We were so excited to be contacted by Dr. Stacey Radin, founder of Unleashed, author of Brave Girls, and, now, founder of Braveology, a mission and a movement. We immediately loved the alignment with She’s Fit To Lead. We’re united by the belief that, together, we are stronger, and we are so excited to share Dr. Radin’s incredibly empowering and inspiring advice and wisdom with you. Get brave, and get unleashed!
1. What inspired you to start Unleashed?
Unleashed was launched as a result of one of the biggest failures in my career. I had spent two years interviewing a diverse group of 250 women across the country, spanning various industries and generations to examine power. I was supposed to write a book and was rejected by every publisher, even ones I never heard of before. The findings of the research were so consistent that I knew I needed to use it in some way: (1) Early influences shaped a women’s perception of her power; (2) When a woman is passionate about a cause, she is more likely to use her power; and (3) the desire to make a difference and have an impact is the fuel that motivates women. I decided to cultivate power among adolescent girls while they were still exploring the answer to the question, “Who Am I?” Animal rights and welfare was the identified platform to ignite power, passion and purpose, because after conducting focus groups, I discovered that 87 percent of girls this age care about these social problems.
2. What inspired you to write “Brave Girls?”
I was approached by an editor at a large publishing company to write a book proposal, promising him he would get first right to it if he selected it. After my first experience, I was clear when talking to him that I didn’t see myself as an author; that my original attempt was so traumatic that I could not go through that again. He introduced me to an agent and assured me, this time, it would be different. I spent a year reflecting on how my hypotheses about women and girls would be validated and wanted to share my model of power and a systemic perspective of the world we navigate being female.
3. What makes a girl brave?
“Brave” and “power” are used interchangeably for me, and my model of power and the outcomes of Unleashed are the foundations of what I call Braveology, the science of being brave. It is an integration of personal power — creating a value proposition, being self aware and insightful, leveraging strengths and aligning with values; relational power — inspiring others, communicating powerfully, having a voice, empathy, interpersonal skills, aware of the impact you have on others; and assertive power — defying the status quo, taking risks, resiliency, advocating for self and other, innovation, taking action.
4. Describe Unleashed for us.
Unleashed is a transformational leadership program that provides girls with a forum and tools to create social change for a cause they care about. The empathy girls develop as a result of the program and the values imparted — agreeing to disagree; creating common platforms, and respecting others’ values and opinions, advocacy for others — establish the foundation to facilitate an anti-bullying mindset and foster a sense of community among a diverse group of young women.
5. There’s so much written about women not treating one another well. Do you think it’s true? Are we mean to one another?
In my experience, I have observed two types of women: 1. those who support one another; are confident; and are truly powerful and, 2. those who try to bring other women down and adapt the philosophy that there are only a few spaces for a female and she has to be the one, feeling threatened by others and insecure. It is the abundance versus scarcity model…if you look at the world as being full of resources and possibilities, you are less likely to keep others down.
6. “Sisterhood is not a luxury. It’s a necessity.” Love that! Tell us more.
Biologically and socially, women and girls are programmed to be relational. In fact, many women and girls will tolerate a lot in their relationships because they fear the loss of that attachment. The energy that emerges when you put girls and women in a room together is powerful, and the endorphins released because of that connection are similar to the effects of exercise and being in love. It’s intoxicating! This, in conjunction with being socialized in a culture where the male experience is the norm, necessitates us to build relationships, form “good ole girl networks” and invest in one another. That is, if we are ever going to move the needle farther along.
7. What’s on the horizon with the work you are doing?
My new venture is Braveology, a social mission company based on my science of being brave that will bridge generations of women and girls together through programming and events. November 6th, 2016, we are launching Brave Summit with Fordham University’s Girls and Women’s Institute to ignite power, passion and purpose and facilitate conversations and exchanges among the generations.
8. How can we get involved? How can I bring this to my campus?
Unleashed is piloting “Unleashed on Campus,” starting fall 2016, and we will be identifying brand ambassadors. The On Campus program will bring diverse groups of women together with the common platform of animal rights and rescue, but the teams will be designing and managing social media campaigns related to top issues for women on their campuses. They will be trained to be facilitators of workshops and lead and identify community service opportunities that college women can participate in together with high school and middle school students and/or animal shelters and rescues.
9. What do you like to do when you aren’t working? How do you balance your work and personal lives?
I am a firm believer in work/life integration versus balance. When I think of balance, I visualize a scale where one goes up when the other goes down, and it doesn’t have to be that way. I see my life as a wave that ebbs and flows; sometimes life takes priority and other times, work does, and it’s similar to a dance I do every day and week to ensure that I am present in both my personal and professional lives. Then, there are times when a beautiful thing happens, and there is overlap between both! My favorite things to do are run, rescue puppies, read, go to Broadway shows, be spontaneous and silly — I do make myself laugh out loud sometimes — and wine taste.
10. Do you have a favorite inspirational quote or saying?
Too many to even list. In fact, my husband kids me and says, “Really? Nobody talks like that…some people might think you aren’t being authentic.”
11. What does She’s Fit to Lead mean to you? How does someone show they are fit to lead?
When I envision ‘fit to lead’ I think of being a brave girl, regardless of age. Someone who demonstrates the attributes of being powerful, brave, authentic and ethical.
Thank you Dr. Radin. Welcome to the Fit List! We look forward to working together on connecting to confidence and becoming more brave, empowered leaders.