If you have listened to the news lately, then you are sick and tired of hearing about the continuous stream of reports on the gridlock, blame and just plain bad leadership going on in Washington right now. The lack of leaders and statesman on all sides truly reflects a sad time in our country. But, there is a small glimmer of hope, a small sign of some real leadership going on in Washington, and I wondered if you had heard about it. Yes, this is not a joke, there is leadership in Washington. You would have to listen very closely to hear about it, and with all the negativity that the news programs are reporting, it would be easily missed. However, there is one story, which the reporters just barely touched on, that revealed there is leadership up there, and I felt that story truly needed to be told. While most of our elected officials are drawing lines in the sand, unwilling to negotiate and threatening to continue the government shutdown, there is a small segment (less than 20 percent in fact) that has continued to talk, work together and look for opportunities to move our economy and our country forward. That segment? The female representatives of the Republican and Democratic Parties; both sides, no matter how fiercely they disagree, are talking, working together and looking for any and all common ground to move our country forward (click here and here to read more). In fact, these political women have been continuously doing that on several issues — issues such as mental health, education and gun control. Issues, that whichever side of the political spectrum you fall on, have created such disagreement and anger amongst our politicians that no real resolutions can be found, because the desire to talk, listen and cooperate is not there. Now, I for one think this is amazing, on so many levels, that despite the fact that these women are just a mere 20 percent of the elected population, and that they are receiving almost no publicity or reward for it, they still do it; they are still working towards a solution. This fact, this bit of information, tells me the incredible need for women and our natural talents in this economy, and why, now more than ever, we need to step up to the plate and find our voice. Our country, our families and our society, quite frankly, needs the skills and talents that come to us naturally — skills such as composure, cooperation and collaboration. Now, this is in no way a male bashing article. So, let me stop and say here that I love and value men, and I benefit tremendously from working with them. In fact, pretty much every mentor in my professional life has been male. Almost every time a career opportunity has come my way, it has been a man who opened that door, and most often, when I need help to get connected or to solve a problem, it is one of my male colleagues who makes it happen. Yes, I love working with men. However, I am also a believer that men and women – we are different; we have a different set of skills and talents. Yes, I know, that is not politically correct. But it is what I believe and what I have experienced working in corporate America for more than 20 years. I believe, however, these differences do not make one gender less than the other. What is natural to one gender is not better or worth more than what is natural to the other, and it is not written in stone or true of every situation. But from what I have experienced for the most part, men are competitive, aggressive and bold in their ability to ask for what they want and get it. They get over things easily and expect to hit roadblocks and have hard knocks along the way. Women are more collaborative in their efforts to succeed. We are team builders, relationship experts and far more connected and inclusive thinkers. Both sets of skills are crucially important for success, and, in my opinion, they are by design supposed to work together. There is much that we, as women, can learn from working with men, but as Washington is proving right now, there is much that men can learn from working with women. So, back to my Democratic and Republican women friends, and the fact that they have, despite the egos, gridlock and competition going on in Washington, continued to come to the table, talk and look for any and all common ground and continued to move forward. They reinforce for me why now is the time when, as professional women, we need to step out of the shadows, find our voice and embrace our talents and our skills and then share them, along with our ideas and our thoughts, to move our organizations forward. You see, a mere 20 percent of us standing up and trying to make a difference is never going to solve the issues, the challenges and the problems we are facing. What is going on in Washington is somewhat reflective of what is going on in business today. We have far too few female leaders, and far too few strong and outspoken female leaders, and our organizations, our clients and our teams feel the impact. We do not wait for our organizations to build programs to make us successful, or wait until someone else comes knocking at our door. We need to do what our female role models are doing in Washington and use our skills and talents to solve issues and problems our way. It is going to take us all, whether it be professionally or personally, on a small scale or a large scale, doing our part to ensure that our voices are heard, our talents are used and our skills are implemented in a way that supports forward movement and gets powerful results. Success in today’s economy, The Trust & Value Economy, is about relationships and working together to expand the market place. The fastest route to achieve this success is through ensuring that both sets of natural talents, men’s and women’s, are equally represented and implemented in our organizations! So women, this is your economy, so go out there and get it!