Why ‘Womenomics’ Needs to Be Part of Your Business Strategy

Why ‘Womenomics’ Needs to Be Part of Your Business Strategy

This post was originally featured on Entrepreneur.com

For women, the American workplace still remains fraught with inequality. Issues like pay disparity, poor maternity leave policies, sexual harassment and unconscious biasare among the various disadvantages preventing women from succeeding and thriving at work.

It’s no surprise that the Council of Foreign Relations ranks the United States as 20th in workplace equality.

IBM research, meanwhile, shows that 79 percent of global companies haven’t even prioritized achieving gender equality in their workplaces. But just because American gender equality and occupational integration appear to have stalled shouldn’t mean we have to wait the 202 years the World Economic Forum has estimated it will take for the gender gap to close.

When Japan faced its own challenges in developing gender equality in its workforce, that nation introduced Womenomics, a concept that seeks to boost domestic product and female representation and focuses on increasing equality and reducing pay disparity.

The concept ultimately helped push female participation in Japan’s workforce up to 67 percent.

If U.S. big business is truly committed to improving gender equality — as over 40 major companies have confirmed — inducting Womenomics principles like data reporting and improved sexual harassment policies into business ethos will not only help to dismantle gender barriers but ultimately make businesses far more sucessful.

Companies are rewriting rules to help achieve equal pay

A major component of Japan’s Womenomics policy focuses on securing equal pay, and thus ensuring representation and financial stability for working women. In the United States only 65 companies, according to Just Capital, have reviewed their gender pay gap, showing the need for U.S. businesses to foster business models that maximize Womenomics’ potential.

One way companies can do this is by incorporating business practices that require them to collect and report pay data.

In the United Kingdom, for example, companies didn’t address the gender pay gap until a government requirement pressured them to make the data public. Now that over 250 U.K. companies have published pay data, that move is expected to boost transparency and ensure pay equity.

As Quartz reported, salary reports are essential to identifying structural inequality of opportunity patterns and the unequal distribution of well-paying jobs. Salary data can also reveal stark differences, based on salary levels, in women’s access to bonuses and rewards; bonuses and other rewards help widen the gender pay gap.

Then, when businesses don’t report their pay data, “naming and shaming” methods can hold these enterprises accountable.

What’s happening in this country

The current push for American companies’ data may soon give this Womenomics strategy precedence. Recently, a federal judge reinstated an Obama-era ruling for companies with over 100 employees to report pay data by gender, race and ethnicity.

It’s unclear if companies need to comply by the May 31 deadline, but this legal ruling could be a useful impetus to close the gender pay gap.

Even so, Natasha Lamb of Arjuna Capital has told Bloomberg that while this regulatory mandate from the EEOC might help narrow pay gaps, it won’t make the data transparent to investors. Said Lamb: “We want to be able to measure ‘apples to apples’ on how companies are doing on narrowing those gaps.”

It’s imperative, as Lamb pointed out, that we find ways to push companies to collect and report their data. And, in fact, pay transparency is starting to become more of a trend across multiple industries. Recently, for instance, tech companies like SumAll and Buffer have implemented transparency as a core tenant of their company culture, with positive results.

Buffer CEO Joel Gascoigne listed staff salaries on the company website — including his own paycheck — along with the formula used to calculate those salaries.

Other companies like Starbucks have partnered with 25 other U.S. employers in something called the Employers for Pay Equity consortium: Members agree to a shared set of pay equity principles: equal footing, transparency and accountability.

Along with pay-data reporting, Starbucks’ VP of Global Public Policy Zulima Espinel has spoken about her company’s focus on helping women achieve better paying roles. Specifically, Starbucks has pledged to promote organizational changes with gender parity in senior leadership by 2020.

As more major companies align their business principles with transparent data-reporting practices and equal pay initiatives, they will not only bolster their reputations and appeal to more female workers, but also strengthen their potential for longevity. As Business Insider has reported, studies indicate that these practices increase productivity and performance.

Strategies of support

Japan’s Womenomics concept centers around the idea that women’s equal participation will improve the economy as a whole; and U.S. companies need to become equally savvy, creating safer, more supportive professional spaces where women have the ability and desire to participate, especially in traditionally male-domainted industries.

More supportive sexual harassment policies are a key element here: In the wake of the #MeToo movement, Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported, 52 percent of companies surveyed reviewed their sexual harassment policies.

That’s a start, but it’s not enough to curb the harassment that over 54 percent of women reportedly face in professional settings, according to an ABC/Washington Post poll.

Companies can build more support by changing the culture through initiatives like no-retaliation policies and networks other than HR where women can report harassment. Strategic training goals (like employee resource groups, unconscious bias training and empathy training) are another move. So is the creation of a diversity governance structure that limits any minimization of these issues.

At KPMG, a Women’s Advisory Board supports women at all stages of their work lives and careers, targeting programming and strategies to meet their needs. Other companies like Google and Mogul foster unconscious bias training to pull apart the foundations of toxic work cultures. Goldman Sachsincludes a diversity committee in each geogaphic region, three of which focus on affinity networks and training as key levers in achieving diversity objectives.

Maternity and parental leave

Maternity and parental leave are especially important supportive policies. One of Japan’s Womenomics philosophies centers around support for working mothers. Currently, only 13 percent of American workers, according to Glassdoor data, have access to paid parental leave.

KPMG is again at the forefront here, with its paid leave policy of up to 17 weeks for new mothers and four to six weeks for new fathers; the company also offers up to $20,000 for child adoption assistance subsidies.

At Deloitte, programs like the “Reconnect Program” coach new parents at work, giving them the knowledge and confidence to support both their careers and families. They also receive financial support for childcare once they do return to work.

Wiser Womenomics policies for winning solutions

Economic policies work better when cultural and financial policies change with them. To help close the gender gap, we must push companies to spearhead new, holistic approaches to Womenomics within their respective industries.

As businesses make commitments to women through integral initiatives and policies, they will redefine how our culture treats working women and women in general. When we have finally achieved that level of gender equality, those among us who are sexist and ignorant will witness and accept the incredible things we can accomplish together as a united gender-equal society.

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3 Major Myths on Confidence Working Women Should Avoid

3 Major Myths on Confidence Working Women Should Avoid

This post was originally featured on ScoreNYC

For women in the workplace, building, maintaining or even regaining confidence in our professional lives can be a major challenge. Many influential women from Beyoncé Knowles to PepsiCo’s CEO, Indra Nooyi, have struggled with feelings of self-doubt.

Research from the Harvard Business Review shows that working women, including female business leaders, often face bias when it comes to how others view their confidence. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why women hold fewer leadership positions than men and only a quarter of women ask for a raise compared to their male counterparts. But working women shouldn’t have to conform to the societal expectation that they must acquire more traditionally masculine qualities to appear more self-confident.

While there are deeply ingrained systems that keep women from gaining influence and power at work, female business leaders can uplift themselves and each other by dispelling myths about confidence and learning how to better cope with any insecurities and preconceived notions they may face in the workplace.

Myth #1: I Must Feel Perfect Before I Am Confident

In their book “The Confidence Code,” Katty Kay and Claire Shipman show how a lot of women harbor this mentality. It holds us back from answering questions, asking for a raise or applying for jobs. For instance, women at Hewlett-Packard applied for promotions at their workplace only when they felt they were 100 percent qualified for the job, whereas men applied when they met 60 percent of the job description.

Similarly, when asked about giving young women extra responsibilities and leadership opportunities in her campaign, Hillary Clinton says that women often ask, “Do you think I’m ready?’ But when I ask a man, he goes, ‘How high, how fast, when do I start?!’” Clinton’s response was that women are too hard on themselves and, as a result, sell themselves short.

One thing professional women in particular need to remember is that perfection is impossible. You can strive for mastery, but mistakes will always be made — and the most you can do is learn from those mistakes. Plus, it’s important to remember that confidence and even mastery are developing processes with no realistic end goal of perfection. Instead, let mastery guide you on your way to confidence. As Kay and Shipman say, “The confidence you get from mastery is contagious. It spreads…mastering one thing gives you the confidence to try something else.” Knowing you have mastered certain skills gives you a feeling of emotional security that is kin to confidence.”

Myth #2: Confidence Means Being Loud and Pushy

We typically think of confident leaders as loud, ruthless and extroverted; dominant types with stereotypically masculine qualities. But confidence can be observant and stoic as well. According to counseling expert Meg Selig, while “extrovert confidence” is a reality, so is “introvert confidence.” While it’s not showy, this confidence style prevails by a person who demonstrates strong values and sticks to them. As such, respect for their skills, communication and modesty help them succeed.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an extrovert or an introvert (or both!), you can always learn to be a caring and effective leader. Author Carolyn Webb offered her own definition of confidence as being “how you feel when you’re being your best self.”

Myth #3: You Either Have Confidence or You Don’t

Often the perfectionist aspect of confidence gets the best of us. Recent research indicates that self-criticism is one barrier to women’s success in the workforce. Because women are often socialized to be modest and polite, it’s no surprise that we underestimate our own skills.

Some people are naturally confident when they lead their teams, brainstorm strategies or pitch ideas, but confidence is a learned skill that anyone can gain. No one expects you to jump onto a tennis court and play like a pro. Confidence works the same way: it’s a learnable skill and practice helps you excel.

Despite facing bias at work, women have some power when it comes to improving their inner confidence. One is to increase your “confidence quotient” by taking risks, learning new skills and setting small and large goals. To reflect an inner sense of confidence, you could even write out positive affirmations and scripts so you know how to better handle mistakes.

Sheryl Sandberg said, “Confidence and leadership are muscles. You must learn to use them or you don’t.”

As we research and gain more awareness of our own confidence (or sometimes lack thereof), working women can more efficiently address not only the inner, but the systematic issues which keep women unempowered in the workforce. As we recognize that it’s totally normal to doubt ourselves, feel nervous or imperfect, we can be aware of the issue and focus on our positive attributes instead.

3 Major Myths on Confidence Working Women Should Avoid

3 Major Myths on Confidence Working Women Should Avoid

This post was originally featured on ScoreNYC

For women in the workplace, building, maintaining or even regaining confidence in our professional lives can be a major challenge. Many influential women from Beyoncé Knowles to PepsiCo’s CEO, Indra Nooyi, have struggled with feelings of self-doubt.

Research from the Harvard Business Review shows that working women, including female business leaders, often face bias when it comes to how others view their confidence. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why women hold fewer leadership positions than men and only a quarter of women ask for a raise compared to their male counterparts. But working women shouldn’t have to conform to the societal expectation that they must acquire more traditionally masculine qualities to appear more self-confident.

While there are deeply ingrained systems that keep women from gaining influence and power at work, female business leaders can uplift themselves and each other by dispelling myths about confidence and learning how to better cope with any insecurities and preconceived notions they may face in the workplace.

Myth #1: I Must Feel Perfect Before I Am Confident

In their book “The Confidence Code,” Katty Kay and Claire Shipman show how a lot of women harbor this mentality. It holds us back from answering questions, asking for a raise or applying for jobs. For instance, women at Hewlett-Packard applied for promotions at their workplace only when they felt they were 100 percent qualified for the job, whereas men applied when they met 60 percent of the job description.

Similarly, when asked about giving young women extra responsibilities and leadership opportunities in her campaign, Hillary Clinton says that women often ask, “Do you think I’m ready?’ But when I ask a man, he goes, ‘How high, how fast, when do I start?!’” Clinton’s response was that women are too hard on themselves and, as a result, sell themselves short.

One thing professional women in particular need to remember is that perfection is impossible. You can strive for mastery, but mistakes will always be made — and the most you can do is learn from those mistakes. Plus, it’s important to remember that confidence and even mastery are developing processes with no realistic end goal of perfection. Instead, let mastery guide you on your way to confidence. As Kay and Shipman say, “The confidence you get from mastery is contagious. It spreads…mastering one thing gives you the confidence to try something else.” Knowing you have mastered certain skills gives you a feeling of emotional security that is kin to confidence.”

Myth #2: Confidence Means Being Loud and Pushy

We typically think of confident leaders as loud, ruthless and extroverted; dominant types with stereotypically masculine qualities. But confidence can be observant and stoic as well. According to counseling expert Meg Selig, while “extrovert confidence” is a reality, so is “introvert confidence.” While it’s not showy, this confidence style prevails by a person who demonstrates strong values and sticks to them. As such, respect for their skills, communication and modesty help them succeed.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an extrovert or an introvert (or both!), you can always learn to be a caring and effective leader. Author Carolyn Webb offered her own definition of confidence as being “how you feel when you’re being your best self.”

Myth #3: You Either Have Confidence or You Don’t

Often the perfectionist aspect of confidence gets the best of us. Recent research indicates that self-criticism is one barrier to women’s success in the workforce. Because women are often socialized to be modest and polite, it’s no surprise that we underestimate our own skills.

Some people are naturally confident when they lead their teams, brainstorm strategies or pitch ideas, but confidence is a learned skill that anyone can gain. No one expects you to jump onto a tennis court and play like a pro. Confidence works the same way: it’s a learnable skill and practice helps you excel.

Despite facing bias at work, women have some power when it comes to improving their inner confidence. One is to increase your “confidence quotient” by taking risks, learning new skills and setting small and large goals. To reflect an inner sense of confidence, you could even write out positive affirmations and scripts so you know how to better handle mistakes.

Sheryl Sandberg said, “Confidence and leadership are muscles. You must learn to use them or you don’t.”

As we research and gain more awareness of our own confidence (or sometimes lack thereof), working women can more efficiently address not only the inner, but the systematic issues which keep women unempowered in the workforce. As we recognize that it’s totally normal to doubt ourselves, feel nervous or imperfect, we can be aware of the issue and focus on our positive attributes instead.

Vulnerability Builds Better Businesses (and Makes You a Better Person)

Vulnerability Builds Better Businesses (and Makes You a Better Person)

Acknowledging your vulnerabilities and using them to your advantage can improve business, build a better work culture and help you grow…

This post was originally featured on ThriveGlobal

Vulnerability is often associated with weakness, high stakes emotions and a lack of confidence.

It’s the opposite of what we typically expect business leaders to show in a brainstorming session, on the public speaking stage or in the boardroom.

Often, entrepreneurs actively seek to hide their vulnerable traits, but being vulnerable has its strengths. Not only does it help us foster better relationships, but it also, surprisingly, acts as a beneficial strategy in growing stronger businesses.

An article from the World Economic Forum shows our trust in CEOs has floundered as many business leaders seek to remake the image of the self-serving business leader. Customers, investors, employees and the general public now expect them to share their vulnerabilities — and their company’s vulnerabilities — with the world.

The reason comes down to how vulnerability helps us build better businesses, excel as business leaders and ultimately, become better people.

Vulnerability Fosters Creativity

“Perfectionists perish. There’s nothing worse for a team than someone afraid to make a mistake,” tells sports psychologist Graham Betchart to CNBC.

Betchart knows this better than most. He has studied vulnerability and has helped train NBA athletes on how to develop mental fortitude and how to handle pressure.

What Betchart has found is that when we work to intentionally avoid mistakes, we limit our creativity. Being willing to accept that things may not go according to our plans or expectations — in other words, being vulnerable — gives us a greater chance of finding creative solutions.

University of Houston professor and leading researcher on vulnerability, Brené Brown, mirrors this idea. Brown argues that vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation and creativity. She says, “I would challenge anyone to point to any act of innovation that was not born of vulnerability, that was not born of putting an idea on a table that half the people in the room thought was stupid. That the other half questioned. If the idea makes sense to everyone right away, there’s nothing innovative about it, right?

Vulnerability Improves Trust

Brené Brown’s research also delves into how vulnerability can create a trusting workplace. In her famous “The Power of Vulnerability” TED talk, she says that vulnerability lies at the very foundation of authentic connection with others. In her research, Brown determined that “a sense of worthiness” is what defines people who have a strong sense of belonging from those who feel alone. Those who have “the courage to be imperfect” and embrace their vulnerabilities are more likely to build meaningful and trusting connections.

“We live in a vulnerable world. And one of the ways we deal with it is we numb vulnerability,” Brown says. Unfortunately, that habit of hiding our emotions and imperfections ultimately leads to disconnection and distrust.

When leading a business, that focus on building better connections can really pay off. According to the Harvard Business Review, transparent communication builds better levels of hope and trust which improves employee performance. It also builds a culture of forgiveness where we don’t punish mistakes, and instead learn from them — a mindset that has proven to benefit productivity.

Betchart told CNBC Make It, “We’ve found that when a leader, a person in charge, is able to be vulnerable and say, ‘I’m human just like you and I make mistakes,’ it empowers the group. People really resonate when they can connect.”

Build Better Character But Safeguard Your Boundaries

While it’s important to be open, there’s a fine line when it comes to being too vulnerable at work. For instance, oversharing and expressing self-doubt excessively makes others start to question your ability or credibility.

You also don’t want to fake vulnerabilities to build relationships. Quartz reports that when vulnerability veers away from authenticity, it can start to feel scripted and even hurt you professionally. Instead, It’s important to ask yourself if what you’re sharing is helpful to others, including yourself. Gradually, it’s reasonable to include vulnerable aspects of yourself while inspiring others in the process.

Vulnerability for business leaders isn’t just about showing your emotions or pain points to connect with others. It’s about being more self-aware and actively collaborating with others to examine important problems and solve them creatively. Yes, vulnerability makes us more real, more communicative and more trusting, but it also helps us build stronger teams, bigger businesses and better communities. It’s time to start using our vulnerabilities to our advantage rather than thinking of them as weaknesses to be overcome.

Emerging Technologies Can Teach Us to Care More About the World and Each Other

Emerging Technologies Can Teach Us to Care More About the World and Each Other

New tech tools can help activate our civic and global engagement…

This post was originally featured on ThriveGlobal

Many of us assume that empathy decreases as our world becomes more technologically advanced. Research indicates that tech may hinder the way we empathize while some psychologists argue that the Internet desensitizesus to certain shocking images or decreases our empathy skills.

However, the age of intelligence doesn’t necessarily mean an age without empathy. Contrary to the idea that high tech societies are solely pragmatic, we actually need compassion and understanding for others and our world for emerging technologies to function properly. Although it’s essential that high tech innovations are programmed without bias, these innovations can help improve the skills that foster empathy.

In the future, advanced technologies — like artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality and big data — will help societies expand awareness, create interactive experiences, and understand emotions that are crucial to create more empathy for a more caring world.

AI and Big Data Spread Awareness

Technologies like AI and big data bring important social causes to the forefront of our perception. As these innovations are increasingly adopted in everyday life, algorithms and data can transparently track global geopolitical, environmental and social issues — increasing awareness for the dire impacts of causes that might otherwise go overlooked or misunderstood.

When it comes to climate change, for instance, Inverse Magazine reports how AI catalogs geographic regions where coral thrives to prevent coral bleaching before the ecosystem’s extinction occurs. Underwater images are fed into a type of deep learning AI that identifies over 400 to 600 images of various coral reefs and their invertebrates, helping the scientific community assess that region’s ecological health — and ultimately providing visual aids that increase awareness regarding the status of these reefs.

Further, AI’s machine learning tools also drive caring through “deep empathy.” MIT’s Deep Empathy project seeks to increase awareness by using AI’s deep learning features to identify characteristics of Syrian neighborhoods affected by conflict and then simulate how cities across the world would look during similar conflicts.

Big data is another emerging tool that offers improved awareness, made accessible via data visualizations. The World Economic Forum reports how big data prioritizes and optimizes response efforts and, via crowdsourcing, enhances situational awareness. For example, Ushahidi is an open source, crisis mapping software that creates a database of geotagged and time-stamped reports gathered via email, SMS, or tweets. The information builds a comprehensive, real-time picture of what is happening on the ground. Today, Ushahidi’s cloud platform can be accessed by anyone, including non-developers. Thus far, it’s been used in 140 countries and reached over 20 million people.

Immersive Virtual Tools Help Us Experience Empathy

One of the most devastating experiences occurred when war victims in Aleppo, Syria posted their final goodbyes to Twitter. In many ways, people felt like they were experiencing the events as they watched in real-time. The moment effectively sent a shocking reality check and response across the globe.

However, immersive technologies like virtual reality (VR) now provide ways for us to experience major humanitarian causes as if we were at ground zero, essentially walking in another person’s shoes. Amnesty Internationalimplemented a VR program that allows its users to experience a day in the life of a Syrian refugee. Similarly, The United Nations has used VR to spread awareness and empathy about a variety of topics, ranging from world hunger to the ebola epidemic. Their 2015 VR campaign allowed audiences to step inside the shoes of a little girl in a refugee camp and became a special initiative of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, empowering people to demand that their governments implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aim to alleviate poverty, provide universal education and help the environment.

Gabo Arora, creative director and special advisor to the United Nations SDG Action Campaign, says, “People come out of it feeling enlightened and often moved, and often ready to take action.”

Likewise, in his TED talk, “How Virtual Reality Can Create the Ultimate Empathy Machine”, Chris Milk of the VR production company VRSE.works said, “[Virtual reality is] not a video game peripheral. It connects humans to other humans in a profound way that I’ve never seen before in any other form of media. And it can change people’s perception of each other. And that’s how I think virtual reality has the potential to actually change the world.”

AI Helps Humans Understand Emotions

Face-to-face human interaction will always be the most direct and powerful way to foster empathy between people, and technologies like AI can help us do that more effectively.

According to the World Economic Forum emerging technology will let us connect more cohesively with each other and our environments by the year 2030. For example, they predict that emotion-aware glasses which augment social and emotional literacy can help translate people’s facial and vocal expressions to numbers and probability scores. The startup, Affectiva, a global leader in emotional artificial intelligence, has created an emotion-enabled system for smart glasses, helping those who have trouble identifying emotions and social cues on a daily basis.

Additionally, AI-enabled sensors can help identify the moods of others through facial and voice recognition patterns. Even automated stress detection systems can detect anxiety via biometric data or fitness trackers, led by companies like Fujitsu and BioBeats.

Koko, an offshoot of the MIT Media Lab, implements AI that commiserates with other people. If a user has a bad day, the program suggests how to channel that negative emotion into positive activity. Analyzing emotions via data algorithms, these targeted emotional analysis systems can be used for learning purposes from self-awareness, mindfulness and the need for understanding social behaviors. In general, AI could create more empathy because it provides more contextual information to teach us how to build bonds and manage relationships with people we know, and with strangers all over the world.

The implications of these tools are huge. Not only would we have companies focus on our well-being, but it would allow us to better understand both our and other people’s emotions. When we combine these automated tools with big data, we can offer a more in-depth analysis of the perspectives and feelings of people facing hardships at home and across the globe. In fact, the Harvard Business Review reports that a combination of facial and voice pattern analysis and deep learning already decodes human emotions for market research and political pollingpurposes. As we use these tools to bring attention to humanitarian crises, we may very well identify the need for more empathy within communities at home and across the world.

Rebooting Empathy

Technology allows us to better empathize with one another because humans created it in the first place. As long as we remember that it’s our humanity that allows these innovations to flourish, we can continue using them for social good. Empathy will always need human-to-human interactions to survive, but technologies and programs geared towards empathetic experiences and understanding helps us reboot our compassion for one another.

Albert Einstein said, “Empathy is patiently and sincerely seeking the world through the other person’s eyes. It is not learned in school; it is cultivated over a lifetime.” As tech and human emotion converge, our vision and understanding of one another can converge, too.

The Central Park Conservancy’s Women’s Committee Celebrates 35th Anniversary with Forever Green Fundraiser

The Central Park Conservancy’s Women’s Committee Celebrates 35th Anniversary with Forever Green Fundraiser

This post originally appeared on Debrah Lee Charatan’s Philanthropy blog.

The Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2018, an event which is also seeing positive ripple effects into 2019. In honor of the occasion, the committee and the Central Park Conservancy’s Campaign, Forever Green: Ensuring the Future of Central Park, combined forces to raise a minimum of $5 million which helps fund the $10 million redevelopment initiative for the Conservatory Garden.

Located off Fifth Avenue between 104th to 106th Streets, Central Park’s six-acre Conservatory Garden remains the only formal garden in the entire park. While the garden is known for its lilac trees, gorgeous perennials and reblooming roses, its last significant restoration was in 1983, the same year the Women’s Committee was established. Since then, decades of weather and other damages have demanded the need for upgrades and repairs.

The Forever Green Restoration Initiative

The restoration project largely focuses on the redesign of the Conservatory Garden’s renowned horticultural elements and hardscapes, nearly all of which are original to the Garden’s 1937 construction. A network of new paths and plazas and infrastructure upgrades including walkway improvements, the modernization of the Untermeyer and Burnett fountains and the refurbishment of the Wisteria pergola.

According to the Central Park Conservancy’s brochure, the garden is known as one of the world’s greatest masterworks of formal garden design due to the expert design of the original founders. The Garden is divided into three smaller sections with distinct styles including Italian, French and English patterns with an iconic wrought-iron Vanderbilt Gate at the main entrance. It’s no surprise that the likes of Martha Stewart and Michael Bloomberg include themselves as supporters of the Conservatory Garden, often attending the annual Frederick Law Almstead Awards Luncheon, which raises funds for the park’s management and projects.

The Garden is a particularly significant project for the Women’s Committee as the horticultural direction has long been in the hands of notable women including Lynden Miller who led the site’s 1983 restoration, and long-time Garden curator Diane Schaub.

The Women’s Committee Blooming Legacy

Founded by Norma Dana in 1983, The Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy is comprised of a dynamic group of four women who dedicate their time to the beautification and preservation of Central Park and its many projects.

Today, the committee boasts over 1,000 members who spearhead programs that allow anyone to invest in the betterment of the park and its gardens. Since the group’s founding, they have raised over $175 million and have spearheaded projects like the revitalization of the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, two renovation projects at the Safari Playground, and the recreation of the urns at Bow Bridge.

The committee is part of a larger vision served by the private, not-for-profit Central Park Conservancy to preserve, restore and enhance Central Park in partnership with the local community. Their goal is to raise awareness and encourage investment in the green space.

Each year, they raise about 15 percent of the Conservancy’s $67 million annual budget through numerous membership and charitable events. Through the passion and dedication of these incredible women, we may still have this green space for decades to come.

If you wish to support to the Conservancy Garden’s restoration project, please donate at the link.

Real Estate Veteran Debrah Lee Charatan Offers Advice to Young Entrepreneurs

Real Estate Veteran Debrah Lee Charatan Offers Advice to Young Entrepreneurs

This article, by Krystal Perkins, was published on Prague Post

Real estate veteran Debrah Lee Charatan has long been hailed for her entrepreneurial insight, decades of industry experience, and passion for supporting communities throughout the New York metropolitan area. Charatan is the President and Cofounder of BCB Property Management, a leading multi-family real estate investment firm dedicated to the acquisition, renovation, and management of buildings in some of the city’s most popular neighborhoods. Since 2008, she has led BCB to acquire over 1.6 million square feet of New York and New Jersey real estate, and a portfolio of over 120 buildings and 1,800 apartments.

Debrah Lee Charatan’s impact today is vast, but she never forgets her humble beginnings. Starting as a secretary while completing her BS at Baruch College, she sought out an opportunity as a property manager at a local real estate firm where she began to make her deals in the 1970s.

From there, Chartan leveraged her resources and real estate expertise to create her own company, Bach Realty, which she grew into one of the most prominent names in New York’s commercial real estate space during the 1980s. Bach Realty is recognized as New York City’s first all-female real estate brokerage, and Charatan’s entrepreneurial success saw her profiled in USA Today, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Inc., the New York Daily News along with dozens of other media outlets.

In 1993, Charatan kicked off another career landmark by launching Debrah Lee Charatan Realty, where she continued her dedication to her entrepreneurial team and New York’s communities at large. Since then, Charatan has become a prolific thought leader on female entrepreneurship, and has been published in the likes of EntrepreneurThe Huffington Post, VentureBeat, Thrive Global and SCORE NYC.

Charatan’s focuses much of her community engagement and charitable ventures through the Charatan/Holm Family Foundation, including the support of numerous arts organizations and cultural and civic causes including New York’s Central Park Conservancy and the Jewish Partisan Education Foundation. Also, Charatan sits on the Women’s Leadership Council of the Lincoln Center Corporate Fund and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Real Estate Council.

As a daughter of Holocaust survivors, Debrah Lee Charatan actively supports the preservation of Jewish historical and cultural institutions including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Park East Synagogue, Chai Lifeline, Southampton Chabad and the Jewish Musem. Currently, Charatan serves as the Vice President on the Board of Trustees for Selfhelp Community Services Foundation, an organization that seeks to support elderly and other vulnerable New York residents, including Holocaust survivors, through independent living that offer community-based services.

How can new entrepreneurs learn to maximize their productivity?

Staying productive requires a steady routine. Like most entrepreneurs, I wake up early to get a head-start on the day. I’m up at 5 am on weekdays to work out for an hour and get to the office early so I can make the most of each day. Choose something that raises your energy and sets a positive pace for the rest of your day.

On the job, the real trick is to set goals and write those goals down. I make “to do” lists — the night before, or first thing in the morning — that detail what I’m going to do that day to achieve those goals. That way, when I get to work, I know what meetings, calls, tasks, and other big-picture items I have on my plate, and more importantly, why they are on my plate.

If you diligently keep track of everything you need to accomplish, you’ll make sure the essentials are crossed off.

What do you think are the best resources for young entrepreneurs to utilize?

Your best resources are time, your budget, your skill set, and your network.

Manage your time and your budget wisely. When you have spare time, use it to develop your skills or learn more about what it takes to survive and thrive in your industry. Create a budget in advance and track your revenue and spending, so you identify where you need to put your efforts that support a growing business.

Relationships are also key. Building genuine trust amongst your peers, colleagues, and competitors offer you one-of-a-kind advantages and opportunities that you won’t have access to anywhere else.

How can young entrepreneurs take advantage of the disruption in their industries?

As I mentioned above, I’m a big fan of writing things down: my goals, my tasks, and my ideas.

One benefit of writing down your goals is that you start to recognize opportunities that come your way that can impact the future of your business in a significant way. It also helps you think more open-mindedly about how to adapt and take your ideas in a new direction as you develop your business.

Also, remember not to take “no” for an answer when a hurdle presents itself, either deal with it head-on or look for ways to redirect your energy and work around it.

What are some of the most effective growth strategies that have helped BCB Property Management succeed?

If you want to grow your business, you need to invest in its success. And in any business, an entrepreneur is only as good as the team that supports their work.

When I founded Bach Realty in the 1980s, and I started to make money, I immediately reinvested those funds back into the business. I hired new talent, updated our equipment, and made practical office renovations. This habit of reinvesting capital into my business is one that helped me thrive at Bach Realty and Debrah Lee Charatan Realty and helps me to this day at BCB Property Management.

Be patient and invest for the long-term. I’ve spent many years reinvesting my money and resources into my companies, and it’s afforded me opportunities for growth that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

How did you become so involved with philanthropy?

I believe every entrepreneur ought to invest in their local community, big or small. When I first started Bach Realty, I made a point to encourage female entrepreneurship by supporting the city’s first all-female real estate team because I knew I could make an impact and help better women’s lives. Today, I maintain relationships with professional female business communities and sit on the Women’s Leadership Council of the Lincoln Center Corporate Fund in New York City.

When you align yourself with local communities, you more clearly understand their needs, and it allows you to create a strong foundation of mutual support and professional development. I continue to foster community ties, especially through The Charatan/Holm Family Foundation, which focuses on arts, cultural, medical and other humanitarian causes in the greater New York area and beyond.

Do mentorship opportunities help new entrepreneurs succeed?

Absolutely. Mentorship gives both the mentor and mentee new perspectives and a broader network. Don’t be afraid to reach out to an entrepreneur who inspires you. With consistent effort, a two-way mentoring relationship allows any business leader to expand their network, their industry knowledge, and even their company’s bottom line.

You’ve been particularly influential in supporting women in business. What advice can you give female executives?

Many women still let bias or negative self-talk hinder their progress and confidence. My advice: don’t doubt yourself. If you do doubt yourself, learn how to push those negative thoughts to the back of your mind while you work because those doubts will clutter your vision.

One of my biggest regrets as an entrepreneur was that I didn’t realize my leadership potential at a younger age. It’s essential to get ahead of the game and go for it, developing your knowledge and skills in your younger years.

On another note, remember to support other women! While female leaders are growing in number, it’s still essential to create a space that allows us to succeed in a heavily male-dominated world.

As a veteran entrepreneur, what is one essential piece of advice you’d give to emerging entrepreneurs?

As I’ve said, I believe in setting goals. Make daily, weekly and yearly targets. Even better: write them down. Advise your employees and business partners to do the same and offer any support you can to help them reach those goals. Holding yourself and others accountable for progress is the best way to make dreams a reality.