Malala, Carly and Our Future

Women can and should be in every area of human endeavors, most of all at the forefront of human progress. That begins with the ability to study and excel to great heights equal to or exceeding any man.

I follow current events very closely, especially overseas, more so than many people who have never left the confines of this great country of ours. Because I do, I am extremely worried about what is happening to women and girls in the non-western world, where they are being driven back into forced isolation, illiteracy and physical oppression.

One of the few times I close my eyes to politics and current events is when I’m in couch potato mode. And one of my favorite breaks from the stress of life is “Reality TV.” My favorite reality TV show is X Factor, a song competition. But song is not song without passion. So even watching X Factor, I am reminded of that world that awaits us… a world that awaits women – here in American and overseas in very different ways.

For some weeks now, I have been thinking a great deal about two most amazing early teenage girls, one here in America and one in far off Pakistan.

If you have likely never heard of a young teen named Malala, now is the time. This video clip is a long one, but totally worth the time. Briefly, Malala is a 13 year old girl living in Swat Valley, where the Taliban have been mounting attacks against the local population. Once in the city, they have instituted extremely strict Sharia Laws. Malala’s father has a school for girls in town. Not surprisingly, his daughter is a star pupil.

Malala did something very unusual a couple of years ago. She started an anonymous political blog in which she advocated for the rights of girls to a full education and an equal place in society. As a result, she came under death threats; not that she wouldn’t have been subject to execution already, simply for attending school.

Malala is now in England, where she is recovering from bullet wounds to her head and neck.

I’d like to introduce you to another young teen, Carly Rose Sonenclar. Like all the X Factor judges, even the obnoxiously critical Simon Cowell, I am stunned by the willpower, confidence and achievements of this girl, who had a natural ability for singing and starred as Cossett as a child on Broadway in Les Miserables. Here she sings, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” As I listen to Carly Rose sing, I think of Malala and all the other unknown Malala’s in the world who dream of a place over the rainbow where their dreams can come true. If only they had been able to achieve dreams like Carly Rose is able to do here and now in the United States.

I know you will enjoy listening to Carly Rose perform Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

After sharing information about these two girl wonders, the rest seems trivial but with that I segue to a discussion of women in the workplace.

As we look in our workplaces, we need to think more about how we can best utilize the current skills and the full capabilities presented by our female staff members. Woman are equal to the task in the field and in “support roles.”

Though many offices lack secretaries today, we somehow still think (not always, but too often), of our female staff with a secretarial mindset. Our “office managers” are often women with a broad range of skills. But this title seems to belie the functions of the office manager. The title seems to indicate little more than an office organizer. But if you seriously consider what our office manager does, you’d realize that they are in the “key man” category.

In a pest control company, the office manager may be responsible for scheduling decisions that drive company productivity. They ensure cost effectiveness with in house accounting and cost savings. They contribute to critical financial decisions. They oversee customer service and quality control, to be sure that revenue in does not summarily go out with poor client retention. The office manager commonly is the first to hear about and respond to critical daily events.

When I think about how to utilize staff, I think about all the staff, not just the men I am employing in the field. Certainly, I will evaluate their skills and look for the black holes in their knowledge and work skills sets. I look for open-minded people. When I get confronted by stubborn ones, I try my best to pry open their minds to new ideas for broadening their perspective on their jobs. Eventually, this yields down the road revenue gains.

In the past year I have converted a customer service representative to a 20+ hour per week web content writer, anticipating huge gains in website traffic from her excellent work. And another CSR is being converted to a dedicated in-house sales rep for new service lines. If you are not looking at your women in the workforce, consider it an equal task to developing your men on staff.

The Integrated Pest Management revolution in pest control refocused our operations from extermination services to communications for the prevention of pest problems. We need to encourage the educational processes that lead to great communicators among men and women and visualize where they could be in our business organizations. Do not overlook anyone because of foolish notions about their potential or lack thereof.

By the way, its’ been proven that women can be great company owners and operators, competent and visionary. That’s true in pest control as well.

Our companies and our nation are strong because our women are strong. Let’s keep it that way. Where we are lacking, let’s make it so.

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