I’m here in CA speaking at the annual Invent Your Future conference which attracts top female executives from Silicon Valley companies including Apple, Genentech, Northrop Grumman, Robert Half and Symantec.
Keynoters included MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, NPR’s Cokie Roberts and the inimitable Bertice Berry, Ph.D. who did her usual outstanding job of dissolving the audience into laughter and tears . . . all while causing everyone in the room to reflect and reach personal and professional epiphanies.
For me, the session that truly POP’d out in terms of eye-opening value was the one featuring Nell Merlino — the seriously impressive Fullbright Scholar who created and produced the Take Our Daughters To Work Day for the Ms. Foundation for Women
Here’s how it happened, as described in Nell’s presentation. She hatched the idea and explained it in a comprehensive report but realized it was too long. She whittled it down to 5 pages and then down to 1.
An original idea that catapulted a movement which has positively impacted millions was condensed into a pithy (one of the prerequisites of POP) 1 page.
Nell was in Ms. Headquarters in New York pitching the idea when Gloria Steinem – in all her glory – walked into the room and asked “What’s new?”
Nell gave her the piece of paper outlining her concept for the Take Your Daughter to Work Day.
Gloria, ever the editor, changed the “Your” to “Our” to make it more of a group effort and announced, “I’m having lunch with Walter Anderson (of Parade Magazine — the Sunday supplement in newspapers across the country) today. If he asks me, ‘What’s new?’ I’m going to show him this.”
Well, Walter Anderson did ask “What’s new?” and Gloria did explain the idea to him. He was so impressed, he ran a story about it in Parade magazine which was delivered to 33 million homes (!).
It was an idea whose time had come. Ms. Foundation for Women received 10,000 letters in the next 2 weeks, all from people asking, “How can I get involved?”
On the actaul day of the inaugural event, Nell didn’t know if it was going to be a success. She turned on her television to check the news and saw a young girl delivering the weather report with her father. Then, the phone started to ring with jubilant calls from friends around the country telling what they were witnessing. One friend called from Grand Central Station and said, “The train station is FILLED with thousands of girls going to work with their parents!”
Nell told many more moving examples of how this one idea has dramatically changed the lives, career paths and professional aspirations of young girls everywhere — while bonding them with their parents because they finally understood “what my mom or dad did at work all day.”
Want to read more about Nell’s inspirational stories and ventures? Want to learn how you can scale your business with the guidance of experts so it makes a million dollars? Like to tap into the brilliance of a trail-blazing leader?
If so, buy a copy of Nell Merlino’s just-released book “Stepping Out of Line: Lessons for Women Who Want It Their Way . . . In Life, Love and at Work.” I guarantee it will stretch your thinking and motivate you to scale your activities to maximize your impact and income.