Five Years Going Strong: Looking Back On More Take The Lead Powerful Events
It’s been great so far. Five years in, and many more to go for Take The Lead. Each year the organization is aiming to reach gender parity in leadership across all sectors by 2025.
Take The Lead is celebrating five years of events, programs and initiatives benefiting Take The Lead mentors, leadership ambassadors, readers, participants, sponsors and supporters.
In a special live event on July 25, The Fifth Anniversary Summer Silent Auction, Take The Lead will be offering an in-person celebration plus virtual participation along with an announcement of the new Take The Lead podcast.
Taking stock of the successes of the first five years, as Take The Lead has been doing this month, we continue with a hat tip to three more powerful milestones in Take The Lead History.
Powertopia 2017: The inaugural Take The Lead Day launched November 14, 2017 and far exceeded expectations and audience reach with 25 in-person workshops and events, plus eight virtual events as well as watch parties in 217 cities in 25 countries.
Close to 400,000 men and women participated in Take The Lead Day campaign including the day’s livestream and in-person offerings. Several of the workshops around the country were sold out at a capacity of more than 100 participants. Dow Jones was the partnering sponsor for Powertopia along with additional sponsors including Lyft, City Winery, Galvanize, Vermillion, EveryDay Dishes and more.
In the initial session of Powertopia, Take The Lead Leadership Ambassador Patricia Jerido introduced the Personal Power Plan for guests to download, based on Take The Lead co-founder and president Gloria Feldt’s book, No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power, and the 9 Leadership Power Tools to Advance Your Career.
“Take Action: Create a Movement: Leadership Parity from Living Room to the Boardroom,” was the kick-off session, featuring Jewelle Bickford, Co-Chair, Paradigm for Parity; Rohini Dey, Owner & Founder, Vermilion; Patricia Russo, Executive Director, Women’s Campaign School at Yale University; Nathalie Molina Niño, CEO, BRAVA Investments and Raakhee Mirchandani, Editor-in-Chief, Moneyish. Feldt served as moderator.
Jamia Wilson, Executive Director of the Feminist Press, joined an interactive talk back with the audience about three provocative original theater pieces featuring actress Kathleen Turner, presented by Women in The Arts. Cheryl Alper was the show director and Barclay DeVeau, Director/producer of the three theater pieces, also sat on the panel.
In addition to Turner, other featured presenters for the evening program included Former Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios, actor and activist Alysia Reiner, who plays Natalie “Fig” Figueroa in “Orange Is The New Black,” President and Co-Founder of Take The Lead, Gloria Feldt, and performance artist Brooke Axtell along with a musical performance by BETTY!
Powertopia Symposium presenters include leaders such as Dr. Nancy O’Reilly, author, speaker and leadership expert; Jewelle Bickford, Co-Founder, Paradigm for Parity; Patricia Russo, Yale Campaign School; Nathalie Molina Niño, CEO and founder of BRAVA Investments; Katica Roy, CEO Pipeline Equity; Eileen Carey, CEO and Founder, Glassbreakers; Georgene Huang, CEO & Co-Founder, Fairygodboss; Carrie Hammer, Role Models Not Runway Models and Cheryl Najafi, Founder, loveoverh8 and Everyday Dishes.
Here is a handy list of resources from Take The Lead Day.
Carry The Spirit of Seneca Falls: Gender Parity in 2018 and Beyond: In July 2018, celebrating the 170th anniversary of the Women’s Rights Convention, Take The Lead partnered with sculptor, activist, educator, performer, writer and founding president of Have Art: Will Travel!, Linda Stein.
Opening up her studio to patrons, sponsors and Take The Lead friends, Stein offered the opportunity to try on her artistic, elaborate armor sculptures. Held on the eve of the anniversary of the Seneca Falls convention, this event showcased the power to collaborate to change the world and achieve gender parity in power, position and compensation by 2025. In addition to Feldt and Stein serving as hosts, the host committee includes Loreen Arbus, Alyssa Bernstein, Barbara Dobkin, Patti Kenner, Loretta McCarthy, Nancy O’Reilly, Janet Ricco and Jordan Stein.
“I use my art to start conversations about gender justice, with an emphasis on power/vulnerability, masculinity/femininity, and bullying/protection of the ‘other,’”says Stein, one of the 2018 “21 Leaders for the 21st Century” by WomfenseNews, and creator of The Fluidity of Gender exhibit collection and Holocaust Heroes: Fierce Females – Tapestries and Sculpture.
“I want people to think of themselves as upstanders who come to the protection of some and are able to empathize,” Stein says. “My non-profit’s mission to empower women and inspire upstander behavior overlaps with and complements the mission of Take the Lead,” Stein says. “Art can help start conversations about gender.”
Speaking at the event, Feldt, Take The Lead president and co-founder, said, “We’ll reach parity because of the convergence of three factors: The obvious simple justice; this is our moment in history. It’s the first time we’ve had the clear business case—when we can say to businesses that they will make more money when they have more women in leadership. Take The Lead has the proven program that will make it happen.”
“Gloria: A Life” Special Performance Benefiting Take The Lead, 2018: Friends and colleagues Gloria Steinem and Gloria Feldt engaged in a dynamic conversation following a benefit performance of “Gloria: A Life,” an artful and intriguing look at the impact of the legendary leader on feminism, popular culture and history.
“I would never imagined as a struggling young mom in West Texas, just awakening my feminist yearnings to be something beyond the picket fence, discovering Ms Magazine, and finding the six other subscribers in a 100-mile radius, that I would end up calling ‘the other Gloria’ (as we jokingly call each other) a friend and colleague in this work,” says Feldt.
“Positive role models inspire us,” Feldt writes. “They help us develop pride and positive self- images. They show us what is possible and therefore what we are capable of doing. They can also allow us to see our faults, and make us aware of what we need to learn in order to reach our goals.”
More than 200 supporters and guests arrived at New York’s Daryl Roth Theatre arriving from Illinois, California, Iowa, Maryland, Arizona, Pennsylvania, New York and other locations for a fundraiser performance for Take The Lead. Philanthropist and author Dr. Nancy D. O’Reilly, board chair of Take The Lead, donated all seats in the house, with proceeds from sales going to benefit Take The Lead.
Founder of Women Connect4Good, and author of the upcoming In This Together: How Successful Women Support Each Other in Business and Life, O’Reilly says, “This is all about women supporting other women.”
In a reception prior to the performance, theatre founder Daryl Roth, told more than 60 donors, sponsors including Shearman & Stearling, The Harnisch Foundation, Persistent Sisters, The Cause Collection and Lyft, as well as Take The Lead board members, ”I think Gloria’s story is the reason we’re all here. She is one of the most important women whose shoulders we stand on.”
Roth, who is responsible for the blockbuster hit “Kinky Boots” and many other productions, says this production of “Gloria: A Life” is the brainchild and creation of an all-women team. First conceptualized by Steinem and creative consultants Kathy Najimy and Amy Richards, the production has an all-female cast, all-female casting and is directed by Diane Paulus, with a female team of producers and a mostly-female design team.
Saluting the alignment for this event with Take The Lead, Roth says, “This organization encourages women to have confidence and to use the tools. Sometimes we don’t feel we are ready. It takes courage trying to push the fear away; it’s what Take The Lead is all about.”
Take The Lead donors sponsored more than 50 girls and young women as guests to participate in attending the production. An entire local Girl Scouts troop participated as well as Sylvia Acevedo, Chief Executive Officer of the Girl Scouts of the USA. Other nonprofit groups for girls and young women whose tickets were donated by generous donors included GrassRoots, Groove With Me, Mount Sinai Adolescent Health program and PowerPlay NYC.
Gloria Feldt addressed the reception including host committee members Cheryl Najafi, Loretta McCarthy, Valerie Varco, Susie Greenwood and Taylor Hanex, saying this event with Steinem, 84, aligns with Take The Lead because, “Take The Lead is supporting the mission of leadership gender parity by 2025, because both of us can count on being alive then.”
Calling Gloria Feldt, the best of “sister acts,” Steinem saluted Take The Lead and its mission in the second act of the play, when audience members asked questions and talked informally with Steinem and Feldt.
Feldt responded, saying Ms. Magazine, co-founded by Steinem in 1972, “gave me a way to be myself.”