Now’s the time, ladies. We have the power, we have the voice and we have the motivation, so let’s change the world, shall we? And if you need some ideas on how to go about doing that, check out what Adrienne Arieff, co-founder of Project Mentor and the AEA Advisory overseeing brand strategy and communications initiatives for start-ups that either support women or have female leadership in place, suggests. And then do all of them, paying special attention to number one, because we are days away from what could be the most important election in our history.
And remember: We can — and we will — do it.
1. Spread the Word
More women in office equals more female voices. The mid-term elections are coming up, and it’s your chance to weigh in and help create change, so make sure you know who your candidates are (depending on which side of the fence you land on, Emily’s List, Emerge America or Republican Women for Progress are all great resources) and how your vote can help create serious change. And most importantly, now is a really good time to use your social channels for good by encouraging your network to get out and vote!
2. Start Small
What small action can you take today to make change in your life? You’re the one thing you’ve got, so use you! Talk to other like-minded women, get out of the house and network at meet ups or take a class that is relevant to your business idea or hobby. Every small step leads to bigger things, and will have a snowball event.
3. Tell Your Story
Be a changemaker. Stand with the League of Women Voters or Planned Parenthood and share you story, whether it’s a need for affordable birth control or the right to safe and legal abortions. Your personal story will help show lawmakers and key decision makers what we’re fighting for through real stories.
4. Be a Good Neighbor
You don’t have to travel the world or live in Washington, DC to make an impact. Create the Good, a program started by AARP, helps partner people with local ways to give back in their communities. Remember, change n the world starts at the cellular level.
5. Mentorship Matters
Despite a record number of women graduating college and entering the workforce, there is still a profound difference between the number of women starting out on the professional track and how many advance to senior positions. Mentoring programs can set employees up for success in terms of salary and promotions. Career development for women is usually tied to attachment and relationships, thus cultivating early mentoring habits helps build a woman’s belief in her capabilities. Some places to start when looking for a mentor: Project Mentor, (which is the mentorship group I co-founded), Million Women Mentors, or the Women Mentor Association.
6. Invest in Women
Invest in companies with women leaders. Women hold less than 5% of CEO positions in America’s 500 largest companies. One example on where to invest is Kiva Microfunds, a nonprofit organization and microloan company allowing people to lend money to others in need around the world. Lending starts at $25 (I have been using them for years and give donations for the holidays in people's names as gifts). Organizations like Rock The Street, Wall Street (a 501(c)(3) nonprofit) is a year-long financial literacy program that educates high school girls about careers in finance. Even volunteering for women groups is a good place to start. I also like Volunteer Match online. Lots of interesting things you can do from helping build a school to supporting girls and women on their career path.
7. Girl Power (and support) through STEM
If women had more STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) training, they could change the tech market. Having worked with many companies in Silicon Valley it always depressed me how few women were in leadership roles. We need to show girls that STEM careers align with their interests and values to make an impact. The most scalable way to do this is by integrating real-world relevance into our schools. National Geographic created this inspiration-packed, two-minute video about women changing the world with STEM which I just love. Girls who Code is making some great headway as well as Kode with Karlie, which is model Karlie Kloss’ initiative.
about adrienne arieff
Adrienne Arieff is the co-founder of Project Mentor and the AEA Advisory overseeing brand strategy and communications initiatives for start-ups that either support women or have female leadership in place. She was founder and CEO of PR and brand marketing agency (Arieff Communications) as well as an SVP at OutCast. She helped some of the world’s leading global brands such as; adidas, Lexus, Spotify, facebook, method, and Burberry at the intersection of lifestyle, corporate social responsibility, and technology navigate the ever-changing world of communications, branding, and marketing.
She has authored three books: The Sacred Thread, SPA, and Fairytale Success: A Guide to Entrepreneurial Magic. Editorial has included: The New York Times, C Magazine, The Huffington Post, LinkedIn and Thrive Global. Adrienne is a do-gooder and feels its the responsibility of every individual to give back and be of service. From a young age she has volunteered/or advised several non-profits, Venture Capital Firms, and accelerator groups including: UpFront Ventures, Highway 1, Universal Giving, Project Glimmer, Room To Read, Accel Foods, dot429, Enterprise for High School Students, Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation, Glide Memorial, Accountability Counsel, Dress For Success and The Roberts Enterprise Development Fund. In addition to advising, she has been an advocate and doer in the space of mentorship for over 10 years recently co-founding a mentoring program called Project Mentor that has impacted the lives of hundreds of student mentees and professional mentors.