A Man’s Choice in a Women’s World


If you think about it, all of us, men and women, lived in a Women’s World very early in our lives. A woman helped us even before we could breathe, gave us the nourishment we needed and provided a comfortable place for us to rest and sleep. Though we did kick back a little, we were safe, nurtured and happy for the most part in those days of gestation.

What the heck happened? It was only a three or four inch trip down the birth canal from complete happiness to the real world. At that moment in time, we did not think a mother or any women knew what was best for us. After all it led us to a man’s world or at least what most men think is still a man’s world.

I grew up with three sisters and a mother for the most part. Dad was a fireman who lived part time at the firehouse back in the days of 24-hour shifts. We had quality time together golfing, fishing and watching Johnny Carson on TV but it was my mother who ran the household. My two older brothers were off to college before I was in fourth grade. One thing I learned from my mom and remember to this day is that I should treat a girl the same way I would want another other boy to treat my sisters.    

How did I come to attend the Generation W Women’s Leadership Conference? Anybody who knows me knows the answer to that question—golf. Normally a freelance golf writer, the fairway I took to get there made sense, at least, in my own mind. I met Donna Orender, the founder and CEO of Generation W at TPC Sawgrass last fall. I knew she had previously worked for the PGA TOUR and ran the WNBA. I heard of the inaugural Gen W Conference last year but was out of town that week and missed it. I asked her if I could attend this year’s event and write an article about the experience. Her response was yes, please join us. It seemed to me as easy and fun as joining up with another golfer on the first tee at the golf course.

Generation W played to a lively audience in the packed Lazzara Performance Hall on the UNF campus.

Generation W played to a lively audience in the packed Lazzara Performance Hall on the UNF campus.

While I am comfortable playing golf with women I was a little out of my comfort zone arriving at what was advertised as a women’s conference. About a thousand woman of the Generation W converged on the campus of the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. Once I found my seat and the conference began, I felt somewhat comfortable being the minor minority if gender is considered a minority at all these days.

Was this going to be a women’s rally or a parley of leadership principles? The answer came in the very first presentation about transformational leadership. The presenters were newlyweds Carolyn Buck Luce and Rob Evans. This was going to be a marriage encounter weekend. Just kidding, their shared presentation about mountain climbing on their recent honeymoon was right on message and was a guide to reference my own journey through a day of presentations and networking functions.   

Here are some of my lasting thoughts, impressions and hopefully learning from that day at the Generation W conference:

1.   Woman tend to find the center versus find the top. Maybe I would be happier and more fulfilled in the center?

2.   In a world of ME, in a world of increasing isolation despite technology, let’s choose to connect. I want and need to connect with other human beings.

3.   Most issues of Women’s Rights are not woman issues, they are human issues. I am human, these are my issues too even if I am a guy. It’s all part of living life in the center and being connected. Makes sense to me.

4.   Do we let other people define who we are? Who are you right now? I like Carolyn and Rob’s description: “I am the one who knows how to do this.” I can use that whether climbing a mountain, making a four foot putt to win or closing that sale at work. I am good at being Andy Reistetter. I bet you are good at being you too.

The name of Florida Blue's Pat Geraghty's talk was "My Take." After hearing him speak "my take" is he is a natural leader in all regards.

The name of Florida Blue’s Pat Geraghty’s talk was “My Take”. After hearing him speak, “my take” is he is a natural leader in all regards.

5.   This is a guy’s conference too. Yes there are cross-over role models in women but there were several other male speakers including Florida Governor Rick Scott and Pat Geraghty, the CEO of Florida Blue. The keynote speaker was Dr. Nancy Snyderman, Chief Medical Editor for NBC News who has a lot to say about the health of both men and women on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.    

6.   “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” This is a quote from Madeleine Albright from her keynote speech at the Celebrating Inspiration luncheon with the WNBA’s All-Decade Team in 2006. Maybe a bit of a rallying cry but in reality there is a place in hell for any person who doesn’t help another person in life and it is not a special place to be.

I witnessed something pretty spectacular on tour earlier in the year at TPC Scottsdale. There were 179,022 spectators who came to the golf course on Saturday for the third round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. The most ever I have seen and the most in history to witness a golfing competition for sure.

In a different context I had the same feeling of awe, amazement and inspiration at the Gen W event of 1,000 on the UNF campus. Orender is on to something different and meaningful here. It wasn’t a gathering of political and corporate female titans and wannabes. This is the full heart and soul of cupcake makers, scientists, athletes and leaders who happen to be female. That is where they start in life but not where they will end. One can easily see the impact of today’s Gen W movement 20 years down the road.

Whether you are female or male, it doesn’t matter. Young or old, it doesn’t matter. Married or single, it doesn’t matter. Gay or straight, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we ourselves and every other person in this world have a choice.

Generation W is making a difference, not only in the lives of women but men too. All around the world, too; there is no telling where the little ripples that originated at the University of North Florida will travel to and make an impact.

Back in the days when we were confined to a Women’s World we weren’t just safe, nurtured and happy. We were growing. Life is growth and change and if you don’t want to die just keep growing.

Embracing a woman in the sense of understanding how they see the world is “not simply a matter of emotion or altruism,” as Hilary Clinton stated. “A growing body of research tells us that supporting a woman is a high yield investment resulting in stronger economies, more vibrant civil societies, healthier communities and greater peace and stability.”

But you already knew that, right? After all you were not born yesterday.

Check out the Generation W (www.GenWNow.com) and I look forward to seeing you at next year’s conference!


Andy Reistetter is a freelance golf writer and a broadcast assistant for the various golf networks. He spends time on all four major American golf tours- the PGA TOUR, Champions, Web.com and LPGA.

Reistetter resides within two miles of the PGA TOUR headquarters and the home of The PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach.

A lifetime golfer, Andy enjoys volunteering at the World Golf Hall of Fame and THE PLAYERS while pursuing his passion for the game of golf and everything associated with it.

Embark on a “Journey to Olympic Golf” with Reistetter in the Fall of 2013 as he travels from St. Louis, Missouri where golf was played in the 1904 Olympics to Rio de Janiero where it will be played again in the 2016 Olympics.


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