DC Recap: Changemaker Chat with Caren Grown

“If not us, then who?” – Caren Grown

A few weeks ago, we were fortunate to feature Caren Grown at our Changemaker Chat. Caren’s dedication to building communities and ‘walking the talk’ left us all inspired to do more in our own personal and professional lives. Thank you Caren for sharing your wisdom and experiences with us!

Below are some of our favorite key takeaways:

Walk the talk.

Women in positions of power have a responsibility to help their institutions walk the talk. For example, Caren played a pivotal role in ensuring that the World Bank Group joined the “HeforShe” campaign, committing that the World Bank Group will reach parity at senior leadership between women and men by 2020. In your roles, try to find ways to institutionalize changes to cultural norms — big or small.

Wherever you are, create communities.

Throughout her personal and professional experiences, Caren has worked to create and build communities — creating deep personal relationships. Especially in Caren’s line of work, professional and personal relationships tend to blur. Celebrate milestone birthdays or events together at work. Lend a helping hand in tough times. These communities are formative in both dark and light times. There’s no reason not to build them wherever you go.

Support one another.

As former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” Caren has taken this statement to heart throughout her life and reflected that it isn’t always the case that women support one another professionally or personally. Together, we – both men and women – need to support one another to make institutional change and break down barriers.

In building movements, there are always two forces at play: progression and regression.

Experts in change theory have noted that, throughout history, progression and regression go hand-in-hand. In periods of perceived regression, you can’t be hopeless — if it isn’t us, then who will it be? Find your allies, and speak up and speak out. Through asking questions, find points of agreement with folks who may initially appear hostile. You can always come back with what you agreed upon and then work from there.