We live in a new day. A day where sending out a thousand resumes no longer cuts it. In order to get your foot in the door you have to use a different strategy. A strategy where it is no longer "what you know and who you know, but who actually knows you!" This is especially true when it comes to women in the workforce. In the past this strategy was extremely hard for women because we did not hold positions where we could pull another talented woman up with us. Positions that have the title of President, Vp, Director, and Owner. These titles mean that you are the one that makes the final decision and that final decision can change the landscape of an organization for the better!
The promising new shift has been growing more rapidly in recent years and I believe women are in a prime position to close many gaps. One gap in particular. The wage gap. Women are paid $.80 for every dollar a man makes and it is past time for that gap to close. In addition to that gap closing there also needs to be a closing in the leadership gap. More and more women need to be in leadership positions in every sector of the economy. I seen firsthand how at least one sector could be a test pilot for this revolution.
I went to a conference recently and it was meeting of women from all over the country. NACWAA brings together women from all levels in athletics and provides an opportunity for these women to develop in their profession and to interact with one another. I have NEVER been to a conference or in this case a "rally" where women were so supportive and encouraging of one another. Other conferences I have attended there were men and women who were standoffish to other attendees. If you were not in a position that interest them they would immediately start to look past you and some people didn't even attempt to say hello.
NACWAA was completely different and that difference was noticed from the time I arrived. At the first session I could hear people behind me sitting down beside one another and introducing themselves. It didn't stop there, but everyone who stepped up to a microphone encouraged the attendees to reach out to someone they didn't know and network. It did not matter a person's title, EACH AND EVERY woman was open to share advice and lend a helping hand. As someone who was attending this event for the first time I seen the potential that this type of environment could have on two issues facing women. The issues of wage and leadership gap.
One concern that I heard over and over again whether it was said directly to me or in a group setting at the conference was salary. How to negotiate a higher salary? How to move to a position that pays more? As a woman who spent ten years in corporate America I know these questions and how they can have an impact on a woman's financial life. When I speak on college campuses to student or at corporations I always talk about the gender pay gap and how women can close it. It is so important that women actively ask this question about pay and take steps to increase their pay. This atmosphere was a safe space for attendees to share what a salary should be in a particular position and to share stories about pay inequality. All of this to help those new to the sector avoid the potential pitfalls that could have them playing catch up for the rest of their career.
Women in any sector that are just entering the workforce have to know the salary range and then match their value to the number that they want. Those that are looking for a salary increase or a promotion have to come into the interview with facts of moving metrics in the past and how they can move metrics going forward. What they can't do is bring up personal issues such as they need the pay increase to pay off student loans or purchase a bigger home. Interviewers in any sector don't respond to personal reasons, only to what moves the needle in an organization and the needle that needs moving is profit and recognition growth.
Other than the wage gap there is a gap in leadership or women in top positions. What was great about the conference is that you were able to interact with ADs', Associate ADs', and more. If you were looking to move up the career ladder here were the decision makers that could make that a reality. Added bonus: they didn't mind talking to every person that came up to them! How refreshing! These women in top positions have the opportunity to tilt the scales in leadership. Now that they are in a higher position they can bring other qualified women into prominent roles. Then those women can recommend other women to the roles they just left.
The cycle continues until the numbers between men and women in leadership roles even out! These changes will only help athletic programs, because different ideas and viewpoints will be at the table. Ideas that will benefit all and not just a portion of the program and when everyone benefits immense growth follows!
I truly enjoyed my time at the NACWAA rally. It showed me what the future could look like if all women were intentional in pulling each other up. Pulling each other up into new roles, new opportunities, and new income brackets. I am excited to see the results for the women who attended this year!
More tips to close the wage gap http://www.wfmynews2.com/news/local/good-morning-show/debt-sucks-you-want-to-pay-me-what/96618389