Across the nation, women are excelling in business startup and growth. In 2019, according to the American Express State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, women-owned businesses continue to fuel the economy and account for 42 percent of all businesses, a total of nearly 13 million. Women employed 9.4 million workers, and generated revenue in upwards of $1.9 trillion.
What’s more, firms owned by women of color account for 50 percent of all women-owned businesses. An estimated 6.4 million women of color-owned businesses employ nearly 2.4 million people and generate $422.5 billion in revenue.
With the continuation of COVID-19, women-owned businesses have been disproportionately hit, and a quarter of these businesses have had to close. There are real challenges facing women business owners, and as communication leaders, it is our responsibility to advocate, build, strengthen, and serve our community, while supporting them through times of transformation.
At Communication Leadership Consulting, a majority of our clients have been womxn-led non-profits, womxn-owned small businesses, and womxn communication leaders. In fact, out of 82 clients, we’ve served only 13 non-profits or small businesses with men at the helm.
It is with this in mind that we ask you to learn about and support these womxn-owned businesses who make a difference to our economy, but are being inordinately affected by the systemic discrimination, health, and economic crisis in our midst.
Join us as we feature interviews with womxn business owners, non-profit directors, and communication leaders who are working to overcome these challenges every day.
Click here for more information about our services.
Click here to volunteer for Communication Leadership Consulting.
COVID-19 has changed life as we know it. As communication leaders, we play a critical role in helping our communities navigate this time — from staying connected, to communicating during crises, to serving those in need.
June 4 at 6:30 p.m.: The New Essential Employee, featuring Anita Ramasastry, Kevin Mihata, and Briana Randall.
Claudia is an expert at working with and leading diverse and distributed teams — skills that have become invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic. Claudia will share strategies for making virtual teams successful, with a focus on leadership. She’ll discuss adapting leadership to a virtual space and anticipating and addressing the dynamics of virtual communication. She’ll also discuss managing collective stress among teams and effective ways to stay in touch.
I am working with a fantastic team of communicators at the University of Washington, COVID-19 Consultancy through the Communication Leadership Program. We are offering pro-bono communication consulting to nonprofits and small businesses in need. We are here to help you survive and thrive during this pandemic. Interested in finding out more? Sign up for our free half-hour consultation and let us help you during this critical time.
Fri, May 8, 2020
5:30 PM – 7:00 PM PDT
As our first speaker in the COVID-19 Communication Series, Melissa Schwartz will be discussing mindfulness and emotional well being during crisis. Melissa speaks with a raw expertise that allows her to illuminate strategies for mediating crises, especially during times of chaos.
Melissa Schwartz has more than two decades of strategic and crisis communications experience in government, the private sector, and nonprofit organizations. She has substantial expertise in media training, message development, and media relations. Melissa has been teaching communications for the past seven years, four of which have been in the Communication Leadership Masters program at UW where she teaches Crisis Communication, splitting her time between the two Washingtons.
Melissa has managed a number of high profile crises. Tapped by the Obama administration, Melissa managed communications for the federal agency responsible for the regulation and oversight of offshore drilling in U.S. federal waters following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. She has recently represented FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and served on the communications and media team supporting the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford as part of the confirmation hearings for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. She has published chapters in PR News Guidebooks focused on PR Measurement, Crisis Management, Media Training, and Corporate Social Responsibility.
For more upcoming events in this series - visit COVID-19 Consulting!
A client once told me I was a terrible writer. In fact, he had hired me to write for him, and I’d been doing so successfully for three years. Yet, his focus was on a specific instance of writing he disagreed with rather than on the big picture of my overall performance. His feedback became a blanket statement about my worth, rather than an instructive critique on a piece that clearly didn’t resonate.
In HBR’s article “The Feedback Fallacy,” Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall discuss how unreliable humans are at rating others. We are fallible, full of preconceived notions, experiences that color biases, and, to top it off, each of us has a different definition of what “good” is.
Don’t Make it Personal
While the relationship with my client ended shortly after this abrupt critique, I reflected on what happened. The personal nature of the statement didn’t reflect what I believed were the values of the business I represented. This is a common trap with feedback. Often, feedback is delivered with bias from personal preference of the giver, rather than with consideration for the goals of the organization.
Be strategic about developing goals, and take the emotion out of the feedback. Focus instead on what works, and figure out a collaborative way to cultivate that strength moving forward.
Use Your Words
Criticism is uncomfortable, even in the best of times. Hearing I was a terrible writer caused me to shut down, silencing any rebuttal or conversation around how I could improve. Not only that, but I had a bruised ego and a lack of direction.
Instead, had the client communicated clearly and concisely about what I had written, and asked me to be more conscious of x, y, and z, the interaction would have ended differently. By linking feedback to a tangible outcome, I would have had relevant information to serve the needs of my client more effectively. He, too, would have seen reward by investing in my skills and the continued improvement of his business.
Timing is Everything
When to deliver feedback is as important as the content. In my scenario, the client decided to let me know how he felt about my work in front of another colleague, rather than in his office. It was clear my client hadn’t prepared in advance for this moment, and his off-the-cuff remark effectively ended our working relationship.
Sharing is Caring
Delivering feedback is a struggle for the best of us. Rather than giving information to help empower performance, leaders are often guilty of demotivating people with basic reprimands or critiques on single-episode events.
Feedback should be an ongoing tool to provide insight into how a person’s habits and behaviors can improve to make them more successful. Creating feedback requires careful thought and insightful instruction to be truly useful. Be clear, direct, and deliver it with empathy. When you get feedback right, it shows you care.
Musings on business, womanhood, consulting, and things I find interesting.