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Benefits of Women Elevating Women

#DEI #Culture
Cori Hammoor headshot
Cori Hammoor • Marketing Manager

This month we're celebrating women – those who cleared the initial paths and those who are building on their progress today. Stories, old and new, continue to prove the importance and benefits of building a cycle of women's empowerment.

We're excited to share the stories of three successful, path-clearing women: Jen Meza, VP of People at Yello; Annie Griffiths, Founder of Ripple Effect Images; and Jeri Wilson, Executive Director of Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF). We recently spoke with them to better understand their passions for elevating other women.

On the importance of elevating women...

While starting at Yello, Meza walked into ‘The Boy’s Club,’ at least that’s what some people called Yello in 2016. After 4+ years of trailblazing on

how we do meetings, where decisions are made, how we're communicating information, and all of the underlying fabric of a culture that is less codified.

Meza

Meza led her team in creating an environment where people, especially women, feel more included and welcome.

Wilson elevates the PCRF team every day, encouraging them to grow and further their education.

I WANT WOMEN, INCLUDING MY DAUGHTERS, TO KNOW NOTHING IS STOPPING THEM. SAME FOR MY TEAM. I FEEL THAT ELEVATING OTHERS AROUND ME IS ALSO GOING TO HELP US AS A TEAM. STRONGER TOGETHER.

Wilson

Griffiths, one of the first women photographers at National Geographic, founded the nonprofit Ripple Effect Images to support women in the developing world. 

THERE ISN’T MUCH COVERAGE OF SUCCESS IN WESTERN MEDIA. A MESSAGE NOBODY HEARS IS THAT THE WORLD IS GETTING BETTER, THERE ARE MORE GIRLS IN SCHOOL, THERE IS LESS POVERTY, THERE IS LESS DISEASE. AND THIS POSITIVE CHANGE IS IN LARGE PART BECAUSE OF THESE AID ORGANIZATIONS’ COLLECTIVE WORK. SO, OUR MISSION IS TO ELEVATE THAT WORK, TO ELEVATE THOSE SOLUTIONS THAT ARE WORKING, SO PEOPLE CAN SEE THESE WOMEN AS MAGNIFICENT SURVIVORS.

Griffiths

 

On the personal benefits of elevating women...

It is clear that Meza, Wilson, and Griffiths support and elevate women, and they have personally benefited from doing so.

As Meza helped build towards a 50/50 gender diverse organization, she is also the Executive Sponsor of their employee resource group (ERG) for Women at Yello. Meza is inspiring the women’s ERG, and they are inspiring her.

IT IS A WONDERFUL THING WHEN WOMEN HELP EACH OTHER. I THINK THAT THERE ARE SOME MAJOR HURDLES WE GO THROUGH AND LIFE EVENTS THAT REALLY IMPACT US. SO HAVING A NETWORK OF WOMEN IS SO IMPORTANT JUST TO ASK OPEN AND HONEST QUESTIONS.

Meza

 

Over 20 years ago, Wilson’s boss encouraged her to continue her education, hence Jeri encouraging her PCRF team (from earlier).

THE BEST AND HARDEST DECISION I HAVE MADE IN MY CAREER LED ME TO THE JOB I HAVE NOW. SHE [JERI’S BOSS] TOLD ME THE MORE I KNEW, THE BETTER PATH I COULD LEAD FOR MYSELF. THAT WAS IN 1997, AND I AM STILL REAPING THE BENEFITS OF THOSE LATE NIGHTS.

Wilson

Griffiths has been supporting women in the developing world for more than 20 years, and she says it has been the greatest privilege of her life.

I AM AN ALIEN TO THEM, AND WE DON'T SHARE THE LANGUAGE VERY OFTEN. BUT WE PANTOMIME OUR WAY THROUGH EVERYTHING, AND IT’S VERY TOUCHING TO EXPERIENCE THEIR WARMTH AND WELCOMING NATURE. THEY HAVE THE ESSENTIAL THING THAT KEEPS THEM GOING...HOPE. AND MOST OF WHAT THEY DO IS ON BEHALF OF THEIR CHILDREN. THESE WOMEN ARE MY MENTORS. THEY ARE SURVIVORS. THEY ARE THE PEOPLE I'VE LEARNED MOST FROM.

Griffiths

On how to elevate women around you...

After conducting these inspirational interviews, we took a step back to see how we could inform others to elevate women. See the two ways to support, uplift, and empower the women in your workplace and community inspired by Meza, Wilson, and Griffiths.

  1. Build an inclusive space (at work and in your community)
    • “There are big things to make an inclusive space, like formalizing where we're going to make decisions and making sure those are open and aware in meetings. But it's also small things like who is on the email chain, and who is in the meeting after the meeting.” – Meza
  2. Give back
    • Volunteer with organizations supporting, uplifting, and empowering women.
      • Example of volunteer opportunity: Due to the pandemic, 2.2 million women dropped out of the workforce from October 2019 to October 2020. Find an organization that helps women with their resumes or perform mock interviews to help their return to the workforce be successful (or contact Percent Pledge for help finding nonprofits/volunteer opportunities).
    • Donate to organizations empowering and advocating for women, like Ripple Effect Images and PCRF.
      • You can donate to Women’s Empowerment specific organizations here or donate to Ripple Effect Images and PCRF here.

We saw earlier the benefits of Meza elevating women in her workplace; the benefits of Wilson elevating women in her nonprofit; the benefits of Griffiths elevating women in her community. But how can we tie these together? That’s where a workplace giving program comes in. Uniting workforce teams to give back to nonprofits and the community both build inclusive cultures and elevates women. 

Learn more about workplace giving programs here.

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