The Onus is on You: Lead by Giving

Addepar“Organizations are not networks,” says one exec in Stiletto Network. “Organizations are opportunities to build your networks.”

Karen White (President & COO of Addepar; former Oracle & private equity honcho; Stiletto Network Chapter 6) says that when a woman attends some esteemed institution of higher learning or gets hired by a reputable firm, the onus is on her to be active in her network – both inside and outside of her company.

We must work hard for others if we want others to work hard for us. We should lead by giving.

“People choose all types of criteria to favor – their alma mater, ex-football players, women,” White says. “But you have to be a contributor. Networks give you access, and if you’re in a network – at least in Silicon Valley – it’s assumed you will participate. All you have is your reputation around your capabilities and for keeping your commitments. You can fail at your venture, survive that, and move on to thrive in the next. But without the pillar of your network, your chances of succeeding are de minimus.”

In Silicon Valley, there’s less segregation of friends, family, work, church, temple, mosque. It’s all blended, and men and women see a fuller spectrum of each other’s worlds. This is way the rest of society is heading too.

People are relying more on their networks and less on their organizations.

So, what are you doing to feed your network? Whom have you helped today?

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We always conceived of it as climbing a corporate ladder, but it’s more like building a human pyramid, each layer of women supporting the next. Each generation needs the one before. Maybe it’s taken too long to get here from the 1970’s, when everyone was looking at cervixes in the mirror. If you don’t treat everything as a competition, you get so much more than you lose. We’re finally realizing it’s much easier to do this together than apart.”

Abigail Disney, documentary filmmaker and philanthropist

Stiletto Network (Page 67)