Morgan Wilger, operator for Performance Kids
1. Name a woman who has influenced your life, and describe why she is exceptionally remarkable?
My Sister dramatically influenced my life growing up and because of the massive shaping she had on me will always be an inspiration and leader in my life. She stands out to me because of her leadership, determination, and bubbly personality. I was the youngest of 5 by about 10 years. She is 11 years older than me and the only girl. Growing up, she spent as much time, if not more, raising me than anyone else. I watched her interact with her friends, persevere through difficulties, and accomplish her goals regularly. She did all of this with the most infectious grin and biggest, happiest dimples I’ve ever seen.
2. How does female leadership improve our world?
Female leadership improves our world by adding much needed balance to the male leadership that has been primarily dominant in most areas. Both feminine and masculine powers have great strengths, but without a balance between them, we are not only underutilizing our potential as a people, but inhibiting our ability to grow towards a healthy, happy future.
Female leaders offer to the world the same thing that all leaders offer to the world. They offer progress, change, and betterment. While women might traditionally be seen as offering a more mothering care, better communication, more understanding, less aggression and more tact to humankind, I would argue that that is a stereotype of feminine nature. Men can be just as sensitive in all those areas just as women can be just as decisive, aggressive, hard, or any other attribute that is traditionally applied to “masculinity”.
I believe that currently the biggest thing female leadership offers the world is the role model to all the younger generations of girls growing to know that they can be, do, and have whatever they want. The suppression of female leaders has greatly stunted our opportunities as a species to achieve greater quality of life by removing/ignoring/hushing half of the population of the world! Not only that, but by stunting that area, we have removed balance that would otherwise exponentially contribute to the betterment of humankind.
3. What do you do to help support the women in your life as they pursue their professional goals?
I encourage them as I would anyone else. I treat them as an equal, because they are. If they are up against difficulties or feeling challenged because of their gender I point out their strengths as a person. I then emphasize that the challenges they are facing because of their gender are precisely why they need to overcome the difficulties so that someday, other women will not deal with such inequities.
4. What can men do to help women break down gender barriers that still exist in the business world?
Men can be supportive and understanding that while there are physical differences in general between genders, it does not mean one is more inept than the other. Just because Joe Blow can bench press 400 lbs doesn’t make him any smarter or a better leader than Jane and vice versa. I believe in encouragement of everyone to pursue their dreams and endless support because that is what will move the world in a positive direction. The biggest thing, we as men, can do to break down gender barriers is to stop viewing coworkers, professionals, or anyone else as “woman” or “man” but as an individual with an incredible ability to impact the world in a way that only she/he can.
5. How has supporting a woman in her pursuit of her dreams added value to your own life?
It has given me a better perspective and understanding for the struggles that women face. As a result, it has allowed me to be more supportive and make sure that I am contributing to breaking down those barriers rather than being ignorant to their existence. It has also given me a great appreciation for the differences amongst people and a compassion for each person’s individual battles that they must overcome. I largely believe that this has given me a level of respect for women that allows positive, beneficial interactions/relations that would otherwise never occur.