On the political front, I think of a mentor and a friend who says "the only person who will agree with your positions 100% of the time is YOU."  That means YOU have to run.  I have had the men on my board, literally, say to me, "you have a different perspective."  Women are winning races, but not enough women are running at any level yet.  There is a lot of crap to put up with, and so you do have to let comments you don't think have merit go. I have a well exercised eye roll.  But I just take a deep breath and carry on, knocking the next issue off the list, and winning where and when I can.  And, at the end of the day, it's not thankless. Lots of people say thank you.

Step up - get yourself to the "room where it happens," and then speak up!  I remember years ago at a sales meeting hearing, "if it is to be, it is up to me." That doesn't deny teamwork, but it does say that you need to bring everything you have to the conversation in order to get anything close to the results you seek.

After that, be patient. I have learned that patience and time reveal shared values - even when people sound like they are coming from different places. Once you know the underlying values people can agree on, solutions that bring everyone along are possible. 

I tell women all the time that they need to run. I was recently meeting with a girl scout troop, a group of fifth graders regarding their interest in banning single use plastic bags. I told them to run for public office when they get older. It is never to early to plant that seed!

Marianne Cooley is first woman to chair the town of Needham, Mass. selectmen in decades.