“We” will make the change!

On October 17, 2017, Patientco was lucky to have Gail Evans, is the best selling author of Play Like A Man Win Like A Woman, speak to the Patientco Women’s Forum.  Patientco Women’s Forum was started in 2017 by our women to create a strong voice for women and to improve interactions between Patientco women and men internally and outside of Patientco.

The group of attendees for Gail Evan’s included females and males and was not limited to Patientco employees.

Gail Evans’ career is vast, beginning in government and culminating as the Executive Vice President of CNN. Evans began working with CNN at its inception in 1980 and was promoted to Executive Vice President for CNN in 1996. In 2000, Evans was named to Executive Vice President of Domestic Networks for the CNN Newsgroup. She was responsible for program and talent development of all domestic networks overseeing national and international talk shows and the Network Guest Bookings Department, which schedules about 25,000 guests each year. She is now a Visiting Professor at the School of Management at Georgia Tech.  

Gail spoke to our group about the subtle differences that start early in life that differentiate and create different “rules” that are applied in the workplace between men and women.  Gail spent almost 2 hours reflecting on the subtleties that separate men and women in the workplace.  

Gail kicked off her talk by diving into the topic of  words that are commonly used for men and women in the workplace.  These words such as “strategic” (men) versus “hard working” (women) have longer impacts on the way we frame the work each person contributes to the workplace.  Unknowingly, association with these adjectives can help or hinder depending on a person’s personal objectives.  

Gail asserted that this information is not intended to be interpreted as ‘men are bad’ speak.   Her research and talk goal is to raise awareness about a number of things that condition different behaviors from males and females. These behaviors then show up in the workplace.   For example, Gail referenced when boys are growing up and doing dangerous activities, people will comment on how brave the boy is for attempting them.  When girls do similar activities, individuals’ tendency is to tell the girl to be careful.   Different adult reactions can reinforce behaviors at a very early age, such as encouraging boys to take more risks.

The most impactful part of her talk for me personally was when the question was asked “What would make the biggest changes for women in the workplace in the future?”

Gail’s answer was direct and straightforward:  Women must work together.  

These challenges must be tackled  “ as women”  not “  as a woman.”  Gail could not articulate why it has been a challenge for women to band together to tackle the differences. Progress is being made; however, the speed of change is lagging due to lack of unity among women.   She was very direct that the steps to close the gap between men and women in the workplace will only make incremental improvements if women are not united.    

Gail’s talk was call to all females out there who spend time debating the gender gap in the workplace.  We must all find a way to work together,a conscious choice that each of us must make to close gender gaps faster.

Which one, as women, do we want to be labeled: Hardworking or strategic?

Working together, we can be both and we can ensure the workplace sees both in a woman.