“Women like power but have difficulty with it,” says women’s advocate and NY Times best-selling author Gloria Feldt. She and former investment banker Amy Litzenberger have launched “Take The Lead,” the first comprehensive initiative to prepare and propel women to half of all top leadership positions by 2025. “This is the moment,” says Feldt. Core to the Take The Lead strategy will be supporting women in examining their own relationship with power and a focus on movement building.
Feldt wrote No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power after observing that the problem today is no longer that doors aren’t open to women,but that women aren’t walking through those doors with sufficient intention and numbers. “Women are poised to assume leadership positions at unprecedented rates now if they seize the moment. They earn 57% of college degrees, and companies with more women in upper leadership make more money. But at the rate women are ascending in the workplace and in politics, it will take another 70 years before we reach parity,” Feldt says. “That’s too slow. We’re committed to getting there by 2025. You have to put a stake in the ground. You have to count up or it doesn’t happen.”
A life-long activist, former President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and someone who has studied how social movements succeed, Feldt says, “It’s time to change the narrative from one of problems to solutions, work together, and invite men to join the movement in order to change organizations as well as adapting to systems that are no longer functional for men or women.”
Having identified four keys to parity (Teach, Present, Connect, and Drive Change),￼￼￼￼￼Take The Lead will provide strategically reinforcing pathways for women to build ￼their leadership skills, connect with each other, and learn from women leaders and ￼visionaries.
￼For Litzenberger, who had a successful career as an investment banker before taking ￼time off to raise her children, Take The Lead is an intentional second act. On women’s leadership development she says: “There’s always a little of this and that. I realized something substantial needed to be done.” Having seen pay differences and gender dynamics in the financial industry first-hand, Litzenberger says one of Take The Lead’s goals will also be making productivity, not hours spent at the office, the measure of a woman’s worth in the workplace.
Take The Lead launched its website and blog “The Movement” at taketheleadwomen.com and through a series of workshops and webinars, the program offers the following benefits to participants:
- Learn the 9 Practical Power Tools To Accelerate Your Career
- Embrace a new relationship with power
- Recognize the barriers to establishing a healthy relationship with power
- Communicate more effectively
- Build and project a powerful self-image
- Develop a powerful action plan
￼Feldt serves as Take The Lead president and Litzenberger is board chair. The team just welcomed Loretta McCarthy, managing director of Golden Seeds,to the board and has established partnerships with three universities so far:Arizona State University, Vassar College, and Wagner College. Feldt has penned a column for CNN to show support for Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (and partner organization LeanIn.org) and outline the work ahead.Supporters include Sandberg and Jacki Zehner, CEO of Women Moving Millions.
Interested persons can learn more about and sign up for July programs at the Take the Lead calendar: http://www.taketheleadwomen.com/calendar.