J.R. Plate

Director of Sales / Submittable
www.submittable.com

How does female leadership improve our world?
Female leadership improves our world in countless ways. Specifically, women in leadership positions offer perspective and insight that only women can offer. Balance and equality are two other advantages of having women in leadership positions. I’ve been fortunate to work with and for amazing female leaders. The single most important thing female leadership does to improve the world is demonstrating to all other women and girls that they can also be leaders. We need more women in leadership roles.

Name a woman who has influenced your life, and describe why she is exceptionally remarkable.
This may come across as slightly cliche but my mother has always been influential in my life. She has never been afraid to speak her mind or fight for the things she feels deserving of. Being a school teacher was about more than just educating her students. She was very active in our state with respect to fighting for pay and benefits for all teachers. I have fond memories of her always being a leader among her peers and colleagues. As my mother, the most remarkable impression she has left on me is her ability to be tough and simultaneously tender. She never sugar coated anything for me and my sisters, but she was always able to make difficult situations seem manageable. I hope I’ve been able to incorporate that into my personal and professional life.

What do you do to help support the women in your life as they pursue their professional goals?
I’m a true believer in optimism and ignoring norms. My hope is that this approach to life conveys a message that anyone is capable of anything. My 9 yr old probably sees this side of me the most. Professionally, I’m fortunate to work with incredibly smart, talented and creative women. It almost seems silly to think I need to offer them much support considering how much I rely on them for help. Maybe the fact that I get to work with people who are far smarter than myself motivates me to be better and that in turn helps create a culture where anything is possible.

What can men do to help women break down gender barriers that still exist in the business world?
There is a lot of work that needs to be done with respect to breaking down gender barriers. If men are going to be a part of this process we need to be willing to ignore what many social norms say about men AND women regarding our roles in the world, not just at work. The days of men being the bread winners and women staying at home with the kids are long gone. Not to say if a man or woman choose these roles this is wrong, but rather this can’t be the default response. The sooner men realize they can be the ones staying home with the kids while mom is working, the better this will be for women in the work place.

How has supporting a woman in her pursuit of her dreams added value to your own life?
I’m a big fan of success. Not just my own success, but rather success in general. I truly enjoy hearing about people achieve goals and dreams especially when those goals and dreams have lasting impacts on others. The single biggest value add I’ve experienced when I’ve had the opportunity to be supportive of a woman is simply the happiness I feel when they realize success. These moments are especially meaningful when someone feels they’re attempting something seemingly impossible but really it’s well within their abilities.