Recently, I was on an overseas business trip to discuss planning for the next fiscal year. I’d characterize the theme of the trip as “negotiating difficult conversations.”  You know, the kind of professional development training we all complete about giving and getting constructive feedback.  Tough talk aside, I went out to dinner one night with a colleague and in complete candor, he asks me if it bothers me that I am the only female among more than a dozen participants in these meetings (my travel companions, too, were male).

And then I had a moment. Because I hadn’t even realized I was the only woman.

The next day, I walked into the meetings suddenly aware of the gender dynamic. I started to pick up on behaviors such as questions directed to my (male) colleagues and interactions that actually excluded me. Sigh.

Today is International Women’s Day.  What better day to reflect than today.

You see, I believe in a world based on merit and integrity. We all put that forward and it shouldn’t matter if you are female, polka dotted, or upside down. I am being facetious, of course, but I am being honest. I believe my career has evolved based on my demonstrated performance, commitment to doing what’s right, and desire to learn, grow and challenge the norm. Not because the latest diversity report indicated there are too few women in leadership.  But, isn’t that a little naïve? Yes. It is. Because the truth is the world is not that simple.  People are not simple. Bias is real and change is hard.

Every new day is a day closer to redefining our expectations and creating the new normal. Today, I pledge to keep the conversation alive, to cultivate a culture in which merit and parity are the norm. I invite all the women and men out there to join in and celebrate this movement with me.  #PressforProgress #InternationalWomensDay2018