Fort Worth firm’s goal to end mean girl behavior

Betty Dillard

More than 160 women gathered at the Tarrant County College Trinity River Campus March 19 to learn how to change their culture and their lives.

Plaid for Women Inc., a Fort Worth-based digital media company with a blogging platform for women, announced the launch of its national No Mean Girls campaign during the company’s second annual “An Evening With Great Women” event.

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Three-year-old Plaid for Women is the brainchild of co-founders Shivaun Palmer, a successful entrepreneur whose background includes public relations, video production and radio, and Sarah Zink, an author with experience in education and business development. They share a passion and vision to help women achieve their goals, get connected, gain influence and be heard personally and professionally.

“We are teaching women to ask for what they need and to leverage their networks to significantly improve their work and personal lives,” said Plaid’s CEO Palmer.

In January, the two business partners rolled out the No Mean Girls initiative to help women become aware of ways to eliminate “mean girl” behavior in their lives. This bully-like mentality, according to Palmer and Zink, includes women and girls who gossip about each other, criticize other women based on looks, exclude other women in their business and personal lives, enjoy when other women fail, and fear other women’s successes.

The idea for the campaign resulted from a comment Palmer made at one of Plaid for Women’s chapter meetings.

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“I reiterated that at Plaid for Women, we support one another, not tear one another down, and that there are no mean girls allowed. You could have heard a pin drop in the room,” Palmer said. “It was at that moment, we realized we were on to something. The campaign was born from there. The No Mean Girls campaign was launched to stop the psychological warfare we aim at one another via being ‘mean girls’ and instead to use our superpowers for good.”

During the event, Plaid for Women officially launched the campaign and announced its partnership with Parents Television Council, a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. The PTC’s 4 Every Girl Campaign seeks to call attention to and reverse the sexualized media messages that impact young girls.

“Over the course of my 20-year career in the entertainment industry, I became increasingly disheartened by Hollywood’s sexualization and marginalization of women and girls,” said PTC President Tim Winter. “The PTC has conducted research that shows that sexualization of girls and women is pervasive in the entertainment media. It is an honor and a pleasure to join Plaid’s ‘No Mean Girls’ initiative as we work to bring positive change to the lives of girls across our nation.”

The event also included a panel discussion featuring “power women” – Joy Gates Black, TCC vice chancellor for academic affairs and student success; Debbie Herd, senior vice president and director of talent management and learning at Comerica Bank; and Dr. Amy Raines-Milekov, assistant professor, obstetrics and gynecology, clinical specialty maternal health at University of North Texas Health Science Center.

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The event was moderated by Julie Wilson, founder and chief strategic officer of Reasons Groups Inc. Wilson and the panelists shared their experiences with mean girl behaviors and engaged dialogue with the audience to change that mindset.

“The energy was electric,” Zink said. “This messaging drives to the core of women’s relationships with themselves and other women. It impacts workplaces, organizations, schools and it crosses cultural barriers. We have buy-in from women around the world.”