March is Women’s History Month, which is no small celebration within an organization who’s mission is to empower women. We lift up the contributions of inspirational women throughout history, but also celebrate the achievements of the ones we serve everyday (who are equally as inspiring). Within our programs could be the next Ella Fitzgerald, the famous jazz singer who once experienced homelessness, or the next Maya Angelou, who was a teenage mother before she was a famous poet. The women we serve today are those who can make history tomorrow!
One inspiring woman within our organization is Denise Manello McGee, the Chair of our Board of Directors. When she’s not delivering donated meals to our facility or logging on to board meetings at 7:30am, Denise works as the Relationship Manager at Impact Property Solutions. She does an incredible job as a leader of the YWCA Greensboro while taking the time to speak with employees and participants on “the ground level”. We wanted to hear Denise’s take on some questions related to women, specifically women in leadership.
“Allowing women to rise and giving them a platform so their voices can be heard.”
Do you feel like you've had to work harder in your professional life than your male counterparts to get to where you are today?
“For me, I have personally not felt like I have encountered this specific obstacle. However, over the course of my career, I have witnessed coworkers and friends struggle to reach the board room or executive levels without having to put more time into a specific position than their male counterparts.”
What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership? Why aren't their more female leaders?
“Perception. Perception that women are more emotional and less able to make the harder, more difficult decisions for the success of the business. [Women have] fear and lack of confidence based on years of cultural suppression in the workforce.”
“Humanity is often expressed through emotion” – SB
“Listen, observe, ask questions, all while being authentic and remaining true to who you are.”
“It’s hard to just name one woman… several women inspire me in each aspect of my life. I have been very lucky to have been surrounded by a tribe of women who have lifted me up in every phase of my life, allowing me – encouraging me – to be my authentic self and are genuinely happy to see me succeed. I was also fortunate to have been raised by a very strong woman – a woman who was never [made to feel] less than equal to my dad. Together, they both taught me an extraordinary work ethic. For example, I became Board President out of necessity. I remain the Board President out of commitment and honor though doing so was not in my comfort zone. But I had many women and men around me that mentored and watch me to make sure I succeed.”