Audrey Hepburn left a powerful legacy of determination, independence, and power in beauty and style for women of all ages, backgrounds, and personalities. That strength in leading other females is what distinguishes women with confidence and those that have yet to realise their worth and value in life.
Tina S. Laws is a Bermudian example of a woman that has lived, loved, and learned. She understands that there’s true value in empowering others and is redefining the meaning of “Queen B” and “Boss Lady.” We sat down with Laws to meet the real woman behind her name, successes, and influential voice.
On her passion for helping women
In 2010, recent university graduate, Tina Laws realised her impact. “There were so many women pouring their hearts out to me and in the last two years of university in Florida, I really took a liking to women and their hearts, their needs, wants and desires so I did a lot of research and certifications that focused a lot on women; what really hurts them and what makes them happy. What makes their hearts pitter-patter, whether for anxiety or excitement.
That was my quest; I wanted to find out what we really needed, especially because I myself had come through so many challenges in past relationships and I really wanted to get to the bottom of me. So, to get to the bottom of me, I decided that I would help to get to the bottom of many women.
That’s when I formed ‘Under Konstruction’ in 2016. I basically formed it to help women break free from domestic violence relationships.”
On relationship coaching & Women’s Resource Centre
Nowadays, coaching is becoming a sought-after career option for many people but when Laws first started on the island as a coach, it wasn’t so popular. “You really didn’t hear a whole lot about relationship coaches in Bermuda. It’s not therapy. It’s
not psychiatry. It’s basically somebody helping you to align your goals, feelings, wants, needs and desires for your future self.
One of Laws’ most rewarding experiences as the Executive Director at the Women’s Resource Centre was to see that she could be in a leadership position and have a team of female staff working alongside her without having to remind them of her title. “We just worked together to be respectful, understanding, and to just give each other the freedom to share and present our gifts.”
On the mother-daughter relationship dynamics & the long lasting effects of that intimate experience.
3 Tips for more rewarding mother-daughter relationships
● Let’s respect our daughters.
● Apologize to our daughters.
● Treat our daughters how we want to be treated.
“Something I often say: our children view us as if they’re watching a television show. One of the examples I use is, think of that television show that you watch; you probably know series after series and can likely repeat the details verbatim. Our daughters see us through a television lens, including our good, not so good, and ugly. So, what are they learning?
Laws’ belief is that we must be mindful as we set our children up for the world. We also need to be mindful of the mistakes we’ve made.
“As I matured and after having my daughter, I began to think that she would have her own experiences, so one of the things that I keep in mind is that I’ve always been her television, always been the number one series that she’s watched from the day she was born. My
perfections and my imperfections, she sees them all and I’ve never been afraid to apologise. I believe in apologising because I believe that we have to teach our daughters that we won’t always be with them and have them under our wing. They will move into the world to experience school and work, and may be bullied, develop opinions, be ostracized at times, maybe even be the class clown or queen, or a princess. All these things help them to become who they need to be. So, what have we imparted in them? We need to teach them and not just tell them.
Laws believes that character is developed through the “get up” after experiencing life’s challenges. I tell women that it’s not that you fall down or how you have fallen down; it’s that you get up. For years, I thought I failed and many of us feel like we have failed because our daughters may repeat a lot of the patterns of behaviour that we tried to teach them to avoid. I found with my adult daughter that it was the “getting up” that she really learned. When they get back up, that’s when you can see that through all those television series from 1-101, they learned a lot.
On what it means to “take back life”
Well, I’m gonna keep it real honest on this one. There are many women who don’t have control over their lives; from a child into the teens, many women get into relationships and have never had control of what their lives could be. From parents controlling their lives, to boyfriends, husbands, and even friends controlling aspects of their life.
So, what does it mean? Honestly, it can mean various things to different people so taking back life is first recognizing your purpose on this Earth. Who do you want to be when you wake up every morning and put on your shoes to walk out the door? Do you become someone else when walking through the door? One of the things I think of when it comes to taking back your life is first, find the life you want to live. Laws continues with, “Own your position in relationships by starting with yourself”.
“Let’s talk about at work. Do you want to be recognized as someone who doesn’t have a voice? Would you want to be someone known as never being acknowledged, or someone that is bullied constantly? Would you want to be remembered as someone that doesn’t complete their work, or as an uneducated person even though you’ve trained every staff member that joined the company? Who are you in intimate relationships? Who do you want to be respected as in relationships? Do you want to be viewed as “submissive” and what does that “submissiveness” look like for you? How do you want to show up as a wife, mother, daughter or friend? We need to know who we are in these roles. We need to know what we bring to the table. We need to know what we would have to compromise to decide what we’re willing to compromise on. By knowing who you are and your position in each role in life, you will be empowered to take
back your life.
On how relationships with men impact how women see themselves & interact with others.
“Women usually see themselves through the eyes of a man in work engagements with men in senior leadership roles and in our most intimate relationships with males. If you are in a board room filled with men and they go around the table and skip you, automatically you are likely to feel as though you don’t add up. Or, if there’s a project led by men that does not include female colleagues, or the fact that male counterparts earn higher pay.
For centuries, men have been assumed to be the head of households, but in today’s world, many women lead households. There are many men that are unemployed and by choice, some men stay at home to raise the children.”
Laws shared that the relationships that women have with men can impact the way she views herself as worthy by men and she may find herself in relationship after relationship with people that repeat the same treatment as her father or other male family members. “These men do the very minimum to impress her. Fathers that rarely take their daughter on weekends can result in their daughters accepting the same behaviours with partners as an adult female,” she added.
This limiting belief of how men should treat her as a woman can be damaging to the female, leading to poor choices in partners and engagements with men. Laws also shared that the way male family members speak of women can influence the way the female family members view themselves. “Brothers and male cousins can talk about women that they have interactions with in a negative or a positive way. What comes out of their mouths, we receive it”.
“Some of our patterns cannot change because we continue to hear what men say. A lot of women tend to believe that men know better than women and act in ways to become relatable to them or overcompensate to prove their worth.
Laws also believes that women tend to interact with each other the way they believe men would treat females. “Think about two women in employment. Two people (a male and a female) are in the same role. Some female leaders would be harder on the female employee than the male and I think they believe that if they become closer with the male, they will get on his side, and he will see that she has his back. Now, she may start doing what he’s doing such as crushing the other female’s neck to get ahead”.
On the “Queen Bee phenomenon”
“Let me just start by saying, it’s very unfortunate to have such a phenomenon. When you hear the word ‘Queen Bee,’ it can mean various things but what the ‘phenomenon’ actually means is an insult. For centuries, we had to fight as women to get to the next level, whether it be overextending ourselves with education, overextending ourselves at work, overextending ourselves with family, all to be better so we can grow. Women have really come a mighty long way. To have to deal with another woman treating us in a disrespectful manner is such an insult.
But, on the flip side of that, it would be wonderful to turn the “Queen Bee phenomenon” to more of a position of inspiration, or a position of “Hey girl, let’s go! We’re a team. Where I go, you come too. I’m gonna bring you with me” versus “I am the boss! You do as I say…”. Let’s change that tone to, “I truly appreciate you supporting me in this role, and I can’t thank you enough. I truly appreciate this team”. It’s just that simple.
Being in a role that provided the opportunity to connect with women was my key focus at the Women’s Resource Center. There aren’t any male employees and that could have a really negative connotation because we still have “Queen Bees” whether male or female. They exist in various positions but I think that’s one of the things that I’m most proud of. We are respectful of each other. I don’t ever have to mention who I am but rather, we give each other total respect and praise for our strengths and gifts. Wherever we are weak, we try to lift each other up with our strengths.
One reason many women don’t want to support other females is based on trust, as some women have been in so many uncomfortable and compromising situations with women that they can lose trust in other female. I think “Queen Bee” is a mixture of struggling to get to where you are; wanting to fit in to show that you’re tough; and wanting to show that you can treat females the way we believe men do in order to be promoted, leading to losing sight and forgetting that we are human and have much in common with other women.
On coaching & positive and creative steps women can take to support each other.
“Support can mean supporting each other at work; supporting each other in family; supporting jobs and social events or gatherings; supporting each other in church; just supporting each other overall.
The first thing is to find something that you have in common. Funny enough, many times we don’t believe we have in common as much as we truly do until we sit down and find something. If you are a manager or supervisor and you have a receptionist, pair the supervisor or manager with the mail girl. This does two things: You both learn from each other’s experiences at work but you also learn a lot more about each other that you would respect. So, find something that you both have in common. You may have somebody who makes popcorn all the time and someone who would make a nice meal for lunch. Together, the two can come up with a nice menu for the Christmas dinner.
Remove the outside or past noise: most of us have had past experiences of hurt, mistrust, and people just not being loyal about something that we felt that should not happen. When we remove the outside noise, we are also able to satisfy and start fresh with the situation; not necessarily turning a blind eye but by removing the preconceived thoughts about a person and focus on the common themes, we can start to create positive change. Teach the staff how you created a positive situation so they can see how you did it successfully. Believe it or not, the littlest thing connects people.
Don’t ignore cultural behaviours: It’s important to respect different cultures because culture is serious. Some cultural differences can lead to misjudgment and preconceived thoughts or harmful rumors. It’s all about accountability and supporting positive relationships.
To read more from our series on women in leadership see the articles below:
The Deconstruction of Tammy Richardson
Elena Strong on Shaping our Identity and Strengthening our Purpose
Meet Abigail Clifford, the CEO of BF&M