Girl Power!
Peter Panda

Folks, there’s a new feminist movement in town and it’s called Lean In.

While not a fan of the name (I’d prefer “Sisters Are Doin’ it for Themselves” and have the Annie Lennox & Aretha Franklin song blaring), I am open to the idea of empowerment for all–not just women.

Admittedly, I haven’t read the book yet, but have been following the news of Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and her manifesto titled, “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.’’

The book was written to encourage women to “lean in” to your ambitions and full potential.

Sheryl writes about her struggles in corporate America. She says the more powerful women become, the less they’re liked. The more powerful men become, the more they are liked.

I find it hard to believe that in 2013 there is still a need to have a book about fairness in the workplace for women. However, according to Forbes magazine, there are only 21 female CEOs running America’s largest companies. This low number is actually a record!

I’ll read this book because I’m a sucker for a motivating tale, but luckily I haven’t experienced much gender-based inequalities in the workplace.

My previous career was in the corporate world. The history of ABC Company where I worked used to be known as the good ol’ boys club. I was fortunate enough to work there when great change was happening. Many of our departments’ leaders had women as VPs and a few even with a female President. There’s that song stuck in my head, again.

Working at Elasticity, I think the biggest struggle with being a woman in the workplace is getting the men to close the toilet lid! In all seriousness though, every one of us are treated equally and our voice is heard. Whether it be in a brainstorming session or shouting out answers to our daily 4:30p “guess that mustache” challenge–it’s a fun group of folks where we’re all fortunate enough to express ourselves in an open agency environment. We are encouraged to lead and grow.

In January, I attended the St. Louis Biz Journal Women’s Conference (recommended by my male employer even) where Patricia Sellers of Fortune Magazine was the keynote speaker. She said some things that are spot on and have really stuck with me. Patricia said that often women feel like they’re not worthy of a raise or promotion. We’ll let our frustration fester, yet won’t ask for a raise. Men typically are more confident when asking. Another presenter that day, Tiffany Dufu (President of the White House Project) spoke about the fact that men will “go for it” more than women. If we see a job position that has nine out of 10 of our qualifications, we generally won’t go for the job because we feel like we need to have all 10. A man may have seven of the 10 but think, “I’ve got more than half of what they’re looking for so I’m going for it.” Good for them!

Sisters, we need to *ahem* grow a pair and start taking risks! Pursue your goals, learn new skills, find a mentor and/or be a mentor.

we can do it

Let’s do this! In the words of the amazing and inspiring Spice Girls, “tell me what you want what you really really want”. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Peter Panda

Pioneering social media panda bear Tagawa “Peter” Panda was born on a Chinese game reserve in 1969. He emigrated to the United States in 1987 speaking no English, with only the fur on his back and $97 stored in a Jansport fanny-pack wrapped around his waist.

In 2003 while searching for food on the campus of Washington University, he discovered a computer lab where he would ultimately teach himself web development, graphic design, and immerse himself into the growing digital media evolution that was erupting at the time.

With his trademark surly demeanor developed during beatings on his boat ride from China to the U.S., as well as having a penchant for eating vast quantities of bamboo, and enjoying Scotch and cigars, Peter is broadly recognized for coining the phrase “social media” in 2004. He joined Elasticity in late 2009 as the agency’s director of social media strategy and wildlife relations. Friend him on Facebook here.

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