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birthday cakeThree years ago, I created DifferenceWORKS. (I created my LLC in June 2010, reserved the name July 29, filed for trademarking my logo in August, and gave my first speech in the fall.) I had left the consulting group I had been a part of for nearly six years. (It had been my first “job” after “retiring” from practicing law and running the legal department for a public company.) I loved the work and designing and delivering workshops and speaking. I loved learning and teaching. But I wanted to focus on diversity and inclusion, particularly on gender diversity in leadership. It was – and is – my personal mission.

Women have been in the business world for decades. We once thought it was a “matter of time” before women joined men, proportionally, in the leadership ranks. While there is a lot of progress and many women have reached the top, the percentage of women at each level of organizations generally gets lower. What I have called the “pyramid problem” persists despite growing research showing the companies with more gender diversity get better results. This is the problem I set out to address through DifferenceWORKS.

To be honest, I was scared and overwhelmed to go out on my own.  I needed to form a company, define my “brand,” pick a name, create a logo and materials, build a website, design business cards, become active on social media, learn to write a blog – and find clients! And I wanted to write the book that had percolated in me for several years. With lots of help from others (Greenleaf Book Group, Lida 360, Actuate Social, Carol Alm, Kelly Dunn, Clarity International, Pam Gordon and others), I did all of that!

In three years, I have:

  • Completed and published my book, Difference Works, Improving Retention, Productivity and Profitability through Inclusion (that took a whole separate list of tasks and accomplishments),
  • Published over 20 articles and given several radio and television interviews,
  • Written over 100 blog posts,
  • Written a monthly newsletter since December 2011,
  • Done workshops or spoken on gender and generational differences over 50 times to dozens of companies and organizations,
  • Worked with a coach to refine and improve my content, making it crisper and more interactive,
  • Developed new, improved materials to support my workshops and keynotes,
  • Collaborated with two groups who “match” service providers like DifferenceWORKS with companies who need those services,
  • Partnered with Rich Grenhart to co-facilitate workshops, demonstrating both male and female perspectives and men and women working together,
  • Designed a workshop to co-facilitate this fall with Stewart Hirsch, an experienced attorney, trainer and executive coach who works in the legal profession.

Yes, I am pleased and proud. I am loving this work. I know I am contributing to the business world, helping solve a critical problem. Happy third birthday, DifferenceWORKS!!