The “No Mean Girls” Speech
I give a “no Mean Girl” talk on the first day of class. It’s a women’s entrepreneurship class. Graduates are mixed with undergrads. And I don’t want any power-tripping. But, more than that, it’s about respect, and trust, because this is what they will need to get ahead in the world. By the end, the class knows one another and is connected. They go to each other with problems. Recruiters have started coming directly to get in touch with these amazing women.
It’s not enough. This is one class. Everyone needs to be on board here. This is why.
It starts early
Research shows that around age 11, girls can begin to experience deficits in what is called “self-efficacy.” In layperson’s terms, this is the feeling of “I can do that.” It doesn’t stop there. As the instructor of a nationally award winning women’s leadership course, I’m called into corporations where I hear about…well…grown up versions of “Mean Girls.” Is there a connection to that 11 year-old?
Drama or Trauma, Reality is Up Here (point to head)
Some believe it is a different animal here; maybe just workplace competitiveness. Some believe we’ve just become an over-sensitive workforce. But perception is reality and if your sister, daughter, or niece feels like she is suffering at the hands of a “Mean Girl,” – that is very real. Jim Vance, a DC-based newscaster, even said during his year-end review that people seemed to have an air of “mean” in 2013.
Are we getting meaner?
Enter the Sisterhood of Success.
I remember when I worked at Nordstrom when it first opened in my town. They had such a great reputation for customer service. Everyone who walked in knew this, and seemed so happy to be there. The staff were happy. The customers were happy. It was great.
Like “the Nordstrom effect,” if you knew someone was a “member” of the Sisterhood of Success (no mean girls allowed), how would you feel? Protected? Supported? Safe? All of the above? And a virtuous cycle might start to build from there.
Hard numbers show “togetherness = good” for, like, everything…
The hard numbers show us links between:
- Access to mentors and role models, and increased pay.
- The number of friends and increased happiness.
- Even disease survivorship.
Imagine a world where your sister, daughter, or niece has a group of mentors and role models. Smart, supportive, and with their best interest at heart.
Tell us examples of a Sisterhood of Success…
…that you know about?
…Where is one needed?
…Are grown-up Mean Girls even real?