"Women being fully expressed in the workplace is, for me, an integral part of being well and being whole," says Bonita Banducci. "Calling out the brilliance of women both for my students and for women at large, men and women, to me is the access to just a higher level of self-expression for women -- actually men begin to understand where they are coming from (some self-awareness that they never have had) and ultimately women have a greater impact, a greater contribution, not only in the workplace but in all sectors of the world."
Understanding the workplace cultures of men and women -- and then "deciphering and naming in language the unique contributions women make in such a way that men can understand that contribution in their world of skills and objects and tools" -- is what Bonita Banducci has dedicated her career to. Bonita boasts an expansive and powerful resume focused on workplace gender issues. Perhaps her storied career should come as no surprise, as her name in both Spanish and Italian means “Beautiful Great Leader”.
She is a teacher, consultant, author, coach, and has developed original methodologies to identify how the talents of women can be put to greater use within business contexts. Bonita’s work has been guided by the belief that greater consciousness about how women and men relate to each other, and of their complementary strengths, can be powerful keys to enhanced creativity, performance, and humanity at all levels.
Early in her career, a customer at her restaurant came to her with a question: “How can a store be so well run without a hint of authoritarianism?” As he walked out the door, she asked herself, “I wonder if it has anything to do with my being a woman?” For Bonita, that’s where it all started.
Bonita currently teaches Gender and Engineering for Santa Clara University’s School of Engineering Graduate Program and is a faculty member for the Women’s Leaders for the World Program and Women’s Startup Lab. “One thing I always advocate for,” Bonita says, “is turning a difficult situation, perhaps a conflict at work, into a teachable moment. We can either let difficult things roll off our backs or we can be confrontational about them. As a teacher, I encourage people to really analyze their problems and to teach one another.”
She is the president of Banducci Consulting and is a founding board member of the Global Women’s Leadership Network. She has delivered workshops at the University of San Francisco, Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, Stanford’s Institute for Research on Women and Gender, Global Tech Women, as well as at Women in Technology conferences like Society of Women Engineers and SCU Women in Business.
Named one of 100 Women of Influence of Silicon Valley by the Silicon Valley Business Journal 2014, she was also a representative of the Commission on the Status of Women of Santa Clara County at the UN NGO Forum World Conference on Women held in Beijing, leading a workshop on Creating Partnership of Women in Business with Women in Development for Sustainable Global Development.
Along the way, she has authored several books and articles, including Making the Differences Work: Closing the Gender Gap--What we can do, Take Charge of Your Promotion, and “What’s Different About Women’s Leadership in Philanthropy?” The Transformative Power of Women’s Philanthropy.
Highlighting Bonita’s list of accomplishments are the frameworks she developed for understanding gender differences, Gender Competence® and the RISE Methodology. Gender Competence is the understanding and skills for effectively managing gender differences as “competencies” so that the contributions women have to make can be understood and utilized in traditional business culture, with its focus on skills, action, objects and results. The RISE Model replaces the language of Masculine and Feminine with cross-cultural terminology of Individualistic and Relational/Collectivist to focus on the different paradigms or lenses through which men and women often see the world.
Bonita encourages us to “ask questions of and listen to the women of an organization – and respond. The experience of being listened to and being heard is an important factor in the change in perception.” This reframing allows for more flexibility in understanding how different people look at the world. Realizing that viewing one perspective as superior and the other inferior is limiting, she sets her goal to understand the differences so as to bring out the best in everyone.
"I think that by actually calling out the brilliance, by deciphering and naming in language the unique contributions women make in such a way that men can understand our contribution in their world of skills and objects and tools, that makes a tremendous difference. ... The real win is when we can collaborate with these differences [the masculine and the feminine]" in a synergistic way.
Join us on November 19 to hear more about Bonita’s remarkable journey.
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