Don’t Abdicate the Throne
Why and How Women Should Find Their Power
Hi, everyone. I’m Lewis Biondolillo from the Feliciano School of Business, bringing you this week’s Feliciano Live. And this week we have a very special guest. We have Dr. Lisa Brooks-Greaux. She is an instructional specialist of the department of management. And she recently came out with a book called, Don’t Abdicate the Throne. First of all, the cover looks great. Look at that. But we’re going to be talking all about it truly. It’s an important topic. It talks about women, and then it talks about how we should go about things in our everyday lives. If you have any questions, please comment below and we’ll be more than happy to take those questions. And we’ll be more than happy to talk about them here. So, first of all, would you mind just talking about what it’s about?
So the book is really about taking back your power, taking risks, asking for what you want and building and developing confidence. In a nutshell, that’s the book.
So what inspired you to write this book all about that?
Oh no, that’s a longer story. The real impetus for me was there were so many books that were out there that told people in general, okay, this is what you need to do to be successful. Here are the things that you need to do to build confidence. So it was all about the what, there wasn’t anything that I saw about the how. And that’s where folks got frustrated, because we get excited, okay, this is what I need to do. I need to get a mentor. I need to build confidence. But what they lacked is they didn’t tell you how to go about doing it, so people would get frustrated. So I picked up the mantle and said, let me show you how to do it. So it’s a roadmap in essence.
So who’s your audience with this book? Is it just women or do you believe that everyone should?
So I think everyone can read the book. So admittedly, it’s targeted towards women who are just graduating from college, but also the big population is also for women who are pivoting in their career. Now I say that women, because a lot of the things don’t come naturally to women, some of the things that I really extol folks to do. However, this book is for anyone. Anyone who wants to build confidence. Anyone who wants to expand their network. I think anyone who wants to know, how do I take risks? Yeah. So generally everyone, maybe a little bit more specifically women.
Does it ever mention the struggles that women have to face in going into leadership roles?
Yeah. It absolutely does. We talk about the struggles. We talk about some of the obstacles. We talk about some of the things that folks need to overcome, or just be aware of. And I don’t want folks to start looking for struggles if they don’t even appear for them, but here are some of the obstacles that I went through, that perhaps you don’t have to walk that same line, that same path.
Well, as a man, I can only imagine some struggles that women do have to face, but this book sounds like a good support system. And speaking of a support system, you call support system, you use the phrase, your personal village. So could you go about talking about what that means?
Yeah. I do. It’s my personal village or some folks call it their personal board of directors. And really what it is for me, it’s a group of individuals that I turn to when I’m facing, whether it’s a problem, whether it’s something that I can’t quite break through when I need a different set of opinions. And in this group, there’s about five or six folks, all different generations. So all the different generations that are represented from baby boomers to millennials, into the gen Zs, but folks who have different experiences, different perspectives.
So if I’m stuck on a situation or an issue, I’ll turn to them. I have one person in my village who is 80 years old. She’s been a mentor of mine for years. So she’s the person who will give it to me straight. She won’t sugar coat anything, she’ll just tell it to me. And if it hurts my feelings, so what? Then I have another person in my village who is just uber smart, super, super smart, very strategic thinker, thinks about things in ways that I never would. So I would go to him as well.
And then I have somebody who just sees the world, like her glass is half full all the time. So she’s so bubbly, so outgoing and I’ll turn to her for a perspective. So they all give me different perspectives. And sometimes we need that to just get out of our own myopic viewpoint of something. So that’s my personal village and I would not make a move without them. I tell you. And we’ve been together for decades.
I think that’s something we all can relate to. We all have people around us that are pushing us to be the best that we can be.
And they all have different perspectives. And I think that’s what we really need.
I would totally agree. Because if I just had peers, people my age that were helping me, that was my personal village, I don’t think I would go as far as if I had people that are older. Even some people that are younger than me.
If I do have some people that are younger than me that are pushing me up and you just really need to have all those perspectives.
I could not agree with you more. There’s something that I also talk about, which is called reverse mentoring. So I have a number of folks who are younger than me, who mentor me in so many different ways. Whether it’s social media, whether it’s popular culture, but they mentor me, mainly, so that I don’t embarrass myself when I’m talking to a younger audience, but I learned so much from different perspectives. So I highly encourage that.
That’s great that you’re willing to do that.
Oh my gosh! Yeah.
Because I know a lot of people that say, “They’re younger than me. They don’t know as much as me.” But we all have our own strengths and our own weaknesses and we can all help each other. And that’s where that personal village comes in.
I love it. I tell you. I wouldn’t make a move without them.
Fabulous. If you’re just joining us right now, we have Dr. Lisa Brooks-Greaux. She’s talking about her book. I have it right here, Don’t Abdicate the Throne. And I want you to keep paying attention because we’re actually going to be giving away one of these books today. But we’ll be talking about how you can do that if you stick around until the end. And as always on our Feliciano lives, if you have any questions, please feel free to put them down below, we’ll try to answer as many of them as we possibly can. So you emphasize the importance of risk-taking. When would you recommend to take a risk? At any point in time?
Well, I guess not traditionally, but when you start getting really complacent. And if you find yourself getting bored or you’re in a rut, that’s when I think you need to start shaking things up a little bit, right? Because if we keep doing the same things over and over because they’re easy, it doesn’t challenge us anymore. And I’m all for a life of making sure that we’re challenging each other, making sure that we’re not getting stuck. And one of the things that I talk to my students about is, just because you graduate, doesn’t mean you’re going to stop learning, it doesn’t end the day that you go through commencement. Your learning keeps ongoing.
And I think taking risks helps us have all the synopsis firing in our head. And one of the things I love so much is I love going outside of the US, I love traveling to other parts of the world, because that helps keep me sharp. It helps keep all the synopsis firing. So when taking a risk, when you start to feel yourself getting a little complacent, when you start to feel yourself getting bored, start looking at the risks. Now, I will give you a caveat on that too. I don’t mean just any kind of risk. I mean judicious risks. So thinking it through, kind of doing your plus and delta column, what are the good things about this, what are the other things I might want to avoid, but being very judicious about the risk taking you’re doing. But To take those risks.
Sometimes when you do those risks, like you were saying, make that pros and cons list, you don’t want to just jump into anything. Impulse decisions sometimes don’t go as far as you want them to.
Right. Right. So you want to be judicious about it and think about it, but you still want to take action.
Sure. And we actually have a question from somebody watching right now. They asked, as a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?
Okay. So the most significant barrier my career has been people underestimating me. So people would tend to underestimate me being a woman, being a woman of color, so that’s been some of the barriers. However, I also looked at when people tend to underestimate me, when I would deliver on something, it just kind of peak their interest that much more. But in terms of being the most significant barrier, that would have been it.
Thank you for that. So a question I have here, I know it’s a little bit of a different conversation, but the question word for word says, why is it important to ask for what you want?
Because people can’t read your mind. People can’t read your mind. And we often assume that, well, if I’m in a certain job or if I’m in a certain position, people will know what I need. And that could not be more untrue. Meaning that, if you’re in a job and you’re required to do a resource or a task, you need to ensure that you’ve got the resources. And if your manager or boss doesn’t know, they can’t help you with that. The other thing is that, and this is especially for women, and I talk about this because it’s so disturbing to me, is that women generally do not ask for pay raises, pay increases, promotions, really visible job assignments. We just don’t ask is because we assume that our boss will know we want that. We assume that we’re going to get that.
So the reason why I say ask, because you have to ask for what you want. The only real difficulty in that is getting over your fear of asking. And I think so many folks have this kind of like self editing voice that goes on in the back of our heads that says, “Well, I couldn’t ask for my money because they’ll think I’m greedy.” Or, “I couldn’t ask for that assignment and because they might think, well, who am I to ask?” So we do ourself damaged by having that self editing voice go on in the back of her head. And I’ll go back to a question that you asked me earlier about one of the obstacles. And I think part of the obstacles in my own career was my own self editing voice saying that too, until I realized I was doing damage to myself.
And a lot of times when you ask for something that you want, the worst thing that can happen is that they just say, no.
Oh gosh! You are just taking the words out of my mouth because that is so true. That’s the worst thing that can happen. Is like someone will say no, but you’re no worse off than if you had never asked in the first place.
And the upside to that is that they might say yes or they might say maybe later.
So it’s getting over the discomfort of asking.
And it puts that idea in their head. Now they know that you’re looking for something.
Well, plus they also know that you know your worth too, and value.
Right. And that’s important.
That’s totally important.
So we have another question from an audience member. They asked what current female leaders do you most admire?
Oh, wow! There’s a lot from all different walks of life. So number of leaders from them at the political arena, especially the chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel. So admire her, her leadership. I admire just all the women that are in Congress, the new freshman class of congressional women. I admire number of women in the financial services, Sallie Krawcheck. The list could go on and on. I admire Michelle Obama greatly. So I admire Oprah of course. And I also love Beyonce. So yeah. So the women I admire span different sectors of life.
What are the qualities you look for in a leader that you admire?
Yeah. So the qualities I look for in any leader is the willing to stand alone
… And to take a risk. And what that means is oftentimes you’re going to take a stance on something that’s not popular, but how willing are you to still express your point of view, even though it might be unpopular? So that’s really what I look for in a leader. How willing are they to stand alone? But I also look, how is that leader developing and bringing up other leaders? Because to me, that’s really the true mark of a leader. How willing are you to help support somebody else?
So you’re a mentor yourself.
So what event in your life made you want to become a mentor?
I don’t know that I can look to just one particular event. I think it was multiple events that happen. The first one is I saw so many folks going through the same challenges that I went through. And I felt like it wasn’t necessary. If I could share my advice, some of the things that happened to me to help them prevent going through the same circumstance, then I would want to do it. And especially because some of the things it took two or three, maybe even five years. So I would want to save someone five years of their life going through that same challenge.
Thank you for that. And I just want to remind everybody what we’re talking about. If you’re to answer as many of them as possible. And now is the point where I’m going to tell you how you can even win your very own book right here. So earlier, let’s see if you were paying attention earlier. Earlier, we talked about a phrase, my personal village or your personal village. Comment below, tell us what that means. And if you’re the first person to tell us, this book is yours, right?
Yep. It’s yours.
Very cool. And I believe it’s signed too.
It’s singed and everything. So you want it right now, I’m telling you, dude. Get those comments rolling down there. And again, if you have any other questions, you can ask right there. Alrighty. There’s another question, would you believe that?
Why aren’t there more female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies?
Well, we look at the number of CEOs, roughly, the number is now between 28 and 30 CEOs within Fortune 500 companies. And a lot of that has to do with looking at how women are groomed, how companies are hiring women in the first place. So in order to have a woman ready to become a CEO, they also have to be within the organization and start being groomed to become CEO. The other reason I believe is because a number women don’t even realize that that’s an option. That’s a possibility.
In my childhood days, in my adolescent days, I didn’t even think about becoming a CEO. I didn’t even think that was a possibility, but it is. So planting that seed early in women’s minds that, yeah, you can become a CEO. Thinking about it now in your freshman year of college, one day I want to become a CEO. So start looking at all the things, the kinds of experiences that would be helpful for you to get to become a CEO. Kinds of people that you need to meet along the way, the kinds of courses you need to take, the kinds of experiences you need to have. So that’ll put you in standing to become a CEO.
All right. Thank you so much for that. I hope that answers your question out there in Instagram land. So one, it appears that we have… Somebody answered our question. Let’s see if they got it right. Yes they did. All right. So Ryan Granado, you will be receiving our signed copy that’s in my hand right now. So not only is it signed, but I holding it right now. I’m just kidding. Two celebrities.
There you go.
So overall with this book, even if he didn’t win it, where can you find it?
It’s on Amazon.
It’s on Amazon?
All right. Fabulous. And when people do get it on Amazon, what’s the key message that you want them to take away?
So a couple of key messages, ask for what you want. You got to ask, right? Because the worst thing can happen is they say no, or maybe later. Take risks, because here’s the thing, do not be afraid to fail because failure is not fatal. It’s just not. Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to try things. If you’re not successful at them, you’re going to learn more about the things that you weren’t successful in than you’re worried about your success. And raise your hand. Raise your hand. The most competent people in the world, it’s not that they don’t have fear, that they’re not feeling fear is that they’re still walking anyway. Confident people aren’t always confident. They’re feeling the fear that they’re doing it anyway. So keep walking.
Well, thank you so much. That’s all the questions that we have for you today.
But we do encourage everyone to go out there on Amazon, get this book, Don’t Abdicate the Throne. And I want to thank you so much for being here. It’s really appreciated.
It’s my pleasure thank you.
So we do want to remind everybody that the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will be hosting a woman entrepreneurship week. And if you want to learn more about that, you can go to montclair.edu/entrepreneur for more information. From the Feliciano School of Business, I’m Lewis Biondolillo, I’ll see you next week for yet another Feliciano Live. Thank you guys.
Check the video of the book discussion here with the author Dr. Lisa Brooks-Greaux
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