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A Missing Factor In Women’s Leadership: Leave The Mean Girl Behind

I recently launched an intimate dinner series called The Whisper Network covering taboo topics facing women’s advancement in the workforce. Many of these topics aren’t addressed because women don’t feel comfortable raising them or might be nervous about repercussions if they are openly talked about in larger forums. As women we tend to have a stronger reliance on one-on-one bonds and smaller, more intimate networks vs. men in order to discuss more controversial subjects such as how much money we might make or not make, how we were passed over for a promotion by a male peer or worse, “the mean girl.”

As we sat around the table, everyone had a story about a mean girl they dealt with in their careers. Certainly, in more male dominated industries, the mean girl, sometimes referred to as the “queen bee” is not just a theory, but a reality. Further, this isn’t just about the women at the top, but also encompasses female peers. With all the focus and momentum on raising each other up as women and building support networks, it should have surprised me that the mean girl continues to present as such a big issue but it didn’t. I hear quite often that while there are so many women walking the walk, there are still many that just talk the talk.

Jennifer DaSilva, President of Berlin Cameron and Founder of Girl Brands Do It Better, wrote an article earlier this year talking about women and the power of community and stated “Among all the women I talk to, the overall sentiment is that the energy of women helping other women is at an all-time high. We’re in a moment where women are less competitive and more willing to help each other succeed. We’re all starting to understand that lifting each other up doesn’t mean you put yourself down.” While I completely agree and as someone who launched a business focused on developing women, I think we need to add to that sentiment: that lifting each other up doesn’t mean you have to put yourself or others down.

Competition is healthy until it’s not. DaSilva also stated in the article that “while women are still supporting each other, [in a recent study] 55% of respondents still feel there’s work to be done. This can especially be said in the corporate world, where a lack of female representation can lead to competition and a lack of camaraderie.” How do we continue to advance and support each other with a little healthy competition in our networks, if we continue to face or be the mean girl at the table?

As a woman, there is heavy competition with men but there seems to be even more competition with some women, mainly because there are fewer of us. This competition is not just at the senior levels of organizations. We live in a culture that perpetuates women’s feelings of insecurity. It’s one the reasons we are banding together to support one another and creating real change. We are also human and filled with insecurities around career advancement, success, financial wealth and power. Company cultures often mirror grade-school school culture, dividing their employees into different groups: top talent, high performers, needs improvement, etc. This can further fuel unhealthy competition, meanness and exclusive behavior.

How we do leave the mean girl at the door but also work with her? It’s hard to escape the mean girl at the office, out with new clients, at women’s events and in other professional environments. “Mean girls exist in business networking events too,” shared Cindy Ashton, CEO of Minerva Enterprises. “They stand in their circle, staring at the other women, making comments on what they are wearing and criticizing what they do. It lowers our self-esteem and confidence. We need to catch ourselves when we get ‘catty’ and reframe – ‘what would it take for me to truly get to know this other woman and collaborate?’” Roll out the welcome mat instead of pulling it out from underneath their feet.

After much deliberation in our dinner, we unanimously decided to call out the mean girl and make them aware of their behavior. At a time when we are calling out certain men for their lack of support, why don’t we call out the women who don’t have our backs and perpetuate the culture we are fighting so hard against? I’m not advocating for confrontation, but I am talking about communication. If we don’t bring awareness to this challenge, those cracks in our networks get larger and success for all vs. just for one decreases.

Focusing on positive reinforcement and how we can work together is just as important as building community with like-minded women and male allies. Share in our successes and in our struggles. We need to team up to help move forward by sharing what we know, how we can support and empower each other, and how we build real community. As women we need to lend our voice and support at the table for other women, become their true advocates for new opportunities, be open and make connections as well as follow through. Walk the walk.

To circle back to DaSilva’s article, Kristy Wallace, CEO of Ellevate Network states “a community is a group of people who are active participants in your success.” Supportive communities celebrate each other and their wins, large and small. This definition of community leaves no room for the mean girl and it’s time to leave her behind. Leading by example is critical and we need to exemplify the qualities we wish to see in others. When we think of the next generation of female CEOs, politicians, activists, entrepreneurs and more, what do we want those women to see when they look up? We don’t want to embrace a future with negativity and bullying. Creating an even playing field that is collaborative and supportive is something I am striving for.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

I am the Founder and CEO of Luminary in NYC, the premier collaboration space for women who are passionate about professional development and expanding their networks. Luminary is the ultimate career advocate providing our membership community with unparalleled programming and access to industry leaders and pioneering entrepreneurs. A long-time advocate for empowering women and girls, I serve on the National Board for Girls Inc. I have over twenty years of leadership experience in financial services. Previously, I was the Executive Vice President and Global Head of Multinational Corporate Banking for HSBC managing roughly $2 billion in revenue and teams in 55 countries. Prior to that, I was a Managing Director and Head of Multinational Corporate Banking at J.P. Morgan in EMEA. I’m committed to leveraging my corporate experience to support and encourage women and push for gender parity in the workplace.

Source: A Missing Factor In Women’s Leadership: Leave The Mean Girl Behind

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9 Things Successful Women Never Do

Often I was the only female FBI agent on my squad. I learned how to be successful amidst a variety of situations and circumstances. Most importantly, I learned what not to do if I wanted to compete in a male dominated environment.

I learned that my success was inexorably linked to the choices I made regarding attitude and subsequent actions. More often than not, it was the choice I made to kick myself into high gear rather than relying on someone else to do the kicking.

While every woman has her own definition of success, here are 9 things that successful women never do:

1. Successful Women Never Ignore Their Fears

If you want to move up, and ahead, you need to confront your fears head-on. Never waste valuable energy trying to avoid them; instead, use mental toughness to manage your thoughts, emotions, and behavior in ways that will set you up for success in business and life.

Suppressing a negative feeling only gives it more power, fueling our fears and slowing us down. In fact, trying to control what we fear will increase the likelihood it will happen.

2. Successful Women Never Run From Conflict

As a female FBI agent, I got burned by conflict, criticism, and unfairness—just like everyone else. The difference is that I did not cower into accommodating others to avoid enduring those negative feelings again.

People who shy away from conflict assume that conflict always looks aggressive, overbearing, and disrespectful. This is not true because conflict can camouflage itself in many forms. We need to be alert for any behavior from others that is attempting to manipulate our emotions or thoughts. Once we recognize conflict for what it is, we make a choice on how we respond to it, rather than react out of fear or ignorance.

3. Successful Women Never Listen To Their Inner Critic

I needed to nip that inner critic in the bud and eliminate inner voices of doubt and anxiety. I did this by choosing to focus my attention on positive feedback and constructive criticism—limited as it might be at times.

Mental toughness is being able to control how your mind thinks, rather than letting your mind control you. The key is learning how to manage your emotions with self-talk and using the right (and positive) words when controlling your thoughts.

4. Successful Women Never Expect Perfect Circumstances

Forget about finding the perfect job or waiting for perfect conditions before making a leap. Learn to differentiate between the pain of growing and the pain of suffering.

It’s easy to say that conditions are poor, nothing is going your way, and that you’ve been dealt an unfair hand. These are all excuses as you move further down the road of surrender.

Use what is at your disposal to keep moving forward in life—take a tip from MacGyver and learn to make the best of your situation. Mental toughness is approaching your circumstances with the right perspective and not expecting a break.

5. Successful Women Never Look At Their Past As A Mistake

I made a lot of mistakes as a new agent. At times it was embarrassing, but I vowed to learn from each one of them.

Some mistakes from our past can be painful or bad, but instead of wallowing in misery, look at them as opportunities to learn something that you didn’t know before it happened. Walk beside friends and colleagues who have made mistakes—you can learn from them, too.

The past does not define us, it simply prepares us for our journey toward success and wisdom.

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6. Successful Women Never Miss Opportunities To Shine

I knew that many times the best way to be successful was to do what others were unwilling to do.

Identify those things that others hesitate to take on. It can be small and simple—it doesn’t matter. Whatever it is, do it well and you will instantly differentiate yourself from the pack.

Then keep going because you never know where it will lead; often, we don’t know what opportunity looks like until we’re closer to it.

7. Successful Women Never Fail To Keep Their Cool

No matter my situation, I knew I was in total control of my life.

One of my favorite quotes is from St. Ignatius of Loyola: “Pray as if God will take care of all; act as if all is up to you.”

Many people make excuses for themselves by saying luck determines whether they are successful or not. Mentally strong leaders are in control of their own luck because they see success or failure as something over which they are in control. Luck may have had some role in their present circumstances, but they don’t waste mental energy by worrying about what might happen.

Control your own luck by seizing opportunities to improve your life and situation. The result will either be a lucky break or the regret of a road not taken.

8. Successful Women Never Fail To Do Their Research

When I interviewed a suspect, I made sure I knew what I was talking about.

When you are meeting with potential investors, clients or customers, make sure you know what you are talking about—know where the landmines are before you open your mouth.

Do your homework; be polished, poised, and prepared.

9. Successful Women Never Say Quit

No matter how hard the investigation or how difficult the assignment, “quit” was the only four letter word I never heard in my 24 years in the FBI.

When you say “quit” or “can’t,” you are sacrificing ownership and control over your attitude and behavior. It shows you have created your own boundaries. When you say quit, you are sending a message about your fear of failure and a lack of grit in testing your limits.

LaRae Quy was an FBI undercover and counterintelligence agent for 24 years. LaRae is the author of “Secrets Of A Strong Mind” and “Mental Toughness for Women Leaders: 52 Tips To Recognize and Utilize Your Greatest Strengths.” See her site and follow her on Twitter TWTR +0% @LaRaeQuy.

I’m Nancy F. Clark the curator of Forbes WomensMedia, author of The Positive Journal, and CEO of PositivityDaily. After studying physics at Berkeley I started out in roc…

Source: 9 Things Successful Women Never Do

How Two Millennial Women Made Over $130,000 While Traveling the World Full-Time

 

Last year, I left my corporate life in New York City behind in a vow to give myself one year to design my dream job. Shortly thereafter, I took off on a 9-month-long social experiment, in which I would circumnavigate the globe by couch-surfing exclusively through my social network. Seventeen countries, four continents, and over a hundred encounters later, I have learned that I am not alone in my quest to earn a living while traveling the world: there are so many people out there right now who are making it work.

Source: How Two Millennial Women Made Over $130,000 While Traveling the World Full-Time

Could a Pill Help Detect Breast Cancer – Emily Matchar

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Women eventually face the yearly ritual of the mammogram, usually suggested from age 50 onwards. It’s not painful, though notoriously uncomfortable, as two plates flatten the breasts, pancake-like, to get the best possible picture. The radiologist then looks at x-ray images for opaque spots that can indicate tumors.

Mammography has been used since the late 1960s and is considered the gold standard for breast cancer detection. But it’s far from perfect. The method misses about 1 in 5 cancers, and about half of women screened annually for 10 years will have a false positive result, often resulting in anxiety and unnecessary biopsies. Mammograms are also unable to distinguish slow-growing cancers from aggressive ones, which is necessary when choosing a course of treatment.

But researchers at the University of Michigan are working on a new method of breast cancer detection they hope could complement—perhaps one day even replace—the mammogram. It’s a pill—patients swallow it and it makes tumors light up when exposed to infrared light. The pill could not only detect tumors, it could also potentially distinguish how aggressive they are.

“From decades of research into cancer, we know it’s really a molecular disease,” says Greg Thurber, a professor of chemical and biomedical engineering who led the research, recently published in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics. “But the screening technology just looks at anatomy.”

Thurber’s team developed a pill filled with dye that “tags” a molecule common in tumors and the surrounding tissue. Once the pill has been ingested, researchers can use infrared light to penetrate the breast (the exact technology is under development). This both reveals the presence of tumors and gives information on the types of molecules present in these tumors, which can help doctors determine the nature of the cancer.

Taking the dye in pill form is potentially safer than having it injected intravenously, which can occasionally cause allergic reactions. But designing the pill was a challenge. The kind of molecule that can be easily absorbed in pill-form by the digestive tract needs to be small and “greasy,” Thurber says, while molecules that make good imaging agents are larger and bind to water.

To find the right agent, the team used a combination of lab testing and computer modeling. They eventually got lucky when they found that the pharmaceutical company Merck had a cancer drug they’d tested for safety but had proven ineffective in clinical trials. The drug turned out to be perfect for the team’s purposes, as it was capable of passing freely through the bloodstream and binding to tumor molecules. They added a molecule that lights up under infrared light, and tested the resulting combo in mice with breast tumors. Indeed, it made the tumors glow.

Thurber and his team are now focused on developing additional agents to add to the current pill that could tag different types of tumors or different aspects of tumors. This could give doctors additional information about the cancers detected.

“Every person’s tumor is different,” Thurber says. “Even within the same tumor there can be different types of cancer.”

The researchers will then need to do toxicity studies and from there move to larger animal studies. Thurber hopes they can reach the human trial phase in about five years. They’re also hoping to partner with companies to develop the infrared screening tools necessary for human use.

While the pill could theoretically tag any type of cancer, infrared light can only penetrate a short distance into the body. This is fine for breast cancer detection, as breasts can be “squished” thin for imaging, but wouldn’t work for detecting cancer in deeper organs.

image: https://public-media.smithsonianmag.com/filer/12/29/12293189-78b2-44f5-bade-4716d5e78e2a/diagnostic-pill-top-image.jpg

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After it’s ingested, the pill would deliver fluorescent targeting molecules (dye is shown in red) to any tumors. (Thurber Lab)

The team does hope the approach could work for detecting other diseases besides cancer. Rheumatoid arthritis is one potential target, Thurber says, as it is can be effectively treated in its early stages, but is hard to distinguish from other types of arthritis until it progresses.

Reuven Gordon, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Victoria in Canada who studies the use of light in cancer detection, thinks the research is promising but cautions that it’s early days. Even if a new method of detection is useful, researchers will have to prove that it’s better than the gold standard, and work to make clinicians and patients comfortable with new technology.

“It’s not obvious to me that this is going to be a home run, but it does look promising,” he says. “They have demonstrated something nice from a scientific point of view.”
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