High Five: Take The Lead Celebrates 5 Years Of Mission-Led Action
A five-year anniversary is traditionally celebrated with gifts of wood, signifying strength, durability and a long-lasting bond.
With that in mind, Take The Lead is celebrating the strength and durability of its mission of working toward reaching gender parity in leadership across all sectors by 2025. And Take The Lead also salutes the long-lasting bond with Take The Lead readers, participants, mentors, sponsors and supporters.
To mark the milestone, Take The Lead kicks off the celebration July 25 with the Summer Silent Auction live in New York and virtually around the world at 6:30 p.m. At the event, Gloria Feldt, president and co-founder of Take The Lead, launches the new Take The Lead Women podcast.
Achieving so much in the first five years is significant for a number of reasons, particularly for a new, mission-based organization.
“Starting any new organization is challenging, whether nonprofit like Take The Lead or entrepreneurial business. Many fail. We’ve had rough patches. I was tempted to throw in the towel,” Feldt says.
“But I am so committed to equality and leadership parity for women, and my sense that the time is now is so strong, that I had to keep going. Thank goodness so many supporters and our great team feel the same way. With our intention laser-focused on gender parity in leadership by 2025 and many successes to show, this fifth anniversary marks a turning point. That’s why we’re taking a moment to celebrate,” Feldt says.
Leading up to the July 25 celebration, Take The Lead is looking back at some of the major accomplishments of the last five years of events, initiatives, programs, collaborations and more, all connected to the pillars of the organization to prepare, develop, inspire and propel women to take their fair and equal share of leadership positions by 2025.
In the coming weeks, Take The Lead will highlight more of the accomplishments over the last five years. This week we look at the three major accomplishments, and in coming weeks, we will highlight the launch of the 9 Leadership Power Tools, The Movement Blog, Virtual Happy Hours, Take The Lead Day, Powertopia, Power Up For Parity and the launch of the new Take The Lead Women Podcast.
Take The Lead Launch Event 2/19/2014. More than a million women and men around the world participated in watching the live event at Arizona State University attended by thousands in person there. Feldt and co-founder Amy Litzenberger led panels and discussions leading up to the keynote given by Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who was introduced by Hon. Barbara Barrett, former Ambassador to Finland.
Carla Harris, Managing Director of Morgan Stanley led a rousing speech (with signing) on “The Power of Authenticity.” A panel on the importance of women’s voices in the media included Julie Burton, President, Women’s Media Center; Karen Finney, MSNBC Host, “Disrupt”; Kristin Gilger, Associate Dean, ASU Cronkite School of Journalism; Erica Gonzalez, Editor-In-Chief, ElDiario/LaPrensa; Aminatou Sow, Founder, Tech Lady Mafia, Digital Director, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
“Take The Lead is the movement for this moment. Gender parity in pay and leadership is good for business and the economy; it’s the right thing to do; and it’s way past time,” Feldt told the cheering audience, who were offered the takeaway of the Take The Lead Challenge.
An Evening With Kathleen Turner, The Power of A Woman’s Voice, July 2015. Before an audience of 50 Take The Lead partners, the actress launched into a 90-minute conversation with Feldt on voice and power. Here are the evening’s takeaways from Take The Lead’s Lex Schroeder writing in Take The Lead.
“If you want to do something, make it happen. Turner told the story of how she knew at age 20 that by age 50, she wanted to play Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. As she was turning 49, realizing she had just one year left to make it happen, Turner asked herself what it would take to achieve her goal. She got in touch with playwright Edward Albee’s main producer, who she then took to dinner and persuaded to help get her get a meeting with Albee. Once she met with Albee, it was about convincing him to let her read for the part. Sure enough, after she read for the part, Albee and his team decided to do another production of the play with Turner playing Martha.
“Support yourself, support other women. A talented and stunning actress with a legendary low voice, Turner has been frequently described as the Lauren Bacall of her generation. Early in her career, she told us, she and Bacall were pitted against each other, as women so often are. But Turner and Bacall decided to support each other rather than compete. She told the story of their first meeting and subsequent friendship—how they would eventually trade off greetings each time they bumped into each other, going back and forth seeing how low their voices could go and having a laugh. I think Feldt would call that #SisterCourage—deciding to be sisters, to lead with friendship alongside one’s individual ambitions.”
50 Women Can Change The World. With cohorts in specific fields including finance, healthcare, nonprofit and community development, media and entertainment, journalism and human resources, Take The Lead is leading the way for women in leadership and expanding its reach to participants. To date, several hundreds of women have participated in the rigorous training.
“At first we were mainly trying to reach the maximum number of people with day-long workshops. Those still give important benefits,” Feldt says. “But now we’re also going deep, creating powerful cohorts of movers and shakers in sectors or industries. Our immersive months-long 50 Women Can Change the World program s doing just what it’s name implies. It’s super exciting.”
Based on Feldt’s award-winning book, No Excuses: Nine Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power, and the 9 Leadership Power Tools To Advance Your Career, 50 Women Can Change The World enables women to embrace their leadership and propel themselves and their organization forward.
Participants learn a new definition of power that will energize and embolden them, shifting from “power over” something to the “power to” accomplish anything.
Hundreds of leaders have participated in the intensive program that helps them define power in a new way and adds value they bring to an organization; learn to embrace your power with intention, confidence, and authenticity; employ effective strategies for networking with purpose and negotiating with confidence; understand what’s keeping women from parity in leadership roles and how to overcome those barriers to accelerate their career; use a powerful Strategic Leadership Action Plan; build a Collaborative Action Plan with ideal industry partners.
Looking back at five years of enormous accomplishment and success is energizing and uplifting, particularly when an organization is so keenly focused on the mission.
“Most significant is we are moving the dial,” Feldt says. “We’ve had time to hone and test our programs and show that they accelerate women’s leadership intentions and achievements. We have both our own program evaluations and the data that women have broken through the under 20 percent mark in top leadership where we were stuck for decades.”
Any overview requires also concentrating on the present and the future. Feldt knows this keenly, as she has been firmly at the helm of Take The Lead for five years.
Feldt adds, “We’ve shown how our unique program moves the dial farther and faster than most. We are positioned to scale up to reach the critical mass needed to cross the finish line in 2025. All we need is funders who share the vision and trust that it is possible.”
We want you to be a part of the Take The Lead community: Connect with us on Twitter @takeleadwomen. Find out more here on our 50 Women Can Change The World programs. Subscribe here to our Take The Lead weekly newsletter. Join us on LinkedIn.