We’re All In This Together

Posted on March 3, 2015

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Today’s #13Percent post is from Kirsten Wyatt.  Kirsten is the Assistant City Manager in West Linn, Oregon and the co-founder of ELGL. Twitter & LinkedIn.
b2347ae6bd07cbf1e2da8701da4b53f2ELGL got engaged on the women in local government leadership topic with the understanding that the lack of change in the past 30 years can’t be solved unless we’re all in it together. On this topic, ELGL has coined the hashtag #13Percent.
Notably, we picked this hashtag because it doesn’t specify gender in the title. It’s important to ELGL to not sequester this issue away for women to talk about and deal with. And, we’ve eschewed ideas to create ‘women’s leadership training’ or other opportunities that are only for women.
To ELGL, this is a no-brainer. But it’s come to our attention that we think a little differently than other groups on this topic, so I want explain why we’re taking this approach and why we think this is important. As always, I am anxious to hear your ideas about this approach and if you agree or disagree with it.  Please send me an email or a tweet with your ideas.
Since we started blogging and thinking about the #13Percent issue, ELGL members have been actively engaged in the conversation. From Rafael Baptista’s post on getting elected officials in on the #13Percent conversation, to Kent Wyatt’s call to include all minority groups in this conversation, to Patrick Rollens’ observations on lessons we can learn from the non-profit sector – men have been offering much-needed perspectives on #13Percent.
tumblr_inline_mv2eel8l9a1rtpcz9We also have a hearty line-up of guest bloggers on the issue, of both genders (and we’re looking for more – sign up today!). Because again – in the minds of ELGL members, the #13Percent problem isn’t just a women’s issue, or an issue that only women need to talk about.
And not to beat a dead horse, but I firmly believe that some of the advice given to women about career advancement should be applied to all local government employees, regardless of gender, because what we really need to promote are best practices about becoming strong and dynamic leaders. It doesn’t help women — or men — if we pretend that advice like “…assess your skills…” or “…navigate the assertiveness dilemma…” or “…develop networking groups…” are gender-specific career tips.
With ELGL, we want all of our members, regardless of gender, to find ways to develop themselves professionally and personally, into the most successful version of local government leaders they can be.
I’ll close this post with a decidedly non-academic perspective that I think is important for all of us to remember as we navigate our local government careers. Mindy Kaling (aka Dr. Lahiri to my fellow “The Mindy Project” fans…) said the following about confidence in her career:
anigif_enhanced-buzz-3057-1390489962-19“I have a personality defect where I sort of refuse to see myself as an underdog… It’s because of my parents. They raised me with the entitlement of a tall, blond, white man.”
With ELGL, we’re committed to building the confidence and skill levels of our members, regardless of gender, so our members have the confidence and abilities to make important and positive impacts in their communities. And so, as we continue talking and working on the #13Percent issue, ELGL’s goal is to empower everyone – not just women – on this topic so we can all work on it together.
“A rising tide lifts all boats” — ELGL is that rising tide, and we can’t wait to see the amazing things that all of our members can accomplish.

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