Speak Up and Be Heard 

A Changemaker Chat with Tara Abrahams powered by MM.LaFleur

Chilly nights in January are made so much better with wine, cheese, and incredibly inspiring women. Oh and fun giveaways help too. That’s what we were working with at our first NYC Changemaker Chat of 2018, and it felt pretty darn good. Chatting with Tara Abrahams, executive director of Glamour’s The Girl Project, we were privy to her advice, lessons learned, and what it means to say HerToo right now. Here are some of our favorite moments of the night:

Build on the Momentum
There’s no two ways about it: the #MeToo moment is not going away. And WE are not going away, said Tara. Women are speaking out and people are listening. When asked how can we continue to build on this momentum, Tara urged us to think of the next generation. “Take this as an opportunity to reach out to girls around the world and find ways to support them as well. By influencing the next generation, we can continue to move the conversation forward instead of staying stagnant.”

Speak Up and Be Heard
Despite how far we have come to address gender bias, underlying insecurities and societal pressures continue to influence girls’ and women’s thinking. Tara reflected on how our inner dialogue can haunt us – we go back and mull over a situation or make assumptions about how something we said impacted someone else. During such times, she reminds herself of the key message from her favorite TED Talk, from Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani: “We need to teach girls bravery, not perfection.” Let’s teach girls that the world is counting on them to speak up, even if they’re wrong sometimes.

Your Best Asset is You 
Tara reflected on feedback she once received that she was not being aggressive enough at her job. After considering the criticism, she chose to reject it: there is only so much room to conform before you stop being yourself. Society has told us that leadership looks a certain way – and for women it’s even more polarizing: Meek, push-over type or Meryl Streep à la Devil Wears Prada. Company culture needs to change and recognize the benefits of diversity and diverse leadership styles. And when you’re being asked to do something that challenges your core tenets, say these words: “It doesn’t make sense to pivot who you are for a bullet on a resume.” 

To New Beginnings
As we delve into this month’s theme, Beginnings, Tara shared her tips on managing new situations and how she overcame self-doubt: tap into your network of supporters (aka girl gang aka room full of changemakers) and ask for help when needed. She stressed the importance of not going at it alone. You’re not expected to be perfect (see “Speak Up and Be Heard” section) after all! Another pro tip: take deep breaths. Stay calm and don’t let the thought of something new deter you from taking on new challenges to grow.

Power Pieces
While Tara travels around the world championing the rights of girls, she also enjoys fashion and beauty… we might even say, Glamour.  In this special Chat powered by MM.LaFleur, Tara was paired up with one of their stylists to help her hone her Changemaker style. And for that extra confidence, Tara shared her power outfit: classic, black dress with a pair of heels (high, but comfortable). And a good blow out never hurts.

Thank you, Tara for an uplifting discussion on a topic that personally impacted every woman in that room. We will all take to heart how we can speak up more and encourage young women to do the same.

For more on Tara’s work, check out Glamour’s The Girl Project.

Recommended by Tara:

Girl Rising (Film, 2013)
This is What a Feminist Looks Like by Barack Obama, exclusive to Glamour
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Curse of the Good Girl by Rachel Simmons
Reshma Saujani TED Talk: Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection
Why Men Want to Marry Melanias and Raise Ivankas by Jill Fillipovic, NY Time