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2020 Perfect Vision on Gender Equality

The year is 2020. The time is now to make gender equality a reality. Here’s how you can engage with likeminded individuals around the world.

Just as the World Economic Forum set Closing the Gender Gap Accelerators “to create global and national public-private collaboration platforms (…) to address current gender gaps and reshape gender parity for the future,” many organizations have set their own gender equality goals for 2020.  For our company it’s a big year as well. With the motto: 2020 Perfect Vision on Gender Equality, we are rolling out the 3rd annual “Ring the Bell on the 7 Seas,” a Red Shoe Movement Gender Equality global initiative.

We've been Ringing the Bell on the 7 Seas, a Red Shoe Movement Gender Equality Global Initiative since 2018

We’ve been Ringing the Bell on the 7 Seas, a Red Shoe Movement Gender Equality Global Initiative since 2018

Why do we ring the bell for gender equality?

A few years ago, UN Women, the Sustainable Stock Exchanges, IFC, Women in ETFs and the World Federation of Exchanges created the “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” to “raise awareness of the pivotal role that the private sector plays in advancing gender equality to achieve SDG 5.” (United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.) With this mission in mind, every year for International Women’s Day, March 8, (or close to that date) women ring the bell at stock exchanges worldwide.

Considering that the Red Shoe Movement’s mission is to accelerate the representation of women at the highest levels of leadership, it was only natural for us to support and echo the UN’s initiative with one of our own.

Ringing the bell in Tel Aviv

Ringing the bell in Tel Aviv

Ringing the Bell on the 7 Seas

I’m sure you’ve heard that water represents 71% of our beloved planet Earth. This invaluable fluid substance never sits still. It’s constantly moving dynamically connecting us, nurturing us and making life possible. It’s the world’s connective tissue bar none, a true example of a global force with the power to erase distances and differences, and to bridge all gaps.

And since water has long been associated with emotion and intuition (starting with the Greek philosophers Empedocles and Plato,) it has also been associated with the feminine. No wonder then, that we call our initiative “Ring the Bell on the 7 Seas,” the best way we know to communicate that gender equality is an issue that affects us all, and only by having men and women working side by side will we achieve success.

On International Women’s Day we echo the UN’s Ring the Bell for Gender Equality. We extend an immersive, hands-on invitation for everyone to grab their bell and join the worldwide conversation. We will be ringing the bell once again on the 7 seas and the 7 continents with a large number of partner organizations and millions of individuals. 

RSM Gender Bell 2020 commissioned to visual artist Scherezade Garcia

RSM Gender Bell 2020 commissioned to visual artist Scherezade Garcia

Debuting our 20/20 RSM Bell

From the beginning of our initiative the bell has played a key role. From the CEO of the company to guests, executives, associates all ceremony participants are invited to take turns ringing it.

We felt it was time to elevate the bell to an art piece and in doing so, conveying the message that this is no ordinary object but the symbol of a collective call to action. To achieve that, we commissioned Scherezade García, a unique visual artist with the kind of synergy you can only dream about. Born in the Caribbean, in the Dominican Republic, Scherezade moved to the island of Manhattan where she resided until years ago she moved to Brooklyn. Both the sea and the issue of inclusion have been a constant thread in her artistic exploration, culminating recently in her Liquid Highway series. For our project Scherezade created Chromatic Current, a painting that now graces our limited-edition bell collection.

Scherezade Garcia with RSM 20/20 Bell

Scherezade Garcia with RSM 20/20 Bell

“The sea is the liquid highway and the keeper of our ancestral memory. It carries our stories, our DNA, our memories, and our history. With this project I aim to imply the universal connection and the fluidity of our identities and our lives,” said Sherezade about her work. “The RSM 20/20 Bell is like a brush that I dipped inside my paint and it came out dressed up by the sea. When people ring it, they are calling upon all the stories that we weave together when we sail through the planet’s oceans. The sound has the remarkable power to unify us, men and women pulling together towards gender equality.”

Grab the Bell for a Perfect Vision on Gender Equality

Grab the Bell for a Perfect Vision on Gender Equality

Ringing the Bell on the 7 Seas with You!

Our Smart Lead & Celebrating Partners

For this year’s exciting celebration, we are joined by Honeywell, our Smart Lead, ranked 77 in the Fortune 500 list, a company that produces commercial and consumer products, engineering services and aerospace systems. And by our amazing Celebrating Partners: Microsoft, Ultimate Software, Lexus, the Panama Canal Authority and the California Maritime Academy.

Gender equality for our time

You can already see how for the new generation, the one Greta Thurnberg leads (more so now that she’s Time Magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year,) gender equality is a given. Young people today don’t even understand why we need to have this conversation. Inclusion is part of their make-up and gender fluidity one of the tenets that support their understanding of inclusivity. Yet, until there’s a full generational replacement in the workplace, several different generations will continue to work side by side for many years to come. So, the challenge of reaching gender equality in pay and in leadership positions will remain one we all need to address.

“Ringing the Bell on the 7 Seas” is a fun, yet truly effective way to raise global awareness while encouraging everyone to actively engage with one of the key issues of our century. Join us, our Smart Lead and Celebrating Partners by grabbing your bell and wearing your red shoes and ties. Let’s make some noise together. Sound carries strong and clear across the oceans.

Shantaa Foster rings the bell for gender equality

Shantaa Foster rings the bell for gender equality

Our Founding Sponsor 

Joining forces with Celebrity Cruises was a no-brainer. A company led by Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, a CEO set on changing the industry by making gender equality a priority, its ships started ringing the bell in every corner of the globe with the Red Shoe Movement on March 8, 2018. That first year, my team and I joined Lisa onboard Celebrity Summit at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale while the rest of the fleet as well as Royal Caribbean Offices joined from their own locations.

In 2019, we boarded the Celebrity Reflection anchored in front of Cayman Islands in the Caribbean Sea and then took a small tender to reach the Celebrity Edge, which was strategically positioned only a couple of miles away. After leading the morning bell-ringing ceremonies on each ship, we sailed on the Edge to Fort Lauderdale and took part of one of the Red Parties that Celebrity hosted on each vessel. We were joined by Ultimate Software, our Tech lead, a company that offers Human Resources software solutions, who carried out bell-ringing ceremonies in 18 locations from Singapore to Toronto.

In 2020, we recognize Celebrity’s leadership with the first RSM Hall of Fame Women Ensemble Award honoring four of their leaders: Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President & CEO, Captain Kate McCue, First North American female captain of a cruise ship, Captain Nathaly Alban, First Ecuadorian Captain of a cruise ship and Nicholine Tifuh Azirh, First West African Bridge Officer.

 

Women Leaders: Leadership Styles that Play Against Us

With an ever increasing focus on promoting more women leaders, it’s worth recognizing that certain styles are less effective in building the leadership brand for women in general.  Part of effecting change is having courageous conversations. Read on!

From the beginning of the Red Shoe Movement, we made sure our motto focused on “women supporting women for career success” so that we would take some of the narrative regarding women not supporting each other off the table. By keeping our eyes on mutual mentoring and mutual support, we hope to encourage many more women leaders in our organizations. This helps avoid any distractions caused by the ongoing social discourse that women don’t support each other as the reason for the dearth of women leaders.

Powerful leaders inspire with their vision

Powerful leaders inspire with their vision

For a long time, I thought my colleagues exaggerated when they talked about some of the women leaders they had the misfortune of working under. They described abrasive leadership styles that,  instead of  eliciting cooperation and loyalty, turned employees off. Then I ran into a person who fit every stereotype of the woman leader that I  fight so hard against and I decided we had to talk about this issue openly. Because, whether we like it or not, women leaders are still a minority, and, as such, the missteps of one tend to affect the brand of the entire group. And what I mean by brand is the brand “women leaders” or “female leaders” as a whole. Just ask African Americans, Latinos or Jews about the ripple effect that a bad apple has on the reputation of the group as a whole.

Women leaders with ineffective leadership styles

Although the styles I discuss on this post apply both to men and women, today I focus on the impact they have on my female colleagues.

Here’s what happened to convince me to talk about this issue. After weeks of volunteering my time to help a friend (let’s call her Mary) organize a fundraiser to benefit an organization she supports, we were getting nowhere. Every time we got a leading professional to donate his or her services  for an auction, the CEO of the organization (let’s call her Jen) would change things around without notifying anyone involved.  As the date of the event approached, my friend Mary and I started to receive daily calls and emails from our professional colleagues who so generously had accepted our plea for their free services. They didn’t understand why their services were not listed on the event’s website, why the amount of consulting hours being auctioned was different from what they had committed to, or why they had been taken out of the event altogether despite having confirmed their participation.

After one too many unilateral changes, I emailed Jen expressing how unprofessional this back and forth made us all look in the eyes of our contacts, only to receive in return a scolding letter on which she copied six other people from her organization. Needless to say, I was flabbergasted. I admit I should have called her to begin with, but my note to her was private. Her email to me was not.

The incident left me wondering, why some women leaders exhibit leadership styles that are obviously unproductive? Leadership styles that, rather than project power, play to the stereotype of “the woman who undermines the power of other women.”

Together we build the brand "women leaders"

Together we build the brand “women leaders”

But the better question might be: Should we confront these women leaders with their misbehavior, or should we avoid them and move on?

It’s no easy task to approach any powerful leader for a conversation about their leadership style shortcomings, but, in cases like the one in my example, not doing so carries an even greater risk –  The perpetuation of the undeserved stereotype that women are not suited to lead. That all women leaders miss the mark.

Just as Jen’s style was ineffective and was eventually responsible for her losing her job and her organization closing down, here are a few other leadership styles that leave everyone wanting:

  • Micromanagers. Women leaders who can’t step out of their manager role and are constantly micromanaging their team rather than providing a vision and allowing their teams to carry it out.
  • Queen Bee. These are the women leaders who feel there ‘s only room for one woman to shine in the organization and they systematically undermine other women, refuse to help them succeed, or are over critical of other women in the company.
  • Emulators of male leaders. Women who rather than leverage their female traits alongside their experience, knowledge and skills, lose all femininity on the way to their powerful position in order to fit in. By emulating a masculine style, they play well in the boys club but tend to leave the culture of their organizations  unchanged for women coming behind them.
Women leaders stand on the shoulders of previous leaders

Women leaders stand on the shoulders of previous leaders

How to approach women leaders for an honest conversation

This is certainly one of those million dollar questions. It’s never easy to approach someone to provide this type of feedback. So here are a two suggestions on how to set up a productive conversation.

1If you have a good relationship with the leader, you could send a note saying you have a few insights that may help her get more support for her vision/project/etc. Then ask if she’d like to hear your insights. Giving the person a chance to accept or refuse your suggestions is key to avoid overstepping and creating a bad situation for yourself. If she accepts a meeting, prepare your feedback carefully. Focus on objective performance and results rather than personality.

2If you’re not too close to the leader, identify who has her ear. (Who does she provide air cover to? Who does she agree with at important meetings? Etc.) It may be best to speak to that person first and get a sense of the most productive approach to take. That person may even suggest that he/she is the one to bring up the issue with the leader. For this to happen effectively, you have to trust the person who will carry your observations to the leader and make sure they won’t backfire.

Women leaders are joined together to protect brand

Women leaders are joined together to protect brand

Standing up for more great women leaders

The truth is that we are joined together in the guardianship of the brand “woman leader.” The success of one is the hope for all. By the same token, the failure of one impacts us all. So, as painful and difficult as it is, we must have these courageous conversations with our gender-mates when they are called for.

Needless to say these  feedback conversations should be held in private and conducted diplomatically in order to avoid eliciting a negative reaction.  Unfortunately,  avoiding the discomfort of having these conversations will only hold us back on our quest to see more great women leaders at the helms of our organizations.

Women traveling alone: 5 Tips from many years of traveling solo

In the last few years, there’s been a substantial increase of women traveling alone. It’s one of the most empowering experiences you can have. Ready to try it? Don’t miss these tips to make it a successful trip.

“The world is your oyster,” is an often quoted Shakespeare’s phrase. At some point, I’m sure someone said this to you. And if nobody ever did, I’m saying it to you now. The World Is Your Oyster. Yours for the taking. And this is the perfect time to explore that world.

I’ve been traveling solo for many, many years now and I absolutely love it. I recommend it to all my friends and colleagues and some of those who take my advice, become part of this large movement of women traveling alone.

In Amsterdam, while traveling solo doing a home exchange, I visited beautiful tulip fields.

In Amsterdam, while traveling solo doing a home exchange, I visited beautiful tulip fields.

It’s an experience unlike any other because first, you get to decide your destination and the kind of adventure you’d like to have. And then while you’re on the trip, you make every single decision throughout the day. There’s nobody to ask permission to do something you’d love to do. No need to go to places or engage in activities you don’t enjoy. So, you can get up early to join the hot air balloon tour or stay in bed all day.

You can spend the entire day visiting a museum or taking pictures of your favorite locations. You can eat when you want, what you want with whom you want. It’s your trip and you can even cry if you want to.

And if you’re horrified by the idea of making hundreds of decisions every day rather than letting someone else (perhaps your partner) make them for you… then, you my friend, really, really need to try this.

Here's a great read on Lateral Thinking to help you see issues from new perspectives
While traveling solo, I love to visit farmers markets and flower markets. You may find produce you've never seen before!

While traveling solo, I love to visit farmers markets and flower markets. You may find produce you’ve never seen before!

Women traveling alone discover who they are

It’s not an exaggeration to say that women traveling alone discover who they are and what they like. In some cases, even what they want to be when they grow up! Believe me I’ve met a few. It’s such a freeing experience to be on your own when most of the time we tend take care of the needs of others, whether our family, friends or colleagues.

To take a break of it all and go off somewhere alone near or far can be enlightening. And I emphasize near or far because you can have this experience by taking a bus and going one or two hours away from home to a location of your choosing for a short or a long trip. You can decide based on your budget what works best for you right now.

Tip for women traveling alone: Take a boat ride wherever you get a chance. It gives you an entirely different perspective of the place.

Tip for women traveling alone: Take a boat ride wherever you get a chance. It gives you an entirely different perspective of the place.

Some of the things I love to do when traveling solo

  • Staying at my own apartment or renting a bedroom in a woman’s house. I’ve been traveling with Airbnb before it was fashionable to do so. Sometimes I rather stay at someone’s house so I have a hostess who I can interact with and can give me tips of the area. I’ve become close friends with several of them.
  • Doing experiences with Airbnb. So now you can actually sign up to do a lot of things through their website. From learning how to cook, to having your own photo shoot, to visiting galleries with an artist. It’s another great way to meet like-minded people from all over the world, many of whom are precisely women traveling alone.
  • Talking to people who work wherever I go: hotels, restaurants, shops, galleries, taxi drivers. They have the real stories and insights of the place.
  • Starting my visit by seeing the city or town from the highest point, be that a church tower, the top of the highest building or hill. It gives me a great perspective of the lay of the land.
  • Visiting museums one or two hours at a time. I rather return to a museum than stay for a very long time in one.
  • Taking a boat trip whenever there’s water!
  • Discovering local food and learning how to make it. Going back to the same little bistro time and again so it feels like home. Here’s my favorite bistro that makes galettes from Britany in Paris!
  • Finding the best espresso drinks!
  • Learning to use the local public transportation system.
  • Sending postcards to friends and to myself. (Yep, I send postcards to myself from every place I visit so I can read them later and relive the best parts of the trip!)
    Drinking cappuccinos is one of my favorite things to do when traveling solo. I love to enjoy a cup while I write a postcard to a friend.

    Drinking cappuccinos is one of my favorite things to do when traveling solo.

     

    I love to enjoy a cup of espresso while I write a postcard to a friend.

Perhaps you should try a cruise ship with Captain Kate as a starter trip!

For women traveling alone being safe is key to enjoying the experience

Usually a big concern for women traveling alone is safety. And although this is true for anyone traveling solo, I have a few suggestions that work particularly well for my gender peers. Here you go:

1Keep your eyes on the road

This means, avoid being on your phone while you walk. Those who target women traveling alone are experts at pinpointing who’s a tourist, who’s confident, who is inexperienced. So by staying alert and present, you can spot them before they spot you. For this to work, you need to do your homework before you leave your hotel or apartment. Otherwise, when you need to spend a few minutes with your map or notes, just grab a cup of coffee to plan your next stop rather than walking around looking clueless. That way you know as much as possible about your direction, the train you should take, etc.

Tip for women traveling alone: nothing beats walking a town or city to get to know it really well. This is Nyhavn in Copenhagen

Tip for women traveling alone: nothing beats walking a town or city to get to know it really well. This is Nyhavn in Copenhagen.

2Check who’s in front of you

I’ve seen it happen many times. The person intent on robbing me is not behind me but in front. I suddenly realize they walk very slowly and turn their head sideways once in a while. When I stop walking, they stop. That’s my sign to either turn around and go back, look for another person to engage with immediately, or go into a store. You can always test this. If you stop and the person in front of you stops, slows down or pretends to be on the phone to make time until you start walking again, it’s a trap.

Since I discovered galettes (crepes made with buckwheat) I've become obsessed with repeating a particular flavor combination I love! The best place yet? "La petit bretonne" in Paris!

Since I discovered galettes (crepes made with buckwheat) I’ve become obsessed with repeating a particular flavor combination I love! The best place yet? “La petit bretonne” in Paris!

3Distribute your money and valuables

I carry a small, light backpack when I travel solo. In the backpack I’ll put in any accessories I might need. Umbrella, gloves, lipstick, sanitizer, etc. I put anything of value in my front pockets. Money, ID, keys, phone… I always assume that I may get mugged. Look, when you’re a tourist, you will be in areas known for pickpockets. So try to protect yourself as best as you can.

4When in doubt ask a woman

This one may sound obvious but it’s worth keeping in mind. Wherever I go, I ask a million questions a day. For many reasons: I need directions, I want a recommendation for a good place to eat nearby, I’d like to know where I can buy something, you get the point.  But no matter how many times a day I need help, I’ll either go into a store, or I’ll ask a woman in the street. Why? Because it’s less likely that she’ll turn me into a mark when she realizes I’m a tourist.

Keep your eyes on the road. Be present. When traveling solo, it's not only the best way to enjoy the trip but the safest!

Keep your eyes on the road. Be present. When traveling solo, it’s not only the best way to enjoy the trip but the safest!

5Don’t fall for these two (or any others!)

You’re sitting at a bench and someone bends over in front of you. Pretending to pick something off the floor they give you a “gold” ring. “You dropped this,” they say. And you look at the ring and you say, “No, it’s not mine.” So then they try it on and they tell you it doesn’t fit them but they are sure it will fit you, and you should keep it. You try it on, it fits, and you can’t believe your good luck. Until they say: “Well, maybe you could give me an euro,” or a dollar, or whatever. Just get up and leave. It’s an old trick and I did fall for it a while back.

You’re in a touristy area and a person pretending to be deaf and mute approaches you with a paper to sign some kind of petition. It’s a list of people’s names and signatures and you read the title and you think, “What’s the harm?” You sign and then they show you a little corner of the paper where they wrote: “Minimum donation X” and you know you’ve been had. So at that point you can leave.

Or, if you’re a sucker like me, you give them the minimum donation and swear this is the last time they’ll get you. You, a New Yorker raised in Buenos Aires!

There’s no time like today to discover the world and a little bit about yourself in the process. Try it. I promise that traveling solo will put you in touch with a side of you that will amaze you!

Be A Great Leader: Recognize Women in Your Network & See them Flourish

When I heard my name being called back to the stage after my presentation “Be A Great Leader,” I was confused. “Is she talking about me?” I asked one of the organizers sitting at my table. To my surprise, she was!

The “Be A Great Leader” event

I had just finished doing the keynote at the “Be A Great Leader” event organized by the Latino Networks Coalition (LNC,) a professional association that groups the Latino Business Resource Groups of most major global corporations based in the New York City area. A couple of LNC leaders went on stage right after me to recap the event and do the closing remarks. The final presenter talked about an award they were giving to a woman for her leadership in business and diversity and inclusion.  And then she called my name.

After her keynote at the Be A Great Leader event, the LNC team gave Mariela Dabbah an award recognizing her leadership

After her keynote at the Be A Great Leader event, LNC honored Mariela Dabbah for her leadership. From L to R: Jessica Asencio, Claudia Vazquez, Christian Narvaez, Roberto Peralta, Alicia García, Lisa Concepción, Jaime Fuertes, Hedda Bonaparte.

It’s not out of false modesty that I tell you I was completely surprised and moved. This was not like any other award and it made me think about the value of being seen by your colleagues. Let me explain.

I’ve known and collaborated with LNC members and the global companies they work for, for years. They’ve witnessed my career trajectory and have been impacted by my work as I’ve been impacted by theirs. And although it’s not the first time I received an award, I found it particularly inspiring that my peers would appreciate the value of what I do. In addition, I had been hired to do this presentation and the fact that they felt I still deserved an award on top of my speaker’s fee, made it much more valuable to me.

Receiving public recognition always reminds us that what we do affects others, and it motivates us to continue working hard. It says, “we see you, we see your effort.” And I hardly doubt that I’m the only one who feels this way.

The theme of the event was based on this post.
The leadership event took place at the Prudential Tower in Newark, NJ.

The leadership event took place at the Prudential Tower in Newark, NJ.

Some great leaders lead from behind

So, if I can get so emotional about being recognized by my peers, imagine how the great number of women who lead from behind and are seldom recognized feel? Those who don’t have access to public stages from which to showcase their efforts. Or those who impact their local community. Or the women who have been making things happen for so long that their work has become invisible and it’s being taken for granted. Are you giving them the recognition they deserve? Most likely the answer is no.

Part of being a great leader is to help develop and inspire others to be great leaders themselves. And advocating for women who deserve recognition to actually get it, is a sure way to encourage them to continue on their leadership journey.

The issue here is not building up people’s egos. It’s about the benefits public recognition brings with it. Specifically, exposure, validation, credibility, brand, and reputation building.

The more of all these things you have, the better the opportunities that come your way. So very concretely, when we don’t offer women the recognition they deserve, we negatively impact their careers. Not only because we deny them the chance to gain more exposure and validation but also because lack of recognition of one’s contributions eventually leads to frustration and disengagement. And I talk about women here, and particularly women of color, because they are frequently absent from top lists and awards.

Now, through the course of the year, businesses and professional organizations have many chances to recognize people in their ecosystems: their employees, partners, suppliers, clients, etc. Think about how much more committed and energized all your female (and male) stakeholders would be if they were recognized for their efforts, their influence, and their leadership?

Read about how powerful women lead in many different ways.
As great leaders its our job to recognize women.

As great leaders its our job to recognize women.

Be a great leader by recognizing women

Here is how you can play a pivotal role in increasing the inclusiveness of awards and recognitions being doled out:

  • Nominate women in your network for all sorts of leadership and professional awards and lists
  • Advocate for women’s nominations when you notice an uneven number of women applicants to any award or recognition opportunity
  • Be the first one to give women credit in public when credit is due
  • Elevate women’s achievements by providing larger platforms to showcase them
  • Question editors and creators of “Best” and “Top” lists that are disproportionately male
  • Offer to help editors or creators of such lists to diversify their networks in order to identify deserving women they’ve missed in the past

Most of all look closely at the people in your network who do amazing work and generally go unrecognized. A heartfelt “thank you” goes a long way to making them feel valued.

#WomensMarch: When Words Create Realities You Can’t Ignore

If you didn’t know there was a #WomensMarch in Washington DC and in major cities across the country and the world January 21, it’s time to get out of your head.

A powerful #WomensMarch with massive number of people marched peacefully in NYC on January 21, 2017

A powerful #WomensMarch with massive number of people marched peacefully in NYC on January 21, 2017

After the election of Donald Trump as President, many Americans and people around the world have been in shock. I have to admit I’ve been one of them. Wondering what’s going to happen to the rights of women and minorities once this man who has insulted just about everyone assumes office. Wondering if I could avoid the media for the next four years to avoid hearing yet another distortion of reality. As many people,  I didn’t even pay much attention to the #WomensMarch organization until the very last possible minute.

Words matter. Love is always a powerful word when hate speech threatens tolerance.

Words matter. Love is always a powerful word when hate speech threatens tolerance.

All that stops today. I’m an immigrant, I’m an American, I’m a woman. I’m a Latina. I’m a leader. So today I marched in the #WomensMarch in New York not to chant that Trump is not my President. Because he is. Right now he’s the President of all Americans.

Why I marched at the #WomensMarch in NYC

I marched in #WomensMarch NYC to show I care about words.

I marched in #WomensMarch NYC to show I care about words.

I marched in the #WomensMarch in New York City to show I care about words. That the words Mr. Trump said during the long presidential campaign meant something. That words create realities out of fake news and have the power to incite hate, fear and division. I marched to show that I care about open and implicit threats against Muslims, Mexicans, women, people with disabilities, and others. That this country hasn’t spent decades promoting tolerance around the world and at home to suddenly start advocating for the exact opposite.

And I marched because what we all saw and heard in the months leading to this election warrants vigilance on the part of the American people. It warrants that we all have our representatives on speed dial so that the moment we see something that goes against our values and beliefs we let them know. “This is what democracy looks like,” as many marchers were chanting today. Only by staying on top of sensitive issues and letting our voices heard in a consistent basis will we keep our democracy working for all of us in the long run. I marched to show that we can use words to help heal the divisions and the fear that has become evident as of late. That we can create a future that works for all of us.

If you care about Diversity and Inclusion, don't sit out this conversation.

If you care about Diversity and Inclusion, don’t sit out this conversation.

What to do after #WomensMarch

For those who sat this election out, it’s time to jump in. Find something you can do to be the change you seek. For those who voted for Mr. Trump believing he was the solution to all you think is wrong about our country, stay alert. Hold your candidate’s feet to the fire. Demand that he makes good on his promises.  For those who are feeling disempowered and think there’s little you can do, think local. Get involved in your local government. You can exercise immense influence in your local and state politics and stop your legislature from passing unfair laws that then move across the country.

Read about recognizing a hostile work environment here.

For anyone who cares about an inclusive world where America’s diversity is at the core of it’s global advantage, this #WomensMarch is just the beginning. We are in the process of redefining who we are and who we want to be. Don’t sit that conversation out. Your words can make a world of difference. Let them be heard.

Here are 10 actions you can do in 100 days to keep the conversation going.
Inclusive families are part of the fabric of our beautiful country. They marched to show they care about everyone's rights.

Inclusive families are part of the fabric of our beautiful country. They marched to show they care about everyone’s rights.