Tara Westover on How We Lead the Way Forward

Tara Westover Tara Westover, the best-selling author of Educated, reflected on how women lead the way forward—the theme of the 2020 Pennsylvania Conference for Women—and suggested it may begin with recognizing what we don't know so we are able to restore meaningful dialogue in these highly polarized times. "As the author of a book called Educated, I am supposed to know what it is like to know things, to be certain about things," Westover said. "But as I thought about this difficult period, I thought it is not so much about education and certainty and facts; it's not just about what we know but about what we don't know." Using her own experience as an example, she observed that she once thought "feminism" was a dirty word, had wrong and hurtful thoughts about race, and was homophobic. But education—and the opportunity to express her opinions, however objectionable they were -- allowed her to think through what she really believed, adding that many in our nation require that same opportunity now.

More excerpts from her talk follow:

  • "Sometimes I wonder if what has gone wrong with our political process is that we have forgotten what we don't know. We are so bombarded with caricatures of each other that we've started to think just because we know one thing about a person, we think we know everything we need to know about them."
  • "What we've forgotten maybe is the difference between ignorance and humility. It's OK not to know everything. And there are some situations where approaching it knowing what you don't know is probably the best thing you can do."
  • "I have to believe that it is worth arguing with people who disagree with you—even on really important issues. Even on important moral issues, things you feel strongly about. It is still worth arguing with those people and explaining your ideas. That is the original idea of what politics is: It's persuasion."
  • "And I have to believe in that because I was someone who at various points in my life was wrong about almost everything—things that now are really important to me, I had the opposite view when I was younger."
  • "I was raised in a household in which feminism was a dirty word. I don't think I ever said it aloud until I was in graduate school. I grew up with really strange ideas about race. And I was lucky enough to be able to be given the opportunity to change my mind and learn more and understand experiences that were different from mine."
  • "I was homophobic. I was raised with strange ideas about that. And strange is a euphemism. They were not correct, they were hurtful."
  • "I am grateful I was given the opportunity through the education system to learn more, to say my views no matter how objectionable they were, and be given a chance to think through what I really believed."
  • "So important as I think all of these issues are and as important as it is to stand up for people, I am so grateful I was given an opportunity to change."
To go forward as a country, she concluded, may mean we need to give more people a chance to change, to have a meaningful dialogue, and for us all to know the things we don't know.
About Tara Westover Tara Westover is the best-selling author of Educated, reflected on how women lead the way is the author of Educated, which was on The New York Times bestseller list for more than 130 weeks. Born to survivalist parents in the mountains of Idaho, she never attended school and, instead, spent her childhood working in her father's junkyard or stewing herbs for her mother—until, at 17, she decided to escape a violent older brother and isolated home life to carve out a new life for herself. She taught herself enough to get into college—having come to believe, as her parents taught her, that you can teach yourself anything better than someone else can teach it to you. Then she went on to graduate magna cum laude from Brigham Young University, earn a master's degree in philosophy, become a Harvard University fellow, and complete a Ph.D. in history from Cambridge University. The experience transformed her; and her brilliant telling of it has been inspiring millions. It has also been sparking important conversations, at a time when millions of young people are suddenly engaged in remote learning, about education, gender roles, and societal divisions and how we might overcome them.
Check out more highlights from the 2020 Virtual Pennsylvania Conference for Women!

How to Encourage Your Team to Innovate and Get the Job Done With Hyundai’s Kate Fabian

Kate Fabian

Q: We all know that driving innovation is essential to sustainable business success. But how do we keep driving innovation in times of great uncertainty—when more people are likely to feel fearful and perhaps cautious?

This past year has forced brands and individuals to take a fresh approach to their traditional processes and industry rituals. Traditional processes that focused solely on delivery are now being challenged and are making way for more experimentation and exploration for new solutions to the same problem.

This year we’ve all seen the concept of working from home become a successful reality, as many companies are thriving. For example, Hyundai again has set an all-time monthly sales record in May, the third straight month achieving a new record. Not only has this shown our company’s ability to evolve and transform, but the commitment of our entire network has given us all a new perspective on the way to work and the ease of being able to provide more flexibility in the workplace.

We should continue to challenge existing processes and adopt lean and agile business methodologies. When it comes to generating fresh ideas we should be biased to action. A few recent examples include when we quickly came together to donate $4.4 million to hospitals to create drive-through testing centers, and supported new car-owners who have lost their jobs due to COVID.

Q: What helps you keep an innovation mindset?

An innovation mindset is dynamic, it recognizes the notion that the world is in constant transformation and embraces the importance for continuous evolution. It is something that you, as an individual and your team, have to constantly foster and grow. You must be open to change, be courageous and embrace new thinking and ideas that often feel uncomfortable.

I push my teams to think-outside-the-box and continually ask myself:

  • Am I being a leader that encourages new thinking?
  • Am I fostering creativity?
  • Am I challenging the current process to ensure we are always moving forward?

I have introduced these key questions as a framework, which you can use to make yourself more innovative. Keep in mind that this is not something that you can do from one day to the next. It is a constant learning process and it starts with you.

Q: How do you encourage your team to balance innovation and a need to get the existing job done?

I am a big believer in encouraging my team to develop their holistic intelligence. To see the big picture, develop a deeper understanding on how something relates to everything and importantly, about understanding context rather than content.

Most importantly, as a leader you must empower your teams to make decisions and take action. Those who feel valued and trusted to ‘think outside the box’ and attempt new ways of doing things achieve the most notable business results.

The key is to not be too critical if things go wrong, because your team will take note. No one wants to be the center of negative attention, and you’ll find them holding back if they’re worried about potential consequences.

Right now, I am thinking about how the customer experience changed so much for the automobile industry in the past year. The digital retailing space had to move forward 10 years in just a few months in terms of the way consumers want to shop and buy vehicles. For us, it was important to adapt quickly and now all of our dealerships have end-to-end digital retail capabilities with the added benefit of home delivery where the state allows.

Q: How important is innovation in marketing and communications? Put another way: Do you think messaging about innovation is important to consumers?

I believe that innovation is synonymous with evolution. We owe it to our customers to continuously improve upon the experiences throughout their entire customer journey.

Same goes for the way we communicate this to our customers. With the sheer volume of messages hitting any given person in one day, brands not only need to ensure they are relevant and relatable but importantly that they are adding value to the lives of their customers.

Q: Research has shown that diversity helps drive innovation. Can you provide an example of how you have seen that in action?

Our vision is progress for humanity, and that includes ensuring our marketing is both inclusive and representative. We recently selected independent and minority- and female-ownedCulture brands as our African American marketing agency of record. Culture Brands will provide strategic marketing solutions for reaching and engaging African American audiences more effectively and will begin work this month with the launch of the all-new 2022 Tucson.

From a company policy, we like to lead from the front. Diversity and inclusion continue to be a crucial part of our success. You can see that from our senior leadership, we have a number of amazing female and diverse voices driving a new company culture from high-level positions across the company, something you rarely see in such a male-dominated field.

Kate Fabian is the Director of Marketing Communications for Hyundai Motor America, where she is responsible for brand and multicultural marketing, media strategy, national and regional dealer advertising, and experiential marketing.

Posted in Speaker Articles, Innovation

One Small Word that Can Help You Advance Equity at Work

Nina Shaw

How can you speak up for equity in a way that brings other people along rather than risks an unproductive battle?

Nina Shaw, the entertainment lawyer who The New York Times has called “The Hollywood Power Behind Those Seeking a Voice,” has one simple magic word: “We.”

More broadly, she calls it “We Speak.”

“It’s where I talk less about the personal situation and more about the organization,” Shaw says. For example, she might say:

  • “I’m concerned that we’re not sending the right message.
  • I’m concerned that we’re not living up to the things that we believe in.
  • I’m concerned that we’re not running the business in the way that we want.
  • I’m concerned that we’re not getting the best from all of us, that all of us are not allowed to do our best.”

Shaw says she often couches equity in “We Speak”—and works hard to set a tone and standard that values everyone, even those she is in disagreement with.

Applying “We Speak” to Working Parent Issues

Over this past year, Shaw said fostering inclusivity around working parents was a big issue where “we speak” helped.

“We’ve had a lot of discussions during the pandemic about people whose attention is split—primarily working parents, who are trying to oversee their children’s education and trying to do their work within the workday. And, it’s impossible when it comes down to it. They can’t do two things at once. And the time that they have to give to overseeing their children’s education is very specific.

“So, there’s been a lot of discussion about how to help those people, how to cover the work that they’re not often able to do. And, there have been people, especially people who don’t have children who have, I don’t want to use the word “resentful” because that’s too strong, but a kind of lack of empathy.”

How did she use “We Speak” to break through this?

“I find myself saying, ‘What kind of people do we want to be? We all care about children. Most of us have been parents or guardians or caregivers. How would we want to be treated in this particular situation and how can we be leaders? How can we be the firm that’s different?'”

Shaw discusses this and other issues in the March episode of Women Amplified, where she also shares a woman from history who she would most like to have lunch with during this Women’s History Month.

What Woman from History Would You Have Lunch With?

“I would pick Ida B. Wells for any number of reasons,” Shaw says. But the main reason?

“She had a life that spanned the Civil War to World War I. And, she was such an outlier. How do you, as a woman born during that time who is both a wife and a mother, become such a crusader—so much so that you’re willing to endanger your own life? I mean, where do you get the courage from?”

“I would love to hear what it was that made her just say, “No more, no more lynching, and I will do everything humanly possible towards that end.”

What woman from history would you most want to meet, and why? Send your answer to Newsletter@conferencesforwomen.org. We will share highlights in next month’s newsletter.

Nina Shaw is a founding partner in Los Angeles-based entertainment law firm, Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano. She spoke at the 2021 California Conference for Women.


More from the March 2021 Newsletter

Posted in Speaker Articles, Success & Leadership, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Tagged , |

4 Healthier Ways to Cope with Chronic Stress

Lisa Damour

For some of us, eating popcorn became a new, almost daily habit over the past year. Someone in the house always seemed to have eaten the last of the ice cream. And there was just no keeping cookies around.

Coping strategies? Yes. Healthy and effective coping strategies? Not so much.

Negative coping strategies, says psychologist and New York Times columnist Lisa Damour, are ones that help a little in the short-term but they don’t hold up over the long term. Here are four common examples, according to Damour:

Negative Coping Strategies

  1. Emotional retreat. This is what happens when we withdraw from people, cut them off, or avoid them.
  2. Substance misuse. “One of the things that is true about substances is that they are incredibly effective at helping us feel better,” she says. “But if it becomes a regular short-term solution, it doesn’t end up going very well down the line.”
  3. Junk habits. “These are things that we do that we know we’re not supposed to do, like take our phone to bed and scroll and scroll and scroll through it instead of sleeping, or only eating comfort foods, or not getting off the couch.”
  4. Crankiness. This is the age-old-letting-it-fly-at-someone-to-relieve-a-little-stress strategy.

So, what’s the better alternative? Positive coping strategies, says Damour, have the great advantage of working in both the short-term and the long-term. Here are some examples:

Positive Coping Strategies

  1. Seek social connection. “It doesn’t matter how many people you have in your life. What matters is whether you have what you need. To have the social support that sustains you, everybody needs three things. They need someone to tell their worries to. They need somebody to tell their secrets to. And they need someone or a group who helps them to feel connected and accepted.” If you are missing any of those, Damour suggests, make a special effort to find it.
  2. Think about ways to take a break. “Happy distractions are really important for getting through chronic stress conditions. We’ve got years of research that tells us this,” she says. “It is important to check out sometimes, to not think about the headlines, to not think about prevailing conditions, and just let ourselves restore a little bit.”
  3. Practice incredibly disciplined self-care. “This means getting good sleep and taking steps to make sure you can fall asleep at night, maybe by winding down before you go to bed. This means eating well, eating a terrific variety of foods, enjoying foods, enjoying treats. This also means being active. Moving in ways that feel really good and keep your blood flowing, keep you moving.”
  4. Take care of other people. “Taking care of other people actually does help us take care of ourselves,’ says Damour. ‘So, in addition to taking care of ourselves, we want to do what women always do and take good care of other people.”

The bottom line. Positive coping strategies won’t help you eliminate chronic stress. But they will help buffer the psychological impact of chronic stress. So, if the popcorn or chips aren’t doing the trick anymore, try Damour’s tips for a healthier, more effective impact.

Lisa Damour spoke at the 2020 Massachusetts Conference for Women. This article is based on her talk. Damour is the author of several books, includingUnder Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls.


More from the May 2021 Newsletter

Posted in Speaker Articles, Health & Wellness Tagged , |

Submissions Open for QVC & HSN’s The Big Find

light bulb graphic to promote The Big Find with QVC and HSN

The search is on for The Big Find! Submissions are officially open for QVC and HSN’s international search to discover the next big product across the following categories: apparel, jewelry, accessories, footwear, beauty, home décor, culinary (including kitchen and food), home innovations, and electronics.

The event will be virtual again this year, which opens this opportunity to brands from around the globe. Entrepreneurs, founders and creators are invited to submit their product and share their story (with a video) on QVC.com or HSN.com, from April 28th through June 8th, for their chance to be QVC and HSN’s next great success story.

Select candidates will be invited to pitch their products virtually in August via videoconference to a panel of QVC and HSN judges, including merchandising executives, program hosts, and brand founders from established QVC and HSN brands.

If an entrepreneur or vendor is identified as a ‘Big Ticket’ recipient, she or he will be invited to continue the product discovery process with QVC or HSN–which includes meetings with merchandising teams and a robust quality assurance process before the brand is chosen to launch on-air and online across all platforms.

As part of QVC and HSN’s commitment to cultivating and promoting diverse, inclusive environments, they are working to double the representation of underrepresented businesses chosen through The Big Find 2021.

Search “The Big Find” on QVC.com and HSN.com to learn more.


More from the May 2021 Newsletter

Posted in Speaker Articles, Innovation Tagged |

Readers Share: “What My Mom Taught Me”

Happy Mother's Day vector art with diverse women and flowers

In honor of Mother’s Day, readers shared stories this month about some of the most important lessons they learned from their mothers. Here are their responses, lightly edited for brevity. Thanks to all who wrote in!

  • “What makes your heart sing? Then do that!” – Emily Bass
  • “Live your life with dignity. My mother grew up in poverty in Mexico and came to America at a young age. No matter what resources we may have lacked growing up, we ALWAYS dressed nice and presentable. Even though she had minimal education, she was always sophisticated and proud and confident. – Elizabeth Herrera
  • “Women don’t have to put up with crap anymore.” – Julie Sarsynski
  • “Hold your head high, and those around you will assume you feel good about yourself…and they will take your lead.” We lost Mom during the pandemic last fall. Mom lived with her head held high, leading the march toward equality for all. She died knowing that on her birthday, January 20th, Kamala Harris would take her seat at the table as the first female Vice President. – Meghan Cary
  • “Treat others as you would want to be treated.” – Stephanie Mills Herod
  • “Live life to the fullest with joy and a smile.” My mom’s can-do attitude and that everything will pass with time still resonate in my head. I am super proud of what she has taught me and how much she has invested in me. – Lalitha Krishnamoorthy
  • “A woman is a cook in the kitchen, a lady in the parlor, a lover in the bedroom, and a leader in the world. And one should not get their rooms confused.” – Miriam Briscoe
  • “Be kind and have faith.” –Elizabeth
  • “Volunteer Service.” I remember watching her volunteering her service within the community as a young girl and realizing she had a voice that could impact change. This was a great lesson not only of words but actions. – Deborah Jones
  • “Be as independent as you can. The more independent you are, the more your happiness is in your hands.” – Lalli Flores Jimenez
  • “To love another, you must first love yourself!” She just passed in September. – Kristine Brugger
  • “Always leave the party when you’re having a good time” I have utilized this advice my whole life, and it has always done me well. It is really all about enjoying the journey and focusing less on the final outcome. – Alison MacCulloch

More from the May 2021 Newsletter

Posted in Speaker Articles, Life on Your Terms Tagged |