Skip to main content
Success Story Podcast

Gloria Feldt, Co-Founder & President Of Take The Lead | Women Will Take The Lead for (Everyone’s) Good

By March 8, 2022January 18th, 2023No Comments

Like The Show? Leave A Rating:

About The Guest

Gloria Feldt is a New York Times best-selling author, speaker, commentator, and feminist leader who has gained national recognition as a social and political advocate of women’s rights. In 2013, she co-founded Take The Lead, a nonprofit initiative with a goal to propel women to leadership parity by 2025. 

She is a former CEO and president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, directing the organization from 1996 to 2005. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, Time, NBC, Fast Company, Vanity Fair, and much more.

Talking Points

  • 00:00 – Intro.
  • 04:15 – Gloria Feldt’s Origin Story
  • 12:11 – Inhibition Towards Applying For Jobs You Deserve
  • 18:58 – What Has Happened With Leadership During Covid? 
  • 23:24 – Why Has Covid Set Women Back 10-20 Years?
  • 26:45 – Why Is Side Hustle Important?
  • 28:30 – After Covid, How Can We Recover Or Move In The Right Direction?
  • 34:00 – Why Gloria Chose A Particular Word For The Title Of Her Book?
  • 35:36 – What Are The Lessons Or Advice People Can Get From Gloria’s Book? 
  • 40:00 – How to Find Organizations That Foster Employee Growth
  • 47:41 – Advice Pulled Out Of Gloria’s Book
  • 48:05 – Where Do People Connect With Gloria? 
  • 49:22 – What Was The Biggest Challenge Of Gloria’s Career And How Did She Overcome It?
  • 50:03 – Who Was Gloria’s Mentor? 
  • 50:51 – A Book Or A Podcast Recommendation By Gloria
  • 51:40 – What Would Gloria Tell Her 20-Year-Old-Self?
  • 51:57 – What Does Success Mean To Gloria Feldt?

Show Links

Podcast & Newsletter Sponsors

  3. HUBSPOT –

Watch on YouTube

What is the Success Story Podcast?

On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups, and entrepreneurship.

The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.

Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures, and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas, and insights.

He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their stories to help pass those lessons onto others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between.









Newsletter :

Machine Generated Transcript


women, people, pandemic, tensioning, leadership, book, career, netsuite, organization, gloria, spoke, life, business, success story, men, podcast, years, unreasonable, tools, job


Scott D Clary, Gloria Feldt


Scott D Clary  00:00

Welcome to success story, the most useful podcast in the world. I’m your host, Scott D. Clary. The success story podcast is part of the HubSpot Podcast Network. The HubSpot Podcast Network has incredible podcasts like the salesmen podcast hosted by wil Baron. Now if you work in sales, you want to learn how to sell or you want to peek at some of the latest sales news and insights, you need to listen to the salesman podcast. The host will Baron help sales professionals learn how to find buyers and win big business in effective and ethical ways. If you think any of the following topics resonate with you, you’re gonna love the show, how to find and close your dream job and sales 12 essential principles of selling digital body language, how to have better zoom sales meetings, or how to tell a remarkable sales story. If these are topics that would interest you. Go check out the salesman podcast wherever you get your podcasts or at Network. Today, my guest is Gloria Feldt. She is a New York Times best selling author, speaker commentator and feminist leader who has gained national recognition as a social and political advocate of women’s rights. In 2013. She co founded take the lead, which is a nonprofit initiative with a goal to propel women to leadership parity by 2025. She’s a former CEO and President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, directing the organization from 1996 to 2005. She has been featured in The New York Times, Washington Post Forbes Times, NBC, Fast Company Vanity Fair and many more publications. We spoke about some lessons from her book, some of the things she teaches over when she speaks on women leadership and empowerment. And I’m going to get to those in a second. But most importantly, we spoke about our present day situation, take the lead. The goal and the initiative of take the lead was to get women to leadership parity by 2025. We spoke about where we’re at right now, what COVID did for women leadership did it, push it forward, set it back. And then we also spoke about what organizations can actually do to foster women leadership and to help women progress into leadership positions. And then we spoke about some things that you can do if you are in a position and you want to move up in your career, some great leadership mindset things. Now, of course, she helps women move into leadership positions. The mindset topics that she speaks about are just great for anybody who wants to level up in their career. But she specifically teaches women how to leverage some of these techniques. So a few things that she teaches over that she goes into further detail in the show, preparing yourself to lead preparing yourself to lead and not just lead organizations, but lead change. So she uses a framework called VCA. Vision, courage, action. What is that? How does that impact your peers and yourself, she spoke about the consequences of actions when things don’t go right how to navigate that how to navigate the ups and downs in an organization, how to flex as needed. We spoke about improving your impact in meetings and presentations. We spoke about proactive practices that you can you can deploy in your life that will allow you to build habits that help you sustain your leadership journey, and it filters out derailleurs or what she calls power demons as you try to progress in your career. We spoke about turning your obstacles into assets. And then lastly, we spoke about tapping into your power and your energy using ambition as fuel to achieve your intention. And at a high level. It does sound like there’s a lot of mindset things but then she goes into detail about how to actually action it in your day to day. So let’s jump right into this. We have a lot of great leadership lessons, some reality some some tough conversations about where we are at in terms of women leadership parody in 2022. This is Gloria Feldt best selling author, executive speaker commentator and feminist leader.


Gloria Feldt  04:15

Okay, so it’s been a long and rocky road, but I will I will shorten it up for you. So Scott, I was actually born and raised in small Texas towns, which surprises people as I’m sitting right now a couple of blocks from Columbus Circle in New York and feel very happy about that. But I you know, I was I grew up in a culture where women weren’t given aspirations for careers. And they said if you went to college it was to get your Mrs. And I and that your job was to be a support system for everyone else. And I totally drink that Kool Aid. I just want to tell you, I was I wanted to, I wanted to fit in. I wanted to be excited. exactly what the culture was telling me I should be. And that was why I married my high school sweetheart, I had three kids. By the time I was 20, just a few days after my 20th birthday, and then I woke up, I woke up, it was like a light bulb went off. My son, David, who is my youngest calls himself mom’s lightbulb, because he’s heard the story so many times. But I don’t know whether it was maybe a little maturity, maybe it was simply I will say I believe that the advent of the birth control pill helped, it helped me know that I could actually plan and space my children and, and therefore be more intentional in general about my life to kind of connect it with what I’m writing about right now. And I realized also that if I had to support three children, I didn’t have any employable skills. So I started to community college, I was living in Odessa, Texas at the time, anybody’s a Friday Night Lights fan out there, let me just tell you, it’s a true story. My kids all graduated from Permian High School, we all were mighty Mojo, it’s for real. And so there was only a community college in Odessa at the time, and it took me therefore 12 years to finally get my bachelor’s degree. And during that time, I had an opportunity to get involved in a lot of community service work, I became involved in the Civil Rights Movement, for example, and that taught me one of the most important lessons that has guided me ever since, which is that people working together can change anything. And I value that lesson so much. And I it repeats itself over and over again, in everything that I do. I also noticed that the women were doing all the frontline work and the men were getting all the leadership positions and all the credit. And that also gave me another Aha, which is Whoo, if there are civil rights, women must have them too. And so it was that was pretty much the moment where I decided that I would focus my life on women’s equality in a very in a variety of different forms. And I, I serendipitously was offered a position as the executive director of the Small new Planned Parenthood affiliate in West Texas. A few years after that, and I, I had planned on being a high school social studies teacher, which was an appropriate job for a woman at that time, but I did the inappropriate thing. And I, I didn’t know how to, I had never run an organization. I honestly, I was totally unqualified. But I said, Yes. Don’t ask me why it’s kind of become the mantra of my life is like, just say yes. Because if you have these opportunities, give it a try. You never know what will happen. And I think that’s good advice for a lot of people today who sometimes I think young people overthink what they want to do with their careers. And you need to have a you need to have two things. You need to have that intentionality. But it’s also good to be open to fortuity. And to be willing to say yes, if something interesting comes your way. Anyway, as I say, the rest is history. I ended up as the national president 30 years 20 years later, and I left that job at the 30 year mark thinking 30 was a good round number. And I needed to go write the books I had been wanting to write for my entire life. The last book that I wrote before in tensioning, was a study of why women hadn’t reached parity in leadership positions in any sector. We were about 18% of the top leadership positions at that time across every single sector, from politics to corporate to entrepreneurship, it doesn’t matter what it was.


Scott D Clary  08:47

Can I Can I ask you to timestamp that too? So I can understand like, because when you say 18% How many years ago was that?


Gloria Feldt  08:54

Yeah, that was 10 years ago?


Scott D Clary  08:56

That’s not that long ago.


Gloria Feldt  08:58

Not that long ago. Oh, no. Yeah. Right. So I had to find out why. Because all my life, I’d been opening doors and changing laws and thinking, you know, we have every opportunity. We’ve seen a woman first almost everything. Why are we still that far from parity. And what I found in my own research was that it’s not women, not that women lack ambition, which a lot of the research says it is that we’re socialized differently around power and intention from men. And we learn from the historical narrative, an idea about power that is about fighting and wars and scarce resources. And that’s not really even functional in today’s world, because this is an economy based on brains not brawn now. And so it’s really about how can you innovate how can you create How can you make a bigger pie As opposed to thinking that there are, you have to fight over the crumbs. And women are pretty good at those things. And I found that once I would suggest to women will shift your thinking about power, quit thinking about it as being the power over because I know you’ve had the negative aspects of, of that power. But think about it as being a generative power to power to it’s the power to make life better for yourself, your family, the world, whatever innovate, create, and I would see masks fall off of women’s faces, not the real masks wearing now. But yes, you know, like masking their their true feelings. And they would say, Well, I want that. I want that kind of power. And so that was that was where I started. And people started asking me to teach workshops using what I had written. In this book, no excuses, where I laid out what the problem was and what to do about it. I saw women have big breakthroughs in their ideas about themselves and what they could do, their careers, their aspirations. And I quickly realized that, again, from what I have learned from the Civil Rights Movement, people working together can change things. But when he tried to do it by yourself, it’s not usually a winning strategy. So I co founded my nonprofit organization, take the lead. And our mission is to prepare that’s train, develop coach, inspire role model programs, and propel through thought leadership, women to take their fair and equal share of leadership positions across every sector by 2025, that’s 70 to 150 years faster than they say we can do in the United States. That’s, I really do believe this is a moment when we can move, we can move faster, even with the pandemic, which I’m sure we’ll talk about. So enter the pandemic. And at that at the point of as we entered 2020, we had increased women in top leadership positions from 18% to 25%. And then the pandemic came. And so here we are now. And then I wrote the book in tensioning, to pick up from there.


Scott D Clary  12:11

So I want to I want to unpack a few things. That’s That’s incredible. I appreciate the research you put into this as well. So when we’re even moving from 18 to 25%, obviously, we’re not at parity, we’re trying to hit 50 or above. Right. That’s, that’s we’re trying to aim towards that. But when you’re saying that, when you first did this research, you said that women were socialized, different, and there was more of a scarcity, mindset and combative. That’s how we move forward versus now when there’s literally more resources. And many people know what to do with like, in all seriousness of the abundance mindset where everybody can literally have a piece of the pie. Everybody can have the job, the money that life that they would like if, of course if they’re, you know, if they’re if they want to go go after it. So when you’re socialized differently, does that mean that women weren’t applying? Like, what’s the practical implication of that? Are women not applying for the jobs? Is it it? Like, what is the actual thing that stops them? Because that’s the theory and it makes sense. And it’s not just theory? Sorry. That’s like the actual cause. But then what does that actually manifest as in somebody’s career?


Gloria Feldt  13:19

Yeah, well, it does manifest itself in very concrete ways. For example, if a man sees one or two things in a job description that he can do, he will apply. If a woman sees one or two things she can’t do. She’ll think she’s not ready, and she will not apply. There are other very concrete manifestations when the website zip recruiter crunched the numbers in, you know, they looked at comparable requests for salaries between men and women, same job, same qualifications. They found that on average, women asked $11,000 plus less than men for the same job with the same qualifications. So when I saw that I had this, like, Oh, my goodness, now I get what this different socialization and frankly, the implicit bias that has been in our culture for so long, that’s what it does to our heads. If you are a member of any underrepresented group, and you have been judged differently than the predominant culture, it causes you to step back, it causes you not to feel as entitled not to feel as secure in your own capabilities. And it really sets you back. I mean, it just literally physically and mentally sets you back. And so what I work to overcome in women is to understand that there’s no reason to be set back by this and in fact, the very characteristics that have been acculturated into us And I want to say at the outset, I don’t believe for one minute that men and women are hardwired differently, I don’t believe that any of this is, is inevitable. I don’t believe men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. But the culture has treated us a little differently. And, and the result of that is that women are acculturated more from birth to, to respond to how they look at that takes the Locus of Power outside of yourself at to think first about what other people think about them. And and I tell you, I mean, it’s a really big difference, as opposed to, you know, little boys just go be noisy, go be messy, go be snotty, what’s fine, you know, and, and it just, it imprints you for the rest of your life. And so, the, the good news is that many of the characteristics that have been acculturated into women have become our superpowers, which is why I made this one of my leadership and tensioning tools for women, like take this implicit bias, and understand how it’s become your superpower. Because now, the business case is very clear that companies with more women in their leadership are more profitable. Well, you know us that that is the huge strength. Why does that happen? It happens because women have been taught have been taught from birth to, to be empathetic, to read, so you learn to read the room. And I think that’s true also of people of color. If you have not been the group in power, you have to develop the capacity to read the room to understand what’s going on with people, the emotional underpinnings as well as what they’re saying. So you have to, but you have to consciously use that as a as a strength. So I say put on your cape and, and use those things as superpowers.


Scott D Clary  16:56

It’s a combination, I just want to take a second and thank the sponsor of today’s episode CloudHealth. Now as you all know, open enrollment is ending soon, it’s time to think about the best healthcare option for you and your family. And I know a lot of people are still trying to figure out what to do. Now when it comes to health care, it’s important that you’re getting your money’s worth CloudHealth helps you with covering medical expenses, it’s a more flexible and affordable health care option without the hassle of insurance. So while you’re shopping around, don’t forget to head to join crowd 99 Find out how crowd health can save you 40 to 60% in health care costs every single year. And just to give you an idea of what crowd health is, crowd health isn’t health insurance. It’s a modern way to pay for medical expenses. Crowd health is a community of people who are tired of paying into a broken system being in the crowd health community can save you hundreds of dollars in monthly expenses and put 1000s of dollars back in your pocket. Now you’re probably asking, Why would I choose CloudHealth over traditional insurance three main reasons flexible, simple, membership based membership is a monthly subscription starter stop whenever you want. There’s simple and transparent pricing that fits exactly what you need to use it all you have to do is scan bills and throw them away. CloudHealth takes care of the rest. Now CloudHealth is able to offer incredible pricing because of its community of health conscious members. And they put together a special offer just for success story podcast listeners, so get your first six months at just $99 per month, that’s a savings of almost 50% off their standard pricing and a lot less than one of those crappy high deductible plan. Just go to join the crowd 99 and enter code success story at signup that’s join crowd 99 and promo code is success story enter that when you sign up. Remember, crowd health is not health insurance. It’s a community powered alternative terms and conditions do apply to a few things, right? Because like you like, like, under underrepresented groups do have all of these incredible leadership skills. It’s just about unlocking it and enabling and like pushing them, pushing them or enabling them whatever it may be, so that they can actually use them in an environment where that’s been, like, quite honestly impact positively net positive for that bottom line of that business. And I want I’m wanna unpack what has happened with leadership during COVID. And where and because I’ve seen a lot of things that have sort of spoken to women leadership during COVID. I’ve seen that at a government level. But I want to I don’t know all the use cases, I’m sure you have some examples of at an organizational level or a business level how women leadership did quite well during the pandemic.


Gloria Feldt  19:45

It’s interesting because it is true that we’ve seen that countries led by women have fared much better with the pandemic than than other countries. Now, of course, it’s a fairly small sample still, but yeah, but nevertheless is There’s a sample. And we can see that and again, I think that has to do with the conditioning, social conditioning to be to be authentic. And to


Scott D Clary  20:09

because it was just Cinda, our Ardern. That’s the one I always kept saw as a prime minister, New Zealand, that was like the, she was just killing it, like in such a good way at the beginning of the pandemic. And that was like the model globally. I think there was others examples, but that was one that I remember.


Gloria Feldt  20:25

Yes. And and one of the quotes that I use of hers in my book is that she says something like, They that people say that being empathetic is what makes you look weak. But I say it’s just the opposite. I say it’s actually a strength. And that’s a really good example of what I’m talking about. And when I say that we can take these ways that we’ve been acculturated, and we can use them as superpowers. And they’re things that men can learn from, as well. And male leaders who are doing a better job tend to take on some of those characteristics as well. So it’s not that only women can do it. It’s that it’s that that’s just you know, that’s how we have been acculturated. So they do say that the data says that women have been set back 10 to maybe 30 years from the pandemic in terms of their career trajectories. But, and I don’t want to understate at all the pain, the suffering. I mean, people have endured so much. During the pandemic, I don’t understate that at all. But from a leadership perspective, and from an organizational perspective, a business perspective and a government perspective, too, it’s in those times of great disruption, that you also have the opportunity for rebirth, that you have the opportunity to rethink, because when things are disrupted on your site, society is disrupted. It forces it literally forces boundaries to become permeable, and structures that have been there forever, has to loosen up, open up. And there’s not a company now that doesn’t know that you could people can work from home very productively, they know that you can actually find ways to take care of your family responsibilities and caregiving, and do your work. So I foresee that, again, people working together can make this happen. If we really work together, we can usher in an era where our organizations, and the leaders of organizations are much more flexible, which is what women have been asking for, for quite some time to enable both men and women to attend to their family responsibilities and do their work. So you’ll see more family leave, you’ll see more childcare opportunities, we’re talking, I mean, in Congress right now, believe me, I never thought I would hear these two words together. Infrastructure and childcare. You know, they’re now talking about caregiving in general and childcare in particular as being a part of unnecessary social infrastructure. I think that’s just amazing. And if we really value children, that’s exactly what we will make happen.


Scott D Clary  23:24

But my question, so I’m curious as to why the pandemic set set went back 10 to 30 years, because I actually thought when I was when I just mentioned a very positive result, like it was like, like, showing like a prime example of how women in a leadership position like just did absolutely incredible things. But you’re saying that at a global level, women are setback 10 to 30 years. So what happened? Why is that, that I thought that that would have? I was Go ahead. Sorry. No,


Gloria Feldt  23:53

no, that is absolutely right. follow on question. But it also points up exactly what I’m saying, which is that disruptions are both opportunities. And, you know, they’re they’re their opportunity, but it’s also can they can also set you back. It depends on what we decide to do with it. The reason that that women have been sent back is this kind of there multiple things. Number one, women are in more of the low paying, and particularly women of color, we’re in more of the low paying direct customer facing jobs. Of so that means they were in retail, that means they were in caregiving, and that means childcare in a lot of different jobs. That closed down. I mean, they just weren’t there anymore. So that was part of it. The other part of it was that they the responsibilities for caregiving are still falling more on women’s shoulders, then on men shoulders and women. assuming more of that responsibility, and you could argue that women need to just say no, but you know, I mean, you’re not going to not let your children have their schooling and women are homeschooling and Ben are doing some of it. And I will say, I do think the pandemic has taught a lot of men who have children, that it’s not that easy to be home with kids all day. I mean, I’ve definitely seen that and, and there, I was just, I just did another podcast where the, the host said that his brother was the single parent of two boys. He was like, going crazy. Because yeah, it’s like, no, this is not easy. And also caregiving for elderly parents, for example, and people didn’t want their, their elders to have to go into group homes or nursing homes, because the incidence of COVID was so high so that, you know, like, we were doing things, I don’t look, I bought a mop. You know, I sweep my own housekeeping for the first time in a long time. So we this, these are the kinds of things that set women back. The third reason, I think, is that, and I think this is probably true somewhat for men, I’d love to know your opinion about this, as well as women. I think that this disruption has caused many people to rethink, what am I doing with my life? Is this what I want to be doing? Is this, you know, is this what I want my life to be about? And so women who have the option, and this obviously is a first world’s privileged women option. Some of them are just saying, I am taking I’m taking myself out of the workforce for a while because I need to rethink my whole life.


Scott D Clary  26:45

I think that I have no I have no data points or statistics is purely purely just my opinion. But I know that people are quitting in droves. And I think men, women, everybody is just realizing, why would I Why would I commit to a company that I’ve put 30 years into the can furlough me, or lay me off instantly. And now that permanent full time job that you know, my parents had in my grandparents had before, that’s no longer the way you have to structure your career. Now you have to upskill now you have to be very flexible. Now you have to have multiple sources of income people start the side hustles people, you know, they work one job two jobs, or they just make the jump ship every two years, so they can get a better job, better title, more money at another place. But I think people are focusing on themselves more than ever, and not putting as much faith in that business, that company that hired you. I think that’s men and women.


Gloria Feldt  27:39

Yeah. And I think that some are even saying, well, maybe I don’t need to make that much money. I need to make enough money to have a decent life. But I don’t need to stress. And, yeah, that’s I mean, it’s we all have to make judgments like that throughout our lives. And I, you know, I people, you know, this whole narrative that people have been laying on women for years about, you can’t have it all. So you, nobody has it all. Everybody has to make a series of choices every single day about what you’re going to do with that 24 hours that you have for the 18 waking hours or however many hours you’re awake. And I I think we’re just paying more attention to that now. And understanding that it is a series of choices. But we have to make our own choices about how we’re going to spend these precious days that we have.


Scott D Clary  28:30

So let’s say let’s let’s speak about in tensioning, let’s speak about moving the needle forward, because pandemic maybe brought us back a couple years. So that’s okay, so we have to that that is what it is. It’s not good, but it is what it is. So how do we go back in the right direction. So what is intention, I want to even explain what that means from somebody who is just trying to push themselves in their career in their life, getting a raise, getting a you know, anything that’s moving in the right direction. And then I’m assuming that intention also has a whole bunch of very practical, like actionable things that you can think about in your career to move you in the right direction. I want to uncover those as well. So let’s let’s break down what is intention? Because you’re writing this as the pandemic hits was probably even more valuable now?


Gloria Feldt  29:15

Yes, well, I had started writing it before the pandemic, a couple of years, I started interviewing women before the pandemic. And in all of my books, I always include very actionable skills, tools, techniques that that people can use to, to do whatever they want to do in their life, in their leadership in their business, whatever it might be. And he’s, you know, practical, practical person. And I like for actually, somebody has asked me, what is it that that keeps driving you and in truth, it’s when that when I somebody says to me, I read this in your book, or I heard you talk about this in one of your speeches, and I did it and now I got a better job and now I got more pay. And I’m like, oh, yeah, yes, that is what keeps me going. It’s That is that. So I, I like the practical part, I have started interviewing women intending to do exactly what I did, which was to build nine leadership and tensioning tools around the stories of women who exemplify that particular skill or tool.


Scott D Clary  30:16

And that’s the use case. Right?


Gloria Feldt  30:18

That yes, exactly. And then the pandemic came. And then I had to change a lot about the book because I realized it actually became a better and richer book, I think, because I needed to, first of all put the pandemic in perspective. And exactly what we’ve been talking about that disruption is, is is, you know, it’s it’s an ending, but it’s also a beginning. It’s also a rebirth, an opportunity for rebirth for rethinking for retooling. And so that was one part of it. And then, of course, there was also the recognition of deeply seeded racial and justices that have been part of this country since it began. But with the murder of George Floyd, more people were recognizing this and becoming activists as a result of it. So I felt that I needed to put those things into the perspective, those are things that leaders have to understand deeply, and utilize in their leadership. And that I wanted to make the point also that racism, sexism, homophobia, all of these things are joined at the head. And they’re basically come from fear, they come from a belief in scarcity, they come from concern that if if, you know, if there’s a pie and I take a piece, there’s less for you, when in truth, we can all make more pies. And, and we will not solve any of these disparities, unless we joined together and move forward together. So I wanted to make that point. And then I leap into the nine leadership and tensioning tools with that as a backdrop, so that there’s more context for it, and a context for understanding the value of diversity as something that can make us stronger and richer and smarter, as opposed to dividing us. So I hope I’ve delivered that message successfully and woven those ideas into all of these leadership tools.


Scott D Clary  32:21

I just want to take a second and thank the sponsor of today’s episode NetSuite. Picture this, this is at the putt to win the tournament, if you sync it, the championship is yours. But on your backswing, your hat falls over your eyes. Is this how you’re running your business poor visibility into what’s actually happening? Because you’re relying on spreadsheets and outdated finance software to see the full picture you need to upgrade to NetSuite. by Oracle. If you are a business owner, you need visibility into what’s happening in your business. NetSuite gives you that visibility, it gives you visibility over your financials, your inventory, HR, planning, budgeting, and more. NetSuite is everything you need to have visibility, to have control, and most importantly, to grow all in one place. With NetSuite. You can automate your process and close your books in no time while staying well ahead of your competition. 93% of surveyed businesses increase both their visibility into what was going on as well as their control after they switched and upgraded to NetSuite. Remember NetSuite is rated the number one cloud financial system to power your growth and over 27,000 businesses already use NetSuite and right now through to the end of the year, NetSuite is offering a one of a kind financing program to those ready to upgrade at D. Clary, so if you want to take advantage head to NetSuite comm slash Scott Clary for a special end of the year financing on the number one financial system for growing businesses that is Clarity, and why and why that particular word for the title, what is in tensioning? I mean to somebody that’s I’ve never heard that word before. I made it up. I was wondering, I’m like, I don’t think I’ve ever used that in a sentence.


Gloria Feldt  34:15

But I but I want it to be the dictionary. I want it to be the word of the year next year. So


Scott D Clary  34:21

no, it’s good. So it’s like it’s, it’s like the act of doing something with intention. Exactly.


Gloria Feldt  34:26

And that’s exactly I had I was trying to find the right word. And I looked in the dictionary, I looked in the thesaurus. I Googled for it and I couldn’t find exactly the right word. So I made it up. I just made it up because that’s how you say what you say is exactly what I what I wanted to do, which was to take a noun, which is a very perfectly good noun. And intention is something we talk about a lot these days, but I wanted to exemplify the fact that I intention is great, but unless you’re doing it, it doesn’t matter. And it’s all about what you’re actually doing. And I also differentiate between ambition and intention in that regard. Because to me, ambition is I hope, I wish I want, I’ve got a dream about it. Intention and intention thing is I will, I am, I’m doing it, I see myself having already done it, I know it will happen. So it’s a qualitative kind of difference. And I feel that that is a linchpin that is an absolute linchpin for helping women get to parity and leadership because they have to have that belief for themselves, and the courage to act on it.


Scott D Clary  35:36

I love that. Okay, so let’s break down. He said, there’s a few like, very, like tactical takeaways in the book. So there’s, there’s nine tools, but we don’t have to go through nine, obviously, that’s why you get the book. But pick, pick a couple pick, like one or two things that if somebody is, you know, they’re sitting in a career right now. And they, they want to move their career, they want to get a promotion, they want to do something more or do something and move up. I don’t know what that move up looks like. And maybe you can describe what they should be looking for? Should it be another company? Should it be a tip to negotiate? Should it be finding a mentor or sponsor within your own company? What’s the actionable thing that somebody could do?


Gloria Feldt  36:15

I’m going to start with the first one, because I believe it is the bedrock and it is uncover yourself. And by that, I mean, know who you are, get in touch with what your values are, I believe that the greatest leaders and the most effective leaders are very clear about who they are, and what they believe, what values they will stand on. And they know themselves and they show themselves to others. But you have to know yourself first before you can show yourself to others authentically. So that is the first that is the first tool. And you know, both men and women say they cover themselves in the workplace, because they’re trying to fit in women more than men, and both men and women of color more than white women. Because the culture was built by white men, for white men who had women and people of color at home at the time, 250 years ago, doing the tech kind of taking care of their lives. And so the world has changed, the world has changed, the families are different. They’re usually, if they’re two partners, they’re usually two breadwinners. And if there’s one person, you know that that breadwinner has to cover everything. So it’s very different, it’s very different and not functional anymore. And and so there’s there is this need to uncover ourselves in a, particularly in a society that is increasingly diverse. And we need to use that diversity as a strength, not as a divider, which is that we could do a whole program on that I’ll move on. I will move on. One, I’m going to take one more here. And then you can ask me some other questions about them, but one that is counter intuitive. So I have three, three of these tools are what I call yourself definitional tools. In other words, how you are introspective, three of them are counter intuitive very often, they’re things your mother told you not to do. But you should if you want to be a great leader. And the third, the third bucket of these tools is the change leadership tools. So big systems change how to make big systems change. So a counter intuitive tool. That is, I think super important for women is modulate confidence. There is a whole industry out there making tons of money, trying to show women how to become confident. Confidence, however, is not something you can just learn. You get confident by doing things by practicing by actually rolling up your sleeves and doing the thing that scares you. And that’s how you get confidence. You don’t you can’t inject confidence into your veins. You what it really takes doing. And frankly, the reason I say modulate confidence is that if you’re totally confident, why do you have any reason to learn something new? If you’re totally confident, what’s the burr under your saddle? That, that helps you to want to learn new things to try new things to do better to, to ascend to a higher level of a position. So you we need to learn to do things long before we’re confident that he has learned to do things. Maybe as John F. Kennedy said, we go to the moon, not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard, though you know that we do those things because they’re hard because that’s where the growth is. That’s where the growth is. That’s what really teaches us how to be bigger and smarter and greater and build bigger businesses or run for congress or whatever it is that we might want to do. So those are those are a couple of them.


Scott D Clary  40:00

And and when I say you want to say these are things that will that yes, they’re things that everybody should really try and internalize. But when you are, if you want to champion some of these things do you think that you should try and champion them in, in the organization you’re already in? Or is this something that may be the organization values has to align with your own personal values to really get the best effect? Because they’re gonna, you’re gonna come up against some people that are not with it, not in line, like super bigoted, like old school like, and that’s, that’s a blocker to it can’t just be one sided, because it’s never going to happen if your immediate boss is just an absolute asshole, right? It’s not going to happen. So what what do you suggest people look for very another sort of like a practical thing, if somebody is trying to find an organization that will help enable these things. What do you look for? Is there? Is there a process for like interviewing the interviewer? Is it is it finding the organization that I don’t know has some sort of some sort of person or cultural or something in place that can you look to and like this is an organization is going to help support my growth? Because I know there’s a lot of organizations that may not, or there’s a lot of people within organizations that may not and I want to keep people away from those and give them the best possible chance of succeeding in their careers. Right? It’s, so how do you find that


Gloria Feldt  41:24

right? But the first step, again, is to is to know yourself, and decide what, what is that important to you? Because you’re probably not going to ever get everything you want. And yeah, if you’re working in a in an organization, you’re you’ll you will make some compromises along the way, most likely, actually, in any situation, if it’s your own business, doesn’t matter what it is, you’ll probably make some compromises along the way. But you need to know what is it you care so much about that you will walk away rather than violate that. I have one of the power tools in my previous book, no excuses is called wear the shirt. And what that means is, what do you believe so strongly it put it on your shirt, and let other people see it? That that you hold that but so so you know, so strongly? I have this is a shirt somebody gave me actually I saw I saw Yeah, no, it’s right. Yeah. And I’m wearing that shirt today. That’s my shirt for the day. But so. So you have to first of all, figure that out. And your question is a good one for people to ask at different stages of their careers. Because when you’re just starting out, you have more of the luxury to research organizations, and zero in on, okay, this is where I feel like it’s a fit for me. I know I there’s a young woman who was in one of my courses a few years ago. And I just noticed on LinkedIn that she had taken a new job. And when I read her logic for taking this new job, it was all about, you know, I’ve had some great jobs before, and I’ve learned a lot. But I wanted to go with this particular company, because they put together my core value of belief in the power of education, with making it more democratized for you that available to people. So you know, this is like, consciously she was in tensioning, that she would be able to work in a culture and a set of values, like a company that had the same value set that she had. That’s, you can research that. I mean, things are much more transparent now. And I think they’re probably I, that’s not true of every company. And that’s true. But increasingly, companies are having to be more transparent about what their values are, and what their mission is, meaning their mission may be to make money, but how do they do it? And how are they serving the world when they make money? They they’re, they’re telling you that on their websites, those are questions you can ask in interviews, you can you it’s perfectly legitimate to ask those questions. And I will tell you, as somebody who has hired a lot of people over the years, I appreciate it when people have done their research. And they know what matters to them. And they asked me those questions.


Scott D Clary  44:17

No matter what it says, I just want people to feel comfortable like asking these questions, because that’s how you really set yourself up for success. Right? You want to you want to make sure that you know what you’re stepping into.


Gloria Feldt  44:28

Right, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. And I think I think, you know, as you grow in your career, you have more even more opportunity to be very straightforward and discerning. It may take you longer to get a job, that’s for sure. But it’s worth taking that time and making sure that you feel it’s a culture that you will thrive in and that you can contribute to. I just


Scott D Clary  44:54

want to take a second and thank the sponsor of today’s episode. HubSpot. Now, the new year might have you thinking about had to what you want out of your career. So when you think about your success story, what do you actually picture is retiring early with a beautiful view of the skyline? Is it leaving a legacy with your name on it? Or maybe it’s helping influence and change some of the world’s most pressing issues? Whatever it is writing your success story starts by working smart because when you work smart, your success story writes itself. A HubSpot CRM platform helps your marketing campaigns work harder and smarter. With intuitive visual workflows and bot builders. You can create scalable, automated campaigns across email, social media, web and chat. So your customers hear your messages loud and clear. Are you tired of your content not adapting to mobile, making it difficult for your customers to absorb your message a HubSpot CRM platform optimizes your content for multiple devices so that you can reach your customers, wherever they are, which is just smart. Learn more about how you can transform your customer experience with a HubSpot That’s smart. I want to ask one more point. And then I’ll do that we’ll sort of wrap up because this has been really good. You’ve gone through a lot of stuff in the book, too. I appreciate. There’s one thing that I thought was really interesting. I just want to get your take on it. One of the change leadership tools you mentioned was be unreasonable. What does that mean?


Gloria Feldt  46:19

So I quote George Bernard Shaw, it’s one of my favorite quotes of all time, and it is the reasonable man adapts to the world. The unreasonable man expects the world to adapt to him. Therefore, all progress depends on the Unreasonable Man. And I give him credit that he was a little bit of a feminist in his day, and that if he were speaking today, he would include women in that. So I’m sure he would do that. It what it means is that if you again, it’s sort of like the confidence issue. If you’re self satisfied, that you don’t, you aren’t going to make any progress for the world. If you see a problem that needs to be solved, and it sticks in your mind and you want to solve that problem. It may be unreasonable to some people, but you’ll make it happen if you are unreasonable enough about it. And I mean, when people say to me isn’t saying you’re going to get to gender parity by 2025, unreasonable? I say, yes, it’s unreasonable. But if you don’t put a stake in the ground, you won’t get anywhere. And maybe we won’t hit the full 50% Mark by 2025. But I guarantee you will get a lot further than if we hadn’t put a stake in the ground. Be unreasonable.


Scott D Clary  47:35

I’m going to do some rapid fire, just pull some last insights from your crew. But before we do that, if somebody reads this book, what do you want them to take away from it? What’s the main lesson, the most important thing you’ll take away from it?


Gloria Feldt  47:48

I want them to take away the power of their own in tensioning. And to understand they have that power, and to learn the the I call the VCA method of in tensioning. Vision, courage and action. Those are the three parts


Scott D Clary  48:05

good. And then if people do want to get the book or connect with you, where should they go website, social, anything like that,


Gloria Feldt  48:11

you can get the book any place that you’d like to buy your books, but I hope you will go to my website Gloria Feldt comm FPL and go to the forward slash in tensioning page, and there you will find a downloadable workbook that you can get that will go along with the book and will help you actually utilize all of these tools in the book more efficient efficiently.


Scott D Clary  48:38

Gloria, Gloria felt felt with the T Okay,


Gloria Feldt  48:42

are you felt D L O R IA like the song Fe l Forward slash in tensioning. And or just go to Gloria felt calm and you’ll find all of it. And also take the lead, take the lead You can find out the training coaching, role model programs and thought leadership that we can provide to you as an individual or to your company. I am at Gloria felts on all social media. So I’m easy to find and love to interact. I’m on social media way too much. So feel free to contact me there. Connect. I love it. Good, good.


Scott D Clary  49:20

All right, I’ll do a couple of rapid fire. The biggest challenge that you’ve had in your personal or professional life, what was that? How did you overcome it?


Gloria Feldt  49:30

The biggest challenge I’ve had in my professional life is that when I left a 30 year career, I didn’t know who I was. I realized at that point that I had given everything, including my identity, to a cause and to an organization that I believed in, but I hadn’t. I hadn’t nurtured myself and I had to literally rethink myself. That was a huge career challenge. I have been doing what everybody else wants needed me to do? hadn’t taken care of Gloria.


Scott D Clary  50:04

If you had to choose one person who, obviously there’s been many people who have been influential or impactful in your life, who was that person? And what did they teach you?


Gloria Feldt  50:13

I give the credit to my father, who was way ahead of his time. He told me from the minute I could hear him, you can do anything, you’re pretty little head desires. And he made sure to use the female pronoun, when he would tell me things like she who asked gets, or you know, these little bits of advice your daddy gives you as you’re a kid. He would, I didn’t realize until I was grown, how important that was, I could always see myself in that picture.


Scott D Clary  50:49

That’s good. If you could recommend a book or podcast or audible or something that you’ve read, what would it be? Oh,


Gloria Feldt  50:59

there’s so many that I do listen to a lot of books. So I’m definitely have a lot from Audible. I, one of the most powerful books that I have read lately is called or listened to, because the author’s voice is so beautiful, and he recorded himself. So it’s doubly wonderful. It’s called My grandmother’s hands. And it’s very, it’s very instructive about how racial and other kinds of trauma affect us. Not just intellectually, but also in our bodies and how to, how to identify that and how to heal from it. It’s a it’s a very powerful book in my grandmother’s hands.


Scott D Clary  51:41

If you could tell your 20 year old self one thing, what would it be?


Gloria Feldt  51:46

Be more intentional? I would have learned to be in tensioning much earlier in life. That’s, that’s


Scott D Clary  51:55

good. Okay, and last question, what does success mean to you?


Gloria Feldt  52:01

To me success is is enabling people to to be successful. That’s That’s success to me. i Yeah, I just I would just boil down to that I if what I do help somebody else to be successful in their own life, then I have been a success.



I’m Amira rose, Davis, historian and co host of the sports podcast, burn it all down. And now I’m hosting the new season of American prodigy all about black girls in gymnastics. For the last 40 years black gymnasts have moved from the margins to the core of the sport and changed gymnastics along the way. Now they tell their stories, you’ll meet trailblazers, like Diane Durham superstars like Jordan chiles, and everyone in between. Listen to American prodigies on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.


More posts by

Leave a Reply

Skip to content