PowerHouse MENtor: Riley Meredith

August 14, 2017

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: Riley Meredith, Marketing & Communications Director, Montana Community Foundation Why did you join PowerHouse? I joined PowerHouse because I truly believe in its mission and the mission of the Women’s Foundation of Montana. I strongly believe we need more women in positions of leadership: representing us in government, leading companies and their own businesses and guiding the communities they call home. More women in positions of leadership isn’t something that just benefits those women, it benefits everyone. What can men do to champion women leaders in the workplace? I think men can do a number of things to champion women in the workplace. Men can support policies that create transparency in hiring practices and wages. Men can also support policies that provide women the parental leave they need to care for their families. We should act as mentors to women in the workplace and help them succeed. Have you ever had a female mentor? Have you ever mentored a woman, either formally or informally? I’ve had several women I consider mentors. I’ve had female bosses for the past 10 years or so and consider all of them mentors. I would certainly also consider my mother a mentor. I don’t think anyone else has influenced me as much as my mother. I’ve never formally mentored a woman, but I would hope the many women I’ve had as employees over the years would consider me a mentor. Many of them have gone one to achieve great things in their lives and careers and I certainly hope I played at least a small part in their success. Why do you think diversity and inclusion in the workplace is important? I think diversity and inclusion is important in all aspects of life, not just the workplace. I consider myself a pretty smart guy, but I also know I certainly don’t have all the answers. Bringing different perspectives from different people offers an incredible advantage in solving problems. How do you think gender inclusiveness can effectively recruit and retain talented workers? In my experience, talented workers aren’t all men. They also aren’t all white or straight or any other particular race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality or otherwise. I think exclusion of people from your recruitment efforts based on their gender essentially excludes your organization from a huge portion of the potential talent out there. If your goal is to be successful as an organization, your recruitment goal should be to hire a talented team regardless of their gender. What efforts do you make to create diverse, inclusive organizations? I’ve been a part of many different hiring committees over the years. The people I’ve helped hire over the years have certainly helped contribute to creating diverse, inclusive organizations. On a personal level, I try to foster a work environment that’s diverse and inclusive as well. Perhaps most importantly, I vote. I don’t think there is anything more fundamentally important to creating a more diverse and inclusive society (which leads to diverse and inclusive organizations) than voting for candidates and policies that support those ideals. What need do you have right now that a PowerHouse could help fulfill? I’d love to see PowerHouse encourage more women to consider men as mentors. I understand a female mentor may be able to offer a “how I did it as a woman” perspective, but I think the male mentors may be able to offer some interesting insights and their own unique perspective on how to help women succeed.