One afternoon in Atlanta a few years ago, I had the opportunity to listen to a keynote delivered by Bernice King, the youngest daughter of the late Martin Luther King, Jr. She championed that we are in the midst of the Century of the Woman. Not the Year of the Woman, or the Decade of the Woman. No, she declared, the Century of the Woman. She challenged the women in the audience to be the champions for change in the workplace and in our larger society, asserting that women who are in positions of leadership must position ourselves to push through that change. She reminded us that her mother Coretta Scott King used to preach that freedom is not ever really won—it is earned and won again with each new generation. (Read full blog post.)
In the soon-to-be published June 2011 issue of Thinking Bigger Business magazine, the feature story (“Women Leaders Connect KC to Washington,” p. 26) highlights Kansas City area women business owners who are also leading national organizations dedicated to empowering women and creating the kind of change that Bernice King challenged us with.
And my BIG|Talk column features Laura Liswood, the Secretary General of the Council of Women World Leaders and a senior analyst at Goldman Sachs who has been immersed in women’s leadership and workplace diversity issues for many years. The column provides Liswood’s observations on what it will take for the United States to elect a female president, but the column gives only a glimpse of what this woman has accomplished on behalf of women. Be sure to listen to my full radio interviews with Ms. Liswood in the Smart Companies Radio archives. The first interview is from a few years ago and she talks extensively about her Women World Leaders project, in which she interviewed the 15 women who were presidents and prime ministers at that time. The second interview focuses more on her recent book, The Loudest Duck: Moving Beyond Diversity.
The message I’ve taken from all of these women is that with leadership comes responsibility to work for change in an ever-changing world, to remain vigilant and never to become apathetic or complacent.