A PowerToFly Resource
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For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, fall is finally here and the days are getting shorter...
So what better way to cope with the cold than by binging some awesome TV shows with insanely talented women at the helm (as actors, creators, producers, directors, writers, and in some cases, all of the above!).
At PowerToFly, we believe that representation and stories matter. And while these shows don't always get it right, they do a pretty good job of sharing stories and perspectives that have historically been underrepresented in entertainment.
So grab a mug of your favorite fall drink and settle in to enjoy these great shows!
Workin' Moms tells the kinds of relatable stories about what it's like to be a mom that producers might've shied away from portraying even a decade ago, covering everything from periods to pumping to postpartum depression.
Largely inspired by Canadian creator Catherine Reitman's own experiences as a mom, this show will make you laugh and leave you saying, "Oh thank goodness I'm not the only one."
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Follow Issa as she navigates professional and personal life as a 30-something in LA. If you've ever questioned the way your career's headed and yearned for more fulfillment in your relationships, Insecure is sure to resonate.
This astute observational comedy gets bonus points for how adeptly it represents the ups and downs of office life. From Issa's 9 to 5 at non-profit "We Got Y'all" to her best friend Molly's experience as a high-powered corporate lawyer, the HBO hit also offers a window into the roles and expectations often thrust unfairly upon women of color in the workforce.
Don't have HBO now that GoT is over? No worries, check out Awkward Black Girl, the hilarious and insanely on-point web series that launched Issa Rae to fame. It's on Youtube, and it's free!
If you paid any attention to the Emmy's, you've probably heard of Phoebe Waller-Bridge and her brilliant comedy, Fleabag.
But if you haven't watched it yet, here are three reasons to give it a try:
1) It's chock-full of witty dialogue and biting social commentary.
2) It's awkward in all the right ways.
3) Its characters are so deeply flawed, you just might feel better about yourself. (JK, JK.)
Just be sure to hang in there until episode 4 before giving up on this gem — it's weird, so you'll need a bit of time to adjust. But trust me, the wait is worth it!
While successful NYC lawyer Rebecca abruptly quitting her job to follow her high school crush to suburban California may not be a quintessentially feminist premise, the ways in which she follows her instincts, lives by her values, and confronts her own demons certainly is. With a Broadway-inspired yet satirical score, this show flips the Disney princess script on its head to great effect.
Derry Girls consists of four female leads who are more absorbed by their inter-female friendships than with boys. While many female characters are written to contain multitudes of gentleness to combat their "harsh edges," the character of Michelle is unapologetically brash and hard-headed — characteristics not deemed classically "feminine."
Coming up on its 7th and final season, Grace and Frankie found its footing in season 2 and hasn't looked back since — when these two retired 70-somethings discover their husbands are not just work partners, but romantic partners as well, Grace and Frankie put their longstanding rivalry aside and come together to find meaning in a world without men by their side.
The theme song says it all: "Females are strong as hell."
Created by none other than Tina Fey, Kimmy Schmidt's charm is that she is quite literally unbreakable—her positivity knows no bounds. Having been kidnapped by the leader of a doomsday cult when she was 14, she spent her formative adolescent and young adult years trapped in a bunker. After being rescued at age 29, she leaves Indiana and moves to New York City, but she brings her child-like innocence and positive outlook with her.
Frequently absurd but always uplifting, the show recently announced that it will be back for one more season in 2020...
Written by none other than Emmy-winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge (you remember her, right? See Fleabag above), Killing Eve takes the typically male-dominated spy-action genre and kicks it up a notch with two powerhouse female leads: Sandra Oh as Eve, a brilliant (and bored) MI5 security officer, and Jodie Comer as Villanelle, an unexpectedly charming sociopath and assassin.
An epic game of cat and mouse ensues.
It feels a little cheesy at the start, but this remake of Norman Lear's 1975 series of the same name becomes more nuanced and funny each episode, and you'll quickly find yourself falling in love with this Cuban-American family. Centered on Penelope, a single mom, army vet, and nurse, and her two adolescent children, who she's raising with the help of her mom (played by Rita Moreno, of West Side Story fame), the show tackles everything from immigration to racism to gender and sexuality.
You've got to give this sitcom a little bit of time to find its rhythm, but once it does, you'll want to dance right along with it. Seriously, Rita Moreno doesn't let being 87 (!!!) slow her down. (Thought to have been cancelled after its third season, the Netflix hit has been saved by Pop and will air again in 2020. Plenty of time to binge the three previous seasons before then!)
Based on the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood, the show is set in a near-future New England, in which a totalitarian regime has forced women into child-bearing slavery. Three seasons have been released so far to critical acclaim, and a 4th is in production.
Most of these shows have finished their runs, but bear mentioning as female-led hits you should totally binge if you haven't tried them already:
What other shows should we add to this list? Tell us in the comments!
A PowerToFly Resource
Free Team Check-In Guide
COVID-19 has changed our world as we know it, and with that, the way we work. The fact is, these are unusual times. And to ask our teams to continue conducting business as usual would be unrealistic.
Employees in essential industries are facing extreme stress as they put their lives at risk to continue to serve others, and while employees in non-essential businesses may have the luxury of working from home, they're still dealing with juggling work, home, and family responsibilities during a global crisis. Others, still, are struggling with not knowing what their future job security looks like as we enter uncertain times.
To keep your team as engaged and productive as possible, you first and foremost need to support your team. And you need to know — and accept — that they won't always be at 100%. Your employees are your greatest resource, and prioritizing their well-being is the most important investment you as a leader can make.
We surveyed our community to better understand what they're struggling with and what's important to them, and we sat down with experts in the field of mental health and employee engagement to craft specific, actionable takeaways for you to start applying today to support your team through this crisis.
The good news is that employees seem to have a pretty intuitive sense of what they need to cope. The two things our community members said would be most reassuring from their employers — transparency (64% requested frequent, transparent updates) and flexibility (61% said they wanted their employer to be more flexible and understanding) — are very well-aligned with the advice that the experts we interviewed shared with us.
To better understand how employers can support their employees during this challenging time, we spoke with three experts in the field of psychology:
It's clear that employees are under a great amount of stress. Dr. Lisa Auugegger and Dr. David Wasley told us that companies are running "a huge risk of creating additional burden to employees' mental health, especially those who are vital to achieving the company's core business." And unlike in other crises, communities are literally unable to come together to help and support each other. Nurse Lusk told us, "I have never seen anything like this before. After 9/11, there was a sense of unity. In comparison, with the COVID-19 pandemic, what I predominantly see is fear, panic, and isolation."
Fighting that fear without being able to gather together is tough, but not impossible. Our experts recommend the following approaches:
"What works for one person may not be suitable for another. Flexibility will trump a single, perfect solution. Employers and employees who trust each other will adapt better than those focused only on productivity," say Drs. Aufegger and Wasley.
What you can do: Adopt a mindset of "output over hours." Make sure your team knows what needs to be done versus what's being de-prioritized and that you don't care when it gets done. Give everyone the flexibility to start and end their work day whenever is most convenient to them, and do individual check-ins to get a sense of who's struggling and how you can help that individual. Expecting everyone to run at 100% right now may actually make your team less productive in the long run.
"Many employees are worried about whether or not they will have a job in the morning, given we've seen statistics expecting up to a 30% unemployment rate. Companies need to be incredibly transparent with their employees," says nurse Joanne Lusk.
What you can do: "Include employees in the conversation regarding contingency plans for worst case scenarios. Be upfront about the company's financial situation. Do not sugar coat these tough conversations, but be honest and reassure your employees that the company will take any and all steps to protect not only their jobs, but individuals' wellbeing and safety," says Lusk.
"Part of what I see as one of the main stressors related to COVID-19 is the constant influx of information. Specifically, overconsumption of news or social media — research shows overconsumption of negative news can worsen coping abilities, increase stress and fear responses," explains Lusk.
Employees are bombarded with news updates and emails from every listserv they've ever signed up for. Providing up-to-date, relevant information along with company updates can be a huge lift, says Lusk.
What You Can Do: "Send out a daily bulletin to staff updating them with the most accurate and reliable information directly from the CDC and WHO or state updates. Reduce the burden on your employees to constantly be intaking information and rather take on a piece of that role for them."
"In times like these, it's important to increase employees' psychological capacities…[such as] perception on achieving goals (optimism), successfully applying coping strategies, experiencing positive feeling of confidence (efficacy), an increased ability to create multiple pathways to deal with situations (hope) and, if workplace adversity arises, the ability to bounce back and use an alternative path (resilience)," say Drs. Aufegger and Wasley. "Studies have shown that high-performance work systems, strategies such as enhanced team-working, greater job autonomy, assured job security, and supportive management have been positively related to productivity and financial performance in large firms (250 or more employees), and to labour productivity in smaller firms (fewer than 100 employees)."
What you can do: Trust your employees to do their jobs. Greater job autonomy has been proven to lead to higher performance and productivity. Avoid the temptation to micro-manage and constantly check in, and instead tell your employees that you're there if they need you and that you trust them to do what needs to be done.
Remind employees of what's covered for mental health in their healthcare plan, whether it's counseling, reimbursement for wellness classes, telehealth options, or more.
What you can do: Send lists of in-network therapist options and share other mental health resources. "Employers can provide information regarding online apps that could be helpful for stress relief such as Headspace, Nike Training Club, or Calm; many of these apps are offering free access right now," notes Lusk.
Bring your team together often—or at least offer the opportunity for them to come together.
What you can do: "Set up online meetings in which employees can periodically check in on each other. Use this as a space to share emotions, be heard, and supported," says Lusk. Try Zoom break room chats, happy hours, or informal check-ins alongside formal meetings. Wondering how to run an effective check in? Download the agenda below.
A PowerToFly Resource
Free Team Check-In Guide
With unemployment and job-security-related anxiety on the rise, it's only natural to feel concerned about landing a new job in the current climate. But COVID-19 hasn't impacted all companies equally.
How to stay productive and positive while working remotely
With the outbreak of COVID-19, scores of people are finding themselves working remotely for the first time. Trying to stay productive while at home with so many distractions can be overwhelming, so we asked women tech leaders what they were doing to work from home successfully. Along with getting a great pair of noise canceling headphones (game changer!), they have 10 excellent tips to help you thrive in a work-from-home environment.
I've been thinking about women's ingenuity a lot recently; after all, crises like the one we're facing now fuel innovation. They especially fuel innovation from those who are on the frontlines, in desperate need of solutions.
A Conversation with Freddie Mac's Stephanie Johnson
When Stephanie Johnson, currently an Information Security Manager at Freddie Mac, was just starting her career as an IT professional, she found herself sitting in her car one night after work asking herself, "Why am I not being heard? Should I adjust my tone? Posture? What I'm saying?"