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Tap the shoulders of future leaders
"Create "tap to lead" opportunities by raising awareness, providing access and offering encouragement."

by Grayce Belvedere Young

How can more women help other women move into leadership roles? Women leaders have a unique opportunity to help other women by tapping their shoulders and saying, "Here's an opportunity to consider." Three words come to mind for opening up leadership doors: Awareness. Access. Encourage.

Here's an example of how these powerful words can demonstrate a "tap to lead":

As a volunteer with the GirlsBEST committee through the Women's Foundation of Minnesota, I invited a friend's 13-year-old daughter, Caroline, to serve on the committee with me. She had fun while learning about the nonprofit world and challenges facing today's girls.

Providing awareness and access initiated Caroline's involvement. Later, I encouraged her to apply for the youth leader position. We talked through the application process, how to answer the questions, and what she would emphasize in her presentation. She was thrilled when selected!

Here are 10 ideas for how to create "tap to lead" opportunities by raising awareness, providing access and offering encouragement:

Five simple ideas
• Encourage high school girls to join a debate team, or student council or the yearbook club, in addition to sports or music programs. Provide ongoing encouragement to keep her enthusiasm high.

• Offer a chance for college women to shadow you at the office, or when you are coaching your child's sports team or when you are leading a committee at your place of worship.

• Invite a younger woman to join you at a professional association meeting to raise awareness of different roles/professional choices.

• Invite younger women to the theater or orchestra, or a women's professional sport or an author's book signing to see women in action.

• Send a woman colleague to a conference to learn, grow and network. Ask her to present her learnings to others at the office.



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Five more involved ideas
• Host a female exchange student in your home. Expose yourself and her to another world to broaden both of your perspectives.

• Hire an intern to teach her your business and share your expertise.

• Encourage and coach a younger woman to volunteer on a committee or join a nonprofit board of directors.

• Ask a woman to participate with you on a task force or committee or a project to provide cross-organizational understanding and visibility. Discuss her experience. Encourage her to raise her hand for other such work.

• Mentor a woman in her career.

There are many other ideas to offer women a "tap to lead." If each woman tapped one other woman/girl, what change could we bring in the world?

Grayce Belvedere Young lives in Edina and is president of an organization development practice at a Minneapolis-based, global strategic planning firm. www.proutyproject.com


LeaderVoice: Tell us about a principle or practice of your leadership experience that might strike a chord with other women. 
Email your 450 word personal essay to editor@womenspress.com.






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