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18 March 2008

American Dreams

Hello, and welcome to my first post-holiday blog entry.  I returned, refreshed and revitalised, a few days ago from a wonderfully relaxing two week holiday to Florida.  Amongst the emails awaiting my return were several emails from PwC women (thank you!), who have submitted some fantastic pieces for the future blog.  To date, I’ve received articles from women in the UK, the Czech Republic and Belgium, amongst others, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading their words and thoughts as much as I have.  Watch this space.  And keep ‘em coming. It’s great to read your stories and receive feedback.

The 2008 Academy Awards occurred whilst I was away and, for the first time ever, I watched some of the Oscar® coverage in real time.  Of course, I’ve known for a while that two of our PwC Partners are connected with the “…and the winner is…” side of things, but this was the first time that I’ve seen the footage which covers our involvement. And I have to say that the PwC LA office looks fabulous! 

I’m also a big fan of presenter Jon Stewart and “The Daily Show”, so I loved his witty Oscars commentary. In my last blog entry, I mentioned that I’d be following the details of the US Presidential race (specifically,  the runners for the Democratic nomination) whilst I was away and, of course, Jon Stewart is seemingly hard-wired to always reference politics, hence this remark at the Oscars:

“Normally, when you see a black man or a woman president, an asteroid is about to hit the Statue of Liberty.”

Here’s one of my holiday snaps – I spotted this in a car park, or rather, I should say, a parking lot:

180308_2

Perhaps I didn’t hang out in enough or in the “right” parking lots, but I didn’t see any Hillary stickers for my photo album.

As regular blogees and those who know me in person can testify, I am a voracious reader (although I’m not sure that I’d go as far as to state that “Reading is Sexy” (per the bumper sticker above), and never more so than when on holiday.  On this trip, I read ten books (a mixture of fiction and non) and also quite a few magazines.  One of these was the Oprah “O” magazine, which, in the March issue, very much went to bat for the Hillary Clinton campaign, although I believe that Oprah herself has now endorsed Barack Obama.  The feature which caught my eye asked “some opinionated women – who’ve seen plenty of firsts” to imagine the first 100 days with a woman president. I particularly liked the imagination shown by Pat Schroeder, a congresswoman from Colorado, who posited that:

“You remember the Miss America pageants, where all the contestants would say that they wished for world peace? It will be fabulous when Hillary delivers world peace without posing in a bathing suit.”

O magazine is also running a competition (only open to Americans, I think, but worth checking if you’re interested) which offers as the prize a three day leadership training weekend hosted by O and The White House Project.  The White House Project is a national non-profit group dedicated to getting women into positions of power and it has created a three day course aimed at women who, with their competition entry, show leadership potential and have a vision for what to do with it. It will be held in the New York City area in June 08, and you can enter on line at www.thewhitehouseproject.org/womenrule between now and 11 April.  To date, over 5,000 women have completed the course in the past ten years, including recently elected state senator for Minnesota, Patricia Torres Ray, who successfully ran for election in 2006 after she’d completed the WHP’s coaching programme. The course includes lots of coaching and is aimed at women in business and politics.  So check it out if it appeals – good luck.

Both O magazine and More magazine featured a new book by former Clinton administration press secretary, Dee Dee Myers – “Why Women Should Rule the World.” She believes that the polarised state of the world is largely attributable to a lack of women at the top, and argues that we need more women in both public and corporate life in order to redress this balance.  I’m hoping to pick up a copy of the book either on my next trip to the USA or on my next on-line book shopping order, but here’s a flavour:

“… When women are in charge, we don’t always do things the way men do. We have different lives and, often, different priorities. We bring a different range of experiences, skills and strengths. And we make different choices.”

Until next time.

Cleo

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