Friday, February 5, 2016

Lights, Action, You're On!...Mikki Taylor

Many women live like it's a dress rehearsal. Ladies, the curtains up and you're on.

--Mikki Taylor, Editor-at-Large, Essence

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Why I Do What I Do...Taraji Henson

"I love awards, don’t get me wrong, I like being nominated, but for me, it just means that that’s how many people I’ve touched. That award or that recognition is just, that’s how many people you’ve influenced through your work. Sharing a little bit of Cookie’s (Empire) pain or Yvette’s (Baby Boy) pain might be a little window into my pain or my joy. But the only way you’re going to make it live is if you at least are familiar with it."

--Tarji P. Henson, Golden Globe winning and Academy Award nominated Actress

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Leadership Tuesdays: The Truth About Color Blindness...Mellody Hobson

“Researchers have coined this term “color blindness” to describe a learned behavior where we pretend that we don’t notice race. If you happen to be surrounded by a bunch of people who look like you, that’s purely accidental. 

Now, color blindness, in my view, doesn’t mean that there’s no racial discrimination, and there’s fairness. It doesn’t mean that at all. It doesn’t ensure it. In my view, color blindness is very dangerous because it means we’re ignoring the problem… this subject matter can be hard, awkward, uncomfortable — but that’s kind of the point… 

If we can learn to deal with our discomfort, and just relax into it, we’ll have a better life."

--Mellody Hobson, President, Ariel Investments & Chairperson of the Board, DreamWorks Animation

Every other Tuesday, WOMEN AT LIBERTY provides Leadership Tuesdays, a platform for a variety of voices and resources to develop, encourage and strengthen women leaders. In March 2014, Mellody Hobson gave a courageous talk on race. A quote from her TED talk was featured on this very blog. Starting with "The Numbers Do Not Lie", Ms. Hobson spoke eloquently and frankly about the lack of diversity in leadership positions in U.S. corporations.

I believe that she nailed it when she stated that talking about race is like stepping on the third rail in a subway station. If it doesn't kill you, you will surely live with the aftershocks of the conversation for a long time. Rosalind Brewer, CEO of Sam's Club, a division of Walmart experienced this in December 2015 when she stated in an interview that she encourages and expects diversity within her organization. And she also expects it in the organizations of the suppliers that do business with Sam's Club. In a national television interview, she talk about an incident where a supplier brought a team to make a presentation to her senior management team and the supplier's whole team consisted of only white males. She said that she thought that that was "interesting" made it a point to have a conversation with the supplier's leadership about it to determine their position on diversity. We'll talk more about this situation later this month, but suffice it to say she was roasted by certain groups in the press and those groups threatened to boycott Walmart because she dared talk about the lack of diversity that she still sees and experiences.

Today, womenatliberty is featuring a FastCompany article on its timeline that discusses how you can tell if your company really is serious when it comes to diversity and supporting women of color. Women of color are some of the most under-represented and underpaid groups when it comes to presence and visibility in senior leadership positions in corporate America.

Check out: Three Ways To Tell If Your Company Supports Women Of Color by By Sava Berhané. To read some of Mellody Hobson's other quotes that were featured on this blog, click here. For more information on Leadership Tuesdays and WOMEN AT LIBERTY, click here.

Monday, February 1, 2016

In Times Like These, We Need Fire....Frederick Douglass

In a speech on July 4, 1852 about the hypocrisy and irony of the United States celebrating Independence Day while black people were suffering the ills of slavery and racism, Frederick Douglass said:

"At a time like this... For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be denounced."

Frederick Douglass, Author, Editor, Abolitionist, Suffragist, and Diplomat (Speech, 4th of July, Rochester, New York, 1852)

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Measuring Our Actions Against What We Say We Believe...@vnona

Integrity, honesty, ethics... These principles are as timeless and universal as the Biblical Ten Commandments: Thou shall not steal; thou shall not lie; and thou shall not kill (murder). These principles do not change to accommodate our beliefs or adherence to them. They stand all by themselves. Here is a test you can use to determine whether your actions are "right": If you have to cover up your deeds, 9.999 times out of 10, what you have done is wrong. It is wrong whether the whole world knows it or just one person knows about it.

What we need today is courageous leaders who are willing to "do" and be accountable for their actions. We need them to do more than just say the right things. They must do the right thing, not just what is easy, convenient and concealable. We have enough leaders who lead and govern using situational ethics. The news is full of stories about communities and individuals who have been victims of their ill deeds and hypocrisy.

Where do you stand? What type of leader or follower are you? How does your actions measure up?

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Real Fight...@vnona

"Life can make you become someone who you don't even like.   

You have to fight against the negativity to be the person you really want to be."

--Nona O., Founder,