“Power is like being a lady…if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” –Margaret Thatcher
That’s the quote that kicked off another great public affairs series event today with the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, focusing on women in politics. Being part of a female-owned small business, it was inspiring to hear from other strong female leaders making a difference in our community and state!
The event panel included President of the St. Paul City Council Amy Brendmoen, Speaker of the Minnesota House Melissa Hortman, and Dakota County Commissioner Liz Workman. Kiya Edwards of KARE 11 moderated the event.
For a panel event with elected officials, the conversation was very candid and honest about how women are leading and making space for themselves in politics, in the boardroom and in the media. Topics covered included mentorship, implicit bias, leadership styles, partisan politics, communication, work-life balance and how to have a career in public service. As we near the end of Women’s History Month, it’s interesting to hear the shared experiences of women, and encouraging to see how these conversations have evolved over time.
I think one of the most interesting topics that resonated with me was that women feel they face a narrower path when it comes to leadership style. Leaders often have to make tough decisions and stand up for what they believe in—and that can fly directly in the face of likeability. It’s a conversation that women in leadership roles have faced for a long time, and I expect the issue to come up regularly in the media with a number of female candidates already throwing their hat in the ring for the 2020 presidential race.
It also reminded me of another Margaret Thatcher quote that feels a good place to end:
“If you set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.”