As I turned on the news this morning and watched the wonderful array of women who were profiled for breaking barriers as part of the media’s International Women’s Day celebration, I’ll admit it, I got a little teary hearing the stories of amazing women and what they do to follow their passion and their dreams. Especially as the mother of two amazing young professional women myself, I am reminded daily of the barriers and challenges that still exist for women– particularly when we’re at the whim of someone else in leadership positions, and I continue to have eternal optimism that we’ll find a better balance before I hand over the reins myself! But I continue to be awed by the women in our industry who are “getting it done” every day in serving those consumers in rural America, leading the way on creating partnerships and finding new innovative ways to do things in our industry.
To that end – I wanted to reiterate my earlier sharing on the organizational changes here at NTCA recently. Our beloved Lori Fischetti is still with us in a key leadership position in member engagement but has moved to her new “retreat” in New England. Lori’s move has enabled us to continue to pull the hand out to other women on our team to move them up our leadership ladder. Jennifer Jushchuk, will head up our entire HR operation as well as lead our IT team into the fearless future as well as continued leadership in our executive search program (where we always need more female candidates for positions in this industry!) April Irwin will take the VP leadership role in working with NTCA members – their engagement and their experience – heading up all services, training and education, our expo and marketing. Laura Withers will take a new twist in her role as VP of Strategic Communications for us as we continue to tell the story of what you and your companies do for those you serve. Jill Canfield, already our VP in our legal arena will also take on supervision of the Foundation for Rural Service – a portion of our operation that is near and dear to everyone’s heart. I am so proud of our entire team and the leaders that we have been able to grow from within.
We continue to noodle how we can build a better umbrella of women’s programming and networking under NTCA. We recently did a webcast (that I believe is archived) with a coach on balance, had our AMAC host an event at RTIME, will be looking to do another women’s advocacy fly-in this summer (one of my favorite new events and last year included hosting a fundraiser for both a Republican and Democratic female Senator, time with FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel and a very impressive and hilarious corporate executive) and I will look for opportunities to host more gatherings as well but we continue to be open on what else fits under that umbrella.
When I am asked to recommend a book on women’s leadership, I will say one that has always struck me as relevant was Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office by Lois Frankel. While I still think I am a “nice” girl (most of the time), the book is organized in quick snippets on the unconscious mistakes women make that sabotage their careers that I found very insightful. Things like Playing the Game Safely, Overlooking the Importance of Mentors, Waiting to Be Given What You Want are just a few chapter examples.
But what I most appreciate about this day is that it gives us a moment where we can all reflect on what a better workplace, culture, economy and impact we have when there is diversity and inclusion around the table.