How might Feminine Design Strategy be used as an analysis tool in business?

At the Foundation, our mission is to invest in people and ideas in our nation’s capital, to help celebrate and strengthen our cultural assets in the areas of democracy, arts and culture, and Jewish thought leadership.

Each year we have a spring showcase in our Board of Directors meeting where we celebrate and honor the people in whom we’ve invested. Without even understanding what had already happened, we came to the realization that the majority of our investment portfolio was investing in female leadership. At the end of the day it was just this unspoken changing of the guards in terms of how we are approaching our investments. We were intuitively providing financial capital to people who were leading with their hearts, leading with their intuition, and leading with new ways of getting things done.

I believe that this new way of approaching business presents opportunity to a lot of foundations – a lot of institutions – that are stuck. They’ve kind of flatlined. Not all of them, of course, but I feel like so many people are stuck in this old paradigm of doing business without even knowing they’re doing it from a strictly patriarchal perspective. Or, they aren’t being as adaptive, not being as flexible, not being as imaginative, not being bold as they could be. People have kind of flatlined, and being who I am I couldn’t possibly stand knowing that life is so fragile, knowing that we’re all here for very short time, and we need to ask, ‘what are we going to do with that limited time?’ What are we going to do about the issues we see around us?

This movement, this process, is about inviting leaders, CEOs, people in major decision-making positions, to join with me in adapting and adopting Feminine Design Strategy as a new way to do business going forward.

It’s an invitation to disrupt traditional patterns of thinking.

It’s an invitation to take risks, about being a responsible disruptor, being able to think outside the box. I’ve often been told that I don’t even know that there is a box… let’s all take steps to ignore the box!

This is who I am, it’s how I’m oriented in the world, so why not take the best of what I can offer, my own inherent person and character. Perhaps that orientation comes from being from the West Coast, and particularly being native of San Francisco, and it gives me license and liberty to integrate that orientation to the world to the work that we do here in Washington. I think people really want to feel, they want to experience, they want to start to create some of this new texture and an experience around them, and that to me is a very feminine concept. If we want to do things differently we just have to invite the Feminine Design Strategy to help us to do what I call ‘step out of your shadow and into the light’. It may be really uncomfortable, but I do think that what will be revealed is new possibilities to really think about what the future could hold.

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