The Sum — The Meaning of This Week Is Powertopia


“The first responsibility of leadership is the creation of meaning.” Warren Bennis

Word of the week is Powertopia 

As in sometimes you have to make up a new word to say what you mean.As in a world where power and leadership are shared equally by men and women.As in Take The Lead’s amazing performance event, “Powertopia: Women, Power, and the Art of Leadership Equality.”If you could take one day to change the world as we know it, would you? If you could take one day dedicated to discovering specific strategies and tools you can use right away to achieve gender parity in leadership across all fields within the next seven years, would you do it?Well, if you were with me in person or online on November 14, Take The Lead’s inaugural Take The Lead Day that we named Powertopia, you have already done just that.  I want to hear from you about what you learned, your experience, and what parts of the day you benefitted most from.On this great global day of action, thousands of ambitious, intentional, and determined women met to achieve leadership parity for good—their own good and the good of their organizations, families, and the world. And there were some very supportive men too. If you missed it, you will be able to see it here if you sign up now and we’ll notify you when it is ready.It was way too big to reflect on all in one place:

  • Changemakers in 217 cities and 26 countries around the world took action for women’s leadership parity;

  • 25 in-person and 8 virtual workshops and events worldwide;

  • Plus NYC’s Half Day Symposium and Evening Reception/Performance event;

  • Proclamations of Take The Lead Day by Governors Doug Ducey of Arizona and Andrew Cuomo of New York, a visit from NY Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, and a letter of support from NY Mayor Bill DeBlasio spanned the political spectrum from both of my home states!


Powertopia: Women, Power and the Art of LeadershipI especially loved the evening performance event, conceptualized and produced by dedicated volunteers from Women in the Arts, Barclay DeVeau, Producer, Actress, Assistant Director and Cheryl Alper, Producer, and writer Shara Hardeson PLUS wonderful NYC actresses and actors who volunteered their time and talent.  And what could be better than Kathleen Turner as the Voice of Goddess?My beloved rock group BETTY revved the packed Helen Mills Theater in Manhattan with their feminist anthem “Rise Up,” and then poet Brooke Elise Axtell moved us deeply with her passionate performance of “Voice Lessons.” It’s her own story of turning the trauma of being sexually abused into the power of leadership.Brilliant.Power over to Power to, right there in the raw.Thanks to Brooke’s pioneering work and the many women and men who have joined the #metoo movement, we can now see how complicit our society as a whole has been in fostering the diminution especially of women by controlling our bodies in ways both brutal and subtle. And we know such behavior is about abusing power, plain and simple.So I asked the audience to take a pledge to be complicit in a good way.For in the same way that Take The Lead’s training, mentoring and coaching, role modeling, and thought leadership change the definition of power at the core of freeing women to breakthrough barriers both internal and external, we can all be complicit for good in working together for gender parity in leadership. Equal leadership. Equal power. Equal pay.I’m convinced that until women are sharing equally in the power and money (which in our culture are stand-ins for each other), we will keep fighting the same old battles over and over.But to be successful, women have to embrace the power in our hands and go full out for full power sharing.  Keynote speaker former US Treasurer Rosie Rios gave the marching orders in her speech.I thanked our presenting sponsor Dow Jones, founding sponsors Lyft and Love Over H8, and all the sponsors that supported Take The Lead Day. They are complicit for good—leading the way to a fairer, more just and prosperous world.Incidentally, you can still purchase Love Over H8 special edition Powertopia shirts here, knowing that all profits go to benefit Take The Lead’s programs. And if you download the Lyft app for the first time, when you take your first ride make sure to use TAKETHELEAD code and you will earn a $10 donation to Take The Lead plus get some great discounts on rides for yourself. We must all turn this #metoo moment into our #powerTOlead moment. That’s why to follow up on the action orientation of Take The Lead Day, I created my new Power TO Lead: 9 Leadership Power Tools to Advance Your Career online course, especially for early to mid-career women of intention. Check it out and reserve your place now (we start February 4) if you are a world changing, game changing, career building woman.I only wish there were room in one Sum to share all the amazing Take The Lead Day events and learnings.But I can sum up Powertopia with this quote from early women’s rights leader Matilda Joslyn Gage, who said in 1880 these words that remain true today: “Oh rebellious woman, to you the world looks in hope. Upon you has fallen the glorious task of bringing liberty to the earth and all the inhabitants thereof.”Yes, we’re already planning Powertopia 2018. Send your ideas for even bigger and better to