The demographics of the addiction field are changing. According to Rebecca Flood, LCADC, NCACII, BRI II, executive director and CEO of New Directions for Women, Inc., there’s an “aging out” of leadership in the addiction field, opening the door for women (who now make up 70% of the field) to assume those roles.
“Those positions are going to be open, and then tag, you’re it … whether you want to or not,” Flood said during her presentation at the 2011 National Conference on Addiction Disorders (NCAD) titled “The Pinking of the Addiction Industry.”
But the bigger question, she noted, is whether enough women are going to be ready.
According to Flood, women in the field need to make the effort to get to know one another, create mentorship programs and share mistakes in order to learn from them and pass on the skill and knowledge they will need to lead the field.
In addition, she talked about the different methods that men and women use in leadership roles, and why it’s important to recognize and understand the differences. While boys are “raised to go on the battlefield and come out as friends,” Flood noted that girls tend to grow up much differently.
“Women are not nice to each other, because many of us were not raised in a way that taught us how to play nice,” she said. “Instead, you learn that the prettiest one wins, which puts us in direct competition at all times.”
As a result, Flood said female leaders need to understand where they came from, how they got there, and where they really want to go in order to address the “workforce crisis” that isn’t going to resolve itself.
“We’re the ones who are going to have to come up with the solutions,” Flood said. “So we have no choice but to figure out how to play nice with each other.”