Full disclosure: Tina Alexis Allen’s book is not about women in the workplace. It’s about her life, growing up with an authoritarian, staunchly Catholic father who one day acknowledges he knows about her relationship with a woman and shares his own background with her as a gay man, leading a double life. The story is full of intrigue, secrets, Tina’s road to recovery from sexual abuse, and so much more.
So no – it’s not a business book or even meant as guidance for women dealing with work-related issues.
But it is about the power of standing up for ourselves. And telling our true stories, and using our voices to own our ambitions. It’s about how much we accept when we don’t know better and how we hide ourselves, our abilities and what we have to offer in the process. And so, it’s extremely relevant for working women:
My own family is kind of a mirror for any culture – the family culture, the work culture – it’s all still family in a way. These things are parallel. And we need brave women to stand up and say, “I know this whole office may not be on my side. It may divide in the middle. I may only have one ally, but the point is, I’m going to change it for the next [woman, if not myself]. And it’s hard because you may go under, but standing up at work isn’t about revenge. We have to be brave. That’s what’s changing the dynamics of the patriarchy.
As a basketball player growing up, Tina credits a lot of her ambition to early lessons in being aggressive for the sport’s sake – something that’s allowed for girls and women in athletics, but somehow not in the business world or outside sports. She believes if every girl had an opportunity to play sports, this might change. But in the meantime:
We’re still struggling with the idea that a woman can be good AND ambitious. And Hillary [Clinton] is a good example of that. If she’s ambitious, she’s bad. But all the work she did for health care long before it was fashionable, and all the work she did for kids…yes she’s ambitious too. But we have a real problem letting women have that balance. That’s what we need more of.Listen:
Tina is currently directing Extremities in Los Angeles, and recently starred in WGN’s hit show, Outsiders. She wrote and starred in a one woman show called Secrets of a Holy Father about her own father and story, and uses her MBA and years of experience in business with her partner, Gina Raphaela, to create a statement jewelry line called “No More Violence“. Each piece is created from a used, inert bullet so that no new bullets need to be purchased, and partial proceeds go to organizations like Moms Demand Action and Stop Violence Against Women. It’s a powerful line that contributes to the conversation around gun violence in the US and the ongoing violence against women problem we continue to suffer with around the world.
What you’ll learn from Tina in this episode:
- How being outed by her father changed her relationship with her mother, as she had a new secret to keep from her too. How as women, we feel we have to manage all the relationships in our life – to take care of others and make everything ok for everyone else. So many parallels to work life for women here!
- The importance of being brave, and using our voices – especially when we’re young – so we can find a tribe that respects us and gives us a platform to rise!
- Why every woman (and man!) affected by the #metoo movement deserves their time in the rage phase
- How Tina’s version of ambition is not about competition with others, but it IS about maximizing her own potential
- Why being allowed to be aggressive in sports helps women learn to be celebrated for it, even though aggression and women don’t seem to mix at work
- Why her jewelry line, designed from inert bullets by partner Gina Raphaela, and with a percentage of profits going to Moms Demand Action and Stop Violence Against Women, is so important to her
- Why we need more women building socially conscious businesses
- Why we still won’t allow women to be good people and ambitious at once
Tina is ambitious for:
Three women who started a production studio in Los Angeles called Dynamo Studio LA: Laura Campbell, Laura Coover and Whitney Anderson
They founded Dynamo Studio with “the belief in the power of story to heal, to connect, and to drive positive social change. The three founders bonded over a common desire for personal artistic freedoms, along with a shared response to recent socio-political events that have brought into focus fundamental faults that are deeply woven into the fabric of our culture.”
Links to organizations/articles/books mentioned in this episode: