Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Best of Leadership Tuesdays 2015!

To mark the end of this year, we are posting our most popular ‪#‎LeadershipTuesdays‬ features today on Twitter:

Check them out here: @womenatliberty or http://ow.ly/WqGwa

Thanks for your support and Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Cleveland Police Officers Not Indicted For Tamir Rice's Death

Tamir Rice
June 25, 2002 - November 23, 2014

#‎TamirRice‬: My heart grieves for this family who not only has lost a son and brother, but also probably feels despair tonight at the grand jury‬'s decision. We pray that the people who are around them will comfort them and that God will give them peace.

This was a little boy who tragically lost his life. Tamir was not a hoodlum. Not a drug dealer. But he was a child who was playing with a toy gun. Whether or not he should have been playing with a toy gun is not even a topic that should be explored. The bottom line is you can not police children the same way you police adults.

Tamir should not have lost his life.

For more information on this story, read: 

"Tamir Rice and the Value of Life" by Charles Blow, New York Times, January 11, 2015

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

#LeadershipTuesdays: Motivating People For Optimal Results...Cindy Holland

"How do they need to hear the input to get the best results out of them? In management, it’s about understanding how the person thinks and even figuring out the right choice of words that will help unlock their creativity and desire to do something."

--Cindy Holland, Vice President-Original Content, Netflix

Every other Tuesday, WOMEN AT LIBERTY provides a platform for a variety of voices and resources to develop, encourage and strengthen women leaders. Today's Leadership Tuesdays feature is Cindy Holland. She is the Vice President for Original Content at Netflix, the company who provides on-demand streaming of television shows and movies via the internet and subscription-based rentals to more than 65 million subscribers in the U.S. and over 40 countries in North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Europe. Netflix has been an innovator in how people access entertainment and they have soared in popularity and revenue as traditional competitors in the space, like Blockbuster, has fallen by the wayside.

With shows like House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black, Netflix has made a name for itself in the original programming space. Ms. Holland, responsible for “greenlighting” original content, has been with the company for 13 years and assumed her current role in 2012. In a November 2015 article entitled "Learning To Lead On A Pair of Skis", she talked with Adam Bryant of the New York Times’ Corner Office column about her approach to leadership at a disruptive technology and entertainment company like Netflix.

The fun part of her job is saying “yes” to projects starring lesser known talent that may have been rejected by other networks. But at the same time she also has the unenviable task of saying “no” to projects that are attached to well-known names and talent that she feels is not right for her company. One of the things that Cindy talks about is how it can be challenging to give feedback in these circumstances and how a leader must think and what they have to know about people, the projects being presented, and the overall goals/objectives of the organization to get the best results for the team.

Click on the video below to see the Corner Office interview. To read a more in-depth article written by Adam Bryant, click here. For more information on Leadership Tuesdays or WOMEN AT LIBERTY, click here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

#LeadershipTuesdays: Women And The Media--Miss Representation?

Every other Tuesday, WOMEN AT LIBERTY provides a platform for a variety of voices and resources to develop, encourage, and strengthen women leaders. Gloria Steinem said in a New York Times article that, "it's hard to think of anything except air, food and water that is more important than the media". Given the importance of the media, what do you believe that the images of women we see on television and in film are telling us about the value and worth of women in our society?

Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence of the 14th District of Michigan recently hosted a forum at the Congressional Black Caucus' 45th Annual Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. to discuss this topic. Entitled "Miss Representation: How Women Are Portrayed In The Media" (based on a documentary by Jennifer Siebel Newsom), panelists from the national and local media as well as women from national advocacy groups and public relations professionals led a discussion that helped the audience understand their power to change how women are currently being portrayed in the media.

Today's Leadership Tuesdays features a video commentary and interviews from the seminar as well as an excerpt from actress
Viola Davis' acceptance speech at the 67th Emmy Awards where she made history by winning Best Actress In A Lead Role In A Drama Series.

Check out the video and leave a comment.
For more information about Leadership Tuesdays, go to WOMEN AT LIBERTY. To view the trailer from the documentary, click Miss Representation.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Formal Investiture Ceremony of U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, June 17, 2015

On Wednesday June 17, 2015 at the historic Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C., U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch was formally sworn* into office by Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor using a bible once owned by slave abolitionist, Frederick Douglass. She is the 83rd individual and the first African American woman to take the oath of office as the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. At the ceremony, Mrs. Lynch was flanked by President Barack Obama, her husband Stephen Hargrove, and her parents, Reverend Lorenzo and Mrs. Lorine Lynch.   
Also on June 17, 2015, Attorney General Lynch became the first Attorney General to join Twitter. You may follow her at @LorettaLynch.

Video courtesy of C-SPAN.org

As President Barack Obama looks on, Attorney General
Loretta Lynch takes the Oath of Office administered by
Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor flanked by her husband,
Stephen Hargrove and her parents, Reverend Lorenzo and
Mrs. Lorine Lynch

Attorney General Lynch share a smile and light moment
with her mother, Mrs. Lorine Lynch.

*This was the second swearing in for Attorney General Lynch who was first administered the Oath of Office on April 27, 2015 by Vice President Joe Biden. According to the National Law Journal, "it is typical for attorneys general to also have a formal investiture ceremony at a larger venue so more spectators can attend."  Read more: http://www.nationallawjournal.com/legaltimes/id=1202729302127/Sotomayor-to-Swear-in-Lynch-as-Attorney-General#ixzz3dQusSrGw

Prayer...More Than Words


There are places where we are not able to go, so we send your Spirit. There are hearts that we can not touch, so we pray for the power and comfort of the Holy Spirit to minister to them. We also pray for those that will have the opportunity to minister and pray for those who are in need and broken-hearted. Give them wisdom. Help them to minister in a spirit of love, truth and restoration. 

In the name of Jesus, Amen. (by Nona O.)


Thursday, June 11, 2015

#‎WomenMakingHistory | ‬ Admiral Michelle J. Howard, 38th Vice Chief Of Naval Operations

I was on my way to catch the metro in downtown Washington, D.C. on Tuesday evening and came across a U.S. Navy Band Concert at the Naval Memorial. They were really good and I stopped in my tracks to hear them play and sing several songs. 

But guess what else happened? I met Admiral Michelle J. Howard, the 38th Vice Chief Of Naval Operations, a four-star Admiral. What an honor! Even as a civilian, I am very proud of her and her accomplishments. She is the highest ranking woman in the U.S. Navy and the first African American woman to become a four-star Admiral. 

We talked briefly as I told her how proud I was to meet her and that I had profiled her for the Women Making History Project. She was so gracious and took the time to ask me about my interests and background. That's the mark of a great leader. Genuinely interested in people. You can't fake that. ‪#‎LeadershipTuesdays‬

Nona O. for @womenatliberty/Women Making History

For a complete bio on Admiral Howard, see: http://www.navy.mil/navydata/bios/navybio.asp?bioID=394

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

#LeadershipTuesdays: Majority Rules Are Not Always Best...Leo Tolstoy

“Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.”

― Leo Tolstoy, A Confession

Every other Tuesday, WOMEN AT LIBERTY provides a platform for a variety of voices and resources to develop, encourage, and strengthen women leaders. Today's Leadership Tuesdays will focus on the subject of business ethics. Our news headlines are filled with stories of individuals who have made bad decisions because of lapses in judgement and gotten caught in criminal investigations that led to trials and jail time. Some of the people are prominent politicians, some are corporate executives, and some are everyday people like you and me. As the author of today's featured article intimated, learning business ethics or ethical practices is an ongoing process. It's not easy to always make the right decision. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

However, when making any type of decision that may involve potential ethical violations, it helps to have a strong ethical foundation. Angelia White, the author of the blog, "5 Basic Business Ethics Tips", gives us a very practical definition of business ethics and great examples of how she approaches situations in the workplace as an employer, business owner, and leader. At the end of the article she gives advice on some tools that will help strengthen you in your practice of business ethics and help you protect yourself from those who would violate business ethics at your expense.

Angelia White is Publisher, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Hope for Women Magazine. Her passionate dedication towards the Magazine has been evolving for almost a decade. She has a background in publishing and is owner and president of Virtuous Publications, Inc., which serves as the Magazine’s publishing company. Angelia has over 20 years experience in business administration and is a business graduate of Ball State University.

To view today's article click here. For more information on Leadership Tuesdays or WOMEN AT LIBERTY, click here. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Likeability Factor

"Too many people seek to establish trusting business relationships centering on likeability. I’m not suggesting that likeability isn’t good, only that it isn’t sufficient." --Scott Edinger

This SmartBlog on Leadership article by Scott Edinger, "Harnessing the power of your hidden leaders", really focuses on how executives can harness the power of these individuals in an organization. Hidden leaders are individuals who do not have a title or position of authority, but they are effective at getting things done because they know the right people or have great relationships within the organization. 

The aforementioned quote offers an important point to remember for those who are seeking to move up in an organization or business owners/entrepreneurs/sales people who are pursuing clients: Likeability is not enough to excel in an organization or get a client to make a business deal with you.

As I was typing this sentence, I stop mid-sentence to question whether this was really true.  Admittedly, this is not true for everyone in an organization, there are always some exceptions to the rule and some people do get promoted or get great assignments just because people like them. (Half-hearted reference to "The Wolf of Wall Street" movie) But for most of us, even with great technical skills and education, in order to excel in an organization or get people to buy from you, somebody in power has to like you. 

If you are the person looking to move up in leadership or attract new business opportunities, read the following article for advice on how you need to be perceived by managers/executives and clients. 

Nona O. (@womenatliberty)  

Harnessing The Power Of Your Hidden Leaders

By Scott Edinger

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Leadership Tuesdays: Millennial Leaders...We Got Next!

If we stand tall it is because we stand on the shoulders of many ancestors.

--Yoruba Proverb

Every other Tuesday, WOMEN AT LIBERTY provides a platform for a variety of voices and resources to develop, encourage, and strengthen women leaders. Today's Leadership Tuesdays' blog recognizes a few young African American leaders of this generation. In 2012, I was impressed with the activism of four young ladies who, in a matter of days, organized a march in Washington, D.C. to bring attention to the untimely death of seventeen year old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. Heather Rasberry, Megan Goffney, Maliaka Mealy along with Yolanda Carr, their friend from Florida, combined social media, the communications tools of millennials, with the proven tactics of non-violent resistance--marching and speeches--to spark activism in another generation of young people. One thing that should be applauded about their March 2012 rally is the support they received from local community leaders like Rev. Tony Lee who answered their call and used his platform to promote the work the young ladies were doing. For more information on what these young ladies accomplished, click here.
Maliaka Mealy, Heather Rasberry, and Megan Goffney

Another brilliant young woman leader who has risen to prominence in the wake of protests related to the shooting death of Mike Brown by police officer, Darren Wilson, in Ferguson, Missouri is Brittany Packnett. Ms Packnett is a native of St. Louis and the Executive Director of Teach For America in St. Louis, Missouri. A graduate of Washington University located in her home town, she has also spent time in Washington, D.C. earning a Master of Arts degree in Teaching at American University. She taught third graders in South East Washington, D.C. as a Teach For America Fellow while working on her Master's degree. This energetic young lady also worked on Capitol Hill for U.S. Representative Lacy Clay (D-Missouri) whose legislative district includes Ferguson which is a part of St. Louis County. Ms. Packnett moved back to St. Louis in 2012 to lead the local Teach For America organization. In November 2014, she accepted an appointment by Governor Jay Nixon to the Ferguson Commission that has been tasked with addressing the systemic racial and economic issues in Ferguson. Their report is due in September 2015. She was also appointed by President Barack Obama to the Task Force on 21st Century Policing. To read Ms. Packnett's biography and learn more about her organization, click here. You can follow her on Twitter at @MsPackyetti.
Brittany Packnett

For more information on Leadership Tuesdays or WOMEN AT LIBERTY, click here. 

Nona O.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

#LeadershipTuesdays Motivational Moment: My Resolve and Expectations…Ava Duvernay

In an interview with Fresh Air, Terry Gross asked Ava Duvernay, ‘Where do you go next? You’re going to have a lot more clout now as a film director.'

"I don’t know if I’m going to have more clout. There’s really no precedent for someone like me gaining clout in the space that I’m in…a black woman directing films in Hollywood. You know, no precedent for there being a black woman director who's gained any clout. Black women directors that make amazing beautiful things? Yes. I can name 50. Black women directors that have attained that kind of clout to be able to answer that question from a place of the privilege of having lots of options: I’m not so sure. We’ll see. It’ll be nice. But regardless, I’m going to keep on telling my stories. I’d be absolutely happy to go back and make a smaller picture. I never want to be….my choices to be dictated by budget. That’s one of the reasons why I take so much pride in being able to make films for two dollars and a paper clip. Because I can always get my hand on two dollars and a paper clip. I never have to ask for permission for that. And so I don’t know what the next step is gonna be, but I know that I’ll be doing what I was doing for the six years before this moment: constantly making something. You can call me at any time and ask me what I’m doing? I’ll tell you I’m making this right now. It’s about momentum for me. It’s about that artistic energy and constantly having my hands on a project. So, I don’t know what it’ll be but it’ll be something."* 

--Ava Duvernay, Award-winning director of the movie, Selma.


Every other Tuesday, WOMEN AT LIBERTY provides a platform for a variety of voices and resources to develop, encourage, and strengthen women leaders. This month, in honor of Black History Month, we will highlight African American leaders who are making an impact or have made an impact in their respective fields. Today, Ava Duvernay, an award-winning director and film maker is featured. Last week, a courageous March 2014 TED talk on race by Mellody Hobson, President of Ariel Investments, was presented.

To view the video for last week's feature, click here. For more information on Leadership Tuesdays, click here. To hear the Fresh Air interview from which the above quote was taken, click the link below.

*The Sounds, Space and Spirit of Selma: A Director’s Take, AnInterview with Ava Duvernay by Terry Gross, Fresh Air, NPR, 1/08/2015

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Leadership Tuesdays: The Numbers Do Not Lie..Mellody Hobson

"Now race is one of those topics in America that makes people extraordinarily uncomfortable. You bring it up at a dinner party or in a workplace environment, it is literally the conversational equivalent of touching the third rail. There is shock followed by a long silence.

Now, I know that there are people out there who'll say that the election of Barack Obama meant that it was the end of racial discrimination for all eternity, right? But I work in the investment business and we have a saying, 'the numbers do not lie.' ...There is significant quantifiable racial disparities that can not be ignored in household wealth, household income, job opportunities, health care. I [talk] about this issue of racial discrimination because I believe that it threatens to rob another generation of all the opportunities that all of us want for all of our children no matter what their color or where they come from. And I think it threatens to hold back businesses.

So, I think it's time for us to be comfortable with the uncomfortable conversation about race. Black, White, Asia, Hispanic, male, female, all of us. If we truly believe in equal rights and equal opportunity in America, I think we have to have real conversations about this issue. We can not afford to be color blind. We have to be color brave."*

-Mellody Hobson, President, Ariel Investments; Chairman of the Board, DreamWorks Animation SKG
*This quote is an excerpt from a TED Talk Mellody Hoboson gave on March 20, 2014

Every other Tuesday, WOMEN AT LIBERTY provides a platform for a variety of voices and resources to develop, encourage, and strengthen women leaders. Today's Leadership Tuesdays' post is a courageous talk on race given by Mellody Hobson, President of Ariel Investments, at a TED Conference in March of 2014. Her eloquent discourse regarding an experience she had in 2006 of being mistaken for the "kitchen help" when she showed up with then Congressman Harold Ford (D-Tennessee) for a lunch meeting at the offices of a highly regarded New York publication will make you chuckle because it seems unbelievable. But, yet it is true. As one of only two African American Chairperson of a publicly traded companies (the other person is Ursula Burns of Xerox) she is less well known than a Beyonce or even Oprah Winfrey. However, Ms. Hobson is a highly accomplished, Princeton-educated young woman.

Her talk is both relatable and relevant. She makes a business case for businesses making diversity one of its core values and part of its competitive strategy. She also makes a human argument for why we can not wait for the next election or another year to confront the issues of race and racial discrimination in America.

To listen to today's feature, click here. For more information on Leadership Tuesdays, click here. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Patriots Deflategate: How You Play The Game Matters! by Nona O.

Tom Brady playing in the AFC Championship Game: Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots
January 18, 2015, Gillette Stadium, Foxboro,MA

I was fortunate enough to see Tom Brady, the quarterback for the New England Patriots, play in college at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1998. Going to a Michigan football game was very memorable for me. I left the game singing the few words of the Fight Song I could remember, “Hail….Hail….Hail!” Truthfully, I think I was more excited about ‘cursing on the sly’ than anything else. However, a few things I will never forget about that experience are: 

  1. How big the stadium was. It seated well over 100,000 people and I believe it was at that time, and still is, the largest football stadium in the U.S.
  2. Michigan fans are super FANatical. They’re really into their football.
  3. Tom Brady was a very talented college quarterback.

I was in Detroit for an MBA conference and met some guys who were going to the Michigan game that weekend. I suddenly remembered that a young man who attended my church in Washington, D.C. was a freshman running back on the Michigan team. Walter Cross was the 1997 offensive player of the year as a senior at Oxon Hill High School and with 5,227 rushing yards, he set a Maryland Public Schools’ record as a running back. I called back to Maryland got his number and made plans to tag along with my new friends to support Walter at the game. (I’m happy to say that Walter is married now and a very successful IT professional working on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.)

It was at that game that I got a chance to experience Big Ten Football. Having grown up watching the NFL on TV and rooting for the Oakland Raiders, I was not prepared for the atmosphere at the game, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Even as an undergraduate at Howard University, I did not attend many football games and when I did it was more so to check out the marching band. I just wasn’t a college football fan. At that time, I was a basketball fan.

Anyway, back to Tom Brady. He had an outstanding college career and he has lived up to the hype with the Patriots. With three Super Bowls wins under his belt and six trips to the “big show”, in my opinion, he is already in the category with some of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks of my era like Joe Montana, John Elway, Steve Young, and Peyton Manning. That’s being said, I am not only disappointed with the latest scandal, “Deflategate”, but I am also weary of the persistent reports of lapses in judgment that have followed the Patriots and Coach Bill Belichick over the last few years. The term “professional” is supposed to mean something. One of the definitions found in Webster’s Dictionary states that a professional is “characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession.” Professionals don’t get a spot in their respective sport’s Hall of Fame nor their names mentioned in the rarefied stratosphere as some of the game’s greatest players by cheating. Shadiness is not cute!

Now, I’m not accusing Tom Brady of cheating. However, I will say that as great of a player as he is, he does not have to cheat. Further, he has worked too hard and played too long at such a high level for there ever to be an asterisk besides his name.  

How you play the game matters, just like how you earn your living means something. Time and time again with the scandals that have plagued cycling and Baseball, we know that integrity matters. At the end of the day, we, the fans, want players to win fair and square.  We want them to be ethical in how they conduct themselves. I can’t say that I am rooting for the Patriots on Sunday. My team is not in the Super Bowl. But, I have to acknowledge the comportment of the Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback, Russell Wilson. He’s a class act! I will say this, should the Patriot’s win, it would be sad if we have to always footnote this game or their record with Deflategate.  Or even wonder in the back of our minds if the Patriots really earned all of their wins. From watching him play over the years, I think Tom Brady deserves a better legacy than that. 

What do you think?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

#LeadershipTuesdays: Essential Qualities for Young Female Leaders

Every other Tuesday, WOMEN AT LIBERTY provides a platform for a variety of voices and resources to develop, encourage, and strengthen women leaders. Today we feature an article, "One quality all young female leaders should have", Fortune magazine (Online, 1/22/15) written by Sandi Peterson, Group Worldwide Chairman at Johnson & Johnson.

Below is a quote from the article that rang true for me: 

"Leaders who make things happen have both confidence and courage. Many view these traits as innate, but they can be – and they need to be – cultivated. Confidence comes from doing your homework – you need to to know your business and your market. And courage is the constant willingness to go beyond your comfort zone. Doing so will help you gain deeper insights and analysis."

Did this quote resonate with you? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

To read the rest of the article, click here. For more information on Leadership Tuesdays, click here.

Nona O.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Washington DC's Newest Chief Executive Is A Woman: Mayor Muriel Bowser

On Friday, January 2, 2015, Muriel E. Bowser was sworn into the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, the Capital of the United States. She is the second woman to hold this position, following in the footsteps of former Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly (1991-1995), and the 2nd youngest person to be elected Mayor of Washington, D.C. 

Mayor Bowser is a native Washingtonian and a former City Council Member (2007-2014). She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Chatham College and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from American University. 

Check out the clip below to hear a very inspiring excerpt from Mayor Bowser as she talks about making history. To hear the speech in its entirety, go to: http://youtu.be/XsD9zoSUj50. For more information on Mayor Bowser go to: http://www.mayor.dc.gov.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy 2015!

Happy 2015 from Women Making History and @womenatliberty! May your year be filled with joy, enriching experiences and love. Thanks for your support!