2 years in, and she hasn't gotten a raise. This open letter will tell you why.

Dear manager,

We need to talk about her. You probably know who. That analyst, designer, writer, engineer who has been at the organization for just a year or two and is already doing the work of someone several levels above her current pay band.

Or maybe she’s not even on your radar because she’s the dependable one who always delivers on time and under budget without any drama.


Despite this woman’s outstanding contributions, you haven’t promoted her or given her a raise. It’s not fair, and you know it.

Maybe you think she has to wait her turn or brush up on her soft skills and work better with others or that she simply needs more experience. But all of those things also applied to the many talented men who have rapidly advanced through the ranks of your organization.

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They had somehow not been beholden to the same constraints of "promotions are given every three years" or "but what if so-and-so gets upset that they didn’t get a raise too?"

You’ve talked a big talk about mentoring and development opportunities, but when push comes to shove, you give her the less glamorous work, the "maybe next time" speech, the completed plan decided in a separate meeting without her because it was just easier and perhaps you think she won’t make as much of a fuss about it.

Maybe you even think you’re getting away with it because she says "fine" and does a great job anyway. But do you really think that there’s no resentment in that moment? No disappointment that’s stacked on top of other disappointments that she quietly suffers? Not to mention the occasional leer, dick joke, and unwanted touching she deals with as just the day-to-day life of a woman who is killing it in a company run by men?

She’s no fool. She’s taking classes outside of work, maybe with company support but often paid out of her own pocket. She’s got side projects where she’s developing new skills and learning how to lead because outside the company walls, there’s no one who can hold her back.

Image via iStock.

She’s got a network, and she knows what her friends at other companies make, and she has thought about what she might do if her paycheck were 20%, 30%, or 50% bigger.

It’s not too late. You can still turn this around. But you’ll have to move fast.

Back up her decisions, especially when they are right but politically uncomfortable. Get her in front of senior leadership and show off her work. Give her a real challenge and the authority and space to operate. Show her how she can do better next time when she makes a mistake instead of just being annoyed. And pay her what she’s worth with a title to match. After all, she’s grown more in the last six months than some of your team have grown in the last six years.

Do these things, and she’ll respect you and keep doing a great job. Her dedication and ingenuity will pay off in dividends for your product, your team, and your performance indicators  — making you look like a star in front of your boss and your clients.

Fail to do these things, and she will leave, probably after a big project wraps up because even in the end, she’s still responsible.

She’ll take a better role at a new organization, where she hopes to have a manager who will appreciate what she brings to the table — or maybe start her own company.

Image via iStock.

You’ll then have to write a job description, realize she was doing three people’s jobs, and spend six months interviewing candidates, hoping to find someone as good as she was only to discover that no one will accept a job at the salary you were paying her. And even after you finally hire her replacement(s), you’ll still have to spend months getting them up to speed so that they, cross your fingers, might do as good a job as she did.

But all that hasn’t happened yet. You still have time to make it right. So make it right.

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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

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The 1776 Report isn't just bad, it's historically bad, in every way possible.

When journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones published her Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project for The New York Times, some backlash was inevitable. Instead of telling the story of America's creation through the eyes of the colonial architects of our system of government, Hannah-Jones retold it through the eyes of the enslaved Africans who were forced to help build the nation without reaping the benefits of democracy. Though a couple of historical inaccuracies have had to be clarified and corrected, the 1619 Project is groundbreaking, in that it helps give voice to a history that has long been overlooked and underrepresented in our education system.

The 1776 Report, in turn, is a blaring call to return to the whitewashed curriculums that silence that voice.

In September of last year, President Trump blasted the 1619 Project, which he called "toxic propaganda" and "ideological poison" that "will destroy our country." He subsequently created a commission to tell the story of America's founding the way he wanted it told—in the form of a "patriotic education" with all of the dog whistles that that phrase entails.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.