Monthly Archives: September, 2016

A New Era For Women

September 29th, 2016 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “A New Era For Women”

When I hear talking heads predict “The Year of The Woman”, they are projecting a new era for all women because of something one woman accomplished. Why is that? It’s too easy to pick one woman and say she’s going to help all other women — this overlooks what women do daily to help each other.
All across the globe, I talk with women about the zigzags of my career path. I want to share these experiences because I can say with some emphasis: you never know where the next prompt in life is going to come from — but be ready!

So how should women be ready? Here are some lessons from my life that describe why I took risks and how I found the courage.

First, women need to hear that they can direct their destiny. It seems to me that women need to tell each other to be more daring. Women need to dare to be the person they want to be. And in order to do that, we need to seek opportunity and to seize it when it comes our way. Saying “yes” to something new can produce changes that are both positive and powerful. Let’s encourage women to be daring.

Second, we need to recognise risk and boldly look it in the eye. You will always encounter risk when you step off a path you have been trudging along for some time. But taking that new direction, or extending your reach into a different area, is both exhilarating, occasionally terrifying…and fun! Let’s encourage women to recognise risk, to assess it, and to weigh the rewards. This is how you forge your path smartphone android

Third, we should value optimism. Optimism opens our eyes to what is possible, and to more opportunity, despite seeing risk along the way. I inherited my sense of optimism from my father. I learned from him that a sense of optimism would keep me moving forward even when an outcome looks bleak. I had to decide if I was going to accept a negative view of the goal, or if I was going to propel myself ahead. Those times in my life when things looked bleakest, in fact, turned out to provide the best opportunities and lessons for me.

Fourth, another aspect of optimism is flexibility. I view flexibility as the manifestation of the belief that there is another route. This flexibility is particularly necessary when a woman needs to find a new solution because a door has been shut in her face. In business or in life, there is always another door, another path, another solution, and flexibility and drive will pay off.

I have been a rancher, public servant, entrepreneur, and advocate. I believe anyone who wants to be successful in whatever arena she chooses has to be a mixture of seemingly opposing styles: a risk taker, a thoughtful analyst, a dreamer, a pragmatist and an optimist. I knew this about myself, but I thought it was a problem. Turned out, it was my strength.

Upon graduation from college, I would never have imagined I would end up in politics, being elected four times in the second largest state in the United States. But I was optimistic, daring, and flexible. Along my life’s journey I acquired skills and talents that helped me reach my varying goals.

If we want to enter a new era for women, we must encourage women. Let’s teach women to direct their destiny. Waiting for the next “Year of the Woman” is too passive. Encourage all women to blaze a trail, to be bold and to take risks. When they do, they’ll find lessons and rewards.


September 29th, 2016 Posted by featured, Uncategorized, writings 0 comments on “LET’S HEAR IT FOR INTERVIEWING WOMEN – AND FOLLOW THE NFL”

A few days ago I had the opportunity to talk at the Texas Tribune Festival event on the topic “Is Texas Good for Women?”  As you might expect, there were a couple of differing viewpoints on the panel.  I believe that Texas is good for women, but that’s for another day.

By complete chance, this past Tuesday’s edition of the Wall Street Journal had a big insert – “Woman in the Work Place,” with a whole slew of fascinating articles covering the issue of working women. One article in particular that I read discussed what is called the Rooney Rule, which is being utilized by the National Football League in trying to bring more diversity to the league. This approach says you have to at least interview one woman or underrepresented minority with the goal of increasing the diversity.  It seems to have had some success with the football folks.  So why not try with other areas? With the difficulty of seeing women in tech firms, it was suggested that the same approach could be used to add more women and underrepresented minorities to the tech ranks.

This prompted a bit of research. What actually happens if a woman is interviewed for a position? Only one woman?  As it turns out, according to the article, the likelihood is ‘statistically zero chance’ that the woman will be hired, according to an analysis by the Harvard Business Review.  However, and this is important, her chances for employment get better if she is not the only female being considered.

I have to say I find that kind of weird.  So, hypothetically, if there are 15 candidates for a job, 14 men and 1 woman, the woman loses every time.  But if there are 13 men and 2 women, her odds go up.  The article doesn’t say how much, just that ‘the odds change.’

It seems to me that we all should be asking ourselves:  if we don’t see women applying, does that even hit our consciousness?  Do we even notice that half of the population is not being interviewed?  And conversely,  if we as women aren’t applying for the jobs, do we need to do something different?  Do we feel like we would actually be heard and get the interview?

We know from reading various articles that men are much more likely to apply for a job in some cases than a woman.  We women are more hesitant -we want to be sure we are absolutely qualified while a lot of guys just go for the job anyway.  The guys keep throwing the job spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks, and we’re not as likely to take that chance. If the research is correct, this might be a spur for us to do more risk taking in applying for jobs.  All they can do is say no, and they just might say yes….if there are a few of us taking the chance.

So here is my question – do you think something like a Rooney Rule for employers is a good idea or not?  I am not meaning a law – but a common employment practice.  And do you think we women ought to be trying for jobs even if we aren’t one hundred percent sure we’re qualified?  I’d like to hear from you.

Now Women Can Have A Sporting Chance At The NFL

September 13th, 2016 Posted by featured, writings 0 comments on “Now Women Can Have A Sporting Chance At The NFL”

It was a nice surprise to see that the NFL has decided to be very proactive about getting women into the sports pipeline of the giant football industry. They picked pro tackle player Samantha “Sam” Rapoport to be the director of football development.

Why this makes sense is pretty easy-women like to watch football.  In fact a whopping 52.6 million of us turned our gaze to the tube to watch the most recent Super Bowl.  So it clearly makes dollars and cents to be sure for this giant sport to be more open and inclusive about film Me Before You 2016 now

On the employment side, there has been a marked difference between front office opportunities and those jobs directly involved in the sport itself. According to a story I read, about 30% of those employed in the front office are women, but not in the actual operations side of the sport. That is hopefully about to change.  Sam Rapoport has a great history of being plugged into various women’s groups who have played in professional women’s football.  This automatically gives her a system she can tap into as she fulfills her development task.

She pointed out that basically a general knowledge of the sport with the ability to communicate in a very accessible way is equally applicable to men or women.  When I ran for office to be the first woman Agriculture commissioner in Texas, I would say that was exactly the same standard.  You have to know your subject area, be able to articulate your vision and knowledge effectively, and then being male or female is irrelevant.  It’s the experience that matters.  Not the gender.

With her background and personal football experience, she is going to do a great job of finding great applicants for coaching and scouting. Let’s give a big hand to NFL and Sam Rapoport and wish them well in their search.