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Happy Mother's Day and #metoo

(What’s this? A second blog from Jennifer in less than four months?! What happened?! Well, I went on vacation. And on that vacation, I rested and reflected and here I am – back! Back in the saddle, back in action, back and I have something to say.)

I have started and deleted numerous blogs on the subject of #metoo over the past several months. None of the words seemed right and the timing wasn’t right – either to me personally or with the world events around me. But as I prepare for the weekend ahead celebrating Mother’s Day, I couldn’t help but feel the time is right.

I won’t dive deep into the depths of #metoo except to say that I feel connected to those who have spoken out. Luckily I have not personally experienced anything catastrophic, but there is not a woman on the planet who hasn’t felt intimidated, skipped over, dismissed, paid half, judged for her bitchiness (instead of applauded for decisive leadership)…. So, #metoo. And it still happens all the time. Subtly or not so subtly – and in these circumstances, I find myself thinking *If I were a male CEO of a prominent bank or an oil company, would this discussion be happening right now?* The answer 99% of the time is no. Oh well. I’m not easily dismissed nor intimidated.

It’s 2018 and yet still women make up nearly, maybe, if we stretch hard… ¼ of the c-suite leadership of major corporations. Will the #metoo movement only exacerbate the problem? What male CEO is going to want a female senior leader working closely when situations can so easily escalate into he said-she said and the high stakes world we live in makes this more vulnerable now. And yet the speaking up, and out, is so far beyond overdue that I am thrilled we have finally reached this place and I guarantee we are nowhere near done hearing about these challenges to women in all realms of the business world.

So what does this have to do with Mother’s Day? The picture above was taken as my mother was off to work at Braniff Airlines (and that’s baby me!). She worked her way up from flight attendant to senior management and was the only woman on the management team. When she took maternity leave (which she had to save her sick leave to give herself any “maternity” leave at all) Braniff had to bring in 3 men to do her job. Not one for one, not two for one, but THREE for one.

My mom is a badass. She works hard and speaks her mind. She is passionate about her family, her employees and her beliefs. She is a go-getter, a winner and a hard charger. She is not one who has had an easy life. In her young career with only typing school under her belt, she struck out to build what she wanted, and she did it. On the heels of my 14th anniversary of JHL and with Mother's Day in a couple days, I have to say THANK YOU mom, #metoo.

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