Dr. Karen Greene, Dr. Deanna Guthrie and Dr. Mironda Williams return for an all new season of Take Good Care. This episode, Finding Her Voice, explores the difficulties of finding your unique voice and speaking your truth confidently.
[0:00] [Dr. Williams] Welcome to our show! This is our first episode for season two of Take Good Care and we are in the studio, our physical studio space, we have done some testing and recording and preparation and now we’re here and we are excited and we are ready to go to kick off this season to see what this year is going to bring!
[0:31] [Introduction] Welcome to, Take Good Care, an endeavor of Peachtree City Obstetrics and Gynecology. Our aim and mission is to serve as a source of vital information and discussion for women of all ages races and walks in life. I’m Dr. Mironda Williams, I’m Dr. Deanna Guthrie, and I am Dr. Karen Greene, welcome to our show.
[0:58] [Dr. Williams] for this first show we’re actually doing something on the topic, “finding your voice.” All three of us, I think as well as the world, really has kind of gone through an evolution I would say over the last several months I think the pandemic and everything else that was going along going on in 2020 caused a lot of us to reevaluate priorities things that are important the direction we want to see our lives going in this next season of life uh as well as as we were beginning to think about how we wanted things to evolve for the season of our show take good care so with the second season my partners and I we we often communicate outside the office after office hours and so I was having a conversation I think it was on text Dr. Greene and myself we’ve developed a love of chucks all things chucks we have high tops we have low tops we have platform we have flats we have leather we have canvas so we’re just loving our chucks and so I had recently purchased um my newest high top pair of sneakers that I absolutely love because I said they look like little hippie shoes because they have embroidered flowers on there and moon and stars and on the label it says, “It’s okay to wander from yourself and to discover life,” and I think that’s really where I found myself at this time as we go forward and Dr. Greene was saying that she and some of her other girlfriends were having similar conversations and so we began to talk about how difficult it seems to be for women in particular to really find their voice to rediscover identity to rediscover purpose focus what’s important and then in professional circumstances or even in non-professional circumstances personal conversations speaking up expressing yourself and finding your voice we each looked at different articles and it talked about that there have been several studies that actually show that women are systematically seen as less authoritative and that there are gender biases that really still shape the rules of social engagement and that women should look at changing the environment in the room so that when we enter the room we enter the room and we express ourselves with our voice some of us express ourselves with our hair with our clothing of the day and we are speaking up and we’re changing the environment in the room so Dr. Greene why don’t you go a little bit into some of the other conversations that we’ve all had some of the things that you were having with some of your other girlfriends and talking about you know how we all even came to this idea and concept of the importance of finding your voice and why we wanted this to be the first episode of season two?
[4:15][Dr. Greene] Thank you, Dr. Williams. I think that um one of the things as you said that the pandemic and kind of looking at things differently has taught us is that we want to be our best selves and so in the conversation that um I had with them high school friends that I’ve known you know for 40 plus years was what would you tell to your younger self you know because we’re kind of looking at our life now as we’re in our second chapter you know we’re going to live another 50 plus years so this is the second chapter or a second act and um so what would you tell your younger self how would you be different and so the majority of us would say you know be smarter about money and not be afraid to speak up and that was a theme of you know afraid to speak up why here we are as women that we talk to each other you know we have conversations but in a group setting why is it that we’re afraid to speak up why is it that we can’t say what we think and say what we feel um and I reflected on the fact that we have an all-female staff here at Peachtree City Obstetrics and Gynecology you know we’re proud of that and so we feel like we empower women and we also have this overhead paging system so you can call people from one side of the office to the other you don’t have to walk all over the office trying to find people you know you just say so and so come here so and so come there and we get used to it because when you do this you hear yourself talking I discovered that some of the newer hires they didn’t want to do that and so I asked them well why you talk to each other you have no problem I don’t like hearing myself you know I can honestly say I don’t particularly care for hearing myself on when we did our podcast because I am my worst critic but I wondered why that was why don’t we like to hear our voices why can’t we speak up and so it a lot of it has goes back to what we were taught you know that we should be as my girlfriends would say invisible and not take up space you know we’re supposed to just be in the background we’re supposed to be nurturing and caring but never authoritative and because this year has given us a lot of zoom type meetings that if we’re taught that then if we’re sitting in a zoom meeting where it’s just a bunch of figures on the screen the people that are going to get the most airtime are usually going to be the men because we’re not going to say what we think we’re not going to say what we feel and when we do say it research has shown that we tend to clarify it as if you know we’re not the expert on it most of the time nine times out of ten you know when we’re in the room we may have higher gpas have more experience and have the background to say it with authority but we’re not taught to say it that way a man will speak up whether he knows what he’s talking about or not that’s true you know my husband is famous for out talking everybody in the room and it can be annoying on a personal level but on a professional level it makes sense because he’s going to get himself heard uh one of the funny things I read was Rachel Maddow she was on a you know at one of these talks and there were these very obnoxious men in the room with her and so she stood up so they would recognize her so they would listen to her and I think that that’s what we need to do you know that’s what we need to do we need to stand up for ourselves you know say what we think and not be afraid to say what we think that’s it because it’s okay yeah you know um Dr. Guthrie
[7:39][Dr. Guthrie] I agree with everything you said um another factor is that when we do speak up we are um are seen as being um angry or forceful where on a man it’s accepted that he can speak with his voice, he’s being assertive, but we’re being
[8:03][Dr. Williams] Bitchy (laughing)
[7:39][Dr. Guthrie] difficult um and sometimes just like when you said Rachel Maddow had to stand up um when we have to be that forceful in being heard it can be seen negatively yeah um I have a funny experience it was my college reunion and I was a class officer during college but way back when I was I still am but I’m I was extremely shy I cannot stress the extremely enough really yes and um so everybody who knew me back then you know I haven’t really been around you know all my college friends of course in years but we had a class meeting we had a Zoom reunion and so as part of our Zoom reunion for the weekend we had a class meeting trying to go over some goals that the class wanted to accomplish in scholarships and things like that and so everybody was kind of you know giving their opinions and everything like that and I was speaking up I just you know like I said me now it didn’t seem as anything different but it was funny that after we had the class meeting one of my friends we were kind of he we were having to extend I was the secretary so I was taking notes and everything we were exchanging information and he was like wow dean I just didn’t even know that was you I was like you were just like talking like you were just speaking up and you know and I had to laugh because I you know I know that what they remembered of me was not who was who was there in that zoom meeting it’s the new like you said it’s my older self you know more mature you know able to just to recognize situations that you do need to speak up when you were younger you tend to say well I can but I don’t have to and it’s okay if I don’t but now you know now with a more being more mature you recognize that you should speak up so it is true and in reading one of the articles they were saying it’s how you say things too you know it’s you know not saying I think or I feel or you start out you’re always starting out your sentences with maybe you know all those things that that convey uncertainty um whereas like you said men will just say I believe and I think and we need to you know that’s they come out with things like that but of course if we were to present ourselves that way it would be negative
[10:29][Dr. Williams] so yeah I think we’re unfortunately those gender biases as um as young girls you know that assertiveness is not encouraged in little girls you know in fact it’s probably discouraged um you know I’m so thankful um that you know my parents and my my village my aunts and my grandparents because you know I think I’ve told this story before I it’s been said that I came out of the womb talking um and I haven’t stopped since and so I i remember as a little girl you know just running my mouth you know I was just always you know taking charge of things and speaking up and growing up in an environment where that was actually encouraged and supported and you know applauded um I think really stood well for me as I got older because finding my voice and using my voice was not something that I struggled with but I think that’s a very unique thing for most girls especially of our generation yeah I think this younger generation you know yeah they don’t speak they’re going to say whatever they want to say but I think for those who are our generation and older that really wasn’t um wasn’t encouraged uh or applauded and as you all were talking it also made me think that it really goes into personal relationships as well not just in the workplace you know not just in professional settings but I think as women oftentimes even in our personal relationships and our personal communication styles we’re still socialized to be okay I’ll just make do you know it’s not really what I want but it’s going to be okay I’ll make it work and Deanna and I we have a couple girlfriends and it’s you know and even for us because I think we’re fairly accomplished professionally but we’ll see them and they they’re these women they’re like, “I’mma get what I want,” you know, in my relationships and they’re very straightforward with their communication they will let us know as their girlfriends they let men that they may be involved with and or their husbands now so they’re very definitive in their communication style and I think that’s really worked out for them in a good way even in personal relationships um because being able to communicate effectively um is so important just in life um and it’s just it’s sad that women in a professional setting who may say the exact same thing as a man is seen as being difficult you know you’re being pushy or bossy or you don’t know your place I’m like okay but I’m a surgeon you know he’s a surgeon.
[13:40][Dr. Greene] What’s the difference?
[13:41][Dr. Williams] what’s the difference um and so even now 25 plus years later in medicine working in the same institution that’s what gets frustrating is because you feel like you’re still fighting those same battles to be recognized on the same level as your colleague because you’re all all on the same level in terms of our professional accomplishments and what we can do so it’s and so you know we speak up and I think it’s good that we encourage each other you know I think we are very um supportive of each other when we’re having frustrations we’ll say well you know we need to we need to speak up and we need to let people know what we think how we feel what we think should be happening in these scenarios from a professional standpoint and to still use our voice and to speak up and to change the room you know to change the room which is why diversity and inclusion and all that is becoming such a huge deal because I think when you have women people of color you know as well as age you know differences in the room the conversation that you can have is so much more productive right because you’re not getting everything from one perspective right you’re able to really get a better understanding of the impact of whatever you’re discussing that crosses so many different lines
I think men are taught in a certain way and so if we go against the grain and how we speak up and how we say things is considered wrong you know or is considered unacceptable or is considered pushy aggressive and all the other bad words which is which is really kind of sad you know because of where it’s coming from and so you know we want to have a place in the room you know we want to be a be present so the people understand that no there’s nothing wrong it’s just different and then it’s okay to say it that way because we’re saying the same things I’m often amazed just as Dr. Guthrie was saying that when you present something and you say maybe but if she were talking to a patient about a surgery she’s going to perform she would give them the facts exactly and they would say okay Dr. Guthrie because I trust you I trust you and they should because she’s the expert in her field right you know there’s no reason not to believe her exactly and she doesn’t say maybe this will happen she says this is how it’s going to go this is what I’m going to do these are the options these are possibilities right you know and I’ve done so many of these that I am the expert, I know what I’m doing. I am the surgeon. So, yeah.
[16:26][Dr. Williams] it’s so important and and I think again that’s why we you know thought about doing this as the first episode for this second season of the show is because so much of last year we talked about a little bit before when we initially thought about doing this um adventure we were thinking more you know that it’ll be a great place for us to have discussions from a medical nature from a women’s health standpoint from a gynecologist standpoint to educate and inform not only our patient base but just the community at large and then because of the circumstances of everything that was going on around us from a political and a social standpoint you know we pivoted and we reacted and responded to those things that were happening around us that were affecting us just like it was affecting everyone else and I think in it in an even greater way we found another facet of our voice you know and I think that’s the other thing you know as we’ve talked about the show how it is evolving how we’re evolving you know what we’re looking to do in this second season we are not one-dimensional people we’re not one-dimensional women so our show is hopefully going to reflect that we’re going to talk about medicine we’re going to talk about those things that we know gynecologists Dr. Greene and Dr. Guthrie are also interested in doing more specific urogynecology types of procedures and working in that aspect we also do a lot of work on hormonal issues women who are going through menopause but we also deal with our millennials so we’re looking at women across the full spectrum of life especially their reproductive years but that’s not all we have to say right and I think about you know some of the things that were going on last year and you had people who may have been experts in a particular field and I’m thinking of sports and because they were having comments about some of the social and political things that were going on they were told to shut up and play ball and stay in their lane stay in your line excuse me.
[18:44][Dr. Greene] Right, as if they’re that’s the only lane they have, they’re not parents and fathers, and I mean they’re multifaceted too right but if you see a person is one-dimensional then you would say a comment like, “shut up and dribble”.
[18:55][Dr. Williams] Right. So I’m like how can you limit my voice right now how can you tell me what my voice is only good for yeah you can’t you can’t and or or they do but we can’t allow it right we can’t allow them to stifle our voice because our voice may be different and our voice may be stating things that they don’t agree with but that’s what makes the world yeah you know that’s what makes the world different thoughts different opinions I know I found a couple of little um little pictures I think I sent them to you guys in email and there was one graphic that talked about how you find your unique voice did you did you see that Dr. Guthrie why don’t you talk about what those two little circles represent and then what that little space in the middle how when we talk about our voice when we talk about why it’s important “.
[19:57][Dr. Guthrie] yeah so there’s a it’s a graphic with two it’s kind of like a Venn diagram
[20:05][Dr. Greene] but sadly I learned from my children I didn’t know what that was so my children explained it to me
[20:09][Dr. Guthrie] and so there are two circles that overlap and on one circle it’s it’s that it’s labeled what feels natural to you so this is something that you feel internally that’s inherent to you um and then you have another circle that says what other people are not saying and so in the middle where they both cross is where your unique voice is so it’s what you know in yourself that may not be being expressed but that’s your idea your thoughts your feelings and that’s and that’s where that’s what you need to find a lot of people sway all the way once one end or the other but a good balance is being somewhere right there in the middle
[20:56] [Dr. Williams] That’s your unique voice.
[20:58][Dr. Greene] and I think we we we struggled to find that well speaking for myself I think that I you know some days I struggle to find that you know do I really want to say what I feel and what I think based on you know my background or do I want to just sway one side or the other because it’s comfortable you know and so I’ve decided that I’m going to try to be a little more uncomfortable sometimes because it’s okay you know it’s okay
[21:21][Dr. Williams] that’s the growth zone when we get out of our comfort zone
[21:25][Dr. Guthrie] and you don’t want to make somebody else uncomfortable, but you can’t stifle yourself
[21:25][Dr. Greene] Right
[21:26][Dr. Williams] right that’s the thing that’s the thing
[21:26][Dr. Williams] you know as women like like you were saying before we’ll take the hit okay I’ll be the one to just suck it up or not say anything or not feel heard or be frustrated so that you will feel comfortable
[21:48][Dr. Williams] right right
[21:49][Dr. Guthrie] and like I said it’s not always adversarial but right everybody needs to be a little bit uncomfortable at times
[21:57][Dr. Greene] need to have those uncomfortable conversations
[21:59][Dr. Williams] exactly exactly I um found some quotes um as we were getting ready for today one by Madeleine Albright and she said it took me quite a long time to develop a voice and now that I have it I’m not going to be silent and I’m like that’s us it’s like you know we found a new platform yeah this show that we both all three of us feel is important for our own growth and evolution and we feel that we collectively have a unique voice that we can lend to medical issues social issues political issues and we’re in that sandwich generation so we’ve had to deal with aging parents and so we feel like we have a unique voice that we can lend to the conversation we can lend to the conversation and Audre Lorde also had a quote where she said when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed but when we are silent we’re still afraid so it’s just better to speak so I was just like I love it yep yeah I love it I love it and the last one this is Deanna this this is our alter ego Coco Chanel she said the most courageous act is still to think for yourself out loud so speak up
[23:36][Dr. Guthrie] I’m still learning
[23:37][Dr. Williams]We’re all learning
[23:38][Dr. Greene] it’s a process, it truly is
[23:38][Dr. Williams] I don’t think you ever get there you may get more comfortable like now for your college reunion you’re more comfortable speaking up and and more so than you were then and that’s why they’re like who is this person where did this Deanna come from
[23:52][Dr. Greene] so if you look at that it’s like okay I’ve come a long ways so I can do this whatever this is you know because clearly you know you’ve come a long way in that respect so
[24:03][Dr. Guthrie] I think my profession also helps me because you know being the physician in the room in charge of a lot of sometimes uh uh emergent situations you know I i I can remember we have two I have two funny stories uh when I was a second year resident and doctor
Dr. Williams was like
[24:27][Dr. Williams]I knew I was in this somewhere
[24:31][Dr. Guthrie] i remember that we had this critical situation going on and um something needed to be done right away it was an emergency c-section so you know Dr. Williams was my chief and I’m looking at her like what is she gonna do what is she gonna say you know she’s kind of giving some orders or whatever and all of a sudden she just turned to me and she went Dr. Guthrie and that kind of like put me in charge of the room when I was like you know but I i did it I did it and then you know oftentimes you know like I remember one when I first started in private practice and there was something going on with the patient and we all had you know we were all rushing into the room to take care of her and so usually I’m running in and saying what’s you know what’s somebody else gonna do and then I realized so I had to be the one to kind of speak up you know give instructions and be in charge and you know so you know with that part of my career that that that truly helped me because I you know I could be the person leading in the room you know because I had to
[25:32][Dr. Williams] because you had to I had because there’s a lot of times in obstetrics you know there’s a there could be a life at stake you know
[25:37][Dr. Guthrie] Two lives
[25:41][Dr. Williams] two lives, you know, or some complication that could have lifelong effects, so you have to learn to think and react but also to speak up because everyone else in the room is looking to you as the doctor to say okay this is what we’re going to do you know and to get everybody corralled and moving in this in the same direction at the same time
[25:59][Dr. Guthrie] you can’t be iffy or you can’t you can’t you can’t come out with the well maybe we will do this so could we do this you know it has to be, you know
[26:09][Dr. Williams] Exactly.