Below is the text of an email I wrote to a male friend who questioned my integrity in my work. Though I wrote it out of anger for being so misunderstood, it turned out to be a great exercise in recognizing that not everyone can see the reason behind my passions. So writing this was both cathartic and clarifying. I hope it can help others clarify to the world the passion behind their drive and ambitions.
I was deeply disturbed last night when you said you didn’t know what was important to me other than power.
Of course power is important, you need it to effect change. So yes, power is important I won’t deny that.
But power is not the goal – positive change is the goal.
I believe, like you, that government can be an agent for that positive change. We can re-align our policies and budgets to support families and communities. To strengthen health, education and environmental policies as well as quality of life issues that impact everyone. We can continually work towards full equality and inclusion for every member of society. We can balance the economic challenges and income divide that is threatening to swallow democracy whole if we have the right policies in place.
And business can contribute in a meaningful way so that this is not just a function of the public sector.
But there is no way for me, as one individual, to truly impact all of those areas in both the public and private sector that I feel are vital to this change I believe in. So, to achieve these goals I am fanatical (yes, I admit it, fanatical) about electing more women to office and encouraging more women to rise up through the ranks on the corporate and entrepreneurial ladders.
And the evidence to support my fanaticism is clear.
First there were the studies that conclusively demonstrated when a corporate board has 3 or more women serving, the corporation has sustained longer term profitability. (http://www.catalyst.org/media/companies-more-women-board-directors-experience-higher-financial-performance-according-latest) and (https://hbr.org/2015/02/women-directors-change-how-boards-work )
Next came the studies showing that more women in positions of management in a corporation also increased and stabilized profits in the long term for that company. (http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/166220/business-benefits-gender-diversity.aspx )
Two weeks ago another study was released showing the female CFO’s were less likely to commit fraud. (http://m.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/02/for-less-corporate-fraud-add-female-executives/385618/)
After the first studies of women in the corporate world were released I looked for studies showing a similar impact in politics.
I found several that show that women in governmental leadership introduce more legislation, with more co-sponsors, working across the aisle to pass more legislation in the same body: (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/csdi/research/files/CSDI-WP-04-2010.pdf )
And that the legislation that is championed and passed by women legislators is better for women, families and communities:
So, my goal, my deep passion and conviction, my fanaticism, is well founded and backed up by research.
So, WomenElect, Shattered Glass, the Women’s Business Center, WomenEvents Buffalo and TEDxBuffalo Women, Start Up Grind, FIKA – all of those activities are to fulfill my convictions and passions that I set out above – I am putting my time where my commitment to change lies. And my business work is to build businesses and encourage and assist others to do the same – businesses that will have a lasting positive impact on the community.
So yes, I want to have more power. And I will use that power to create the change I believe we need to see in WNY, in NY State, in the US and the world. I would hope that is clearly evident in the work I do everyday.