In a women's leadership event co-sponsored by the Lokey Graduate School of Business and the Financial Women's Association of San Francisco, Audrey Nelson discusses her coauthored book, Code Switching: How to Talk So Men Will Listen.
Dr. Nelson defines code switching as the ability to use your knowledge of two or more cultures or languages and switch between them, depending on the situation, to communicate. "Rather than telling women to be more like men - a recipe for failure - Code Switching offers a way of reaching across the aisle to open the lines of communication," says Dr. Nelson.
"It helps both women and men speak in common terms so work gets done, conflict gets resolved, and mutual understanding and respect prevail...in the workplace and beyond."
Cynthia Kopec brings 15 years of financial services marketing experience to her role as Senior Vice President of Marketing for Universal Savings Bank, where she oversees marketing for a range of consumer products, including mortgages, credit cards, and deposits.
Kopec specializes in online financial services marketing - having created interactive Websites and online financial services products at 6 different companies. Kopec received a bachelor's degree in art history from Pomona College and a master's degree in business administration from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.
During her first two years as an FWA board member, Kopec co-chaired the Membership Committee for the first six months and stepped into the VP role for the next eighteen. As Membership Committee Chair, she helped oversee a near two-fold increase in membership for 2004. As VP, her special projects included managing the redesign of the Website (creating an updated look and introducing new functionality, including an online application and a special board-only section), playing an instrumental role in starting the East Bay group, and co-chairing the 50th Anniversary Committee. Kopec served as President of FWA from 2006-2007.
Dr. Audrey Nelson
Audrey Nelson, PhD, is an internationally recognized communication consultant, seminar leader, and keynote speaker for a wide range of Fortune 50 companies and government agencies.
Dr. Nelson's professional background includes 10 years teaching in the Department of Communication at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and 30 years as a consultant and trainer for a wide variety of government and Fortune 50 companies. Among them are Price Waterhouse, Cargill, AT&T, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Upjohn Pharmaceuticals, Pentax, the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Department of Justice. She holds a BA, an MA, and a PhD in communication.
Laura Pilz is a Financial Advisor with Merrill Lynch Private Client Group in San Francisco. Her practice focuses on retirement planning and investment management strategies for individuals, families and business owners. Pilz has worked in the financial services industry for over 30 years, much of that with Bank of America.
Her education includes: BA in Economics from Chatham College and an MBA in Finance and Accounting from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Pilz has received the Certified Financial Planning certification and the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor designation. She serves on the Boards of the San Francisco Ladies Protection and Relief Society and the Maybeck Foundation.
Difference in opinions or attitudes between men and women concerning a variety of public and private issues, including political candidates, parties, or programs. Until the 1980s men and women in the U.S. exhibited similar voting habits. Since then, however, women have been more likely than men to support the Democratic Party and liberal policies, particularly on issues such as equal employment opportunity, child care, and gun control. In contrast, in western Europe women historically have been more likely than men to support conservative political parties.
I found Dr. Nelson offensive.
"I always tell women 'How many times do men think about sex a day." I mean they already see you as a sex object."
Sexism is wrong; regardless of which side of the table it comes from.
(edit for typo)
I am a practically minded, white male baby boomer (easily perceived as the stereotypical raper of the planet, oppressor of all other peoples kind of guy).
I thought Audrey's presentation was very professional and easy to listen to, and I found nothing more than trivially offensive.
In my opinion, this is sound, practical advice for women (and men) who want happy, productive relationships with the people they work and live with.
I think the portion of the talk that stuck out for me was the portion where she talked about doing things even if they make you seem unlikable. She sort of had me until she mentioned something about calling animal control because her neighboor's dog occasionally poops on her lawn. Let's step back a second. She's going to have that dog KILLED because it occassionaly does things that alot of dogs do. I think this might reveal something of an underlying mean-streak, which is part of a larger point I want to make about the tone of the talk.
The whole talk is about how to get in there and be succesful in aggressive, male dominated, corporate environments. I think this is rather missing the point. The purpose should not be to learn how to be appropriately passive aggressive, and brutal with your neighboors or coworkers who you suspect of not bowing to your standards of workplace interaction. The point should be to dial back the corporate environment from one of money-grubbing and power-plays to something that pretends that we're all human beings here, trying to make a living. I think if you were a young woman in that audience, you're being poorly served by the successive attempts to sell you a "me-me" business degree and funnel you onto the path of money for money's sake. We get enough of that crap with the macho men who think the economy is a contact sport.
I wanted to clarify a number of comments made by Dr. Nelson. 1) She says that women were essentially forced into the workplace in order to maintain the family lifestyle. The records seem to show that women actually devalued their middle and upper middle class lifestyle by entering into the workforce and taking jobs away from men--but doing so at less salaries than men since they were not the principle family wage earners. One can see a direct correlation with the rise of Feminism since the early 60's in white families and the commensurate decrease in family earning power. 2)with respect to Nelson's comment that women only make 78 cents on every male dollar, this, while true, has been shown to be highly misleading since women do not work the same number of hours that men do. Furthermore, according to research, so do Lesbians and black professional women--both groups make more money than the average white hetero woman. And, Heather Bussey, a well known Feminist Economist has research indicating that 42 per cent of women professionals in families actually make more money than their husbands. 3)Nelson's comment on men seeing their women coworkers as "sex objects," certainly denotes a telling feminist rant/bias. A study recently released on website: "Science.Com" notes that 43% of men do not think of sex more than two or three times per month. 4)her last comment pertaining to one of her client's loss of female engineers: the implication being that women were not given a "comfortable" environment...as we all know, the main reason female professionals leave the workplace is opting out for child caring and not for her implication. If historical trends are a lens to the future, we will soon see a day when the idea of an advanced degree will have much diminished value since the majority degree earners are women(60 per cent), and these women still tend being married to men which these women regard as primary breadwinner--again allowing these professional women a considerable amount of choice as to working either part time or flex time. The end result being to lower the inherent value of a graduate degree--as it already has in fields such as Psychology and Journalism. A perfect example is in the city of Milwaukee, a person must now have a Masters in Social Work in order to become a social worker--a job which anyone with a High School GED is qualified to perform.
Thank you rocket dog! So true!
Now I have to say as a one who could certainly be called a feminist, that I think Ms. Nelson's talk was not something I particularity appreciated. I think that by promoting the ideas of binaries in masculine and feminine behavior, it actually sets BOTH sexes back. I found that most of this talk reinforced what I'd call BS. It was a lot of buzz words and generalization. And if your too small a man to critique without whining about feminists you have some serious issues to work out!
Thank you Am-Expat for your comments on this presentation. I agree with you completely! Nelson's suggestions/strategies may be ideal for workers in the U.S., but not necessarily in other countries. This is a good point you made and one we should keep in mind.
Like you, I don't understand the hostile or negative comments about Nelson's comments or even her attire. I also agree with your description of work environments within the U.S. The culture you described makes it hard for someone to feel comfortable.
I am one of those dread creatures, a male, and I found Dr Nelson speaking style and presentation enjoyable. Not sure why all the men are so critical of minor style differences.
In fact, I enjoyed her talk thoroughly and found it valid for US based workplace interaction. But not for most of the world.
I lived in the US all my life until 7 years ago when I moved to Russia. I have traveled extensively and observe cultures as a hobby, 86 countries so far. Of all these countries I find it most difficult to navigate social interactions in the US. My conclusion is that the society is toxic to normal healthy human relationships. I find that to "pass" I need to carefully self-censor my words and topics to avoid sudden anger or hostility for almost any innocuous comment that in any other culture would only be seen as appropriate for the conversation. Both sexes suffer from this same strange behavior in the US.
The problem is not simply work place behavior of men, it is the whole society is broken and hostile to mental health and normal relationships. The men and women both share in equal responsibility for the current dire condition social and work place climate.
Each gender blames the other as a whole for any frustration or lack of successful interactions.
I live enjoy living in a society where the sexes are not fearful of, or competing with that other on gender differences, but are rather cooperative in work or in public situations as equals. That might be due to the last 100 years having men and women having the same jobs and fairly equal distribution by gender. a little more than Half the engineers and doctors are women for example. As it turns out young professional women have an advantage in getting the better jobs mainly because as employers we find that they make better employees. Very few people do not have a college degree and drop-outs are almost unheard of. Meeting anyone in a casual situation results in a pleasant conversation without either taking offense at imagined slights or judgement. The same would be a potential minefield with possible explosive results in the US since there is so much suspicion and fear between the sexes.
Although I love sexy attractive clothing for example but when a woman wears revealing clothes at work, it chills the interaction. It does change everything as she suggests. Women can look very attractive without showing too much when professionalism is appropriate.
When dating or spending all night in the disco, I would be disappointed if they didn't wear something that was alluring, but not at work.
I can't figure out why several men wrote that Dr. Nelson was "angry", or "frightening appearance". In what way? I did not pick up on any such cuing from her. I would enjoy talking with her because she did seem to communicate so well in a positive manner. I was expecting a hard line man-hater given the title of the talk but found her to be anything but antagonistic towards men. These men are projecting onto her feelings not in evidence.