Building Up the Women Around You
On this edition of “Inspiring Women,” host Betty Collins addresses the imperative all women should take on to build up, encourage, and mentor other women around them. “Inspiring Women” is presented by Brady Ware & Company.
Betty Collins, CPA, Brady Ware & Company and Host of the “Inspiring Women” Podcast
Betty Collins is the Office Lead for Brady Ware’s Columbus office and a Shareholder in the firm. Betty joined Brady Ware & Company in 2012 through a merger with Nipps, Brown, Collins & Associates. She started her career in public accounting in 1988. Betty is co-leader of the Long Term Care service team, which helps providers of services to Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and nursing centers establish effective operational models that also maximize available funding. She consults with other small businesses, helping them prosper with advice on general operations management, cash flow optimization, and tax minimization strategies.
In addition, Betty serves on the Board of Directors for Brady Ware and Company. She leads Brady Ware’s Women’s Initiative, a program designed to empower female employees, allowing them to tap into unique resources and unleash their full potential. Betty helps her colleagues create a work/life balance while inspiring them to set and reach personal and professional goals. The Women’s Initiative promotes women-to-women business relationships for clients and holds an annual conference that supports women business owners, women leaders, and other women who want to succeed. Betty actively participates in women-oriented conferences through speaking engagements and board activity.
Betty is a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and she is the President-elect for the Columbus Chapter. Brady Ware also partners with the Women’s Small Business Accelerator (WSBA), an organization designed to help female business owners develop and implement a strong business strategy through education and mentorship, and Betty participates in their mentor match program. She is passionate about WSBA because she believes in their acceleration program and matching women with the right advisors to help them achieve their business ownership goals. Betty supports the WSBA and NAWBO because these organizations deliver resources that help other women-owned and managed businesses thrive.
Betty is a graduate of Mount Vernon Nazarene College, a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and a member of the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants. Betty is also the Board Chairwoman for the Gahanna Area Chamber of Commerce, and she serves on the Board of the Community Improvement Corporation of Gahanna as Treasurer.
“Inspiring Women” Podcast Series
“Inspiring Women” is THE podcast that advances women toward economic, social and political achievement. The show is hosted by Betty Collins, CPA, and presented by Brady Ware and Company. Brady Ware is committed to empowering women to go their distance in the workplace and at home. Past episodes of “Inspiring Women” can be found here.
[00:00:00] Well, this is an inspiring women’s podcast, so I would expect that the title today, building up the women around you would be a given, but it really is not always that case. I want to talk about that today. You know, building up and supporting the women in your life sounds easy. It sounds good. We all think that we do that. I don’t think anyone’s going to go. You know, I really don’t want to support women today. I don’t want to build women up. But unfortunately, it’s not the case when you look at the data that’s out there and the issues that are out there surrounding this topic of just lack of building up, in fact, tearing down can be fairly OK. Right. But it’s a huge barrier to the professional advancement, your professional career, you know, in your personal life when you don’t build up women around you and you don’t you don’t have that camaraderie. So, you know, sometimes we just think, well, women are more catty. Right. Men are not. Men blow it off. Their ego doesn’t allow them to do this. My emotions just get the best to me. And that’s just who I am. It’s probably still not OK. And this is always, you know, have you experienced that exodus of the Mean Girls Club? You know, I can honestly say I’ve never been a victim of I mean, Girls Club, but that’s not fun. And it’s not just in junior high, right? It’s it’s more than that.
[00:01:29] I just think we need to do better at building each other up if we really want to see us advancing, go forward. You know, we focus more on the men. You know, they’re not nice or they’re the with the white, a middle aged male. But in reality, they beat us on this one. And I think sometimes it’s why they rule the world. So I want to talk about that today. There’s a Facebook post. I see it a lot. I always save it. And it shows a woman with a crooked crown and it shows a woman straining the crown. And then it shows one of them ripping off her head. The sad reality, there’s a huge deficit that exists in the number of women who really are intentional or make it a goal to elevate other women. So, you know, it’s a choice and you hear the term we’re stronger together. Sure. Maybe corny, but you know, it really is true. It’s true for any type of community setting. It’s out there. Collectively, we have more impact. So isn’t that the goal anyways in the movement for women or inspiring those women around you? It is to have impact. If you really want to see the advancement and the empowerment of women, build them up. The them could be your family. It could be your girls. Your daughters. It could be your neighbors. You probably work with women that you need to do that.
[00:02:57] It could be your peers. I mean, you’re surrounded by other women, I’m sure. But men do a better job. I’m not going to focus on them today. The question is, why is this true? Why? Let’s start there. We’ve all been taught to be competitive. Competitive, good. You know, competitive is what is why we have a very successful marketplace in the United States. Competition can be good and healthy. It can make you better at what you do. But sometimes you get to look at there’s just as much strength and there’s miss just as much success in collaboration. Competition is fine. You just can’t take it too far. Collaboration is a good thing and you needed to probably shift a little bit your mindset with that. You know, we tend to have a defense mechanism. Women are really good about defense mechanisms and those kick in. And we have you know, it’s kind of a culture that we’ve created a lot of times. You know, we’re responding to something and we respond really negatively. And then we we go into a defense mechanism that that just keeps the the the tearing down and the lack of building. It just keeps it going. So I think the defense the defense mechanism is something you have to really check yourself on beyond defense mechanisms. And we’ve kind of had that competitive edge or attitude. We also have a queen bee mentality.
[00:04:29] The queen bee that’s everywhere. It’s really was was probably more in the back 70s and 80s with women, because that was when people. That was when women were really rising up in companies. And if you know anything about bees, the queen bee in the colony is the one who dominates. She is the one who takes control because that’s I guess what you have to do is bees. I don’t know, but there’s not a lot of room for anyone else but the queen bee. And unfortunately, a lot of times, especially in the years before us and 70s, 80s and 90s, if a woman was able to advance, say, in her career, she she was very protective of that territory because she was lucky to have it. And so that queen bee domination, maybe not taking other women with her, not having the elevator door open so they could come up. It just wasn’t there. I think it’s there a lot more probably today because there’s a lot more women at the top of the elevator. So but that usually the queen bee and undermine her, they push women out of the way. And unfortunately, that still exist. And then just negative thinking, you know, I think this is why we end up, you know, being a little little catty. We had to be the mean girls club. But the negative thinking. I mean, you heard this because it made the news over and over again.
[00:05:51] And Madeleine Albright with Hillary Clinton when she was at a campaign rally. It was. It was funny. I mean, there was no definite. But she gave her speech and she at the end said there’s just a special place in hell for women who do not vote for Hillary Clinton or support women. And it was funny. It made the news over and over again. So but but I don’t think she was wanting anyone in hell. But we don’t always have that positive. There’s a special place for women who support women in heaven, which is completely the opposite. Right. So between negative attitudes in those defense mechanism, the queen bee stuff. I just think we don’t build each other up like we could because of those habits, because of those cultures that get created. So where do you start? Where do you make this change? You have to look at at who you are in those areas. And do you have those characteristics? Are those things that you’re going. Yeah, I can relate to that because I probably am that. So that’s where you have to start. But you really have to take the high road and lead by example. You know, you just have to if you’re going to build up other women, you know, obviously the mentoring being very open and honest and consistent mentoring is not just, oh, it this is all really cool.
[00:07:03] You know, I’m going to mentor you and make you into something. Mentoring is helping you get along through your journey because it’s yours. It’s not someone else’s. And so when you have a good mentor, chances are they’re gonna be pretty open and honest with you about what they see. That’s not being catty. I think that’s helping you. I always feel sorry for the person in the office or maybe that family member, because we all have one. Right, that everyone just knows this is who they are. And so they kind of just let the behavior or let the situation be what it is. Nobody confronts it. Nobody talks to them. Instead, there be literally men and making fun of them. So a good mentor is gonna be that open, honest. They’re going to be constructive, yet have some compassion when they have to have those things. And I will tell you, this is a very simple thing, but it really it really had an impact on me. Oh, probably Billy in the early 2000s, maybe two between, you know, up to 2005, somewhere in that timeframe. I always wore the big 80s hair. I had just always worn the big hair. Not that hair is life and death. Right. But that’s what I did. And I liked it. It was easy. It was simple. My hairdresser was the same person all the time. So I got this new client who owned a salon.
[00:08:22] And I thought, you know, I should go to her salon, see what she has.
[00:08:26] And I think I had a massage and she said, you know, you really do you want us to cut your hair? And I said, Oh, no, I have a great hairdresser. She just said, you know. I must say, this is nice.
[00:08:37] Cambridge, you’re to live it in the 80s with your hair still and this is like the 2000s and there’s a thing called a straightener and you know, all these different things that you could do with your hair. And and I was a little taken back. I just, you know. But I was really kind of glad it stuck with me. She was somebody she said it very nicely. She wasn’t making fun of me. She wasn’t talking about coming back on was she’s not out of the 80s yet. Instead, she just said, hey, I’m a salon.
[00:09:03] I’m a hairdresser. We could do something really cool with your hair. And that’s a simple thing. But that’s what a good mentor does. So how else do you lead by example? You got to be tenacious when you’re tenacious.
[00:09:17] Other women around you, you don’t have to say it. Preach it. Have meetings, journal it. All these things they’re watching you. And by doing that, it’s giving them confidence and you don’t even know it. They’re seen you work through something. They’re seeing you not giving up. You’re busting through that roadblock and you’re showing them it can be done.
[00:09:36] Never underestimate the influence you will have by being tenacious. So that really helps build up the women around you because they they tend to watch it and then they hopefully follow it if it’s done well. You know, I think we can probably more some supportive, especially when someone’s wants to take a risk. So what does that mean? Well, I’m going to quit my really good job in the middle of pay. My kids are in college with tuition and I’m going to start a bracelet business. OK, now, is that a risk that you would just sit and go? Cool. I love your jewelry. Or would you say, Manolis? Let’s really talk about that before you do it. Great idea. But there’s a path probably you need to take. That’s a way you build up women so that a year from now, when they’re now borrowing money to go to school or they can’t keep their kid in school, they’re going, why did I ever do this? And there just might be a different time to make jewelry. So I think being supportive, especially when they won’t take risk, we need to help them navigate through it. And another thing you have to do, and I’m not very good at this because I don’t ever want to see people to see me with any kind of wrong emotion.
[00:10:54] I mean, I should call it wrong emotion. But, you know, I’m not a person who’s going to cry a lot in front of people. I’m not. You know, I don’t really want to go on a rampage and melt down in front of it. But sometimes you need a safe space to go. You need a place to go and just be who you can be, be who you are. Let those things down and then, you know, open the door and smile and walk out. I think women could do that more often instead of you blow up at the wrong time, in the wrong place. And then the tearing down and their ripping of the crown off the off the head comes along. The other thing you really need to do in a great way, but you better be ready to do it. You’ve got to pass on the lessons you’ve learned from bad treatment so that it doesn’t happen to other women and they can maybe be more aware of it. And lastly, be empathetic. You know, chances are other women are going through what you’re going through and come together, learn from it. But most certainly anyone around you that you see needs some advocacy for them.
[00:11:59] Go advocate for them. Stand for them. Be with them. You know, kind of defend them, do those things. Those are ways, certainly that you take the high road and you kind of get away from the wise. It happens that we act this way. These are ways that you can change the course of that circle, whether it’s your family or your community or somewhere you volunteer at your work, all that kind of stuff. When women come together, though, and build each other up and they can get that alliance that’s healthy. That alliance that’s positive. You’re going to experience power. There is power in the pact, right? There’s power in more. There’s power in numbers sometimes. It’s a good kind of power. Don’t abuse it. But that’s a result of leading the way in your circles of influences. You think on experiences you’ve had where other women have built you up? I could go on and on about this, but we have to continue to move on in the podcast. But you know who’s coming to your mind right now and you think that woman was a champion for me? That woman advocated for me. That woman really stepped up when I took a risk and she stayed with me.
[00:13:10] What woman straighten the crown for you versus ripped it off? You know, sometimes we just watched from a distance. The crowds, Kirk, and we don’t do anything about it. Right. But. I think you should look at those folks first and you thank them, you know. Think about that. Thank them. But also say me and I could also be that to other people, to other women, all the opportunities in the world are ours for the taking and ours to be shared in when building women up isn’t so much about your voice.
[00:13:41] It’s how you use your stage, it’s how you use your venue to encourage and support them so that they can find their voice.
[00:13:50] Brady, where’s my venue? And I have a responsibility to use that wisely, I try to do that through our women’s initiative, through supporting organizations like Navajo and the WNBA, using that venue wisely.
[00:14:05] How can you rise to the challenge? You keep it simple, don’t sit and think you had to have this big organizational thing and I’m going to, you know, help everyone and solve the world’s problems. Keep it simple, but take the opportunities and challenges those risk without even questioning your worth or ability or places a woman. And then don’t be afraid to be a little unruly. OK, I read a great article from Glamour magazine by Olivia Perez and she talks about being unruly. It’s OK. But listen. Just picture Thanksgiving dinner with this family. So she said I was genetically bred to be an unruly woman. I was raised in Los Angeles by a Jewish, French, Moroccan father and a Serbian mother, kind of in a Brady Bunch family, strong female figures, four sisters, two stepmothers, three godmothers and a mom, the mom who dedicate her life to bringing us all up as independent daughters. Just picture that things cute tender. These were all women I aspire to become. They they were ones who coexisted despite marriages, divorce, different backgrounds. They supported one another unconditionally. And they taught me that being soft spoken was maybe not always an option. Not at our dinner table anyways, for sure. But unruly can be good. Just say for building up other women, you know, really, that’s a whole nother podcast. But sometimes you need to be a little unruly and shake the pot, and that is a way to support women. I just found that and I just thought that was just a great way to describe her family and the people around her. And she probably uses it in a good way. But being a little unruly is OK. You know, other things you can do, though. You just show up every day for women and envision the change together with them. You know, see it together and work towards it. Certainly creating environments for women to take up space. All right. So what does that mean? Panels and conferences, events, interviews, girls night out. You know, really, it’s about thriving in their environment. What space is that that the women in your life would would really thrive in?
[00:16:20] I will say that my daughter, she gets some, you know, a little tired of hearing about my podcast because I wonder, listen. She gets kind of little tired about hearing about women’s initiative things. I mean, I’m always trying to get her to join in. But she did come to my conference in back in June, the Women’s Leadership Conference, which we had about 350 women. We had panels, we had national speakers, Navajo and WBA. We all just came together, put this conference ago and she came. And she was just it wasn’t even so much that I bribed her with new clothes to be there and said she could have a great time together. Night feeder. Well. Right.
[00:16:57] But she loved that she saw me thriving in an environment that I loved. And she she wrote on Facebook that night. I get it now. I saw it today. And that was just that was the whole. That was the best part of that conference for me. It was because it inspired her in a different way. But she was like, Mom, that’s where you belong.
[00:17:20] And that’s what I’m talking about. We’re creating space. What are environments for the women around you and your lives that would make them thrive or where you see them thrive and you’re like supporting them. And so it was a cool story. You know, other ways besides being alone, really, which I kind of like that whole phrase, be transparent and open. Do you understand that secrecy breeds jealousy? I want you to think about that again. Secrecy breeds jealousy. And that then leads to what I now call head trash. I got that from a conference that I was just. You know, those voices that head trash man being a little more open, being a little more transparent. Women tend to take it and run in secrecy, just turns into jealousy and then those voices in your head. So think about that. When you see when you see a women who are tearing each other down, chances are that could be a real way it all started.
[00:18:16] Here’s one. This is the challenge of the day. You’ll probably go right by this one. But zero gossip policy. Try that one. It’s hard sometimes if you just test right down every time you’re gossiping or take a little, you know, checkmark. There we go. You’d be surprised. I did it once because I was in a class on negativity. And that was one of the things we had to do. Every time you have mental negative thought, you had a checkmark. Every time you gossip or put someone down your check mark. You would be surprised. And it did kind of make me go, oh, it’s kind of like tracking your steps on fit, but you’re like, I’m not walking today. Right. It just just a suggestion. I know it’s not easy. You got to go beyond. You look really pretty, right?
[00:18:54] Women are so much more than their physical attributes. And we have a whole society built on that. But I would tell you to encourage women to to take care of themselves and do self care. The emotional part of your life is huge. And I kind of did that post divorce. I said these are the things I’m going to do for Betty Collins. And I sat down with The New York Times. I only ordered like three months of it because it was I don’t know why I needed to read The New York Times, but I did. I just did that for an hour on Sundays with no interruption. And once I was kind of done, I moved on. But it was something that I I it was my time. It was my place. So I think that’s something you have to look at and do. I know I just spent this last year really involved with physical activity and and weight loss. It was not because I wanted to be a size 2. I just knew that I have pretty good health for a 56 year old. And yet I’m not treating the gift like I need to because it’s a gift. I have a lot of people around me and my age who we’ve had people pass away. We’ve had people with cancer. We’ve had people who, you know, just can’t control certain addictions. I don’t have any of that. I don’t even take any of her blood pressure, heart medicine, nothing.
[00:20:07] Why would I not take care of the gift that I’ve been given into her? What’s been weird is not the size, too. It’s just I’m I’m feeling better. And it’s kind of my time. I’m not rushing out the door every morning because I’m I’m doing some workout stuff that’s not crazy. I’m not putting my toe over my head and, you know, wrapping myself up like a pretzel. I would tell you, self care go beyond that. You look pretty stuff being a vehicle that turns a young woman with big dreams into what she was destined to be. You know, you see people with potential and you don’t do anything about it. But I would tell you, never underestimate tapping into that woman’s potential that she can’t see. But you do even this podcast. I question myself, should I keep doing this podcast? And the people that help me record this always say you have no idea what the potential this has. You need to keep going. You need to keep doing. Again, women building up women. Sounds easy, sounds good. It is my hope that you can step back, observe and dive in by speaking life into a woman around you. Doing life together stronger, together with some fun along the way in my life. I have an amazing mom, a big family, 41 to be exact as my immediate family, lots of women. I have a daughter and a daughter law.
[00:21:23] I work for a company where I direct a women’s initiative where 49 percent of the workforce are women. I’m part of several groups. I mentioned Navajo and the WNBA. So women in teh team building are a pretty daily part of my life. Really, it’s a responsibility and it’s a deep passion. I’ve seen both sides building and tearing. We are better together. Ladies, take to heart this podcast. Do some soul searching on your part of building up other women. Go forth and straighten or pick it off the floor. The ground she is wearing. Don’t stand in the background and watch it. I’m Betty Collins and I’m glad you joined me today.