March is Women’s History Month, and while much energy is focused on remembering great women from the past, we should honor – and actively learn from – great women in the present. These inspirational speakers and advisors at the top of their fields — from health care to virtual reality and addressing climate change — are reimagining the way our world is run.
STRENGTH THROUGH FEMALE LEADERSHIP
The first woman surgeon to hold the rank of Vice Admiral in the U.S. Navy, Vice Admiral (Ret.) Raquel Bono, MD has made it part of her mission to encourage women and minorities to pursue careers in the military and medicine. A firm believer that diversity strengthens organizations, she launched the Military Health Corps’ Female Physicians Leadership Course to encourage diversity, retain women physicians and give military women the skills they need to succeed in senior leadership roles. Today, the program trains more than 100 women military physicians each year. Her advice to other leaders: “As a leader, you have to be willing to make change happen. Leadership should make you uncomfortable; it’s not for the weak of heart because it takes courage, self-knowledge and skill.”
WHY GENDER EQUITY IS KEY TO UNLOCKING OUR PLANETARY CHALLENGE
Climate change and gender equality are typically seen as separate issues. This is not the case, argues Katharine Wilkinson, senior author of the New York Times bestseller “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming” (Penguin, 2017) and the just-released “The Drawdown Review.” As her wildly popular talk at TEDWomen explained, the improvement of rights and social status for women correlates closely with important efforts to address climate change, from encouraging sustainable farming to expanding education of girls. Businesses already know they have a key role to play in saving the planet; but to do so, they must embrace female empowerment, both within their organizations and in the wider world.
IN HER (VR) SHOES: USING TECH TO DISMANTLE RACISM
Black and Brown women are the most educated and entrepreneurial group in the US, yet they’re taken less seriously in life-altering medical situations, are culturally repressed, less likely to advance in the workplace, and are often excluded from home ownership and access to capital. To help companies and the rest of society understand how these setbacks affects all of us, Professor Courtney D. Cogburn of Columbia University is designing virtual reality simulations – as seen in her gripping TED Talk – allowing people to “walk” in the shoes of another and experience situations they might otherwise never encounter. While diversity, equity and inclusion progress is most evident for White women, it’s only through directly engaging the realities of race that organizations be able to truly build and sustain inclusive work environments.
Women are changing the world. Contact us to make sure their ideas are part of your strategy.