Knowledge is Empowerment

The Aha! moment, that instant of switching on the light, when someone “gets it”, finally sees it, understands and knows it. This is what motivated me to become a teacher. I was in high school, only 15, we were studying DNA with Mr. Ross. It was hard to understand the chain and how it worked, I got it, but very few did, so I asked the teacher if I could try something. I went up to the board and started drawing it, piece by piece, explaining as I went. That did it, most students saw it, the visualization just made it click. I loved being able to do that, leading them to that moment. The thrill I got when I saw their eyes light up, that spark of clarity, I remember that so clearly. It’s one of my happiest memories of high school.

When I lead, mentor, and support, I am always teaching. I am above all else, an educator and truly believe that knowledge is power. I love sharing that power. I am the one who will show you a shortcut while you’re using a software. I’ll happily tell you the word “loo” comes from the French “chasser l’eau”. And I will quote stats to you given any opportunity such as “Worldwide, 4.3% of women get to their late forties remaining single. A first in history.” 

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not about seeming smart or being a know-it-all. It is my way of helping. I love learning! I read a book a week, I spend hours researching topics online (Wikipedia is SO much easier than encyclopedias!) If something sparks my curiosity and I can’t research it, I keep a list of things to check up on, and I do, all the time. I have an insane amount of data in my brain and I am blessed with a great memory, so I use it for good – I teach. But I am also an explorer. I have traveled the world and never go back to the same places. I don’t backtrack and even avoid taking the same roads. I like discovering new sights, ideas, people and cultures. Life for me is about learning as much as I can about everything so I can share that knowledge, help empower as many people as I can and make the world a better place.

The people I want to empower the most are women. I feel that women need it more. Men have been on top of the world for two thousand years. I feel that it’s time to shift that and get more women on top, in leadership and executive positions. I usually root for the underdog and women have less opportunity, are paid less, and live harder lives than men. And there is no good reason for it. Women are graduating in bigger numbers than men, are now the majority of the workforce and yet hold less than 30% of senior management roles. When they do make management, it’s in the support departments (Accounting, Training, HR) not the revenue-generating which lead to executive paths. Across all Fortune 500 companies, only 5% of CEOs are women. Women-led companies are less funded than startups led by men.Women still make less than 80% of what men make in same roles. This is not OK. We need to change this.

Women are graduating in bigger numbers than men, are now the majority of the workforce and yet hold less than 30% of senior management roles.

I have been supporting women for a decade now and it is working. Many have told me that I pushed them to strive for bigger roles, made them reconsider choices, opened doors and possibilities for them. I love doing that and it is my mission to do more of it. There is absolutely no reason why we can’t be half the presidents in the world, lead half the companies, make and own half the wealth, have half the power. We are half the population. It is time. Let’s take those steps and get those jobs that lead us to the top. We have been second for far too long. It is time for a different type of strength, a more inclusive way of thinking, more diversity and collaboration. We are ready to leap into our own and steer towards the big, open waters where the possibilities are endless. Take the risk, believe you can do anything you set your mind to, be brave and great. Discover it within yourself. We are the future. It is time.

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”  Ayn Rand

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