Manbassadors, #FemTechLeaders & Wisdom from Generation Z

Manbassadors are magical creatures. I met one this week, probably in one of the best places a sighting can happen: at a FemTechLeaders meetup in New York.

Actually, I spotted several amongst the audience, they were already familiar friends. But there was a new one, and just like that, he made our evening discussing how to enlist Manbassadors in promoting diversity simply magical.

Meet the Manbassador Magician: Claude Goetz, Partner at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP and the Chair of their Financial Services Practice.

Let me set the stage for you, to show you just how Claude practices his magic.

One of the key cruxes in getting an organization to embrace diversity is enlisting men to the cause. It’s obvious why, since they’re usually the ones with the power to adopt new policies or approve changes in the practice. We all get the WHY, it’s the how, the who, and the where that were up for debate.

We actually tackled the HOW on Tuesday night, as some 40 of us gathered to discuss Manbassador recruitment and enlistment tactics.

From focusing on the self-interest of the men we need to recruit, to clearly defining the value proposition of diversity to the organization or business, to being transparent about our own motivations as women to enlist our cohort male counterparts and executives – we covered a lot that evening. What struck me most, though, was the guiding principle of empathy that was foundational in every single tactic. Every. Single. One.

Empathy.

Can you guess who made that point mostly clearly and poignantly? Our 13-year-old Gen Z member: Mariko Goetz, Claude’s daughter.

Our discussion was more philosophical than practical. Stands to reason when we realize that Diversity (with a big D) is a value, a principle, not a game or a strategy or even merely a program.

Diversity is a value system, an ethos, a guiding principle, and its tenants are comprised of other values: openness, respect, candor, curiosity, and most importantly, empathy.

And that point was driven home by Mari, as she gamely stood up in front of a room of rather intimidating adults to answer the most interesting question of the night, a question from her father: what is the highest form of service?

I witnessed this guileless, innocent, shy young woman teach a profound lesson. As Mari spoke about her experiences in school, specifically in band try outs, she emphasized how important it was to her to put herself in someone else’s shoes to consider their perspective, understand their perception of a situation, to take a moment to consider how someone else might feel in that instant, and to bring empathy to those interactions.

I watched the audience still for a moment, as the wisdom Mari shared sunk in. This strong young woman shifted the energy in that room, and lead our discussion in a different direction with one word: Empathy.

How magical it was to watch one of the tactics of engagement we discussed – Make It Personal for Men – in practice right in front of us as Claude in his role as father saw his daughter’s power on full display, how important it is for her to live in a world where that power can uplift others. There’s no way of knowing exactly what he thought in that moment, but from the look on Claude’s face of pride, respect, and love, it is safe to assume that he reaffirmed his commitment to making a world where Mari has the opportunity to raise her voice, make a change, and bring compassion and empathy to those around her, a world where Diversity is a guiding value.

And that’s what makes Claude a Manbassador Magician. Together with his wife, another powerhouse attorney, Sara, Claude conscientiously chooses to practice empathy, compassion, and respect and they teach those same values to Mari. Claude also leads by example in his professional life. He is an advocate for diversity, and puts it in practice at DWT. The team he leads is full of powerful women, and he empowers, supports, encourages and promotes them because he know the value of their diverse experience and perspective.

And we women who know Claude say he is our ally. He is our Manbassador. He is a FemTechLeader.

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