Thanksgiving and Christmas are a memory now. The turkey, ham, pies, and candy have been consumed. Remnants of sweet potatoes and corn are re-emerging in a newly designed pot pie. Pants feel tighter and I’m still finding tiny pieces of Christmas wrap on the floor. Yes, Thanksgiving and Christmas were quite the success!

As part of Thanksgiving weekend, I went back to my hometown (Pittsburgh) for my high school class reunion. I’m not going to share which one it was so please be kind when you guess! I’ve not been back home for a couple of years, and not since my Dad passed, so driving up past my childhood home was pretty teary.

We also made time to visit my high school. Good (and awkward) teenage memories flooded my mind. Then we headed to the reunion. I was nervous, and surprised by my nervousness. I’m a relatively successful adult, raised four great humans, married 33 years. That’s all good, right? Somehow, however, when faced with a throwback to high school, I wasn’t so sure.  Would I measure up? Am I enough? It’s not that my high school experience was lousy; it actually was great fun. I was a cheerleader, but not in the “in” group. I was always kind of on the perimeter-outside looking in. I was not incredibly sure of myself because in those days too, I was a big girl by “right sized” standards. At 5’8” and 160 lbs., I was not petite, super cute, or super sweet. Not much has changed!

As I entered the reunion and looked around, comparatively, I was pretty proud of my own aging process! Difficult journeys that some had endured showed up visibly on the faces of some of the folks who attended. What I found stunning was my absolute interest and appreciation for what each of us had become, whatever that was. I had a new tenderness for the crow’s feet (which I NEVER have tenderness for) because of the years of laughter that they represented. Almost everyone was a pound or two larger (I’m being kind) than our time together in our teens. And it was okay. No one was positioning for top dawg. We were all just people who were still trying to find our way.

When I shared with folks the work we’re doing at the Global Women’s Leadership Forum®, the resounding response was, “I’m not one bit surprised…it’s what you were destined to do!”  Seriously? They knew that about me in high school? From my perspective, I was just trying to match my shirt and pants, but they saw something different in me. How did they know? What did they see in me that I was not able to see in myself?

I’m still asking myself if the work we’re doing is really making a difference, if we’re impacting, when real shifts will happen to change the disparity of equity in the workplace. What I know for sure is that we are doing the work! We hold the intention of making a difference.

As I reflect on 2015, I am so very grateful for the opportunities that we have been given. I am proud of the initiatives we’ve created like the MOB™ (MenOnBoard to Support/Sponsor Women Leaders). I feel like a proud Mama because of the successes that our Corporate Members have had driving real and meaningful change in their organizations. And mostly, I’m so very proud of the ways that we’ve helped women to find (and use) their voice to create success (however THEY define it) in their personal and professional lives.


Looking Forward

New things are coming in 2016. Here’s a sneak peek:

     January 25: We’re holding our first all ERG/BRG Breakthrough Thinking Summit on January 25 at US Cellular in Chicago.

     February: We intend to launch the first Men’s Summit—WE Together! Focus is on collaboratively creating inclusive environments.

     March 10: Forum in the Northwest Neighborhood (Seattle). Hosted by McDonald’s 

     April:  Forum in the Northeast Neighborhood (Philly area). Hosted by Siemens Healthcare. 

That’s just a glimpse. At the first of the year, I’ll tell you more.

A Hard Good-Bye

The MO-Rita team is losing a member. Rita has decided that she’s going to retire at the end of this year. (Wait…WHAT?) I know, I can’t believe it either. There’s a big hole in my heart and of course I wish this were different. But the facts are, we must live into our own mantra of helping all find roots…and wings. Safe flight as you soar on to whatever is next for you, Rita!

Our offices will be closed from December 22 – January 4. We want to give our employees the best gift we know …time with those they love.  Speaking of our employees…we may be small but we are incredibly mighty. This is a great time for me to say a special thank you to Nicole Nelson, our Director of Program Significance (we just call her Superstar!), Liam O’Brien, Director of Connectivity and king of making all things work in the office, and Diane Wolf, Executive Strategist, Queen of  Webinar Facilitation. These people have amazing skill and talent, and if you ever have the opportunity to meet them, do. Your life will be changed. I know. Mine has.

Here’s hoping that you get some time for reflection, contemplation, and appreciation for all the gifts that 2015 brought you. Know that we consider YOU a gift to US, and we are incredibly grateful for that gift!