Following its successful launch of “50 Women Can Change the World in Media and Entertainment” in February, Take the Lead was back for another in-person immersion of the program in Los Angeles. Hosted by one of the sponsors Mount Saint Mary’s University’s Doheny Campus on March 10th, 2018, the one-day event focused on the theme “Honoring Our History as Women & Defining the Terms of Our Future.” Take the Lead Leadership Ambassadors, Tabby Biddle and Elisa Henderson Parker hosted the event and lead sessions, equipping women participants with Power Tools such as Power Stories, Collective Leadership Action Plan, and Self-Care.
Gloria Steinem speaking. (source: Asha Dahya)
“It is our mission to change systems, to build something new based on the experience of a diverse group of women. This is about sharing experience to forge a better way.” As Take the Lead explained the mission of #50WomenCan program, the event invited experts in the media industry to share their stories, inspiration and insights. Panelists include experts from The Representation Project, #WEALLGROW Latina Network, Wise Owl Media Group, and YouTube/Google. Founder of Seed & Spark, a crowdfunding platform for independent filmmakers, Emily Best lead an experiential session in which #50WomenCan participants learned to tell their Power Stories in their pitches.
The last session of the day highlighted self-care for women professionals, featuring Lindy Huang Werges, Founder of Zen Yoga Strap, Inc. and Integritas Resources, Inc.; and Laura Baron, TV Host and life coach. They identified three main components of self-care -- physical, social and emotional, and reminded the participants that they are equally important. “In order to go out and be change-makers,” said Lindy, “we must take care of ourselves.”
Laura Baron (source: oxygen.com) Lindy Huang Werges (source: Integritas Resources, Inc,)
Sitting all day and hovered over phones and desktops may cause serious health issues such as “Tech necks.” During or after a long day of work, suggested by Lindy, we should take a few breaks throughout the day and stretch. Lindy shared some “heart openers” and stretching simple yoga poses:
· Cow Face Pose
Cow Face Pose helps you obtain a deep stretch of shoulders, armpit, chest deltoid and triceps. It also strengthens spine and abdominals.
(source: Zen Yoga Strap)
1. One arm reaches up and back from above the shoulder while the opposite arm reaches down and back from under the shoulder.
2. Try to reach your palm with the other palm. Use Zen Yoga Strap if needed. Pull your elbows back.
3. Hold for 5-10 breaths. Feel the stretch.
· Chair Pose
Chair Pose strengthens your whole body, including hip flexors, ankles, calves, and back. It is especially beneficial for legs and feet, by toning leg muscles and reducing flat feet symptoms.
1. Begin standing in Mountain pose, with feet separated hip distance apart.
2. Inhale and lift your overhead with palms facing one another.
3. Exhale and bend your knees, as if you are sitting in a chair. Tuck your tailbone down toward the floor to keep the lower back long.
4. Stay for 30 seconds and breathe.
· Sage Twist
Sage Twist can help relieve “Tech Neck” pain by stretching the shoulder and the spine. It can also improve digestion by massaging the abdominal organs.
(source: Zen Yoga Strap)
1. Start in the sitting position and extend both legs forward.
2. Bend your right knee and place right foot on the floor, next to your inside left thigh.
3. Take your left hand and wrap it around the outside of your right knee.
4. Inhale, extending and lifting your spine upward; exhale and twist your upper body to your right side.
5. Hold for 30 seconds, and then switch sides.
Lindy and Laura reminded the audience that, physical strength is the foundation of emotional and social wellness. It is the gatekeeper to opening up the doors for women professionals to walk more comfortably, understanding how to get there.
In the current society and media, we’ve seen the demand of women professionals or leaders to arm themselves with masculinity and power. “Women try to be more masculine,’ said Lindy, “but may end up snuffing out the traits that make you more powerful”. She and Laura went on, highlighting how valuable that feminine traits such as compassion and empathy are. Laura shared her story with fellow women how she learned to not allow herself to be impacted by outside influences. She encouraged the audience to not be afraid to embrace their vulnerability and femininity.
(source: Elisa Henderson Parker)
Embracing our feminine side can also benefit women’s social wellness. It impacts how you interact with other people in the workplace, and also how you relate to other women.
The #MeToo and Time’s Up movements has aroused more and more discussions in Hollywood, women in the entertainment industry are getting the courage to say NO to unreasonable working conditions or pays. “You have to be able to step away.” Laura said that we women need to stop apologizing or feeling guilty while men don’t do so. “You don’t have to be a perfectionist.” Said Laura, “You need to let it go. Their reality is not your reality.”