Tiffany O'Donnell is the CEO of Iowa Women Lead Change, a statewide nonpartisan 501(c)(3) dedicated to the advancement, development, and promotion of women, their organizations and to impacting the greater economy.
When IWLC joined forces with Nexus Executive Women’s Alliance, Iowa State University’s Carrie Chapman Catt Center, and the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business for our Women in Leadership research report, the resulting data showed that women are, by nature, gifted leaders (see the full report here).
Companies that value assertive leaders have fewer women in leadership. Successful companies that value communicative, inspiring, compassionate and sensitive leaders have more women at the top.
I have a feeling voters feel the same way. Which tells me ladies, this is our time.
In Iowa, we have 84 female candidates on the ballot in November; up nearly 30% from two years ago. Those same leadership skills that put us at the top of successful companies will be what puts us at the top of political leadership. It will also be what allows us to change how we govern once we get there.
However, you may have heard some women candidates taking the bait, falling into sophomoric name-calling and petty social media attacks. To them I say, remember why you ran for office. It certainly wasn’t to relive 7th grade. Will attacks on you be easy to ignore? Not always. But, will you set the new standard of behavior? Absolutely. When in doubt, remember what Mom said, “Sticks and stones…”
I believe the time is not only right for women to ascend to higher levels of political leadership, it is imperative that we do. We must remind voters what democracy can and should look like. Our natural leadership abilities, the data points in the IWLC Women in Leadership Report, are the same abilities that will put us in office and change the way current establishments govern in the future.
We are leaders who are tough but principled, strategic not snarky, quiet but not silent. We collaborate, communicate and compromise.
We are the change we want to see in the world. Let’s do this.