In Male Dominated Occupation Captain Kate is Queen

Kate McCue is the first female American Captain of a mega ship. In a male dominated occupation, Captain Kate is at the helm of the Celebrity Summit. A 965-foot-long, 91,000 gross tonnage, luxury cruise-ship. And she’ll rock your boat!

She could’ve been a cruise director, her dream when she was a child. But her dad suggested she could “drive the thing.” And he reminded her of that long-ago conversation when it came time to go to college. He encouraged her to apply to California State University Maritime Academy, where there were 15 men to each woman. And only 8 girls in her graduating class.

What’s fascinating about Kate is that she started her career at the bottom, as an Apprentice Officer 3rd on a training ship and banana boat. In an occupation known for being predominantly male, she worked her way to the top by working hard, establishing strong relationships and smiling a lot.

Contrary to studies that show that smiling a lot can negatively impact your career, Captain Kate says her tendency to smile a lot has helped hers.

Contrary to studies that show that smiling a lot can negatively impact your career, Captain Kate says her tendency to smile a lot has helped hers.

How did it feel the first time you sat at the head of the Celebrity Summit as the captain?

When I took over the Celebrity Summit as Master, there is only one word that comes to mind: “EPIC”! It was the culmination of the dream, the hard work, and years of hope coming to fruition and it felt larger than life.

Do you feel a sense of added responsibility being the first female American captain of a mega ship? Is there something you must prove being a woman in a male dominated occupation?

Many are surprised to hear that I have always worked with women in this industry, whether they were my senior officers, my peers, or my apprentices. I am not alone and only on very rare occasions did I find myself as the solo female presence on the bridge.

One of the secrets to success, regardless of gender, is the ability to do your job, do it well, and do even more than what is expected. Then there is no way you can’t succeed.

Don't miss another great piece on a male dominated occupation: Bia Figueiredo, race car driver.

From the get go, you said you wanted to be a very visible captain. (And judging from your passengers’ comments you are!) How much of a leader’s role is staying in touch with her clients and her team?

Safety is and will always be the number one priority.

The ability to understand what your team, your guests and your ship need or want is imperative. Being a visible captain means that I am accessible for open communication and constant feedback, which makes a more cohesive environment.

"Safety is and will always be the first priority," says Captain Kate who is known for begin very friendly with passengers and crew.

“Safety is and will always be the first priority,” says Captain Kate who is known for begin very friendly with passengers and crew.

What kind of leader are you?

I strive to be an approachable manager who can reach out to others with warmth and sincerity. Besides being quick to offer a smile, the most valuable contributions, as a manager, are the commitment to teamwork, empathy, and the ability to connect with others.

What traits are clear advantages you bring to a male dominated occupation?

Before becoming a Captain I was sent to Sweden for a Marine Profile, which is a series of psychological tests, specifically for mariners. The results surprised me as I was diagnosed with excessive tendency to smile, even under the pressure of the tests. Many people will tell you that if you smile too much, you won’t be taken seriously. I found the contrary because a genuine smile breaks the ice, makes people feel comfortable, instills trust, and is contagious. I have even read that smiling can be a more effective leadership technique than having great management abilities.

Hear Rosemary Rodriguez talk about being a film director, a male dominated occupation.

What are some of the aspects of your personality or your style that you’ve had to adjust for this role?

On the way up the ranks, I liked to do it all. However, when I was promoted to Captain, I came to the realization that I couldn’t do it all myself. I needed help. I had to share the responsibility and tasks or I wouldn’t be able to build a team or even sleep. Luckily I have an incredible group of experts in their respective fields that constantly exceed my expectations. It makes my life and my job that much more enjoyable.

As in any profession, in a male dominated occupation you will work hard. Having fun along the way is a must.

As in any profession, in a male dominated occupation you will work hard. Having fun along the way is a must.

It seems that the captain uniform was originally designed for an all male workforce. Do you think eventually there will be some adjustments to accommodate more women in this male dominated job? What would be some of your suggestions for a uniform that would be more feminine?

My husband is from Croatia, home of the Cravat. While I must respect that, I have to add that when it comes to a woman in uniform, neckties detract from femininity, so it would be best to make them optional

My husband is from Croatia, home of the Cravat. While I must respect that, I have to add that when it comes to a woman in uniform, neckties detract from femininity, so it would be best to make them optional.

When I started sailing, I had to buy my own uniform pants because the women’s pants never came with the basic necessities: Pockets & belt loops. Try carrying around items like keys, a radio, and flashlight with no belt or pockets!

When I came to Celebrity Cruises, they actually asked for my opinion on several uniform pieces, which I thought was pretty fantastic. We now have more tailored evening jackets and pants with all the bells and whistles!

I have a few more suggestions for uniforms, for example, work shoes. My go-to shoe for evenings is a Christian Louboutin black patent leather platforms. You simply can’t go wrong there! In a perfect world, every one of my female crew would have access to that fabulous feminine addition to their uniform!

Another suggestion I would make for any company uniform is regarding neckties. My husband is from Croatia, home of the Cravat. While I must respect that, I have to add that when it comes to a woman in uniform, neckties detract from femininity, so it would be best to make them optional.

You are a role model to women and girls who might not have considered a career like yours. How do you embrace that role?

I am honored and humbled to be considered a role model by any means. With that comes the obligation to uphold the position.

I do like to use social media, Instagram in particular, as a platform to answer questions or impart advice to inquiring minds. The focus of my Instagram account is to provide a behind the scenes look into the life of a Captain, making it more tangible and hopefully interesting to others attracted to the career or the shipping industry.

Kate McCue is ready to embrace #RedShoeTuesday!

Kate McCue is ready to embrace #RedShoeTuesday!

Finally, do you keep up with the comments your guests leave on the Celebrity Cruises website? What are some of the most surprising comments you’ve read?

A guest posted on the Celebrity Cruises Facebook page, the following, which really rocked my world: “On our Celebrity Silhouette transatlantic crossing in April, a man sat with us one night for dinner. I apologized for not remembering his name but you, Captain Kate, I am sure will remember him. He lost his wife and has been cruising alone. He could not say enough about you and how kind you were to him. He was on the cruise with you and your parents. He even travels with a 8×10 photo of you and proudly shows it to all of his dinner mates. I just wanted you to know how much your kindness touched this man.”

On a much lighter note, a guest once told me at a cocktail party that I am to Captains what Southwest is to airlines. I hope I can assume that Southwest’s reputation of incredible crew who strive to provide Positively Outrageous Service with a fun-loving attitude was what she meant! Just don’t hold your breath waiting for me to dance in the corridors or sing on the public address system. I save that for special occasions!

Connect with Captain Kate McCue on Instagram!

@captainkatemccue

Your personal brand already exists. Are you aware of it?

When I ask the members of our Step Up Plus program “what is your personal brand?” most of them stay quiet. They are not sure if I mean the 30-second elevator pitch or something else entirely.

The difference between a 30-second elevator pitch and your personal brand

Your 30-second elevator pitch is more like the ad you can thoughtfully put together to explain who you are, how you impact others, what you are good at, what your goals are, etc. The main difference between your elevator pitch and your personal brand is that you control 100% your pitch. You can’t control 100% of your personal brand because it’s lives in people’s heads.

Your personal brand is quite different from your 30-second elevator pitch.

Your personal brand is quite different from your 30-second elevator pitch.

What is your personal brand?

Simply put, your personal brand is how others perceive you. It’s the image other people have of you. Their experience of you. What makes up your reputation. A collage, if you will, of aspects including your:

  • Presence
  • Behavior
  • Personality
  • Values
  • Sense of humor
  • Speech patterns
  • Relationships
  • Ideas
  • Appearance

And a lot more. So, sure, there is certain amount of control you can exercise over people’s perception of you. You can adjust things like your behavior, the way in which you present your ideas, the kind of relationships you keep, and how you dress. But what about your personality, your sense of humor, or your deeply held values? Those are much harder to change.

Live by your word and you'll build a powerful reputation and memorable brand.

Live by your word and you’ll build a powerful reputation and memorable brand.

Here's a great video on personal branding.

Whether you want it or not, your personal brand already exists

So, why not finding out what it is. A simple, yet effective exercise to get a clear picture of how others perceive you is to conduct your own market research. Send a brief note to a group of 5-10 trusted colleagues, bosses, and even friends. The message should go something like this:

“I’m evaluating my personal brand and would appreciate your insights. Would you share with me the first few sentences or adjectives that come to mind when you think of me? For example: You are hardworking. You are punctual. You seldom join your colleagues for social events. You like to stick to what you know.”

By giving people clear examples of characteristics that are frequently considered positive and others that are not so positive, you show that you want honest answers. It makes people more likely to be open with you. Review the answers you receive and try not to take them to heart. Use them to inform you about your personal brand. Then ask yourself:

Figure out what makes you unique and sharpen your personal brand. You bring it everywhere with you whether you want it or not.

Figure out what makes you unique and sharpen your personal brand. You bring it everywhere with you whether you want it or not.

Do these answers fit with what I think of myself? And also, is this the type of personal brand I need to fulfill my current and future career goals?

If your thoughts about yourself are quite different from the perception of you out there, you may need to work with someone to help you figure out why. This is a good time to consult your mentors.

Here’s the story of a woman who built an amazing brand for her business. Mariebelle. Don’t miss it!

If the perception out there doesn’t support your career objectives, you have to look at the areas where you can make adjustments.

The following suggestions can help you make the largest impact on your personal brand in the shortest time.

1Make your word sacred. When you promise something, deliver. If you know you can’t, don’t commit to it or negotiate a more reasonable deadline. Every time you break your word you affect negatively your personal brand. So avoid putting yourself in this situation at all costs.

2Evaluate the people in your inner circle and aim for top quality relationships. Are they helping you with your brand or imprinting a negative vibe to it? Remember the idea of “guilty by association.” If you hang out with people others respect, they will respect you. I don’t need to tell you that the opposite is true too.

3Be aware of your behavior at all times. A big part of your brand is people’s experience of you and with you. So ask yourself: Do you take advantage of others? Do you criticize others? Laugh at them? Are you ready to lend a hand? Do you volunteer in company projects? Are you dependable? Do you brighten people’s days? Do you think of about what makes others happy? There are a million questions along these lines that can help you figure out how your behavior might be impacting your personal brand.

4Work on your appearance. Whatever your personal style, looking well put together and clean go a long way. Check out our Business Attire Guide for valuable posts on how to use accessories, how to dress for casual Fridays, and so on.

If you are happy with the results of your personal brand research, the only thing left to do is to reinforce it. And using your brand to your advantage.

Here are a few suggestions:

1Leverage your uniqueness. Bring that which makes you different to every role and every position you apply to. Consider this: When you think of your favorite product or person, a salient characteristic comes to mind. That’s how people should think of you. The inspired leader. The change maker. The woman who helps others soar.

2Find initiatives where your personal brand ads value. Where can you make a difference? For example if your brand is: “the multicultural, consensus-building leader,” you can approach a team in need of exactly that.

3Constantly build your brand. If Starbucks stopped offering comfortable chairs, wi-fi and coffee, you’d probably stop going there for meetings, right? They’ve established themselves not only as a coffee house, but as the “third space.” Neither the office nor home. Well, your brand is who you are. If you hurt it, people will stop thinking of you as their first choice when an opportunity comes along.

First Lady Michelle Obama is known for her generosity, her inspirational style and an ability to get things done at a large and small scale. How well is your brand known?

First Lady Michelle Obama is known for her generosity, her inspirational style and an ability to get things done at a large and small scale. How well is your brand known?

As you see, you are inseparable from your personal brand. There are things you can adjust and others you can’t. By tweaking those you can, you will strengthen others’ positive perception of you. In the end, that’s what will always open doors.

Consider signing up for our Step Up (individual) or Step Up Plus (corporations) Programs to further develop your personal brand and many other key soft skills critical for career growth. That’s what we do best.

Is flattery interfering with your career goals? This story is a wake up call!

If flattery can get a millionaire man to completely change his mind about who he funds for president, what can it do to women in the workplace?

I literally stopped in my tracks. I was out for my morning walk listening to one of my favorite podcasts, This American Life. The episode was called Get Your Money’s Worth and part of it was dedicated to the story of Doug Deason, a Dallas millionaire and his father Darwin Deason, a billionaire. It was about their search for a Republican candidate to support for President of the United States.

The Deasons had budgeted 2 million dollars for this election cycle. After a thorough vetting process where they met with each candidate, they first endorsed Rick Perry and then Ted Cruz. They had such dislike for Donald Trump that the thought of vetting him didn’t cross their minds.

Even when you know someone is using flattery to get something, it's hard to resist its allure.

Even when you know someone is using flattery to get something, it’s hard to resist its allure.

But when faced with the reality that Donald Trump would become the Republican nominee, Doug and his dad set up a meeting with him. Doug prepared a list of questions for Trump (similar to the ones he’d been asking all the other candidates before he decided who to support.) Only that, when he met with Trump, he didn’t get a chance to ask much. Why? Because Trump used flattery to win over him and his dad. Just like that. With plain, old flattery.

This is part of the transcript of Doug’s comment to Zoe Chace, the podcast’s producer and reporter right after the Deasons met Trump: “…he kept complimenting Dad on me, (…), ‘I know how great it is to be able to turn something over to your kids, and let them run it, and let them do it.’ Which, obviously, is what I do. So it was nice to be complimented, right?”

They walked out of that meeting believing that Donald Trump was nice. That he had their same mindset. He thought like a businessman. Forget all the reasons for which the Deasons had decided to never even vet him. A brief meeting peppered with the right flattery, complimenting a dad on his son, was enough to shift the destination of millions of dollars. Because money begets money. And when a couple of billionaires bet on one candidate, many others tend to follow. Which is exactly what happened.

Way too often women are happy with being told they are doing a great job. But is that enough?

Way too often women are happy with being told they are doing a great job. But is that enough?

The story stopped me in my tracks because I had a long-held belief that men were less susceptible to flattery than women. But they are not. And in fact, an amazing study of 451 CEOs (which we know are mostly men) showed that high levels of flattery lead to opinion conformity. Which means that CEOs “become over-confident in their strategic decisions and in their ability to correct performance problems with the current strategy.”

The study revealed that CEOs subject to flattery were more likely to believe they were better leaders. But this was not confirmed by the firm’s performance data. The authors of the study said that firms with flattered CEOs were less likely to change strategy when performance dropped.

What’s most disturbing is that studies have shown that even when you consciously know that the flattery is BS (as most CEOs surely do,) the subconscious impact remains.

So, if this can happen to a CEO, someone who is trained and experience in the art of identifying BS, where does it leave you?

It’s time to ask yourself if flattery is interfering with your goals.

How about: "You look like you know exactly where you are going!"

How about: “You look like you know exactly where you are going!”

Most people seem predisposed to flatter little girls. “You look so cute!” “What a pretty dress!” “I love your hair!” As of late, we’ve been hearing more and more about the effects of praising girl’s appearance and boy’s achievements or behavior. But the truth is that we all grew up appreciating flattery and putting a lot of weight and value on it.

As a matter of fact, we are now in a constant state of pursuing flattery. Think about how you feel when you post a picture on social media and receive only a few likes. Your ego takes a nosedive, doesn’t it? Well, it maybe time to stop with the selfies for a minute and reflect on how seeking and receiving flattery might be getting in the way of what you really want. Primarily at work.

Here are some comments from clients and colleagues (who will remain anonymous) to help me make this point.

“My boss told me he couldn’t have finished the project without me.”

“My supervisor was incredibly impressed with how well I manage the company’s external relationships. Everybody knows me when I walk in the room and she finally saw that. She told me, ‘I now realize how hard you’ve worked for the organization all these years.’”

“I rolled out the Business Resource Groups in our organization two years ago and they are showing very positive results. So my boss told me I had a powerful vision and an uncanny ability to execute. Then she asked me to replicate the same model in Latin America. And this is not even my main role.”

What happened when promotion time came around? Did these women, who had received the most flattering comments from their supervisors, get their due? You guessed it. Nope. They were asked to do more for the same pay. Yet they didn’t even think to ask for more. The usual answer when I ask why, is: “Oh, I’m happy to do it.” Or “I love what I do and money is not all that matters.”

This begs the question: Are women so satisfied with being flattered that they are willing to forgo money they deserve? Is getting a great compliment enough?

Even when flattery is blatant and you the motives of the person using it are obvious, you can't avoid its subconscious effects.

Even when flattery is blatant and you the motives of the person using it are obvious, you can’t avoid its subconscious effects.

Remember: Knowing that someone is using flattery to get something from you (even when the ulterior motives are evident,) doesn’t protect you against its effect. So next time your supervisors flatter you for going above and beyond your job description, take the compliment. Enjoy it. Use it as an ego boost. And then write down exactly how you want to leverage your contribution, and the fact that it is being recognized as such, in the next salary negotiation. Or to get that stretch assignment you’ve been pining for.

And as usual, if you’d like to work on this and other key skills to help you move to your next career level, check out our Step Up and Step Up Plus programs. They have proven to work marvelously!

 

5 Secrets to Negotiate Anything You Can’t Ignore

Do your knees shake, your pulse fastens, your hands sweat when you need to negotiate anything? Get over it. Discover 5 seldom-discussed secrets to negotiate your salary, a contract, a promotion or your new car. I’ll tell you how I did it!

To negotiate from strength you must first know what you’re negotiating

Negotiation quote by Sheryl Sandberg

Negotiation quote by Sheryl Sandberg

1Whatever you’re negotiating, that is not the only thing on the table

Say you sell web design and support services and you’re sitting with a prospective client. If you are only prepared to negotiate your fee you’re missing the point. Many people can design a website. And there will always be someone who can charge less than you. What do you offer that is worth hiring you to do it? What are your terms? What kind of service do you offer once you turn the site over to your client? Can you offer to design a second, personal website, for free? Could you offer an update after a year?

The same is true if you’re negotiating a promotion or a salary. To negotiate from strength, remember to be creative. Think beyond what’s in front of you. Even circumstances and rules you might think are fixed, are not. Everything is negotiable.

Learn to negotiate how to buy your car

Learn to negotiate how to buy your car

Here’s my own example. I recently ordered my new Acme car (obviously not the real brand!) It was my fourth Acme. My third with the same dealership. Second time leasing. I was scheduled to pick up my car on Friday. On Wednesday, I received a call. It was about a $1,000 cash back sale that was taking place at my dealership on Saturday. When Paul, the salesperson who sold me the last three cars, called me to confirm my pickup date, I asked for the $1,000 cash back. Here’s a synopsis of the dialog that followed:

“You don’t qualify because you ordered the car several weeks ago. You have to buy your car on Saturday to qualify. It’s the rule.”

“Paul, the rules are relative. Who do I have to talk to in order to get my discount?”

“It doesn’t work like that. The rules come from Acme Headquarters. There’s not much I can do.”

“Wait, are you punishing me for being a loyal customer? This is the third Acme I buy from you…”

So what do you think happened? Read on to find out!

Don't miss 3 key negotiation strategies for women!

2

You always negotiate with a person

Whether it’s a job offer or a car lease you always negotiate with a person. Regardless of the size of their organization. Obviously, it could turn out that a couple of people make the final decision. But you get what I’m saying. This means it’s important to connect with the person who’s there to negotiate with you. The more you know about them and what would make them look good, the better. So research the person you’re likely to negotiate with, ahead of your meeting. Think about what would benefit the other person. What they need to win and what they can afford to lose.

In my conversation with Paul, I knew he didn’t want to lose a loyal customer. I also knew there was a problem that he could pass on to his organization so that he could save face with me. So that he could look like he was on my side.

Here’s how the dialog continued:

“I don’t care what the small print says. Your dealer hired a company to conduct the flash sale and gave them the list of customers. You guys should’ve removed those customers who already bought cars. So we wouldn’t get a call like this.”

“Let me see what I can do.”

Can you guess how it turned out?

Women tend to think that circumstances are more fixed than they really are.

Women tend to think that circumstances are more fixed than they really are.

3

Decide ahead of time your bottom line

Yes. You have to have a number, below which you refuse to negotiate. Why? Because if you don’t, you run the risk to negotiate against your own interests. This goes for your salary, for any project and for anything you sell. And it’s the reason why cultivating ingenuity and creativity goes a long way. Think of a variety of items to negotiate above and beyond what’s on the table.

My call with Paul was an active negotiation. My goal was to get the $1,000 discount. But I had already given a down payment on the car and was bound by the contract I had signed when I ordered it. So, I decided that if I could get $500 I’d be happy.

When I walked into the dealership that Friday, the lease was already written out. With my $1,000 discount! Yes. It was that simple. I just had to ask and insist on it. But wait. Because the negotiation didn’t end there.

4

Build your confidence right before you have to negotiate

If negotiation doesn’t come naturally to you, here’s a trick. Create a ritual that you do before you have to negotiate. It could be that you strike a power pose for a couple of minutes. Hands on your waist, standing on open legs. (The Wonder Woman stance.) Or, with your arms up in a V shape as a champion. (Like the athletes do when they win.) It’s proven to elicit a chemical boost of confidence.

You can also create a mantra. “I’m a powerful negotiator.” “I love to negotiate. It’s fun and exciting.” Whatever suits you. It will help you feel stronger and focused right before you hit the ground running.

A couple of weeks after I drove my cool new car home, I received a letter from Acme Financial Services. It was a bill for around $1,000! What? They listed items that shown “excessive wear and tear” of my previous car. The one I had turned in. So guess who I called first? Yup. Paul.

He promised to look into it. And he did. He got his dealership to knock $300 off the bill. Now I had to call the financial company and get the rest taken care of. Ommmmmmm…

Build your confidence with a power pose

Build your confidence with a power pose

5

Beware of signs that “this” is not a negotiation

Let’s be honest. There are times when people offer you a job interview even though they already have the candidate for the position. It’s a legal thing. They have to interview certain number of potential candidates. Or they already have the vendor they want to use. Stay alert so you pick up those signs and avoid investing too much time and energy. But don’t waste the chance to make a great impression. You’re there already. You never know what might happen in the future. So take advantage of the opportunity and show your best self.

Okay. So I called Acme Financial Services and spoke very kindly to the customer service rep.

“I don’t understand… You guys inspected the car and everything was fine and suddenly, 200 miles later, when I turn it in, the car needs new tires? At 19,000 miles? Could you please look into it for me?”

He didn’t really know what to respond. He knew this wasn’t a negotiation. He knew he had to make this bill go away.

And so he did.

Career Quiz: Test Your Negotiation Skills!

Meaning of the Red Shoes for The Red Shoe Movement

Would you like to know the meaning of the red shoes for the Red Shoe Movement? We know there are various connotations for red shoes in different areas and cultures. Let’s discover together the mystery of the red shoes and their secret power.

First we’ll take a brief journey through the history of red shoes. Then I will tell you how the red shoes became the emblem of the Red Shoe Movement. Next, I will share with you what they mean for members and organizations that use our Step Up Plus (our leadership development program.) And finally, I will tell you the meaning of the red shoes for the Red Shoe Movement and their role as change agents through our campaign #RedShoeTuesday.

Is only natural that with a leadership development company called Red Shoe Movement and a cultural awareness campaign called Red Shoe Tuesday, I’m constantly being asked: What’s the meaning of the red shoes for the Red Shoe Movement?

The meaning of the red shoes: A brief journey through History

Louis XIV red heels. At the time, only aristocratic men were allowed to wear red heels.

Louis XIV red heels. At the time, only aristocratic men were allowed to wear red heels.

In the XVII and XVIII centuries, under Louis XIV, only aristocratic men had the right to wear red heels. At the time, red ink came from grinding a red insect imported from Mexico, which made it extremely expensive. This clearly separated the haves and the have-nots. Naturally, red heels went out of fashion with the arrival of the French Revolution.
Two hundred years later, Hans Christian Andersen wrote “The Red Shoes.” This story talked about Karen, a poor girl who, after her mother’s death, is adopted by an elderly, blind woman. One day Karen discovers a pair of red shoes peaking from under the dress of a princess and she’s overcome by the desire to own a pair. Unable to resist her vanity, she gets her adoptive mother (who can’t see the color) to buy her red shoes. Against the orders of the clergy in her church, Karen wears them for her Confirmation and her Communion eliciting negative feelings in the community.

Red Shoes Hans Christian Andersen story

Red Shoes Hans Christian Andersen story

Those red shoes become her obsession and her demise. Once she puts them on, Karen starts dancing frenetically and is unable stop. With a life of their own, the shoes take her into the woods and end up getting her all scratched and hurt. Eventually, exhausted and bloody, Karen ends up in front of the door of the town’s executioner. As punishment for her sins, Karen asks the executioner to cut off her feet and shoes rather than her head. So he does and the feet with the red shoes fly away. The story continues for a bit but the moral seems to be that the red shoes symbolize some obscure desire, the vain nature of Karen, which at the time was considered a big sin.

The magical red shoes of Wizard of Oz

The magical red shoes of Wizard of Oz

For you, however, it’s likely that the meaning of the red shoes is closely associated with the Wizard of Oz. In the movie, the magical shoes that help Dorothy return home are red. It’s safe to say that every girl who watched Judy Garland click her heels was left with the impression that red shoes are powerful and magical.

The birth of the red shoes as the Red Shoe Movement emblem

The movement was born out of my book Find Your Inner red Shoes. This work is an invitation for every woman to find her own definition of success so that she can better align her internal motivations with her professional goals and grow faster as a result.

We were looking for an image for the cover that would link the concept of success with women. Thinking about the connections with assertiveness, magic and power of the red shoes, I realized there couldn’t be a better symbol for a movement of women who support each other to fulfill their dreams.

Red Shoe Movement event at Tesoro Corporation

Red Shoe Movement event at Tesoro Corporation

Renowned journalists Maria Elena Salinas and Blanca Rosa Vilchez support #RedShoeTuesday

Renowned journalists Maria Elena Salinas and Blanca Rosa Vilchez support #RedShoeTuesday

Meaning of the red shoes for our Step Up Plus program members and RSM enthusiasts

The impact of red shoes in corporations that are agents of change

The meaning of the red shoes for the Red Shoe Movement

In the book I suggest that women identify their inner red shoe. Meaning: their passions and interests, which lead to better alignment with career goals. The focus is on following these objectives while honoring one’s style. I discourage women from emulating somebody else’s style, particularly that of the men in their organizations. The red shoes enable each one to express their power with a feminine style.

The meaning of the red shoes for the Red Shoe Movement is power with femininity.

We know that there are areas in the world were red shoes have a different connotation. But the idea of using this symbol is to reclaim it as an icon of the power and style that distinguishes each woman.

Event with Lola Ramona, one of Red Shoe Movement's sponsors

Event with Lola Ramona, one of Red Shoe Movement’s sponsors

Red shoes as propellers of change: #RedShoeTuesday

One of the main motivations to write the book was to help accelerate the representation of women at the highest levels of decision-making. For decades, and despite Diversity and Inclusion initiatives in large corporations and governmental organizations, the needle has refused to move. I knew that part of my contribution to this change would be this book. But I also knew that a book was not enough. We needed a movement that could elicit a quantum leap in global consciousness.

I searched for solutions that had attained immediate results on issues that had remained intractable for years. Problems that seemed to have no solution. Inspired by several ideas that had changed the lives of millions of people overnight, I created #RedShoeTuesday.

#RedShoeTuesday— A cultural and social awareness campaign, establishes one day a week when we all go to work with red shoes and ties to signal our support for women’s career growth. It’s a visual reminder that enables us to keep alive the conversation about how to change the culture and find solutions so that women can access the highest positions. It’s a fun, actionable, and viral idea at the intersection of self-empowerment and fashion.

We backed the campaign with:

  • 7 behavioral principles that anyone can implement in their workplace to change the culture. (Here’s the free Guide to Implement the 7 RSM Principles so you can put them in action now!)
  • The RSM Circles, mutual-mentoring circles that are set up in workplaces so women can support each other’s professional growth. (You can find out more about our programs here)
  • A practical blog with inspiring and practical content.

The campaign is an invitation for men and women to work side by side, as co-creators of a new reality that will benefit society as a whole. Leaving all traits of blame or resentfulness aside. It’s a great way to expand and reinforce networks that promote mutual support among women so that we everyone amplifies their influence and their ability to continue innovating and learning together. The good news is that many studies show that the more diversity in an organization’s executive positions and its board of directors, the better the organization does.

The same is true when societies invest in their girls and women. The result is the ripple effect. Why? Because women invest in their family’s education and health, which produces future generations better equipped to deal with the challenges of our times. Better-educated people have a better quality of life.

Idea Catalyst supports the meaning of red shoes for the Red Shoe Movement

Idea Catalyst supports the meaning of red shoes for the Red Shoe Movement

What is the meaning of the red shoes in your corner of the world? And what do they mean to you?

Tell us! Let us know what the red shoes mean to you. How do they make you feel? What do they inspire you to do?

Together we can change prejudices and perceptions so that around the world we get to own the symbol of the red shoes.

Men wear red shoes to show support for career growth of women

Men wear red shoes to show support for career growth of women

The meaning of red shoes for The Red Shoe Movement

The meaning of red shoes for The Red Shoe Movement