Building a World Where a Sisterhood of Success Replaces Mean Girls

By @KathyKorman Frey, submitted this on CNNi for its “Empowering Images of Women” report:

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?

Kathy Korman  Frey in DC, CNNi

Kathy Korman Frey in DC, part of two long-standing SisX groups, started a global one for all women. No “Mean Girl” policy in class. Talk given first day. Some people drop.

3 thoughts on “Building a World Where a Sisterhood of Success Replaces Mean Girls

  • My last mean girl experience was last year & I have a
    grandson. No mean girls? Sign me
    up Kathy I would love to speak to your class

    • Lori – You know, I just had a conversation with someone today, just another mom (we have daughters) and were kind of laughing…like “Why?” I said, “You know, neurologically to girls and women – we learn from Dr. Louann Brizendine’s ‘The Female Brain’ – relationships are the most important thing.” This is a good thing to know. Our brain WANTS THAT RELATIONSHIP. It’s kind of nutty, right? But then things start to make sense. What will happen, and not happen, and get thrown, cried, scratched, talked about (for hours), or whatever…all for the sake of: THE RELATIONSHIP. But, think about the upside of this. Someone – who values (in their brain) relationships above all else. The VALUE of this both personally and professionally if they use their powers for good. It can be quite startling. Those relationships so close, so significant…that you can’t quite explain. What about partnerships, merger and acquisitions of the future? Will the workforces of female bosses (who use their powers for good) have higher morale and thus retention and productivity? You know, companies that put their female employees on a track to executive management are more profitable across every measure….is this what is happening? Food for thought my friends.

  • Thanks to @PattiBJohnson for the Twitter shout out and see the conversation your tweet has sparked!

    “.@ChiefHotMomma gives a “no mean girls” speech on the first day of her women’s entrepreneurship class:”

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