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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Panel on Women and Pay Equity

Right to Left: Gloria Feldt, Kimberly Bryant, Kristi Mitchem, Victoria Pynchon

On February 24, I spent the day in Silicon Valley at the Watermark LeadOn Conference for Women (#LeadOnCA) along with 5000+ women listening to speakers like Hillary Clinton, Brené Brown and Diane Von Furstenburg.  Gloria Feldt led a panel discussion on women and pay equity. Gloria is co-founder and president of Take The Lead, the new women’s leadership movement to prepare, develop, inspire and propel women to take their fair and equal share of leadership positions across all sectors by 2025. In my interview with her, we discussed negotiating for pay, Patricia Arquette and unconscious bias.

~ Kristin


How does unconscious bias play a role in the internal, external and systemic barriers facing women?

I am more and more working on unconscious bias from two angles, because railing about it doesn’t change anything.

First is for women and men to understand what unconscious bias is. And by that I mean men are not bad guys, but we all grow up in same cultural soup and end up with the same types of bias. The first step is to unpack unconscious bias and have a laugh about it. In a training, for example, I’ll ask women to sit like men and men to sit like women and they crack up and we go from there.

The second angle is to teach people to be able to communicate with each other. Oppressed groups have to understand the language of the group with all the power. Then you can teach them YOUR language. Bring them over to your ideas and your experiences.

Then there is also the hard work of organizational culture. Creating ways to look at resumes, ways to build your talent pool that decrease unconscious bias.

How does unconscious bias impact pay equity for women and negotiating – the topic of the panel you led here at the conference?

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warmth.comptence.Disney.styleLinks and resources for all of the passionate, powerful, purposeful women at YWCA Mankato Women’s Leadership Conference!

Share the action you’ll be taking in the next 7 days as a comment at the end of this post or over on my Facebook page.



Warmth and Competence

Subconscious Bias

On Purpose, Identity, and Interrupting Bias

Recommended Reading

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Photo by Jeffrey M. Vinocur

Photo by Jeffrey M. Vinocur

Let’s see, women find it difficult to get ahead in their careers at our companies so what should we do?

A. Advise and pay for a woman to go through two medical procedures (freezing eggs and then using the eggs) to bear a child.

B. Make changes to our workplaces to make it possible for people at various life stages to fit in human activity such as childbearing and childrearing, caring for elderly parents, and other very human pursuits.

If you are Apple and Facebook, the answer is A. But I hope the rest of us can see that “freezing eggs” as the solution is also A for Absurd.

The egg-freezing strategy means that Apple and Facebook are also saying “It’s up to each woman to plan her way through her worklife. If she doesn’t, then too bad, it’s her fault.” I have already taken to task individuals who advise women to freeze their eggs, not dreaming we would see companies offer to pay for it and then be praised for it. All of this implies women can simply plan and choose our way through today’s worklife challenges – marry the right guy, don’t lean back, choose a family friendly career, have kids early, have kids late, freeze your eggs, just ask for flexibility– and all of it actually prevents us from taking effective actions to change our workplaces and our public policies.

Add freezing eggs to the long list of absurd extremes companies will go to –  provide meals, deliver drycleaning, provide childcare on site, and so on –  to avoid having to question the flawed assumption that it is reasonable and human to expect that each and every person will work 50 hours a week, 50+ weeks a year, for 50 years of his or her life. Individually these types of services probably provide real benefit to some employees, but in aggregate the message is that as a company – and a society – we will do whatever it takes so we don’t have to change how we define the “ideal worker.”

How about another option?

C. Take this egg-freezing job and shove it.





YWCA_conference_identity_color2014I’ll be speaking in my hometown, Mankato MN, for the YWCA Mankato Women’s Leadership Conference on November 5th and 6th!

Early Bird registration closes this Friday October 10 so if you are in the area, register today!

My journey trying to figure out how to be a woman and a leader began in Mankato so I am honored to be the closing keynote speaker on Thursday November 6. Being a woman leader is different and difficult not because of who we are, but because of the way others around us perceive women. Each and every woman can be a powerful, authentic leader if she has the knowledge about those perceptions, a commitment to her purpose as a leader, and the support of other women.

I can’t wait to meet all the women in Mankato who are leading the way!

~ Kristin

P.S. There’s more about the conference, all the speakers, and an interview with me in the October River Valley Woman Magazine.


couple sharing choresBoth men and women rank sharing household chores as the third most important ingredient in our recipe for a successful marriage, right behind faithfulness and good sex. Yet the latest data tells us that in dual-earner couples, mom is still doing more housework and more childcare than dad does. Surprisingly, when mom earns more than dad, she does even more – not less – of the family work than other employed moms. As Amy Vachon, co-author of Equally Shared Parenting: Rewriting the Rules for a New Generation of Parents says, “Sharing doesn’t come automatically, because our culture pushes us into traditional roles.”

For many mothers our approach to sharing chores and childcare consists of doing the tasks ourselves, nagging our partner to do them, and then resenting that we are doing and nagging. That is a recipe for failure. A recent UCLA study looked at when women are most satisfied with the division of household labor. Is it when she does everything herself, when her husband does many tasks but she manages all the tasks, or when the two of them are working as a team? According to Dr. Tamar Kremer-Sadlik, UCLA Professor and co-editor of the book Fast-Forward Family: Home, Work, and Relationships in Middle-Class America, a woman’s satisfaction is “not about an equal amount of labor but that there is a sense of coordination and shared goal of doing something for the family, of working as a team, even if the two of them are not doing exactly the same amount.”

If you would like to work more as a team with your partner, these six tools can help you get out of the rut of managing family tasks yourself so you can reap the benefits of sharing responsibility.

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