Rising Stars: An Interview with Areva Martin on Empowering Women at Work

“Women have been lied to about what it will take to get the lives they want,” says the award-winning civil rights attorney and author of the groundbreaking book ‘Awakening: Ladies, Leadership and Lies We’ve Been Told.'

Over the last 50 years, equality between men and women in the workplace has seen noteworthy improvements, but there remains scope for progress. Women are still losing ground at every step. Women leaders fail to receive the same degree of recognition that men do. It’s crucial to examine how the world of work can implement policy chances to promote a future that is anchored in substantive gender equality.

To drive change, we need to invest deeply in empowering women at work. This starts with taking huge strides to ensure that women from all walks of life are well represented, but this simply isn’t enough. We need to create workplaces where women are respected, their contributions are valued, and feel connected to their bosses and coworkers. 

In a remarkable interview with Industry Leaders, Areva Martin outlines the critical importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and puts the spotlight on her fourth groundbreaking book ‘Awakening: Ladies, Leadership and Lies We’ve Been Told,’ which examines and analyzes the barriers life, society, and career in general that hold women back in the modern workplace. 

Areva Martin Author

Industry Leaders: What do you think are the top skills that every woman should have to succeed as an entrepreneur?

Areva Martin: Successful entrepreneurs have to have a combination of soft and hard skills. The soft skills include: perseverance, diligence, empathy, confidence, emotional intelligence, determination, risk-taker, leadership and strong people skills.

The concrete technical skills include: marketing, networking, public speaking, strategic thinking, analytical, basic accounting, and business savvy (understand profits, losses, revenues, expenses).

Industry Leaders: What women rights according to you can be amended or added to bring more sincere results for working women?

Areva Martin: For women to achieve greater results in the workplace and in their careers, they need the right to high quality health care, health insurance, child care, paid family leave to care for kids and aging parents, equal pay, access to business loans and business lines of credit .

Industry Leaders: Can we get a sneak peak on her fourth groundbreaking book ‘Awakening: Ladies, Leadership and Lies We’ve Been Told‘?

Areva Martin: Women have been lied to about what it will take to get the lives they want. 

They’re told they’ll be judged by their talent and work product, not their makeup or clothing choices. But the not-so-subtle looks they get say different.

They’re told hard work pays off, so they work twice as hard as anyone. Then when they’re passed over for a raise or promotion, they’re told, Just work harder.

In Awakening, I’ve exposed the five dangerous lies that society tells women to keep them from succeeding. 

Whether you are a business owner, a corporate executive, an emerging author or a community leader, this book is a manifesto for the moment. 

From confronting microaggressions in the workplace to finding a mentor who can change the course of your career, Areva lays out practical, empowering advice to move you past the lies. She illuminates these ideas with candor, wit, and a willingness to share her own personal journey.

Drawing on strategies from similar movements, like the effort to dismantle structural racism, Areva’s fresh approach goes beyond the immediate problem to shine a light on the larger structures designed to keep women – particularly Black women and women of color – “in their place. “How have the lies shaped and limited your career and personal choices? And what can you do to change things today?

This well-written, engaging, and often brutally honest book will leave you wanting to tear down the system. 

Industry Leaders: How do you think we can give more to promote inclusion, diversity & equality in the workplace especially for women?

Areva Martin: We can promote inclusion and diversity by first acknowledging that more diverse work forces are good for the bottom line. Often there is a misconception that more diversity—specifically having more people of color and more women in the workplace are bad for business or will negatively impact the bottom line. The opposite is true. Study after study has established that workplaces with more women and more diverse voices are more productive and more efficient. 

In addition to educating your staff on the monetary value of a more diverse workforce, set up incentives for diversity. Reward managers and supervisors who hire more women and more people of color. And beyond hiring them, reward those who set up programs to mentor and support women in the workplace.

Publicly acknowledge diverse teams and strategies designed to increase diversity. Promote your diversity through social media, internal newsletters and other channels.

Hold managers and supervisors accountable who refuse to embrace diversity. Diversity has to be more than something that is talked about in the workplace. It has to be an active  part of the philosophy of the organization and it has to be practiced by every manager and results have to be measured. 

This interview appeared in the December 2021 issue of Industry Leaders. 

Christy Gren
Christy Gren is an Industry Specialist Reporter at Industry Leaders Magazine she enjoys writing about Unicorns, Silicon Valley, Startups, Business Leaders and Innovators. Her articles provide an insight about the Power Players in the field of Technology, Auto, Manufacturing, and F&B.

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