Category: Communication Skills

Giving Voice to All with “Sing, Unburied, Sing” Author Jesmyn Ward

Jesmyn Ward

Get up close and personal with two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward.

In this episode of Women Amplified, we explore writing as a vehicle to give a voice to others past and present. Ward’s powerful insights, however, go far beyond writing instruction. Her words serve as an important reminder that we have a responsibility to speak up and give voice to those who have been silenced or erased in whatever means of expression feels right for us.

Sharing her real-life experiences, Ward will not just teach you about the writing process, but will help you go deep within to find your voice and inspire you to use that voice for the good of all.

“I wanted people to see how growing up in that type of environment, growing up in poverty and as a black person and in the rural South, how that constrains your existence in certain ways. Because you never see people like us. Or back then, you never saw people like us portrayed in pop culture or living complicated lives in television or, I don’t know, or in literature. I wanted us to exist and I wanted us to be able to speak and to have voice and to have agency, and to assert that we are here and that we shouldn’t be confined to people’s ideas about us. But instead, we should be able to speak and to tell our stories and to show that our lives are just as complicated and just as complex and just as unique as everyone else’s.”Jesmyn Ward

 

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This Month’s Guest:

JESMYN WARD is a novelist, memoirist and essayist. She is a MacArthur Genius and two-time National Book Award winner and has been hailed as the standout writer of her generation. In 2017, she became the first woman and the first person of color to win two National Book Awards for Fiction—joining the ranks of William Faulkner, Saul Bellow, John Cheever, Philip Roth, and John Updike. Ward’s stories are largely set on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, where she grew up and still lives. Her novel Salvage the Bones was winner of the 2011 National Book Award. Her debut novel, Where the Line Bleeds, depicts what Publishers Weekly calls “a world full of despair but not devoid of hope” in the aftermath of natural disaster. Ward’s memoir, Men We Reaped, delves into the five years of Ward’s life in which she lost five young men—to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that follows poor people and people of color. The book won the Heartland Prize, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Ward is the also the editor of the critically acclaimed anthology The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race, which NPR named one of the Best Books of 2016. A singular Southern odyssey that strikes at the heart of life in the rural South, Sing, Unburied, Sing, earned Ward a second National Book Award in 2017. It was named one of the 10 Best Books of 2017 by The New York Times and Time, and was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Aspen Words Literary Prize.

She teaches creative writing at Tulane University in New Orleans. In 2016, she won the Strauss Living award, given every five years by the American Academy of Arts & Letters for literary excellence. In 2018, she was recognized among Time‘s 100 Most Influential People. Ward is currently working on two new books: a novel for adults set in New Orleans at the height of the American slave trade, and a young adult novel about a Black girl from the South with supernatural powers. Ward received her MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan, where she won five Hopwood Awards for her fiction, essays, and drama. She held a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University from 2008-2010, and served as the Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi the following year. Ward’s latest book is Navigate Your Stars. @jesmimi

 

Our Host:

CELESTE HEADLEE is a communication and human nature expert, and an award-winning journalist. She is a professional speaker, and also the author of Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving, Heard Mentality and We Need to Talk. In her twenty-year career in public radio, she has been the executive producer of On Second Thought at Georgia Public Radio, and anchored programs including Tell Me More, Talk of the Nation, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. She also served as cohost of the national morning news show The Takeaway from PRI and WNYC, and anchored presidential coverage in 2012 for PBS World Channel. Headlee’s TEDx talk sharing ten ways to have a better conversation has over twenty million total views to date. @celesteheadlee


 

Additional Resources:

Website: Jesmyn Ward, Author

Read the books: Navigate Your Stars | Sing, Unburied, Sing | Salvage the Bones | Men We Reaped

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The Expert Q&A on Engaging Male Allies

Tom SalgeWith Varian’s Tom Salge, Senior Director, Oncology Software Business Operations and Innovations

Q: Many men say they support equality for women in the workplace. But being an “ally” involves taking action. What are some examples of the most important kinds of actions male allies can take to advance gender equality in the workplace?

Just saying “I support women” is not enough. And, assuming you are not part of the problem is a cop-out and makes you part of the problem whether you know it or not. This is the nature of being born into male privilege: We don’t experience what women experience so we have to bend our minds to see it.

Here are a few tangible actions we can take as men to promote gender equality. Read More

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ENCORE: The Myth of the Nice Girl | 2020 Session

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Even in 2020, we continue to grapple with a double-edged sword around women’s “niceness” in the business world. If women are nice, they are seen as weak and ineffective. But if they are tough, they are labeled some other things. This is the perfect session for those trying to navigate complex relationships at work while staying kind and respectful of others. Explore how women can reclaim “nice” and sidestep regressive stereotypes about what a strong leader looks like. Sharing her time-tested strategies, Fran Hauser will prove that women don’t have to sacrifice their values or hide their authentic personalities to be successful. Join her to explore how to balance being empathetic and decisive; ask for what you want; and lead with kindness, empathy, and strength.

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The Power of Story: Rewriting Your Life | 2020 Session

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Are you writing your own story or living a life that has been written for you? Rising political media star Erica Williams Simon realized at twenty-seven that she was on a “treadmill to nowhere” and set off to build a bold new life for herself. In this session, she shares her personal story and her blueprint for seeking a new way to live by rewriting your personal narrative. Join this session to learn how to challenge the stories you’ve been told about fear, work, money, identify, faith, and love; and to become the protagonist of your own authentic, empowered, and ultimately world-changing story. 

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Talking About My Generation: Communicating in an Age-Diverse Workplace | 2020 Session

Click Play below to listen to this session from the 2020 conference.

Have you ever been frustrated after a conversation with a coworker, with your boss, or with someone who reports to you from another generation? Join this hands-on workshop to expand your interpersonal toolkit and learn essential generational-specific communication tips. Building off her research on managing and communicating effectively across diverse teams, Dr. Candace Steele Flippin a communications expert and a leading researcher on generations in the workforce, shares in-depth insights that will improve your ability to connect with and understand Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z.

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The Myth of the Nice Girl | 2020 Session

Click Play below to listen to this session from the 2020 conference.

Even in 2020, we continue to grapple with a double-edged sword around women’s “niceness” in the business world. If women are nice, they are seen as weak and ineffective. But if they are tough, they are labeled some other things. This is the perfect session for those trying to navigate complex relationships at work while staying kind and respectful of others. Explore how women can reclaim “nice” and sidestep regressive stereotypes about what a strong leader looks like. Sharing her time-tested strategies, Fran Hauser will prove that women don’t have to sacrifice their values or hide their authentic personalities to be successful. Join her to explore how to balance being empathetic and decisive; ask for what you want; and lead with kindness, empathy, and strength.

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Feedback (and Other Dirty Words) | 2020 Session

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Feedback: the mere mention of the word can make blood pressure rise. But when it’s done right, giving feedback is the most effective means of improving communication and performance, and receiving feedback provides valuable opportunities to learn and grow. This session will help take the sting out of feedback and reclaim it as a motivating, empowering experience for you and your team. Author M. Tamra Chandler explains how feedback got such a bad rap and how to recognize and minimize the negative physical and emotional responses that can erode trust and shut down communication. Then a panel of accomplished managers offers their tips for giving and receiving more effective, focused, and fair feedback. 

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Language Is Leadership: The Hidden Power of What You Say (And What You Don’t) | 2020 Session

Click Play below to listen to this session from the 2020 conference.

An effective leader used to be considered someone who had all the answers and issued clear orders so his or her team could execute a winning plan. And, this model still permeates many workplaces, where leaders speak first in meetings and everyone else (mostly) falls into line. The result is conformity, compliance, and less innovation, countering our best efforts to diversify our teams. It’s time to ditch command-and-control leadership and embrace language that expresses intent, curiosity, and a commitment to action. Former U.S. Navy Captain David Marquet illustrates how powerful the right words can be in doing this. He outlines specific shifts in day-to-day communication and meeting structure that can build a climate of collaborative experimentation, encouraging people to speak up when they notice problems and work together to identify and test solutions. 

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Posted in Communication Skills, Success & Leadership, Breakout Session Tagged , , |

We’re All in This Together: How to Lead and Succeed in a Multigenerational Workplace | 2020 Session

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With five generations now in the workforce, individuals and organizations must embrace the reality of age diverse teams. To lead and succeed in business today requires an understanding of how to communicate effectively across differences and tackle situations that may arise when diverse styles clash. Candace Steele Flippin, a leading expert on generations in the workforce, opens this session with her research and strategies for how to thrive in a multigenerational workplace. She will then lead a conversation with diverse leaders on how they approach intergenerational teamwork.

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Posted in Communication Skills, Success & Leadership, Breakout Session Tagged , , , , , |

Proven Success Principles that Will Help You Move Forward in Your Career

Charmaine McClarie
 
What do Fortune 500 CEOs do that makes them successful? Top-rated Conferences for Women speaker Charmaine McClarie asked them, then helpfully distilled their answers into six “Success Principles.”
 

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