Monday, June 20, 2011

Women who lead

On Tuesday, June 21, 2011, I'll have the chance to discuss a fascinating question with a small group of women from other NC independent schools. Why aren’t more women moving up the ranks of leadership in independent school communities to become school heads?

The question was posed in the opening of an article in the Fall 2010 edition of Independent School Leadership by Susan Feibelman and Martha Haakmat titled: A Gendered Experience.

When I read the article, I discussed it with a number of other women working in independent schools. I can only imagine that many others did the same. Shortly afterwards, in December, a TED talk (embedded at the end of this post) by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg titled Why we have too few women leaders went viral, at least among the same group. Sandberg looks at why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions -- and offers 3 powerful pieces of advice to women.

Sandberg alludes to some cultural factors that Feibelman and Haakmat describe in their article:

The low number of women leaders, it turns out, is directly connected to cultural attitudes toward women as leaders.

Two women with successful school headships in their careers will keynote this gathering of women interested in learning more about leadership in independent schools. They are:

Sandra Adams, Former Head of Summit School

Doreen Kelly, Head of Ravenscroft School

As is my wont, I'll be liveblogging the keynote addresses and possibly some of the later sessions as well, right here, starting at 9:15.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ode to Pink

Both of my daughters love the color pink. We recently moved, and they had a hand in helping to decorate their new room. It came as no surprise to me that their room is now pinkified--pink curtains, drapes, throw pillows, wall art. . . you name it, it's pink.

I'm (professionally) infatuated with another shade of pink these days. Dan Pink's Drive. When I read A Whole New Mind, the first of Pink's books to come to my attention, I will admit to being a little underwhelmed. Why it was pleasantly put together, I didn't feel that I learned anything new from AWNM. I had a completely different experience while reading Drive. Yes, Drive referenced and distilled the work of others I'd already read, most notably Carol Dweck's thought-provoking work published in Mindset. However, in Drive, Pink put his thoughts about what motivates us (people, humanity, etc)together in a way that gets the people in my school talking on a high level about topics such as motivation, assessment, student autonomy. . . conversations well worth having.

One nice thing about Drive is that Pink and others have done some of the work to help get conversations going with a group. His Two Questions video is perfect for opening a discussion.

Two questions that can change your life from Daniel Pink on Vimeo.

At my school, we felt like the second question was not one we wanted to encourage. I'll talk more about that more in another post in the future.

Once the group has discussed the first video, it is worth seeing this collection of responses made by people from around the world to the prompt "what's your sentence."

Who knows--as a group, you may be inspired to make your own video of sentences. We've started our own--there's much more to come.

Finally, if anyone read the book a while back and needs a brief refresher/overview, I highly recommend these two videos: