Things I Know for Sure: Moms, Merit, Equality, and Doing Diversity

by Julie Graber | on 15 Jun 2020

Oprah has written extensively about the things she knows for sure. Here are some of the things I know for sure - about moms being leaders, the fight for equality, the myth of merit, the business case for diversity, and women at the table. 


Oprah has talked on numerous occasions about the things she knows for sure (she even wrote a book about it). Here are some of the things I know for sure.


The world cannot survive if the only people who can be leaders are men and women who aren’t moms.

We won’t achieve equality on the business case alone. We have to include the moral case as well – because it’s the right thing to do. Women and people of color shouldn't have to justify their seat at the table any more than white men do.

We have to be willing to talk about the other D word – discrimination.

Merit is in the eyes of the beholder -- and it's usually when they’re looking in the mirror. Don’t kid yourself into believing that what we have now is a merit system. It’s a statistical improbability. 

If you have few women on your board or among your senior leadership, don’t call me to tell me that you have lots of women several levels down. That’s not a defense, it’s an indictment – I now know exactly where your glass ceiling is.

Don’t expect a pat on the back (or award) if your board is diverse but your senior officers aren’t. 

We won’t reap the benefits of having women at the table if they have to act like men to get there.

Tags:  Worth a Note