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If You Ask Me To Have Coffee With Your Daughter, I'll Want To Meet Your Son Too

I'm going to a lot of events these days thanks to holiday party overload (side note, we need to spread the festivities out more. January and February are sad and boring on the party front).

When I tell men what I do, they almost always ask me to meet with their daughters. I don't have a good response even though this is starting to annoy me for two reasons:

1. I don't have unlimited time to spend motivating the daughters of men that I meet.

2. What about their sons? Are these men also asking other men to meet with their sons?

I used to be honored when men would think I was worthy of giving their daughters career advice. Also, I saw nothing wrong with them asking because my father had patterned me to think that's what career women do to pay it forward. When I was starting out, he'd frequently try and introduce me to women he respected and admired.

But now I'm seeing how flawed that pattern is. Career women should also be asked to meet with sons (if they're willing to donate the time, of course). Not to cut daughters out of the game, but rather, to tell sons that their behavior at work has a direct effect on how women perform and remain at companies (women who might be their sisters, or even, their spouses one day).

If I met more with sons, this would also give me a chance to explain why gender parity is so key to men's success. Study after study has shown that teams perform better when women are on them. And of course, there's my favorite stat that shows the U.S. GDP would rise by five percent if we had an equal number of women working alongside men. When women rise at work, men directly benefit. Let's see if the Republican tax bill can do that...

So next time a man asks me to meet with his daughter, I'm going to muster the courage to say, "yes, but can I meet with your son as well to explain why it's so important that I'm meeting with your daughter?". Stay tuned for a follow up post in 2018 to see if I've made good on this plan.

Follow me on Twitter @kzaleski.


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