#YouDo: Why I decided to spend November thanking the women who've inspired me.

Image collage by Good Media Group/Original Images via Sally Susman/LinkedIn

When the #MeToo movement broke just over a year ago, I was gutted.

It was startling to see men I’d admired revealed as predators and heartbreaking to learn of so many women who had suffered unwanted sexual advances and endured harassment in the workplace. I knew how important it was to shine a light on these atrocious acts.

To borrow a phrase, time was up. Kudos to those who stood up and spoke out.


A year on, with stories still unfolding, I decided to test an idea — examine another way to look at the world.

Rather than think about what some men had done to women, I decided to focus on what women have done for themselves, and more specifically, how they have helped me.  

So, for the month of November, I committed to a daily posting under the hashtag #YouDo. I’ve honored women who shined a beacon of goodness, challenged a status quo, inspired us and led by example.  

My first honoree was Susan Desmond-Hellmann whom I know through her previous work in biopharmaceutical research and now as CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. I applauded Sue for her commitment to eradicating disease around the world.

Later in the month, I saluted the poet Mary Oliver. I’ve never met Mary, however, I hear her words every morning as I read one of her poems to remind me of nature’s power to heal and inspire.

The day after the mid-term elections I congratulated Rhode Island’s Governor Gina Raimondo on her reelection. Governor Raimondo is a pragmatic solution seeker, a strong and caring elected official and someone I truly admire.

Every day for the month, I posted a woman’s image with the hashtag #YouDo and referenced her specific acts.

There was no celebrity spokesperson. No advertising support. No public relations blitz. Just a lot of heart and homespun gratefulness.

The results surprised me. Compared to the previous month, viewership of my LinkedIn profile increased by nearly 350% and I gained more than 1,000 new followers. It was a thrill for me to see Billie Jean King and other women I admire engage with #YouDo.  

The effect on my mindset was even greater. My anger and discouragement have tempered. More importantly, I feel a connection to a community at a time when people feel more at odds than ever. In a world where insults dominate, I found the power of gratitude.  

I encourage you to try it. Give kindness a go. Whether under #YouDo, or in your own creative voice, express your thankfulness. #YouDo feel better when you shed a positive light on others.

Sally Susman is the Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Pfizer where she leads reputation management and directs the company’s communications, public affairs and philanthropic activities around the world. Her work takes her from the offices of Pfizer to remote villages in Africa to the corridors of Capitol Hill, and she is motivated by the many different hats she wears – business leader, engaged citizen, and influencer. Sally can be found on LinkedIn and Instagram.

Editor's Note: GOOD Media Group is a paid consultant of Pfizer. This op-ed was produced independent of that partnership.

lop
More
Alie Ward

Your dinner plate shouldn't shame you for eating off of it. But that's exactly what a set being sold at Macy's did.

The retailer has since removed the dinnerware from their concept shop, Story, after facing social media backlash for the "toxic message" they were sending.

The plates, made by Pourtions, have circles on them to indicate what a proper portion should look like, along with "helpful — and hilarious — visual cues" to keep people from "overindulging."

There are serval different styles, with one version labeling the largest portion as "mom jeans," the medium portion as "favorite jeans," and the smallest portion as "skinny jeans."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

In today's installment of the perils of being a woman, a 21-year-old woman shared her experience being "slut-shamed" by her nurse practitioner during a visit to urgent care for an STD check.

The woman recently had sex with someone she had only just met, and it was her first time hooking up with someone she had not "developed deep connections with."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being
Youtube

Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared