Get to know: Jan Conrad, Executive Director

August 01, 2018 1:18 PM | Meghan Goetz (Administrator)

What drew you to Women’s Network?

Women’s Network (WN) is an organization that has worked diligently to create relevancy for women in today’s workplace and business community.  Over the past four years, they’ve created a culture of women aspiring to learn and lead, in any space, whether it is as a civic leader, entrepreneurship, corporate leadership or as a family architect.  WN is a community of women who aspire to make their world a better place by engagement and action.  Conversations around personal aspirations happen in a safe space and peer learning creates a room full of conversation that facilitates growing professionally and personally. The opportunity to build upon that sound foundation of quality programming is enormous.  With more of my career behind me than ahead of me, it is time to make a difference for those to follow us. 



What do you think is the biggest obstacle that women face in the workplace today?

    Denial:  A general belief that inequity does not happen in our communities.  We see a few women leaders and conclude that we “don’t have that problem here.”  But it does exist.

Lack of confidence:  Confidence, or the lack thereof, takes many forms of behavior.  Self-deprecating comments, the self-selection out of opportunities to lead teams or join a committee are prevalent among women.  If the motive is boiled down to a common denominator, often it is lack of confidence in one’s ability to bring enough skill to the table.  With training and support, confidence can grow, and Women’s Network is a great community where one can gain the courage to grow.

Intentionality:  Deliberate planning for one’s path to leadership.  It takes commitment and focus to build one’s career.


What do you wish more people understood about women’s (in)equality? Is there a particular thread that you think is overlooked or under-discussed?

There are real obstacles for women, some of which is stems from the cultural norms we create.  For example, I recently read a New York Times article talking about inequity of chores that starts in the home.  I recall in my own home, girls primarily cleaned, cooked, baked, cleared the table and washed the dishes.   And according to the NY Times, that is still happening in American households. Subtle messages matter. Expectation is set at an early age for both genders.  I do not mean to over-simplify the issue.  However, it is so much about messages learned at a young age.  

Conversations around workplace parity are tedious.  It requires vulnerability on all fronts. Those conversations can be difficult, and my hope is that Women’s Network can raise awareness, monitor the data and continue to be a thought leader bringing solutions and answers.  We must start with where we are today and we are leading that effort.

Below, a recent national study provides the status of leadership in broad sectors.

STATUS OF WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP GAP in the UNITED STATES




MEN


WOMEN

WOMEN OF COLOR

State Legislators

75%

25%

5%

U.S. Congress

81%

19%

6%

U.S. Governors

88%

12%

4%

Executives

63%

24%

2%

     Source:  Rutgers Center for American Women & Politics, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University

Locally, Women’s Network commissioned a study on the status of leadership in Summit County.  Results will be revealed at the Women's Leadership Summit, FLUX: A Movement for Change to be held on Friday, November 9th from 7:30am-4:00pm at the John S. Knight Center.

Women's Network

(330) 256-1122

wninfo@womensnetworkneohio.com

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