When we feel the call to stand, when we know we must act, it helps to draw inspiration from the trailblazers.
Eve Ensler, Marianne Williamson, and Dr. Jane Goodall, each an EWLive alumna, spring to mind as women who live in the arena, speaking their truth and fighting for what is right.
Our partners at Gaia have shared 3 videos from these pioneers to invigorate us as we come together and work for equality, justice, and understanding at this historical moment in time. Let them fire you up – the world needs you now!
“I myself believe in building grassroots revolutions and grassroots energies that can begin to build and amass power and take things over.” – Eve Ensler
“When you say ‘I am love…’ you are shifting your self-perception from the body identification to spirit identification, and that is the journey of enlightenment.” – Marianne Williamson
“If we are the most intellectual creature that’s ever walked on the planet, how come we are destroying that planet? We must learn to live in peace and harmony. We all have to get involved.” – Jane Goodall
When I think of Jane Goodall, one specific moment plays in my mind.
It was about 9:30 at night, and she had just finished her brilliant keynote at Emerging Women Live 2015. This was, mind you, after she had flown into San Francisco just that day, done her mic check, prepared for the event and participated in the audience for the talks leading up to hers. Plus she still had a book-signing and a media room interview to go before calling it a night.
I thought she might be tired, so as she stepped down from the stage I offered her my hand. And with classic Goodall grace, she lightly refused my help and alit from the stage like a morning-fresh ballerina in slippers.
With this simple movement, after a long day of long lines and travel and sharing her heart on stage, she helped me realize that that’s the way through. That’s the way to navigate this modern world. Bringing such a level of grace is not only what helped her make such a tremendous impact in her field, it’s also what has given her and her work such longevity.
And that’s what I want to emulate. That’s what I want to start practicing now, so I have it to hold on to in my eighties.
So, what does the incomparable Jane Goodall say we women must bring to the world today? Watch this clip from a video she taped after that night’s book-signing, still brimming with characteristic grace:
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Hundreds of women gathered in San Francisco over the weekend for 4 days of inspiration, authentic connection, feminine leadership training and more. Our lineup of keynote speakers was as influential as ever, including Dr. Jane Goodall, Brené Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, TEDTalk sensation Esther Perel, Kim Jordan of New Belgium Brewing and Dr. Tererai Trent.
We selected some of the most powerful insights from Emerging Women Live 2015 keynotes to share with you here. Feel free to comment, share, tweet and post your faves, too.
As women today, we’re hungry to live the truth of who we are at work—and even insisting on it—but how to do that often feels uncharted.
Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE
What’s so remarkable about Dr. Jane Goodall (Emerging Women Live 2015 keynote speaker) is that she not only pioneered science, but she also opens our eyes to how to work from our most authentic self—all starting in the 1950’s.
She didn’t have the “right education.” She didn’t “plan it all out” or follow rules for making it. Rather, she made her preeminent scientific contributions by living the deep truth of who she is. All these years later, her path is still one of the most inspiring I’ve seen. In my work to help individuals and teams combine success and fulfillment, Jane’s life serves as a kind of archetypal map that guides us into authentic territory that’s available to all of us.
Jane’s Early Insistent Actions
At the age of 23, this untrained, captivating blonde Brit was invited to Africa and met a renowned scientist. These facts on their own imply she simply landed in the quintessential right time and place. However, it was actually the momentum of what I call her Insistent Actions that led to her success.
As a little girl, Jane consistently repeated a set of actions, which she honed into valuable skills. Imagine Jane when she was 5 years old, sitting in a chicken coop. Hiding in straw, she was determined to know, “Where does the egg come out?” She waited unobtrusively for hours until she found out.
She also catalogued, drew, and wrote about animals. In countless personal letters, she wove together intricate descriptions of animals she watched. All these actions were unprompted by people or obligations. At 13, she wrote to her friend, “I am home today as I have a cold, and I am practising drawing birds from real life. I am determined to get good at drawing them.”
Like a fish swimming or a rose blooming, these Insistent Actions were native in her. She couldn’t not do them.
She brought to life something inside her—in the words of an E.E. Cummings poem—“which is natural, which is infinite, and which is yes.” We see what is natural, infinite, and yes in 13-year-old Jane as she’s lying on her bed with the sniffles—pencil and notebook in hand, determined to get good at drawing animals.
Dr. Jane Goodall in Gombe National Park
From Insistent Actions to Prodigious Impact
When Jane met her mentor, paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey, his life’s dream was to reveal the mysteries of human evolution. At a time when the typical methods for studying animals were killing them and examining the remains, his vision to observe chimps in their natural habitat was cutting-edge. He knew he needed a keen observer, and Jane’s Insistent Actions—practiced thousands of times over two decades—had shaped her into one. Soon after meeting her, he recognized her observational prowess and said she had “record eyes.”
Despite no formal training, her Insistent Actions developed into her Native Genius—which is something we all have. Native Genius is the intersection of what we love doing and what we’re good at. It expresses itself in a collection of Insistent Actions we do, that we may not notice we do. When we focus, practice, and train those actions, they have the potential to grow into something powerful and useful like Jane’s “record eyes.”
Jane’s life shows us how we can grow our Native Genius from moment-to-moment, starting where we are, regardless of our life circumstances.
Jane called her time studying the chimps “paradise.” That’s because she hit her Native Genius jackpot. She started using her Insistent Actions like never before, in a focused and deliberate way. All of the Gombe Stream Chimp Reserve became her “chicken coop.” Her patient, reverent observing was one of the key actions that made her so successful when living among the chimpanzees. In her first year there, she had already made four pioneering discoveries. The advancements in science were exponential.
Young researcher Jane Goodall with baby chimpanzee Flint at Gombe Stream Reasearch Center in Tanzania.
Trusting Your Insistent Actions
Most of us don’t follow our Insistent Actions with Jane’s kind of devotion, because the uncertainty can be excruciating. We want to know the destination before we begin. We don’t sense our own eyes lighting up when we do them. Even if we do sense the joy, we need to know, “Where will this go?”
The answer we often get from inside is “nowhere,” or worse: “somewhere bad”—for example, a life without love or money. Fear gets in the driver’s seat and we subtly turn away from the spark of YES in favor of something seemingly more productive, more marketable, or more certain. Jane followed the spark of yes without knowing the destination. We can too.
We may be afraid to ask ourselves what our Insistent Actions are. Like the hero in a story, we fear we’ll get all the way to the treasure chest, only to pause, open it, and find it empty. As much as I’ve partnered with people to uncover their Native Genius, I’ve never found the treasure chest empty. Ever.
I’ve also never found it full of useless junk. We always find a collection of Insistent Actions, as unique as a fingerprint. The Insistent Actions almost always have underused energy and creativity behind them. Remember, what made Jane’s “nothing” of watching animals turn into a “something” was her natural, infinite, yes that animated it. We all have that.
No matter what our life circumstances, each of us can spend 15-minutes a week doing an Insistent Action we adore.
We can trust that it will grow and coalesce. Jane shows us the extent to which Insistent Actions are, by their very nature, generative. They generate results, learning, and trying again. Jane shows us that we can risk devotion to our Native Genius without knowing exactly how to make it into something. The Insistent Actions themselves are a map we can trust that unfolds with each step. Following them will pull us forward into the territory of our Native Genius, our thriving, and our most wondrous contributions.
Kristen Wheeler is the creator of the Native Genius® Method which helps people and teams be in the sweet spot of big results and personal fulfillment.
She has consulted for more than two decades with companies about the intersection of human thriving and organizational performance—from multi-national companies with 80,000 employees to small nonprofits with 100 employees. She’s been a speaker and audience favorite at TEDxBoulder and Emerging Women Live. At Emerging Women Live in 2015 she will speak on Vision and Native Genius with Vanessa Loder.
In honor of Earth Day and Arbor Day, we’re celebrating 8-extraordinary women who have continuously advocated and rallied for our earth.
These women work endlessly to implement policies and enact change to preserve and protect our environment – from waterways, forests, access to clean air, oceans, mountains, to the precious wildlife that reside within these ecosystems.
The challenges we face today, especially with the onset of climate change, have opened new opportunities in the environmental sector that has long been filled by men. The progress that has been made by these remarkable women is illustrative of just how dynamic the feminine power really is.
1. Dr. Jane Goodall
Dr. Goodall is considered one the world’s foremost experts on chimpanzees and ecology – it is hard to overstate the degree to which she has changed and enriched the field of primatology.
During her 55-year research study, she defied scientific convention by giving the Gombe chimps names instead of numbers, and insisted on the validity of her observations that animals have distinct personalities, minds and emotions. She has harnessed the power of the feminine, instilling such into every aspect of her work – from her research studies to her global work through the Jane Goodall Institute and Roots & Shoots program, which aim to raise awareness and action for endangered species and vulnerable habitats.
Dr. Goodall has transformed the epistemological framework of how we study primates, and has exemplified immeasurable ecological integrity. She will forever be a leading voice in the environmental movement worldwide.
In 1997, Julia Butterfly Hill stormed onto the environmental activist scene in Northern California with her courageous 738-day protest living in an old-growth redwood tree, nicknamed Luna. This incredible act of civil disobedience saved the tree from being cut down by the Pacific Lumber Company and resulted in the raised international awareness for sustainable forest management techniques and the importance of establishing safeguards to protect old-growth trees.
Today, Hill continues her work as an activist, motivational speaker, and founder of the Circle of Life Foundation, a non-profit that trains community leaders to enact social change. Her invincible spirit is illustrative of the immense power that the feminine holds, and the tenets of her legacy – love, courage, devotion – are of immense significance and have made the environmental movement undeniably stronger.
“You, yes you, make the difference.” ~ Julia Butterfly Hill
3. Frances Beinecke
As the former president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Frances has worked tirelessly across political spectrums to strategically develop and execute the organization’s program of work; focusing on curbing global warming, protecting our oceans and endangered ecosystems, developing a clean energy future, addressing toxic chemicals, and greening our global economy.
Beinecke has been instrumental in igniting our global discourse on climate change. She was appointed in 2010 to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling by President Obama. She co-authored The World We Create: A Message of Hope for a Planet in Peril. She is the recipient of the Audubon Society’s Rachel Carson Award, and her environmental stewardship has been honored by numerous other environmental entities. She is an incredible woman and a force to be reckoned with.
4. Winona LaDuke
Winona LaDuke is an environmentalist, social activist, economist, speaker, professor, and writer. She is Indigenous with Ojibwe ancestry. She began her career in education on the White Earth Indian Reservation in Northern Minnesota, and soon realized the injustices that many American Indians, especially women, faced, which led her to found the Indigenous Women’s Network.
She is also the founder of White Earth Land Recovery Project, which fights for the retrieval of 837,000 acres of land to their original American Indian owners. Passionate about Native Environmentalism, she leads Honor the Earth, a non-profit that raises awareness and funding for environmental injustices–such as climate change, renewable energy, and sustainable development.
Bold, brazen, and unrelentingly dedicated to our earth, Winona LaDuke is a leading global voice on environmental issues and sustainability for American Indians and Indigenous Peoples and communities everywhere.
5. Dr. Sylvia Earle
A National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence, Dr. Sylvia Earle (dubbed “Her Deepness” by the New Yorker, “Hero for the Planet” by Time magazine, and an “environmental badass” by us at Emerging Women) is an oceanographer, explorer, author, and lecturer.She has extensive experience as a field research scientist, government official, and director for corporate and nonprofit organizations, and is the former chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In the 1960s she fought to join male-only expeditions, and has since clocked 7,000 hours of diving, several of which were to record breaking depths. In addition to her PhD. from Duke University she has 22 honorary degrees, has penned more than than 190 publications, and speaks all over the world, focusing on preserving oceanic biodiversity in the wake of climate change.
Thanks to Dr. Earle and her fearless curiosity we know more about our oceans today than ever before. Her lifetime of work has enriched us with a deeper understanding of how to live sustainably and symbiotically with marine life, and our oceans are healthier because of her commitment to environmentalism.
“The only thing that men can do down there that women can’t is grow beards.” ~ Dr. Sylvia Earle on gender equality and deep sea diving
6. Lois Gibbs
Environmentalism claimed Gibbs, perhaps before she could claim it. In 1978 Gibbs discovered that her son’s elementary school in Niagara Falls, New York, was built on a toxic waste dump. Investigations revealed that her entire neighborhood, named Love Canal, had been constructed on top of this toxic site. Lois took to her neighborhood and organized a grassroots movement and battled for years against state and federal government.
After years of fighting, nearly 1,000 families were evacuated and a massive cleanup of Love Canal began. Gibbs’ efforts led to the creation of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, a superfund within the US Environmental Protection Agency which is utilized to clean up toxic waste sites throughout America.
Lois went on to to form a grassroots environmental crisis center, the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, where she currently serves as Executive Director. Love Canal is considered one of the nation’s worst environmental disasters, and Gibbs’ fearless heart and feminine leadership has transformed the way the US handles toxic waste sites, and for that, our communities are healthier and safer.
7. Peggy Shepard
Peggy Shepard is arguably the most important proponent of environmental justice issues in communities of color in the country. She is founder of WE ACT for Environmental Justice, a non-profit she created in 1988 to improve the environmental health and quality of life for communities of color in New York City.
Shepard also serves as an investigator for Columbia University’s Children’s Environmental Health Center and is working to open partnerships between researchers and clinicians and local community members to increase environmental health education and outreach.
Shepard was the first female chair of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, a position she held from 2001-2003. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Heinz Award for the Environment, the Jane Jacobs Medal for Lifetime Achievement, and the Susan B. Anthony Award from the National Organization of Women. She remains extremely active in the environmental justice field and lectures often at universities nationwide. Her environmental consciousness is one of integrity and is an amazing leader with a passion for fairness and justice for underrepresented communities that is unmatchable.
8. Laurie David
Laurie David burst onto the environmental stage in 2006 with her Academy Award-winning film An Inconvenient Truth. The film received international acclaim and is considered to be a catalyst for significantly increasing global awareness of climate change and for reenergizing the environmental movement. She serves as a trustee on the Natural Resources Defense Council, is the founder of the Stop Global Warming Virtual March, and the creator of Earth to America!, a film raising environmental awareness with a comedic stance.
David is heavily involved in public education and advocacy campaigns, and is involved in lobbying the automotive industry and Congress to increase fuel efficiency standards for vehicles with her creation of the Detroit Project. Laurie David is a leading voice in the environmental movement and has utilized her unique position in the entertainment industry to promote and raise awareness of global environmental issues, amplifying participation and the accessibility of environmentalism.
“Everybody has to look at his or her own footprint and do the best they can. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about doing something.” ~ Laurie David
Know a woman who is making a difference for the environment? Let us know in the comments, or tweet at us @emergingw!
One of the things I appreciate most about my life is that I live in an area surrounded by dramatic expressions of nature – Boulder, Colorado. Mountains, creeks, wildflowers and endless hiking trails are just steps away from my front door. But strangely enough, I did not really start to take advantage of nature’s proximity until I learned how well it meshes with my business life.
In this thriving entrepreneurial town, many of my meetings – with investors, media, speakers, partners, sponsors – get to be in person. Lately, about a third of those meetings take place on a hike.
It took some getting used to: I worried that I wouldn’t be able to articulate my vision without my computer. How could I refer to important statistics or relevant studies… and what if I forgot to say something important? But those worries fall away as the connection you feel with somebody when you walk together in nature blossoms.
From “Skill Shaper” to “Stigma Stopper,” CNN’s list of visionary women represent many fields of work. None are household names, and all are inspirational. The EW tribe might be specifically inspired by Ari Horie, “Startup Sister.” Dive in and see who speaks to you!
“We can find another option for success instead of … being a slave of the startup world. You can still be driven and successful while being collaborative and successful.” – Ari Horie
2. Agnes Martin on Art, Happiness, Pride, and Failure: A Rare Vintage Interview with the Reclusive Artist via Brain Pickings
Minimalist painter and notorious recluse Agnes Martin was not one for giving interviews. But when she did, she expressed beautiful thoughts “at once poetic and philosophical.” Find out how Agnes envisioned herself and her art in this review of her 1976 interview with critic John Gruen.
“We all have the same inner life. The difference lies in the recognition. The artist has to recognize what it is.” – Agnes Martin
There was no shortage of visionary women at New York City’s Lincoln Center this weekend. Women in the World’s annual summit was filled to the brim with activists, artists, and all-around amazing women. Their “Women of Consequence” list is a slideshow of over one hundred women whose stories captivate and inspire. Who stands out in your mind?
“The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy.” – Meryl Streep
4. The Artist Behind the “Stop Telling Women to Smile” Street Art Has Big Plans This Week via BitchMedia
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh is organizing an artistic experiment that she hopes will have a big impact on the way women are treated on the street. She’s designed large wheat-paste posters of strong women, but that’s not all. Beneath them are “words that countless women deeply feel and want to say when men they do not know sexually harass them in public spaces, but are not always safe to say aloud.” The posters and wheat-paste instructions are available for download to expand the project well beyond Tatyana’s Brooklyn neighborhoods.
“These responses show what the work is trying to do: be an advocate and voice for women, and to push men to consider these voices.” – Tatyana Fazlalizadeh
5. Jane Goodall: How she redefined mankind via BBC
Scientist Jane Goodall celebrated her 80th birthday this week! In this interview, she tells Henry Nicholls “the inside story on how she transformed our understanding of chimpanzees, what it means to be human, and the controversy and condescension she faced in her influential career.” Learn how she stayed strong and true to her vision in the face of criticism.
“My mother always taught us that if people don’t agree with you, the important thing is to listen to them. But if you’ve listened to them carefully and you still think that you’re right, then you must have the courage of your convictions.” – Jane Goodall