Why would a woman want to work in a men’s organization?

Since joining the ManKind Project USA in mid-December, one of the most frequent questions I hear is the title of this piece.  By answering this question, I can also introduce myself to you.  

I had never heard of the ManKind Project until the spring of last year.  I had moved with my husband from the Boston area to Outer Cape Cod and had left a very busy life as an elected official to a life of retirement in an area of immense natural beauty.  My husband met a man here who told him about something called an “I-Group”.  After attending a Tuesday night meeting of this group, he told me he was going to a “weekend.”  I did not know what this meant, but after my husband came home from the weekend I could see something profound had happened.

After sleeping for two days, he told me he had gone through a transformational emotional experience.  I then attended his homecoming and I was deeply moved by the men there and the emotional courage and honesty they communicated.  I thought “this ManKind Project is doing really important things.” And, I could see the positive and healing impact for my husband as a result of his involvement in his I-Group.

A man in my husband’s I-Group mentioned that a Finance Manager position was being posted at MKP USA.  Since I have a professional background in finance and operations management, and since I was getting a bit bored with retirement, my husband told me about the position.  Long story short, I applied. At that time, the interview team felt that I was not the right person for the job.  But, several months later, the Finance Director position became available and the interview team asked me to consider applying for that role as they conducted their interviews of several candidates.

The interview was thought-provoking, candid, and inspirational.  I was very impressed by the men on the interview team.  At this point in my life, I am more interested in mission than in the position inside an organization.  I thought that my work and volunteer experience fit with the job, and more importantly, I deeply believed in the mission of MKP USA.  That mission is sacred.   I thought it was a bold move to consider having a woman join the Support Services group, but I also believed that the Finance Director role was one of service.   And that is my goal:  to be of service as Finance Director to the men of MKP in support of the sacred mission.

The only tension I have experienced as a woman was having to learn to check in and check out.  In the culture of women and girls, giving a summary of our emotions is never quick.  And the tradition of “not interrupting” is odd since we experience our interruptions as caring conversation.  On the other hand, in a group of women, the check in process would be the whole meeting and not much else would get done.  I appreciate the patience and humor of the men who are teaching me how to check in.

I feel honored and privileged to work with the men of MKP.  This is an organization worth fighting for and devoting time and energy to.  The growth of men in the ManKind Project benefits not just individual men, but the women and children in their lives and humanity as a whole.   I celebrate your success.

Deb Mauger

MKP USA Finance Director