Today I attended an workshop at the UNC Charlotte Center City Campus hosted by the NC Women’s Summit in conjunction with the NC Center for Women in Public Service. I learned a lot about myself during these few hours and I’d to share that with you all if you don’t mind.
The workshop was based on research the Women’s Summit had done on the gender representation on North Carolina Boards and Commissions. Research found that there is a vast gender disparity in the elected and appointed boards.
One of my favorite parts of the day was listening to the panelists speak about their experience. They had Mary Hooper, Executive Director of University City Partners, LaWana Mayfield, District 3 Charlotte City Councilwoman, and a PHD student at UNC Charlotte, Melissa Duscha who sits on the Womens Advisory Board. Here are some of my favorite soundbites from the discussion:
When asked “What was your first step”?
- Test your limits. With boards and commissions, you are allowed to fail the first time. Do NOT fear rejection.
- Be comfortable with the word NO. It can be a gift to you and the person who asked you.
- We live in a world of networking
- Today, you are 100% the person that you are and you want to be. Don’t wait until next year. Do it now because you will grow as you go.
How do you overcome the knowledge barrier?
- know your jargon
- know the history of the issue and the history of the board’s activities
How do you communicate with groups with a different view?
- It’s all about building relationships
- create a platform that resonates with the people. People are tired of political polarization. just go for what you believe in and people will often take interest.
- focus on grassroots campaigning because you need to serve every person in your district (for example),not just the people who voted for you.
What I learned about myself
My public service goal is to become an urban policy analyst by way of local government work and community engagement and to be a member of the Keep Charlotte Beautiful Board and to represent my community on the Charlotte Mecklenburg Coalition for Housing. I am making my goals known and will hold myself accountable for reaching them.
People and Resources
I interacted with some great ladies today I want to shout out:
Mary Lenz with the NC Center for Women in Public Service http://www.nccwps.org/
Ashleigh Thornton, UNCC Student and Owner of Noire Naturals and Motivational Speaker http://www.noirenaturals.com/ twitter: @noirenaturals
Pam Liebman with the League of Women Voters http://goleaguegoblog.org/
Friends, Please continue to hold me accountable for my public service goals and feel free to contact me for information on how you can get involved with your community!!
I also encourage all of my female leaders to attend the Women’s Summit http://womenssummit.uncc.edu/ !!