The past few days have been a whirlwind. Last weekend I received an email from my contacts at BlogHer and She Knows Media asking me to complete a survey about equal pay and tax days. The email went on to ask if I was available for a town hall meeting with the Chief Community Officer of She Knows on Wednesday to talk about these topics.
I completed the survey and gave my honest feedback on what I experience personally as a self-employed woman and what I hear frequently from my personal training clients and readers about making it as a woman in the professional world.
On Sunday evening I was shocked to receive an email inviting me to a town hall meeting in Charlotte with Lisa Stone AND President Obama. She Knows is facilitating a discussion on wage gap and workforce issues impacting American Women and their families. I immediately replied…YES.
On Monday I was asked permission to share my survey responses with the media. I woke up this morning with a request for an interview with the Washington Post. Today I’ve spoken to a reporter traveling from the Washington Post and done interviews with two local TV stations. It’s been completely overwhelming and the best day of my professional life all at the same time. It’s all surreal.
Tomorrow I will have the incredible honor of spending an hour with the president as a voice for all of the INCREDIBLE and STRONG women that I have the honor of reaching every day through this blog, teaching yoga and personal training.
Coincidentally, this week I celebrate five years of blogging on this space. Five years ago I never imagined that blogging would lead to connecting with so many women all over the country and in my community and that it would create an opportunity for me to have a forum with the leader of our country. I am so humbled. And so grateful.
I have stated time and time again that my passion is empowering women around their strength, their passions and their ability to create amazing things in their lives. I want to see ALL of us thriving and doing amazing things.
This opportunity isn’t about me…it’s about all of you. Through speaking with my students and clients, I come away with two key messages I am hearing loud and clear.
1) More training and education on negotiating skills.
As women, we often shy away from asking for what we want and deserve when it comes negotiating the terms of employment as well as asking for bonuses, pay increases, promotions and performance evaluations. And it’s common to think that when you do you will be seen as overly assertive while male counterparts do it with no issues. More training on how to effectively negotiate would be beneficial for women at both the still in school level and the professional level when onboarding with HR.
2) More transparency.
It’s a taboo topic to talk about wages. I have friends and clients that work for big corporations, hospitals, private schools, etc. here in town where it is completely off limits to talk about comp and some are told that they will be terminated if they do. They know there is often a gap in pay between themselves and their male counterparts…and there’s also often a gap in treatment and responsibility…i.e. the guys go out golfing on Friday afternoon while the women “hold down the fort” in the office. In the same vein, they are also expected to do administrative tasks that male colleagues would not be asked to do.
I’m excited and nervous about tomorrow. It’s truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. I would love to hear your feedback as I consider what questions I want to ask the president should I have the opportunity. I will share a full report after the meeting.