Welcome to She Negotiates

Published on by Lisa Gates.

We have a dispute.  Lawsuits are filed and served to say we mean business.  Our negotiation partners are now defendants.  They file answers.  That means war.  Battles are won and lost.  Flags are planted on molehills and moutain tops.  The line of scrimmage changes with each new round of play.  Today you win.  Tomorrow you lose.  All that matters is timing.  If you're winning when you hear the sound of the buzzer, you win.  No matter how many battles you won; no matter how many flags you planted; no matter how many troops you lost; no matter how good your supply lines; your officers; your gentlemen. 

Only when the battlefields are littered with bodies does a lawsuit become a negotiation again.  A failed negotiation begins the life of a litigator and a failed litigation begins the life of a negotiator again.

Midway through life's journey life, I found
myself in a dark wood, for I had strayed
from the straight pathway to this tangled ground.

Dante's Divine Comedy

I  litigated and fought to win.  I spent twenty-five years trying to make other people do that which they did not wish to do. Then one day negotiation arrived.  Wikipedia, that wondrous open-source cobbled together digital online compilation of all the world's knowledge, defines negotiation in this manner:

Negotiation is a dialogue intended to resolve disputes, to produce an agreement upon courses of action, to bargain for individual or collective advantage, or to craft outcomes to satisfy various interests.

A dialogue, a conversation.  Women are good at that.

Bargaining for collective advantage.  A hallmark of the female of the species, whether we're organizing car pools or play-dates, exchanging recipes or tips for getting stains out of the carpet, or even, in the second half of the twentieth century, recommending the best business or law school to our daughters and nieces, forming political committees, creating cultural events, supervising the construction and launch of a satellite or merging two Fortune 500 corporations.  Directing or producing movies before heading home to make the kids popcorn for their one hundreth viewing of The Little Mermaid or Toy Story 2.

To craft outcomes that serve many interests.

And nary a word about changing someone else's mind.

I picked up the telephone one day and the voice at the other end of the line said, "we're a network of women healthcare executives and we'd like you to come and teach us how to negotiate."

And then I fell in love.  Which is how all good stories begin.  Or end.  I fell in love with all the unused potential, bursting at the seams of all the women who wanted more and better.  And not just for them but for everyone.  I shook my head in dismay at the statistics.  How much money women lose over the course of a career because they fail to negotiate their first salaries.  But grinned with delight when they all answered this question in the affirmative - I value relationships more than I value money. 

How fortunate for us!!  Because money is relationship.  You can't eat a five-dollar bill nor keep yourself warm with a series of numbers or commas or periods.  Those ledger sheets flutter in the wind in the absence of stability and trust.  I remember what Coco Chanel said when asked where the money would come from to design and sew and show her first collection - from wherever it is now, darling.  From wherever it is now.

She negotiates children and spouses, families and communities.  She can rarely be found brokering war.  If given the choice - and she believe she has it - she negotiates peace.  From the ancient Greek women peace-makers of Lysistrata to the courageous Liberian women who came together to end a bloody civil war and bring peace to their shattered country (Pray the Devil Back to Hell) to Katherine Hepburn making peace between Jane and Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond, its the women who are always and daily negotiating peace.

What we're up to here is as simple as it is radical.  We believe that women can immediately close the wage and income gap by re-calibrating their value and negotiating for it.  We don't think it's right that the wage gap is stalled at 33 cents on the dollar.  Or that women lawyers make sixty cents for every dollar made by her male counterpart.  It doesn't make good sense to us that women, who open 40% of all new business ventures every year get less than four percent of the available venture capital.

We're here to change all that.

So read on and stay tuned.  Everything is about to get a whole lot better.


Lisa Gates, She Negotiates, Victoria Pynchon

Published on by Lisa Gates.