Year: 2014

All Year: 2014

June 2, 2014

The Path I Choose

I was struck by an article in the New York Times recently about the word “feminist” and how over time, society’s view of how we see ourselves changes.

Even the words we use to describe who we are or what we believe change or become misunderstood – in this case, young women thinking that being a feminist has to do with someone’s sexuality.

As a child of the 60s and 70s, I grew up believing I should have equal opportunity to a life full of choices.  It was being tested in the public by feminist Gloria Steinem, acted out by feminist Marlo Thomas and sung about by feminist Helen Reddy.  

The right to vote being won, women began knocking on the door of opportunity for rights to be and do everything men took for granted: the right to attend Ivy League schools, play sports in college and at the professional level, make decisions about whether to have children, own a home in your own name, have a bank account, be an astronaut or the leader of a country.

When you think about it, women have been fighting to have equal choices since time began.  We are still fighting for those choices and Cable has been providing a place for women and men to support each other in making those personal choices for over thirty-five years.

A year ago, I began my term as President of Cable.  I wanted to bring attention to and celebrate the power of choices women can enjoy by talking about the variety of paths we have before us.

The paths we choose are sometimes deliberate and sometimes serendipitous.  Let us all be grateful we are living in a time an place where those choices are ours to make and not made for us.

I am grateful to have found Cable, whose members support women and their choices.  I thank you for giving me the opportunity to lead the organization for the last year.  I hope I have made a positive mark on this wonderful organization.

Let’s keep knocking on those doors and encouraging women to keep making choices that are right for them whatever they may be and to lift up the hopes of women everywhere.

If we do not support each other, we cannot expect doors to be opened.  Reach out, reach down, reach up to help women choose their path.

Expect to help and to be helped.  Expect that the next generation will not still be knocking on the same doors.

Donna Yurdin, SPHR is President of Credo Management Consulting and is a consultant specializing in Diversity and Inclusion.

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May 14, 2014

Cable presents 2014 Power of Inclusion awards

14 May 2014 10:11 PM |


Vanderbilt University’s Janet Rachel, Progress Inc. and Nissan recognized for diversity commitment

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville Cable recognized a local individual, non-profit organization and business for their commitment to diversity and inclusion in the Middle Tennessee community with the 2014 Power of Inclusion awards. Janet Rachel, a human resources and diversity professional at Vanderbilt University, Progress Inc., which serves adults with disabilities and senior adults needing care, and Nissan, received the 2014 honors at the Cable luncheon on May 14 at the Music City Center.

The ninth Power of Inclusion awards acknowledge individuals and corporations who “walk the talk” with their commitment to diversity and inclusion in the local community. The honor is awarded by Nashville Cable, a network of more than 500 local professionals committed to connecting women and opportunity.

“The Power of Inclusion is an important event for Cable, representing a connectedness with our mission,” Cable President Donna Yurdin said. “We are honored to celebrate those individuals and organizations who are embracing the importance of reaching out proactively to their internal and external communities to make a difference in the lives of others.”

The individual Power of Inclusion award 

This awards recognizes a person who demonstrates his or her passion and commitment to inclusion through the use of personal influence, knowledge and resources to ensure an inclusive environment in their personal and professional lives.

Rachel works within organizations to create and manage a diverse and inclusive work culture. She serves as Vanderbilt’s talent acquisition manager for diversity, relocation and career navigation where she develops and implements strategies to attract and retain diverse talent, provides transition and career coaching and manages the dual career and relocation programs.

Rachel graduated with honors from Tennessee State University and began her career as a management trainee with First American National Bank. She became the first woman of color on the executive committee when she progressed to senior vice president during her 22-year tenure. Her work impacted the advancement of diversity in the financial industry and the community. She has been acknowledged for her leadership by the Urban League of Middle Tennessee, the YWCA, CES Youth about Business, INROADS, Urban Bankers and 100 Black Women. In 2000, Rachel was recognized as a “Woman Making History in Tennessee” by The Tennessean newspaper for mentoring and expanding opportunities for women.

Prior to joining Vanderbilt, Rachel served as associate vice president for human resources at Meharry Medical College, senior manager for global diversity at Dell, compliance services manager for the Metro Human Relations Commission and she founded Rachel Consulting Services.

The non-profit Power of Inclusion award

This award recognizes an organization that promotes and facilitates equitable education, opportunity and social engagement with people from various backgrounds.

Progress Inc. was formed by a small group of concerned parents with a desire for their children to live independently. The non-profit agency has now provided daily activities and support staff to hundreds of adults with developmental disabilities for nearly 43 years. In 2009, Progress expanded its services by providing non-medical support to seniors in their own homes across Middle Tennessee. In 2013, Progress also founded a program for youths with intellectual disabilities – Camp Progress.

The business Power of Inclusion award

This award recognizes a business that values and demonstrates commitment to diversity through intentional strategies based on accountability, succession planning, strong inclusion practices, ongoing evaluation of recruitment/retention activities, and community outreach and empowerment.

Nissan North America’s commitment to diversity is core to its mission. Nissan believes diversity represents a competitive edge, and a strong environment of inclusiveness. Employees represent varied cultures, backgrounds and generations, thus representing strengths and talents that can be leveraged within our organization. With leadership out of the Americas Diversity Office, the results speak for themselves.

  • 2014 HRC Corporate Equality Index – Best Places to Work
  • 2014 Diversity Inc’s Top 25 – Nissan named “Noteworthy Company”
  • 10 percent of Nissan North America employees are Business Synergy Team members
  • 36% of Nissan’s workforce are from diverse backgrounds
  • 70% of management have completed “Championing Diversity” training
  • 13 – Number of Business Synergy Teams across Nissan North America

Phyllis Qualls-Brooks, chair of Cable’s Power of Inclusion committee, said: “We are thrilled to recognize an individual, a non-profit and a corporation for their exemplary examples of inclusiveness in their various activities. They serve as role models for us all.”

About Nashville Cable  

Nashville Cable is Tennessee’s largest and most established network of professionals with more than 500 members and a 35-year history of helping women reach their full potential. The organization’s mission of “Moving Women Forward” has shaped its networking programs and advocacy initiatives and created a forward-thinking infrastructure to effect positive change. Cable’s hallmark initiative is Women on Corporate Boards (WoCB), with key programs also including The ATHENA Awards, the Cable Civil Leadership program in partnership with Lipscomb University and the Power of Inclusion Awards and luncheon. For information about Cable, please visit


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April 30, 2014

A Guide to Hiring Women

Here are eleven tips on getting more efficiency out of women employees.

  1. Pick young married women. They usually have more sense of responsibility than their unmarried sisters, they’re less likely to be flirtatious, they need the work or they wouldn’t be doing it, they still have the pep and interest to work hard and to deal with the public efficiently.
  2. When you have to use older women, try to get ones who have worked outside the home at some time in their lives. Older women who have never contacted the public have a hard time adapting themselves and are inclined to be cantankerous and fussy. It’s always well to impress upon older women the importance of friendliness and courtesy.
  3. General experience indicates that “husky” girls – those who are just a little on the heavy side – are more even tempered and efficient than their underweight sisters.
  4. Retain a physician to give each woman you hire a special physical examination – one covering female conditions. This step not only protects the property against possibility of lawsuit, but reveals whether the employee-to-be has any female weaknesses which would make her mentally or physically unfit for the job.
  5. Stress at the outset the importance of time the fact that a minute or two lost here and there makes serious inroads on schedules. Until this point is gotten across, service is likely to be slowed up.
  6. Give the female employee a definite day-long schedule of duties so that they’ll keep busy without bothering the management for instructions every few minutes. Numerous properties say that women make excellent workers when they have their jobs cut out for them, but that they lack initiative in finding work themselves.
  7. Whenever possible, let the inside employee change from one job to another at some time during the day. Women are inclined to be less nervous and happier with change.
  8. Give every girl an adequate number of rest periods during the day. You have to make some allowances for female psychology. A girl has more confidence and is more efficient if she can keep her hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick and wash her hands several times a day.
  9. Be tactful when issuing instructions or in making criticisms. Women are often sensitive; they can’t shrug off harsh words the way men do. Never ridicule a woman – it breaks her spirit and cuts off her efficiency.
  10. Be reasonably considerate about using strong language around women. Even though a girl’s husband or father may swear vociferously, she’ll grow to dislike a place of business where she hears too much of this.
  11. Get enough size variety in operator’s uniforms so that each girl can have a proper fit. This point can’t be stressed too much in keeping women happy.


An excerpt from the July 1943 issue of Transportation Magazine. Written for male supervisors of women in the workforce during World War II.

While you may be shocked at the concepts and the words used in this article, this was reality just 60 years ago. Some of the women described in this article have just retired in the last decade. Generations of women have come and gone from the workforce, each making its mark and pushing for more equality. Each generation has been shaped by events or circumstances aging into the next phaseundefinedfrom youth to young adulthood to midlife to elderhood, having its attitudes and behaviors mature, producing new currents in the public mood.

For a variety of reasons, the workforce of today has changed dramatically. Laws have been implemented since this article was written requiring people of all genders, ages, races, nationalities, sexual orientation and abilities to have equal access to jobs, pay and status.

Those who watch Mad Men marvel at how much Peggy and Joan sacrifice to get ahead, get their talents noticed, and get the opportunities for which the men of that era felt entitled.

What path will the women of your generation (Boomer, Gen X, Millennial, Gen Edge) make for those following you?

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April 1, 2014

Spread Your Wings and Fly

The lessons we teach, passed from one generation to another, perpetuate traditions of discrimination.  Women hold an equal place to men in terms of population; women comprise roughly 50% of the population around the world and in the workplace.  Yet, women have an unequal place around the world and in the workplace when it comes to education, healthcare, professional opportunities and their place in societies.

This month we celebrate the ATHENA Awards. The women nominated, all worthy of the title winner, are educated, proven leaders and passionate to make a difference.  Many of these women did not have equal opportunities handed to them but they have succeeded nonetheless. 

Founded in 1982 by Martha Mayhood Mertz, ATHENA International is a non-profit organization that seeks to support, develop and honor women leaders.  The program inspires women to reach their full potential and strives to create balance in leadership worldwide. 

Mertz was inspired to create this organization after serving as the only woman on the Board of Directors of the Lansing Michigan Regional Chamber of Commerce.  She quickly recognized that the Chamber’s boardroom did not reflect the reality of the business community.  The more she observed, the more she became convinced: If women’s strengths and contributions as leaders were publicly acknowledged, they could no longer be dismissed. 

Founded in 1982, the award is an honor for those nominees who excel in their professions, give back to their communities and help raise up other leaders, especially women.  Since the program’s inception, more than 6,000 awards have been presented in over 500 communities in the United States, Canada, China, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

In a recent ATHENA International Leadership Conference, Martha noted: “Think about Rosa Parks, who from the authenticity of her core, refused once again, to go to the back of the bus. Consider Mother Theresa who expressed her leadership by the touch of her hand, by the healing of her voice, by the power of her presenceundefinedalways giving hope. These are but two examples, albeit great examples, of women’s ways of leading that have changed the world.”

Yet another example of this kind of leadership has shown up in a young girl from Pakistan.  Pakistani educator Ziauddin Yousafzai reminds the world of a simple truth that many don’t want to hear: Women and men deserve equal opportunities for education, autonomy, an independent identity. He relates the story of his daughter Malala who was shot by the Taliban in 2012 simply for daring to go to school. “Why is my daughter so strong?” Yousafzai asks. “Because I didn’t clip her wings.”

Cable is proud to be the lead organization for the ATHENA Awards in Middle Tennessee and to have 30 other organizations supporting it through their nomination of Women and Young Professionals each year.  

This year the question that each nominee was asked to answer:  Why is it important and necessary to focus on contributions made by women in our society?  We only need to reflect on the stories of Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa and Malala to answer it.  Without their teachings, the cycle of discrimination will continue.  What are you teaching?

Also this month we kick off our fifth year of the Cable Mentoring Program.  Fifteen women will join the program from five organizations.  Fifteen women will unclip their wings and fly.

Donna Yurdin, SPHR is President of Credo Management Consulting and is a consultant specializing in Diversity and Inclusion.

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