Changing the Conversation on Work Life Integration

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Changing the Conversation on Work Life Integration

About a year ago, I sat at my umpteenth women-in-something dinner, having a strong sense of deja vu; the conversation, the pink cocktails, and the jewelry/purse/shoe boutique running in the background was becoming routine. And frankly, a little insulting. Why did we need to shop when there were BIG THINGS to talk about? I, and so many other women I knew, were WAY past leaning in; if I leaned any further in I was bound to tip over. I had mentors, sponsors, I negotiated for my last 3 promotions and salary increases. (Badly, but I did it. And got a little bit better at it each time.)

I was desperate to change the conversation. I wanted push past the things I was supposed to do to change my behavior, to stop saying “I’m Sorry”, to advocate for myself, to position myself, to figure out how to have the right things at the right time, since I couldn’t have it all at once (which, by the way, I think is total BS. But we’ll get to that later.)

I left that dinner, and went home and shared this desperation with my husband, who was in the midst of a job search and grappling with some of the same issues: opportunities that forced a false choice between big responsibilities at work and being available to share the parenting responsibilities of raising two small boys with me.

Even though it would take nearly a year to take shape, that’s when imbina was formed – as a yearning to change the conversation. Not just to change it, but to expand it to include the men who want to begin to reshape the way that leadership within organizations looks and feels.

Imbina is a Romanian word meaning “to merge” or “converge” – which is a concept that comes up in many of my conversations with men and women whose drive to be an exceptional leader is met measure for measure with their drive to be an exceptional partner and parent. We are looking for ways to weave all aspects of our selves – our work-selves, home-selves, family-selves, travel-selves – into a rich fabric that allows us to be a more complete version of ourselves.

This is a space in which we can bring together ideas, resources, and a community of like like-minded women and men interested in changing the conversation about work life integration and closing the gender gap. I believe that many of us have something to say that is substantive, powerful, and can help move this conversation forward, even if in small ways. Instead of the micro-aggressions that often pervade our lives, we can aggregate many small “micro-progressions” to start to turn the tide.

Are you ready? Let’s get started.