Dear Leadership Women:

This newsletter is going out at the beginning of November – with two months left to go in 2020. When I think of the cards I sent out this time last year, wishing everyone a wonderful and exciting year ahead – I am saddened (and embarrassed…) I should have said ‘have a memorable year’ – because we will certainly remember 2020. I know you have all had a mix of experiences – some of you have developed new interests, found new passions, maybe even discovered a new purpose in life, while many others have found the increased demands of working at home while coping with, or educating children at home, exhausting. We are conflicted I think, between feeling grateful that everyone in our bubble remains safe, and worrying about the potential impact of this pandemic on our families and on all women’s lives in the future.

Many of you are aware that several studies released lately have shown that many women are facing brutally difficult choices about balancing child care or elder care with working, or whether to stay home if they have not already been laid off. Women of course face a double jeopardy; since they are often the lower paid parent, many are feeling the pressure to be the one who gives up the job and stays home. But there are often lifelong consequences to this decision – a 2018 study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that an employment gap of one year leads to a 39% reduction in annual salary once reemployed, while four years or more away leads to a 65% reduction. This problem is world-wide, but is particularly severe in the US where the lack of maternity/paternity care and affordable child care just compounds the inequality. A recent Bureau of Labor report released in September showed women have been leaving the work force at a rate four times that of men since March – an alarming figure.

If there can be said to be any bright spots in all of this, is it is simply the growing realization that child and elder care is not a personal problem, it is a social one. While a resolution requires the commitment of many sectors, several companies are now taking up the challenge. Over the coming months, we will showcase those companies that come to our attention for taking the lead – actively considering how the pandemic is impacting their diversity practices and targets and what action can be taken, or sponsoring employee resource groups to improve the health and mental wellbeing of their employees, and many other initiatives. Do you work for, or know of a PROGRESSIVE COMPANY LIKE THIS which is working to lessen the negative impact of the pandemic on the women in their workforce? PLEASE NOMINATE THEM FOR KUDOS by emailing Laura Logan. We are looking forward to acknowledging and celebrating these standout companies.

In a similar vein, we look forward to acknowledging and celebrating YOU too! We have been touched by the number of emails we have received over the past months thanking us for our efforts keep everyone in touch. I want you to know how cheering those kinds of messages are for us – so a big thank you! (You know who you are.) It has helped us to realize how much you all want and need to stay connected to each other and to hear what everyone else is up to – So – CALLING ALL AUTHORS! CALLING ALL LW GRADUATES WHO ARE UP TO SOMETHING INTERESTING! We would love to promote you, feature you, and share your news with everyone….please take note of Michele Nealon’s new venture in this newsletter – Leadership Women are rocking right now!  Let us know what you are doing.

You probably heard, for example, about the amazing 141 attendees at our Virtual Pipeline program September 2nd from all over the US to hear from Erin Crosby, Teri Swain, Lisa Danford, Patricia Hayes, Dr. Alise Cortez and Dr. Lawrence Riso.  Topics ranged from The Change Cycle, HR Dilemmas and Forging your Financial Future to Networking, Discovering Your Purpose and Mental Health.  Several of our Pipeline attendees are staying in touch and some even enrolling in other LW programs.  In fact, make sure you check out the incredible article done by Murray State University, quoting some of their attendees and our very own, Lana Porter.

And coming up quickly is our LW VIRTUAL FORUM – sponsored by WALKER & DUNLOP and being broadcast 9:30– 3:30 on Thursday, Dec 3rd -with fabulous speakers such as Judy Woodruff, Laura Liswood, Byna Elliott, and Liv Torres. And you don’t want to miss our virtual LW Bus Tour segment as we travel across the US to hear from Change Makers – who just happen to be Leadership Women graduates! Come spend the day with us and catch up with our #LeadershipWomen. Register HERE and don’t miss this event!

We have just begun recruiting for our LA and LT 2021 classes, which for the first time ever will also include the prior year’s classes. While we will have the two cohorts attend each session together next year, each class will have differentiated experiences as individual groups. As always, it is very important to us we maintain class identities.  The benefit for both classes will be the additional women they will meet!  Recommend someone for either program by clicking Recommend a Woman.  Candidates interested in applying can do so at Leadership America and Leadership Texas.

Despite all the challenges here at LW, we are proud of the robust set of programs we have created this year and wish to thank every single speaker, panelist and sponsor that helped make them happen. YOU are what Leadership Women are all about.

Join us at the Forum or one of our 2021 Programs. Renew your membership. Donate to help us continue to expand this work. Let us know what you are up to. Nominate an outstanding company for us all to celebrate. Most of all – stay connected to us and to each other.

Stay healthy. Stay strong!