Russell’s Ramblings

Those who do not hear the music might think the dancer mad

The Feminine Mystique

billThe 1960’s was perhaps the most turbulent and transformational time in the history of our nation.  I was only four years old in 1963 when President Kennedy was killed by an assassin’s bullet in the streets of Dallas. Before the end of the decade we saw the horrible killing of two more civil rights leaders – the Rev. Martin Luther King and Senator Bobby Kennedy, both shot down after addressing crowds about the dramatic change they envisioned for our young country.

The innocence of the 1950’s gave way to a remarkable decade of the antiwar protests and the Civil Rights struggle which played out in our streets and was shown on television sets in living rooms across America.

There was the Beatles, flower children, hippies, and Woodstock. The 1960’s saw the approval of birth control and by the end of the decade, more than 80% of women of child bearing age were using contraceptives.

In 1963, Betty Friedman published her book, The Feminine Mystique which challenged the traditional gender roles and with it a full on assault to give women equal rights under the law. The passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, specifically the section known as Title VII, banned sex discrimination by employers and offered legal protection for women who had been rejected for employment solely because of their sex.  The American workplace would be forever changed and it was “game on” for women who strived to be treated equally when it came to employment and wages.

Fifty four years after the Civil Rights Act, females are still facing discrimination and dealing with harassment in the workplace. This past year, the #MeToo movement took center stage as behavior, once accepted or at the very least tolerated, became unacceptable and the perpetrators of those actions harshly rebuked.Pic 2 Women's Con Thoughts

On Thursday, April 19th, The Lake Norman Chamber’s Diversity Council will conduct its Fifth Annual Women’s Conference at the Peninsula Club in Cornelius. Last year’s event drew more than 140 women CEO’s and business leaders to the 11 am until 5 pm program.

Entitled, “Truth, Courage, and Empowerment: Don’t Be Silent!” the conference will examine the trials and tribulations which have faced women business owners and how they have used their courage and persistence to overcome the critics, building successful business careers and serving as mentors for the next generation of female business and community leaders.

Keynoted by Dee Worley, the Co-Founder and COO of Worley Global Enterprises, the conference has several women who have overcome the obstacles placed in front of them and serve as inspirations to women and men alike.

Worley had a gymnastics career at the University of Alabama from 1989-93, and became a 17-time All-American, a four-time champion and a nine-time regional champion. As a senior in 1993, she set an NCAA record with perfect 10’s in five consecutive meets.

Ranked as the nation’s No. 1 all-around competitor, she was a runaway winner of Alabama’s Amateur Athlete of the Year Award. At the time of her graduation, she was the only NCAA gymnast to finish in the top three in All-Around for four straight years.

Dee’s story is one of several attendees will hear at the conference as speakers recount the challenges they have faced, but more importantly how they used their faith, strength, and determination to succeed in business and in life.

Ayn Rand, a Russian American Novelist once said, “The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me.”

The role women play in board rooms, government, civic clubs, and at home has changed dramatically in the last fifty years. Rand who passed away in 1982 would not be surprised at the tremendous strides that have been made by women in our workforce and culture. I imagine if Rand were alive today, she’d likely smile and say, “And who’s going to stop us now.”

Bill Russell, President

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April 11, 2018 Posted by | Chamber of Commerce, Social Causes, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Legacy We Leave

Career

Jeffrey Johnson, a student at Hough and one of our Future Business Leaders of America, is going to be a strong force in the business world.

Incentives and rewards are important to drive people beyond what they thought was achievable. As I write this column, athletes who have trained all of their lives, are competing for the Gold in the Winter Olympics. Imagine if you can, any sport without a championship or the workplace without an opportunity for a “bonus.” We are a competitive society that likes to win and we strive to be recognized as the “Best of the Best” among our peers.

This past month, while attending a Davidson Town Board Meeting, I had the opportunity to thank Commissioner Jim Fuller for his term of service on the Lake Norman Chamber Board. Jim had missed the Annual Banquet when we recognized other Chamber Board Members, and those who have gone the extra mile, with plaques recognizing their achievements and service to our community.

Mayor Rusty Knox quipped, “That will look really nice among all your other awards Jim.” Mayor Knox, like many of the visitors to Jim’s office, have seen the recognitions and plaques that speak boldly of Commissioner Fuller’s legacy of leadership.

I read a story once about a man named James Dobson whose goal it was to become his school’s tennis champion. He felt proud when the school placed his trophy prominently in the school’s glass trophy cabinet for all to see. Years later, someone mailed him the trophy. They had found it in a trash bin when the school was remodeled. Dobson realized, “Given enough time, all your trophies and plaques will be discarded by someone else.”

As I look up on the walls of my own office, with its array of plaques and pictures, there is a small silver plaque presented to me by the Future Business Leaders of America. The plaque is a recognition of our support of Hough High School’s Career Days.

Pic 2 Career

2017 Pine Lake Prep Career Day  

“Career Day” is an opportunity for business owners, managers, professionals, and employees to counsel and advise young people as they look to post-secondary education or perhaps to enter the workforce at graduation from High School.

This month the Lake Norman Education Collaborative, Economic Development Corporation, Visit Lake Norman and Chamber will work with Pine Lake Prep, Hough, and Hopewell High Schools to host Career Days and Speed Networking Events with students. Information on these events can be found on the Chamber’s website at LakeNormanChamber.org.

The two or three hours spent with a student could be that spark that ignites their career. One morning or an afternoon’s gesture may impact a lifetime.

Commissioner Fuller chuckled for a second at Mayor Knox’s statement. Then I watched as Jim silently sat down the plaque, gazed across the crowd and began to thank the businesses and volunteers who work hand in hand with our town to make the community a great place to live and work.

He, like many other servant leaders understand well, it’s not what we receive for being the best – but what we become by doing it.

We have within our ability the opportunity to prepare the future generation with the insight, skills, and confidence to build on the foundation we have built working hard, working smart, and working together.

What some may fail to realize is all of the achievements will eventually be surpassed, all of the records broken, and most of the reputations will eventually fade from memory. However, the lives we touch along the way and the difference we make in leaving this place better than we found it, will not!  And that is the legacy we leave.

Bill Russell

Check the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce website at www.lakenormanchamber.org for area Career Days and Education Events.

April 5, 2018 Posted by | Chamber of Commerce, Lake Norman Chamber Education Collaborative | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment