Find Your Seat at the Table and Make Your Voice Heard

Jan Jones Blackhurst is a prolific American businesswoman and former government official. She served as the mayor of Las Vegas from 1991 to 1999, becoming the first woman to do so. This episode begins with a recount of Jan’s experience riding in an F-15 fighter jet. For the next 43 minutes, she shares her stories of transforming Las Vegas in the 90s to pioneering paths in business and governance efforts.

Episode highlights:

  • Are you tough enough? Jan began a mayoral campaign as a dare with no previous political experience. She says there was, and still is, a prevalent belief in how women need to position themselves — testing women to see if they can achieve perceived leadership standards. “We have evolved from the early 90s but not as far as you think,” she says. “(We are) always trying to overcome these stereotypical male perceptions of what women are like and what they bring to the conversation.”
  • You don’t have to push your way through the glass ceiling; you can move your way upward consistently, finding patterns, relationships, alignments. Put yourself at the table and make your voice heard. “I’ve always grown by watching the person or position that I want to become,” says Jan. For example, how did they handle themselves? How did that person communicate? What are the differences? There is a tone that you may have to use to be a part of the conversation. 
  • An art form worth pursuing: Women (and everyone in business) need to learn how to read the “corporate room” and see where the next best step might be. Observe the dynamics, both silent and verbal. Consider how to become a valuable resource in the conversation.
  • When you lead, people will follow because they don’t want to be left behind. Change things by coming from the perspective of humanity. When it comes to DE&I, it is not an “initiative.” It is a “change management strategy.” You have to look at where your organization is at, where its holes or cracks are, and how the organization is recruiting. If you’re serious about building a meritocracy, you have to focus on how you create that team. Recruit, write job descriptions, pay transparency, measure progress — what’s not measured doesn’t matter.

Other topics included in this episode are social justice and transformation, leadership, and more. Listen to the full episode now.

About Jan Jones: Experienced Executive Vice President with extensive government relations background exhibiting a demonstrated history of working in the gaming & casinos industry worldwide. Skilled in Corporate Social Responsibility, Brand Loyalty, Customer Acquisition, Government, Hospitality, and Gaming Industries. Strong business development professional with a BS focused in English Language and Literature from Stanford University.