Lead(h)er, a women’s mentoring organization of which I am on the Board of Directors, is over 600 members strong in our Quad-Cities community and it is making a huge impact on lifting up women. I was privileged to sponsor and speak at our last quarterly membership event. I chose to speak on the fact that we, as women, need to own our true value and start speaking up for the wages and positions we deserve. It was a heady night and the topic seemed to strike a spark in the souls of the women in the crowd.

Last week I had coffee with a dear friend who had attended the event and she shared a terrific story. “K” congratulated me on my presentation and then went on to tell me about one of her adult daughters who was stuck in a dead-end job. Unhappy and disillusioned, this young woman started looking elsewhere and secured an interview at a small firm. The interview went well and the business owner told her that she was one of five interviewees and that he would be narrowing the field down to two potential candidates. Before she left, he asked her to put some consideration into a salary number that she deemed acceptable.

Thrilled, the young woman went home and called her mom, my friend. Both women took it as a positive sign that the owner had asked her to think about a possible level of compensation. Neither had any idea as to what that number should be, though. Finally, “K” suggested that they enter the job description and duties into Google and give that a whirl. Within an instant, a salary range stared back at the young woman. She and her mom discussed it. Some of the job duties would be new to her and require training. Both agreed to a figure in the middle of the salary range. If it came to fruition, it would be a nice increase for the young woman from her present position. She was excited, but decided to proceed with caution. As a check to her excitement, she told her mom that she was going to phone a friend’s husband and get his input as he had formerly held a similar position at a firm at which he had worked. It seemed like a sound idea, so “K” agreed.

Her daughter called back, quite disenchanted. “He told me that the salary range we Google-d was more appropriate on a national level and that I would never command that salary in the Quad Cities. His best guess is that I should ask for $ 10,000-$ 15,000 less. But Mom, that doesn’t even really make it worth my time to move from my current job!” “K” stopped her daughter cold. “I think you should go with the higher number. You have value! You’re worth it!”

Called in for the second interview, “K”’s daughter was offered the job. When the employer asked her what her compensation requirement was, she held up her head, looked him straight in the eye and gave him the higher number. Without blinking, his response was, “I think we can do that.” Hooray!! Cue the fireworks and streamers!! I am so proud of this young woman! “K” wants me to take some small credit for my message that came just at the right time when she just happened to be present at the event at which I spoke. That warms my heart. Let’s all work to empower those around us to own their power and reach for the stars!