( women in media - la )

Our world is constantly changing. Technology is evolving. We live in a time where anything is possible and yet we’re just now attacking issues of equality in the workplace in a real way. In one critical issue in particular, is equal opportunities for success for women in the career field. When I was invited to speak at the Women in Media Los Angeles event last week, I took it as an opportunity to both learn and share my perspective as a black man. To date, it was one of my favorite speaking experiences. I’m proud to be a part of the discussion and that no one booed me off the stage, LOL. Attendees and Speakers were some of the most riveting voices and power players in media. So, it was my privilege to be the only male guest speaker. I was joined by Dana Droppo, who is an absolute force at Billboard. Prior to our panel, Dana and I agreed to cut the bullshit and have a raw discussion of the perspectives of how a man can be an ally to women in the work place and what are the real work-life experiences a woman goes through. Our panel discussion cut deep. After our discussion we were told we had amongst the best panels so, we were really happy about that. In all seriousness, there is an unequal playing field when it comes to this. I can write a whole damn book about it. Instead, I will share some thoughtful highlights with you that were at our discussion:

  • If you want to succeed in all things personal and professional, we can longer come from a place of scarcity. That means we must approach things with a mindset of abundance. You earned your position and you must proceed in that fashion at all costs.

  • Do NOT try to be an ally to POC or Women just because you want a reward. What does this mean? It means support the person next to you not because you want to prove something to someone (or even yourself). Do it because it’s the right thing to do. A good example of this is a question I received from a white woman who wanted to participate in a Black Lives Matter rally and her friend told her she could not. She was confused and hurt, not knowing how she should respond. In response, I told her what I tell anyone… you can participate and show your support in other ways. Sometimes, even stepping aside is showing how your genuine support. Dana put it best, on our panel. She appreciates the support of men but sometimes she needs to be surrounded by just women and be empowered by feminine energy. As a man, I need to respect that instead of feeling left out or wondering where my reward is.

  • It’s okay to cry out fo frustration. There is nothing to be ashamed of. We need to be respectful of everyones’ feelings.

  • A woman enters a room full of men. Tries to be a part of the “boys club”. But, she’s not sure how to navigate these unpredictable waters. Will she be hit on? Will she come across as too timid? Or a bitch? Understanding that these are just a few questions that roams around in a woman’s head… followed by what happens when she walks out of the room. I can only imagine what that feels like. We have to be respectful to each other.

  • Supporting Diversity and Inclusion and Equality doesn’t mean just hiring someone to feel a quota. It means hiring high quality candidates and also providing leadership roles for qualified women and POC. It also means in some cases where that bullshit of excuses of “we can’t find enough women or POC to fill this role but we are looking…” perhaps one might suggest investing in a program that develops underrepresented communities. I know this is beyond possible because I was just attending a Diversity and Inclusion event with some of the biggest companies in the world just a month ago. Let’s make it happen.

To sum it up, as a father of a little girl and a former business partner of a female entrepreneur, I understand there is so much more that we can do to create an environment of equality. It means everyday we need to be doing something to grow and learn. If you’re not motivated enough to do it for others, then do it for yourself. Empower yourself by showcasing your character and do what’s right. 

Catch more highlights of the event on WFD: https://www.worldforumdisrupt.com/women-in-media-la-2019/ and https://www.worldforumdisrupt.com/women-in-media-la-2019/gallery-2/

CJ JohnsonComment