Speaker 1: It is a live experience that is really laser focused on creating a space of conversation that will shed light on a wildly sexy collection of equality and diversity issues that are facing our world today. And that are going to be waiting there for our future selves. My name is Marie and all though, I'm the co-founder of @revenue, which is a Chicago based sales and marketing firm. That is not my focus for this podcast. This podcast is for fwdrEvolution, a company that's forged from the social economic and domestic upheaval of 2020. Wasn't that at the light, I am a widowed mom, a CEO, a third grade teacher, a Butler, and a bunch of other that I never signed up for. And I became a fiery ball of feminism. When I started looking into what the female recession was doing and the dumb Surrey that comes with it, the mission of forward revolution is to burn the structure to the ground and grow something wild and wonderful from the scorched earth.

Speaker 1: That is all around us to fight back against the female recession, to empower parents and women, to take control of their lives by creating new and sustainable ways of not only bringing money in, but having a great life with the families that they have. And we don't have to rebuild everything the way things always work were because let's face it, it was broken and we're revolutionaries. But disclaimer, this is a radio, not a radio edit. There is a parental advisory on this podcast because we will be using adult words. I hope you enjoy today. We are,

Speaker 2: Are incredibly blessed to be talking to Kelly Nagel about power, not empowerment. Kelly Nagel is an accomplished nonprofit executive turned political scientist, turned parallel entrepreneur. And after 11 years of leading nonprofit teams and organization, Kelly followed her passions for social justice and international policy. And at the apropos time of January, 2020, she completed her master's degree in political science, United nations and global policy at Rutgers, just the little things she did after COVID forced Kelly to reevaluate her next steps. Didn't we all, she went on to build her own company and has well has co-founded education startup. That is so cool. I can't wait for you guys to hear about it that prepares socially students for, to lead social change. Kelly's the co the founder and chief impact officer of uncharted community and helps executive level women avoid burnout. You know, who you are, and to be strong, successful leaders, both in the workplace and in their own lives. She's also the co-founder of teen think tank project, a student run policy Institute that fosters critical thinking, research techniques and problem solving skills to develop policy frameworks for real life issues and empowers the students to become the future change makers. Kelly, you could not be blessing me more by being the first woman I get to interview. So thank you for being on clutching our pearls. And I would love to start with first of all, did I miss anything in your intro? Cause that was a pretty hot intro.

Speaker 3: Uh, no, I'm still trying to commit it to memory. It all feels so new and happening really fast, but, uh, no, that, that was perfect. And thank you. It's an honor for me to be here in such great company and an amazing uplifting, empowering community. I I'm with my people that this is my comfort zone, so thank you.

Speaker 2: Yeah. And, and I, I appreciate that. We've had a few conversations and we've totally jammed together, but I, I would love to hear from your point of view, just kind of what you're seeing that has changed. So seismically in the past year,

Speaker 3: I, I see positive and negatives. I think one positive is the exact conversation we're having today. We are talking about it. We are not being silent. We're not accepting it. Uh, we are looking for the buzz word. I love that you said sustainable changes, sustainable structure, because what COVID has brought to light is what has always been there, but we haven't really addressed. I, I see policies that put band-aids on certain issues, but what's broken open and COVID is a systemic issue of women's rights. And I know that we really vibed on the conversation of this Xi session, um, and just the alarming Exodus of women from the workforce because of childcare responsibilities or loss of their jobs because of COVID in the economy and layoffs, but it it's, uh, it brings up a bigger issue of financial security and disproportionate pay for women or these culturally constructed and accepted ideas of gender roles within the house.

Speaker 3: And in who I'm going to quote naturally should be exiting the workforce to take care of a family and who should be continuing in, in the role of a breadwinner, which we've seen with this pandemic is primarily the men, even though women make up about 41% of the breadwinning workforce, I'm also going to go a step further into, around that. I studied intensely in my graduate career, which is gender based violence and the domestic abuse issues that have accelerated and increased because of the pandemic and in quarantine and lockdown. So there's a lot of different layers to this conversation, but I think the one that's certainly is in the forefront is the fact that women just got knocked back decades of trying to make progress and climb the corporate ladder and enter the workforce and gain pay parity. Um, and this was a debilitating hit that is not going to be readily fixed in the lastly, as you said, we burn it down and we figured out a sustainable way forward.

Speaker 2: Yeah. And I think, you know, it was, but I get it. Listen, if we're, if we haven't made any strides in pay equality in the past five years and we were still making, what was it? 73 cents on the dollar

Speaker 3: Last I read was 82 cents for white women that changes for women of color. Yeah,

Speaker 2: Of course it makes sense for us to go home. Of course it makes sense for us to be the ones that lose our income and, and have to go back into the roles that we're supposed to play. God bless them. Right.

Speaker 3: I roll.

Speaker 2: And when you repair that with, with things like being mommy tracked and being penalized for taking advantage of all of these, of all of these benefits that were set up to make flexible work-life happen, but the men get lauded for taking the same days off and we can penalize the whole system, simply just get set up to fail. And we've been set up to fail for so incredibly long in your eyes, what is the difference between power and empowerment and how does that connect to this moment in time?

Speaker 3: I'm a big advocate for self empowerment because I think it has to start internally. And I see it actually broken down by gender. I think women need that sense of empowerment to overcome these culturally constructed stereotypes of what a woman should be, what a working woman should be, what a mother should be. Right? So w w whether it's, you should be raising your family or what you see in the media as, as hyper-sexualized version of women, the noise is overwhelming and the criticism doesn't stop no matter which path you think you're following properly, there's always criticism and pushback. So I think it's imperative for women to find that inner strength and that confidence and that conviction to plow through all that noise and create the path that they feel fits best for them. I think on the other side, for men to find empowerment is to be more open-minded about femininity, right?

Speaker 3: And be a support system in that movement forward and understand that when women are not a monolith, that we're not following one template ID idea of how we should be mothers or wives or leaders, politicians, right. It's a collaboration that needs to happen to actually affect change. I think on the power end when you're not self-empowered, and you're not confident you lean on power to get your way. And I, and I think we see that in all the social justice movements that are happening with the black lives matter movement, the rise of white supremacy, it's, it's one group gripping a power because they, they lack that internal self-empowerment to realize it's okay for other groups to rise and prosper and have equal pay or have equal status. Um, and if we can break through that, that need that white knuckling to power, that's keeping us from making change. I think we can start building sustainable frameworks for what will ultimately be a more functional and prosperous society if we're not functioning well in this structure.

Speaker 2: No, and I don't think we weren't functioning well before. And so, like, that was my big kind of awakening moments of saying, okay, if we've, if we've broken this thing apart, and we go back to the way that things always were, they were always broken. They were always set against the minorities and against those of diversity and against those that tried to do anything that was outside of what had been set up by the people that made the rules. And so I started to stomp my feet and get a little angry the way that I do. It's not a bad thing. It's just kind of who I am. So, as you, like, I know that I have a very clear of how I'm going to burn the ship to the ground and change everything, because I'm just done. What do you think are some of the most important things to impact from a policy standpoint? Because that's that, that that's not a place that my brain plays very well it's policy. I just want to be the rebel and change it all and forget about it.

Speaker 3: Well, it goes hand in hand, right? Like we, we need women who are going to advocate for change, who see something's wrong and doesn't keep their mouth shut about it on the policy. And though we need representation and we need diversity to really create good sustainable policy. And what I see in our society right now, and I'm generalizing, right? I mean, women made incredible strides in, in the last several elections, you know, more representation in Congress. And we've had far more than the democratic side and the Republican side, but there were female Republicans elected to Congress. This last cycle, we need the people at the table with the voices to give the proper input and feedback to really create the policy and not to hate on men. But so many times women's policies are created by men and you, and even if you are open-minded open-hearted, you really can't appreciate the woman's experience.

Speaker 3: If you're not a woman, you cannot appreciate a black person to experience if you're not black. And so we're moving in a direction, but I don't think fast enough and well enough where there is diversity at the table in building policy, we to do more. So, more voices are included to put policy together. That impacts them. There's a number of bear hairs from where we get here to there, to what I just described. And part of it is one, like I mentioned, women are in a monolith. There is not one definitive definition of feminism. The one that exists, I would argue is really constructed on a white woman in an upper middle class, white woman's definition of feminism. Um, but women are on different sides of the aisle.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Say that again, whatever could you mean?

Speaker 3: Right. So we have to be diverse within the group of women, figuring out what feminism looks like, inequality, advancement looks like, but then also women are in different sides of the aisle. You have Republican women and democratic women. They have different values. They see different roles for women. They hold different issues at a higher importance than a conflicting importance. So that's kind of a challenge that we need to overcome just within the group of women. Before then we, we take on the larger policy when we have the barriers of different genders, seeing different views, corporate barriers, other governmental barriers, but we need more women in power to run and raise their voice and be in government and push for these conversations to develop meaningful policy. Now everyone can be empowered and emotionally stable and mentally healthy in politics. Maybe we could all work together a little bit more and further policy, but that's a different podcast

Speaker 2: That is a different podcast. And I think, you know, one of the things that really struck me when we, when we were talking about the topic of empowered versus just having power is being empowered really, to me, insinuates that somebody has to bestow it upon you. And I don't know I was born broken in so many fantastic ways, but I always just kind of had this rock confidence where if I wanted something, I just went out and did it. I didn't, while I was a good kid, don't ask my mom most of the time, if I wanted to do something, I didn't think about asking permission. And it was usually for the greater good, but when I hear all of these women's organizations talking about being empowered and, and that, that concept that we have, that there's a finite amount of power in this world.

Speaker 2: And like you said, at the beginning that we have to take it away from somebody else in order for it to be bestowed or transposed in any way is such ranging. And it puts me in this place of, you know, there was just the article that came out in times last week, there was the, um, the new segments on NBC. And I feel like we're sitting around waiting for somebody else to acknowledge what the hell is happening. And that to me is a blood boiler. If we, as a collective with all of our different, beautiful, diverse pieces come together, what is the fastest way for us to make, to make impact? Is it sharing our stories? Is it making sure that we've got, of course those people in government that are they're writing policies and do we need to start a grassroots movement or do we need to start from the top and push down?

Speaker 3: Those are really good questions. I, I think it's both, it's a grassroots and a top-down level, but there's a lot of power at the local level. And I think as, as a society, we've become more aware of politics and elections, especially the last election and even the one before that. But I think sometimes people forget or don't realize the power of local and calling up your local legislators, calling up your senators and congressmen and telling them why you were upset and what changes you need to see. And sometimes maybe we feel that politics in Washington is way too far removed for us to really have an impact. But we do have a voice. I mean, that's the beauty of democracy. It's a beauty of electing our own officials. So reaching out to our local representatives and sharing whether it's individually or a collective group, your dissatisfaction with the way things are and what you want to see will hopefully move that person that direction, because now he's representing he, or she's representing you as, as the elected official, also more women running for government.

Speaker 3: It, it seems intimidating, um, through my work with the teen think tank, I spoke to a political scientist who works for the Eagleton Institute, focused on women in politics at my Alma mater records. Um, and, and she talked about how there, there is an intimidation factor for women running for politics, but there are a lot of different ways that women can get gauged. And one of the interesting things is women tend to get engaged in politics as reaction to something they're upset about, and they want to change it. I'm not going to assume to know the list of the motivators for men, but that didn't really come up in a motivating factor or a very distinct motivating factor for men running for office. But women tend to get enraged like yourself about what's going on and saying, man, I'm going to roll up my sleeves and I'm going to fix this so we can get more women into those positions.

Speaker 3: We can see change. Now, here's, here's a little bit of caveat coming back to what we're talking about in terms of this shoe session. You need money to run, maybe not individually, but you need to raise money. Women as we're coming up in higher salaries and larger positions, we're becoming more able to fund the elections that we want, the parties and the candidates that we want, but we also need to have that parallel advancement in the financial sector and in financial security to be able to then support the candidates that represent us in that we want to see. So again, we're coming back, it's all, all connected. You can't really parse out one topic and solve it. Um, so anyway, to go back to entering your question, I think local level, yes, it is important for us to raise our voices. We have a voice on the local level, um, but also the work that you're doing

Speaker 2: With, you know, at revolution with other women that you're working with with a number of other groups, focused on empowering women and supporting women to come together and really push at that national level and show that we need change. I mean, I, I know that countries where women are involved in the economy where women are lifted up, or women are part of the government, a stronger economy, 10 have more sustainable peace who doesn't want that. That said women belong in all the places where decisions are being made. It shouldn't be that women are my favorite lady.

Speaker 2: And it's, it's so funny that there are some things that seem insurmountable in the moment. There are some things that seem reactionary when we get mad enough, but we are not the first ones fighting this fight. There are trails of success that we can follow. And I know that, you know, as I take a deep breath after this interview and absorb all of the things that have happened here today, the first thing I'm going to do is go out and start talking to my local government because I went out and met my alderman. I met, not met my state rep because they're now in the block, but I never thought of going bigger than that because I've always been, you know, focused on running my business more than being in that political sphere. And I think that now it's my responsibility to educate myself as to what has not been happening and what more I could be doing. But I do want to just say thank you for bringing a level of brilliance and confidence to this conversation that is remarkable. And I also want to thank all of our incredibly good looking and intelligent followers and listeners. Everything has changed from the past 18 years.

Speaker 1: Nature moves in patterns of destruction and creation. And so does our society. So we're putting down roots and we're growing. And we are the loud, brash voice that demands a space at the table and a frickin throne. If we're in the mood for it, this is the fuel to upset the status quo. We're not disposable workers, we're not disposable human beings. We are not something that can be a side note in history. We are the logistical contortionists who earn money, educate our children, keep our families healthy during a pandemic. And don't beat people on a constant basis when we probably should do that. But we're also those that have been from the traditional workforce and I've had to make our own way and our own living. And we are those that have been marginalized and other in mainstream America, we're the square pegs in America's Brown bowl.

Speaker 1: We are the mothers and the others. So I'm going to ask for your help, who do you know that fits this vision? Who is that person that has been pushed out of their career, or that is ready to be one of those loud Rassie broads that we need upstreaming on the hilltops or connecting us to politicians or money so that we can make a difference because we've got a spot for you. And trust me, I always have a plan. This podcast and the revolution are parts of not only my dream, but the culmination of why of my bigger, why I know that deep in my soul, what we do in the revolution is going to change the world forever. So I am going to ask the, take a moment, go to forward revolution, which is FWD revolution.com and follow us on all the socials. You know, we'll get them out to you, sign up to be a revolutionary.

Speaker 1: We've got resources for you that are going to blow your minds as well as money and choices, which equal power take action. Join us. You can't spell momentum without M O M. Thank you so much. We're going to make sure that you get Kelly's information as well, because you need to be following her for think tank project is going to change the world. And I cannot wait to see the brilliance that comes out of it. And the grace and fortitude with which she has put together. This program is going to change lives and make those tiny humans that we wonder if they were ever going to stop being gross teenagers, turn into beautiful parts of our society. By the way, if you are a teenager, realize that you look like a basket of puppies and you're adorable all the time. Stop worrying about the way you go. My name is Marie and the founder of forward revolution. Thank you for listening to clutching our pearls. Let's go serve some [inaudible]

Speaker 4: [inaudible].