lives I can positively impact.

What is your proudest career accomplishment and why?
I’m proud of the work I’ve done to redefine and transform Dohmen, a fifth generation, privately-held company in its 158th year of operation. We’ve successfully transitioned Dohmen from a regional wholesale supplier to a BPO that supplies compliance, financial, supply chain, technology and patient services to more than 200 biopharma companies. We were able to dramatically change what we do, without changing who we are. Our strong culture gave us the foundation to change and grow.

Please describe a challenging problem that you had to overcome in your career and the steps you took to do so.
I think women in general have an added obstacle of overcoming a confidence deficit. Some weird combination of social programming has left women feeling self-critical, and it’s really insidious. It took me until my mid-40’s to even be aware of this perception in my own life, then it took me even longer to correct it. It’s one thing to be self-reflective and strive for objective improvement, but if you’re spending even a minute listening to some voice in your head telling you you’re not good enough or that you can’t do something, you need to stop that behavior. Meditate, find a mentor, make a list of your achievements – whatever you have to do, but shut that thinking down. That’s time you should be using to dream and visualize all of the things you’re going to accomplish.

If you could be mentored by anyone, who would it be and why?
I was mentored by a Canadian banker that I met randomly from a plane ride. Ed was smart, savvy, a little bit gruff and completely objective about my business. He passed away many years ago now, but I think of him so often. I still try to see things through his eyes, and I wish I could share our progress with him.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Get over your fear of public speaking. The only way to advance positive change is by communicating your vision. The more people you can reach the better.

What words do you live by?
Ghandi’s “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

If you would like to suggest an inspirational woman for consideration, please e-mail Lisa Mueller at llmueller@michaelbest.com.

Posted in Be Your Own Best, Inspirational Women Series, Lisa L. Mueller, Women | Leave a comment

International Women’s Day 2016: The Time is Now for Global Gender Equality and to (Finally) Close the Gender Gap

Today is International Women’s Day. Each year on March 8th, women celebrate the progress we’ve made while continuing to advocate for change regarding gender equality and women’s rights. Around the world, celebrations range from very simple demonstrations of respect, appreciation and love towards women to elaborate events that honor our economic, political and social achievements.

International Women’s Day is believed to have originated on March 8, 1908. On that day, thousands of women marched through the streets in New York City publicly calling for better working conditions, higher pay and the right to vote. The first National Women’s Day was held the following year. In 1910, women from around the world gathered in Denmark for the second International Conference of Working Women, where the idea for International Women’s Day was proposed. As a result, the first international celebration was held one year later in 1911.

This year’s theme is “Pledge for Parity.” The “Pledge for Parity” calls for complete gender equality and the closing of the gender gap in social, economic, political and other situations. In light of this year’s theme, let’s look at some of the recent statistics regarding gender equality.

  1. According to US Aid around the world:
  • Approximately 62 million girls are not in school.
  • One in three women will experience gender-based violence in her lifetime.
  • In the developing world, one in seven girls is married before her 15th birthday.
  • Although constituting 40 percent of the agriculture labor force, only 3 to 20 percent of women are landowners.
  1. On March 3, 2016, the Economist published its “glass-ceiling index” listing the countries where women have the best chance of equal treatment at work. The Nordic countries of Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland were ranked 1-4. Interestingly, in these countries, women are present in the labor force at rates similar to men. For example, in Iceland, women have 44% of the seats on listed-company boards. By way of comparison, the U.S. and Great Britain are ranked 20th and 25th respectively. Japan, Turkey and South Korea were the three lowest-ranked countries of the 30 countries in the list.
  2. In February 2016, a white paper by the Peterson Institute for International Economics presented the results of a global survey of 21,980 firms from 91 countries. The survey found that approximately 60 percent of respondents (13,017 firms) did not contain any recorded female board members. Additionally, over 50 percent of the firms (11,802 firms) did not contain any female executives. Of the remaining half, 57 percent had only one female executive. Only 945 firms, less than 5 percent, had a female chief executive officer. These statistics are alarming in view of the paper’s conclusion that the presence of women in corporate leadership has been shown to improve firm performance. Specifically, the paper noted that the presence of women in corporate leadership was positively correlated with firm characteristics such as size, the absence of discriminatory attitudes toward female executives and the availability of paternity leave.
  3. The results of the survey described in the white paper by the Peterson Institute were not terribly surprising in view of the 2015 Women in the Workplace report published by Lean In and McKinsey & Company. Sadly, the report noted that women remain under-represented at every level in the corporate pipeline and that women continue to face greater barriers to advancement and a steeper path to senior leadership. While the report showed that women leave organizations at most levels at a lower rate than men, it also showed that women advance far more slowly from one level to the next. The report noted that the uneven playing field between men and women has taken a toll on women in leadership. According to the report, senior-level women are markedly less satisfied with their role, opportunities for advancement and career than their male counterparts. Bottom line, according to Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and Co-Founder of LeanIn.org, at the current rate, it will take more than 100 years for women to reach equality in the workplace. Moreover, Ms. Sandberg said, “If NASA launched a person into space today, she could soar past Mars, travel all the way to Pluto and return to Earth 10 times before women occupy half of C-suite offices.  Yes, we’re that far away.”
  4. According to UN Women:
  • As of August 2015, only 22 percent of all national parliamentarians were women (in contrast to 11.3 percent in 1995).
  • As of August 2015, there were only 11 women serving as Heads of State and 10 as the Head of a Government.
  • There are wide variations in the average percentages of women parliamentarians throughout the world across all chambers (single, lower and upper houses). For example, as of August 2015, the number of women parliamentarians was 41.1 percent in the Nordic countries, 25.5 percent in the Americas, 24.4 percent in Europe (excluding the Nordic countries), 23.0 percent in sub-Saharan Africa, 18.4 percent in Asia, 17.1 percent in the Middle East and North Africa and 15.7 percent in the Pacific.

After reviewing and digesting the above statistics, I believe it is very easy to become frustrated (and even angry) with the slow pace at which women are achieving global gender equality. After all, isn’t increasing gender equality about harnessing the talent, creativity, emotional intelligence, courage, compassion and passion that women have to ensure a better world and future for everyone? When viewed that way – eliminating the gender gap isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s the smart and economically sensible thing to do.

Many of us, myself included, tend to look at women in positions of power and influence (such as Sheryl Sandberg, Melinda Gates, etc.) to lead the way in championing the changes needed to achieve global gender equality. However, it simply is not enough. Each one of us needs to take personal responsibility to do what we can push for change and advance gender equality. Quite frankly, at this stage, no effort is too small. So what can you do? Consider volunteering or donating to organizations that are dedicated to helping educate girls or women around the world (such as CARE, Global Fund for Women, Girls Education International and 60 Million Girls).

Build your confidence and eliminate your fear of speaking up or of “leaning in.” Don’t be afraid to take risks and work on promoting yourself. However, at the same time, be supportive and encouraging of other women and help them to build their confidence and promote themselves. As Madeline Albright said at the Celebrating Inspiration luncheon with the WNBA’s All-Decade Team in 2006, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

Consider becoming an entrepreneur. If entrepreneurship is not for you, then support a female-owned start-ups and local businesses.

Become a mentor. Women need mentors. Women need that supportive advocate who guides and says, “Don’t give up. Stay the course.” A mentor is critical because it is that person you can have a frank conversation with who will listen to your tough questions and give you honest answers.

Encourage your employer to build a workplace of inclusion and respect. Studies have shown that workplaces that openly communicate their values and strategies on equality, human rights and inclusion, are able to attract a wider pool of talent and have greater success in retaining staff. As such, women should not be afraid to encourage human resource initiatives that promote gender quality such as increasing the number of female hires, providing flexible work schedules and options for working at home. We should not be afraid to use the avenues within our institutions to voice our concerns in an attempt to hold senior leadership accountable for failing to actively and aggressively promote gender equality, such as by using employee surveys, team and all-employee meetings, etc.

“A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult.” – Melinda Gates

This post was written by Lisa Mueller.

Posted in Be Your Own Best, Corporate America, Gender Equality, International Women's Day, Leader, Lisa L. Mueller, Michael Best, Michael Best & Friedrich, success, Women, Women Blog Posts, Women Blogs | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment