Myla Calhoun, President of Alabama Power Foundation and Vice President of Charitable Giving at Alabama Power, sat down with Anne Mosle, Vice President of The Aspen Institute, during the Why Women Now session, which focused on women’s potential to implement change in the post #MeToo era. During the session, Calhoun was asked to share her view on what it takes to shift mindsets and behaviors and create a more diverse and inclusive workplace within the corporate world.
Mosle began the discussion by citing important facts that show the role women play in our economy:
- Women comprise 41% of the labor force in the U.S.;
- Women are 40% of the primary or only breadwinner in a family with children 18 and under; and
- Women make 80% of consumer purchasing decisions in our country.
Despite the power women hold in our economy, and the increase in the number of women entrepreneurs, Mosle questioned why there hasn’t been a real shift in power for women, stating that there are too few women at the top, while women at the bottom are not receiving their full potential and opportunities.
Calhoun shared her belief that in corporate environments, policy shifts behavior and shifts in mindsets can result from those policy changes. Calhoun explained that women who are in leadership positions and involved in these types of discussions need to articulate that these changes are important for a company. While conversations on diversity and inclusion in leadership may be uncomfortable, Calhoun stated that these discussions are happening so the magic is owning it and clearly stating your company’s values. Calhoun also discussed how these changes are hard work, but said it is work worth doing and worth activating.
The need for women leaders to support other women in the workplace was discussed as well. Calhoun explained how she spends a lot of time developing talent among young women, especially young women of color, because there is a need for it. When sharing her final thoughts on how to empower women in the workplace, Calhoun ended the session by saying, “We must lean into each other, support one another, lift up each other, correct one another when necessary, all in the spirit of love, of love and love.”
To watch the full session, click here.