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Leading for Change Hosted by Beth Gonzales

Beth Gonzales with Mayor Nutter and Lisa Nutter

Beth Gonzales with Mayor Nutter and Lisa Nutter

The Leading for Change Fellowship presents:
Leading with Hope and Conviction, Leading on Empty:
The Power of a Leader’s Support Networks

October 21, 2015, 6pm-9pm
Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA

Our host, Beth Gonzales, put on an event that brought emerging Philadelphia leaders together to talk about leadership on October 21, 2015 at Drexel University. Guest speakers were Philadelphia Mayor, Michael Nutter and CEO of Philadelphia Academies, Lisa Nutter.

Beth is the Director, Public Service Leadership Development at Drexel University. Find out more about Leading for Change Fellowship Program in Philadelphia, PA.

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When You Become a Parent, You Become a Leader

Tick tock. Tick tock. Goes the clock.

They say timing is everything. From seizing opportunities, winning the lottery, and falling in love to business success, landing your ideal job, and becoming a parent. Whatever it is… there seems to be such a thing as timing.

They also say time management is critical to being successful.

I’ve always thought of myself as a good time manager. In the sense of delegating my time to “get things done” (not being on time—I still struggle with that). Yet, and still since becoming a mother, timing and my time management skills have been tested and I’m determined to find ways to make life a little easier. For my daughter’s sake. For my sake.

As a leadership development professional, I’ve met with many CEOs and discussed the importance of making time to think, assess and develop a strategy for their organizations. Over and over again I’ve witnessed that successful organizations typically have leaders who spend significant periods of diligent, focused time “thinking.” This is essential so an organization stays aligned with its mission, doesn’t lose focus or spend time putting out fires rather than seizing opportunities, fulfilling strategic aspirations, understanding why they do things the way they do and knowing what they do great.

As a single mother of a 4 year old, settling into a new job, new city, and new home, I admit that I haven’t found my rhythm yet. I often feel overwhelmed, scared and tired. Overwhelmed with all of the things I know Zoe needs to know to survive in this world; scared that I won’t be able to raise her to be the awesome person she is and show her the world, while simultaneously trying to pursue my creative/entrepreneurial projects, career, relationships and life goals. Tired, from the constant juggling, constant hustling.

Laundry. Cleaning. Grocery Shopping. Hair. Daycare. Gym. Church. “Zoe and me” time. “me” time. Family time. Bills. Work. Show. Writing. Sleep. More bills. The list goes on and on.

I’ve come to realize that I can’t just rely on my time management skills to raise my daughter and “hope” we maximize life’s experiences. Why? Because when you become a parent, you become a leader.

While management and leadership share commonalities, their functions differ.

Managing is about efficiency. Leading is about effectiveness. Managing is about how. Leading is about what and why.

Looking at parenthood through a leadership paradigm and applying leadership principles to parenthood suddenly makes sense to me. I don’t want my parenting experience to be status quo. Meaning, I don’t want to just “go through the motions,” “get by,” “hope,” “fly by the seat of my pants” and “pray it all works out.” I want more! I want to be the best mom I can be! I want to make the most out of time!

You see, just like nature, music, jumping double-dutch, or great sex, there is a rhythm to timing; and getting your timing right is important!

Tick tock. Tick tock. Goes the clock.

As Zoe transitioned from a newborn to an infant, I simply adapted and enjoyed her growth and development. But now, as she transitions from a toddler to a preschooler, and becomes more aware of the world and her place in it, I am finding myself recalibrating (often) and finding it critical to be more intentional, more strategic with my time.

So, I’ve decided that I’m going to become a successful CEO of parenthood!
Beth Gonzales-Host Words, Wine and Women
Over the next several weeks, I’m going to focus on the leadership concept of “thinking.” I am going to block time out of my schedule to think. Think about what kind of parent I want to be, think about my strategy of how to be the best parent I can be, how I want to spend my time with my daughter, how and what I want to teach her, how I want to develop her morale compass, confidence, talents and abilities….the list goes on and on. Doing this, I believe, will make my parenting experience better, more fulfilling and more focused. And ultimately, I think this will help me find my rhythm as a parent, and make me feel comfortable with that timing as Zoe grows.

Remember, successful organizations usually have leaders who spend significant periods of diligent, focused time thinking…so I’m going to do just that–take time to think, assess and strategize about what I want and need from my parenthood experience…which is the first step towards helping me become a leader who recognizes good timing and makes the most of the circumstances time presents me as a parent.

Tick tock. Tick tock. Goes the clock.

Parents, have you taken time out to think?
#bealeader


Until next time, Beth Gonzales

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Viola Davis, Shut Up Already

viola-davis-emmys-2015-speech-so-inspiringI’m sure that is what many people thought (or even said) when Viola Davis made her acceptance speech at the 67th Prime-time Emmy Awards this past Sunday night as she walked away as the first African-American woman to win the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

What started all of this?

Was it Halle Berry in 2002, who is still the only black woman to win an Oscar for Best Actress, who mentioned “…every nameless, faceless woman of color who now has a chance tonight because this door has been opened” during her acceptance speech?

Or was it Patricia Arquette’s Oscar speech earlier this year that demanded “wage equality once and for all” and now Voila Davis’ proclamation that “[t]he only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”

Or is it simply the other countless speeches, articles and studies written each and every year about the lack of roles and opportunities for women in Hollywood.

But to Halle, Patricia and Viola, you won? Isn’t that enough? When you stand to accept an award, must every woman make some political statement about the plight of Hollywood and opportunities for women in this country?

The orchestra conductor need not worry about the length of this answer because it is short and sweet – yes.

The question is not “how dare she make these types of statements at such prestigious occasions?” The real question is “how can she not?”

Stats-ViolaDavisHow can she not when only 31% of speaking roles in films are given to women and only 23% of protagonists in film are women. And behind the camera on the tip top floors of the high rise buildings in the C-suites, film studio heads are 94% white and 100% percent male while television network and studio heads are 96% white and 71% male, as reported by the 2015 Hollywood Diversity Report.

I’m sure Viola Davis would have preferred to stand in front of the Emmy audience and simply thank her family and friends for all of their support. I can only imagine how Patricia Arquette’s mind must have been racing as she walked up the stairs to accept her Academy Award asking herself over and over again if she would truly speak the words written on the note in her hand. But they did and they spoke for all of us, not Black women or Hispanic women or Asian women – women period. That is no small feat.

It is a complicated issue for which right now we are only armed with a simple solution: “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” and we won’t stop, we can’t stop until the playing field is leveled.

As happy as I am for Viola Davis’ award at the Emmys (and I am ecstatic), I am equally disturbed that in 2015 we are still experiencing these types of “firsts”. And for the millions of dollars we hear that actors are receiving everyday for numerous roles to know that the woman who is possibly standing right next to them in the movie/television promotion poster doesn’t make the same wage is mind-blowing.

So thank you Halle Berry, Viola Davis, Regina King, Patricia Arquette, Meryl Streep, Dame Helen Mirren, Cate Blanchett, Kerry Washington, Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde, Mindy Kaling, Geena Davis and many many others for having the courage to use “your time to shine” for us. Ladies, continue to squeak that wheel until, as Harriet Tubman stated, “we all can cross that ‘line’”.

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New Online Talk Show Liberates Words, Wine and Women

This article originally appeared on tv.com on June 11, 2015.

Can we talk?

If you answered ‘yes’ to this question then you’re gonna love the new online talk show Words, Wine and Women.

The show comes from host and creator Tara Johnson, who recently appeared as a host on the ‘after-show’ online network AfterBuzz TV and co-host on Black Hollywood Live’s “Phenomenal Women.” Now, she’s gathered 5 diverse women to chat about edgy issues affecting today’s real woman.

I recently had a chance to interview Tara Johnson to find out what happens when Words, Wine and Women all come together.

Q: Tell us about your new show Words, Wine and Women?

TARA: Words, Wine and Women is an real look inside the raw honest fun that happens when women get together over a delicious glass of wine (or two) to discuss life, love, careers, parenting, dating, politics and everything else in between. Words, Wine and Women strives to create a community that celebrates the mystery, beauty and joy of being a woman.

Q: What’s different about your new talk show?

TARA: Several things make us different. The first thing is the women. Each of these women bring something completely different to the table – different life experiences, life views, career paths but I think each of us connect with our target audience. Plus, we’re just regular women figuring it out.

Our topics are different. Not that we don’t love pop culture. Who doesn’t love Beyoncé’s latest anything or Kim and Kanye’s latest escapade but we all know that those are not the only things real women discuss. We look for those topics that are not mainstream like medicinal marijuana for children. We question things in the hopes that you might look at some things differently like is technology helping or destroying present day relationships and parenting?

Lastly, the wine! Drinking wine isn’t different but I would also describe Words, Wine and Women as an infotainment program. Just like we offer our audience tips on online dating, we also want to bring in sommeliers who can educate our viewers on wine. I mean if you are going to drink it, let’s learn something too.

Q: Where do you find the topics for each episode?

The greatest thing about the topics we discuss is that we get them from everyday life. Anything can spark a discussion – a question, an article or a simple conversation. My co-hosts are so creative that the topics are endless.

Q: Were you shocked by anything you’ve learned on the show?

TARA: Yes, I didn’t know women could squirt! If you are not sure what that is or what that means, keep watching.

Q: What made you want to create a new talk show series from scratch?

TARA: I just thought there was a missing piece to how women are portrayed in the media today. So many of the depictions don’t look anything like me, my family or the women in my life. I wanted to create something that resembled how I interact and feel about other women and how the women in my life have supported, challenged and encouraged me. We don’t always agree but I’m definitely better for having those relationships and conversations.

Q: Tell us the biggest lesson you’ve learned from the project?

TARA: Starting anything from scratch definitely isn’t easy but it is worth every lesson, delay and trial. I’m simply a better person because of this project. I hope that translates into me being a better producer and a better co-host for Words, Wine and Women and each one of our viewers.

Watch Words, Wine and Women the series at: www.WordsWineWomen.com

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Rachel Dolezal (from the desk of Jacque Borowski)

As many of know (since this is the topic of the day) Rachel Dolezal recently came out as, what one could call, “transracial”.

The comparison to “transracial” has been made to “transgender”. Caitlyn Jenner recently came out as transgender. For the most part, the world applauded her for her bravery. This article at “The Wrap” contemplates the struggle I’m having within myself, “If I accepted Caitlyn Jenner as a woman, why can’t I accept Rachel Dolezal as African American?” My first thought was “Dolezal lied” and it makes me angry that she lied… to so many people. But didn’t Caitlyn Jenner (when she was Bruce Jenner) lie to protect herself from those who wouldn’t understand? And I thought about it more and I realized that gender is a 50/50 chance we all have at birth. Race is not. Gender is also something that can be easily changed through surgery, Race is not. There are performative aspects to both gender and race (many of them based on stereotypes of what we think gender and race should be or look like) but, race is part of a person’s heritage and a part of a person’s identity that is attached to family history AND attached to world history. Being transgendered is not the same thing as being transracial. Gender and race are two separate topics as gender is part of sexual identity.

What if Dolezal had been adopted into an African American family and had been raised by African American parents? Might I feel differently about her lie then? Ellie Freeman, who identifies as “transracial” has an excellent article on this. She explains, “Simply put, a transracial person is someone raised in a culture or race different from their own.” The reason that Dolezal’s lie is so frustrating and baffling is that, as far as we can tell, she seems to come from a privileged background and is associating herself with a race that has been historically mistreated. Why did she do it? When I’ve discussed this topic with friends, most everyone agrees that she could have been a successful civil rights leader without identifying as African American. I understand that Dolezal formed a connection with an African American man she thought of as “dad” and that her sons are African American. I can’t blame Rachel for wanting to find her place in the world, wanting to find people that she connects with. As Ellie Freeman explains, “It is normal, and quite healthy, to be interested in another culture than your own. But if the people of that culture cannot pick and choose their own race – whether it’s biologically or through shared history – then neither can you. All you can do is be a good ally.” In fact, it’s arguable that she’s undone any of the good work she did as a civil rights leader by not being honest.

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