This year, #girlbossyeg 2018 had more male attendees than any other year before. We reached out to the first male attendee to register, Mike Kluh, for the event to provide some feedback on the event and a male feminist perspective.
Mike had this to say:
Q: What prompted you to register for #girlbossyeg 2018?
A: I had several colleagues and friends attending the event and had heard that it would be open for men to attend. Gender equality in the workplace is something I feel strongly about, so it was an exciting opportunity to join the conversation.
Q: What did you think of the event?
A: I enjoyed the range of perspectives presented by the panelists. I especially found the conversations focused on the business world insightful since that most reflects my work environment.
Q: What is your view on feminism?
A: It is such a loaded word and it raises such a range of thoughts and emotions across people, so, first let me tell you what Google told me feminism means: “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.” From that perspective, I am a feminist. How could you not support equality and human rights for any group of people? Also, selfishly, all organizations should want to avoid narrowing the pool of talent available to them in a competitive world; and they should want to retain and elevate their top talent regardless of social labels. Feminism makes organizations stronger.
Q: How will you be supporting the girl bosses in your life this year?
A: I have had the privilege of working for some pretty awesome girl bosses throughout my career. It may sound small, but simply checking my unconscious biases, and then challenging those of my peers and reports (tactfully, of course) is something I strive to do consistently to clarify what is acceptable in the workplace and what is not. Peer pressure is a powerful thing.
Q: What was your best take away from #girlbossyeg 2018?
A: One of the panelists shared the concept of having a sponsor within your organization. This person is not necessarily a mentor or a coach, or a formally appointed sponsor, but someone who “goes to bat” for you and looks for your next opportunity for advancement or growth. Upon reflecting, I have been lucky to have people like this throughout my career and will be seeking opportunities in the future to do this for younger professionals who need that kind of support.
Q: How will you #PressForProgress in 2018?
A: I mentor a young female professional through the interVivos mentorship program. I have always viewed this as an important way to level the playing field by sharing my network, experiences, etc.