Today may be the first time you've heard Debra Cleaver's name, but I have no doubt whatsoever that you will hear it again...and a lot. After today’s episode, you will know why I now associate her name with wicked smarts, a no bullshit attitude, and a unique brand of problem-solving badassery. I couldn’t ask for a better guest for a platform dedicated to modern women who don't want BS or burnout to stop them.
Debra serves as the Founder and CEO of Vote.org, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that uses technology to simplify voter engagement, increase voter turnout, and strengthen American democracy. In this episode, we talk about being “abrasive” women in the workplace and how to really own getting fired. Plus, we talk about how she is working to bolster democracy through her organization, Vote.org.
If you come away with anything from my conversation with Debra, I hope it's that life is one giant blank check of permission for you to do things your way. Listen right now...and then go register to vote!
Selected link love + resources from the episode
Vote.org - Register to vote, get reminders to vote, and find your polling place in a snap.
Colonel Harland Sanders (KFC founder)
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Quotes + selected highlights from the episode
All of this wisdom is from Debra herself (with some minor edits for readability).
[00:13:29] (Advice for people with an idea) I would say, “Just get started.” You don't need a ton of money to get started, and really no one is an overnight success.
[00:16:07] It's interesting the opportunities that come your way when you've found something that you love, care about, and are willing to put your time and effort into.
[00:17:33] I would say the 2000 election was a turning point for me. It honestly freaked me out.
[00:19:38] The solution for increasing voter turnout is giving people the information they need to vote.
[00:31:27] [On getting fired] I can't tell people I'm unemployed. That sounds terrible, so I'll just tell people I'm an entrepreneur. That sounds a lot better.
[00:52:26] There's a couple of keywords that really just mean I wish you had a penis. One of them relating to women and performance reviews is that we are abrasive - abrasive in that you have an opinion and you're not going to back down from it because your opinion is based on facts.
[00:55:57] Look for people who want you to have an opinion. It's easy to find people who will just do what you tell them to do. If you want to be successful as critical thinkers, give me the abrasive women of the world.
[01:18:12] Not all days are going to be 110%. Some days you're going to look up at 6 o'clock and think, “I have done nothing productive today and that's OK. Tomorrow is a new day.”
[01:18:28] Get 1% better every day. Because it turns out if you get 1% better every day it's like 3600% better in a year.
[01:29:33] To me, the key thing to being a modern woman is not defining yourself in contrast to men.
[01:30:49] Being a modern woman is trying to be true to yourself.
[01:35:09] I want people to come away with the knowledge that if there is something that they want to do and they want to try, they can. It's within us.
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