Broad Influence: Meridian’s Council on Women’s Leadership hosts Jay Newton-Small to talk about her new book

Jay Newton-Small and Michelle Manatt, book presentation at Meridian
Jay Newton-Small and Michelle Manatt, book presentation at Meridian

On April 5, 2016, Meridian’s Council on Women’s Leadership hosted an intimate conversation with Jay Newton-Small on her new book Broad Influence: How Women are Changing the Way America Works.

The program brought together a small but high-level group of leaders from across sectors in Washington including Her Excellency Kirsti Kauppi, Ambassador of Finland to the United States, Her Excellency Maguy Maccario Doyle, Ambassador of Monaco to the United States, Her Excellency Dr. Réka Szermerkényi, Ambassador of Hungary to the United States, Ambassador Peter Selfridge, Chief of Protocol of the United States, The Honorable Anita McBride, former Chief of Staff to First Lady Laura Bush, and other members of the Administration.

In preparation for this book, Ms. Newton-Small interviewed law enforcement officers, members of the armed services, women in business, and almost every female member of Congress, and what she found was astonishing. While the book is full of fascinating vignettes, the event’s conversation focused on two important take-aways. First, there is a critical mass or tipping point for the number of women needed to truly change the functions and outcomes of a group. On corporate boards, critical mass is reached when 30% of board members are women; on naval ships, it is about 25% female crewmembers.

Second, women are much more likely to be able to work with one another, especially in politics. Women produce more bi-partisan legislation because they start with what they have in common and work from there. There is a sense of trust, mentorship and comradery that allows them to disagree without being disagreeable.

After hearing from Ms. Newton-Small, each of the female Ambassadors in attendance offered remarks on gender parity in their countries. While each spoke of the progress in working relationships between men and women, they all agreed there is significant room for improvement. With a number of men in the audience, the inclusion of men in these types of conversations and empowering all citizens to be feminists was a consistent theme for the evening. As the evening concluded, guests lingered to continue their compelling conversations over refreshments.

Jay Newton-Small’s book, Broad Influence: How Women are Changing the Way America Works, can be purchased here. To learn more about the Meridian Council on Women’s Leadership, please visit our website.

Project summary

Broad Influence: Meridian’s Council on Women’s Leadership hosts Jay Newton-Small to talk about her new book | April 2016
Number of Visitors: 3
Number of Attendees: 35
Regions: Western Hemisphere
Countries: United States
Impact Areas: Empowering Women and Girls
Program Areas: Diplomacy
Partners: Diplomatic Corps