Friday, March 13, 2015

happy friday!

happy friday friends!
popping in for a quick hello while waiting in the car pool lane
 to pick-up up kiddos on a half day friday and feeling blessed to the core. 
a friday at the end of an exhausting and incredible week.  
a week that started in the bright lights of a global mercer tv broadcast 
and being surrounded by delegates and dignitaries at the 
UN Women's Empowerment Principles meeting 
and is now about to climax with crew of kids around my 
dining room table for a pizza lunch.
humbled. inspired. grateful.
happy friday friends!

Monday, March 9, 2015

video favorites...

as a follow-up to yesterday's lengthy post,
i thought today i'd just share some of my favorite youtub clips on the topic.  
first and last our #whenwomenthrive productions...
with some of my go-to favorites in between.
#no ceilings
any other good ones you want to share?

Friday, March 6, 2015

happy international women's day...

happy international women's day!
i thought i'd take this opportunity to talk a little about what
when women thrive is.
the business / job side of it.

it starts with the data.
data that explicitely shows the state of
of women in the workforce.
a workforce and economy that has evolved significantly over the past 50+ years.
with more women than men are graduating college and entering the workforce.
with boards of directors and ceos are acknowledging 
that representation of women has direct impact on business results.
with a growing appreciation that women do work differently.
where different is increasingly valued.
but that even with this recognition and the correlation to better results,
women are still in majority underpaid, promoted less often,
and significantly under-represented across the workforce and in leadership ranks.

guess what else?
women have babies. 
women often times exit the workforce to care for these wee ones.
women who return to work make sacrifices, navigate complexities and make a whole bunch of arrangements and accommodations to account for wee ones.
caring for wee ones is incredibly important.

women live longer than men.
the aging female population is not prepared for retirement and other health/income needs.
women are not the majority earners, but are the majority consumers.
women make the majority of today's healthcare decisions.
women approach money and healthcare very differently.
this approach is very often grounded in the caring for others.

in a nutshell?
the world is changing.
women are making progress.
but today's employer-sponsored benefits, programs and policies
do not enough account for the unique needs of women.
it's complicated, unbalanced, harder than it should be.

so what is when women thrive?
it is not a simple, standardized, one-size-fits-all answer.
it's not just about women working.
and it's not just about getting women to the top.
thriving means more than that for women and organizations
in today's dynamic environment.

thriving means women are...
recruited, promoted, retained - in comparable proportions to men.
that they are strongly represented at all levels of the organization.
that after breaks in service there are more doors or pathways to re-entry.
that there are no perceived barriers to their ability to move through the organization
and progress to the highest levels, if they so choose.

thriving means women are
paid and rewarded fairly.
that their competencies are recognized
and their leadership embraced.

thriving means women can actually see a path to contribute at whatever level
and in whatever way they choose;
that they are evaluated based on outputs and business-relevant
capabilities and not on face time or life-phase.
that they are able to navigate these phases, not just to get to the top, or work full-time, but to feel engaged, able to advance if they so wish and able to live the life they want to live.

thriving means there is a sense of security in all areas of their lives.
they benefit from a financial peace of mind.
they are balanced, healthy and productive.
that they see equal opportunity.

so that's a little bit about what when women to thrive means at mercer, in business.
how this work seeks to help organizations build new solutions.
innovative and holistic solutions that truly account for the unique needs of women.
unique needs that call for new research, new strategies, new programs, new policies, new benefits.
that's the focus of my new job,  amazing team
and the organizations we are so very privileged to be partnering with.

but oh in my heart it goes beyond that.
that's it's not only about the workforce,
but a hope for progress, advancement and greater equality for women overall.
in the smallest of ways and maybe some big ways too.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

travelin'...highs and lows

work calls me to new york fairly often.
headquarters is there.
my extended team is there.
i sometimes have to be there.
i usually work it so that i'm on the first flight out in the morning. 
then on the last flight home.
it makes for a very long day.
but it means i'm only away from home for a day.
that's better for the kids/home.
but it's kinda torture for me.

so when meeting schedules mean i have to do an overnight
 i try to make the most of it.
set-up all my face-to-face meetings.
have coffee or drinks with a colleague.
take a stroll down 5th avenue for some shopping.
hit a food truck.
and when schedules align meet-up with my
 brother and sister-in-law for dinner.
how cute are they?
then it was back to the hotel,
with a surprise upgrade to the penthouse suite.
high roller, right?
not exactly.

reality sets in pretty quick.
missing home.
facetime connection problems
heart hurting.
guilt feeling.
and then there's the dreaded commute home the next day.
in a snow storm.
penthouse dwelling replaced with a
corner of the floor at penn station near a outlet.

travelin' highs, lows
and all the stuff in between.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

no magazines this time...

i got my hair done tonight.
man o man did i need it.
i almost skipped.
i'm  so very glad i didn't.

it's really hard to fit it in sometimes.
without the guilt.
without feeling like a girly girl.
i struggle with that.
it's hard for me to just let myself enjoy it.
i think it's because i've been cursed with my
dad's irish grey/white hair since i was 21.
the having to have to go makes me kinda resent the place.
and then there's the cost of course and dent in the budget.
let's not think about what i could have done with
all that money spent the last 15 years...and in the next 15 years to come. 

so when i go i usually try to just detach while i'm there.
i'm not very chatty with the salon girls.
it's not because i don't like them,
they are wonderful women.
but i'd rather not have to be there so instead i like to just think 
of it as an hour or two to zone out 
and read magazines.

i could have really used the zone out time.
but nope.
doors were opened.
walls let down.
tears shed.  
hugs given.
fears and ideas shared.
perfect strangers bonded.
tanks filled.
magazines left unread.

Monday, March 2, 2015

bam...worlds colliding

worlds colliding...
i guess that's my best way of describing this 
season, transition, journey, opportunity.

those of you who have been reading along for a while probably know that i...
married my high school sweetheart...
am new englander through and true...
am a mama to three precious children...
like to take a photograph or two every once in a while...
raise chickens and grow veggies...
like to create things and celebrate beauty...
that i'm a sinner and thankfully saved by grace...
have a barn and like to throw parties in it...
allow my kids to jump off the furniture and paint their bodies instead of paper...
like all things old and chippy...
try my hardest to embrace gratitude whenever i can.

you may have also figured out that i work...
have seen little bits from my conferences or travels...
but that's about it.

bits and bobs and my every day personal relationships 
don't often focus on this part of my day-to-day.
i think it's sort of that way for a lot of moms who work.
it's the part of my life i don't often talk about.
afraid what others may think.
afraid to confess that i actually like to work.
afraid to admit that it sometimes complicates things.
afraid to show how the balls get juggled.
afraid to share that i find satisfaction in my career.
afraid to admit that this work is in corporate america (gasp).

it's just not something i talk about very often.
i've put a pretty deliberate wall between the two,
which means i don't often talk about the
 family, farm, faith, creative side of my life at work either.
aware that unconscious and often times very conscious bias exists in the business world.
aware that sharing that i'm a mom to three young kids might limit opportunity.
aware that very real social and cultural prejudices still exist.

well as i officially transition into a role
focused on advancing opportunities
for women in the workforce,
needless to say these worlds are colliding.
what i used to brainstorm and discuss with a
very small intimate group of women at mercer, 
or with friends who are navigating the two worlds has now become 
a global research and commercial platform.  
when i used to be asked what it is i do for work,
i used to be able to just say i lead marketing programs for a consulting firm.
well now when asked i get to say i lead a when women thrive program.
what i used to do passionately but on a volunteer-basis 
on the corner of my desk as has now become my full-time job. 

did you hear that?
worlds colliding.
and don't think it's lost on me that all the mess i shared in my earlier post 
has absolutely everything to do with me being in an
emotional whirlwind of trying to figure this out.
it's taking me way outside my safe little walls up comfort zone 
and putting me smack dab in the middle of something 
i've been dreaming and praying about for years.

as kathleen kelly (meg ryan) says in one of my favorites "you've got mail"
"it's not just business - it's personal.
it's personal to alot of people.
and what is so wrong with being personal anyways?
i don't get that.
whatever anything ever is - it should begin by being personal."

oh yes, it's very very personal!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

hello march...31 days to thriving

things have been quiet over here in bits and bobs land.
i wish it was the sign of a quiet and peaceful hibernation season.
not even close. 
life these past few weeks has been messy. ugly. stressful. smelly. exhausting. 

i kept telling myself that all i needed to do was get to march.
but today as i flipped the calendar to march, 
i had myself a humbling, pathetic and irony-dripping chuckle.

you see, march marks my official transition into an official new career.
a role i've been dabbling in for few years on a semi-pseudo-volunteer basis.
 work i've been doing on the corner of my desk, 
when my day-to-day marketing responsibilities allowed time for.
a role that has grown-up to be something very real, full and substantial.
a role i'm so incredibly honored and proud to be offered.
a role that has marked a new career.
a career that is a dream come true.

as of march, i transition to be mercer's director of when women thrive.
the leader of a gender equity research and commercial platform we launched last year.
work focused on advancing opportunities for women in the workforce.
work that challenges the stays quo and considers new and innovative solutions 
to address the unique and dynamic needs of women 
as they progress through their career.
a call for women to thrive.

i'll talk more about what all this means in posts to follow, 
but for now will you have a chuckle with me?
one that wonders how the heck the new director of when women thrive 
could possibly lead anything when she is a hot mess.
thriving is not exactly the word i'd use to describe... 

 the emotional toll of winter's grip...
house-bound with sickness and school cancellations...
having to fire your nanny...abruptly...
having to reschedule and juggle...
the aftermath and embarrassment caused by sitting on pouch of applesauce 
in front of a crew of 3rd graders...
getting run-off the road by a garbage truck into a snowbank...
double-hatting two jobs that both kicked-off 2015 in a storm...
dropping balls left and right...
upset tummy causing some sleepless nights...
sadness over passing chickens...
taking a massive digger on the ice in my driveway...
a hurting body from said digger...
parenting the onset of fierce terrible twos...
navigating and negotiating transitions...
crying in friends' kitchens...
crying on the sofa...
crying in the car...
not exactly thriving, right?

so this is where i've been and where i'm at.
and i've got a lot to say about that...this season...this transition.

so, hello march, 
and hello to a 31 day bits and bobs journey to processing...reflecting... 
and quiet possibly some actual thriving.

thanks in advance for reading along,
and for any insights you may have as i work through this.