PowerHouse MENtor: Paul Gladen
September 01, 2017 | By Erika Rasmussen
PowerHouse Montana may be all about economic opportunity for women, but we are fortunate to have a few enlightened men among us who are willing to be advocates in the workplace. Men bring different skill sets and perspectives to mentoring relationships, and are essential to helping women get ahead. We interviewed some of our PowerHouse MENtors, who have made a pledge to support women in the workplace, and we hope that you'll reach out to them and thank them for their support. PowerHouse MENtor: Paul Gladen, Director, Blackstone LaunchPad Why did you join PowerHouse? The Blackstone LaunchPad has enjoyed a highly collaborative relationship with the Women’s Foundation of Montana and greatly admire the Foundation’s work. The invitation to join PowerHouse was an honor and a “no-brainer” to accept! I joined PowerHouse to share whatever aspects of my experience and expertise can be helpful to women in shaping and furthering their career and life goals - especially as entrepreneurs. What can men do to champion women leaders in the workplace? Simply ask themselves each and every day whether women are properly represented in the activities they are engaged in. If not, bring them into a conversation, boardroom, or opportunity. Have you ever had a female mentor? Have you ever mentored a woman, either formally or informally? I’ve rarely had any formal mentoring relationships but have benefited from the advice and interaction with many tremendous women, especially here in Montana. They include, to name a few: Dawn McGee, Pam Haxby-Cote, Jakki Mohr, Jen Euell, Liz Marchi, Diane Smith, Elke Govertsen, Dori Gilels, Molly Bradford, Jenn Stephens, Jenn Ewan, Christina Henderson, Morgan Slemberger, Courtney McKee, Colleen Rudio, Brigitta Miranda-Freer, Susan Ash, Paige Williams, Suzanne Tilleman, Stef Sample, Holly Truitt. You can also learn a lot from simply listening and observing. I have, and continue to work with, a great team of women in the Blackstone LaunchPad and have met and coached numerous female entrepreneurs. I hope I’ve been able to impart some valuable guidance or knowledge to some of them! Why do you think diversity and inclusion in the workplace is important? Better ideas, better progress, better decisions, better outcomes. Will that do for starters? How do you think gender inclusiveness can effectively recruit and retain talented workers? It’s about role models, which is really about storytelling. If people can observe or hear a story about someone like them doing something, they can believe it can be their story too. What efforts do you make to create diverse, inclusive organizations? Since the Blackstone LaunchPad has opened we have focused on increasing women’s participation in entrepreneurship. This has included ensuring we have strong female representation in our team, securing a research grant from the Kauffman Foundation to research women’s participation in entrepreneurship - and especially our Pursue Your Passions program. I’m also a co-founder of the Montana Code School where we’ve sought to increase female participation through scholarships and proactive recruitment. We were fortunate and excited to hire Amita Patel Greer as our Executive Director to continue to grow women’s involvement in tech. I’m grateful for the support of the Women’s Foundation with both Pursue Your Passions and the Montana Code School. What need do you have right now that a PowerHouse could help fulfill? We’re fortunate to be able to draw upon many fantastic women across Montana who mentor and coach female entrepreneurs at the LaunchPad, particularly via our Pursue Your Passions program and the John Ruffatto Business Startup Challenge. But we can never have too many! We’d be delighted to hear from PowerHouse participants interested in getting more involved with growing female entrepreneurship in Montana.