By: Bharathi Ramachandran,
co-Chair Professional Development and Networking Committee
This summer I have been listening to a Forbes podcast, The Limit Does Not Exist: A Podcast for Human Venn Diagrams. It is hosted by Christina Wallace and Cate Scott who interview a professional (usually women) working in unique careers integrating both their STEM backgrounds and creative interests. I have enjoyed some great talks from the director of photography from Pixar and from the CEO of Penrose Studios, a virtual reality startup. This podcast is part of a series that Forbes announced earlier this year, focusing on millennial women interested in the world of start-ups and entrepreneurship. It is a unique venture hosted mostly for and by millennial women featuring leadership and entrepreneurial advice and stories.
I was most excited about this venture because it is time we started to promote more media featuring women in power and leadership and less as wives of popular men. As progressive as we have become by nominating our first female presidential candidate, there is still a misrepresentation of women in many other fields including tech and business. There was a recent article published on Newsweek titled “The Founding Fathers of the Silicon Valley” featuring well known names, such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs and other men. Yet, the women who played prominent roles in making that valley are never heard of.
Today, media plays a huge role in shaping perceptions, often negating outdated views on what qualities make a successful leader. But there is an opportunity to play a more positive role by helping break stereotypes, by portraying more women in leadership and by emphasizing the more collaborative skills that are increasingly important in today’s leaders. The ability to coordinate, collaborate and negotiate between various investors to come to useful agreement requires empathy, and the ability to listen to and put oneself in another person’s position. These attributes are key to real strategic thinking and are most often associated with women. It is time that media and entertainment represent this collective reality of who is leading and what leadership really means.
As the world realizes this shift in global balance and more women are coming forward for powerful leadership roles, it is time we reframe, rebrand, and sell an accurate picture of leaders and leadership to our young boys and girls.
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