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Exploring Life & Business with Rebecca Sive


Today we’d like to introduce you to Rebecca Sive.
 

Hi Rebecca, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
As a women’s advocate since the earliest years of my professional career after graduate school, I founded and directed a women’s center, was a public official, a director of a foundation, a professor, writer, and independent consultant to organizations working to advance women and other under-represented groups. I believe I’m known for my constancy, discipline, and creativity. This means that I’ve constantly–over almost five decades (!)–found a new path when the old one was walked or when we needed to regroup. My successes include my extensive speaking and writing, including the books Every Day Is Election Day and Vote Her In; in addition to my newest book, Make Herstory Your Story, a personal journal for women leaders, I’ve been the leader of many initiatives and campaigns to help women advance in employment, political power, and civic influence. Perhaps what sets me apart is that I haven’t veered from this dream I had in my 20s of finding ways to keep helping women and speaking out for what matters to women and girls. 

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
There are always, for all of us, bumps along the road, but that’s no reason to give up! Also, without risk-taking, little changes. So, it’s important that as many people as possible decide to take the risks needed to really change things for the better. For me, it was a risk to decide at the outset of my professional career to be an outspoken feminist advocate. This has meant I’ve been criticized at times for being too outspoken or wanting too much too soon. But that’s the nature of risk-taking, being willing to step out and take the slings and arrows. In this context, it’s significant that, when I first became an outspoken women’s advocate, women couldn’t even get credit cards in their own name! Talk about bumps in the road! So, collectively, we’ve made a lot of progress! 

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
My work as a writer, speaker, advocate, and strategist is built around guiding and advising women who want to be engaged in public life and charitable endeavors. So, I’ve worked with a diverse set of organizations and leaders over the years, both nationally and then in Illinois for many years and now in Michigan. During the last decade, I have written three books as part of this counsel: Every Day Is Election Day: A Woman’s Guide to Winning Any Office, from the PTA to the White House; Vote Her In: Your Guide to Electing Our First Woman President; and Make Herstory Your Story: Your Guided Journal to Justice Every Day for Every Woman. Also, I have been an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy during this time. I think that what sets me apart from others in my professional context is the fact that, in addition to being a strategist and writer, I have previously run organizations, been a public official, and served as a charitable foundation director, giving me a wide and deep set of experiences to draw on in my service to others. 

Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs, or other resources you think our readers should check out?
I am always inspired by reading biographies of women leaders and activists; so, whenever I can, I pick up one. As to podcasts, for several years, I co-produced and co-hosted my own podcast, #VoteHerIn, which included over 75 episodes with interviews with leading women in government, politics, and civic life. (All are available at my website, www.rebeccasive.com, and on YouTube.) Otherwise, I read the news, along with opinion pieces and feature stories by women writers I admire. 

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