What Happens When Women Seize the Moment
The time is NOW! We have made great strides in workplace equality in professions like law, accounting, and broadcast production, to name just a few.
It used to be that men’s sports were just “sports,” to distinguish them from the presumably less athletic “women’s sports.” Not anymore – not when West Palm Beach’s own Serena Williams is widely recognized as the greatest tennis player who ever lived. Not the greatest woman player -- The Greatest Player.
When my 9- and 11-year-olds ask me, “How high can I reach? What can I do with my life?” I tell them the answer lies in two things: assets and attitude.
What makes Americans powerful and able to chart their own courses is ownership of assets like land, mineral rights, broadcast licenses, large blocks of voting stock in corporations, and intangibles, such as wireless networks that can power entire industries.
And, attitude is what delivers attention, credibility, results, and ultimately, R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Cathy Hughes is a stellar example of how to use attitude to acquire and deploy assets. In 1976, as a mom in her 20s with her son Alfred Liggins still in grade school, Cathy took over Howard University’s FM radio station WHUR and took it from 29th in the market to # 1. But Cathy wasn’t content with managing assets for others. She set out to acquire assets for herself. In 1980, Cathy tried to purchase her first radio station, Washington, D.C.’s WOL (AM). As thirty banks, one after another, turned her down, Cathy never stopped believing in herself. She had the right attitude. The 31st bank she approached was owned by women, and gave her the loan. From that radio station, Cathy grew a multimedia giant: Radio One, the nation’s largest minority-owned broadcaster, TV One, News One, and Interactive One. Cathy dreamed big and used her infectious, persevering attitude – including her own on-air persona -- to keep acquiring and developing assets. Today when Cathy speaks, people listen.
I also draw inspiration from Kristal High. Kristal is a new age feminist and an entrepreneur. Five years ago, she saw a void. There was no publication of any kind in the United States covering politics and policy from the perspective of people of color. So, she started Politic365 and made it profitable. Today, Kristal edits and publishes this enormously influential publication. Go to www.politic365.com and you will see a lot of attitude. And consider Politic365’s greatest asset – its subscriber list that includes virtually every African American and Latino politician and public servant in the nation. Now that’s influence.
When women own sizeable pieces of America’s asset infrastructure, gender discrimination will become a museum piece. To get there, we need to adopt a positive, can-do attitude. In that way, we can seize the moment.
Is there a formula for this? Yes, there is. I commend to you this equation as the Women’s Conference of Florida’s First Law of People Dynamics: