Lean In, Learn On

When it comes to motivation, I’m usually one of the lucky ones. I can channel my internal drive onto external goals, transferring a kind of ownership to myself that translates pretty well to the get-it-done mentality. In other words, as long as I can make myself care, it’s as good as done.

This attribute is helpful, but what happens if I stop caring? How do I get motivated and moving again if, in the indelible words of Jo Dee Messina, my give-a-damn’s busted?

Sheryl Sandberg. Aliza Licht. Tina Fey. Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Sometimes, I turn to the wise and witty words of some amazing women who have come before and seen it all, done it all. I comb through every #LeanIn, #LeaveYourMark, #Bossypants, #NotoriousRBG inspirational quote I can find, until something re-tunes my inner self and gets it humming again.

These are just a few of the many, many women who have chosen to take their secrets to success and, rather than holding them close, have released them to the world in an effort to help along the rest of us. That in itself is the kind of selflessness that turns mentors and role models into icons.

Closer to home, I’m fortunate to be surrounded by outrageously strong and successful women who are also willing to share their wisdom. Recent events have triggered a new appreciation for this endless source of anecdotes, in which the questions that circle in my busy brain like starving sharks can find some nourishment in advice, if not answers.


If you’re one of my Instagram followers, you might have already seen the sneak peak version of today’s featured image. Thanks to some serious motivation and a totally rained-out weekend, I’m all set up with my little home gem lab. Hooray!

 

Halfway There: Goal Posts

Snow.
Ice.
Boots.
Earmuffs.
Michelin-Man-inspired outerwear.

Remember these things? Other than a useful mental exercise to keep myself cool, I’m recalling the cold December days in which I wrote this post about my personal and professional goals for the coming year. We’re well into the 80s here at the midway point of 2016 (already!), so I thought it was time for some updates.

1. Give a talk/speech/lecture to a crowd of more than 10

Just this past Monday, I did a brief presentation about my company’s newest materials and updates related to the jewelry industry. Somewhere around 40-50 people were present at this event, so I’d say that definitely counts!

This one stays on the list, because one is never enough. I would like to do many, many more of these (longer! bigger! that’s what she said!) but it was a great starting point.

2. Publish something longer than 500 words, with a byline 

My company published my whitepaper on how to sell custom jewelry, complete with photographs and byline. It got picked up and referenced by a few other 3D printing publications, which was really neat.

As with #1, this one is by no means finished. Ideally I’d like to see my words reproduced in a jewelry industry publication, so it’s time to get to work on that.

3. Finish my G.G. 

My home lab setup will be arriving very shortly (note to self: clean off designated lab space) which means I can make even more progress towards this one. I’m aiming for the end of the year. Diamonds, gemstones, and jewelry… oh my!

4. Meet new people 

Possibly one of the most fulfilling goals I’ve ever set, simply because I created it without any real plan to reach it. But with my new job came many new people to meet and get to know, which has been a surprisingly joyful and experience for this high-functioning introvert. My happiness in succeeding here is largely due to the quality of people I’m around every day, but I’m also just a little proud of myself for learning to say “yes!” to a whole lot of new experiences.

5. Talk about what I do, what I love, who I am 

Many people would argue that I usually don’t shut up about what I do, what I love, and who I am, but those people would only have recently met me (see above). Allowing my passion to come to the forefront of my personality (see below) has been a challenge, and not without its fair share of pushback. But I’m working through it and learning more about myself along the way.

6. Embrace my personality 

Perhaps both the easiest and most difficult goal on this list. It’s been so long since I’ve been willing to be my authentic self that it’s taken a little time to figure out just what that personality really is, these days. I consider myself a work in progress — forever — and so have come to embrace the journey of my personality, complete with more attention to its changes and nuances than ever before. Self-awareness is a process, but I might be learning to enjoy it.

 7. Improve the quality of my downtime 

I can hit a tiny bumpy ball with a stick (er, sometimes). I can crack a perfectly-timed joke to a crowd without feeling self-conscious. I can have more than one alcoholic beverage in a day and not feel guilty. I can list five new favorite date restaurants (and about fifty more we want to try). I frequently have plans that might almost resemble a social life, if you squint and tilt your head 20 degrees to the left. Yep, I’d say this one is well on its way to become a great habit.

Satisfactory progress all around! This year has been a big one for changes in every single aspect of my life, and I have a funny feeling I’m nowhere near finished with it (or perhaps it’s nowhere near finished with me). I don’t believe in a lot of things, but karma is a concept I fully embrace. So I’m “putting it out there,” as a dear friend would say, that as long as I’m trying to give the best of myself, I’ll be open to receiving the best the universe can offer.

 

 

 

Are You an Exhibitionist? Chapter II

Still woozy from the desert sun? Catch up here on Chapter I.

Even after spending nearly six months and three trade shows breathing in its atmosphere, the world of the vendor is still a foreign land for me.

They say old habits die hard, and as often as they’re wrong, this time they got it right. One of the greatest challenges in making this transition has been the shift in perspective from retailer to supplier. To a certain extent, my intimate knowledge of jewelry retail has provided some wonderful insight into how the product is really being used (or should be), and of course I understand how different pieces of the industry puzzle fit together. That’s proven useful, not to mention good common ground to establish with my clients.

But sliding away from a luxury selling mindset into a less glamorous more nuts-and-bolts category… that’s been pretty rough. Okay, it’s still rough, though I make a conscious effort to understand and embrace the product world I’m working in. It’s simply much easier to romance something that’s already beautiful.

To create romance around a product that is inherently utilitarian requires some serious creativity. The specs and dry facts take on a new level of importance to a buyer who actually plans to use the damn thing, and fostering a sense of desire takes second place to generating a need. Jewelry is beautiful and meaningful, but it has no necessity — and that’s what I’m used to selling.

In a way, this category is easier: here’s what this thing does, here’s why and how it will do good things for you. Basic math, right? But the jewelry industry has been dealing with many issues on an operational level these days (why else would there be so many seminars on how to manage everything from inventory to staff) that going over the time-money equation takes some thoughtful and patient explanation. This takes time and a certain careful handling of the “I’m not trying to tell you how to run your business” aspect of sales, for which I’m both uniquely suited and poorly situated.

I have never been “sweetied” and “honeyed” so much in my life. The bias facing young women in general and business women in particular is staggering, and the popular belief that my male colleagues would be more knowledgable about a technological product is patently absurd. But the male-to-male comfort zone remains, as even at this show I was often dismissed as the “cute blonde” who should find her (male) superior to make decisions or provide more information.

But so it goes. Complaining about gender inequality is shouting into the void, so I prefer the path of action. Proving my value, building a reputation, and learning to navigate the twisted paths of business relationships (not to mention serving my clients and my company) are all perched at the top of my priority list. Watching my mentors has led me to dabble a bit in mentoring others — an event worth its own blog post, in the future — and with that comes the sense of responsibility to other people.

 

 

Are You an Exhibitionist?: Jewelry Week 2K16

They meant “exhibitor.” I’m almost positive. Then again, this is Las Vegas…

My second trip to the big show resembled my first in only one significant way — I learned a whole hell of a lot — but in all other aspects, this could have been a completely different show. Traveling with such considerations as booth setup/breakdown, package arrival coordination, general booth management X2 (more on that later), and a personal agenda all mixed together make for a busy, buzzing brain. And yet, it’s still one of the highlights of my year.

Like other bloggers, I think it’s best to break up a longer recap into more manageable, bite-sized bits. This year in particular I’ve had a million things to think about, so it will take some time to corral them into some kind of order, sort, press, fold, and eventually stack them neatly for future reference.

As a gentle introduction, I’ll share with you a special little secret I’ve been keeping: thanks to far too much childhood exposure to Dr. Suess, I’m a dedicated closet rhymester. There’s nothing I love more than rhyming couplets, so to keep myself amused I’ve acquired the habit of crafting little phraselets and writing them down, usually never to be shared or seen again. But this time I’m putting them all together — no alterations, no edits, and in chronological order — to form a poetic tribute to my 8 days in the desert.

High heels, aching feet
Snapping pics to Insta-Tweet
Shaking hands and toothy smiles
Feeling like I ran for miles
Greeting friends, toasting “cheers!”
More fun than I’ve had in years
Early morning walk with friends
Talking Broadway, techy trends
Colored gems are back in action
Millennials are gaining traction
Selling, buying, closing deals
Debating diamonds: fake or real?
Sultry evening in the sand
I finally got to hear that band
Fresh designers go all in
Mandalay, the Trop, the Wynn
Packing up could take all night
We stayed awake until our flight
Business over, time to run
I hope next year is half as fun!

Vegas: The Starting Gate

Rounding the final corner! Down the home stretch! Hitting his stride! Photo finish!

I blame it on my birthday** but I’ve always appreciated horse racing metaphors. There’s something so universally appealing about them, so evocative of a brief but heart-pounding excitement shared by a crowd that seems to hold its collective breath until the race is over.

That’s a bit like how I feel about Jewelry Week, hosted annually in Sin City and attended by thousands of industry professionals in a business and social whirlwind. It’s a fast-paced week, requiring immense amounts of energy and serious willpower to both get stuff done and have fun doing it.

For those of us on the non-retail side of the booth, the connections and sales generated at this show can make or break an entire year’s worth of business (but y’know, no pressure). It’s an opportunity to meet with clients in person, announce new and exciting things (!!), and yes, scope out the competition.

Buyers who attend are also on a mission: spend well, spend wisely. The glitter of the show is an easy distraction for the spendthrift store buyer, as it washes everything in an enticing aura of beauty and incites a covetous round of gotta-have-it fever.

This is, of course, the point. Any show is only as successful as its revenue generation — in this case, not for the show itself, but for the sellers who attend it — so a careful eye is kept on the general mood throughout the week. Trends are spotted, new and innovative offerings are critiqued, and dollars are measured.

We’ve been hearing a lot about the changes facing the industry right now, including questions about what retailers in particular should do to attract consumers of all ages and levels. It makes me wonder: what can both buyers and sellers learn from this show? What makes it so successful as an event, and how do we generate that kind of madhouse, leave-your-inhibitions-at-the-door vibe in our own businesses?

Something else to consider: the show has added a new area to the already-crowded floor, dedicating a space to what was once “crossover” and is now called simply “bridge” jewelry. This category consists of sterling-and-gold pieces with fashion and trendy appeal, at prices intended to be higher than basic fashion jewelry but lower or just approaching that of the fine category. It’s the stuff millennials buy for themselves (in theory), and it’s a popular but ever-moving target.

I’m interested to see the category perform in its own arena and not as second fiddle to its bookend price points. I will also be curious to learn if this one-size-fits-most approach feels like a fresh idea that just might save the middle of the market, or simply a rehash of the “entry level” model we see in the housing and auto markets. The former inspires repeat business, self purchasing, and aspirational purchases down the road. The latter sets buyers up for disappointment and frustration, stalling momentum and causing sales to drop. We’ll see which side wins this coin toss.

And as usual, there will be a significant amount of M-word (Millennial) dropping in the exhibit halls. This ties in directly with the two ideas I just mentioned, and the prevalence of a heavy generational focus has helped me formulate a kind of consumer theory I’ve been kicking around: shifting the focus too far onto the fashion/bridge category could hinder the long-term, aspirational level sales, preventing sellers from converting the $500 spenders into $5K+ consumers. I have found that when someone is sold on “good enough,” it can be all the more challenging to grow them into larger or more frequent purchasers.

So as the flag is raised on this year’s show, I’ll be keeping in mind these questions (and other thoughts) to revisit after the fact. Here’s hoping it won’t be heavy going for attendees, and that everyone will have free rein to buy and sell and enjoy themselves. I know I’m chomping at the bit to be on my way!

 

**Kentucky Derby Day. Every year without fail, my father-in-law (a horse racing fanatic) asks me to name the winning horse, who also happened to be one of only three fillies to ever win the Derby.

Reading Reactions

Featured image is my father’s custom garnet ring, designed by Irene S. Sirois. Copyrighted design.

If I didn’t have to work, I would probably read. All day, most of the night, nonstop page-turning. Like most bibliophiles I have some preferred genres and authors, but if you put something with words on it in front of me, I’m going to read it before you’ve finished telling me not to (so please don’t). This means I have to practice extreme selectivity, because I simply don’t have time to read it all. In practice that translates to rationing my reading time, where my time currency is portioned out like my 8th grade allowance, with wild abandon sparingly and with great care.

So it might surprise you to know that I spend a daily allotment of what I lovingly call Industry Research Time poring over every blog, publication, article, Google Alert, LinkedIn Pulse, and Instagram post I can find. I take notes — actual, physical ones and purely mental ones — and attempt to connect the dots between what I’m reading and what I’m experiencing. I sift through opinions, corroborate facts, and weigh topics in an effort to determine what’s important, who’s talking about it, and how I think and feel about it all.

When you consume this much material, it’s inevitable to come across some things you simply don’t agree with. Most of the time this happens with op-eds and other opinion-based articles, and stems from having a very different perspective on the topic. Exactly such a case can be found in this article, published in the May 2016 MJSA Journal entitled “Is ‘Custom’ a Dirty Word?” which I encourage everyone to read.

The piece describes the challenges of defining what “custom jewelry” means — I subject I’ve discussed before — and goes on to describe how Lisa Krikawa of Krikawa Jewelry works around what she perceives as the extreme limitations of selling custom or customized jewelry. This workaround is to essentially remove the word custom from the conversation entirely, because she experiences the usual backlash of fear and distrust from clients who prefer to touch and try on their designs before purchasing.

To say that I sympathize with this position is an understatement, having sold both full custom and customized jewelry myself. And Krikawa’s actual conversations with clients reflect the realities of selling this type of product, in such a way that they feel heard and understood. This is exactly the right approach, and I couldn’t agree more with her process of offering examples from the showcase, hand sketches, and CAD models. It’s what I used to do, too, and it works.

In part, the solution to the touch me/feel me issue can be answered by the amazing technology I work with in my current profession. Using 3D printers to prototype quickly and cheaply gives the client a physical piece to touch and try on, even with temporarily seated gems so the full effect is present. Now the relevant questions — too tall? too thick? right size? in proportion? etc. — can be answered in real time, without the expense of fixing these issues after the fact.

My main argument with Krikawa’s approach is that by working so hard to eliminate a particular word from a client’s vocabulary, the opportunity to educate them about custom is lost. The process of qualifying a client for potential custom work does not need to turn them off or scare them away from a purchase; when handled with careful explanation, my nervous clients turned into my best evangelists for the custom process (hello, referrals!).

I have worked very hard to promote the idea of custom jewelry as the future on the industry, and feel that removing it from the conversation is counterproductive. I prefer to help the client understand and appreciate the opportunity, educate them as to the options, and explain how the risks are mitigated or eliminated.

There are few things I appreciate more than the people who expend serious time and energy making their clients happy, regardless of how they accomplish that feat. I hope the various opinions and theories about custom jewelry continue to expand and develop, especially as technology grows and offers more solutions to an often cumbersome process.

Please comment with your thoughts, I’d love to keep the conversation going!

Two Become One: It’s Complicated

Comfy sofa. Popcorn. TV remote. Pen and paper (sometimes low tech is still best). Wine. Lots of wine.

I was prepared to feel a lot of things while watching the Met Gala this year, but disappointment wasn’t on the list.

As I mentioned earlier, I anticipated an evening in which the tastemakers du jour would embrace their clever, creative, and progressive sides. There were some unique moments, to be sure, but the overwhelming theme of I-don’t-get-the-theme-and-neither-does-my-stylist-but-tech-is-shiny-so-I’ll-wear-metallic was surprisingly dull after the first half hour.

As Wendy Brandes put it in her own recap, “Who knew that robot-style could get old?”

Nonetheless, I selected two standouts that deserve some attention.

First, behold the literal Cinderella of the evening, Claire Danes, whose Zac Posen gown embraced the femininity of classic ball styling and added a twist of glowing fiber optics.

met-gala-2016--party-report-dress-claire-danes-01
Photos: Vanity Fair. Am I the only one who saw this and thought of Disney’s famed Main Street Electrical Parade? No?

I’d like to think there’s also a much more subtle commentary at play here. Posen has embraced ready-to-wear for many years (Target, David’s Bridal, and even Delta Airlines can all claim him) likely in part because he understands feminine appeal like few others in high-fashion bother to do. He unapologetically embraces romance in apparel, and his designs flatter the female form in a way that feels natural, graceful, and timeless.

By combining an extremely classic interpretation of the ballgown with optical technology, Posen is making a statement about the wearability of the two into the future. It’s groundbreaking in its simplicity, and because of that might slide under the more avant-garde radar and straight to the larger, mass-consumer audience.

The feature image for this post is a hand-iPad-sketched interpretation of Danes’ look, done by the extraordinarily talented Holly Nichols. She focuses much of her artwork on women and the clothes we love to wear, so it came as little surprise to me that she chose to illustrate this look. Every woman wants to feel like she lights up the room, but Posen and Danes made that an elegant reality.

My other favorite of the evening was from an activist and actor I’ve long admired: Emma Watson. She is a crusader for equality, access to equal rights, the modern feminist movement, social and environmental responsibility, and the secret world of wizardry. And she has one hell of a style.

gettyimages-527658138
Photo: Tech Insider (Yes. Tech reporting on fashion. See, I TOLD you they’re an item!)

Watson has made an effort to represent sustainable fashion on the red carpet, sourcing most of her gowns from repurposed or responsibly-grown materials. In this case, the pants, bustier, and train are all made from spun recycled plastic bottles, and the fashion maven has promised to re-wear each item.

Watson stated, “Being able to repurpose this waste and incorporate it into my gown for the ‪#‎MetGala‬ proves the power that creativity, technology, and fashion can have by working together.” I’m not sure there’s a better summary of her interpretation of the Gala’s theme, and it’s one that many of us can (and should) embrace.

You might notice that I haven’t featured any 3D printing at this event. As far as I could tell, only Allison Williams wore something that featured that technology (the flowers on her gown were 3D printed) and the look itself was interesting but somewhat uninspired. And though my work revolves around the 3d printing world, I have taken a much more diverse interest in technology and how it relates to the fashion tree and its jewelry branch.

The failure of stylists, designers, and celebrities to commit themselves to this year’s theme was, to me, an unfortunate side effect of an industry that pays lip service to current modes but is unreliable for delivering on them. In hindsight, my enthusiasm ahead of the Gala now feels naive and not a little like wishful thinking. Perhaps in time my high hopes for jewelry and fashion will fulfill their happy ending, but for now, I’m mentally updating their relationship status: It’s Complicated.

Two Become One: Fashion and Tech are Officially an Item

**Feature image credit: Boston Globe,“Molecule” Shoe by Francis Bitonti Studio Inc., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston**


I’m on a roll with these post titles, aren’t I? Don’t clap, just throw money. I’m here all week.

Tonight is the annual Met Gala, the event of the year for all things fashion, or really just for anyone important enough to score an invite. It’s a closed event, meaning the actual goings-on are not televised for us non-famous plebeians, probably because we’d be so overwhelmed by fabulousness that the world would grind to a halt due to mass unconsciousness.

The Gala has fascinated and inspired me for many years, but only in a limited sense — it’s great fun to watch celebrities (or their stylists) interpret the theme for each year, and the inevitable hijinks make for great bubble bath reading material, but that was usually the extent of my attention span.

But this year may just prove to define the peak of a movement I’ve been watching much more closely, of late: the strange, often conflicted and sometimes transcendent relationship between technology and fashion.

Welcome to Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.

(I may have suffered a bit of whiplash upon first reading the announcement. My eyes snapped back to the beginning of my Google Alert sheet, where I clicked and read about 15 blurb-y articles predicting “cutting edge fashions” and “nontraditional stylings” to appear on the red carpet.)

If you consider this annual spectacular to be the epitome of taste-making, the absolute and final arbiter of all things now — and believe me, many people do — this is big news. It’s time to make is Facebook official, folks: fashion and tech are dating. Pinned. Going steady. An item.

After a recent visit to the Museum of Fine Arts exhibit #Techstyle, with its look at everything from the latest fabric innovations and designer creativity to the way people interact with style and taste, I’m convinced that this relationship has staying power. Fashion hates to stagnate, and fears becoming lost and passe in an instant-access world. Technology provides the means necessary to keep up momentum, diversifying materials and expanding the very definition of what makes fashion a product of the people who wear it.

I used to hesitate, if asked my opinion on the direction it seems both high-end and mainstream fashion are taking. It’s easier to prevaricate than commit to passing judgement on something so massive, even though I’ve been leaning towards “cautiously optimistic” for some time. It seems the Met Gala has given people like me a sense of validation, that perhaps we’re not so crazy for dreaming of a wider, more expansive approach to an industry which, in the inimitable words of Miranda Priestly, “represents millions of dollars and countless jobs” and influences our daily lives.

More than anything except perhaps music, the things we choose to adorn our bodies have the ability to define our culture. The emerging fashion designer and MIT grad are no longer on opposite sides of the fence, but might even be one in the same. I can’t wait to see what they think of next.

 

Stay tuned for a follow-up post, after the evening’s festivities!

 

 

How to Say Yes

The title sounds like a self-help book, I know. But hear me out.

My new commute affords me plenty of time to read each day, and I’ve enjoyed taking full advantage of that quiet(ish) time. Interspersed between fun fiction and travel tales, you’ll find me reading a number of books related to success, leadership, leaning in… you know, those.

It seems that a running theme in many of these popular reads is the power of saying no. Evidently a lot of powerful, successful women have learned that a healthy ability to say N-O at work is crucial to maintaining both their status and their sanity.

I don’t disagree.

But some of these fine ladies gloss over the fact that to even get where they are now —  and have the ability to say no with authority — they first had to learn something else: how to say yes.

I don’t mean the kind of yes-ing that leads to overwork and underpay. I definitely don’t mean the kind that can cost you more than your career.

But as a woman who is perhaps a shade too comfortable, too quick to say no to things outside of my comfort zone, I’m working on a process to teach myself to say yes.

Yes, I can handle that report. Can you show me how to format it?

Yes, I can take the lead in that conversation. Let’s go over an agenda.

Yes, learning to do that is important to me. Are you available on Thursday?

Yes, I will join the team after work for some social fun time. How do I sign up?

For my fellow actors, this is my version of “yes, and.”** It can ease my way into saying yes to things that might otherwise intimidate me by asking a follow-up question. This lets the other party know I’m involved, but doesn’t force them to assume I know everything and won’t need any guidance.

Yes, that big sale was mine.

Yes, I know how to do that.

I’m also learning not to apologize for my success, which is another way of saying yes to myself. It used to be my habit to downplay the sales I made when I was selling jewelry, because the experience I received from it always seemed to trump the actual fact. I’ve since learned to value the more cut-and-dry factors in addition to the less tangible gains. Dollars and… sense!

For me, saying yes has been as challenging to embrace as saying no can be for others. There’s a freedom to it I hadn’t anticipated, almost like that feeling I used to get while on stage — embracing a feeling, committing to the scene, making the magic happen. How nice to see that play out in real life.

**When you take a class or perform improvisation, it’s crucial to move the scene along by always saying some version of “yes, and…” You don’t want to be the one to kill the momentum of the scene by refusing to go with the flow.

The Missing Mentor

Conventional wisdom states that in order to be successful in business, a person with little experience should seek out a person with lots of it, in order to obtain some sort of magical guidance/tutelage/oracle cocktail that will propel the budding young star into a galaxy far, far away.

Or something like that.

The truth is, long-term mentoring relationships are both rare and difficult to come by, particularly for anyone working as a minority of any kind in his or her field. Those partnerships take time, patience, and dedication to build and manage; the mentor and mentee need to feel equally invested in each other in order to sustain a mutual professional bond.

As a writer, I’m fortunate that many of my role models are relatively accessible people, at least in the sense that some of them are public figures and active industry leaders — I can always find their work, and with a bit of effort I can occasionally meet them in person at trade events. This doesn’t make them mentors in the traditional sense, but it provides some building blocks for my career direction that I wouldn’t otherwise have.

In addition, I find the good folks of the jewelry industry to be pretty forthcoming with advice, all things considered. There is the sense that a rising tide will lift all boats, and as I make forays into the realm of connection-building with an earnest desire to learn, I’ve received mostly warm welcomes from both men and women. (Mostly.)

Unfortunately, my immediate work sphere has no such people available. First of all, are exactly zero female “higher ups” at my current company of about 150. Nada. Goose egg. I work in an environment that is totally dominated by Category: Straight White Male, Subcategory: Privileged Millennial, and it shows.

You’d have to be fortunate enough to live off the grid in order to escape the genderized buzzwords of the modern tech world. I can #PowerPose, #LeanIn, #AskHerMore, and go #AllInForHer to my little heart’s content (I could even be married to a man who’s #HeforShe), but would Tweeting any of those get me closer to a tech exec? Unlikely.

In an odd twist, I’ve had about a half-dozen women at my own company go out of their ways to discuss this very issue with me. Keep in mind, I don’t work in HR or People Operations. Either those power poses are really working, or I’m simply much more outspoken against the downright absurd lack of women in general and in leadership in particular.

(True story: when I paraphrased The Notorious RBG’s famous quote about the number of women on the Supreme Court it will take to satisfy her — all of them — I got laughed at. Actually laughed at for daring to argue that all-female anything is not a crazy idea.)

So what’s the deal? There are many theories, but right now I’m eyeing the thoughts laid out in this post. Essentially, we might need to rethink our approach to the mentoring function entirely. While building a solid connection with a few select people should still be on the radar, it may be more beneficial to “create mentoring moments right around you.” This means paying attention to the people who are most easily accessible — yes, including your peers — and seeking out a more impromptu mentoring dynamic, easing some of the pressures that come with long-term relationships. This advice is founded in a pragmatic approach to the ways and means of business today.

My personal preference is still to pursue a more lasting bond, one that must be built on developing trust and a deeper understanding between the people involved. But perhaps it’s in my best interest (and the interests of women everywhere) to take the growth opportunities when we can get them.

P.S. The header photo is proof I’ve been Power Posin’ since 2008, folks.