On Saturday April 18th 25 women got together in what I feel was the perfect incubator setting to activate and grow the female voice for more mindful mobility. The brainchild of hosts Daniella Alcedo and Maria Sipin, and funded by a grant from the League of American Bicyclists Women Bike program (which was a boon to be sure, but to be fair this was mostly an intense labor of love from our hosts), the Women Bike Women Lead summit was the end cap of what started with two all female group bike rides in different areas of L.A.
To get a taste of the synergy that came together for the summit take a look at it through Storify: https://storify.com/lacbc/women-bike-women-lead-summit or follow it on Twitter with #womenbikewomenlead.
Held at the beautiful California Endowment offices right across the street from L.A.'s historic Union Station, it was not a day of just sitting and listening to "experts." It was a day of sharing, participating and brainstorming from the heart about the particular challenges women and other members of society who haven't really had a voice face everyday when figuring out how best to get around sans car. For many of us it isn't a choice, it's our reality.
I'm bummed that the end of a migraine and a bus detour on the blue line kept me from being able to participate in the full day. I'm honored Kellie Morris and I were invited to present on Media, Marketing and Storytelling and to be part of this really special day. It was one of the best presentations we've given and we like the topic so much we're going to create it as an audio podcast. It's also the prettiest powerpoint I've ever put together.
So here's what I've come away with after much reflection. We need more safe intimate spaces like Women Bikes Women Lead to prepare, share and hone our best presentation skills and best stories for the broader world. It's time to get ready to shine. We need more focused events like Women Bike Women Lead to identify, train and support our next generation of female leaders in mindful mobility - most often they will be young women, but occasionally they'll be middle age and senior women ready to enter a new field, or move from volunteer to paid staff member. I hope we can host one here in Long Beach in August. Take a look at the look at the program Daniella and Maria put together. multicultimobility.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/WomenBikeWomenLead_Program.pdf
Here's what I've learned in thirty years of working - men can and will be our allies, mentors and sponsors. I have never had the privilege of a female mentor or sponsor, but I've been lucky to have some remarkable men fill those roles for me. The challenge is that even the most open minded men won't always be able to see their own prejudices. We still need to ask them to question assumptions. We still need to push the envelope.
This October the California Bicycle Coalition will hold its summit in San Diego and it will begin with an Equity Day. I would like to see Women Bike Women Lead incorporated into the summit. How about you?