Women of Distinction: Carol Jenkins on using communications to drive change and alleviate burnout

Keynote speaker Carol Jenkins spoke about the ERA, the secret to managing a lengthy career and how to bridge generational workplace gaps.

Carol Jenkins (on stage, facing camera) speaks at PRWeek's 2022 Women of Distinction awards event in New York City on June 9, 2022.

NEW YORK: Carol Jenkins, president and CEO of the Equal Rights Amendment Coalition & and the Fund For Women's Equality, discussed how communications can generate societal change at the 2022 PRWeek Women of Distinction keynote.

Jenkins began by providing background on the ERA, the proposed Constitutional amendment that would guarantee equal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex, describing it as a mission "100 years" in the making. She said that there has been a lot of "Band-Aid" repair work.

"We must recognize that we're in the middle of a war," she said, urging others to join the cause. "The ERA will probably save our democracy when it's all said and done."

Communications, she said, has helped to "pave the way" for the ERA's recent success and can be a powerful asset in driving societal change. Jenkins mentioned Ogilvy specifically, thanking the agency for helping to generate urgency for the cause.

Jenkins said there is more work to be done ahead of the midterm elections.

While addressing ways to bridge the generational gap between senior employees and up-and-comers, Jenkins urged younger employees to "not be afraid" to ask for advice and to be open to sharing personal experiences.

Jokingly paraphrasing one of her favorite quotes, she said, "young [employees] may run faster, but we know all the shortcuts."

Jenkins also mentioned that women are particularly susceptible to burnout due to the way personal life, such as pregnancy and childbirth, often conflicts with career responsibilities.

One of her main solutions to alleviate burnout, Jenkins said, is weekly Sunday conversations with a small group of long-time friends.

"Connection on an expected basis gives you something to look forward to," she said, adding that it doesn't even need to be with a familiar face, as that gives you something to learn.

The secret to career longevity, Jenkins said, comes mainly from doing something you love.

Jenkins ended the keynote by offering the audience a final piece of advice. "Don't take what happens to you personally to the extent that it stops you in your tracks," she said. "It's hard not to, but you must learn to give yourself and others a break."

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