Let’s Get Personal: Why Women Aren’t CEOs – A Reflection

Image: This Rad Love

I read an article last week that I cannot get out of my mind. And between the anxiety I’m feeling with the healthcare vote today & the leftover anger I am feeling from this article – well I decided to blog about it. Let me start by saying that I am by no means an expert on this topic, but as a woman in IT, at a major, global corporation, I could not get over how many of these points rang true to me personally, and what I’ve witnessed being at the Manager level at my company (much less the C-Suite level). So this post will be about MY experience, what I see and experience personally and my plea to you all to read & share this article – especially with men you know in this space.

I spent a chunk of my Friday just copying and pasting sentence, after sentence of this article to my female co-worker. We talk often about what it’s like to be a woman on our Account, but even we were a bit flabbergasted at how insanely similar SO MUCH of these womens’ experiences were to ours. Like we could have written these quotes ourselves, or we could probably even find old messenger conversations between the two of us, that said the exact same things these women shared.

The article makes so many amazing points, but for me the ones that held truest were:

  • Women tend to be less comfortable with self-promotion & are more likely to be criticized when they do grab the spotlight
  • Men are threatened by assertive women
  • Women are not socialized to be unapologetically competitive
  • Women tend to get discouraged and drop out along the way (or decide they don’t actually want the top spot at a company) & are even disproportionately penalized for their stumbles

And after a few Lesley Knope rage gifs exchanged, the article (and my conversation with my female coworker) went on.

Women push for changes, which cause men to react badly. Women that attempt to negotiate for promotions were 30% more likely to be labeled intimidating, bossy, or aggressive.

And the final blow definitely came here:

Ms. Kullman found that men were being promoted within two years, women in three. “It wasn’t as overt as, “She’s too aggressive.’ ” she said, “It came down more to, “We’re not sure she’s ready for that job.”

This one was especially hard for me to read as I had JUST sat in performance sessions the week before and witnessed this with my own eyes & ears. I did not keep quiet during these sessions and felt strongly at challenging my fellow managers for actually defining WHY the man was ready but the woman was not. And one response yielded something to the affect of, she comes to me with frustrations and complaints of what is wrong, but no solutions. To which I asked, has anyone ever given her this feedback? To come with some suggested solutions too?

Silence.

Well, the NYTimes had me covered, “But she and other women describe a culture in which men sometimes feel hesitant to give women honest but hard feedback, which can be necessary for them to ascend, because they fear women may react emotionally.” How are we to climb the corporate ladder (if that is what we want), when we aren’t given the proper feedback to change or grow to get there?

If you think, like a lot of my male coworkers, that this article is silly or not what you experience (or as a man, not how you treat your female coworkers), then I would invite you to understand that just because it’s not affecting you, does not mean it isn’t affecting so many others. Because it is. I posted this article on Facebook and the only two comments I got, were from former male-coworkers of mine, making a joke about me womansplaining this article to them (yes really).

This is not a joke. And no, their comments were not funny. This is a reality, and like most (all?) issues facing women, it’s infinitely harder if you are a non-white woman.

So where do we go from here? These articles are great in informing & highlighting these issues, statistics, & experiences, but we need to do more than write & share these articles (but really, please read & share this article). We need to have conversations, we need to find ways to stay in the game and influence where we can. Personally, I will not keep quiet – I will continue to point out these occurrences when I see them and I will continue to challenge my male coworkers when I can, even when it’s almost always met with “oh there she goes again” eye-rolls. We also can create the change by starting our own companies – forging our own paths that aren’t already so stuck in the patriarchy and bringing as many people up with us as we can. We can win small battles in Corporate America – but the culture here as been this way for a very long time and I don’t know how fast we can change it.

I want faster change and for that I think forging our own paths is important – it’s one of the main reasons I love running this business & I am hopeful that lots of women are doing the same (plenty I know, are). My dad shared this awesome USA Today article with me, “Women business owners will save America” and this makes me hopeful. I also read a collection of short interviews with some seriously fierce & inspiring black comediennes yesterday, and a lot of them had the same message: be true to yourself, and if you don’t like the path that men/someone else is dictating for you – make your own. We do what we can to fight this ongoing battle and we continue to raise others up that need even more help than I do and give voice to those that don’t feel like they can speak up like I do. It’s the only way we will truly win.

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Kelly & Alex’s Deep Red & Gold, William & Mary Virginia Wedding

Images: The Girl Tyler

I had high hopes for this week with getting back into AT LEAST 3 blogs/week. Then the day job decided to get crazy, Andy left for Comic Con early this morning, and we had SO MANY decisions to make & questions we had to answer related to our home renovation project. So yeah, life got in the way (as it tends to do these days). But I am trying to focus on the positive & that is that we both started AND will now be ending this week with LOVE. And given the current state of our country, I think that’s a win. So here’s a sweet, little Virginia wedding to help get you to the weekend.

About the couple:

Kelly and Alex had a gorgeous wedding at William & Mary, the place where they became friends and eventually started dating. Because they are both Disney fans, Alex proposed during the fireworks on a boat in front of Cinderella’s castle. With hints of Disney and William & Mary alum scattered throughout their day to add in some of their personality, we know that you’ll love this navy, deep red, and gold wedding.


We both went to William & Mary and met there freshman year (we lived in the same dorm), so getting married in Williamsburg was special to us. our best man was the one who introduced us on 3/13/2006 (we were able to figure out the date) and we got married 3/12/2016 so almost exactly 10 years to the date. We wanted to have patriotic elements so chose colors of navy, dark red, and gold to be a more romantic version of red, white, and blue.

We knew we wanted to take pictures on Crim Dell bridge as we had never crossed it together and you are only supposed to cross with who you will be forever with :) and Barrett Hall (the freshman dorm we both lived in).

Kevin & Laura’s Laughter Filled, Washington, DC Engagement Pictures

Images: De Nueva Photography 

My name is Bree Ryback, and I’ve been a terrible blogger. I’m sure it hasn’t escaped your notice that I only managed to blog once last week – and I mostly start every week with an apology & a hope that I do better. Well, this time I mean it (like for reals guys). I have some super rad real weddings to share & hoping inspiration strikes for a few personal posts throughout – because drumming up your own content all the time is HARD. But hey, we got a lot going on (as usual) off the blog, with NEW THINGS hitting the #CapRoStore & officially launching our 2018 pricing for the wedding coordination side of things … and oh yeah trying to completely overhaul the blog & all our branding. (Yay!).

I hope you guys got to enjoy the weekend, with that decreased humidity – I am not entirely sure where it went. Lots of wedding consults, a desperately needed hair appt, and outdoor activities kept us pretty busy. Andy heads to Comic Con on Thursday, so I think (hope) that means I’ll have some time this weekend to knock things off my ever-growing to-do list. But…. I guess we’ll see!

We’re starting the week, as we always do here at Capitol Romance, with LOVE. An adorable DC couple, with their adorable love story, showing the best that local DC has to offer with their engagement pictures. Take it away guys :)

After spending a few years in San Francisco, Laura decided to move back east in the summer of 2014. Aiming for New York City, she ended up getting a job in Washington, DC, just before the start of the school year. Clearly she had been looking for love in the wrong place, as I have lived in the DC area my entire life.

Veterans of the online dating scene, Laura and I met through the online dating app Hinge in November 2014. On our second date, Laura jokingly offered me a ride to New York City the next day, as we both were heading north for Thanksgiving. Against all better judgment, I met Laura in her school’s parking lot the next day for what turned out to be a seven-hour car ride. The trip went well enough that Laura came back to DC a day earlier than scheduled, so we could see each other again.

Debbie & Dan’s Washington DC Engagement Pictures in Georgetown

Images: Anna Kerns Photography

What a freakin’ fabulous weekend we had. I hope you guys did too. We took Evie to a plethora of parks (both dry & of the spray park variation), got in some nice workouts, biked down to Yards Park to enjoy the wading pool & FINALLY say Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them (so good .. but still so mad about them casting Johnny Depp). Really just a “DC” weekend with plenty of sleep, wine, good food & outdoor fun. After a crazy week last week, I am slightly looking forward to the regular routine this week, and hopefully getting some good blog posts out to you guys. We’re kicking things off with Debbie & Dan’s Georgetown engagement pictures in DC (clients of Kara’s!). Happy Monday Romancers.

After a couple weeks of flirting on GChat and challenging each other to quizzes on Sporcle, Daniel finally asked me out to lunch in Georgetown, specifically Peacock Cafe. Later that night, we met up at a local bar (in large part thanks to one of Daniel’s groomsman, who was an amazing wing-man). At the bar, my matron of honor told Daniel how smitten I was with him. We shared a kiss that night and became an official couple soon after–although we kept our relationship a secret at work for a few weeks.

Mai & Rachel’s DIY, Hawaiian Themed Wedding at Patapsco Female Institute

Images: Kristen Finn

I can’t think of a better wedding to get my butt back into blogging gear, than Mai & Rachel’s. Not only did these fabulous ladies plan & execute the MOST fabulous DIY, luau-themed wedding, but they were Kara’s first clients with Capitol Romance Weddings & the result was M-A-G-I-C-A-L. Rachel & Mai also just watched Sadie for my while I was in Vermont on vacation – so even EXTRA rad points happening here. You guys are going to love this one though -> Hula lessons, fire knife dancers, BBQ, and MORE. So much DIY inspiration here & even the guests got into the Hawaiian spirit with their attire. You’re gonna love this one.

Our party was a DIY smorgasbord. We had so many helpers, including Kara, who kept us on target and grounded. We decided early on that we wanted a casual party with games, fun, and relaxo-time. The luau theme fit perfectly because we spend a good bit of time in Hawaii. The venue had to be indoor AND outdoor, and only Patapsco Female Institute fit the bill for us. It was beautiful, quirky, spacious, indoor but also outdoor, and roof-free for starry night dancing. It was also a blank slate that we could make our own.

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