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Podcast Transcript

Risky Business

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  0:10  
Welcome to "Your Authentic Path to Powerful Leadership" with Marsha Clark. Join us on this journey where we're uncovering what it takes to be a powerful woman leader. Alright, Marsha, Episode 39 "Risky Business"... I'm having Tom Cruise flashbacks in my head! So I know you love to include movies as a power tool in your programs, but I don't remember "Risky Business" being on the list.

Marsha Clark  0:40  
So you're absolutely right on that one! And I tell you, the first image that comes to mind is the one of Tom Cruise sliding across the floor in his underwear! That was not a part of our power tool list. But you know I know for many of our listeners, and for us, it's an iconic movie from the early 80's, that coming of age genre. And it was in some ways about finding your power. And you know, if you think about it both main characters, Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay, do discover a lot about themselves and their sources of power. But no, that's not what we're going to talk about in as much as that would be fun. We're not going to dive into that movie about this. We're going to, you know, it's really a play on words, the title, to talk about the business of taking risks, or risky business.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:29  
Okay, that makes more sense. So we'll definitely think about adding this to one of our Power Movies List.

Marsha Clark  1:32  
That's right. That's right, we'll do that.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:34  
So many places to start with this topic. So maybe let's just go straight to the heart of the stereotypical belief that men are bigger risk takers than women. Now, where did that myth, shall we say, get started and why is it continuing to perpetuate?

Marsha Clark  1:56  
Yeah, I think that's a great question and it is a perfect illustration of how women can be strong risk takers. So we want to make sure that myth gets busted.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  2:07  
Mm hmm. So what do you mean by that?

Marsha Clark  2:10  
So you know, women often don't shy away from diving in and asking tough questions. Right. So that's what I mean by you modeling that, an illustration of that, and especially on the topics that are really important to us. So women can be some of the strongest fiercest advocates taking on, you know, entire institutions and governments when it matters to them. And, you know, you just can't tell me that's not risk taking.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  2:34  

Marsha Clark  2:35  
Yeah. And and if you've ever seen a woman come to the defense of her children, now you've got the whole Mama Bear thing going on. And then you've experienced women and risk taking firsthand and, you know, even a spouse standing up for her partner during a health scare. That's risk taking, too.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  2:51  
Yep, absolutely. And so with so many examples of women taking risks where did this myth that men are bigger risk takers than women come from?

Marsha Clark  3:02  
Yeah, you know, what the newer research is showing us or telling us is that the previous test or the research that was done, the assessments for risk taking behavior tended to be very male focused. So we didn't have a risk taking problem as women. We had a definition problem of what represented risk.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  3:24  
Okay, so what's an example of how the research is changing that view?

Marsha Clark  3:28  
Yeah. So I really like the work that Dr. Thekla Morgenroth, and I hope I'm saying her name right, and has published on this topic. And I want to give full credit to the entire team that studied this and published their findings. And it was a team of psychologists, Dr. Morgenroth and Professor Michelle Ryan from the University of Exeter, and Professor Cordelia Fine and Anna Ganop from the University of Melbourne. And so what Dr. Morgenroth challenged, or what she wrote about was challenging one of the most widely used assessments called the domain specific risk taking scale. And she challenged it by pointing out that many of the behaviors included in that scale are traditionally and historically male-oriented. And its behaviors like betting an entire day's wages on a high stakes poker game, tackling a ski run beyond their skill level, or driving without a seatbelt. Now are these risky behaviors? Sure they are. And statistically, are they activities that are predominantly associated with males? And the answer to that is also yes. And you know, we've done episodes on stereotypes. So are some of these stereotypes? Yes, and yet people hold these beliefs that these are male dominated. So when those activities dominated the risk taking questionnaires, men typically scored higher than women and were therefore deemed higher risk takers just by default. And so when Dr. Morgenroth asked, what she asked was what happens when the questionnaires include questions about risky behaviors that aren't predominantly male-oriented?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  5:18  
Okay, so what were some of these new questions?

Marsha Clark  5:21  
So here's an excerpt, and I think it is representative, of an interview that was done with Dr. Morgenroth and it gives us some insights into the research that was done by her and her team: "So when people imagine a risk taker, they might picture someone risking their fortune at a high stakes poker game, an ambitious CEO, or someone crossing the Grand Canyon on a tightrope. But chances are that the person they picture will be a man doing those things. In other words, in our culture, risk is strongly associated with masculinity. And our research shows that this also biases how scientists measure risk. Traditional measures of risk taking tend to overlook the fact that women take many risks all the time." And this, again, this is my own insertion. When I read these things the first time, it didn't seem like it was very risky and yet, when you look at the bell shaped curve of research, it is.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  6:22  

Marsha Clark  6:23  
So going back to her interview, the taking risks all the time, they go horseback riding, they challenge sexism, they're more likely to donate kidneys to family members. And in our research, we show that when you ask men and women how likely they are to take more feminine risks, the gender difference in risk taking suddenly disappears or even reverses, now get that, with women reporting slightly higher levels of risk taking. And so we've been overlooking female risk taking because our measures have been biased.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  6:54  
Ah, okay. So when you change the scale on what is considered, quote, "risk-taking behaviors", women start scoring at the same levels as men do.

Marsha Clark  7:06  
That's absolutely right. Wendi.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  7:08  
Ah. Yay!

Marsha Clark  7:10  
So here's what Dr. Morgenroth found. And they discovered that instead of just asking about, you know, poker playing and bungee jumping, researchers added these questions about risks that women more typically take, and adding other risks to the scale like cheerleading, going out and doing something in front of thousands of people, cooking an impressive but difficult dish for an important dinner party, or making even risky purchases online. It brought women scores into the same range as men's and reflected that women suddenly seemed just as comfortable with risk as men.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  7:43  
I know, we hear about test bias all the time. But this is a perfect example of how it can influence so much of our beliefs and behaviors.

Marsha Clark  7:53  
Yes, it's actually, I consider it a very serious implication when you think about it, especially when we think about as organizational leaders, right. Risk taking is an attribute or leadership behavior that very many organizations consider to be highly valued among their top talent and executive ranks. So when both men and women, by the way, perpetuate this myth that women aren't as naturally inclined to take risks, women are already in a one down position when it comes to consideration for those higher level roles.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  8:26  
Yeah, wow. You're so right on that one.

Marsha Clark  8:29  
Yeah. And so it goes beyond how we define risk, but then how we evaluate the process of risk taking.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  8:36  
So in your book, "Embracing Your Power", you actually describe that women take risks differently. Is that what you mean by the process of risk taking?

Marsha Clark  8:48  
Yeah, that's part of it. And, you know, I'll read my own excerpt from the book: "Because we women also do contingency planning (so that's we've got a plan B) and therefore have a ready fallback position, it may have previously appeared that we didn't take risks." So you know, I would offer to you that women might be smarter risk takers because we may be willing to take it. It's like, I'm going to jump off the cliff, but oh, by the way, I have a parachute just in case. Right. And I think that's a smarter risk taking decision.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  9:20  
Absolutely. I mean, that's a pretty bold statement. So how has your experience as an executive coach and a leader across your career, how has that experience supported that observation?

Marsha Clark  9:33  
Well, you know, I think about a couple of things. So my personal experiences, when you think about the women's movement and how women have come out to challenge so many societal and institutional long standing beliefs, whether it be the women who worked so hard to get women the right to vote, when it was, you know, women coming out of the home and into the workforce during World War II, you know, those were brave and courageous and things that women had never done before. Right. So to me, there's that. Now, that's on a more historical and long term perspective. When I think about what I'm hearing from coaching clients, women willing to stand up for what they believe in in the face of adversity, women challenging the status quo, women asking for what they want is a power statement.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  10:31  
Yeah, and can be very risky, right?

Marsha Clark  10:34  
And because it's unusual, it's atypical, and who do you think you are, might be asking for, because one, you've never done that before and women don't do that. We've kind of, we've come to appreciate that. So you don't know how it's going to be received on the other end. And so that's how the risk assessments can be different when you think about, and I just want to say risk is different for everybody. What is risky for me, you and I are both women and yet what's risky for me might not be risky for you and vice versa. So it's such a personal thing. But it doesn't diminish that women have different kinds of risk taking or do different kinds of risk taking.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  11:14  
Absolutely. You offer up a self assessment for risk taking in your book in chapter three on Developing a Personal Vision. Why do you connect risk taking with creating a personal vision?

Marsha Clark  11:29  
Yeah. So in some ways, it relates to what we were just talking about. For some people and women especially, we might be holding back on our personal vision for our lives, right, holding back on stepping into what we want most in life because it's scary, or because it's against the status quo, or it's not what our parents told us we should do or whatever. And so we as women have a story about the risk that we hold in our heads, that self talk, and it can be limiting. And there's even a name for it. We call it the limiting belief system. I don't believe that that's appropriate, or I don't believe that that could ever happen for me. And if I bought into the cultural myth that I'm not a risk taker because I don't bungee jump off bridges or because I take time to consider and weigh the data before making a big decision or just winging it or going with my gut, then I might think that I'm not a risk taker. And, and you know, even myself, and so I'm not gonna put myself out there for what I would consider a high risk role.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  12:29  
Yeah, yeah. So if my story about a certain role is that it requires someone with a high risk tolerance and yet my story about myself is that I must not be a risk taker because I don't participate in high-risk behaviors, then I've definitely taken myself out of the running before I even give myself a chance to start and prove myself.

Marsha Clark  12:53  
That's exactly right. You've hit it on the on the nose, and I don't even attempt by not applying, you know, I'm not gonna go there. But I won't even apply for certain roles or opportunities because I have accepted the false notion that I'm not eligible or qualified.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  13:08  
So how have you used the assessments in your book to help people break down that myth?

Marsha Clark  13:15  
Yeah. So I have a colleague that I've worked with and I adapted a quick survey from the work of Rita Bailey. And, you know, she was at Southwest Airlines for many years. And she and I met after I left EDS, she had left Southwest. And we were both doing similar work. And she had created this risk survey, if you will. And in this self assessment, what I do in the book and in the programs that I run is I ask people to reflect back over the past 90 days, because if you did it three years ago, or 10 years, you might be well, and you want something a little more current because if you're a risk taker, there's always opportunities going on.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  13:54  

Marsha Clark  13:54  
So look back over the past 90 days to identify what their, I call it the risk propensity, my likelihood to take risk might be, and think about it as objectively as possible. And I think that the questions that we use in the survey really are gender neutral to help overcome some of that bias that shows up in some of the other risk behavior assessments.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  14:17  
Now, I know this is in the book. And I think for our listeners, this is on page 90. But would you be able or willing to share some of the questions here on the show so our listeners can do their own little kind of mini self tests as they're listening along?

Marsha Clark  14:33  
Yeah. So I'm going to ask the questions that are literally in the book, I'm gonna give you a minute and you know, think about this in terms of low medium or high. So as I ask the question, do I do it every now and then is low, medium on a fairly routine basis, and then high almost always, kind of thinking about that as our scale. So the first risk assessment question is, "I am willing to to try new behaviors". And my ad lib to that is, you know, I've always done X and done it that way. And now I'm gonna try something different, or I've always said it that way and now I'm gonna say something different. I've never spoken up in this situation, I'm gonna speak up. So that kind of thing. Number two, "I have recently shared radically new ideas with my peers and colleagues." Maybe I read something, you know, again. Number three, "I take risks while considering options, costs versus benefits, and consequences of failure". And remember, this is, again over the past 90 days that we're reflecting, and to what degree did you do these behaviors. So if I just thought about it, that's one thing. If I spoke up about it, it was something else. And if I behaved my way through to making it happen, that's something else. Number four, "I'm open to and seek out feedback". And, again, my ad lib on the assessment statement. It's scary to hear what other people think about us. And yet, if I don't understand how other people see me, I'm going to be limited. So I gotta be brave and be ready to hear not just the good stuff, but maybe there's some you know, developmental opportunities. All right, number five, "I'm willing to join a group that collaborates and works together". My ad lib to this, I don't know those people, they don't do things the way I do them. And yet, I'm willing to put myself in the middle of that as both a contributor as well as a learner. Number six, "I value and create change". My ad lib, I want things to be better, I want us to improve upon. Number seven, "I challenge bureaucracy and disempowering actions in all forms". My ad lib here is I stand up for my beliefs and principles, my values. Number eight, "I frequently act on things that others would consider risky". Number nine, "I routinely challenge status quo thinking". Number 10, "I continuously seek ways to advance beyond today's thinking".

Now, all of those are just what I would describe as general risk. Now, these next two questions are specific to financial risk. And I have added these over the years because what I have found is that women will often stay in unhealthy and even toxic situations because they don't have financial security. Whether it be I have to have this job, and I don't know what the next job will be, so I can't quit even though my boss is a jerk, or even though this culture is toxic, or harsh, or limiting, or whatever, even in marital relationships, or you know, personal relationships. So I want women to think very specifically about these next two questions. And again, low, medium, or high, "How important is financial security to me?". And what I would offer to our listeners is that I am more likely to take risks when I have financial security. So that's the connection there. And then the second question, and there's only two on financial risk, "How much financial risk am I willing to take?" So how much money do I have to have in savings before I change jobs? Or how much you know, how much money do I have to make in order to meet my commitments? And if I'm really in an unhealthy and toxic situation, do I have enough to go restart my life in some way?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  19:04  
And once someone completes this assessment, what happens next?

Marsha Clark  19:09  
Yeah, so that's a isn't that interesting, kind of, you know, assessment kind of deal. But what we then want both our listeners as well as the program participants in the readers of the book, we offer some reflection questions. And the first one is just "How did you feel about your responses?" Because, you know, we want to say, we'll immediately compare, are my answers close to yours? You know, am I doing it right? Am I, you know, taking too little, am I taking too much, we want to go through that comparison. So just write down, I'm good with it. I wish you know, this tells me I may need to take a little more risk or maybe a little less or whatever. And then which leads to the second, "Do they spur you to take more risk or less risk?" And then the third question is "How might this information contribute to a personal vision" because it is a lead up to that, it's an input into that personal vision. And so we want to encourage women to set a bold vision, you know, to think big. So understanding what my own propensity for risk taking might be and getting really clear about that I think is crucial to creating your own personal compelling vision.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  20:21  
That totally makes sense. I mean, it's one thing to be clear about your own risk taking tolerance level. But what role does the culture of an organization take in a leader's  propensity for risk taking?

Marsha Clark  20:37  
Yeah, that's, it's a really good question because we're never operating in a vacuum, right, or in isolation. So my own comfort level, with entering into any risky business needs to be considered, you know, within the organization's cultural context. And I could personally be a maverick who's not afraid to push some boundaries, and let my team you know, fail quickly and fail off, and as they say, fail fast. You know, that whole phrase. In some companies, however, that kind of zeal or enthusiasm might be welcome and may even be celebrated and then again, maybe not. And that's where, you know, even personality style and company culture we would want it to be a strong fit, you know, which is one of those HR words. But what's high risk to one organization may be viewed as low to no risk in another. And that's a part of what we have to explore in order to ensure that fit so sometimes that's even across teams within the same company. So R&D or sales may feel like taking risks is simply part of what's expected of them to break the mold and to bring in new business, new clients and so on. But the operations or production teams, who are you know, held to zero waste metrics or high safety regulations, they may see that as risky behaviors and completely unacceptable.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  21:58  
So the answer to culture is going to be...

Marsha Clark  22:03  
Ha, I think you know the answer to that question is...

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  22:03  
"It depends".  

Marsha Clark  22:08  
That's right, exactly. So there's no hard and fast rule with what an acceptable level of risk across organizations or industries might be. And there are, in fact, subject matter experts and consultants who get paid very handsome sums of money to help companies recognize and mitigate those risks and the potential expense that may come with them. And you know, risk management is big business, and understandably so. And, you know, risk management has now gone from financial risks to technology risks to physical risks to you know, on and on, and on, it goes.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  22:42  
Yep, so the bottom line is risk taking really isn't gender specific and it sounds like it also isn't industry specific or culture specific, at least as long as we're aware of, and don't limit ourselves to these outdated beliefs and issues.

Marsha Clark  23:01  
You're exactly right.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  23:02  
Yeah, I love it's kind of freeing to think about it, really, that way.

Marsha Clark  23:07  
Yeah, I think so too. And I'd like to share with our listeners, it makes me think of... I love this poem. I use it in the materials, the programs that I teach because I think it gives both sides of the risk story, if you will, and I want to read this. And it's by William Arthur Ward.  "To Risk": "To laugh is to risk appearing the fool. To weep is to risk appearing sentimental. To reach out for another is to risk involvement. To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self. To place your dreams before a crowd is to risk ridicule. To love is to risk not being loved in return. To live is to risk dying. To hope is to risk despair. To go forward in the face of odds is to risk failure". That's the first verse. The second verse: "But to risk we must because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing is one who does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrows, but he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or love. Chained by her certitudes, she is a slave, she has forfeited her freedom. Only a person who takes risk is free". So Wendi, when you talk about it's free, right? I say this in the book. There's always two sides of every choice that we make, you know, what are we getting, what are we giving up. And if I'm giving, you know, reaching out for another, exposing feelings, placing my dreams, you know, before the world, I mean, there's always where we may give up privacy, we may give up, you know, this idea of being hurt or being shamed or being embarrassed or I mean we just put all of our self-limiting beliefs on us and if you're williing to put yourself out there and you see risk as seeing the possibilities of really being able to live a full, authentic, powerful life.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  25:36  
You also offer a reflection moment in the book after you provide that poem. And you ask, "How could taking more risks give you more freedom? So what are your thoughts and feelings after reading this poem and this quote? Does it challenge you? Does it inspire you?" I mean, I love those questions because I don't know that people really equate freedom with risk taking, or at least not deliberately. Yeah.

Marsha Clark  26:03  
Yeah and I would invite our listeners to answer these questions, right? So how could taking more risk give you more freedom? And what are your thoughts after hearing this? And and are you challenged by it or inspired by it? So, you know, from my experience of working with people over all these years, I don't think people connect the two, you know, in a deliberate or thoughtful or intentional way, and to me, they're inseparable. And you know, there's another quote I love by Eleanor Roosevelt. And you know, I think I want to use it to wrap up today's episode.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  26:34  
Yeah. Go for it!

Marsha Clark  26:36  
So, here's the quote. Again, Eleanor Roosevelt is one of my 'sheroes'. So her quote is: "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do." And I want to read this particular quote again. You know, it's often said the first time is for the head, the second time's for the heart. "You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do."

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  27:26  
Yeah, I'm just gonna breathe on that one. So true. So true. Love it.

Marsha Clark  27:31  
And it reminds me that yes, there's always a dark side. And yet I choose to see the positive in the possibilities when I'm really gauging whether you know, am I going to step up? Am I going to step out? Am I going to challenge that status quo?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  27:46  
Exactly. Well, once again, we've packed a lot into one short episode. So what would you say are your top takeaways from today, Marsha?

Marsha Clark  27:55  
Yeah. What I want our listeners to really think about, remember, and remind themselves is that both men and women are risk takers, and don't let anybody tell you any differently.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  28:05  

Marsha Clark  28:05  
And that how men and women take risks may look different, but one is not necessarily better than or more than the other. The third thing I'd like for our listeners to take away is the belief that women are more risk averse and recognize that it is a myth and it needs to be challenged, not only at all levels in the organization, but also in our own minds. And then the last big takeaway is understanding the cultural and organizational norms of tolerable risk taking is important for both men and women. And there's a difference between responsible, considered, and I would add thoughtful risk taking and being just a maverick who likes to just be different for the sake of being different.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  28:49  
So very quickly, before we close, I'd love to hear an ad hoc story, this is totally off the cuff, and a story from your past where you had the opportunity to take a risk. And if you would like to share a failure, I'd love to hear a failure. But I definitely want to hear a success where you took a risk. So go ahead.

Marsha Clark  29:12  
Okay I will tell you the first thing that comes to mind when I think about taking a risk. We were considering adding... this goes back to the mid 90s. We were considering adding sexual orientation to our EEOC statement as a more inclusive way of thinking about equal opportunity. This was before it was diversity, equity, inclusion, it was just diversity back in those days. And the risk was standing up in what would by most measures be considered a conservative company and yet, one that valued the human. People are our most important asset. That was one of our five principal values. So it was a fascinating experience to do the research because there wasn't a lot of comparison or competitive information. So it was about living the values. And as we moved through this process of getting that added, then the question of are we also going to add domestic partner benefits to our benefit plan, because we were self, you know, self funded benefit program. And I remember so many principles that I teach about in the classes and write about in the book is, I had the meetings before the meetings with all of our senior leaders. And what I found there is that I had some allies. So being politically savvy, I found my allies. And the breakthrough moment in standing up in front of our we call them the Leadership Council, and proposing this giving statistics, talking about things, I also attended meetings of various groups of gay and lesbian employees in the organization that were underground groups that were known to me because of my love of people and support of people, and hearing their stories. So being able to give the research statistics and the anecdotal stories of what it felt like to be different in our work world, institution, society, and so on.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  31:34  
And probably hidden.

Marsha Clark  31:35  
Very hidden. Very hidden. Some people didn't come to the meetings that I attended because they didn't want me to know who they were because they didn't trust me. I was like, I was 'them". Right? Not one of them, but one of "them", you know. And so standing up in front and telling those stories and giving the statistics and having my allies and I tell the story about when you make these changes, there's a lot of pushback, and you know, that kind of thing. And so we needed to expect that. And that in this whole idea of domestic partner benefits, if we did this sexual orientation in the EEOC statement now, and then domestic partner benefits later, you'd have to go through that twice. And I remember one of my allies standing up and saying, "Well, then why should we go through it twice?" And we had, you know, we had planned for this, this ally. And he said, I think we should rip the band aid off, you know, I mean, that was literally the analogy used, and go through this once and be done with it. And so this is going to be a little bit of the is it going to be a failure or is it going to be a success because you live on that precipice, right? I mean, it is a very narrow tightrope you're walking. And so we put it out there. The first letters coming in were really horrible. I just have to tell you, we got about 300 of them in the first 24 hours...

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  31:43  
From other employees?

Marsha Clark  31:49  
From other employees, okay, and I was, they were pretty sure I was gonna go to hell. I mean, I just, I'm going to be really blunt with our listeners about all of this. And then as people got wind of that was what was going on than those who said, wait a minute, there's another side to this. And they started these letter writing campaigns of what this is about treating each and every one of us with dignity and respect, which is what we say we want to do. And you know, so yeah, yeah, yay. But you know, so the tide began to turn, but there was a 24 to 36 hour period where it was really tough. And, you know, I want to say, I was proud of that moment that we were living the value of truly treating every human being with dignity and respect. And that this, you know, all the pushback at the time was, well, if we had domestic partner benefits, and you know, our costs are gonna go up. And like I said, we had 19 people sign up for domestic partner benefits.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  33:51  
A company of how many thousands?

Marsha Clark  33:53  
A company of 145,000 people. Now, admittedly, this was a US thing, because that's what you know, right? We were operating in that. So I and I don't remember the number but it was the majority, by a lot. And so, you know, there we were, but that was one of the biggest risks to take from a personal standpoint, a company standpoint, a marketplace standpoint. And yet we did it.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  34:16  
Yeah. That's, that's amazing. And I think another lesson that I'm hearing underneath that story is it was a calculated risk. It was a deeply explored, you know, researched data, data backed all of that, but the finest point that I want to underline is the fact that it was aligning with your company values. You kept coming back to that in the story.

Marsha Clark  34:40  
Well, and I do and I'll end you know, this piece of it with this. I was sitting in the cafeteria, big company cafeteria, you know, and not everybody knows everybody, some people do and, and I was sitting at a table and overheard a conversation at the other table about I'm not really happy that the company's doing this, but you know, I do have to admit that they are doing it based on the values. And I can't argue that point. Yep. And, you know, I went over to them after hearing this, and I was going to put my tray away. And I just said, I want you to know I appreciate that sentiment. And I hope that, you know, everyone can feel that this really is about treating everyone, not just the ones that are like me or, you know, a certain way, but treating everyone with dignity.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  35:25  
What a powerful story. Marsha, thank you for sharing that. And thank you for helping us unpack this idea of risk taking, and understanding how gender bias can impact us as we consider expanding our own definitions of what risky business means.

Marsha Clark  35:43  
Well, thank you, Wendi. It is an important topic. And it's one that can limit us or free us and that's our choice point.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  35:51  
Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, thank you all for joining us today, on our journey of authentic powerful leadership. Please download, subscribe and share this podcast on iTunes, Google, Spotify, wherever you'd like to listen. I just want to share very quickly that Marsha is, you know, quickly growing into that top 5% headed towards the top 1% of all podcasts that are out there. So your sharing this podcast is incredibly important to us. And finally, please visit Marsha's website at for links to all of the tools and resources we talked about today and to get her book "Embracing Your Power".

Marsha Clark  36:34  
Well, Wendi, thanks! Yeah, I have to say it is a proud moment. And you know, I think about the risk of even doing podcasts, you know, this idea of putting yourself out for the world to see and to criticize and to love or whatever. It could go any way on most days, right? So I appreciate that tremendously and I appreciate our partnership in that. And listeners, thank you for for listening today. And we hope that you have taken some nuggets away to think about, to ponder more deeply, and to really look at where have I taken risks, or where might I take more risks going forward. So I appreciate that. Let us hear from you. And we do appreciate your listening and sharing as we go forth. And, as always, here's to women supporting women!

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