Are we truly – and finally – living in the era of the woman and if so, what does it mean to be women of tomorrow?
We have been in a 100-plus year fight for women’s rights since the Equal Rights Amendment first made its debut in 1923 in Seneca Falls, N.Y. Yet remarkably the measure that would have the constitution simply state: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on ac-count of sex” has still never been passed.
So, how much real progress have we made?
History will be our witness, but the future is ours to define and those who are join us to kick off women’s history month at the NYC Women of Tomorrow Retreat represent the millions and millions of women throughout this country who are dedicated to defining this era as the era of the woman.
Strong women who are redefining boundaries; who bring empathy into the workplace; and who bring heart and home into the forefront of entrepreneurial design.
There are women who say “me too,” and those who say “enough.” There are women who have ideas about what tomorrow can bring, and women who are in-tent on making those dreams a reality. There are women who look at Ellis Island and are proud of the diversity our ancestors have brought into our country and how this diversity has enriched our lives rich with limitless opportunity.
In New Jersey, there are professionals, entrepreneurs, community activists, politicians, philanthropists, survivors, industry experts, mothers, sisters and wives. But above all, there are the Women of Tomorrow. They are the innovators, the dreamers, the believers and the leaders who have hope, passion and purpose to understand that the future is ours to define.
Making an impact as a woman of tomorrow means we need to think outside of the norms. We need to be resilient – despite the endless demands of our family life and unforeseen obstacles that are certain to come our way. To make a positive impact, we need to think beyond ourselves and become part of a movement that can transform the lives of women today and for generations to come. So, all women need to begin to know that you are part of something much larger than your-selves, you are part of something larger than we can even know. You are part of tomorrow, and together we will transform that future into something empowering.
The truth is the professional road for women can sometimes be a rocky one. We have come a long way, but there is still a very long way to go. Thankfully, we are at the epicenter of transformation.
On the entrepreneurial front, we are faring slightly better. There are now an estimated 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. employing nearly 9 million people and generating approximately $1.6 trillion in annual sales. Over the past decade alone, the number of women-owned firms increased by a staggering 45%. However, less than 3% get access to funding.
Our work is not done. The list of challenges is long. While it’s clear that external factors need to change, it is even more critical that our internal mindset changes and that we create tangible solutions together.
Let’s talk about some strategies to ensure that this is in fact the Era of Women. It is time to stop putting yourself last and taking care of everyone else first and start finding your tribe of like-minded women. That is why we are offering a mind-blowing, life-changing retreat on March 20th. One of my mantras is “When women work alone they have power. When women work together they have impact.”
That is why I am thrilled to announce my partnership with two incredible women: Tony-nominated Broadway star and Billboard top 5 recording artist Laura Bell Bundy and author and founder of Courageous Leadership Coaching & Consulting Teresa Colaneri for the Women of Tomorrow Retreat on March 20-21 in New York City.
Laura will kick off our retreat on Sunday night with a live concert at the Green Room where she will perform her original songs, which cover issues like equal pay, breaking the glass ceiling, over-apologizing, the mental load of motherhood, pitting women against each other, holding women to unrealistic beauty standards, the obsession with social media, ownership over women’s bodies, doing it all, and women’s relationship to men.
“The way young women feel about themselves and their self-worth, and the way young men value women, starts with the way they are raised,” Bundy says. “Belief systems about a woman’s value, the gift of femininity or consent are formed at an early age by our mothers and fathers.
“I began making the album when I was pregnant (thanks to IVF) and finished the album postpartum with a 9-month-old son,” Bundy continues. “My perspective of what it means to be a woman not only evolved as I researched and reflected on the issues and topics I was covering in each song, but also because I had be-come a mother. I felt the mental load, the mommy brain. I took on the unpaid labor of the second shift all while in the studio singing about it. I felt the pressures from society to bounce back and to be beautiful and fully healed right after going through the transformative, empowering and traumatic physical feat of labor. I found myself completely in awe of what women can do, juggle and make it look like a cakewalk. I became even more determined that women’s equality is imperative.”
Women of Tomorrow features 10 songs total, with Bundy, Shea Carter and Jeremy Adelman serving as co-writers and producers. Along with the album, Bundy hosts a musical podcast, Women of Tomorrow, which dives into the issues each song on her album presents, examines the history of those matters and provides solutions for moving forward.
“This album has been my own 12-step program in 10 songs. I am Laura Bell Bundy, and I am a woman. I can admit now that I have a digital disease, I apologize too much, I feel the pressures of society to be beautiful and young, I haven’t been able to walk home from a bar without being scared, I have been verbally abused, I’ve been underpaid, undervalued, I have pit myself against another woman, I’ve been called a whore just for acting normal, I have been called bossy because I was assertive and direct, I have dealt with infertility, I have been completely overwhelmed as a mother, and I have doubted myself worth … #metoo #metoo #metoo, girl,” Bundy concludes.
On Monday, March 21, amid the powerful energy of the Spring Equinox, the Women of Tomorrow Leadership Empowerment, Retreat Workshop will take place at Yotel from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., led by Teresa Colaneri.
We will learn to cultivate the powerful feminine energy of sensory intelligence combined with “hot seat” opportunities for hands on application. Awakenings require a woman to respond consciously, to accept the invitation to create herself anew, and undertake the challenge, no matter how frightened or inadequate she may feel.
Thus, each awakening call demands not only that it be heard, but that the woman finds the courage to trust and affirm the call whenever it arises, wherever it takes her, and however much it challenges her way of being in the world.
“In this very new time, in order to navigate this very complex world, we need to elevate our whole self. This is beyond eating healthy and exercising,” Colaneri explains. “This is about connecting with our soul and cultivating that relationship. To experience this requires a new kind of brain which feeds into a new meta mind. This is the path forward.
“Feeling the calling yet using the same thinking to bring about change is precisely why so many of us continue to feel stuck, overwhelmed and chasing happi-ness. Leading from the same brain simply will not get us to where we are headed.” Colaneri cites the work of Dr. Michael Cotton and his book, Source Code Meditation. In the book, DCotton references the work of Dr. Paul MacLean during the late 20th century. MacLean introduced groundbreaking information with which he identified four layers in the brain. The fourth and newest layer is an emerging brain which MacLean referred to as “angel lobes.”
Others refer to this brain as the prefrontal cortex as well as the “executive brain.” According to Cotton, this newer, higher brain is said to be responsible for our highest human virtues: compassion, understanding, love, gratitude, empathy, higher intellectual capacities, purpose, meaning and spiritual experience.
As leaders in business, you likely know them as “soft skills.” At a higher level, they are a new kind of intelligence. To activate this newer, higher brain and move from the dominant lower, survivor brain, we need a roadmap. Because just like any other muscle, it doesn’t get stronger on its own. We must activate it and learn to be in a relationship with it.
During our retreat day, we will be working with this new intelligence which Colaneri refers to as Sensory Intelligence to begin feeling into our relationship to this newer, higher brain.
If you’re reading this and thinking, “I possess these virtues. I’m compassionate, grateful and empathetic.” Well, good for you. Colaneri suggests you ask yourself these questions:
- How often do you operate in that space?
- How connected are you to your higher brain and how do you know you’re connected?
- Do you live in an ongoing state of peace and joy and supporting others in this quest?
Join us for this extraordinary experience on March 20-21 for a tribute to Women’s History Month and a calling to create the bold, visionary, powerful women of tomorrow we are all meant to be. As Women’s History Month incentive, mention this NJBIZ article and we will extend the early bird rate until March 1.
Linda Wellbrock is the CEO and founder of Leading Women Entrepreneurs and Force for Change NJ.