Gender Matters in Philanthropy
I awoke one day in 2017 with a clear message – Gender Matters in Philanthropy!
Those words rose up with a fiery commitment from the depths of my soul in that space between sleep and awareness. Why now? Perhaps because of all the headlines of sexual harassment and #MeToo tweets. Perhaps because I’m now in my sixth decade and fully understand that I too have had gender wounds, gender shaping, hard-earned wisdom, failures and learnings as a woman leader in philanthropy.
It’s Time to Connect Our Collective Skills
We need women and men to come together to solve big issues. It is time to move beyond applying the same approach to distinct gender journeys. The time is now to share, communicate and connect our collective skills to address societal needs.
Here are my skills: I’ve been working with universities and nonprofits for over 35 years and have gained mastery in working with leaders to grow their leadership presence and raise more revenue, particularly with women. I am committed to accelerating the women’s philanthropy movement, so as to significantly grow funding for mission-driven work. In all my work, I assist people and teams to do the hard work of moving through change to achieve aspirational goals.
What are your stories, skills, thoughts? I am confident that you will take what I can offer and add your own mastery, curiosity and specific actions to improve our world.
Here’s Where It Starts
Gender Matters in Philanthropy – it starts with each of us looking inward. How have we, as women, unconsciously held ourselves back from leadership or big gifts? How have men been unconsciously overlooking women as they hire, promote or cultivate donors? Change starts with making the unconscious overt.
I started my leadership journey by facing my own unconscious behaviors. It took months of working with key people in my life to cut through my self-assessments, my inner narrative and my inability to lead out front as a woman. I had always been more comfortable being #2. I had lived my life blissfully “doing” and believed all my doing had impact. I didn’t take time to reflect when I was showing up with less than full presence nor did I seek out alternative behaviors to create significantly different and better results for myself and for the nonprofits I worked for. A light-bulb went off – my voice, presence, experience and opinion are needed consistently to make sustained change.
Time’s Up in the Philanthropic Sector!
Through my own reflections, I came to a personal sense of #TimesUp. I declared that #TimesUp on women not being “seen” in the philanthropic sector. I wrote a book, am speaking widely and letting people know that the time is now to embrace the unique strengths of women and distinct ways they lead and give.
As a senior consultant with Aspen Leadership Group, I focus on my two passions – accelerating women’s philanthropy and developing women leaders within nonprofits. These passions are linked. In both domains, success comes from looking within to identify strengths, as well as becoming aware of the stories, assessments and behaviors getting in the way of transformation. Only then can we can commit to new actions and achieve new outcomes.
Join My Declaration
Together, let’s boldly declare that Gender Matters in Philanthropy. There is nothing right or wrong about how women give, lead, network or innovate. It is just different. Let’s share our experiences, questions, failures and concerns for the sake of strong female leadership as well as more funding from women for our missions. We have important challenges to solve in our society, and women are the missing ingredient to accelerate the change we seek.