Who’s Going to Motivate Me?

Oh, they’re from all walks of life, these successful business types who are slated to guest speak before audiences on October 3, 2011, in Providence, Rhode Island. There’s only one BIG problem in my estimation…

Looking at the panel, can you guess what it is?

Years ago, a husband of mine (since deceased) ran the Institute for Labor Studies and Research in Rhode Island. It was a new brainchild of Labor, trying to address the need to groom and prepare labor leaders to represent their vast numbers of workers. Judging by pension wars today, it would appear these negotiators learned their craft well, for management now wants to revisit contractual agreements of long ago, regarding length of time to qualify for retirement, COLAS, etc.

In any case, my husband–the Director– ran a multi-day symposium made up of labor leaders from across the business spectrum.

He was proud of the package he’d put together and asked me to look over the program and give my opinion. That was his mistake.

I looked at the roster and put it down just as quickly. He asked “What’s the matter?” I replied: “There are no women.” He got huffy, saying he “couldn’t find any,” while I countered with: “In this day and age when half the workforce are women, you couldn’t find any?”

He got huffier still and walked away.

The day of the symposium arrived. When presenters finished, the audience was invited to ask questions, and almost immediately a hand shot up. A woman asked: “Why are there no women on this panel?”

He seethed internally, for she’d taken his moment of glory and dashed it brutally. You see, the quality of presenters wasn’t the issue; the fact that the Director of the Labor Studies Institute for the American Federation of Labor had clearly ignored one half of the workforce of America was.

He bristled at her impeachment of his efforts.

The year of his oversight? 1983.

Now, here we are almost 30 years later, and I‘m flummoxed. On route 95, Rhode Island’s primary thoroughfare, and other major routes, billboards invite all to a major business symposium to be held in Providence on October 3, 2011. Its theme? “Get Motivated.” Presenters will allegedly help business folks succeed in a new tougher economy.

And it promises serious star-power the likes former Secretary of State under President George Bush, Colin Powell, former Mayor of New York City and past Presidential hopeful, Rudy Giuliani, football great, Terry Bradshaw. Yes, eight men will address those in attendance… eight stellar individuals from all walks of life.

How many women are on that panel? One. She’s Mary Buffett, former daughter-in-law to legendary investor Warren Buffett, now an international speaker and investment consultant in her own right.

Such inclusion of a lone woman on a panel of all men used to be called “the token female.”I guess organizers of this major event couldn’t find other suitable women leaders, either…Pretty amazing in this day and age when women comprise more than half of the actual workforce.

I know that I, for one, will not attend, for I’d have to be the first whose hand shot up in the air following the presentation, when the audience is invited to participate.

And you know what my question would be………..

***Click on the following to see the program: “Get Motivated” and those of you who know how, please Tweet this post out, across the internet, letting business leaders know: Women in business want successful women as speakers .  To do otherwise is to disrespect our numbers and our clout. 

In the future, put curvy figures in 50% of those suits.

****I am pleased to report after the fact that the “Get Motivated” Presentation was a yawn, attracting far fewer than they hoped.  Then, too, program was dogged with less than exciting speakers. Hopefully,  organizers will get with the reality that women in business want thrilling women speakers.  Check it out in this account published today in the Providence Journal

About admin

A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog, kevinMD.com, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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