Lean In Takes Over Mantle for FFT
Who runs the world? Despite what Beyonce says, a growing group of women in Mississippi says its not really the girls. Not yet, at least, but they are working on it.
Lean In Mississippi is a women’s professional group inspired by Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. Lean In's mission is to help women in Mississippi advance their careers by providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information. "We know that Mississippi is a tough place to be a woman in the workforce – and in order to drive change, we need to work together to encourage more women to step into larger roles to help shape the future of our communities and our state," says Kate McNeel, a founder of Lean In.
In 2016 diversity should not just be a buzzword for businesses. According to Fast Company, "Recent studies tout better products and fatter revenues at workplaces with diverse staff members. The key takeaway is that a variety of perspectives leads to better work."
Technology innovations over the last 10 years have created new opportunities and challenges for every business, large or small, new or old. Diversity creates opportunity and a more complete community, all of which are reasons why Mantle opened its doors this year. Mantle knows that a Mississippi that mines all of its resources will be more successful than one that ignores 1/2 (or more!) of its ore. Diversity is about fulfilling potential, not about being politically correct. Mantle and Lean In Mississippi know that Mississippi has equal or better natural resources than any other place in the world. We must simply tap them and nourish them.
Don't take Lean In's word for it either. There is a load of research that demonstrates that companies with diverse employee populations have stronger performance (for example, McKinsey & Co. says there’s about $12 trillion of untapped opportunity in our female populations). A recent Harvard Business Review study, found that companies that were strong on both "inherent" (traits you're born with) and "acquired" (traits born of experience) diversity out-innovated and out-performed others. Researchers also discovered that employees at companies that prized both these forms of diversity were 45% more likely to report a growth in market share over the previous year and were 70% more likely to report capturing a new market. Men simply cannot have the same traits born of experience as women, no matter how many pairs of hose Mel Gibson tries on in What Women Want.
At the same time, there is other research that demonstrates that women are systematically undervalued and ignored. That is where Lean In comes in. "We’re building a community for women – the bossy, pushy, ambitious women - who are ready to work together and support each other to help Mississippi meet the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities that are upon us," says McNeel.
It has been less than 10 years since the first iPhone was released in June 2007. Without the smartphone, there would be no Uber, no wearable health tracker, no Pokemon Go. Earlier this year a self-driving car took a man to the hospital when he suffered a pulmonary embolism. Think about it - we have gone from flip phones to cars rescuing us in less than a decade.
That’s rapid change.
Because the future is coming at us faster than ever before, it’s harder to anticipate what the world will look like more than a few years out. Because of that, now is the time when we need all brains on deck. Leaving half the population out of the discussion means missing out on half the potential ideas and solutions. That’s why businesses everywhere are starting to invest in building diverse workforces. That's why we need organizations like Lean In that encourage women to pursue dreams and hunches.
Mantle is excited to have Lean In Mississippi take over Mantle for Fondren's First Thursday on September 1, 2016. Lean In will feature four women entrepreneurs for Startup Happy Hour where anyone can come have a beer, a popsicle, and learn how these Mississippi women are leaning in to the future.
So, no matter your gender, come Lean In to the future at Mantle this Thursday!