Women, Gather Your Allies and Fight Like the Goddess Athena

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My day-to-day working life is spent helping women find their voice. Their agency. To remove the boulders obscuring the path forward. And securing the reputational and monetary reward that results from that effort.

The senior product engineer in a startup who sees herself as the COO as easily as she sees herself as the CEO of her own consultancy solving the problems that her startup just doesn’t seem to get.

The barista who is sitting on the fence deciding whether to parlay her English Lit degree into an MBA or the next great American novel.

And then there’s the woman who finds herself in the crosshairs of wrong-doing and self-worth, and who is, nevertheless, compelled to speak up because not doing so would bring harm to that self-worth, as well as her loved ones, her organization, her world. 

This crosshair moment occurs in the careers of every woman I have ever coached. It’s a persistent combination of #LeanIn, #MeToo and #TimesUp.

And yet, speaking up against the status quo feels, and often is, dangerous. Whether you’re confronting workplace harassment, or dealing with a colleague who undermines, interrupts, and steals credit, speaking up feels like it might number your days.


Women being emotional = unbalanced.

Women crying = not credible.

Women angry = undeserving + bitch. 

Men being emotional = truth.

Men crying = honor falsely besmirched.

Men angry = powerful + credible + deserving.


  • Be strategic, have a Plan A and a Plan B.

  • Rally your allies up and down the chain of influence to speak up in solidarity.

  • Take your seat at the table and lean in to the better angels of your organization’s nature to identify and tackle systemic problems and remedies.


  • Run like hell for the exit.

  • Make your voice heard on your way out, and at your elected officials’ offices.

  • Vote.

  • And make sure everyone you know does the same.

This is a flawed prescriptive in world that is rigged in favor of privilege. All I can say is transformation is ugly on its way to beautiful. And you're worth the fight. And you are all cut from the cloth of Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom and War. Like Athena, you have your mind, your voice, a spear, and Medusa's shield. Use them.