Camille Rapacz: Good morning. Good morning. You ready to get into today's topic?
George Drapeau: Yes, very much so.
Camille Rapacz: I just want to do something a little different today.
We try to be educational and help people do things, but this thing came up in my work. And I thought, Oh, I really want to talk to George about this and pick his brain on it and see what you think. So I just kind of want more of a free flowing conversation.
Like we, if we, I had picked up the phone and called you and said, Hey, can I tell you a story? And then we would just start talking about that story and what you thought about it. That's how I want it to go. I'm in.
Camille: Welcome to The Belief Shift. The show that explores. What you really need to know about building a successful business.
I'm your host, Camille Rapacz: business coach and consultant who spent too much of her career working in corporate business performance.
George: And I'm George Drapeau: your co-host and her brother. I'm a leader in the tech world bringing my corporate perspective, but mostly my curiosity.
Camille: Together, we're exploring beliefs about success and how to achieve it. But mostly we're bringing practical solutions so you and your business can thrive.
Camille Rapacz: Here's what happened. I joined a women only, women business owners group. So it's a women only group of business owners, local, so you can get together in person, which is different from most of the stuff that I see, which is virtual.
So I thought it'd be nice to be part of a, local group to network and meet and talk with people. And so I found this group and I hesitated. To I've actually been thinking about joining it for a while and didn't do it till recently. Because I just wasn't sure, like, is this a group for me?
I was even wondering, do I want a women only group? But I went to a couple of their events and I liked the people that I met. So I decided to join.
So one of the recent events I went to, we were talking about. Some ideas for other things that the group wants to do. And one of the things that came up was to read a book.
And that we would do kind of a little book club. People could join a little mini book club. And somebody said but only books authored by women. And I bristled at that. Because I thought, well, I mean, I understand we're a women's only group. But do we also only want to read books by women? Like, how women only are we going to be?
And so it led to this conversation about, , whether we want those voices in our little community or not. And I was on the side of, I think we're cutting ourselves off at the knees if we aren't inviting the men, male conversation and approach to all of this into our, especially because we're business owners, we're not just crocheting.
We are running businesses that rely on people so we can make money.
So anyhow, we were talking about this and I was on the side of, , I wasn't saying we should necessarily invite men to join the group. Though, it also made me think about how different would that be if we were in a group where we were more inclusive.
And I just kind of had this, I suddenly had this feeling of how useful is it for a group to be this exclusive in a way of fighting against exclusivity in other places. Yeah. We want to be more inclusive. That's what we're, what women want is to be more included and more equal and always in the world.
And we still have, we've made a lot of progress and we still have a ways to go. And these women only groups are part of that effort. Women coming together to help other women is to elevate ourselves. But at the same time, I still feel like it's, I don't know, doing us a disservice to not participate or include men, or especially just at this level of, we were just talking about reading a book written by men.
What could be wrong about that? I mean, if we pick the right book, it could be really meaningful. Yes. So as I was doing this, I thought, I really want to talk to George about this because I thought, I wonder what the experience is like of being in a male only group or what your perspective is on women only groups.
I have a million questions, so I don't want to ask them all at the same time. So I will just start with,
George Drapeau: I'd find that a nice challenge. I have three questions in 37
Camille Rapacz: parts. Exactly. Ready? Go.
I mean, talk about horrible interviewing skills, ? Yeah. So this is my topic for you. And I know when you saw you were thinking, why do you need me in this conversation? And this is exactly my point. I need you in this conversation because I want to understand the male perspective of this angle where women are creating these women only groups and so many things.
So before I get too specific, like what's, what are your first thoughts about this?
Women-only group reflections
George Drapeau: Two off the top of my head. My first one that comes to mind as you're telling the story is going to sound facetious and smart assy, but I don't mean it that way. It's just a different way to think about this. Cause I'm not, I'll just say it.
So I would say Camille, if you were in a Latin only club, would you be okay of inviting Asians to join?
Camille Rapacz: It depends on what that club is for.
George Drapeau: Yeah. Okay. I think that's a useful thing to explore. I mean, Take women, substitute Latin, take men, substitute Asians. We're only going to read books by Latin authors. We're only going to examine things in the Latin community amongst Latins.
Would you read books by Asians? Would you invite Asians to the club? I think, I think to me that makes the issue a little bit simpler. I think gender for me is a little bit more complicated. Now I got to think about why. It's not exactly the same, but I think it's a useful analogy.
Camille Rapacz: You took it to the heart of the question for me, which is, well, what is the purpose of us gathering?
And if the purpose of us gathering is, in your example, we want to really just explore more deeply Latin culture and understanding, and then, then, yes, that's what we're about, and that's what we're here to do, then that's how you would frame it. So, Yeah, it's so much depends on what is your purpose and what are you trying to do and I think that's why in this particular instance, as I just think about business and how challenging it is to work on having, exclusivity across or inclusivity across, , in whatever ways that you want to do that, the importance of being all inclusive, and the challenges of that and how we go about it, I don't know.
It just made me very curious about exploring the different ways that we are going about it. And are they, how are they helpful? But maybe also, I don't think there's any perfect answer to this and I don't think there's anything wrong with women only groups. It just brought up this really interesting question to me of, Oh, what does that mean?
And I wonder what the perspective of men is of that and all of these other things.
George Drapeau: Yeah, your question to the group cracks me up. I think it's a great question. So I have thought, I thought about that, but my second off the top of my head thought was, I'll share something with our audience about us.
And I don't know if you and I ever talked about this aspect of our family, but I often tell people, people who meet me, especially Women who meet me and they'll say, , make some compliment about how easy it is to talk to me on the trust me or whatever.
And it happens from time to time. And my response to that is. Thanks. If I were to credit that to anything, it would be the way we were raised. I feel like we were raised by women, like raised mostly by our mom and my grandma. I don't mean to slight my dad because for me, he was a hugely positive influence in my life, but really we were raised by mom, grandma, and the aunts.
When I think about our family, it was definitely a matriarchy. The men were not great examples of leadership or husbandry.
We were raised by women who worked their butts off to make the families go. And they were hard workers, smart people, really driven in different ways. And that's had a lot of influence on me. All right. And I think of when I was a boy, I think on Saturdays when mom and grandma would go out, they take me with them, , I'm like 10 years old, 11 years old. I remember us going to clothing stores and hanging out in the women's clothing section. Cause that's where they were. And I didn't really have much to do, but it was always, there's like a dragged into women's activities all the time.
And so, I think I was dunked in that probably more than most boys would have been. And I think we were raised in an environment where the playing field was more equal because we were raised by women. You ever thought, think about that?
Camille Rapacz: No, I hadn't really thought about that for you, that that's part of I think we might've talked about this briefly at one point, but yeah, I'm glad you said that.
Cause I think that is, I can see how that is part of it obviously doesn't have the same effect on me because I am a woman. So I was always just, those were normal places for me to hang out. Yeah. But for me it would is, it was more the opposite. I had to kind of figure out on my own to some extent, how to be in more male dominant environments.
But I think thankfully I got to learn that fairly early on. We had a really great high school and teachers there and it was just a very good positive atmosphere. So that wasn't that hard for me to do. A lot of kids have in their early stages, , they struggle with that because they don't have good supportive environments for that.
So as you say that, it also made me curious about this one first question that I had, which was thinking about, well, I wonder if George has been in any male only groups and what those communities were like. But I mean, that were purposefully the way that this group is, that was specifically like this just really literally is designed for male only, not just, it happens to be just because this is what we're doing and women could join, but they don't seem to. I mean, very specifically designed for that.
Have you been part of? Any? Do those exist? Boy Scouts. Boy Scouts.
George Drapeau: Okay. I mean, sure. I mean, which I did for years. And at that time, it was specifically a male only group. Everything about it was male. The kids, the leaders, the Scoutmasters, all that stuff. Everything about it was male only.
Camille Rapacz: What about as an adult, though?
George Drapeau: Think about that. And I'm laughing, I smirked at the question because again, most of my experience is male only stuff all the time. But male only activities? No, not that were purposefully male only. I'm trying to think of, no, not even when I was at work and we did, , sports leagues, work sports league, those were all gender.
No, I don't think so.
Camille Rapacz: Yeah. And I think you answered the other question because you said you're usually in male only just by default, plenty. So you don't have to create a special group, ? So this is why women create women's only organizations because Absolutely. It is rare for that to just happen on its own.
George Drapeau: You have to explicitly balance out. I don't have to work hard to be in a male only group. I can just like walk into a building and that's likely not to be male only. Yeah. I mean, I think when I, at the place where I work now, I go into an area of three days a week and until just last week, there were only males in that area.
I just had a woman move in next to me. It was just men. Yeah.
Camille Rapacz: Boring. Just the boring.
George Drapeau: Yes. I don't want to be one gender all my life.
Camille Rapacz: Well, and , it's interesting when, as I was thinking about that, just being in this, group with these women and it's so lovely. Like there's conversations happening that probably wouldn't otherwise happen. And it's lovely to be part of it.
And yet I also recognize that we're missing something in the conversation as we're doing it. So maybe it's more about whether you already have enough of that or not.
In terms of how beneficial it is to you as a person joining one of those groups.
George Drapeau: This reminds me of something. So the only thing I can compare to my experience off the top of my head was used to work at Stanford and I had, I was part of the American Indian Staff Forum. I think that's what it was called.
It was a Native American group, and only for Native Americans, I believe, which included people like me at the time. Let's just say I'm part Native American. Let's just make it easy for the purpose of this podcast. Yeah. Because Dad was yanked and sued. But my mentor was a white guy. And in retrospect, when I think about what he was trying to do to me was really identify this small part of my identity and character and pull that out and kind of overly correct for it as if I were at a disadvantage somehow at work, which I really wasn't.
But he was in the staff forum, like he was not American Indian. So there were mostly Native Americans and then this white guy. This more senior, more powerful white guy in the form, which was weird. And it didn't feel right because the whole purpose of the community was to be of like people. And then there was this one unlike person in there.
It doesn't matter to me whether he had power or not. He didn't belong. And that changed the vector of any conversations we were going to have. We couldn't do it the same. When I make another comments like. What I think of when I hear you talk about women only groups is, man, that sounds great.
I would love to be in one.
Camille Rapacz: Well, I was going to ask you, what do you think is happening? If you imagine like I'm going to this women business owners group, what do you think we're doing? What are we talking about? Since you said you want to join one, what would make you want to join?
George Drapeau: I, I don't know.
I think there'd be a lot of socializing as a way of just kind of people connecting with each other and kind of forming this web of safety. And then the on topic discussions may be being about power dynamics, talking about situations where, look, I try to experience this, but here's how it, here's how it happens.
For me, when I'm with men versus how I would like it to happen if I'm in this talking about a bunch of situations we'll run into. Yeah. And how do I navigate this thing where this male dominated perspective happens? We all have to deal with it. I don't know, I don't really know. I'm guessing a lot of, a lot of power struggles or interaction struggles, many, many stories about that.
Camille Rapacz: Interesting. Well, here's what actually happens. Can I tell Yeah. What I find is that we don't really talk about men very much at all or any of those power dynamics. Like we just fall into a normal conversations lots of curiosity about what each other does, so specifically this business networking group.
What do you do? What do you do? How long have you been in it? How does this happen? How does just all sorts of. That the socializing part, where do you live? How do you, , so getting to know each other, it really is just a lot of talking about challenges of running the business. And we really, it doesn't have a focus on, this is what I find really fascinating is we're just having those conversations and we're not really talking about the challenges of running a woman owned business. Or the challenges of, , if any of them are working in more male dominated industries, like, say, finance or, , like, none of those conversations and maybe they will at some point, but I've done enough of these conversations that it just doesn't naturally go there. Because there's a few other groups that I'm in that are not even on purpose, but just by accident that happens to be all women in these particular groups.
And that's not generally where the conversation goes, which I find really both sort of fascinating and. And nice, nice that that's, like, we're not just focused on the fact that we're here because of our gender. We're just here being like minded people, having a similar experience, and we're just talking about the core things that matter to us and what we're trying to do.
George Drapeau: That makes sense, actually. Makes a lot of sense.
Camille Rapacz: And I think from that perspective that yes, you would very much enjoy it.
George Drapeau: Yeah. So do you get a sense that it happens differently because it's only women in that group versus if there were men in there? Does the interaction happen differently? And I realize that's asking you to speculate because you don't really have.
And have men in there.
Camille Rapacz: This is my burning question in my head, is how different would it be if there were men in that conversation and would it be different, better or different worse? And I think it depends on the man that comes into the conversation and what his intent is in coming into that conversation.
So I imagine I start thinking about different men that I know you being 1 of them and bringing them into the conversation. I think, oh, that would be fabulous. They would be similarly engaging in the topic and the challenges and the things they would be open to any conversation around, gender equality or any of that stuff, they would be fascinated and part of that conversation, not defensive. I know so many men who would just be all in on having that conversation. Because the other part, the thing that I think we miss is, well, what are men doing to get ahead in their businesses?
How are they doing it? Are they doing anything different than we're doing? Are we having to do more and different things as women and just understanding some of that would be I think really helpful as we're thinking about and again I'm just talking about this one topic of business networking. I do think it depends on what kind of group you're talking about But from this perspective, I think that could be really helpful. And what are there are there places that we are missing out things that we're missing out on because we aren't inviting men into the conversation to learn about that?
At the same time, I understand the value of there's just this by default sense of safety and security and ability to just be yourself and share anything. When you're in a women's only group, you don't. I have any hesitation about being emotional or any of the things that you might carry with you if men are in the group that is just old ingrained habits that we have as women right and how we're supposed to be.
We can be a little bit more authentic. I think it's easier to be authentic when you're just with women in a lot of ways. It's safe and very supportive and all that kind of stuff. So I do think that there is value in that. I would want to find the way to have a balance of that.
Plus like in this instance, when it was, we don't even want to read books by men, I thought, wow, that feels like it's just going a step too far. Like I understand their want to have just women in the group as women, business owners and supporting women, business owners. That makes sense for all the reasons I just said.
This is a safe place to just come and talk about whatever your challenges are and feel safe about it. We don't have to worry about whether we have the right, men in the group or not, if they're here for the right reasons and all that stuff. Cause , creepy men exist. So we have to think about that stuff.
So now we don't really have to think that hard about it. That's why you create this women only group. We have another level of trust around the conversations we can have, but there's still, I think there's more that we could do by at least allowing us to read a book written by a man.
I don't know. I found it really interesting how some women were in the group. It really kind of divided like some people were like, yeah, no, that makes sense. I mean, if we got the right book, we should totally read that. Or if it's a book everybody reads, we should know. We should understand why is this a book that everybody says every business owner should read?
Even if I don't like the book, I should understand why they're saying that. Because there are plenty of books like that. I'm like, I don't know if that's the best book, but I guess I know why everybody's reading it. And now I understand it when they relate to it. But on the flip side of that is there are just good books written by men.
Why wouldn't we read them? And some women were like, yeah, no big deal. And other women were just adamant. Like, no, I am only going to support women, including only the books that we read. And I was like, wow. Just seemed like an extreme to me, but I don't know.
George Drapeau: I get that too. for me, I could see going with the theme of, we're only gonna read books by women if what you're trying to get at is we need to hear more of viewpoints by women who have become successful. I don't care what the topic is, I want to hear successful women and their viewpoints, so.
Mm-hmm. read a bunch of Brene Brown or other women. Yeah. Versus. We're a business group of just women and the topic we're going to discuss is entrepreneurship. And let's find the best book we know about that. I don't care about gender. We're not going to find the best book by a woman about that.
Those are different vibes or, we heard about start with why Simon Sinek. And so let's find the woman's another book. That's like that written by a woman. That was not really the point of that topic. Yeah. Yeah. I guess that's how I would think about it. I can say, yeah, let's go with just women's books, but you have to be very clear about your purpose.
Camille Rapacz: Yeah. And actually you bring up a good point, which I do think it would be an interesting exercise to say, Hey, we want to read a book that is about, , Like, say, take Simon Sinek's book, Start With Why. We want to read something that is in that same bent. Are there female authors who have written around that same topic?
, so like when we say, well, let's read about leadership, sure, it's pretty easy to point to women who've written, what, like you said, Brene Brown. But sometimes it's, I don't know, it'd be an interesting exercise to go look for, are there female authors who've done... , written, something just as good on this same topic.
Sadly, I think there would be some gaps. So Hey, yeah. women, start writing some more books, but...
George Drapeau: Well, I think that's a valid point. You could say like, I don't know if any women have written something like Start With Why let's go look. And if you find it.
What you'd hope to find is, yeah, there's somebody who's written it with a different point of view from what Simon did. Equally entertaining, just hasn't been as popular, maybe because she's a woman author. Maybe, that would be a great answer, and I bet you could do that plenty of times. But there are also just tentpole books.
That happened to have been written by men, they got the publication, and I don't know. I'm a submarine in my own argument here. I definitely think you could say, pick a topic, explicitly look for women authors on that topic, and I bet more often than not you could find great books that just haven't gotten the love.
I bet you could.
Camille Rapacz: I think we could too. For the most part, I think we could find that. I think what would be even more interesting is to read two books on the same topic, one by a man, one by a woman, and see how those perspectives are different. Well, because then I think we would really have a deeper understanding of, like, if I could better understand the male perspective on something, I know what the female perspective is on it, because I live it, but if I can understand the male perspective more, I have a much better chance of I think a being able to help to elevate women, but also run a smarter business.
Like there's two pieces to this. . And I think it gets down to what are we trying to do first? Are we trying to have successful businesses? Or is it just a women only first perspective? And that might be part of the challenge is, people probably come into that group with different objectives.
And so they're making different choices. Like that just occurred to me as you were saying that last thing about picking women authors.
George Drapeau: This reminds me of a principle that I have and actually it's a leadership principle that I have, except it's for me as a follower, not a leader. So when I'm reporting to somebody. What I'll tell my management chain at some point reporting the management chain is I will do pretty much anything you ask me to do.
All I need from you is to tell me why I'm doing it. That's all I need. If you tell me to fire my entire team and it's a great team, I'll do it. But I need to know why. I'm reporting to you. Please don't just say, just fire the team. No questions asked. No, this about me.
I need to know the why of things all the time. Well, George, you're just such a handsome guy. Oh, thanks for saying that. Why? What is it about me that's handsome to you? You're the best person I've ever met in my life. Really? Why? I can't take the compliment without understanding the rationale behind it.
What made me think about it is, I was thinking, absolutely. Women only groups. But be clear within that group about why you're doing it, which is I think what we're getting to with is like saying, let's read only books written by women. Okay. That's the proposal. Why? What are you trying to accomplish by doing that?
Well, we want to find one over balanced by finding books on top business topics with the perspective of a woman author. Okay, great. All in. Or no, I just want to find for any given business topic, like setting goals or matrix organization or entrepreneurship. Or we're going to, I just want to find a woman who's written that book.
Even when the classic book in that area happens to have written by a man, like, I'm less sure. If as long as you're clear about it, you've stated your reasons why and get people to buy it, then absolutely. I would need to know why.
Camille Rapacz: Start with why. See, Simon Sinek, he's always going to come up in every conversation.
That's pretty smart. I agree with you. I do think you need to first start with that purpose. What is the purpose of what we're doing? And when I think about, in this particular instance, if I think about, , the reason why I pushed back and said, well, why wouldn't we read books written by anybody?
It was because I thought, well, we should just read the best books. On these topics, because we're trying to build businesses and so if a man happens to have written a better, well researched and thought leader-y book on a topic, we should probably read that book and we're doing ourselves a disservice to shut that out and say, no, we're only going to read these other books, even if they're not quite as well researched or don't go quite as much in depth or whatever they might be if that happens to be.
It really gets down to that. I need to, , get the best information. But then as I was saying that I realized there's also that that idea of the best translates then into the hiring problem.
So when people are trying to hire and being more inclusive, they're like, we're trying to get the best candidates. And they say the best candidate just happens to be men. This is where we get into this other conversation level of challenge.
George Drapeau: I have a comment about that, ma'am. Go. Okay. Actually I was wanting to get down to I'm audience.
I'm looking at my sister's notes here, which are really cool notes. And of course, they're highly organized and really great. I want to get down to the section where she wants to talk about pros and cons because I think they're great. But, but, but I'm hiring right now. And I've been thinking a lot about what's going into hiring and finding candidates and how I'm thinking about it.
I do not have a gender balanced organization. I do not. Actually, what's weird is Camille, I haven't had a gender balanced organization since I worked at Sun Microsystems over 12 years ago. At one point I had a group that was 50 50 balanced. It was great. It was really cool to have that.
And I haven't had that since and I'm ashamed of myself and I'm bummed about it and talked about it. It's just been really weird. I'm not gender balanced now and I've got a few people to hire and I talked to the recruiters and say, I would like to see as many women candidates as you can get me. And I don't really need to say that because the recruiters, they're all super professional.
Of course, they're always thinking that way. I know this. When I tell them, it's like, look, I just got to mention it. I'd like to see more women candidates if that's possible. Is there anything we can do? And I feel bad saying that because they're already trying, but they have put some great women candidates in front of me and it makes me think, well, what am I going to do if I see two candidates, all things being equal, the only difference is man versus woman.
Am I going to pick the woman? That's not the right question for me to ask. I realized the right question to ask is twofold that like the surface layer question to ask is, well, if you want more gender balance, then what will that do to your numbers? Will it put it more in favor of balancing? The answer for a while is going to be yes.
But I think the deeper question that I'd like everybody to consider. Really has nothing to do with gender specifically, it has to do with overall attribute balance within your population. Like we've talked about this before, the obvious thing that managers think about, well, I think one of the first lessons managers learn about high performing but toxic people is high performance is not good enough to outweigh a toxic personality.
And usually you learn the hard way that toxic personalities really do much more damage to the overall group than their high performance helps. If you take that concept and abstract it a little bit and think about what's the balance of attributes you want in a group. You want people with sharp elbows.
You want people who are ambassadors. You want people who can really focus. You want visionaries. Yeah. We've never really talked about this. It might be fun for us to have a conversation about what kind of attributes do we want in a population that we're recruiting for. That could be fun. Yeah.
Recruiting women. You're not recruiting them necessarily because they're a woman, but if you think about the attributes that that person will tend to bring to them, is that going to fill out or elevate your group in some way? That's the concept.
Camille Rapacz: I love this because I think it is the number one thing that people miss about why we want diversity on a team. We point to like race and gender in terms of diversity. But what we're really trying to do is what you said. We want these different attributes and perspectives.
We want people to also just see the world through a different lens than what we're Everyone like we need all of those different perspectives and those attributes coming together. That's actually what strengthens the team. It's not just because you happen to be a man or a woman. It's the difference that being a man or a woman has created in how you see the world and the skills that you've built and all of those things.
Yeah. I, so I love that you said that. Cause I, I think that is. Often missed when people are looking at and then they look at just the skills on the resume and we miss out. So even back to, when I was making the argument about the books, I do think we want to look at, who's got the best research book and, when we're talking about trying to learn , that's a different perspective.
I'm trying to learn about a particular topic. But we should also learn about it from different perspectives. So it's not just read that book. It's I also don't want to be so exclusive that I'm excluding his view because I only want to read the woman's perspective. Because for me as a woman that feels a little echo chambery.
Yeah. I want to support that. I want to understand it. But I also want that other perspectives. It's kind of in reverse.
George Drapeau: Absolutely. I think we have identified it here. That's the thing. And that's what's going on with me right now. So I'm hiring, go look at my LinkedIn page.
You can see the links, but that's in my mind constantly today. I don't think it was explicit that we had this conversation, but I'm comfortable being able to say, if I have a woman candidate who I think is the same as a man or close to, I'll probably pick her, but that's not really what's going on.
What's really going on is thinking about what attributes does this person bring that's different, what's in the population of the group, more likely I'm going to get a different perspective from a woman, not necessarily, but probably, and that's what I'm going after.
Camille Rapacz: Yes, which I think also speaks to something you and I've said before, but I'll just say it again.
When you're hiring, we're both very much believers of I'm not hiring for just your skills that are on that resume. Because there are skills that I can teach you and then there are attributes and experience and other things that I can't things that you bring to the table that I can't teach you and so it's not even necessarily whether you have.
The best skills for the job or not, it's more of a balance of, are you bringing in, as you say, the attributes, do you have the approach to work? Do you bring in all of those things that are harder to teach that leadership perspective? That's much harder to teach than just the skillset that I could teach.
so you're looking for potential. What does the potential of this person in my team? And also what's the potential for them to bring something to the team that strengthens them overall, which doesn't mean. Just duplicating what I already have. Yeah, absolutely. That's not what we mean when we say, does this person fit with the team?
It's not, are they a carbon copy of somebody else on my team?
George Drapeau: No, absolutely not. I hope not.
Pros and Cons
George Drapeau: We talk about your pros and cons?
Camille Rapacz: Sure. There's pros and cons to this women only structure. Yeah. And so I just was kind of thinking about it, and I said some of this already, but I do think that when you have a women's only group, that it's this safe and supportive space to be in. You can go in there and really, there's no fear of judgment.
And when I say this, it made me think, I wonder how aware men are that women are much more on their guard when there are men in the room than if there's just women in the room.
George Drapeau: Oh, wow. Yeah. I don't think we are aware of that. No way. No way. For the most part, we're not thinking about that.
Camille Rapacz: Yeah.
So it's true. You heard it here. I mean, yeah, we're going to think about how we dress. We're going to think about what we say. We're going to think about, does this sound stupid that I'm talking the way that I'm talking? I think our level of scrutiny on ourselves and how we present ourselves is just at a different level when men are present.
That's just the way of the world and how we've been brought up. You nailed it, George. It is exhausting. Most of the time women are just freaking exhausted because we have to think about this all the time. And I think for the most part, I think a lot of women it's happening to us in ways we aren't even consciously aware of until we maybe read somebody's story or somebody's talking about it like we are on this podcast, and then they stop and realize, Oh, that is true.
I do think about those things differently. I do act differently. I do approach that in a different way when men are present versus when it's just all women. Which I think is fascinating.
Okay. Something just popped in my head that I have to say that is kind of off topic, but not, but an image just popped in my head of Roy Kent and his women's group from Ted Lasso, old women they would drink Rose and like watch the reality show. We all need a little Roy Kent and our women's groups is what I'm saying.
George Drapeau: Yeah.
Camille Rapacz: Cause that's, I mean, he was still Roy Kent, but his feminine side was all there on display. And you could tell those women didn't feel at all inhibited by him being there.
They were still their womanly selves, even though he was one of the girls when he was there. That's true. Yeah.
George Drapeau: That's awesome.
Camille Rapacz: and I do know men that are fully capable of that, that, , that's how you feel, but would you go into a room with men that you don't know or that you only kind of know you definitely have your guard up.
So that's definitely one of the pros. I can see if these women only groups is they get me.
George Drapeau: You also don't have the overhead of somebody outside your group, not fully understanding. I'm going to make, make an example, Latino support Latino group and having like white people there who they don't understand something you said.
And they either break in and ask, can you explain that? And so you have to slow down and explain it. Or they make a comment that turns out to be an insensitive comment. And you're like, Oh, I just don't want to have to deal with that kind of that energy in here all the time. I'd like to get away from that for just an hour.
Camille Rapacz: Yes. I do think that there is also something. That sense of what you said, it sounds exhausting. It's just nice to go into that space. And as you said, not have to explain yourself or, explain not yourself, but explain certain situations and scenarios, even though it's, that sounds great.
Like I would love the opportunity to help educate somebody, but sometimes I just don't want that to be my job. I just want to be with other people who already get me and I can just be with them and talk about these things and have it not be a big deal. Yeah. Absolutely. Because it was actually really refreshing to just talk to these women about this idea of, should we read books written by men or not?
And it was a great conversation to have with just women. Like we totally got where each other was coming from. We didn't really have to explain a lot. We were just coming from different perspectives about it. And it was great. We were like, huh, this is really interesting. We have to think about this more.
Like that's how we ended it. We got to think about this more. That's awesome. But it would have certainly been a different conversation I think had. Yeah. You And again, depending on the man, he might've gotten really defensive and that could have completely changed the conversation. Yeah. So, yeah, very interesting.
So yeah, I think there's that and it is nice to get a boost of confidence and self esteem with other women in a way that you don't get in a group with men. I don't really know how to describe that. But being able to both give and receive that with a group of women is really nice.
It's a really positive and nurturing environment. I guess that's what it is. Women are really good at nurturing each other.
George Drapeau: That's true. Also, I mean, the opposite side of that is you don't have to fight for standing constantly.
Camille Rapacz: Yeah. Exactly. I mean, really, all you have to do is just be a great listener because once you ask a woman about her business, she's off and running.
Like you just, she's going to tell you like, it's great because she just has so much energy about it and is so excited about it and you're just hearing all this good stuff,. And it's cool. It's really easy to just be present and take in all of their enthusiasm for what they're doing and then they'll reverse that for you and be excited about now tell me about your business.
And then you get to do the same. Yeah. And again, it's not that men can't do that, but it is different in un definable ways, I guess, when you're doing it with other women. I think it goes back to the not feeling like you have to either put it on a show, like I need to level up my game here because I'm talking to a man, which I know sounds silly, but that is a lot of what goes on in women's heads and even again, without us knowing it, like we're thinking differently about how we present ourselves.
Somehow thinking that maybe they're smarter about this stuff than we are just because they happen to be a man and women didn't get to have their own businesses as long as men did. But also I know lots of women who are running fabulous, smart businesses, and I know plenty of men who are doing it badly. So I don't think that's true, but yet we kind of had this old belief, about how things are. That men must know how to do it better.
So, yeah, I think there's just all of that goes away. And so you can just be there with full confidence that you're doing good and you can start to hear stories from other women and what they're struggling with and realize, oh, I'm not alone in what I'm struggling with. Which is very relieving.
Those are mostly my pros.
I mean, the other part of this is just the idea of being able to advocate for each other. That's another positive angle. There is something to wanting to help other women grow their businesses and wanting to be a good, whether I'm just being a referral to them or I'm guiding them in some way, just having our advocacy centered around each other is I think it's necessary.
I think we do have to have that environment of being able to support each other in those ways so that we don't just fall by the wayside. Because we can't do it alone. And we may hesitate. Women may hesitate to ask for help from men and can more easily ask for help from women.
So I think there's something nice about being able to be in that environment where I'm here to advocate for you and you're here to advocate for me. And that's very easy to do.
George Drapeau: Yeah. I think that makes sense. What about the downsides?
Camille Rapacz: Yeah. The one that really comes up for me first is just, it also feels very hypocritical to create this group, this exclusive group, when that's what we're actually trying to counter is that we have been excluded and now we are excluding others.
Something always rubs me wrong about that. But by the nature of creating a women's, and this exists for any kind of group you create. But just the idea that we have now excluded people that, I don't know, it feels like, well, I guess since you did it to us for so long, now we're going to do it to you.
I don't know. And I know that's not that what's going on when people create these groups, but there's a little bit of that. why are we doing the same thing that we have been fighting against that's been done to us for so long? I haven't decided how to, I reconcile that for myself, but it's always there whenever there's this women only thing, I'm always a little bit like, but it just also feels like we're just falling into the same trap.
George Drapeau: It's a shame that you have to even think about that, that there's so much imbalance that trying to get in a group that sort of kind of overcorrects for that is something that you have to worry about. If things were perfectly balanced, I'm not sure we would question so much like, well, let's just get a bunch of this or a bunch of that together.
African Americans, women, Californians I don't know. It's too bad that you'd even be under consideration, but I get that.
Camille Rapacz: And I guess I can understand how it's sort of overcorrecting before we can get things back to, or get things to a place where we do have a way of being all inclusive that everybody's actually satisfied with.
I don't know if we're ever going to get to that stage, but this is a way to make up for maybe lost time. Yeah. I think that makes sense. Still feels a little weird. The other thing that comes up for me is what we talked about when we were talking about the books, which is just that you can get stuck in this echo chamber or have this limited perspective.
I have been parts of women's groups where it really just devolves into, complaining. We're the victims and that sort of level of conversation and I just I want out. That's a tight little echo chamber that I can't be part of. And I don't think that that's just women that do that either.
I think any group can just devolve into its own such a tiny little, like all we're doing is confirming each other's biases and we're just going deeper and deeper into that right down into this little rabbit hole. So I think there's always a risk of that, the fact that we're limiting our perspectives and we're at risk of just reinforcing all of these biases that we have. And again, we're sort of doing the thing that we're fighting against.
George Drapeau: Absolutely. That one really resonates with me. That makes me think of the book, the wisdom of crowds, which warns against group think. I mean, it's all about diversity and opinions, giving you a better collective intelligence answer.
And this is the opposite of that. I, yeah, it can be scary.
Camille Rapacz: Yeah. This is where I think you have to be really careful that you're doing this right with the proper intent. Why are we gathering in this way with this particular group of people? Yeah. Back to purpose. Back to start with why.
Another one that I think is missed, another negative in creating these women only or these exclusive groups. And so in this particular case, creating a women's only group, women only group, we're overlooking. Yeah. Yeah. Male advocates. So I know so many men who want to be not just allies, but actually like actually help, not just cheering from the sidelines, but are willing to stand up for fight for, make room for your voice, your presence, your everything.
And we're excluding them from this group. It means that we're not, we're not helping those male advocates know how to advocate. Because just because they want to doesn't mean they know what to do. So helping them with things like, hey, if we're in a team meeting and you hear a woman being talked over, stand up for her.
Say, I don't think Lori got to finish her sentence. I'd like to hear what else she has to say. Make space for that because that's very common that women get talked over in meetings. If you look at the airtime that men versus women in a meeting, it's always leans towards the men's side. Absolutely.
Women tend to get cut off more. This was even true, they did a study on the Supreme Court and it was true there too. So it doesn't matter how smart you are. I know.
George Drapeau: That is so depressing to hear. Totally. Yeah. Yeah. Believe it. Aggravating.
Camille Rapacz: I know, but it's something that happens that I don't think people necessarily are consciously always aware of either that they're doing it or that it's happening.
So you have to put it up there as look out for this and then nip it in the bud, like make sure it's getting corrected as fast as you can. And it's easier if a man is doing that. It really makes other men take notice. Have you ever seen something like that where a man like stood up for a woman in that way in any environment have you ever witnessed that?
George Drapeau: It's rare. I think I do it more than other men I see. That doesn't. I'm trying to think the last time I can think of an example where a man did it. Yeah, actually a couple weeks ago, I was a few weeks ago, I was in a class about presentation techniques and the facilitator for the class was fantastic about making sure that everybody was heard.
And I'm not going to make it any less important because it was his job, but he was great at facilitating. And I did notice that he was great about men and women giving equal chance. Women did get cut off and he went back to them and made sure they got a chance to finish the thought.
He was a great teacher, great facilitator. But I don't often see that happening. Not enough.
Camille Rapacz: Yeah. And again, I think it's, it could happen more if we just told men that's what we needed. There's this resistance to asking for help, especially women asking men to help women. But how else do we do this?
And why not when there are so many men who actually want to help, why would you not lean into that and say, here, here's some things that you can look out for and help me with.
George Drapeau: This reminds me of a story. I was watching a TV show the other night, one of those political TV shows. The host is Stephanie Ruhle.
And she had on one segment, it was three women on the panel. And she asked a question to woman, number one, a woman, number one, started out by saying, well, , I think you would actually get a better answer from woman number two, it's more her area. And she tried to defer to give the other woman a chance.
And Stephanie Ruhle said, Sure, but I'd like to hear what you have to say first. And so she did. And then that was great. She had a great point. And then the woman panelist number two spoke and she said, yeah, I agree. A hundred percent with what panels number one said, and then went in and added her stuff.
And then he wrapped up and Stephanie rule made this comment and saying, I just want to point out, when there's a panel with men, you never hear the man saying, Oh, I think this other guy on the panel would do a much better job than me answering the question. That never happens.
He always gets the question and everybody's laughing and I thought it was so cool that she pointed out. 'cause she's right. .. It was great. And then the next segment, there were two men outta three or something like that. Maybe all three. I don't remember 'em. And one of them said, look, I was listening to the previous segment and I just wanna say I think the next person would be better off answering this question than me.
I'm happy to defer. I'm learning a lesson here.
Camille Rapacz: Oh my gosh. See, I think that calling that stuff out, though, is so important because now you remember that. And so you'll be in other environments thinking about, Oh, maybe I should be doing that more often. I mean, how many men probably saw that and are now thinking, I have, I never thought about that.
But yes, that is exactly what I probably should do in that scenario. Because the idea is that you want to give this person the best answer. It gets back to what is the purpose of this conversation. Yeah. I mean, if you're running for office, then the purpose is for you to have the best answer. You would never do that.
But if you're on a panel of experts that are just trying to educate somebody, then sure, that's what you would do. Yeah.
George Drapeau: It was great.
Camille Rapacz: That's a great example. See, I think there's so many little things like that out in the world that are just these examples of either how women contribute differently that matters. But we have to look for them. And women are typically not great historically about really promoting ourselves. That's another challenge that we have is just how we put ourselves out there and promote ourselves and talk about ourselves and that whole idea that we won't apply for a job unless we 100 percent qualify.
Even though we know we can do the job. Just all of these things that keep us from being able to hold higher positions of leadership or just contribute more in the world. And there's so many things like that, that I think are important for us to Work on and think about and talk about men, women, only women with men.
There just needs to be much more of that. Yeah. I'm getting ready to do a three part women in leadership series for a client of mine. We're doing the one hour leadership forums once a month. So I'm just leading a conversation, a leadership forum. Everybody's welcome, not just formal leaders, but anybody in the company is welcome to come.
Cause we talk about leadership as a, a choice as an action, not as a title. And so everybody's welcome to come and they're a very male dominant industry. And so they're really struggling with creating this balance of same thing that you have George where you were talking about Gosh, I just don't have That gender diversity on my team really doesn't exist right now, they have the same problem. But they have some great women in their organization that have lots of potential. But how do you keep them around, how do you elevate them in the organization when it's so male dominated and there's all these little microaggressions and these little ways that, again, When are those women going to get so exhausted that they're just, I got to get another job.
And it's not because we don't have to necessarily have experienced direct sexual harassment or any of that. Sometimes it's just you're just tired of being in this same male dominated environment that you don't fit into. That doesn't welcome you in the same way. That requires you to only do man things in order to really connect and hang out and create relationships with your colleagues.
Like going golfling. If that's the only way the men connect is by going golfing and half the women are like, well, I don't golf. Not that no women golf, but yeah. That tends to be this male dominated activity. There's lots of things like that. I'm really looking forward to creating this conversation with this organization and all of their people. We're trying to do what we're talking about here.
It's how do we create a conversation that's men and women talking together about how do we do this and what do we do better? Cool. It's really cool. If you were a man in the audience of something like that, what would you want to learn?
George Drapeau: Oh man, I think it's always important to learn how to be more, inclusive, more aware. How do I become more aware of different points of view and sensing how to read the room. I think I would more and more skills about how to read the room. So I'm in the room , how do I become more aware that there's things are going off the rails or people are not being heard or listened to?
I think that I could always be better at that.
Camille Rapacz: That's a good one. I always think about the reading the room is really important, not just thinking about what you're saying, but how it's being received. And the other one I always think about is pumping fear out of the room.
How am I creating a safe environment so that Anybody in this room, no matter how marginalized they might feel, because that's also not just women. We're talking about women in this, but of course we could go on and on into the various levels of, diversity that we have to talk about here. How do you create a space where anybody can speak their perspective is not necessarily easy to do, but also maybe not as hard as we think, and that's probably a whole other episode of this podcast.
I would love that. Yeah. We should do a whole episode on psychological safety. How do you create it? Yeah. We might need to find an expert for that. That'd be a fun expert conversation. I'll get on it. Okay. Work to do. All right. That's kind of all I wanted to talk about. This is a fantastic topic.
Anything else you want to talk about or want to add before we jump off?
George Drapeau: Yes we've already gone past it, but I was in a training class a few months ago that was on DEI, and it was fantastic in a lot of ways. However, my cohort was all white guys, and several of the white guys they lived in geographies where there was mostly white populations.
there's not a whole lot they could do about that. They live where they live. They get whatever exposure they have. And they were aware of that, but I could hear sometimes they'd say things and I'd think, oh, you really are not exposed to much diversity and what you're saying, they're just, no, please don't say that.
And in retrospect, I don't know if we were well served by having only white people, including myself, only white people in that group. You and I have grown up in both not very diverse and very diverse environments. And I think that has an effect. And I live in an environment that I think is pretty diverse economically and, demographically, but we didn't have anybody else in that.
The experience would have been enriched if we had been more diverse in that class. It was the wrong kind of safe and supportive environment.
Camille Rapacz: Yeah. It's 1 of the reasons why I do think we need to invite all these different perspectives into the conversation, especially if we're going to create the equality that we're looking for. If we're going to raise everybody up, we all have to be part of that.
It's not just us doing it on our own. It's interesting that you had that experience though, too, and that you could hear that they were still not quite connecting in with the messaging. And I'm sure part of it is if you are, this is the echo chamber problem. I'm just in this environment.
And so I'm only getting validation because they probably saw somebody else in the group nodding at them. Like I get you. And that felt good. . It feels good to. Be validated in that way. But with all of this stuff, we all have to have every everybody, it doesn't matter what your color, your race, your gender, your identity, however it is that you identify for yourself.
We all have something we have to learn about everyone else. That's how it's not just a one way street. That's my closing thought. Thanks George.
All right. Well, thank you for talking with me about this. It was kind of a interesting, it gave me some ideas too, as I'm thinking about doing this little women in leadership series.
So I did not plan it that way. But now I realized this was a brilliant idea of mine because now I have some ideas to use in my little thing I'm going to do.
George Drapeau: I found this conversation fascinating. Thanks for bringing this up on topic.
Camille Rapacz: Absolutely. Well, thank you everybody for listening.
I hope you enjoyed this different kind of episode from before. And we would love to hear, I know you have thoughts, so we definitely want to hear your thoughts. I'm sure one of us said something that you were like, what? Heck no. Or absolutely. Or I don't know, agreeing or disagreeing with things that we've said.
We'd love to hear your thoughts. So go. The Belif Shift. com and you can leave us a little voicemail. There's a little widget there where you can leave a voicemail for us. We'd love to hear from you. If you were interested in how I can maybe do a leadership series for you and your team, or just talk about some coaching or whatever it is that you might need for you or your business, you can book a free consultation with me.
You can go to CamilleRapacz. com slash book a call and we'll spend 50 minutes talking about you and whatever you need help with. I will put that link in the show notes for sure.
That's all. Have a good week everybody. We'll be back in your ears next week.