Background from www.lohas.com/forum (if you’re familiar with LOHAS, skip ahead):
LOHAS, an acronym for “Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability,” describes a marketplace focused on health, the environment, social justice, personal development and sustainable living. One in four Americans is part of this group—nearly 41 million people and growing.
Since its inception in 1996, LOHAS has been the catalyst for the adoption of sustainable living and environment-friendly practices for the globally conscious business community. The LOHAS Forum is the leading annual gathering of thought and opinion leaders in the LOHAS marketplace. The LOHAS Forum features highly influential speakers and panelists who address and explore some of today’s most prominent issues and business challenges, in the world of health and wellness. Other events include musical performances, workshops and networking receptions.
What can we learn from women-led businesses?
This is the question put forth by Sylvia Tawse during a panel discussion on Wednesday afternoon at LOHAS in Boulder, Colorado
Sylvia is the founder Fresh Ideas Group (FIG), a Boulder-based business that focuses on natural foods marketing and public relations.
Sitting nearby on the panel are three leading women from three amazing companies:
Jodi Berg, CEO of Vitamix
Madeleine Buckingham, CEO of Mother Jones Magazine
Jane Iredale, CEO of Iredale Cosmetics
In discussing female-based leadership, Madeleine says, “It’s not about being male or female; it’s about sensibility.” She explains that being a mother has influenced her management style—she’s big on collaboration, team building and having a work-life balance.
Similarly, Jane tells us, “I lead based on how I think life should be.” She likes the work place to feel like an extended family and prefers the term, “marriageocracy” over “democracy.” This encourages problem-solving by investigating the deeper-lying issues, rather than just reacting. She also says that her work environment is dog-family and the staff shares a garden together, which they contribute to and take from as they like.
Jodi adds that a successful part of her leadership style has to do with knowing which employees are right for which job. She calls this, “Making sure the right minds are at the table.”
So even though all these women emphasize that their leadership isn’t exactly gender-based, it’s clear that there are some common threads that run through the way the run their businesses—collaboration being key.
Towards the end of the discussion, Sylvia asks the audience to throw out some words that they think of when considering female leadership. Here’s what they say:
Compassionate|Loving| Intuitive|Listening|Assertive|Non-apologetic|Nurturing|Appreciative|Being Present|Empowered|Witt|Honesty|Allowing|Integrative Co-creative|Courageous|Open|Communicative|Smart|Write Well
Currently women make .77 cents for every dollar that men earn.
In 2010, American women in leadership roles was 12 percent. In 2011, this went up to 16 percent.
(In Colorado, it’s only seven percent.)
Sylvia asks, “How do we change this?”
According to the panel, if you’re a woman wanting to climb the ladder, get out there and find a mentor. Women in leadership positions have a responsibility to mentor other women.
“The world can’t hold us back. We will get there,” says Jane.
And on a final note, Jodi shares an acronym to help all of us women in the business world:
It’s all about the D.A.N.C.E.
D — Determine what your destiny is.
A — Align what you do with what you believe in.
N — Network. You can’t do it alone. Make sure you have a safety net.
C — Care for yourself.
E — Embrace change. The roads will always be changing directions.
For more information on LOHAS, visit here.
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