Today, more women than ever are in business leadership roles, but gender-based discrimination is still an ongoing problem. Beyond that, navigating any management position can be difficult, especially if there are few leadership examples from which to draw inspiration. The recently released book "Upward: Leadership Lessons for Women on the Rise" provides a guide to deal with these issues from real-world female leaders directed at women looking to take on, or already in, leadership positions of their own. One of the book's featured authors is Michigan LGBTQ+ activist Michelle Brown who will speak about her own leadership story alongside her fellow authors at an event on March 8 from 3 to 4:30 p.m.
"[In the book] I talk about things that inspired me, things that moved me," Brown said. "It's easy to sit on the sidelines, but I talk about what moves you to suddenly take that big step. And one of the things that [the organizers] were interested in, that nobody shied away from, was that I am part of the LGBTQ community."
Brown said that she hopes that the book will help women, at any stage of their careers, feel empowered to take action — especially for women of color and those who are in the LGBTQ+ community.
"They asked me to give some advice to women and I tell them, 'Be that woman. Be that woman you were meant to be.' We come with gifts we often don't recognize, but if you stop to think about it, you have something to contribute," she said.
Brown recalled that the first time she was inspired to step into the spotlight was at a meeting for the HRC when she saw a mother gave a presentation about her son who had been killed for being gay. The presenter later came up to Brown and urged her to use her voice to motivate others to be authentically themselves and to encourage leadership among others who have been historically disenfranchised.
"[The presenter] got tired of going to things and seeing members of the LGBTQ community who did not look like her son. She said, 'Here you are, do something,'" Brown said. "I can recall my mother saying, 'Don't you think you have enough going on to be Black and a woman and now you want to wave that flag?' But you have to. And how those kinds of challenges really can change the trajectory of your life if you listen to them and be bold and stand, as I would say, in the crosshairs of intersectionality and stand for those who maybe can't be that way."
To learn more about the book and the upcoming event visit BMcTalks Press, a women- and Black-owned business dedicated to publishing new authors.