The Forest and the Trees at Work

By | Executive Coaching, Gender issues in work, Leadership | No Comments

I received the email message 20 minutes before our coaching session was about to begin. This young woman executive was asking to reschedule – again – because she had just been called into a meeting that was very important and she was very, very sorry! When we finally got together, I pointed out to her that this was the third time she had rescheduled at the last minute, plus she had cut one session short due to a work emergency, showed up late to one session because a meeting ran over and she hadn’t completed her goals yet. “Your company is paying me whether you show up or not,” I reminded her. “But this is an opportunity to focus on you…

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Short Memories and the Meaning of the F-Word

By | Gender issues in work | One Comment

I recently had the pleasure of attending a dinner hosted by my college alumnae association to recognize donors to the association itself and to various scholarship and fellowship funds. Scattered among the tables were some of the young women students who had received scholarships made possible by these generous women from earlier generations. When I attended the school it had been a women’s college. Now, still housed within a major university and still focused on women, it no longer grants degrees but it continues to provide an environment for young women to develop an intellectual community and offers opportunities for leadership and focus. There were three young women sitting at our table and all three were quite impressive; two were seniors…

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Bias vs. Behavior: What Explains Gender Differences at Work?

By | Executive Coaching, Gender issues in work, Leadership, Management | 3 Comments

The Harvard Business Review published a fascinating article last fall that hasn’t, in my opinion, received enough media attention: “A Study Used Sensors to Show That Men and Women are Treated Differently at Work.” S. Turban, L. Freeman. And B. Waber, October 23, 2017. Citing data that reports women are underrepresented in the C-suite, receive lower salaries and are less likely to get that first promotion to manager, they set out to investigate the question: do women and men act all that differently at work and, therefore, do behavioral differences drive these sorts of career outcomes? They used a large, multi-national business strategy firm to do their research. In this company, women made up 35-40% of the entry-level workforce but a…

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It IS Who You Know!

By | Executive Coaching, Gender issues in work, Leadership | One Comment

I have always used my own career as proof that knowledge, skills and a driving work ethic were “all” you needed to succeed. I entered the business workforce not even convinced I wanted to be there, believing that an academic path was still my sure route to success and this first job was just a way to pay the rent. I’ve told you what happened: I fell in love with business, helped in no small part by serving the mission of The New York Times, and, in the blink of an eye, I ended up on a career trajectory that led me to assume the stewardship of an information services company for more than a decade. I was smart and hard…

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Tell Us How You Managed!

By | Executive Coaching, Gender issues in work, Leadership, Management | One Comment

You can’t watch TV, go online or read the news right now without hearing about another man in power being accused of sexual harassment. From learning that even the mighty Harvey Weinstein could be exposed (irony intended) to the solidarity offered by #metoo, which garnered millions of supporters within hours of Alyssa Milano’s Twitter post, many women in the business world are deciding that they will no longer tolerate the unwelcome advances, pressure for sex or the retaliation when they refuse. However, the title of this essay is dripping with sarcasm, in case you missed it. I couldn’t quite believe what I was reading in an article in The New York Times in which men indicated “… they planned to be…

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Never A Down Moment

By | Executive Coaching, Gender issues in work | 5 Comments

I have trouble relaxing. I really don’t have difficulty sitting and doing something mindless but I never turn off my mind. It is always racing around to some worry or another, reminding me of something I should be doing, something that would make me healthier or smarter or richer or thinner or just a better person. My dear husband never quite understood and used to tell me I needed a hobby, an activity that would allow me to lose myself for the sheer pleasure of it. Over our years together he’s dabbled in a few hobbies; he tried his hand growing bonsai trees. On Sundays we scouted flea markets and sidewalks sales, looking for unopened Avon men’s cologne bottles. He has…

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Dinner with Fabulous Women

By | Executive Coaching, Gender issues in work, Leadership, Management | 7 Comments

Two experiences happened recently that inspired today’s essay. My husband and I were sitting in the lobby bar at the Hotel Bethlehem in Pennsylvania, waiting to meet friends, and were admiring the scores of photos of famous people that adorned the walls. Deliberately nursing our drinks before dinner, we started a game, guessing for one another which of those famous former patrons we’d choose as dinner companions. After bemoaning how few women were on the walls – at least compared to men – I silently made my choices and then my husband astounded me by guessing every one correctly! I can never really claim to be misunderstood. A few months later, spending a day in NYC before an evening at the…

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Backwards and In High Heels

By | Executive Coaching, Gender issues in work | One Comment

My writing is about management and NOT about politics but I must admit that I was taken aback by a recent Washington Post article on Melania Trump’s shoes. Now I am as liberal as they come. My grandmother, who died when I was fifteen, made me promise to never cross a picket line, a promise that caused me some anxiety during my years at The New York Times. I was lucky. The strike that was always threatening never came during my decade plus tenure. My first vote was cast, albeit illegally, for Adelaide Stevenson, when my grandmother cajoled the poll worker into letting me go into the booth with her and pull the lever. I am not a fan of the…

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Ready for My Closeup

By | Executive Coaching, Gender issues in work, Leadership | 2 Comments

The bottom fell out of the U.S. economy in the fall of 2008 and most businesses – and individuals – didn’t quite know what hit them. The business I ran was heavily dependent on the consumer magazine industry, which was already beginning to feel the effects of consumers’ move to the Internet. We had begun to shift our strategic direction earlier, paying even more attention to the treasure trove of data that we collected each year and mining it for broader use and additional revenue streams. Our head of marketing, a smart and hard-working woman who had created a smoothly functioning and strategically focused department from not much more than shoe strings and tape, was releasing data nuggets to the press…

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The Dark Corners of Polite Society

By | Executive Coaching, Gender issues in work, Leadership | 2 Comments

The business section of The New York Times on Sunday, August 20, 2017, contained an article, “Exposing a Toxic Milieu for Women in Economics,” by Justin Wolfers, that, for me, added one more brick to the wall of an already awful week. We saw clansman and neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville, resulting in violence and death. We saw terrorism attacks in Spain and Finland. We saw our national leaders respond inconsistently, offering little moral or ethical leadership designed to bring us together. I wanted nothing more this beautiful Sunday morning than to curl up with good coffee and read The New York Times. Then I came across this article and was smacked in the face with the reminder that there remain many…

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