FIRST THOUGHT: Young Leaders
What makes someone a good leader? Is it someone who lets you clock out 10 minutes early, someone who brings bagels to the office for your birthday or someone who isn’t afraid to dish out a promotion? I think it’s someone who isn’t too busy to hear you out, someone who listens without simultaneously emailing or texting, someone who says thank you and means it. A higher-up guy at a tech company once said the best leaders aren’t the ones who stay busy, but those who leave space to observe and listen to their employees.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 26.4 Percent
I’m sure we’ve all had our fair share of good and bad leaders. Being a woman doesn’t mean you’ll instantly be a good leader, but dang it, don’t women deserve a chance to be leaders at all? When the Pew Research Center took a look at presidents of universities, they found just 26.4 percent were women. While that statistic proves female leaders are in the minority, the number is still nearly triple what it was in 1986.
WOMEN TO WATCH: Brooke Lopez and Adrianna MaBerry, Co-founders of the Lone Star Parity Project
Let’s talk about today’s two clever Women to Watch, Brooke Lopez and Adrianna MaBerry, who are on a mission to bring equality to politics. Their goal certainly isn’t an easy one, but they aren’t backing down. They co-founded an inspiring nonpartisan publication called the Lone Star Parity Project, which shares the stories of women engaging in Texas politics.
Brooke’s interest in government sprouted from a tragic event. She was just a teenager when one of her friends was murdered. Since the murder suspects were minors, Brooke began to learn about the power of the law. A mere sophomore in high school, she helped create a congressional bill that is now enforced in the state of Texas, ensuring a minor convicted of capital murder may not seal the charge from his or her record. Brooke became the youngest person to sit on her city council, at 18 years old, and she is still involved in local politics.
There’s power in numbers and Brooke and Adrianna prove it. While Brooke focuses on policy-making, Adrianna brings a technical and data-driven mentality to Lone Star as its research director. Before getting her master’ degrees in geospatial information sciences, Adrianna worked for the city of Dallas as a technician. These two women ended up connecting through their affinity for engaging in their communities and acting on their civic duties.
A big part of what makes the Lone Star Parity Project so special is its emphasis on political parity. (That’s parity, not SNL-style parody.) The idea is to increase equality in state and local politics by listening to women’s voices, giving them space to collaborate and enact positive change. Specifically, they want to analyze past and current trends in political research, and then compile results into toolkits for women looking to enter politics.
Brooke and Adrianna believe everyone should have a chance to be heard, from student representatives to state officials. For example, the Lone Star Parity Project published an in-depth profile about a woman running for Texas Commissioner of Agriculture. These glimpses into women politicians’ backgrounds give readers a chance to recognize shared traits in these role models. And who knows, it might even inspire readers to pursue public servitude too.
There’s no better time than now to get involved in politics; women make up only 20.4 percent of elected positions in the state of Texas, and women of color serve at only 12.4 percent of elected office positions in the state.
Follow Brooke Lopez on Twitter @brooke_e_lopez.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Isn’t it incredible that two women can have such dynamic stories, yet spend their time sharing the stories of others instead? Let’s hear it for lifting up other women. Oprah Winfrey-approved inspirational speaker Iyanla Vanzant said:
“The way to achieve your own success is to be willing to help somebody else get it first.”