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Strategies That Work

Early in my legal career, I interviewed for an advocacy position. In one of the interviews, I was at lunch with an older male executive in the company, when suddenly it seemed like I was on a date. I couldn’t tell you what happened to change the atmosphere, but it was palpable. I remember the exact moment it happened, and the way the executive changed his posture and leaned forward slightly, as I leaned back. I went to a group interview later that week, and the same executive escorted me around, gentlemanly, with his hand on my low back. I was very uncomfortable. He told me that they were not hiring, but if they found someone “particularly attractive” they might consider opening a position.

Pulling the "Push Only" Door

“The only other advice I have is that things are really sexist, and we just have to deal with it.” Early in my legal career, this was what I heard when I approached another employment attorney about sexual harassment I was experiencing. At the time, I was trying to take preventative steps before the harassment got too bad because I loved the work I was doing. I asked this lawyer how to set clear boundaries in my job with a much older man who seemed interested in me. I was so discouraged by the advice to “just deal with it” that I stopped talking about my experience as it got worse and worse over the course of a year. Every time my boss would rub my shoulders or lean his body against mine, I

The "Good" Business Blind Spot

It might surprise you to hear that owners of “good” businesses have more hurdles to creating a healthy company culture than owners of businesses that are solely revenue-driven and not interested in doing “good” in the world. It’s kind of hokey and overly simplistic to label businesses as “good” (and don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that businesses focused on steep financial goals are “bad”), but what I’m talking about are businesses that are particularly forward-thinking, creative, and focused on making an impact on the world. These kinds of non-profits, creative agencies, and innovative organizations are a different class of business than companies only driven by revenue-based metrics. On

Fostering a Healthy Workplace Culture

When I listened to Rhea’s voicemail message, I could hear the panic in her voice. She said that she had made an appointment for later that week, but she felt she needed to talk to someone right away because she was so concerned about the situation she and the other owners of her company were facing. I called her back and she explained to me that a man who worked for her had accused a female co-worker of sexual assault and harassment. She wanted to make sure everyone was safe and that she was conducting an appropriate investigation, and she was also worried that these allegations could ruin her business’s reputation in the community. Even though it’s hard for many of us to even acknowledge, t

Are Women Strong and Brave?

Because I had such clear, shameless messages as a child that women are evil, and that women deserve less than men (see last blog post), I have always recognized those messages more clearly than many people around me. I believed this as an innocent child and deliberately decided to change the belief as a young adult. So, I can see where it comes through in culture – sometimes on a muted level and sometimes as directly as I experienced it when I was little. This is the invisible gorilla test that Daniel Kahneman talks about in Thinking Fast and Slow. In the invisible gorilla experiment, researchers asked participants to count how many times people in a video passed a basketball back and forth.

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