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Thrive as the Only Woman in a Boardroom Full of Men

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Why is it that so many articles discuss the need for more women on boards, but very few discuss what those women should do once they get there? In this article I hope to empower women to become more effective at navigating the rough waters of serving on a board or team when you’re the only woman, or a woman in a male dominated industry. Actually anyone who has ever felt that they are in the minority will benefit from reading this.

The spark of inspiration for this article came from an interesting conversation I had with some executives at a high-end lunch event I attended recently. A male executive at our table was telling me how he was passed up for a board position because they “needed to have a woman”. The woman executive sitting next to him agreed that they did the right thing and should have quotas for women and minorities. “Oh here we go” I thought to myself. Then I looked up and said that I didn’t want to be on a board as the “token woman” or even worse the “token brown woman” (check off two HR boxes for the price of one!). I would rather be selected based on MERIT. The woman looked shocked and the man looked amused. Not the best way to start a networking event. I just couldn’t help myself and sometimes I like to ruffle a few feathers. What do you think? Who would you agree with?

These tips are distilled from years of board meetings and executive coaching sessions with my clients. I’ve divided them in two halves. First we’ll look at how to survive and then how to change gears and thrive.

In any situation where you are in the minority, remember growing your influence and power takes time. It cannot be given or bought, influence has to be earned. ~ Narges Nirumvala

STAGE 1: Learn to Survive.

Lead By Example.

If you’re the only woman in an all male arena or in the minority in any situation, then you have achieved something significant. Take the time to reflect and appreciate the significant role you now play. You do have a responsibility to others and they will expect you to lead by example.

Be First And Be Lonely. ~ Ginni Rometty, Chairwoman and CEO of IBM

Master Your Body Language.

I’m sure you’ve heard the statistics before, but anywhere from 55% to 93% of all communication is non-verbal. People make their mind up about who you are and whether or not they should listen to you before you’ve said anything, actually before you’ve even sat down. So be aware of your posture, your attire, your gestures, your eye contact and even how you sit. Every detail counts and makes an impact on how people perceive you.

Dress Professionally. 

It’s particularly important that you dress professionally. It’s not the best time to be overly flamboyant or try something you just saw in a fashion magazine on one of those unhealthy skinny models. If you’re an executive in a creative field or in a female dominated environment then you’ll have much more flexibility.

Dress for power and respect. You want the people to focus on your mind and your message, not your clothes and your body. ~ Narges Nirumvala

Listen Attentively.

This applies to anyone of either gender who joins a team or board for the first time. Talk less and listen more. Listen to understand, not only the important issues, but also for the politics in the room. Actively listen by turning your head and making eye contact with them. Clear your mind of all extraneous thoughts and focus on only what they are saying. Listen to understand not to reply. 

Build Relationships and Create Boundaries.

Get to know the other people in the room. You don’t need to be best friends. Your aim should be a relationship based on mutual respect and cooperation, where you see each other’s strengths and support each other’s initiatives. That’s the best outcome. Having said that, don’t try to be ‘one of the guys’, maintain some distance and clearly mark your boundaries. Never allow someone to undermine your confidence or make you feel small. You deserve to be there. Don’t let the insecure bullies of this world tell you otherwise. 

You can and should set your own limits and clearly articulate them. This takes courage, but it is also liberating and empowering, and often earns you new respect. ~  Rosalind Brewer, President and CEO of Sam’s Club, a division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc

STAGE 2: How to Thrive.

Stimulate Conversation and Disagree With Tact.

One of the best ways to disagree with someone is by stimulating conversation or discussion around a topic rather than disagreeing with them directly. It’s also less abrasive and confrontational. A little tact can go a long way when you disagree with someone.

If you can speak about what you care about to a person you disagree with without denigrating or insulting them, then you may actually be heard, and you might even change their mind. ~ Amy Poehler

Do Your Share of Chest Thumping.

For some reason, many accomplished women I know, have a real problem taking ownership in front of other people of their achievements or those of their team. This is something powerful men often do quite well, so watch, learn and emulate. 

It’s absolutely essential as a woman in a position of power that you learn to be vocal about your achievements and those of your team.  ~ Narges Nirumvala 

Focus On Collaboration Not Competition. 

Strong women collaborate with each other rather than compete with each other. That means in a room full of alpha males you can be the voice of reason and cooperation. You can become the glue that holds everything together. Show the overly emotional alpha males in the room that women can be logical and calm under pressure. Let your intellect shine a light on the solution. 

Bring a Woman’s Perspective to Key Issues.

Often when I’m in an all male meetings or board meetings, I try to bring the female perspective to the issue being discussed (but only if I feel it could benefit from it). Many men don’t realize that as a woman life feels different; we have different obstacles, concerns and even priorities. Again if you do it with tact  it can put you in a powerful position and you increase the size of your impact.

As women we must stand up for ourselves. We must stand up for each other. We must stand up for justice for all. ~ Michelle Obama

Be a Champion of Diversity.

The truth is you shouldn’t be the only woman or one of the only women there. So lift others up as you climb the ladder of success. You’ve been given an opportunity that many people haven’t, so why not use it? After all you and I both know what it’s like to be in the minority.

It’s vital that powerful women become champions of diversity and fight for people who don’t have a voice. ~ Narges Nirumvala

The last piece of wisdom I want to share is to manage your expectations. I’ve learnt this one the hard way through the University of Life.You might go in to this new position full of energy and optimism, which is awesome. Remember organizations take time to change and adopt new ideas. It’s easy to become disillusioned and lose hope. You are playing a vital role. Keep going, don’t give up and eventually you will make a powerful impact. Are you the only woman on a board or committee? What’s it been like? Are you in the minority in your field? How can we help bring true diversity to our organizations? Share your ideas in the comments below!

source:https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/thrive-only-woman-boardroom-full-men-narges-nirumvala

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Apple Loop: Shock iPhone 12 Details, Massive iOS 14 Problems, Macbook Pro Delay

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Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes surprising iPhone 12 benchmarks, big problems with iOS 14, two new iPads, Apple ignores MacOS, the “good/better/best” of the Apple Watch, the controversy around Apple One, and the Macs’ never changing system System Preferences.

Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the very many discussions that have happened around Apple over the last seven days (and you can read my weekly digest of Android news here on Forbes).

Just How Fast Is Your Next iPhone?

We might not have seen the iPhone 12 family as part of Apple’s virtual September launch event this week, but we have seen the benchmarks pop up on the AnTuTu website. That gives us a raw comparison of the numbers from last year’s iPhone to this year’s. Philip Michaels reports some pretty shocking numbers:

“Leaked benchmarks from Antutu, purportedly showing off an iPhone 12 Pro Max’s performance, may help fill in some of the blanks. MySmartPrice spotted the leaked numbers, which claim to show off a device with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage running iOS 14.1.

“According to the leaks, the iPhone 12 Pro Max tallied a score of 572,333 on Antutu’s test, which is a 9% gain over the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s 524,436 result on the same test. MySmartPrice says the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s reported tally would be the highest score ever posted by an iPhone, which you’d hope given that it’s a new model.

More at Tom’s Guide.

The Big Problem With iOS 14

Apple may not have announced a release date for the iPhone, but it did announce the release date of iOS 14. And that has caused problems. Normally Apple will provide a week’s worth of ‘heads up’ time to Developers so they can ensure their apps are ready for the jump up to the next major version of iOS. Not this year… developers had less than a days notice, and they are not happy. Matt Binder reports:

““Gone are the hopes of being on the store by the time users install the new iOS 14 and are looking for new apps. Gone is the chance to get some last-minute fixes into your existing apps to make sure they don’t stop working outright by the time users get to upgrade their OS,” explained Steve [Troughton-Smith from High Caffeine Content.”

““There are some developers who have spent all summer working on something new, using the latest technologies, hoping to be there on day one and participate in the excitement (and press coverage) of the new iOS,” he continued. “For many of them, they’ll be incredibly upset to have it end like this instead of a triumphant launch, and it can dramatically decrease the amount of coverage or sales they receive.””

More at Mashable.

Take Two Tablets And Call Your iPhone In The Morning

Taking the flagship spot away from the ‘missing presumed having a good time’ iPhone 12 was Apple’s new iPad Air. Beating the smartphone as the first device with Apple’s new A14 ARM-based processor. Samuel Axon and Jim Salter report for Ars Technica:

“The iPad Air gets the new A14 Bionic CPU, built on 5nm process technology. It’s a six-core CPU with two high-performance cores and four lower-power, more efficient cores for simpler background tasks. The A14 Bionic offers a 30 percent GPU performance boost compared to previous generations, and Apple says it puts up double the graphics performance of typical laptops.”

As well as the increased power, 2020’s iPad Air has a new design; USB-C has been added, the bezels have been trimmed away, the home button has been removed, and TouchID has been integrated into the power button. It;s not the only new iPad, as the entry-level iPad moves up rom the A10 to the A12 Bionic processor. Benjamin Mayo reports:

“The jump from A10 to A12 means Apple’s cheapest iPad will feature the Neural Engine for the first time. Apple says the A12 chip offers more than twice the performance of the top selling Windows laptop, 6x faster than the top-selling Android tablet and 6x faster than the best-selling Chromebook.

“The 8th-generation iPad keeps the same price as the 7th-gen: that’s $329 for general sale and $299 for education.”

More at 9to5Mac.

Will Mac Owners Be Satisfied With Safari After macOS Delay?

If you were waiting for MmcOS Big Sur to drop for your Mac or MacBook, then you are out of luck. Apple’s event saw updates to iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and watchOS… but macOS has been delayed. The ‘Big Sur’ release is still in the future, but a small crumb (perhaps from a cookie) has been handed to Mac fans in the form of Safari 14, presumably to offer cross-OS support with other devices. Juli Clover reports:

“Safari 14 brings improved performance, customizable start pages, a Privacy Report to see which cross-site trackers are being blocked, and a new tab bar design that provides tab previews so you can see what you have open at a glance. Today’s update also removes Adobe Flash.”

More at MacRumors.

The Apple Watch Strikes Three 

Two new Apple Watch models were launched, and as the Apple Watch Series 3 remains, there is now a low-, a mid-, and a high-level smartwatch in the classic triplet that Apple was once famous for. Todd Haselton looks over the Series 6 Apple Watch for CNBC, including the headline ‘wellness’ features:

“The Series 6 also has Apple’s most advanced sensors. You can run the ECG app for an electrocardiogram, for example, a feature that’s not on the Apple Watch SE or Series 3. It’s also the only model with the new blood-oxygen app. I tried that and it told me my blood oxygen was 96%, which seems good.

“…Apple is careful to explain that this isn’t a medical device. You can use it if you’re curious about your blood oxygen when you’re hiking at high altitudes, but Apple isn’t making any promises about detecting low oxygen should you fall ill with coronavirus.”

Meanwhile, Apple has brought the ‘SE’ brand to the Apple Watch, again with the promise of a cheaper ‘mid-range’ slice of hardware that still delivers the core Apple experience. Chris Velazco has spent some time with the wearable to try and work out where it fits into the portfolio:

“For one, the SE uses the same S5 system-in-package (or SIP) that we got in last year’s Series 5, which in turn contains the same dual-core processor as the Series 4. Meanwhile, Apple has confirmed that the SE has the same compass and always-on altimeter as the Series 6, along with a very similar screen.

“From what I can tell, it’s the same bigger display we got in the Series 5, just without the always-on functionality enabled. And while the Series 4 was the first Apple Watch to come with heart-sensing ECG support, you simply don’t get that here. Ditto for the Series 6’s new blood oxygen measurement features.”

More at Engadget.

Bouquets and Brickbats For Apple One 

Also announced alongside Apple’s hardware, and perhaps an indication of where Apple wishes to focus on the future, were new options for the various subscription services offered by Cupertino. Apple One takes the popular options and bundles them together while offering a discount. Brian Heater reports:

“It’s not quite mix and match yet, but there are three pricing tiers. Individual offers Apple Music, TV+, Arcade and iCloud for $15 a month. The Family version will get you those four services for $20 a month. For the hardcore, there’s the $30 a month Premier tier, which bundles iCloud, Music, TV+, Arcade, News+ and [the new service] Fitness+.“

“For those who have been putting off a given Apple subscription, such a bundle could certainly sweeten the pot — and make it even harder for users to escape the pull of the Apple software ecosystem.”

More at TechCrunch. Given Apple’s market position, using one service to pptentiallybolster another through a bundle has drawn the eye of the competition. Spotify – which has already filed an anti-trust complaint with the European Commission against Apple – drew attention to the issue shortly ager the end of the event.

“Once again, Apple is using its dominant position and unfair practices to disadvantage competitors and deprive consumers by favoring its own services. We call on competition authorities to act urgently to restrict Apple’s anti-competitive behavior, which if left unchecked, will cause irreparable harm to the developer community and threaten our collective freedoms to listen, learn, create, and connect.”

More on the Spotify statement at Apple Insider.

And Finally…

The look of the MacOS user interface has evolved since OSX was announced in 2000. One area has stayed relatively contestant, but the small changes highlight the thinking behind the OS over the years.

“The interface started glassy and skeuomorphic, mimicking the materials used on Macs. Over the decades, it went through significant revisions. One thing that seems to have remained relatively unchanged over the years is the System Preferences screen.

“But, at a closer glance, we’ll see that this mundane part of the operating system has changed quite a bit and hides some fun easter eggs and surprises.”

Arun Venkatesan has taken a closer look on his blog.

Apple Loop brings you seven days worth of highlights every weekend here on Forbes. Don’t forget to follow me so you don’t miss any coverage in the future. Last week’s Apple Loop can be read here, or this week’s edition of Loop’s sister column, Android Circuit, is also available on Forbes.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ewanspence/2020/09/18/apple-news-headlines-iphone-12-benchmark-specs-launch-dates-ipad-air-apple-watch-se-ios-14-macos-macbook-pro/#2f5105752c07

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Apple reportedly acquires VR startup ‘Spaces’

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Apple has now acquired another startup, Spaces, which has a team specialized in virtual reality technologies (VR). The acquisition was announced today by a Protocol report citing its own sources.

Spaces was created in 2016 by DreamWorks Animation veterans, and the startup has been developing VR products since then, including a Zoom add-on that allowed users to hold virtual reality video conferencing using animated avatars.

The company discontinued all its services last week without further details. The official Spaces website just mentions that the startup is now “heading in a new direction.”

Thank you to our users and partners who participated in our awesome VR video conferencing product and the many people who enjoyed our VR location-based entertainment attractions found at theme parks, theaters, and more.

According to the Protocol report, both Apple and Spaces did not immediately respond to a request for a comment on the acquisition. The price paid by Apple on the Spaces startup is also unknown.

While it’s not certain that the team behind Spaces will join any VR related project at Apple, rumors suggest that Apple is working on AR and VR headsets for 2021 and 2022. Bloomberg says the headset will reportedly feature high-resolution displays and a “cinematic speaker system,” which should make it difficult for the user to notice the differences between real life and the virtual reality experiences the headset will provide.

As Apple continues to invest in its ARKit and new features such as the LiDAR scanner in the new 2020 iPad Pro, it’s plausible to expect that all of these technologies will be merged into a new product to offer advanced augmented and virtual reality capabilities.

Source: https://9to5mac.com/2020/08/24/apple-reportedly-acquires-vr-startup-spaces/

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Huawei Suddenly Strikes At Google With New ‘Fight’ To Beat Android

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“The world has been suffering for a long time,” rotating Huawei chairman Guo Ping told employees during a pep talk this week, referring to the lock Google has on the Android ecosystem. And so ended the executive silence on President Trump’s latest salvo, cutting Huawei’s access to the chipsets powering its flagship smartphones. Guo admitted the new sanctions would “cause certain difficulties… especially for high-end mobile phones,” but assured employees that “I believe we can solve them.”

The focus of Guo’s remarks was Huawei’s answer to the loss of Google from those mobile phones. Its alternative has been in the works since last year—part HarmonyOS operating system that can run across phones and other smart devices, but mostly the HMS replacement for Google Mobile Services, the apps and underlying services that drive the Android ecosystem. Huawei now has 600 million users on its ecosystem. This is a change that impacts all of those who stay with the brand.

“The world is also looking forward to a new open system,” Guo said. “And since Huawei helped Android to succeed, why not make our own system successful?” The devil’s very much in the detail here. HMS may be bigger, brighter and bolder, as Huawei claims, but the timing of its full HarmonyOS deployment on a smartphone remains unclear. Reports that this would happen by the end of this calendar year, perhaps as soon as with the launch of the imminent Mate 40, have been denied.

“HMS must have a ‘Foolish Old Man Moving Mountain Spirit’,” Guo said to rally his audience, “no matter how high the mountain is, dig an inch or less, persist and fight for a long time, we will definitely succeed.”

There is nothing especially new in these bullish HMS remarks. What is new, though, is the idea that anything can still be on track despite the admission from the company that its stockpiled custom chipsets will only see it through the launch of the Mate 40, with analysis assuming depletion early-ish next year. And right now there is no Plan-B, given that Trump has cut access to third-party alternatives.

“Don’t waste an opportunity in a crisis,” Guo Ping said of the latest U.S. attack, telling his audience that Huawei will invest heavily in HiSilicon to overcome the impact of the U.S. ban, albeit that will take time. “HiSilicon will grow stronger in several years,” he said, suggesting that the U.S. had created a situation that would ultimately work in Huawei’s favour, as long as everyone seized upon it.

Guo described the company’s decision to launch HMS as “brave,” and that “it was not an easy decision for us, as a smartphone company, to develop our own Huawei Mobile Services ecosystem. It’s very difficult and very challenging. But we delivered a better-than-expected script for the first year.”

Huawei has maintained throughout its time on the U.S. blacklist that it wants nothing more than a return to normal—where normal is Google restored to its new devices. But the longer this situation continues, the more one can assume Huawei isn’t going to backtrack on HMS, not given that it secures a future for the company’s smartphones that’s not reliant on U.S. tech.

Until now, Huawei execs have been notably diplomatic over the loss of Google and their preference being to restore the relationship between the two organizations. That’s why these comments are so remarkable—it’s a surprisingly hard stance with surprisingly emotive language to take over Google and the competitive landscape that may now emerge.

As hard as replacing Google is—and many analysts suggest it is near impossible, the chipset issue is much worse. But Huawei looks intent on playing a long-game, with the balance sheet to do so. As reported by China’s state-controlled Global Times, Guo “compared cultivating HMS as a protracted war that Huawei is destined to win in the end,” telling his audience (and Google) that “it’s plausible to have two systems in a world. And Huawei will be able to survive and take the lead even in an extremely hostile environment.”

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/zakdoffman/2020/09/06/huawei-premium-smartphone-replace-apple-iphone-samsung-galaxy-trump-ban-china/#36993e516ba2

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