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Interview: KOKH Fox 25

Jasmine Anderson:
Well, today is Equal Pay Day. March 24th symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earn in the previous year. One local organization is raising awareness and advocating for women professionals. Joining us this morning is LeadHERboard CEO, Shannon Rich. Good morning.

Shannon Rich:
Good morning.

Jasmine Anderson:
Thank you so much for being here. We really, really appreciate you. As you know, women earn less on average than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay, and then we know the wage gap is even greater for women of color. How is your organization leading the charge to reverse this norm?

Shannon Rich:
Yeah, thank you so much. It’s not the cure to cancer, right? It’s just math. I mean, women should make the same for the same work. At LeadHERboard, we’re an online tool that provides a direct link to women service providers. When people say, “Oh, it’s really hard to find a woman,” because we hear that a lot, “Oh, I just couldn’t find a woman that I needed in that field,” in fairness, it can be difficult. That’s what I learned when I was trying to find a woman dentist, it’s difficult to really drill down into those professions. We have found the best women. They’ve been nominated by the communities they live in, they’ve been voted on and vetted by their governing agencies and their better business bureaus, and we’re providing that tool to make it easy and eliminate excuses.

Jasmine Anderson:
You know women include 50% of the workplace with only 26% in management positions, and you’ve just mentioned how you’ve created a way to help companies find qualified professionals in these male-dominant industries. How have women been able to benefit from this website, this tool that you have created?

Shannon Rich:
Well, you know what’s interesting is I’ve heard from every facet, women in different stages of their life or women who are maybe in their fifties, who this has given them a second breath of the fresh air, another start to say, “Hey, I want to learn more about my online profile. I want to learn more about how people are finding me to ramp up my business.” Then for women that have children at home and maybe they’re were sandwiched in between taking care of an elderly parent, trying to do everything, this has allowed them a tool to be more flexible so they can talk to their clients online. It’s helped women be talked about for a partner for the first time. I’ve had women send me books and thank you notes. Frankly, women don’t like talking about themselves. One thing has done is provided a conduit for people to say, “Hey, our community thinks I’m one of the best,” and that’s great for the firm, right? It’s great for the organization, as well as the woman.

Jasmine Anderson:
Yeah, this is all great information. We know it’s equal pay day, so really quickly, what can women do right now in their current work environments to make sure that they are fairly compensated?

Shannon Rich:
Well, one thing for sure is to negotiate, to ask for the money. I’m wearing green today. The titles are great, the flexibility is great, but show me the money. Make sure that you’re educated on what your comp set is, what people who do what you do in your area make, and make sure that you’re asking for that amount of money. Make sure whenever you’re going to use a provider, make sure that you’re asking for a woman. Make sure that as you go to hire an attorney, does that firm have a diversity play? Do they have women in the C-suite? Do they value that role? Those are things that you can do, everybody, whether you’re a CEO or a hiring manager or just an individual, when you’re hiring your CPA, when you’re hiring anyone, make sure that you’re asking for women, include them in the interview process. That’s the only way we’re going to change the conversation.

Jasmine Anderson:
Yeah, all great information. Shannon Rich, thank you so much for pushing to make sure every woman has a seat at the table.

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