Inside her bedroom door: PR CEO on Kamala Harris’s impact on female achievement

by | Nov 11, 2020 | Public Relations

Among my clients I admire most is an Indian-born female executive who grew up extremely poor and has risen to become CEO. In her youth, there was no internet and little news flow from outside her home country, so she grew up depending on what parents and family told her the world was like. When I asked her how she became who she is with so few female role models in business or politics, she said it was simple. It was all thanks to her dad who pasted pictures of strong women like Margaret Thatcher to the inside of her bedroom door. There were hundreds of women in the collage, and he reminded her every day that she could become one of them. That story sent shivers and I never forgot it.

If we’ve learned anything about what women and minorities need to get ahead it’s the importance of inspirational mentors and sponsors—or at least the images of people like them at the top.

PR CEO on Kamala Harris’s impact on female achievementKamala Harris—a woman of color—is now our vice president. A historic move forward for America and the world. I hope every mom, dad, aunt, uncle, and authority figure today is reading a young girl her story and reminding them that they too can achieve the highest ranks in business, politics, and society.

As she took the stage in Texas shortly before the election, Ms. Harris spoke of being singular in her role but not solitary. “Yes, sister, sometimes we may be the only one that looks like us walking into that room. But the thing we all know is we never walk into those rooms alone. We are all in that room together.”

As the mom of a 13-year-old girl, I know that I have made impressions on my daughter that I cannot even understand. Kids are funny. They sometimes only show their cards in small moments. When my daughter was seven, she bounded into the kitchen for breakfast and ran up to me asking, “Mommy did you win?” I had been out with clients the night before and hadn’t seen her until that moment. Confused, I asked her what she was talking about. She said, “That client competition. Did you win?” It was clear in that moment that she was paying attention to what I did for a living and excited to see her mom potentially triumph at a job she knows I love. In that moment, I realized they pay attention when you least suspect it.

Kamala Harris gives us all today a more blatant opportunity to share the story of female achievement with young girls and also remind them of the story of female struggle. I hope you all will find a young girl today and read her the story of Kamala Harris, our first female vice president. Or paste her picture inside a young girl’s bedroom.

This week, I will hold a town hall meeting with my firm’s women to discuss what this means to me and what I hope it means to them. My team is extremely honest and open in these forums, and I look forward to hearing what this means to them personally. And tonight, I am cutting out a picture of Kamala Harris and putting it on the back of my daughter’s bedroom door.

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn; reprinted with permission.

Jennifer Prosek
Jennifer Prosek is Managing Partner of Prosek Partners, and Author of “Army of Entrepreneurs.”