Recording of the Event
Mount Mary’s Women’s Leadership Institute is excited to offer access to a recording of Jessica Shortall's keynote, "What We Tell Ourselves About Gender and Work."
Recap of Jessica Shortall's Keynote
Jessica Shortall, an advocate for gender equity and author of “Work. Pump. Repeat,” was astonished when, upon returning to work after maternity leave, a co-worker asked how she enjoyed her “vacation.”
“I’d never been on a vacation like that before,” Shortall said in disbelief as she shared the experience with a group of over 300 Milwaukee area business leaders and members of the Mount Mary community. The perception that caregiving is misunderstood and undervalued in the workplace, was the topic of her keynote presentation at the Voices of Leadership event on March 21.
“Such perceptions are not fair to the health, happiness or well-being of women or men,” Shortall said. “Yet there is no enemy imposing this on us. We buy into it.”
Shortall challenged the audience to consider the factors that reinforce gender stereotypes, from unrealistic stock photography – an image depicting a mother balancing a baby on one hip and a laptop on the other – to the children’s books that parents read to children at bedtime.
“These types of images are keeping us (men and women) in our lanes, and are failing all of us,” Shortall said. Even in books that portray children as barrier-breaking – boy princesses and girl engineers – the parents are often stereotypical, giving little chance of hope for the future. “You can’t be what you can’t see.”
Whether women are caregivers or not, their roles are defined within the context of caregiving for either their children or aging relatives. This translates into lower wages, career potential and representation in various fields.
And while many men want to actively enter into caregiving roles, they are also limited by society’s perceptions and are often seen in a comedic light, such as “Mr. Mom.”
“Jessica is working to reset societal expectations, so all people can work across gender roles,” said Mount Mary President Christine Pharr, Ph.D.
The event concluded with a panel discussion with Shortall and Milwaukee-area leaders providing insight into how to affect change and greater equity.
Shortall's keynote was sponsored by Mount Mary’s Women’s Leadership Institute. Voices of Leadership is an annual event that provides the opportunity to engage in conversations with women leaders who have broken ground in entrepreneurship, innovation, social change and leadership. These women share their experiences, stories and best practices to help participants see and pursue their own leadership potential.
The Voices of Leadership event is about more than bringing a leader to campus to learn from her experiences. It's also an opportunity for our faculty to utilize the themes of the keynote to enhance the curriculum and explore these different topics with students in a way that is relevant to their disciplines.
In preparation for this year's event, students studied issues of gender roles from various perspectives. They exhibited their projects from a diversity of disciplines, including communications, interior design, fashion, art therapy and studio arts. Click here learn more about the student projects.
Meet the Panel
Mary Dowell is the principal of MJDowell & Associates, a management-consulting group with emphasis in human resources, coaching, workshops, and public speaking. She is the author of Playing Through The Fence, a book for emerging leaders or anyone seeking inspiration while facing obstacles on their career journey. Prior to starting her own company, Mary held the position of Vice President of Foundation Affairs and Global Community Relations for Johnson Controls. Mary is an active supporter of the community, serving on professional and community boards including Milwaukee Women Inc., Professional Dimensions, Boys & Girls Clubs Sista Pride Committee, the United Way Women’s Leadership Council and is a founding member of UPAF’s Notable Women. Mary has received several community awards, including The Business Journal’s “Women of Influence” Award, the United Performing Arts Fund’s “Notable Women” Award, “Black Women in Sisterhood for Action” (BISA) National Award, and TEMPO Milwaukee “Mentor” Award, among others.
Mayor Kathy Ehley, is serving her eighth year as the Mayor of Wauwatosa and is the only female mayor of the 35 largest municipalities in the state of Wisconsin. In 2016, she was honored with a Milwaukee Business Journal Woman of Influence award for making the community and region a better place. Prior to being elected Mayor, Kathy Ehley served for five years as Executive Director of the Village of Wauwatosa Business Improvement District (BID) spearheading the creation of a strategic master plan which resulted in one of The Village’s strongest growth spurts. Mayor Ehley is a tireless advocate in the arts, education and civic organizations, having served on 20 local, regional and state boards. Mayor Ehley currently serves on the Wisconsin Center District Board as Board Secretary, The Urban Alliance as Vice President, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District as Commissioner, is a founding leader of the Regional Transit Leadership Council, and serves on the Milwaukee County Research Park Board, among several others.
Familiar with the historically male dominated industrial manufacturing space, Carlo Emanuele has spent the last 7+ years with Brady Corporation, most currently as the Director of SFID & Safety Solutions for North America, providing leadership to the Brady sales team and safety and facility ID businesses. He has a passion for leading and mentoring professionals, developing a team that represents various experience levels, perspectives and backgrounds, positioning Brady for sustained growth and market leadership. Prior to Brady Corporation, Carlo held multiple senior management roles at Direct Supply, Inc.
Carlo serves on the Brady Foundation Board of Directors leading the grants committee in supporting leadership and educational programming and strengthening communities. He also serves on the supplier advisory council for Affiliated Distributors. A large part of Carlo’s life is his two daughters, ages 6 and 9, and he enjoys coaching the eldest’s basketball team.
Jessica Shortall is a nationally recognized advocate, author, and speaker, focusing on workplace diversity and the economic case for supporting people to bring their whole selves to work.Jessica is a prolific writer and speaker about and for working parents and a diverse, human workforce. Her 2015 book, Work. Pump. Repeat., is a survival guide for breastfeeding and going back to work, and her TED talk that same year on the moral and economic case for paid family leave was a TED "Talk of the Day" and has 1.5 million views. Jessica has also been the first Director of Giving at TOMS Shoes, co-founder of The Campus Kitchens Project, a hunger and nutrition program now active on more than 50 college campuses, and a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan. She has a bachelor’s in Art History from Wake Forest University and an MBA from Oxford, where she was a Skoll Scholar in Social Entrepreneurship. She is married with two kids and an aging dog.
By day, Jessica runs Texas Competes, a coalition of 1,400 Texas employers making the economic case for Texas to be welcoming to LGBTQ people, and America Competes, a new national coalition in the same vein. Jessica keynoted SXSW 2017 on the story of Texas Competes, the Texas bathroom bill, and building unexpected bridges in a divided time.
Vanessa Vasquez is employed at Carmen Schools of Science & Technology under the College & Career Readiness Team. Previously, Vanessa lead MATC’s Driving Dreams initiative, a program designed to increase graduation rates and identify a path to college for underrepresented students at eight Milwaukee high schools. Vanessa serves on several boards, among them the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Alverno College Young Alum Club, and the Latina Taskforce Advisory Board at Mount Mary University. Vanessa has received numerous awards including the Alverno College Excellence in Leadership Award for Outstanding Faculty/Staff Advisor, the Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee Future Leader Award, and UMOS’ 2018-2019 Hispanic Woman of the Year. Most recently, she was named as one of the 2019 Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 Under 40!
Before starting her career in broadcasting, Shannon Sims was a classically trained singer, aspiring to be an opera performer. She has a bachelor of arts from the Manhattan School of Music. After studying abroad in Italy she landed in Bloomington, IN. It was there she began her broadcast career as a radio announcer for 92.3 WTTS.
The California native returned to the Bay Area to pursue a new career in radio and TV.
In San Francisco, at KGO 7, Shannon interned and was quickly hired as a production assistant. She got her first job in front of the camera at KREM 2 Spokane, WA as a general assignment reporter.
Shannon continued to hone her skills at WVEC in Norfolk, WKEF in Dayton, OH and, most recently, waking up early with the FOX19 morning team in Cincinnati, OH.
Shannon enjoys working in the Milwaukee community and learning more about the Brew City and beyond.