It’s hard to pinpoint when it began. I’m sure it wasn’t until college, and I don’t think it came before my sophomore year. The earliest recollections are of myself running in circles around the above ground track in the Vanderbilt Rec Center listening to the voice of Sophia Amoruso as she conversed with bold, intelligent women about their stories of “grit and grace.” It was gradual. At first, I found listening to successful women to be nothing more than a motivating force as I sprinted around the loops of the track. But later, I noticed the accounts of these women infiltrating my everyday thoughts. I read Sophia’s book, #girlboss, and began reading and researching more about these women who were more than just shattering the glass ceiling, they were building something new in its place. I craved the chronicles of women like Jennifer Hyman, Sara Blakely, Emily Weiss, and so many more.
As sophomore year ended and I started my first internship experience at Sharecare, Inc., working under the supervision of one of the Senior Vice Presidents, Donna Hill Howes, my interest in the path of a female professional – and its complicated loops – grew deeper. I became captivated by the stories of women in my own circle who have defied the corporate standard and worked their way to the top. Between a summer spent learning from Donna at Sharecare to many fascinating conversations with Debbie Durham, the Washington Bureau Chief at Univision, to a lunch with Amy Digeso, the former Executive Vice President of Global Human Resources at Estee Lauder, I found that I was surrounded by incredible role models, and I became utterly inspired by these women; women who I hope to one day become. The first inklings of these thoughts can be seen in a July 2016 article written for my former blog, Tuesdays with Jordan, titled It’s a Girl’s World…Right?
Soon after, I left for a semester in Barcelona, and between learning about the culture of the female career track outside of the U.S. and witnessing the 2016 U.S. election from abroad, my thoughts matured. After writing this post, I knew there was something more that I wanted to explore – but what? Continuing on the path of research, I enrolled in an elective course, Women in Leadership, upon returning to Vanderbilt. This class taught me more about the story of women in the United States and beyond, helping me to better understand what is necessary to change the course of history. I saw everything from pop culture to Wall Street to children’s literature painting the picture of women as belonging anywhere but at the table. But I also saw things starting to change, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
As I went into senior year, I had a strong inclination to start a new blog – something that had purpose, was focused on young women, and would allow me to continue writing beyond college graduation. I found that I was uninspired to write for Tuesdays with Jordan because I no longer felt that adding to the library of my college chronicles had a distinct purpose beyond updating my parents – and a few others – on my life. At the same time, I was working at a wealth management firm for my major’s capstone internship, and I started to learn about investing and the gender gap (which completely outdoes the gender pay gap), growing my fascination with the path of a professional female’s success. Between that and helping various friends prepare for job applications and interviews throughout the fall, I was beginning to see a pattern in how I was choosing to spend my free time – reading about, researching, and actively advancing the interests of young females.
Sitting on a flight from Nashville to San Francisco, reading Worth It by Amanda Steinberg, the idea of The Feminequity Factor was born. I wanted to create a resource for my female peers, something that I would’ve enjoyed following throughout college and beyond, and that would motivate me to continue learning after my increasingly numbered days left in the classroom. The Feminequity Factor would be a story; a curated resource for young women that inspires them to pick up a chair and demand a seat at the table – whether that be in the board room or elsewhere.
I am no expert, but that’s the point. This isn’t the place to read and learn about seasoned women who have reached the ultimate success, but rather to hear from someone at the beginning. This is my journey to embrace feminequity – the ultimate ownership of my future. I’ve identified three places where feminequity is essential: career, money, and life. Over the next unidentified period of time, I will work to understand what feminequity means for myself and those of my generation. I’ll write about feminequity in the sense of writing my first resume, opening an investment account, finding balance, planning adventures, and so much more. You will find a compilation of everything I’ve learned so far, as well as have the chance to follow me in exploring the stories of women, success, and my future.
At the heart of this blog, I will explore the quintessential question that feminequity embodies:
How will we – young millennial women – write a new story in which we possess the corner office, benefit from the stock market, are encouraged to focus on our wellbeing, and are the authors of our unique definitions for happiness?
Stay tuned for more.
**Usage of the word “femme” in this context refers to the French translation of “woman.”