HiPower is in its 7th year and now has over 80 executive women in our combined programs. Each year we channel our inner startup and experiment with new ideas for our community. We continuously shed ideas that don’t work for our membership and invest in those that do.
Our latest experiment is a collaboration with The OpEd Project. A social venture founded to empower new voices to participate in today’s important conversations through publication, The OpEd Project works to increase the number of women thought leaders contributing to key commentary forums.
Hipower’s collaboration with The OpEd Project began when one of our executive members, Delida Costin, General Counsel at Grove Collaborative, read a letter in The New York Times from Kimberly Probolus, a Ph.D. candidate who was troubled by the low numbers of women submitting letters to the editor. The New York Times Letters Editor and Staff Editor responded by saying “Please Write To Us”.
The fact is that 85% of OpEds in today’s most influential publications are written by men. The reason - according to The OpEd Project - is that 85% of people pitching OpEd pieces are men. Delida recalled The OpEd Project sharing this statistic and decided that HiPower + The OpEd Project = a response to the NewYork Times Letters Editor!
So on a sunny Friday morning in Menlo Park, California (the center of monetary power in the Bay Area), 16 of us (mostly HiPower members, but also a few of our teenage kids, and a couple of special friends) got together to take the next big step in making our voices heard - by learning how to write an effective op-ed.
Katie Orenstein, founder of The OpEd Project, kicked off the workshop with this powerful statement:
“Women already know how to write - we just need to learn how to ‘write to change the world.’”
In 36 hours, our group of 16 went from believing we had very little to say, to truly understanding the deep expertise we had in the room - expertise ranging from bringing symphonic music to diverse communities, to the challenges of succeeding in the corporate world with PTSD. Katie helped us embrace our expertise and build out an opinion piece from it.
Most importantly we confronted the truth that “the story we tell becomes the world we live in”. We now have the means to answer the call of citizenship, to meet the obligation to participate in public discourse.
It has been a week since we brought HiPower and The OpEd Project together. One of us has already submitted her first OpEd! Our goal is that all of us do the same within the month.
And thinking even bigger, HiPower and The OpEd Project are working on deeper collaboration to bring all future HiPower executive members into the work that Katie and her team are doing. We’re dedicated to helping the Project reach one of its many ambitious goals - getting 15,000 more women to pitch an op-ed piece each year in the United States, starting today.
In its simplest form, Hipower’s mission is to magnify the strong voices of professional executive-level women. But like everything in our world today, the simplest form misses out on the beauty of complexity in the tribe we are building. Defining that complexity is for another day.