International Women’s Day – 15 Ways To Get Involved

IWD Banner-Google+ Each year on March 8 the people around the world gather to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD). The United Nations celebrated the first IWD in 1975 during International Women’s Year. Two years later the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed each year on March 8. All over the world thousands of events occur in support of IWD to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Want to get involved? Here’s what you need to know!

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Every year the UN picks a theme for IWD, although many organizations identify their own themes for the day as well. This year the UN’s theme is ‘Empowering Women- Empowering Humanity: Picture It!
In so doing the UN invites us to  “envision a world where each woman and girl can exercise her choices, such as participating in politics, getting an education, having an income, and living in societies free from violence and discrimination.”  March is also Women’s History Month and there are so many ways to stay engaged all month long. See below for my list of 15 ways to get involved!

  1. Follow IWD and UNWomen on Twitter
  2. Join the conversation on twitter using the hashtags #MakeItHappen #WomensDay #IWD2015 #Beijing20 #InternationalWomensDay #PaintItPurple
  3. Post a #EmpoweredBy selfie on Instagram
  4. Interact on other social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, and Pinterest
  5. Participate in local activities and campaigns – find one here.
  6. Join UN Women for their Live Facebook event with UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, 8 March (1 p.m. EST).
  7. Display the IWD logo on your blog, Twitter or Facebook page.
  8. Download and share content from UN Women Social Media packages with images, videos and sample messages.
  9. Listen to BBC Radio 3 on March 8 as they spotlight female composers and musicians
  10. Run an event celebrating women to raise awareness for gender equality.
  11. Paint it purple or wear purple! Why Purple? Purple symbolized justice and dignity two values strongly associated with women’s equality.
  12. Get inspired by watching UN Women’s video “One Woman”, released in 2013 in celebration of IWD.
  13. Donate to your favorite charity that supports and champions women.
  14. Check out this list of CNN’s 10 International Women’s Day Events You’d Be Crazy to Miss
  15.  If you are in New York City join the UN Women March for Gender Equality and Women’s Rights on March 8 (Click here for more info)

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Search for events by Country:
Click here for a list of events in the United States
Click here for a list of events in Canada
Click here for a list of events in your country

 

How to be a Power Connector

20110123steinem27Published on LinkedIn Influencers on June 6, 2014.

Everyone has heard the old adage that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. I happen to think it is a combination of both, and that combination is indeed powerful. Networking is critical to getting ahead and building your career, but what is the best way to go about this vital component of your career and business development? How do you make the most of your network, and more importantly, how do you know if you even have the right network? Enter Judy Robinett, known as the woman with the titanium digital Rolodex, whose book, How to Be a Power Connector, was recently released, and which endeavors to answer those questions and many more.

Judy has over 30 years experience in the corporate world, and has previously served as the CEO of private and public companies, as well as management positions within Fortune 500 companies. She has also served on many advisory boards for venture capital firms, accelerators, and startups, and throughout all of these experiences, Judy has come to realize that “everything is connection.” Every idea needs people to make it a reality. However, as Judy made her way through the corporate world, she often found that traditional means of networking were often ineffective, and simply handing out business cards rarely led anywhere productive. It troubled Judy to know that there were people out there who had the knowledge, the intellect, and the ideas to potentially change the world, but because of their lack of connections, or more importantly, their fear of making them, these people would never have the chance to do so. However, if people could learn how to network strategically, the possibilities are endless.

2011-sundanceparty and 165Dunbar’s number postulates that people are only able to maintain a maximum of 150 stable social relationships at one time, and this is a theory to which Judy subscribes and utilized in her book. She believes that it is possible to solve every difficult problem through networking, but only if you take the time to invest in these relationships and add value to them at every interaction. With only 150 slots available for these important relationships, Judy’s book outlines how to take a strategic approach to building up your network, and how to make sure that not only are you making the right connections, but that you are also nurturing and cultivating them properly, so that when you need them, your networks will work for you and not against you.

Robinett9780071830737-3D-1-e1400185399113How to Be a Power Connector is filled with tips, strategies, and advice on how to create the best network you can for your business, including how to overcome aversions to striking up conversations with strangers, knowing when and where to invest your time, and most importantly, how to increase your network’s value by becoming a facilitator of connections.

I met Judy in that very way, when she helped to facilitate many of the important connections I made with others upon my arrival in Park City, and she has been a wonderful friend ever since. Every single time I see Judy she is ready to make a connection for me to help advance my efforts.  While her book is filled with great advice, I’ll leave you with Judy’s two golden questions for networking. At the end of any conversation with someone new, always be sure to ask them: 1) What other ideas do you have for me? and 2) Who else do you know I should talk to? According to Judy, those questions led her to President Obama, President Clinton, and Oprah. Imagine where they could take you.

 

(Photos of Judy Robinett, Geena Davis, Gloria Steinem and Jacki Zehner are from the 1st Annual Women at Sundance Party in 2011)

Best Advice: Invest in Relationships in All Directions

This post is part of a series in which LinkedIn Influencers share the best advice they’ve ever received. Read all the posts here. Originally posted on LinkedIn Influencers on February 24, 2014.

I spent 14 years as a professional at Goldman Sachs. I was hired as an analyst, then became a trader, then a desk manager, and in 1996 I became the youngest woman and first female trader to be made a partner of the firm. Over those years I had the good fortune of receiving some great career advice, but the most useful advice did not come from a person, but instead came from a process: Goldman’s partner selection process.

In 2000, I left my trading seat to take a position in the Executive Office where my job was to help manage the careers of the firm’s managing director population. I was very involved in many human capital management programs, including succession planning, lateral hiring, performance measurement, compensation, leadership development, diversity and partner selection. The selection process was very robust, and it involved names being put forward to be cross-reviewed. There was a team of senior executives who had the responsibility to discuss the candidate with a variety of people with whom that candidate worked, whether it be directly, indirectly, or sometimes distantly. These people included senior managers, peers within and outside of their direct work area and people who worked for that candidate. These conversations were meant to enhance what could be found from the performance review process and the direct manager recommendation. Here is where the lesson comes in.

It really matters that you have quality, 360-degree relationships. It really matters that you not just manage up or just manage down, but that you invest in relationships in all directions. This is not about being ‘liked’, but rather it is about being perceived as helpful and a team player. Perhaps this is best illustrated with an example, and in particular, an example of the perfect partner candidate for Goldman Sachs.

In my experience from over a decade ago, the perfect candidate was first and foremost great at his or her job, whatever job that may be. This person managed their team well, was reliable, had a high level of responsibility, executed against stated goals and objectives, retained staff, was a good communicator, created and fostered a place where talented people would want to work, made money for the firm, owned up to their mistakes, was a visionary…all of the usual stuff. Those were generally the minimum requirements to be considered for a partnership. The bonus points were awarded if the candidate helped people when it did not directly help him or her, were involved in recruiting efforts, mentored young people, were generally a ‘hands-up’ kind of person, and the OVERALL impression of that person was good. The perfect candidate was not just thinking of his or her business, career, manager, or direct reports, but was concerned with the bigger picture as well.

This goes even deeper. As a professional, you need to care about every single contact point you have with every single person, both internal and external. Whether that person is an intern who is only there for the summer, someone from another department who needs help with something that may be out of your day-to-day responsibility but you could help nevertheless, or a client who said no to you today but may say yes in the future, you have to care about your interactions with everyone. This may sound like a lot of work, and especially work you don’t have time for if you want to succeed in your role, but over time, it will matter.

In my experience with the partner selection process, I saw candidates’ promotions accelerated for being a well-rounded employee, and penalized for not being one. I saw the managers of said candidates being shocked when their person was not given the nod, because when people in other departments were called, they described that person as ‘not willing to help’ and ‘self-promotional’.

Does this mean that every partner fit this perfect profile? Of course not, but your chances of becoming a partner were a lot higher if you did. You might be thinking that your firm does not have such a robust process, and therefore this is not relevant advice, but I am suggesting that no matter what the process at your place of work might be, take care to always be as friendly, as positive, and as helpful as you can possibly be. I call this taking a 360 perspective.

Take a moment to reflect on your own career. If today someone were to call every person you have had professional interactions with, what would they say? What would they say was your biggest weakness? Would they describe you as a ‘go-to’ person at your place of work? Would key people even know you and know of your contributions? While first and foremost you need to be good at your job, being attentive to the bigger picture certainly will not hurt, and when it comes to that big promotion, it may well be the deciding factor.

Photo: Mykhaylo Palinchak/Shutterstock