February 20, 2012

A "Sneak Peek" of Thursday's Chrysalis Conversations Talk

We are looking forward to hosting renowned author Sally Helgesen for the first of three Chrysalis Conversations this week.

You might be interested in Helgesen’s perspective on the evolution of women’s leadership initiatives, which she shared in a blog last spring.

STAGE 1:  Though the 1990s, companies were focused on attracting high quality women.  Experts believed that women’s leadership was a pipeline issue – hiring high quality women now would yield in high quality of women’s leadership in the future.  In other words, as long as the company created women employee’s perception of a “good work environment,” the issue of women’s leadership would take care of itself.

STAGE 2:  From the late 90’s to about 2009, corporations began to focus on retention, rather than attraction, as experts began to realize that just hiring women wasn’t enough.  Many companies were fulfilling parity (50/50 gender balance), but 50% of the women were still not making it to the executive suite, which became known as the “female brain drain.”  Women were leaving their positions due to difficult cultures in their offices, seeking work that was more personally rewarding – where they could control the pace and create rewarding relationships with peers and clients.

STAGE 3:  By 2009, companies were finally realizing they needed to stop wasting talent and resources.  Instead of just focusing on retention, companies are determining ways to integrate women’s initiatives into long-term corporate goals, looking at what women can provide that will help assure the company achieves its goals.

Helgesen opines that the drive for this corporate motivation comes from a very powerful source: customers and clients.  “More and more people in client leadership positions come from different backgrounds, and this is not going to change,” she states.  If the corporate culture doesn’t change, clients may make difference choices that mirror their own leadership or experience.

This is just a snapshot of the powerful messages we’ll hear at next Thursday’s Chrysalis Conversations and  mirrors the message that Chrysalis sends – women play a key role in assuring corporate and client success, improving the “bottom line,” and that corporate and public leadership needs to refocus efforts on developing talented women.

February 17, 2012

Chrysalis Executive Director Authors Guest Opinion for Des Moines Business Record

GUEST OPINION: 'The female vision' in the workplace

By Terry Hernandez

Women view life differently than men. No surprise, yet often we try to assimilate not only our views, but our behaviors and practices as well – particularly in the workplace.

At Chrysalis, this is a notion we work to dispel, supporting the belief that women are a powerful force in business at every level and bring an advantage to offices and corporations embracing their leadership.

Executive leadership coach and author Sally Helgesen has a keen perspective on what benefits women offer in the workplace. Her new book, “The Female Vision,” and her popular best seller, “The Female Advantage” (co-authored with Julie Johnson), suggest that women must learn to take initiative on their vision. Find allies, remain present, set boundaries – these and other strategies can create conditions for success, in business and in life.

Helgesen’s work points to three elements of “the female vision” that truly advance corporate success:

• Women’s capacity for broad-spectrum “noticing” widens the scope of information available to organizations and provides vital clues about relationships, shifting markets and potential conflicts.

• Women’s focus on the quality of day-to-day experience, rather than abstract measures of achievement, provides a way to restore balance to a 24/7 workplace where stress is routine.

• Women’s view of work in a larger social context offers a powerful means for moving beyond “game” metaphors (fight, win or lose, etc.) to engage motivation at a profound level.

For Chrysalis, female leadership is a priority flowing through our community grant awards, after-school programs and educational offerings. We believe that women intrinsically view the world as relationship-oriented, and we value our relationship with individuals throughout the community.

For this reason, we’ve created a new series of “conversations” with remarkable women experts to be kicked off the evening of Thursday, Feb. 23, at the State Historical Building.

“The Wisdom of Leadership” is the theme for Chrysalis Conversations 2012, featuring Helgesen on Feb. 23, global authority on human behavior Margaret Wheatly on April 18 and leadership and “sage-ing” expert Jann Freed on May 24.

Each will deliver a keynote message and host follow-up discussions with our guests.

Information and tickets are available by calling Chrysalis at (515) 255-1853 or online at www.chrysalisconversations2012.eventbrite.com

Chrysalis is a 23-year-old public charity supporting economic security and leadership for girls and women in Polk, Warren and Dallas counties in Central Iowa.

Terry Hernandez is the executive director of Chrysalis. She can be contacted at thernandez@chrysalisfdn.org

Read more: http://www.businessrecord.com/main.asp?Search=1&ArticleID=16523&SectionID=50&SubSectionID=276&S=1#ixzz1mezTM6Zj

February 13, 2012

How do Women Prepare Successfully for Corporate Leadership?

An article by Erica Dhawan in this week’s FORBES Magazine pointed out an interesting issue about the way business schools prepare students for corporate leadership – in particular, the way women students are prepared.  The article suggests that this issue may provide insight on how women advance (or don’t) in the corporate world.

The issue?  According to Dhawan, business schools generally prepare students – female and male – to become employees, and not citizens with complex lives in which careers play a major role.  This presents a difficult challenge especially to women, who often feel that the trade-off between a family life and career success must be “overcome” rather than navigated.

The last frontier for women’s advancement at work is understanding how men and women re-define roles at home,” says Anne Weisberg, head of Diversity at Blackrock, a global financial management firm and author…She emphasizes that MBAs should be discussing life and home issues as part of the planning of work at the business school level.

Beyond these future concerns, business school environments themselves may present additional obstacles to women, related to age, school population, and role models.   MIT Dean David Schmittlein reports that “On average, women are younger than men in the top 10 MBA programs…which may lead to a negative perception of their experience in the business school environment.”  He cites research indicating that women aren’t asked to participate as often as men in the classroom setting – and when they are, other students are less inclined to build on their comments.  There is also a lack of female professors at business schools, so the opportunity for a role model is limited.

Women more often volunteer for lower-level roles in the classroom as well – note-takers, creating meeting agendas, or making meeting arrangements.  A study by Professor Anne Huff entitled “Wives of the Organizations” underscores this behavior:

The traditional male/female dynamic is deeply rooted in the childhood experiences many of us share, but it is reinforced by the growing needs of organizations for relational skills.  Almost all the female professionals I know are overly committed to time consuming but often unnoticed and unrewarded aspects of organizational life.  Just as we are shedding traditional ‘wifely’ roles in the home, we are rapidly assuming them in the work place, especially in the professional ranks. 

The results seem obvious, as reported by Harvard Kennedy School (Professors Barbara Kellerman and Deborah Rhode, authors of Women and Leadership: State of Play and Strategies for Change):

One in three women with MBAs are not working full time, compared with one in twenty men.  A large portion of these women want to return to work, yet generally do not without significant career costs and difficulties.

Dhawan concludes that women’s advancement at work depends on an understanding that women and men need to re-define their roles at home – which begins in the MBA classroom – in addition to discussing life, home, and family issues as part of a life-career planning curriculum.

For Chrysalis, this redefinition begins much earlier – in the elementary and middle school environment – through Chrysalis After-School programs.  Understanding gender differences – and not as “inequities” – prepares girls to navigate the world with strength, resilience, and positive prospects for their future.   

February 8, 2012

Chrysalis After-School Program Update: Wonder Girlz

An excerpt from Children and Family Urban Ministries Newsletter highlighting the Chrysalis After-School Program: Wonder Girlz


Since last we checked in with the Wonder Girlz (the girlz that "put the wonder in wonderful" according to Wonder Girl Naria) they were just getting started on their program year. My how the year has taken off! November was "Me" Month. The girlz wrote poems about themselves, determined what kind of friends they were and hoped to attract, worked on friendship skills, and made gifts for themselves. In December the focus shifted to what they can contribute to the lives of others and cultivating the spirit of giving. Value-added guest Miriam Dunlap not only shared her own experiences of contributing to the larger community, but helped the girlz make lovely beaded bookmarks to give as gifts.   The girlz took another session in December to choose and wrap gifts for children who spend time in childcare at the YMCA. The girlz were so busy doing for others they skipped having a holiday party-deciding to do their partying in January.

But January was more about learning and thinking and serving than partying! The Wonder Girlz watched a film about Chinese girls who created a language that to date is the only language known to ever exist exclusively for girls! They spent the afternoon of Martin
Luther King Jr. Day participating in a city-wide service experience (along with the Backyard Boyz) and discovered the activities not only helped someone else but made them feel pretty good as well. The learning and thinking continued with science activities related to everyday life-helping the girlz to realize that science is everywhere!

In their free time (what free time?!) the Wonder Girlz are designing their own hoodies, anticipating some field experiences related to job quests, planning an evening retreat, and a day trip to Wildwood Ranch.

If you would like to get involved with the Wonder Girlz, volunteers are needed for transportation and donations are needed-small gifts and movie tickets for prizes, healthy and tasty snacks for the retreat. Please contact Dawn Narcisse at dawntnarcisse@aol.com or 515.771.0897

February 7, 2012

Chrysalis Programs Highlighted in Iowa Afterschool Alliance Publications

Chrysalis is honored to be highlighted in two of the Iowa Afterschool Alliance Policy Publications this Winter!

  • Chrysalis After-School Science Girls was featured as a Science-Technology-Engineering-and Math Innovation
  • The Whyld Girls (a Chrysalis After-School program) was featured as an innovative Summer Literacy Leader

February 5, 2012

New Event to Benefit Chrysalis Announced!



Enjoy hors d'oeuvres, wine tasting, and shopping with an array of local vendors!

Saturday, March 10, 2012
Windsor Heights Community Center
1:30 - 4:30 pm

Registration: $20

Parking: free parking West of the venue

Raffle tickets available for purchase the day of the event for door prizes

Bring your business cards and take advantage of this
great networking opportunity!

Bridgestone America's Tire Operation Ag Division
Marine Corps League Auxiliary

Proceeds of this event will benefit local girl's and women through chrysalis

Chrysalis Foundation is a non profit organization dedicated to increasing resources and opportunities for girls and women in Polk, Warren, Dallas Counties in Central Iowa.

Youth and Violence: The Role of Video Games and Technology

Last week Chrysalis staff was invited to attend a conference on youth and violence at Mercy Medical Center, which is working with a community coalition (including Chrysalis) to reduce violence in women ages 12-24.

Prior to the coalition meeting, we were invited to listen to a Mercy children’s psychiatrist, whose presentation on youth and the media was frightening.  Among the points he made about the effects of today’s media were:

×          Four-year-old children who watched just 9 minutes of a fast-paced cartoon (such as SpongeBob) performed worse on attention and problem-solving puzzles for hours after the viewing, and lost up to ½ their capacity in “executive functioning” tasks over this period.

×          75% of young boys playing 90 minutes of video games daily exhibited a marked increase in aggression, lack of empathy, and violent tendencies.

×          For 18-29 year-olds exposed to 10 hours of violent video games per week, there was a significant loss of brain activity in attention, inhibition, and decision-making.  Their reading and academic performance is poor, and the video games result in youth role-play as a “rehearsal” for future violence.

×          Kids watching violent videos and television become desensitized to pain and violence, have nightmares and sleep disorders, have poor or no social skills, are more aggressive, have more physical fights, and are more likely to be obese.

There is even a new diagnostic tag known as “Facebook depression,” caused by experiences on Facebook such as bullying (such as posting demeaning photos or derogatory messages) and loss of self self-worth because one has fewer “friends” or “likes” than their peers.

, researchers at Stanford University reviewed an online survey taken by over 3,400 8- to 12-year-old girls and found:

Those who say they spend considerable amounts of time using multimedia describe themselves in ways that suggest they are less happy and less socially comfortable than peers who say they spend less time on screens.

The researchers suggest that girls (boys were not included in the survey) “need to experience the full pantheon of communication that comes from face-to-face contact, such as learning to read body language, and subtle facial and verbal cues.” The more media use of any kind, the less time for real-world interaction — and face-to-face contact was strongly associated with feeling good about social connections.  Boiled down to its simplest result, this survey reveals that the more time 8- to 12-year-old girls say they spend online, the less happy they are.

What the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends is this:
1.        no more than 1-2 hours of “media time” (television, internet, videogames, etc.) for children daily
2.       no television in children’s bedrooms
3.       no television for children under 2 years old
4.      parents watch television with their children, select programs, and talk about what they see

While this may seem impossible, what is possible is to encourage children and youth to spend time reading, playing outdoors, journaling, or participating in sports.  What is possible is providing quality experiences for youth to talk with adults, share with each other, learn to express feelings, make social connections, and give and receive support from their friends.  What is possible is to continue to provide Chrysalis After-School programs to hundreds of 9-14 year-old girls every year, where we deliver these quality experiences.

February 1, 2012

Financial Literacy: Common Mistakes for All

…so you think you know everything about your money?  Financial experts with LearnVest (an online personal financial information site) will disagree.  They recently shared some of the common money misconceptions we have that may be very expensive:

Unless we’ve saved 8 to 12 times what we make in one year, we won’t be able to maintain our lifestyle in retirement, reports Capital Financial Advisory Group.

Regardless of our economic times, most people want to believe their home is worth more than the current market.  And the trend for decreasing values is expected to continue, at least for a while:  According to Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries, “… look for 2012 to be a transitional year in which home values fall modestly followed by a prolonged period of flat home values. We’re still three to five years away from ‘normal’ housing market conditions.”

Families underestimate their eligibility for financial needs-based aid, report financial aid websites Fastweb.com and FinAid.org.  Parents with several children in college are likely to qualify for more financial aid if they have more than one student.  Here’s a great link for more information:  http://www.mainstreet.com/slideshow/moneyinvesting/education-planning/11-tips-mastering-fafsa

“We have found that consumers will often overestimate the value of their vehicle,” says Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst of Kelley Blue Book. “Only 3% of all used vehicles are estimated to be in excellent condition,” yet 1/3 of the website’s visitors believe their car’s condition is “excellent.”  Even with all the bells and whistles, Gutierrez advises to expect to lose at least 50% of the value in just a few years.

Experts suggest having 8 to 10 times your annual salary in life insurance.  And most advise looking at a universal policy as the best form – premiums are paid into the account value and earn interest over time.  Policy rates don’t increase as long as you keep premiums up to date, at you can take loans or withdraw from the account.

For information on charity contributions, medical and dental costs, employee business expense, and other tips, check this website:  http://www.mainstreet.com/slideshow/moneyinvesting/taxes/10-tax-deductions-squeeze-2012

Every adult needs one – and many don’t.  You need to be certain your assets go the right places, even to charity, don’t procrastinate.

You may think that paying off your card balance each month guarantees a high score, but that’s not necessarily true.  It’s also advised not to spend more than 30% of your credit limit, as this can also affect your score.

“According to the Department of Labor, 401(k) fees generally fall into three categories: administration fees, which fund day-to-day administrative services such as recordkeeping, accounting, legal and trustee services; fees for investment management and other investment-related services; and individual service fees, which are associated with optional features under a 401(k) plan, such as taking out a loan from the plan,” says Andrew Meadows of The Online 401K.  The good news is that, beginning this April, fees must be disclosed on all plan statements.

There are plenty of informational websites and many experts to check with (including many Chrysalis Board members), so keep yourself educated.

For Chrysalis, our work is to teach girls and women the basics of finance and money, and to assure they are prepared to earn, save, and invest for their own futures…so you might forward this message to a woman you know, and invite her to learn with you at Chrysalis educational programs.

Don’t forget to make your reservation for Chrysalis Conversations, kicking off on February 23 with author and women’s leadership expert Sally Helgesen: http://chrysalisconversations2012.eventbrite.com/ (forward this link to your friends as well!) –

Photos from Drake Event Celebrating the Anniversary of Title IV and Women's Basketball Game