Lean In

Sheryl Sandberg has written a book about her own vulnerabilities.  This is a good book and if you understand the courage it takes to expose your own vulnerabilities, or to relinquish your power to improve others you can easily find deep respect for Sheryl.   Next book will be about being vulnerable by Brene Brown!

Sheryl was very good as sharing the insecurities on many females’s minds – do men experience this insecurity, too?  I appreciate the manner in which Sheryl explains that our behaviors are tied back to gender behaviors from many years ago.  I can understand this and relate to it.  I can also  relate  to having to work harder, or explain myself more than my male coworkers.  I often feel more challenged by my male supervisor than I see him challenging other men.  I am fortunate in that I am mentored by him, so using this two way street for sharing information I hope to bring it up.   He is a good boss, he appreciates and gives good constructive feedback.

Lean In was also instrumental in helping me understand I am not alone in having my life plans completely mapped out.  I seem to put my career together in 5 year runs.   – What do I want to do for the next five years?  I like the idea of not having to know how to do a job completely before applying for the opportunity.  I think a lot of women should consider this, and interview for the lesson and new growth opportunity.   Expanding your career to an area where you are not an expert provides you with an open mind and fresh perspective, which in some cases are what some positions really lack.



Thank you for assigning us to Read Just Mercy.  Among many things, I took from this book that many are treated differently because of their race.  This is infuriating.  Since reading the book, my eyes have been opened – because they were not to the unethical ways we tend to treat people who are ‘different’ than our self.   My world has been very privileged, and this privilege has led me to ignore some of the other races and ways they are impacted by our daily behaviors.  Simple stuff… not complex or hateful but simple discussions – like… I was sure to call someone in my group “black” or “African-American” when I was describing her.  As in, Jamie is the __________ black lady sitting at the end of the table.  See simple, because sometimes it helps to be able to identify a person when you are sending someone for directions.

After reading this book I had a simple friendly discussion with Jamie about what she preferred.  She was very willing to talk about this and how she feels about being called an “African American” – she said “I am from Maryland, LOL”…  As a leader of a small group I have the ability to talk with my team individually and learn more about who they are.  I was thankful to be able to talk about our class and diversity among our small group.

I hope to use some of the ideas from the Bias book to grow the knowledge and perceptions of others in my group, too.

Equality vs. Equity

Image result for justice vs equality

There is so much I can same about Equity, to the Guardian ad Litem who failed to help my stepson, lacked the ability to see how he needed a second box.  Her quick judgement to sight his as less than needy of her attention, hurt him and sent a horrible course in motion.  From this situation I learned about proximity and learning, not perceiving a situation to be what you think it is.  The whole idea of not judging a book by it’s cover is significant if we are to ensure  we treat others fairly, while giving them the same foundation as we would want for all.

Poverty, maybe knowledge

Freewriting from thoughts in my head-

As a single teenage parent, I can relate to going without and because of my own poor 19 year old decisions, I can relate to being temporarily homeless, or without a permanent home.  I can not relate to these situations with factors I could not control, because my circumstances were because of my own actions – give your parents enough shit and they change the locks… Tough Love worked.

However, as we read through the material I can see, from Mercy Me, and from later events in my life (what was I thinking!?) where things are sometimes outside of ones control… I joke in class about my stepson being 18 soon; but in trying to change the world inside my own home, I have sadly come to realize how much children are at the mercy of good parents in order to be successful and to get off on the right foot.

While my own young foolishness was temporary, I have worried a lot lately about the ideas and believes my stepson has in his head about his own future –  he’s going to college you know, on a scholarship for baseball…. Except he does not play baseball; and he has applied to any colleges.

He has been told this and without a clear understanding of how things work – like, dude, you need to be on a baseball team for someone to know how you play… he is so sadly misguided but clinging on to the old shake-security he knows.

My necessary focus on myself, working on my MBA and career certifications have led me to put less and less energy into trying to steer him on to a realistic path – until I can help him walk this path along side him.  It is challenging to know someone is so horribly mislead.

How is this related to poverty?  Sometime people live in poverty, making bad decisions because it is all they have been taught.   Sometimes this is because of things in their control and sometimes it is not.  My stepson has taught me that somethings which seem in our control, sometimes are not — it is based on perception.  I have struggled with this – as a very fortunate female, who made some foolish decisions, I was so privileged to have great parents who let me learn from my mistakes but did not create hurdles for me.

Poverty is a significant hurdle; it is unimaginable how some are forces to live.  Poverty is not just about money, but you can be poor in knowledge to – right?

Stretching an idea, thanks  for letting me vent and share.


Reflections – Leaning In, Real Life

I have had an interesting few weeks at work, which ended up sending me to Newport, RI. Today was an exhausting, tedious but necessary day of distributing a +300 line IT budget to multiple categories, it was complex but definitely a “first world problem” as I explained and documented how we planned to spend $50M (Yes, Million!) dollars for IT, specifically Research and Development IT efforts. A real issue, right?
I do not think so, but it has had my attention for more time than I want to reflect and admit — professionally and fortunately I was able to defend this budget – and we have our funding…. How does this relate to Social Justice? Well, it does not – really – we do not have a bias, except to our system requirements and mission- to help build and maintain the Navy Surface Warfare Capabilities.  
Through these last few trying weeks, I have been able to reflect on how our reading assignments have empowered me.  I have been enabled by what I have learned to speak up, relay necessary messages, and defend those who are struggling to explain their own purposes.   I have gotten more comfortable with my presentations (Thanks, Kim!) and able to manage a challenging audience – albeit I know my material well.
Lean In was a good book for me.  I agree and empathize with Sandberg, women do need to speak up and be more present.  It is amazing what men get away with and women must justify.  After a heated budget review last week, which I presented half of the controversial budget requirements, the gentleman who presented with me was thanked for a great presentation.  I was a bit heated, but held my cool, jumping in when I good to remind the thankful person of my hard work in gathering, documenting and extracting the details of this presentation  which enabled my male co-presenter to appear so well read on the material….   to which the next day a senior male leader sent me a nice letter on my efforts.   Smiling and Speaking up, it is what strong women do!
**Fight for Feminism!**

Just Mercy


Just Mercy

This book was sad, happy, maddening and exhausting. Bryan Stevenson is an amazing man for dedicating his live to helping others so diligently, lovingly, unconditionally and for fighting so hard for those who have sinned or made a mistake to be forgiven and understand they have value.

I really like the sentence in the book which states we are “more than the sum of what we did”.  This line spoke to me and is so very true.  It was so frustrating and yet also clarifying to see the complexity of the capital punishment process – I dare say this is how the legal system works in total; we have been victims of the legal process and know it is a grueling blink process which seems to never end or produce any really justice or resolutions.

I love how Bryan Stevenson composed the book going back and forth with different stories of people and cases he had experienced.  The stories about the children committing one crime and being sentenced to life in prison was heart breaking.  I was also disheartening that it has taken our country so many years to recognize our faults and how long we have treated other races so poorly.

I think there are still courts who are as bias as Bryan tells us; it is very sad this still exists and that the poor, mentally ill and children are suffering at the stubbornness and blindness of others who see these people as lost souls to society.

God Bless Bryan Stevenson.