Breaking the Green Ceiling

Posted May 21, 2014 By Sara Conzemius

The golf course is the last frontier for women in business. Yes, I am being a bit tongue in cheek – I fully appreciate that the board room and the CEO seats still suffer a lack women in leadership roles. But, given I have a board seat and I am a co-CEO, the ceiling I am left to break is green. I want to be honest, I come from golf people. My step-mom’s family are golfers with a capitol G, both the men the women. I am the odd one out (update: my cousin Heidi wants it noted, for the record, that she does not have the golf gene either). I tried lessons as a kid but just didn’t get it – the sport did not speak to me. Over the years I have been invited to play by colleagues and more often than that, been asked to help arrange golf outings for leaders in industry to play at top courses (let’s not even go to the issue there). Not only did it start to bother me that I was arranging the invites using my contact list, it also irked me that the invite list rarely included women. This is when I started to ponder this idea that golf may be the last frontier for women’s equality in business.

Now I must note that my business partner Anne is fully supportive of my effort and “sacrifice on behalf of the company” but she also pointed out that instead of following the men to the course we should also insist they start meeting us on our grounds. Maybe a client/partner half marathon in the fall? Or how about a round of derby? And while I agree turnabout is fair play and I will be working on setting up that first company sponsored derby bout, I am also planning to take on golf.

I am not only taking it on but inviting you all to follow me as I do so. I’ll be sharing my progress over the course of the next couple months as I hope to move from beginner to well, not an expert or even a novice, but maybe a sub-novice golfer. Two things to add to this:

My kiddo showing off his wicked swing and eclectic taste in golf attire.

1) My 9-year-old has a wicked swing, check him out here, it’s a lot to live up to, and if I must fully confess it is another reason I am undertaking this effort, he loves to play and I would love to be able to play with him.

2) I do feel some pressure here and I am not taking this lightly. In fact, I was discussing this with a colleague who made it clear that this is “serious business” and that I will always be welcome on the links but only “if [I am] taking the time to get lessons and practice.”

Shew – no pressure!

If you know me at all you know that when I commit to something I do it fully. So yes my friend, I am committed, I start my lessons today. Honestly I am excited, I love taking on new challenges whether it be in business or personally or as is it is in the case of golf both; because for me, this really is as much about learning a new sport, and finding a past time I can do with my kiddo and family, as it is breaking another barrier for women in business. So stay tuned, more updates to come!