What does it take to own your voice when everything is on the line – and the entire world is watching?
On the podcast today I speak with Gretchen Carlson, New York Times bestselling author, speaker, and internationally recognized trailblazer for women’s rights in the workplace.
In June of 2016, two years before the beginning of the #metoo movement – Gretchen boldly went public with sexual harassment claims against then Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, considered to be one of the most powerful men on the planet.
Having spent over 30 years as a journalist. Gretchen was one of the most recognised faces on television – hosting the Saturday edition of The Early Show on CBS News, Fox News’ Fox & Friends and The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson.
Two weeks after the suit was filed, Roger Ailes was fired from Fox in a historic precedent. Laying the foundations for the #metoo movement to come. Gretchen went on to settle her lawsuit and co-found ‘Lift Our Voices’, a nonprofit organization fighting to stop forced arbitration and non-disclosure agreements keeping toxic workplace issues silent.
So what led to that moment? Although the NDA Gretchen had to sign as part of her settlement prevents her from publicly discussing her time at Fox. Her story has since been told as both the movie ‘Bombshell’ starring Nicole Kidman as Gretchen – and the Showtime mini-series ‘The Loudest Voice’ where Gretchen was played by Naomi Watts.
In today’s conversation we talk about what it takes to stand up to power, how to fight for change and the ripple effect of courage – in our workplaces, our families and the world.
Instagram & twitter: @gretchencarlson
- How she found the courage to stand up and tell her story – and why “it’s not like walking into a room and flipping on the light switch, even as a strong person.”
- What happened after “One of the darkest days of my life”. The day she was told by her lawyers that she didn’t have a case. All because of a tiny clause in her contract that she (and millions of others) didn’t know existed.
- How she made it through the long night before news of her decision to sue Roger Ailes hit the global media. Including something her husband said that night, that gave her the strength to face what came next.
- Why she created ‘Lift Our Voices’ to end forced arbitration and NDA’s. Including how they managed to pass the largest labor law change the USA has seen in 100 years.
- Finally, how it feels to watch her story portrayed on the big screen – not once but twice – while being legally prevented from contributing her own voice.
For me, one of the things I see playing out time and again as I have the privilege of holding space for this podcast, is the power of the COURAGE TRANSFER.
Less than two years after Gretchen spoke publicly, allegations against Harvey Weinstein gave birth to the #MeToo movement. And the world changed.
Her decision, the dark nights waiting for the media crucifixion and career destruction that was inevitably to come – started a ripple effect that then became a tidal wave of women speaking out against sexual assault.
That’s the power of using your voice. Even if you’re not successful, as Gretchen undoubtedly was – even if your voice breaks and your legs shake and you have no idea how you’ll handle what comes next. Somebody is always watching.
It might be your colleagues, your team, your industry, your children, potentially the founders of an important movement that’s yet to come.
I can’t think of a better way of describing what influence and this podcast is all about.
References and links mentioned
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