RECAP | April Community Meeting: Women Lead

April was all about ‘Women Lead’ for AIGA Raleigh. Our community meeting this month featured a panel of female leaders in the Triangle and a breakout session with National’s Gender Equality Toolkit. Read our recap and reflections below in case you missed it!

The Panel

  1. Alisa Herr, Founder of Unity
  2. Casey Overcash, Sr. Marketing Strategist at Walk West
  3. Lexi Namer, Instructor at the Iron Yard


The Discussion

1. What is your superpower?

Alisa & Lexi: Perseverance

Casey: Building trust in relationships through data


2. What is your leadership style and how do you gain authority?

Lexi: Give lots of space and let [the students] make their own mistakes.

Casey: Be a resource and raise awareness of risk in meetings.

Alisa: Listening and reading the room.


3. What new leadership skills did you have to gain to overcome aspects of your personality?

Casey: Not being as sensitive and being too close with coworkers sometimes to effectively manage. Learning to self reflect outside of work by journaling.

Alisa: Overcoming introversion and security. Having to portray confidence when you don’t necessarily feel confident.

Lexi: Not avoiding conflict or confrontation.


4. Is there a difference between men and women leadership styles?

Casey: “It’s more personality driven than gender driven.”


5. What is one thing that improves your day?

Alisa: Chocolate.

Casey: Watching Patagonia YouTube videos and pretending she’s there.

Lexi: Music, bourbon, gin.


6. What is the hardest thing about the work?

Casey: People management.

“You can find a solution for a tech problem or a UX problem. It’s harder to find a solution for a people problem.”

Lexi: Weight of responsibility.

“Am I giving them what they want to get out of this program?”

Alisa: Delegation.

“I have a hard time gauging if I’m asking too much from somebody.”


7. What is one piece of advice you would give to young women in their careers?

Alisa: No ‘I thinks” or “I’m sorrys””

“Don’t apologize first, or even after, when you ask someone to do something.”

Casey: Don’t doubt yourself and own the next steps.

“Own your path.”

Lexi: Don’t be scared to walk into a room where no one looks like you. Flip that into an opportunity.

“My voice is actually going to be unique.”


Gender Equality Toolkit

The rules: Divide into pairs and go through the cards in the toolkit. Each card has a random word, like vegetable, kitten, or angry. Say the first sex that comes to mind (male, female or neutral). Then discuss your reactions.

Reactions overheard at the meeting:

“It’s interesting how subjective it could be.”

Some words sparked opposite reactions and biases from the two partners. For example, when drawing the word “crush”, I said male while my partner first thought of a female. I reasoned my response by saying I am used to having crushes on males. My partner reasoned that crushes are generally thought of a girly trait.

“Have they done this exercise for other languages?”

Other languages like Spanish have gendered nouns. It would be interesting to see if these words chance or influence bias.

“Is the goal to have every reaction be a neutral one?”

The goal is to address your bias and be aware of your perspective. Not necessarily bring all your reactions to neutral.



About the Author: Chelsea Brown is a UX/UI Developer at the McClatchy Innovation Lab. She is passionate about improve the experience of reading, writing and publishing news through UX design. On her days off, she works on her side project Issue NC, enjoys long runs, and Jane Austen novels.

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