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| 31 minutes read

CMO Series REPRESENTS - Empowered but Exhausted: A Sneak Preview of #EmpoweredWomenEvent 2024 with Susan Freeman


In our International Women’s Day episodes, we often heard, “Women can have it all, just not all at once.” This sentiment highlights women's ongoing struggle to balance workplace empowerment with significant responsibilities outside of work.

Today on CMO Series REPRESENTS, Alistair Bone welcomes Susan Freeman, the Stevie® Award-winning CEO and Founder of Conscious Inclusion Company, and CEO of Freeman Means Business, to discuss these challenges and give us a sneak peek of the upcoming #EmpoweredWomenEvent (#EWE24).

On the podcast, Susan and Ali explore:

  • What the #EmpoweredWomenEvent is all about and when it takes place
  • What inspired the #EmpoweredWomenEvent and what participants will gain from attending
  • Highlights from past events and how they've impacted the attendees and the broader community
  • How the initiatives like the book club and well retreats contribute to the overall mission of empowering women
  • Why "Empowered but Exhausted," seems to resonate deeply with many women in professional services today
  • The "Sandwich Generation" and how this phenomenon intersects with the theme of empowerment
  • The steps individuals and organizations can take to better support and empower women in positions of leadership, particularly in navigating the challenges of work-life balance
  • How listeners can participate in the event and what they will take away from the day

Ali: Welcome to CMO Series REPRESENTS a platform for discussion around diversity, equity and inclusion in professional services marketing. When speaking with women in the industry on our international Women's Day episodes, we heard the phrase “women can have it all, just not all at once” multiple times. It's clear that although women feel a greater sense of empowerment in the workplace, they still have significant responsibilities outside of work that are proving hard to balance today. I have the pleasure of welcoming Susan Freeman Stevie Award-winning CEO and founder of Conscious Inclusion Company and CEO of Means Business. We are going to discuss the topic of empowered but exhausted and hear exactly what to expect from the up and coming Empowered Women Event 2024 which is very, very exciting,  I must say. Susan, welcome.

Susan: Thank you. Thank you for having me.  So I do own and operate two companies. One is Freeman means business where we host this event. It's what I do for a giving and the other company is Conscious Inclusion company where I actually work for a living and then donate 100% of what I make there to this other event. So just to be clear, it can be kind of confusing. I want to clarify that at first.

Ali:  No, I appreciate it and sorry for any mistakes on my end at the very start there. But it's amazing the work that you do. And I've thoroughly enjoyed all of our conversations up to this point. And actually before this, you were saying how, you know, one of the things that you really enjoy doing around sharing people's stories is that whole idea of just how unique and beautiful each individual is and that everybody's had these different lived experiences. And I'm sure that that's something that's really gonna come through today. 

Susan: I love that you mention that, it's something I say not as part of a pitch or a bumper sticker. It's really from the heart, it comes from having lived across the globe. I have taken a gem from everywhere I've ever lived and I really enjoy hearing other people's lived experiences. I've learned to grow spiritually and emotionally and intellectually from these travels and gathering these gems along the way. 

Ali: Yeah, I mean, as we were talking before, I can't help but feel that everybody who has those opportunities and acts more like a sponge are ultimately much richer for it. However, we could talk about all of these different sorts of subjects for hours. And I know that I know that from the conversations we've had Susan, but we probably need to kick off and get into this. So if it's okay, could you please open up with telling us what the Empowered Women Event is all about and when it takes place?

Susan: Sure. So this came about as a result of when I was in my late twenties, I worked in this country's oldest bank. I was a vice president. I had a really great opportunity as a, you know, a more senior person at such a young age. I made a great salary. I was probably the number one person to really bring in business as a result of consultative selling, which was new to the market back then. And using a lot of Socratic method asking questions. And as such, I was really proud of the work that I was doing and the fact that I was there at, you know, a custodial bank that had 18 trillion with a ‘T’ dollars in custody. And I met with some of the most powerful people in the world and I was still successful, yet I was paid less, my bonus was far less. And even though I was doing better than the phds and CFAs on my team, I was the only female and I was asked to lower my voice to change my wardrobe to eliminate any color from my wardrobe and several other things, do something about the big hair and as, you know, I'm from Louisiana. We love our big hair. Right. I would kill to have that now. But, yeah, and so I was kind of put off by some of this. You know, they even asked me not to go by Susie, which is what I grew up in Louisiana as is Susie Freeman. But when I got to State Street, they asked me to go by Susan if I was going to be taken seriously in such a conservative industry as financial services. So that's sort of where my interest in curiosity about and experience with gender inequity began. And now State Street's great at focusing on gender equity today and in no great part due to me for sure, I'm just gonna say it right there. But it is what sparked my interest in creating gender equity in the workplace and a passion around women not having to mimic men in order to be successful. And that's really what we've been seeing since the 1990s, mimicking men in order to be successful in corporate America. And that has to stop my goal is to change the operating system. So with that, as I grew older and wiser and studied feminist studies and comms theory in my master's program. I realized, you know, it's time for me to do something like I've been gathering information all these years doing the research. You know, I know a lot, it's time to do a lot. So that was the impetus for starting this Empowered Women Event. It started in San Francisco. It was really well attended. It was our inaugural event and it was super powerful. Women had a tendency to want to talk about their companies or what they do for a living or how much they make or what their title is and I would stop them. That is not what we want to know. We don't want to read your bio. We can do that on the website. We wanna know who you are, what you went through to become the woman you are today where you need help moving forward and how you can relate to the audience in such a way that you're a leader by example. So to get on stage and be courageous enough to tell her personal story and then be able to link that to her professional success is the goal of this event. Last year's theme was belonging through storytelling which you understand the importance of belonging versus fitting in. This year's is ‘Storytelling is an exercise in leadership’. So that's what we're doing in June on June 6th of this year in San Diego. And you ask why it takes place on June 6th? Well, I'll tell you the honest truth is it's a blue ocean strategy. So I know a lot of your listeners have probably read the book or understand the theory. Blue ocean strategy is super powerful. I have lived my life that way. Not doing what others do, not always following, you know, groupthink or the herd mentality, but instead doing something differently. And that's my answer to all the folks that have events in March for Women's History Month or on International Women's Day. That's amazing. And I think they should keep up the great work. But for me, I was like, why compete in the bloodied red water when I can create a Blue Ocean strategy and host this event somewhere down the line. Now, June, again, if we're gonna be honest, and I always am probably to a fault is my anniversary. So I thought, wouldn't it be fun to host this the first week of June and every year, my husband, my ally, my best friend, my soul mate. He's amazing. He's always with me at these events, we could enjoy the long weekend, right? Thursday through Sunday in some new city across the country each year. So honestly, that's why it's the first Thursday of June every year. But it's also a strategy, not just a personal perk, right?

Ali: Yeah, of course. But I mean the the nice thing about that, as you say, you get to enjoy something around your anniversary, so never take that away from you, but also the sun's gonna be shining in June. You know, it doesn't matter where you are in the country, I'm sure that most places will have the sun shining down. And that also just adds to the overall feeling of just, I guess everybody getting so much out of the event and feeling good about themselves. That’s an amazing story, Susan. And it's obviously such a shame to hear about that gender inequity that you experienced. You know, the whole idea of realizing you're being paid less bonuses were less that you're the only female and told to lower your voice. I mean, it's so sad to think that ever happened and that, you know, very, unfortunately, there may well still be cases of that happening today. So I can see where all of this came for in terms of that inspiration for you.

Susan: Yeah. Well, I'll say win or learn, never lose, right? So I took the lessons from that and I turned it into something great for younger mes, right? For women who still have a journey ahead of them. I am, you know, I've already reached where I want to be. I'm in my comfortable place. But it's my turn to reach down and pull other women up. And I always joke that I have footprints on my shoulders, not because I let people treat me like a doormat, but because I lift women of all ages and stages up on my shoulders.

Ali: Oh, I love that. I absolutely love that as saying Well, you allude a little bit there to, I suppose probably what inspired you to create the Empowered Women Event. And if there was anything else that you wanted to share, obviously very, very open to hearing that and would love to. But what do you actually hope will come from the from the event for those who are attending as a participant?

Susan: Sure. Sure. Well, I'll tell you every year, it's very different. It's not like we don't even call it a conference. We call it an event because it is actually a very very special event. The things that women walk away with include community, permission to be authentic and genuine, permission to question the status quo. We give them tools to change the policies, practices pay and pipeline in their own workplace. We also give them peers, sponsors, mentors. I ask them to commit before they walk out the door to advise, refer or hire someone in the room. They've never known before and I start working on that before the actual event takes place. When you come here and you buy a ticket, you admit that you're willing to do that, advise, refer or hire someone you commit to letting me share your contact information. What you do is you set up online or in person, depending on the person you're s you're matched with, an opportunity to have a conversation to lead and to listen and to again, advise you for hire someone you didn't know. So it's been really effective and it's how I connect women across the country after the event is over. We don't just leave that day and go, oh, that was fun. We learned some things. How nice. See you next year. We keep in touch throughout the year. We build on that. It gives women a sense of their own empowerment. I can't empower you, only you can empower you, but I give you the support you need. I lift you up. I share resources. I write letters on your behalf. I actually… and I being an attendee, everyone's doing this for each other. I introduce you to all the women sitting at your table. You may not know them, but they have group zoom calls and they build community. And then throughout the year, these same women and again, since 2019, we've been collecting connections, right? They will host. they will attend the book club that we host. They will attend the women's Wellness retreats that we host. They will appear as guests on our podcast called Wonder Women In Business. I've had over 500 amazing women who have been willing to be courageous and vulnerable and share. You know, what did you go through to get where you are? Were there any roadblocks? Are you willing to share how you answered that challenge, right. So, what brought you here today? And it's a fabulous concept to not just make this a conference once a year. I attribute that credit to Kim Perret CMO at Jones Walker. She's an amazing out-of-the-box thinker. She really takes lifting women seriously. She doesn't just talk the talk or, you know, a lot of people I know have a tendency to compete with other women versus collaborate with them. We don't, in this group of women, we look to lift other women at all costs if it means changing a hiring policy or a current practice of, oh, the meetings are at 8 a.m. on Wednesday. But wait a minute, most of the women in your workplace are moms and they're feeding the kids, dressing the kids, carpooling the kids, they can't make it. So then they don't make it beyond that middle rung that McKinsey talks about women don't make it beyond middle management and we work hard to not just advise or, you know, raise awareness. We work hard to take action and change organizational behavior. 

Ali: It's just absolutely fascinating to listen to you talking about all of this. And I think what really comes through in everything there is just what an ecosystem that you have created and you say it's not just a one off, everybody goes about their business afterwards and doesn't think about it again the following year. It's something that you're just creating this wonderful ecosystem where people are coming together and that connection is just so incredibly important. And, you know, I love that you mentioned Kim there. I mean, I'm a huge fan and I must say I do adore her. So it's wonderful that she's such a big part of this as well. I'm sure in terms of what you can share with me is gonna be a very, very long list, but I would absolutely love to hear about some of the highlights from past events and how those have impacted the attendees and the broader community when we start to think about this ecosystem.

Susan: Yes. Oh my God. What a great question. So of the women who attend, it's always intimate. We try to keep it. The first one had 250 women in the room. And it was, I'll be honest, it was too big to create meaningful connection. You may know, learning, science dictates that small group learning is how it's more effective, right? So, and hearing a message, you know, once it might be a memory, but we wanna create knowledge and then we wanna create empowerment and then we wanna create action. So from that, we try to keep these events more intimate so that we can be more active and not just say, oh, it's some woman I met years ago and that huge, you know, conference that we went to, we're trying to create small uh intimate setting where women can benefit from one another. Their personal stories, they can say, here's the lesson I learned in that. I'll just use an example. There's a dear friend of mine in Chicago. She was a general counsel for a huge commercial development company and women like that have to come across as bold and strong and don't mess with me. So when they get on stage and they're courageous enough to say, hey, I was hurting, I was scared. This happened to me. I was purely on the receiving end of this bad decision or I didn't agree but didn't have the voice to speak up. That's courageous, right? So what do we do to help her change that? Right. She now knows she has a team that can change and she also spoke about something else that I think is important. She called it the Panini generation. I'm sure you've heard of the sandwich generation, right? Well, with the dawn of the internet and you know, technology that makes doing more work possible in the same 24 hour day, we are especially women, we are pressed, it's very stressful, we have pressure. I mean, the heat is on, she calls it the Panini generation and I think this is fantastic as an analogy because, it really does evoke, you know, when you're being pressed and the heat is on. You have so much stress and you're part of a dual income family, which those of us who are married are probably married to someone who also has a job. Right? You're saying, oh, my gosh, my husband said he had to babysit the kids tonight and I had to remind him it's called parenting, not babysitting, parenting. You're the wife, you're the woman, you're the general counsel. In her case at this large company, a male-dominated industry. She has kids and to add to the stress she like I has a parent who suffers dementia. So you're the caregiver for someone else. So again, we all understand the concept of the sandwich generation. We get it. But let me tell you with the dawn of satellite coms and then the internet now handhelds and being plugged in 24 7, which I am one of those. It really does exponentially stress us out. I mean, we are on all the time. I know that I'm sometimes working at two in the morning. So these events that we host, show support. It's like a giant exhale or a giant hug from 100 women in the room. It's like knowing you have someone who will lift you energetically, I believe in quantum physics. One of my advisors in my PHD program. Her husband is a quantum physicist and we talk a lot about energy and how it's real and it's palpable and it's powerful. Even if I'm across the country, I can sense when some of my girlfriends are stressed and I'll send them a note and they'll be like, oh my God, how did you know I needed this right at this moment. So these are the kinds of bonds and connections we make at this event.  It is not, let me teach you business development, best practices in the legal industry. It is not, oh, what's your net promoter score? It is not, you know, integrated marketing communications, best practices. No, it's, I wanna know who you the woman are and I wanna see where I can relate to you and learn from you. Maybe prevent some challenges that I see coming or solve some problems that I'm experiencing. Basically, that's what we do. 

Ali: Honestly, I mean, I sat there sort of in awe of everything that you're talking about there because it's, you know, certainly something from, from my perspective that's I can understand that obviously, the concept of being completely candid is something that I have obviously never experienced, in many ways, never will experience it being a man. And I can only imagine just how difficult this whole idea of being ultimately an incredibly busy, hard-working, successful individual as a lady and then having all the other responsibilities that come into it with family. And everything else that comes with that, you say this whole idea of the sandwich generation. I do like the idea of it being as an analogy that the Panini generation, you know, because you obviously press flags and the heat's coming on and all of these sorts of things. And I think to, you know, to the previous question, the whole idea of this ecosystem that you can create through your event that you have people to be able to turn to, that can help you, you know, question the status quo can help give you advice around what they've done to make things better or however, how they've been able to ease pressure, I'm sure is really very powerful for each individual that comes along. So that's an amazing, amazing story to share it with all of this, you know, something else that came out of the conversation that we've had and I think feeds very nicely into it is this whole idea of empowered but exhausted. Which again, I can completely understand where all of that's coming from. And it seems to really resonate very deeply with many women who do find themselves juggling multiple roles and responsibilities. Do you think you can elaborate on why this is so prevalent among professional women today?

Susan: You know, I'm almost, I'm gonna be vulnerable right now and totally be authentic. Everyone knows, who knows me knows I am that, but I was almost reluctant to share my feelings around that because if certain men in the or dominant group participants would hear the answer to this, they might assume that we can't handle it. Right. But I'm going to be vulnerable and tell you anyway. And look as a woman leader, I was on a team where, you know, I assumed a pregnant woman on my team couldn't handle the new assignment, the higher paying work, right? And I should never have assumed. So if there are any dominant group, people in charge of others listening today, please don't assume, ask the person, do you have it in you to take on this additional work or this new project? What have you? And I preface with that because what I'm about to say is hardcore truth. We are tired, we are very tired. But I'm telling you that doesn't mean we're gonna compromise quality control. And if you know me personally and a lot of your listeners do, the speed of season is still there, I'm gonna get her done. That's my nature. That's my style. I'm not gonna let the entire get in the way, but I am gonna practice what I preach and start to focus more on self-care. And I think that organizations at the macro level, meaning, you know, let's say you're a global organization. So all throughout the organization, you need to provide not just time, not just quantitative factors, like time and money, but you need to provide qualitative factor space in your workplace so that we can take a break, exhale, do yoga, whatever the thing, right? Maybe childcare in your workplace or, you know, a mental health day, that sort of thing because we don't want to burn out quit and give in and lose all the traction that we've gained. Look at what COVID-19 did to us. I mean, we had finally, after years, they studied it, I think at the time it was five years of study McKinsey had done, we finally were getting hired at the same rate as men. Again, those were lower level positions. But then COVID hit and who was doing it? All the moms, the women, we were learning how to be teachers and look, thank God my son was already in and out of Berkeley or in Berkeley at the time, but I did not have to teach him because I do not understand your math, you know, I use my calculator, right? So, but we were, we were being the mom, the nurse, the, oh my God, get everybody tested, make sure everybody's masked up, get your homework done on time, learn this new thing called Zoom. You know, still doing the things we normally do not to be 1950s centered, but a lot of us who are independent, strong, badass women still do laundry and cook. So let's just get real here. It's hard. I have to say it's very hard and to add to that something you may not have thought about. I'm aware because I study generational comms and such. There are for the first time in history, five generations working under the same roof. So if you're the power and you speak the language of the boomer and I use my husband as an example. So I don't hurt anybody's feelings because he's amazing and everybody who knows me knows, I think that but he still speaks the language of the white male over 60. He does not understand how the younger generation communicates. So it behooves him in order to be the effective transformational leader he is to learn the language of Gen Z, Gen X younger, you know, millennials, what have you, because we are now all working together in the same, you know, companies. 

Ali: Can I interrupt that and ask a question? I mean, it's fascinating saying that, you know, there's five generations in the workplace and you know, use your husband as an example that he can't necessarily speak the language of in another generation as sort of an older, older white male. What would be your advice to someone like me or even to your husband to be able to learn how to actually communicate in the correct way and maybe act in the right way?

Susan: Yeah, I'm laughing out loud. My cheeks are burning from laughing. I'll tell you why. Because unsolicited, I advise him on that all the time. 

Ali: Well, good on you. Good on you. But no. I'm generally very interested.

Susan: You bet, you bet, happy to answer that. So I live equity through inclusion. Like every waking moment, it's part of who I am. It's not what I do, right? So I tell him, I said, you know, Michael, you realize the person you're struggling with or their behavior or you know, they're brilliant. Why can't they do this? I think that your success is coming from having done it your way for X number of years and you're now struggling to even recognize there might be other ways of doing it. So what I and and this is just one example, what I tell him is you need to hire an intern who's Gen Z have them shadow you every day for, I don't know, a month or a week and have them journal at the end of the day, what they learned. But you too, at the end of the day, ask this person, how would you have done that differently, knowing the desired outcome? So people don't understand that intentions might be good and they go into the intention with their, you know, best foot forward. But the outcome or the impact. There are so many different ways to do things, right? So I say do that and I use my son and my husband as an example. Again, it's safe. My son just turned 23 on May 2nd. He would never do things the way his father does things and his father is mightily successful. Don't get me wrong. But when I'm trying to encourage my husband to work well with those who aren't of the boomer generation who don't think and act like he does or speak like he does. I tell him reverse mentor, get that young person at the end of the day to say, well, I would have used this app or this technology or, you know, you don't have to do that because there's an app that does that. Now these are things that if you're not continuously learning and he does, he goes to all the conferences and things, but they teach you what, not how. They teach you what needs to be done, not how and I'm telling him to be open-minded and let these young people even question him as to why you're doing this. And that's a tough pill to swallow for some leaders in positions of power, especially today where again, technology makes, you know, the work week, eight days and the year 367 days, right? Not even 66. So reverse mentorship is one good example. I also teach him the Socratic method. Now he's a litigator. So his tendency is to say this is the way it should be. And he's learned over the years of being married to me, he should say this is how I think it should be. What do you think? Tell me your, you know, where am I going wrong? Have I missed something? Is there something you're thinking about? I might not have considered because I'm in this bubble in my brain with my lived experience. So he's become a really great transformational leader using questions in the Socratic Method and gaining feedback from people at all levels, not just his number twos or his department heads or his assistant. You know, so I think that's a great example. We should all learn to reverse mentor and have some younger person follow us knowing the clear desired outcome, but giving us feedback on how they might have accomplished it or reached it differently than we.

Ali: Sure. No, those are really wonderful examples. Thank you for sharing them. And I think, yeah, reverse mentoring for anybody is so beneficial. And I absolutely love the idea of the Socratic method. I don’t know if I said that correctly. We're just asking those questions in a different way to garner feedback is can only help you to develop and actually bring it back to the very start of the conversation, being able to be open, be a sponge, recognize there are others with different lived experiences that you can learn from is really, really important. So thank you so much for sharing that. And I know I completely interrupted you previously, but I just thought it was an important question to ask. And something to learn from. Just wanna bring it back…

Susan: Can I just say one more thing if you don't mind about that, one quick thing. There is something that will help us all in our communications in life in the workplace, in this toxic political culture in which we now live in this toxic religious, you know, organized religion culture. And I know we're not gonna get into details on that, but I want to share a little n a little nugget of wisdom that can help us all. And that is before we launch into our diatribe on what we think is important and why we need to understand that there are vertically structured beliefs and horizontally structured beliefs. And if you're trying to change someone's vertically structured beliefs, good luck with that. Those are beliefs they've held since they were young, they learn them from, you know, a person of authority and power and deep trust like their parent or their grandparent or their priest or their, you know, someone who they held in very high regard, their boy scout leader, whatever. That is not a path you should even attempt to go down. You need to focus on the horizontally structured beliefs where using logic and emotion can appeal to them and you can influence and persuade them based on values, right? Values that may or may not align with yours, but understanding more about their values and then going, oh, now I see why that person's voting that way. Or now I understand, I don't agree. That's not my value system, but you have to give merit to another. So I just want to throw that little nugget out there that if you're trying to fight a vertically structured mindset, those are closed-minded, we all have those right. You need to focus more on the horizontally structured mindsets which are open-minded.

Ali: Well, with that in mind is sort of, you know, in your opinion, what steps do you think individuals and organizations can take to better support and empower women in positions of leadership, particularly when it comes to navigating the challenges of that work life balance. You know, we've discussed the sandwich generation, I think what you were sharing there really neatly leads into this question.

Susan: Sure. Again, in my work, we study macro level because it's my work's organizational behavior in my studies. Macro level would be the whole organization mezzo level would be a group or team or in your, in our legal world, it would be like a industry team or practice area. And then micro level would be the individual um my event and some of the work I do is on the individual level, when I help other women to um tell their story because it is a form of leadership. It's an exercise in leadership, but then we want to take it to the macro level. So we actually change the world a huge paradigm shift in how businesses operate. So I would say things that companies should consider law firms should consider organizations should consider, would be flexible work arrangements. I gave you an example of um the eight o'clock meeting where all department heads have to be there. Think about that, you know, that worked for the power that put that time on his calendar and said, hey, everybody has to be here. What about for the 15 to 20 or whatever number of people that he he expects to be in the meeting? It does that work for them. So flexible work arrangements, work schedules, remote work options, part time opportunities for women who have to manage um the work and personal responsibilities. I would say leadership development programs, look rethink your leadership training. Leadership has changed. It used to be hierarchical, right?That was the way to get stuff done. Now it's transformational and that's a huge theory. Look it up transformational leadership theory. It's fantastic. It's time to learn the theory and then focus on practice. If we're not actually learning transformational leadership and then practicing transformational leadership, then what good does it do? We're gonna be right where we were. It's like a rat on a wheel, implement programs that designed to identify and train women, right? Advance them to above the middle rung positions. We need more women in senior leadership positions and we need more c-suite women who are willing to help other women move up the ladder. In fact, it's not even a ladder anymore. It's a jungle gym, right? We're bringing all kinds of different experiences to the table. Help other women get there. Don't compete with them for the one or two spots at the top, change the organization and create more spots at the top for women. I would say supportive workplace policies, facilities for nursing mothers, support for childcare, parental leave for both men and women policies that support a work-life integration. People use the word balance. I don't believe it exists. It's integration and obviously having an inclusive culture. I mean, we definitely want to promote a culture that values diversity and inclusion at all levels, not just the senior levels.  I will not name names, but I did have a client who wanted to work on inclusion through equity, but only with the managing partners. And I was like, oh goodness, I'm not gonna even publicly state everything that's wrong with that, but that's not even, yeah, don't ask that question if you're not gonna, you know, ask it of everyone, right? So it's still not there, we're still not where we need to be, but those are just a few things that organizations can do to you know, begin those conversations. Right.

Ali: Yeah. I think everything that you said that there are so many different essentially opportunities that you can move that needle and you can really move the needle in a meaningful way that has a much greater impact. You say, not only on the micro level for that individual, but that, that macro level, which is what's so important is that those particularly within an organization that they start to have these massive shifts. And recognize how, you know, everybody's being impacted in different ways. It doesn't matter what generation you are It's really important that there is this shift. You know, particularly with some of that conversation that we've been having around, you know, the sandwich generation and empowered but exhausted that these things are gonna make a big difference I'm sure.

Susan:  I would say one more thing. You know, women and men communicate differently. I've done a lot of work on that for years. I've written on it published, you know, taught, key noted. It's true. It's true. Whether it's neurobiological or environmental is not important. The fact is we do we communicate differently.  I would think that women, their contributions need to be recognized. We want feedback, we want to be seen as useful and valuable and making a contribution, whereas men might care more about a bonus or reward. And then generally people in general, you have to find out not just what their extrinsic motivations are, you know, money, new car, bonus, whatever, raise, but what are their intrinsic motivations? Because that's really what keeps people happy in the workplace, men and women both. Right. So, I mean, I would work longer hours if I enjoyed and loved what I was doing. I was passionate about the project. I would volunteer to get it done on a tight deadline. I would ensure even if it took me uh focusing on this on a Saturday that I knocked it out of the park because I'm intrinsically motivated. So, happiness at work is a bigger driver than money. Just be clear.

Ali: Sure. It's very interesting for me to listen to all of this because I could sit and listen to you for hours, to be honest, Susan, talk about it. And there's so many learnings for me as an individual to take from this and actually move forward with. And there's plenty of questions that are going through my mind that I want to ask you not only advice on, but yeah, a lot that I could really get into the weeds with on you, but I know that we unfortunately are sort of drawing to a close in terms of the conversation. But I've really appreciated everything so far. And I find it fascinating that you just talking about the idea that women and men talk differently, not something that I necessarily paid too much attention to or thought about, I suppose. But I can fully see that and that whole idea of recognizing the contribution of individuals and the intrinsic motivations I think, I think is very, very important. So as I say, we could definitely… sorry, go on.

Susan:  Do you mind if I ask you a quick question?

Ali: Sure.

Susan: Was as successful in making it clear that storytelling is a powerful tool. It's not fluff stuff. It's some serious, serious change, agent stuff.

Ali: I could not agree more. I could not agree more. It's something, I find people fascinating and I really, I've always really enjoyed listening to stories because you, you garnish so much from them and being able to share the stories that you've shared so far today.  And no doubt a lot of these ones come up in life on a day to day basis, but also, you know, particularly at your event. There's so many learnings. And it's something that I would, you know, love to sit in a room and listen to these stories from people and see the impact that it's had on them and both in negative and positive lights. So yeah, you're bang on there, Susan. Very, very true. Well, with that in mind, it actually brings us round to the final question. Talking about the event and everything that's still to come with it, which is very, very exciting. So we would love it if you could just round this off please with giving our listeners a brief reminder of how they can participate in the event and what they'll take away from the day. 

Susan: You bet, you bet. Thank you for asking me this one. Men are welcomed. We open our doors to everyone and women and those who don't identify as either are always welcomed. I will comp your ticket, sir if you wish to come to any from San Diego to New Orleans ongoing. I think the year after we'll look at Washington DC actually. So please do come. It's something like you've never experienced before. Like I said, it's not a conference. It's definitely nothing is canned or scripted. These women do Ted-style only to keep it timely right and keep the day going, but they definitely look inside themselves and you can witness them self-actualize if you know what that means. If not look it up, it's powerful. Self-actualization is how we should spend our lives. We die wise, right? I wanna live wise, right? So I'm self-actualizing every day that I wake up. I would love to meet each and every one of your listeners. At one of our events, they travel across the country. Like I said,

this year, San Diego, June 6th, next year is New Orleans the first Thursday of June and I think the year after will be Washington DC. So, you know, please come if you can send someone,

if you can't sponsor a table. You know, at this point, you can go register online at You'll see a snapshot of the day and who the remarkable speakers are. You might know some of them, some of them are general counsel, some are managing partners. Some are not from legal at all. We are expanding beyond legal. We are now tapping into other industries, always professional services, however, because I think that's a difficult place for women to be when you're representing intangibles and intellectual capital. So please do come click the red registration button sign up and hopefully I'll see you there. 

Ali: Wonderful. And I really do hope that people are able to participate who have not done it before and be a part of this because it sounds like a truly wonderful event and something that, you know, everybody should get involved with, you know, it doesn't matter what you identify from a gender perspective, I think there's a huge amount that people can take away from it. I mean, I certainly from the conversation we've had um over the past sort of half hour, 40 minutes, I have learnt a huge amount. And as I mentioned before, that question, I would love to sit and listen to far more. So I know it's something that I definitely wanna, you know, immerse myself in. So, Susan, thank you ever so much for being open, for being candid for, you know, being yourself at the start, you said, I absolutely love this. So thanks for your time.

Susan: You bet, you bet. And one last quick thing, if you personally are interested in any of the gender equity communications work that I do, it is my main keynote and I'd be happy to either send you information or teach you myself.

Ali: That's very kind of you. Thank you. I will be taking you up on that offer.


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