Ms. Gerber is Editor and Director of Content at Chattanooga’s daily newspaper, The Times Free Press. She manages a newsroom of 75 people who produce a daily newspaper, three magazines, and five weekly community newspapers. Alison serves on the boards of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government and the Associated Press Media Editors.
The newspaper recently launched an initiative proposed by the Mayor’s Council for Women in partnership with Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute (CWLI) where prominent women in the community contribute articles to the business section. The Times Free Press has been recognized with awards including the Tennessee Press Association’s top honor for the past three years. The paper was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in three of the last five years.
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Many years ago I authored an article entitled “Gender Quake” and it was all about the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings – the first time sexual harassment and gender equity issues entered our living rooms (through TV) and never left. Before these hearings – these issues did not garner attention or coverage, they did not make the newspaper or even local news – not even a blip or a mention. The current political climate and our President is a major contributing factor – a backdrop for this conversation. Now, national, international news and hours of coverage (educating public) on the nightly news and cable is the norm, our new normal.
The American Diversity Report sat down with Terry Howard, Senior Associate at Diversity Wealth. The subject? Sexual harassment and the recent emergence of the issue in the media. We wanted to hear his thoughts on why this has emerged from the shadows and, most important, what the organization should do to prevent and respond to sexual harassment, what effective training programs look like and follow-up actions are critical.
ADR: Once again, sexual harassment has muscled its way back into the headlines thanks in part to the high profile exit of Bill O’Reilly from Fox News. Any initial thoughts?
Sheila C. Boyington
President, Thinking Media-Learning Blade; National States Chair, Million Women Mentors
Sheila is a successful serial entrepreneur leading the creation of several products. Her company, Thinking Media is the creator of ACT’s KeyTrain® system for WorkKeys® and career readiness (acquired by ACT in 2011), PictureRx® for health literacy, and CharacterEd.Net® for K-12 character education. She is well-known for her passion, strong management, and leadership skills and has been credited for gaining high adoption of the Thinking Media tools including over 30 statewide contracts. Sheila has won numerous awards for her Entrepreneurship and Leadership and as a Professional Engineer.
Priya C. Boyington
Marketing Manager, Stitch Fix
Priya is an e-commerce marketer, passionate about the intersection of retail and technology. She currently resides in San Francisco and is a marketing manager for Stitch Fix’s newly launched men’s business and has previous experience at GoldieBlox, Bain & Company, and Fortune 500 companies. A graduate of Girls Preparatory School (GPS) in Chattanooga, she holds a BS in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Georgia Tech and an MBA from The Wharton School.
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Long before The New York Times had its first woman Executive Editor, Ruth Holmberg was the Editor of The Chattanooga Times. Holmberg is a member of the family that founded both newspapers and she has shared her compelling life story as friends and admirers gathered to hear her speak. Holmberg is a former director of The Associated Press and of The New York Times Company, a former president of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and of the Southern Newspaper Publisher Association and a member of the Board of Directors of the Public Education Network (PEN). The petite, soft-voiced woman is also a member of one of the nation’s most prominent publishing families.
Editor’s note: Publishing icon and Chattanooga civic leader Ruth Holmberg passed away at age 96. In her honor, here is the ADR interview with Ms. Holmberg several years ago.
Other than race (black) and gender (female), what else do April Ryan, Maxine Waters, Joy Ann Reid and Angela Rye have in common?
The answer? They’re smart as heck, forceful in expressing their politics and views, and more than able to defend themselves against disrespect. You see, while others (yes, men, this also includes many of you too) sit in silence these powerful women won’t hesitate to hit back despite the potential for being tagged “An Angry Black Woman.” (If you’re unfamiliar with these women Google them before reading further.)
Is women’s history and Women’s History Month still relevant today? Is the need for sisterhood activism over as some say? We look back at the first group to advocate for women’s right to vote nationally and see that it was ultimately successful. The Seneca Falls Woman’s Rights Convention was held long ago in1848. But the words of its organizer Elizabeth Cady Stanton still hold true and yet are still controversial, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal.”
Why bother writing when technology does much of the work for us? Templates plan for us, spell-check edits for us, and there’s enough information online to produce a ocean of plagiarized work. It’s no surprise that technical and business writing skills are becoming lost arts. Yet, successful communication with colleagues, teams, and clients relies heavily on written memos, emails, reports, proposals, and evaluations. Professional development should include the development of writing skills, but rarely does.
Like many of you, it is my practice to prepare for the day with quiet meditation and prayer. It was during such a time that I heard the words ‘you are a woman’ within my spirit. At the time, I had no idea of the relevance of that statement; but thought its interpretation must be a mystery well beyond female gender. Surely, there must be some deep meaning in those words. After all, they came during a time of meditation and prayer. But what could it be and why were those words given in the late summer of 2016? I had no idea, and tucked the words away in my memory to reflect on them at another time.