As part of the Grace Hopper Celebration—the world’s largest gathering of women technologists—Jessica O. Matthews delves into her work disrupting the power and energy industries and transforming it with her company Uncharted Power.
The new Colin Kaepernick campaign captures the tension between Nike’s values and its reality
Nike ignited a firestorm with the announcement that it has re-signed an endorsement deal with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. During Thursday night’s Eagles-Falcons game, the company launched its new “Just Do It” ads starring the quarterback best known for being blackballed for popularizing “taking a knee” during the national anthem as a protest of racism in America. The new Kaepernick contract and ad have boosted Nike’s bottom line, while prompting a furious backlash from the president and his followers.
This new campaign fits with Nike’s painstakingly developed image as a forward thinking, innovative company that has evolved from selling sneakers out of co-founder Phil Knight’s trunk nearly half a century ago to promoting sports as an almost spiritual, self-actualizing exercise. Since 1988, the "Just Do It" ads in particular, featuring athletes including jogging folk hero Walt Stack, golfer Tiger Woods, tennis star Serena Williams and groups of girls gaining confidence through sport, have all cultivated this capacious sensibility.
But these inspirational branding efforts have often been out of step with the on-the-ground experience at Nike, where issues of equity have long dogged the corporate giant. Like all corporations, profit propels Nike, but the loftiness of its professed principles makes the disconnect with some of its internal practices seem especially stark.
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The lessons women are asking men to learn
The entire circus around Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation was an unwanted refresher for women and girls of the lessons forced upon us throughout our lives.
As girls, we learn that:
To have opinions is to be angry,
To be angry is to be unattractive,
To be smart is to be threatening,
To speak up is to be shut down,
To have confidence is to be demeaned,
To have strength is to be intimidated,
To be difficult is to be lonely.
As women, we learn that:
To have ideas is to be ignored,
To ask questions is to be discounted,
To be ambitious is to be obnoxious,
To tell the truth is to be accused of lying,
To have expertise is to be dismissed,
To be successful is to be judged,
To be in the spotlight is to be attacked.
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“Jessica O. Matthew’s energy, ambition, and overall message at such a young age is an inspiration that can be applied to any one in any industry. She takes her personal life experiences and challenges and discusses her process to developing solutions that are beyond our average, everyday mindsets. I booked her for an event in 2017 with 500+ attendees, and again in 2018 with even more attendees - both audiences were on their feet in a standing ovation. People are still talking about it! I would happily book her again in 2019, 2020, etc.”
-International Interior Design Association - October 2018
Summertime is upon us, bringing a renewed sense of joy for time out of the office. Adventures outdoors, vacations with our loved ones, and creating new memories in warmer weather is something we all look forward to. While we hit the reset button away from work, it's important to have these moments to remind ourselves why we do this work and how we can find work that both satisfies our essential needs as well as makes life more exciting and fulfilling.
Dev Aujla has written a new best-selling book, 50 Ways to Get a Job: An Unconventional Guide to Finding Work on Your Terms, with just this in mind. Dev shares some insights on his research and writings of finding a job with meaning as well as what he enjoys most about speaking at events and creating meaningful experiences with audiences.
OA: What are you Outspoken about?
DA: I believe that the way that we have been taught to find jobs is fundamentally broken. During the process of researching for this book, I read every career book from the 70's forward and the advice simply hasn't changed. We have made a shift to making learning-based careers from stability-based ones and it is changing the way that we get job, ways that we learn and how we build a life today. I want to help people navigate this new type of career.
OA: How has your recent work transformed the focus of your content when delivering a speech?
DA: It has become a lot more activity focused. You can't just hear someone talk and inspire you. You need to stop and actually do something, ask yourself the hard questions or make a list of what you want to learn. Even to large crowds, there can be opportunities for a type of engagement that actually lets people feel what the process of navigating our career should feel like.
OA: How do speaking events help your growth [whether that’s with inspiring new content, new research, or other opportunities]?
DA: I really believe in this material. We are living in a world that tells us that we all need to be entrepreneurs --- take risks and follow your passion. A different story needs to be told --- you don't have to be an extrovert or an entrepreneur! Get a job. It's great. The process of finding a job should feel calm, grounding and like the job you eventually want to have. People need to know this is possible because, otherwise, we are left feeling depressed that we aren't hearing
anything back from job boards.
OA: What would you like to see happen more often at events to engage with the audience?
DA: The most interesting one was I once spoke to a room that was divided male and female with a divider in the middle. I was standing at the center looking at both sides but they couldn't see each other. I could see which parts of my speech resonated with the men and women. It was
fascinating and definitely transformed my speech.
OA: What has been one of the most fulfilling audience experiences at a speaking event and why?
DA: The most fulfilling would be all the conversation I have after each talk with individuals in the middle of figuring it all out finding new ways to see themselves and their career.
OA: If you could hear someone give a speech alive or dead, who would it be and why?
DA: I would like to hear Oscar Wilde talk. I want to know how that kind of witty, quick, cutting banter would stand up today in the age of Twitter.
OA: How can people become more involved with your work and/or where is your writing being featured mostly these days?
DA: You can visit 50waystogetajob.com to see what led to the book and what has helped over 500k people navigate their next steps. I am writing short articles that range from GOOD Magazine to Fast Company at the moment.