Support Women 2 Shelley Cadamy feature
Society & Culture, Practice & Voice

5 Ways to Support Awesome Women

Over the course of my twenty-five-year career, I’ve been fortunate to work for visionary people, and been supported by some who I didn’t know even knew my name. As I head into the second half of my career, it’s important for me to support women – younger women, peers, and women more mature than me. Quite frankly though I do sometimes see women support women, I also see too many women operating from a place of scarcity where they view other women’s success as a threat to their own, which I find shameful, and I’d like to change that.

Here are 5 Ways I’m Supporting Awesome Women

Formal mentorship.

I have long respected the Women in Recovery program, a prison diversion program for women. I’ve hired several graduates from that program, and I just became a mentor. If I do it right, I’ll learn as much as my mentee does.

Letting other women know I see them.

Strong, effective women unfortunately still get labeled in not so nice ways. I look forward to the day that changes, but until then, I will reach out to women like me, ask them to coffee, and tell them I see them and their struggles and that they are badasses. We have to have each other’s backs.

Thanking the women who paved the way.

For every woman in the generation ahead of me who wonders why we are still demanding equality, I say thank you for making my life possible. I’ve had this discussion many times and will continue having it.  I am a single woman who has owned two homes, has credit, has had a career in a male-dominated field, has adopted three children as a single person, and who gets to wear pants whenever I want. For all those things, I have the generations before me to thank, so thank you, ladies.

Doing meaningful work.

I just launched the first Tulsa-area peer advisory group for my firm, The Mettise Group, whose network of peer advisory groups is the largest and oldest in Oklahoma. The peer advisory group provides a confidential environment for leaders to get objective feedback from true peers, and to get accountability. It’s a three-hour window where everyone has your back, which is needed, because leading is awesome but it’s also lonely, especially for women.

Using my privilege.

As a privileged, upper-income white woman, I intentionally support women of color by amplifying their words and actions. I also explicitly reach out to ask what they need and how I can support their careers and their lives. Most importantly, I try to listen more than I speak.

At this point in my career I’m looking at my legacy and ensuring that I leave the world better than I found it. For me, that means doing whatever I can to ensure my daughters and granddaughter have a vastly more positive experience than my own, in every way possible. I’d love to hear from you about the ways you support women in your life.

At All Souls, we are devoted a series in 2019 called, The F Word: Perspectives on Feminism in the Year of the Woman. 

Read more from Yadenee HailuSallie GodwinQuanah Scoggins, and Mia Wright.

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