Ready to join the team?

  • Let go of being right and notice your own unconscious bias. One humbling way is to take the 15-minute Implicit Association Test from Harvard.
  • Notice unconscious bias out loud. Notice it out loud in person, share it with us on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Change the what. What’s one thing you can do NOW to change the environment, change a system or change a process? Do it and share it!

For more, here are all the things that went into designing and delivering a TEDx Talk for me. Here are the links to the research and more resources to notice and change the impacts of unconscious bias.

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Download handout.

Women’s Progress Stalled

The Wage Gap: A History of Pay Inequity and the Equal Pay Act

“Women’s labor-force participation in the United States also leveled off in the second half of the 1990s, in contrast to its continued increase in most other countries. …. By 2004, a smaller percentage of married women with children under 3 were in the labor force than in 1993.” summary of Catalyst research findings.

Women in Higher Education

“Key findings illustrated that women in academia make up more than half​ of all college students, but only slightly more than a quarter of all full professors and less than 15% of the presidents at doctoral degree granting intuitions.”

According to the Colorado Women’s College 2013 Benchmarking Women’s Leadership in the United States report, the average percentage of women holding leadership positions in higher education is a startlingly low 24.53%.

Unconscious Bias in Scientists provides a summary of the study.

“In the study, Yale University researchers asked scientists at six universities to review identical CVs purporting to belong to senior undergraduate students that had been randomly assigned male or female names.

The researchers found that in considering the applicants for a laboratory manager position, staff consistently judged male candidates to be more competent and deserving of an extra $4,000 (£2,475) pay on average. They were also more willing to provide male applicants with mentoring and were more likely to hire them.

Women in the study were just as likely as men to make these judgements, and scientists responded no better than control groups.”

The full study is “Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students”

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A TEDx talk may appear to be a solo thing. Not for me. So much and so many people went into speaking at TEDxPasadenaWomen. I am so grateful for the team that helped me pull this off.

  • The practical and soulful support of the amazing John Bates of Executive Speaking Success and his colleague Nataly.
  • 125+ hours of designing the talk, practicing, rehearsing with volunteers in the living room, meeting with my coaches.
  • TEDxPasadenaWomen organizers Amber and Nadine.
  • TEDxPasadenaWomen speaker coaches Michele Lando and David Samuels.
  • A timely gift from my friend Kim of the book Resonate by Nancy Duarte.
  • Facebook messages about Asian American stereotypes with my friend Scott.
  • Sticky notes. LOTS of sticky notes.
  • Makeup by Sara.
  • Rides from Beth.
  • Emergency calls to and from my HS BFF Tammy.
  • Emergency texts to and from my local BFF Rosemary.
  • Yoga and meditation.
  • My writing group Kim and Bev.
  • Feedback from my clients at Caltech.
  • Volunteer audience members Julianne, Dave, Haley, Kristen, Julie, Dave, Marshall, Sally, Paul, Gail, De, Melissa, Chris, John, Rebecca.
  • Encouraging emails from Gin, Catie, Brence, and Cathy.
  • TEDx eve dinner of Domenico’s, rosé and Carmela ice cream.
  • The support of my husband and daughter.

Women’s Momentum Has Stalled

The Wage Gap: A History of Pay Inequity and the Equal Pay Act

Until the early 1960s, newspapers published separate job listings for men and women. Jobs were categorized according to sex, with the higher level jobs listed almost exclusively under “Help Wanted—Male.” In some cases the ads ran identical jobs under male and female listings—but with separate pay scales. Separate, of course, meant unequal: between 1950 and 1960, women with full time jobs earned on average between 59–64 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earned in the same job.

It wasn’t until the passage of the Equal Pay Act on June 10, 1963 (effective June 11, 1964) that it became illegal to pay women lower rates for the same job strictly on the basis of their sex

“The gender wage gap was wider in 2011 than in 2010 and was actually at the same level as in 2009. Back in the 1980s, the gap narrowed by more than 10 percentage points. But it’s only closed by about one percentage point since 2001.”

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tedx stage

TEDxPasadenaWomen on May 30, 2015. One of 250 independently organized TEDx Women events happening across the globe in connection with the main TEDWomen event in Monterey CA the same week. 14 speakers, 3 special guests, 100 in the audience. What a day.

In a few short weeks, around the fourth of July, you’ll be able to view videos of all the TEDxPasadenaWomen speakers, guests, and interviews too. In the meantime, here are a few of my own highlights and some of the other speakers I am looking forward to sharing when the videos are up.


The title for my talk is “How Unconscious Bias Puts Us on the Same Team.” I spoke about how unconscious bias is stalling women’s progress but that noticing out loud the ways unconscious bias impacts ALL of us, puts us on the SAME TEAM where we can change the WHAT (the processes, systems, environment) not the WHO (each other) to make difference for everyone.  But really I told stories – a story about Kate and her Equal Pay Day t-shirt, two stories from high school basketball that taught me lessons about dealing with unconscious bias, and a story about my husband David.

Favorite quotes from people after my talk:

“You knocked it out of the park.”

“I felt like I just had a talk with my best friend.”

“I want to be on your team.”

IMG_6453My daughter Kate attended as my guest, and she wore the t-shirt she made for Equal Pay Day (Women, Like Men Only Cheaper) which figures prominently in the talk I shared with the audience. So after my time on stage, everyone wanted to talk to her. They even interviewed her on camera as part of my post-talk interview. I knew it would be great to have her there, but it was absolutely incredible – she thought I was cool for a day, we got to share this amazing experience, she got to talk with people who cared what she thought as a person – not a IMG_6508.copykid, and she got to be part of a room full of people who believe you can make a difference if you speak up.

Favorite quote of things people said to Kate:

“You and your mom are badasses.”

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TEDxPasadenaWomen TEDxWhen I learned I had been accepted to speak at TEDxPasadenaWomen on Saturday May 30,th  my first wave of emotion was pure excitement.

TEDxPasadenaWomen is an independently organized satellite event of TEDWomen event taking place in Monterey, CA on May 27, 28 and 29.

The next, much larger tsunami was panic and anxiety.

My preferred solution to any large, anxiety-producing task is to gather a team. So I am casting far and wide for teammates as I prepare for this talk. Starting lineup includes:

  • My husband, my business coaching group, and my speaking coach, John Bates of Executive Speaking Success, who kicked my butt until I submitted the application.
  • Lunch with Rosemary, breakfast with Nancy, a book from Kim, offers to provide feedback from my clients.
  • My best friend Tammy calling magically (as usual) at a moment of serious creative block.
  • Tweets and emails with all the other amazing speakers on May 30.
  • My daughter energetically talking with me about my idea. She is going as my guest that day!

I’ll be talking about how getting everyone on the same team and attacking the unconscious bias we all have NOT each other is the only way to accelerate progress for women, and accelerate progress for all of us.

If you’d like to join my TEDx team, send me an encouraging word. Forward me your favorite TED talk, relevant articles and your stories. Apply to attend TEDxPasadenaWomen. TODAY IS THE LAST DAY!). Offer to come to a practice session. Volunteer to host a practice session for me.

We can do so much together!

~ Kristin

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