"When my wife was pregnant with our first child and and we learned that it was going to be a girl, I burst into tears. My daughter would soon enter a world not just of unequal pay and unequal opportunity, but one where twenty percent of women are raped, and a quarter of girls are sexually abused. "
Dear Friends and Collaborators,
I hope this special issue of The IMPACT CEO Journal finds each of you well. As leaders and challengers of the status quo -- most of us are naturally drawn to certain reads and topics that feed our insatiable appetite for raw, brave expressions and call to actions for CHANGE. And many times we read something we feel so strongly about that we decide we must connect with the person behind that powerful message no matter what. Well, this is my experience last night with -- you guess-- the author and dad I quoted above -- Sam Polk.
For those of you who follow me and IMPACT on Twitter, I'm sure you saw the tweets behind "Bro Talk". I was so fired up as I was reading Sam's article from the Sunday issue of the NY Times that I soon found myself sending him a tweet praising him for the timely, powerful and brave article -- asking us to connect. I told him the realities he cited were the reasons why I created Conversations with Men™.
A few minutes later, I was excitedly sending him a long email -- he just sent me his direct email address! Not only have we connected instantly by a shared courage to challenge the status quo on gender inequity -- but Sam Polk is on board Conversations with Men™ and its importance! For one precious moment, as I struggle to fight the urge to collapse in a recliner -- across the bed of my wife in her hospital room where we are right now, I felt such a strong surge of HOPE like the blood in my veins racing to keep me alive! HOPE that indeed, more and more men out there are waking up and boldly becoming voices and champions for women's equal footing with men.
But we need more men, especially those in leadership and influential positions, to get on board. In echoing strongly Sam's calls to action in his article:
What we need is something simpler: individuals speaking up and challenging norms, especially when it's uncomfortable. So far, women have done the heavy lifting. They've written the articles, filed the lawsuits and raised awareness. Men rarely do or say anything.
If hedge funds founders, managing directors and desk heads instituted a zero-tolerance policy for this behavior in their ranks, it will help engender a culture of respect for women on Wall Street. And if men of status from a wider culture -- managers, coaches, politicians, celebrities -- insisted that women were spoken not just to, but about, with respect, that would help create a culture where it's not so scary to be the parent of a daughter.
Conversations with Men™ continues to lead the charge in the call to engage specifically male leaders and influencers to accelerate women's leadership and equity at the top. Since its launch in April 23, 2013 at the New York Times, IMPACT has produced 12 Conversations with Men™ forums, including launches in Tokyo and Puerto Rico, three times at the United Nations, Wall Street and Finance industry at the New York Times, as a featured panel at the iconic California Women's Conference attended by thousands -- and lit the Nasdaq Tower in Times Square, New York City, the world's busiest and most famous intersection visited by approximately 50 million people from around the world annually, or over 300,000 daily.
This year, we are inviting you to join us at the following signature events as we continue to boldly move forward with The Conversation:
We will be sharing more detailed information on the above events soon. You can also check our website regularly for updates and of course via social media.
To men in positions of influence and leadership who say you get it BUT still choose to be silent around rampant misogyny, objectification and degradation of women -- your silence condones the action. Real change happens when we speak up and make a conscious decision from to boldly stand for what is right -- no matter how uncomfortable it may feel at first.
I encourage you strongly to read Sam Polk's "Bro Talk" New York Times article here.
As always, thank you so much for your time and continued support. Team IMPACT and I wish you a meaningful week ahead. Be kind to one another.
Yours in the journey,