All genders hold the ability to access both the emotional and rational sides of their intelligence. Having a high EQ (emotional intelligence) actually helps you to better assess the inputs coming from your rational mind. Gender balance in science and technology and a stronger appreciation for and upholding of our EQ will be important in the coming years for the future of our planet.
Living in California, an epicenter of modern spirituality, has allowed me to deepen my spiritual practices and balance the masculine world of my career in tech and mobile marketing. It was working in Silicon Valley that woke me up to the real imbalance of a feminine voice in the tech industry. This prompted me to start the LA chapter of the Vinetta Project, the leading ecosystem for female entrepreneurs and investors. I also sit on the Global Panels & Partnerships Committee of Women in Wireless. This organization is made up of an esteemed group of women throughout the world. They come from different backgrounds creating diversity that helps drive the organization forward in a meaningful and impactful way. They volunteer their time to help connect, inspire and empower women in the mobile and digital space. These are just two ways women are rallying to make a difference and empower each other.
But there is still so much to be done to support women in business and tech.
Cut to Spring 2017. I was reading a piece in Vanity Fair profiling Elon Musk. This article talked about his fears of the future of Artificial Intelligence, the lack of responsibility in the tech industry in developing AI consciously, and the non-profit he’s founded and contributed $10 million to, to help mitigate potential future AI catastrophes. In this same piece, the author showed the following visual of the top minds in science and technology, those that are the strongest voices in helping shape the future of our planet.
Fig. 1. Not So Fast, Hit the Gas.
This image sent a lightning bolt of charged energy through me!
Why? Women (and diversity) are absent from this panel of influencers.
Reading this piece became a catalyst for me to create The F.I., an organization that accelerates Feminine Intelligence using science, spirituality, and technology. Now more than ever before, we need to elevate our feeling qualities. In the past, society has often regarded qualities like empathy, compassion and collaboration as too feminine, or emotional. However, in an article published by the Harvard Business Review titled The Rise of AI Makes Emotional Intelligence More Important it says “It’s these human capabilities that will become more and more prized over the next decade.” Your EQ, or as we like to call it - FQ (Feminine Intelligence), can’t be replicated by AI or machines. Many professions – from truck driving to doctors to consultants – will have almost all of their job duties replaced by smart machines with the evolution of AI. In order to stay relevant, we must focus on what AI can’t replicate which are our feeling qualities like understanding, interacting at a human level, and inspiring.
Rewind to the beginning, the commencement of my journey and my inspiration plays out like a modern Coelho novel. My career started on Wall Street, working seventy hours a week under high levels of pressure where it was frowned upon to express my feelings. In these early stages of my career and in the MBA program at NYU, I developed a response mechanism to stress that turned into anxiety, and then into full-blown panic attacks.
This period of physical and emotional crisis is when I discovered spiritual practices and began Donna Karan’s year-long Urban Zen program. While there, I learned Zen meditation, Iyengar yoga, and became certified in Reiki and essential oils. This was the beginning of my spiritual and emotional journey.
The next year, I was living in Malaysia working as a consultant at Mindvalley, a marketing company for meditation products. Many of us there were seeking out our purpose – our dharma. And, like many, I felt disillusioned with the typical corporate path where competitive advantages and profits at the expense of others were the common denominator. One evening, I was sitting at a coffee shop alone, and had a flash of intuition – I’m going to run an accelerator for women! I told my friends in Malaysia of my vision, and then let it go. It seemed like a far-off fantasy as most entrepreneurs running accelerators have already had successful startup exits, and I was just beginning. I was also unsure why this vision was pointing me towards the feminine.
In hindsight, everything is 20/20. Reflecting on my journey, I now realize the why. Not only will developing the feeling side of us allow for us to stay pertinent in the face of the AI revolution, it also creates a space in our minds to receive. As we begin to notice our emotions instead of suppress them, we develop the ability to either express them consciously, or choose to feel and let them go. This is the basis for finding peace, and what meditation practices look to cultivate. How do we develop our emotional/feminine intelligence (EQ/FQ) so as to stay relevant and emotionally healthy? We start by doing the opposite of what we were likely told to do. Stop suppressing our emotions, which are given to us as guides to our internal compass. And, when we pay attention to our gut and honor our instincts – we are tapping into a level of mindfulness which often holds the answers our rational mind can’t uncover.
I certainly wasn’t thinking rationally when I received the intuition on my dharma sitting in a coffee shop in Malaysia, which led me to create my startup. If you’d like a place to be able to cultivate your FQ, check out The FeelTank.
I hope this personal story of my search and uncovering of my purpose inspires you to feel.
Fig. 1. Not So Fast, Hit the Gas from: Dowd, Maureen. “Elon Musk’s Billion-Dollar Crusade To Stop The A.I. Apocalypse.” Vanity Fair, 26 Mar. 2017, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/03/elon-musk-billion-dollar-crusade-to-stop-ai-space-x. Accessed 18 January 2018.
Dowd, Maureen. “Elon Musk’s Billion-Dollar Crusade To Stop The A.I. Apocalypse.” Vanity Fair, 26 Mar. 2017, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/03/elon-musk-billion-dollar-crusade-to-stop-ai-space-x. Accessed 18 January 2018.
Beck, Megan, and Barry Libert. “The Rise of AI Makes Emotional Intelligence More Important.” Harvard Business Review, 15 Feb. 2017, https://hbr.org/2017/02/the-rise-of-ai-makes-emotional-intelligence-more-important. Accessed 18 January 2018.
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