Lauren Grey Flanagan | Member Spotlight
Updated: Mar 11, 2020
Founding Partner and Ambassador of Women Heart-to-Heart, Human Capital Advisor, USI and Author of 1001 Watts.
I live in Indianapolis, Indiana, US. I have two daughters, an amazing group of friends around the country, and a wonderful man in my life. My dog and cat also keep me very busy when I’m not working during the day, constantly seeking to learn, create, dream, and grow and sometimes being driven by a “FOMO professionally”. 😉
Lauren Grey Flanagan, MPA, is a communications and artificial intelligence strategist advising companies on how to empower employees through engagement. Engaged employees drive revenue, cross-sell, and empower themselves and others to become better stewards in their professional and personal lives, which improves the community as a whole. With USI Insurance Services, Lauren serves as an employee benefits consultant designing cost containment strategies that positively impact bottom line forecasts; and, the results for her clients are insurmountable.
She is also learning about the rapidly changing communications climate, largely due to technological advances; where the intersection of work life and personal life collide. She began studying data patterns four years ago and in September 2019 completed certification in Artificial Intelligence Strategy from the UC Berkeley School of Information. Education in AI is representative of what she believes is the beginning of a major cultural shift, directly impacting how we succeed in the fourth industrial revolution.
As a first time author, her new book, 1001 Watts, released on Amazon June 21, 2019, is the output of her education and life experiences. She has a passion for data and healthcare, information, communications, and technology. Her continued education, and earning a Masters degree in public affairs, has led her to where she is today: An advocate of inclusion and diversity.
Her research findings illustrate that women around the world are searching for a new way to connect, to follow their vision, to be guided and nourished. 1001 Watts is a guide that will help women navigate a new path of change in the fourth industrial revolution. Her mission is to bring hope and community to all women at a crossroads around the world and accelerate a path of change and light the paths of others through education. A percentage of the profits from this book will be donated to education funds that support women and girls in STEM.
When it comes to the role of women at work today, what inspires you and what keeps you up at night?
I am very inspired by what I see in the world today. Every day I experience something that keeps me believing that the universe is committed to expanding women’s economic empowerment, and social equity. This inspires me and gives me an internal, evolving hope for a brighter future.
There are, however, signs of devolution among us. Those individuals that want the status quo. We are connected, globally — it is an unstoppable force of nature. The recent Coronavirus is an example of how a global outbreak, such as a health crisis, could have widespread consequences that are non-discriminatory, and not based on gender or social economic means. These are the things that keep me up at night: the consequences of humanity’s incompetence toward connecting and communicating with heart. We are entering into the fourth industrial revolution, and women need each other more than ever before.
What’s your goal around that and why is it important to you? Why is that a priority for you right now?
Time is the one thing we have that is equitable. We need to be intentional in our approach. We need to work together, as a team, human to human, heart to heart. We need to use technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to accelerate a path of change for humanity, for women and men alike.
It is my priority to shed “light” on how to find success in the fourth industrial revolution. Women and men have always competed with one another, within the same gender as well as the opposite gender. We’ve, in the past, found ourselves giving to our own causes, our own goals, our own personal achievements. In my research and in my life experiences, and as we enter into the fourth industrial revolution; our united goal must be to give — lift others above ourselves with heart.
Humanity will no longer be evolving alone… we will be evolving, collaborating, and, yes, now competing with machines. What makes us different? It is our heart, our conscientiousness, our connectedness. How we connect and communicate with heart in the digital age is what counts. We are entering into, what I call, a Luminance Era. Luminance is digitization, connectedness, brilliance, intelligence. When we connect and lift others above ourselves, and share intelligence; our internal light shines brighter.
This brilliance is a sharing or passing of information and knowledge, which brings intelligence. Giving will shift our internal needs and wants toward the success of others. Our compassion, respect, and loyalty toward this way of thinking will assist in the training of machines that collectively, over time, will begin to emulate who we are as humans. Should we mishandle this transfer of human intelligence to machines, we will be sorely sorry for we will transfer potentially malicious and bias data that could threaten our way of life as we know it.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve personally had as a woman at work? How did you try to overcome them?
25 years ago I remember standing on the steps of the computer science building at the university I was attending in San Francisco, CA. I was scheduled to meet with the department head, the person that would help me decide if a computer science degree would be a suitable major. I had always been fascinated by computers and technology, I still am. I eagerly waited on the steps. The conversation lasted only several minutes, and the result was…well, unfortunate. Comments, such as, “it’s really hard…” and “I don’t think you will like it…” and, “…there aren’t any women in the class.” I second guessed myself, and really didn’t feel like I was welcomed into the program. Regardless of the intent, I felt like I was patted on the head and sent on my way. Sent on my way again to try and figure out my path forward.
The U.S. Commerce Department’s 2017 STEM update, for instance, reported that only 24% of STEM jobs in particular were held by women. We can do better. In fact, by 2022, the global big data industry is expected to be worth $274 billion (IDC Apr. 2019).
Over the decades, I continued trying — and, had some success as an entrepreneur and CEO launching my own tech company (I had 10 employees), and Hewlett-Packard was a client along with a dozen or so Internet start-ups in the 1990’s. Like many in my shoes, I’ve had successes, but simply did not have time to focus on my career; rather, my time was spent raising my children and moving around the country to support my husband’s career. These were my choices, and my responsibilities as a mother and wife. My own desires would be placed on hold, until now.
Who or what would have made it easier? What do you wish you would have done then?
In my book 1001 Watts, released June 2019, I talk about relevancy. Throughout my research, education, and life experiences, I found a secret to staying relevant throughout a lifetime. The secret is outlined in my book in great detail. Every chapter provides the tools and resources to support women at a crossroads and help them find success personally and professionally by:
• Heart (giving)
The CORE to the secret has to do with finding your social impact, that “something” that is unique to you — your passion that drives you daily, no matter where you live, what age you are, what job you have.
Many women are overwhelmed by the constant changes at work, frustrated with conflicts or disheartened by office politics, drama and draining emotions. What have you done in the past to help you get through such moments?
I know it sounds counter-intuitive.
These are the responses that require leadership and emotional intelligence skills. You go back to your social impact, your compass, and your true North. This is your CORE. In the book, I describe CORE as Commitment leads to Opportunities that build Resources for Empowerment (CORE). No matter the consequence, no matter the frustration or conflicts, rising above the fray, that strain, will elevate you and your sanity until enough time has passed that others will come to their own level of understanding.
Time is an equalizer. How you manage time will be your indicator of success in the future and throughout your lifetime.
The other important secret is education.
Continually, consistently — educate yourself. Be a visionary — understand all there is to know about your passion, to the best of your ability.
Next, connect and communicate with heart.
When we connect and lift women above ourselves, our internal light shines brighter. When we connect and communicate with heart (giving), we become brighter together.
Who do you follow on these subjects? Are there authors, influencers, leaders, sites, blogs you follow?
Melinda Gates is my hero.
Do you participate in other women groups or communities? What have you seen work in such communities and what was missing for you?
Yes. I do not say no to anything or anyone in my community. I always try my best to give, to support women and girls in STEM. This is my social impact. A percentage of proceeds from my book are donated to support education programs for women and girls in STEM.
Why is it important for women to be surrounded by other women and what is the role we play in each other’s lives?
As women, we struggle against obstacles unique to our gender. Often, these challenges are truly understood only by those of our own gender. Historically, women have been more fragile financially, have had greater personal responsibilities, and have battled the obstacles of lower wages and less opportunity for advancement in the work world.
We, as women, have consistently looked to the future for something better — for change, for opportunity, for recognition, for love, and for fulfilment in our personal and professional lives.
We have always been hopeful and believed that our hard work and talents would one day be recognized and valued equally if we just kept trying, just kept putting one foot in front of the other, each generation paving the way for the next. Now, at this point in time, finally something new exists for us, shimmering on the horizon. Earth continues to revolve on its axis, but a new day awaits — a revolution of light is coming.
That light shimmering on the horizon is growing brighter and closer. That something new that generations of women before us have been waiting for is rising like the sun, arching like a rainbow in all of its glorious radiance. It’s a revolutionary way to connect and communicate, a life-transforming, illuminating, energy-radiating power source that draws women in and nourishes them, protects them, and supports them, increasing their individual luminance.
This luminance is the light that comes from within you and passes through you to others, becoming magnified and connecting us all to create a symbiotic system of support that encompasses women around the globe.
What activities could we do so that we master together how to get back our zest, thrive on change, lead with grace and confidence and co-create the beautiful workplaces we all long for?
Envision the sequoias — majestic, awe-inspiring, withstanding the elements and standing tall for millennia, all connected beneath the ground in soil that feeds and nurtures their root systems. The stronger, older trees reach high above the forest canopy and take in the sun’s life-giving light, sheltering the more fragile saplings at their feet. The younger, smaller trees are nourished, nurtured, and protected by older, stronger trees that help ensure their growth.
These amazing trees help one another, all sharing one large, interwoven, and supportive root system that is one of nature’s perfect examples of group cooperation and support.It is a communal relationship where every tree gets sustenance, where every tree shares its resources, and where everything is in perfect balance.
How do you see your role in building this community? And is there anything else you want to add that you think would be helpful for us to know as we are building this community?
Let’s envision this type of system for us, a Luminance Era, a new place under the sun that propagates growth.
In this community, this Era, all women can become rooted in a foundation of support, encouragement, and fulfilment — a connected system that encourages independence by creating funding resources for education and mentoring opportunities for women of all ages around the globe.
The Luminance Era will integrate technology, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, to revolutionize methods of communications and data intelligence. These innovations will connect women globally and expand opportunities for growth, funding resources, and success.
👧 👵 ️👩🏽👩🏿👳♀️ 👩🏾 👩 👩🏼 👱♀👩🦰 👩🦱, apply to join our global women community.