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Brilliant and Resilient: Projects With a Social Cause Are Good For Company Culture

13 Jul


As the CEO of a 50-person company, people and company culture are always at the top of my mind. The more our culture inspires people, the better work they do, and the more innovative they are. And over the years I’ve found that one thing that really improves our company culture is involvement in projects with a social mission.

Recently, a few employees and I began contributing to a great project that fits right into the culture here at Palo Alto Software.

Three months ago I was approached by Susan Sygall, the CEO of the non-profitMobility International (MIUSA), about a project she was trying to get off the ground. We both live in Eugene, Ore., and she had heard that I was interested in women and leadership, and thought I might be able to help her out. The project, a photography book called Brilliant And Resilient, features a collection of professional images of and personal stories from 50 women representing a variety of cultures, countries and disabilities, all alumni of MIUSA’s Women’s Institute on Leadership and Development program.

Continue reading this article on Forbes.

Marissa Meyer at Yahoo! Declares: Face Time Is The Key

4 Mar

This is an excerpt from an article I wrote and published on ForbesWoman. Last week an internal HR Yahoo! email from the head of HR about Yahoo!’s work at home policies and changes to that policy was leaked. Apparently Marissa Meyer is trying to whip the company back into shape and wants to reign in employees who have flexible working arrangements and work from home. Here is a excerpt from the HR email sent to Yahoo! employees

Beginning in June, we’re asking all employees with work-from-home arrangements to work in Yahoo! offices. If this impacts you, your management has already been in touch with next steps. And, for the rest of us who occasionally have to stay home for the cable guy, please use your best judgment in the spirit of collaboration. Being a Yahoo isn’t just about your day-to-day job, it is about the interactions and experiences that are only possible in our offices.

Employees at Yahoo! are upset, and feel like Ms. Meyer is changing employment terms that Yahoo! has previously agreed to. Many employees who work from home apparently would not have taken the job at Yahoo! had they not been allowed to work from home. According to the HR email, this is a new policy across the board for all employees. Period.

I get that Marissa has a tough job ahead of her. She is the 6th CEO in 5 years at Yahoo! The company is faltering and losing ground. The future of Yahoo! is anything but secure. Marissa has been seen by many to be Yahoo!’s last ditch effort to turn it around. Some people think that she may actually be the scapegoat for Yahoo!, a company well on its way down a death spiral. She has to act quickly. She needs to make some big changes. People are expecting her to get in and start moving the needle immediately.

Couple that with a few more facts to really understand the pressure she is facing:…

 Read the rest at ForbesWoman

Time Magazine Asks “Are You Mom Enough?” Every Mom Should Be Offended

13 May

From my post on ForbesWoman:

The latest Time Magazine cover is just too alluring not to write something about it. As a mother of 3 little boys, and a mother who breastfed all 3 of them until they were 18 months old, I can’t help but be drawn to the cover and at the same time be annoyed by it. The article surrounding the cover is all about Dr. Sears and his theories of attachment parenting. What bothers me though is that the mainstream thought is that only women who stay home can practice attachment parenting. Just recently I wrote an article rebutting  Elisabeth Badinter and her book about how modern motherhood undermines the status of women. The Time magazine cover bothers me in the same way.

The staff writer at TIME behind the cover article, Kate Pickert, is interviewed about her article,  and in her opinion the idea that  working moms can practice attachment parenting is not valid. Apparently Dr. Sears himself talks about how attachment parenting can be great for working moms because it allows them to be very physically close to their babies when they do come home from work. Pickert comments that working moms who try to co-sleep and breastfeed all through the night won’t be able to work the next day and won’t be able to actually perform their job duties.

I object. In the same way that I object to Elisabeth Badinter saying that this sort of “liberal” motherhood is anti-feminist  and is working against women seeking equality in their public lives.  For me attachment parenting (in my way of practicing it) has been wonderful. I brought my 3 boys into the office for the first 4 months of their lives. I wore them in a baby sling, and breastfed them on demand.

Read the rest of my article on ForbesWoman

Infographic: What It’s Like To Be A Working Mom

11 May

In celebration of Mother’s Day on May 13th, TheLadders released a new survey today revealing that working mothers care more about having flexible hours than any other benefit an employer can offer. The infographic is below, and I think nicely shows what working mothers want, how they are regarded by co-workers and their biggest challenge: Work/Life Balance.  It would have been interesting though to get an idea of working moms in leadership roles, and whether they feel the same as all working moms.  I would be willing to bet that the question about how co-workers perceive working mothers in leadership positions would have different results than those in the infographic below.

Read the rest of the article, and see the infographic on ForbesWoman

Where Are The Women At Work? Women, Leadership, and The Gap

27 Apr

I just came across this fascinating infographic on Women @ Work from the MBA@UNC Online MBA program at UNC. As politicians (mostly males) debate women in our economy this inforgraphic sheds some light on women and leadership in the working world.  Based on the following infographic it is clear that women still have  along way to go before we achieve parity in leadership in the working world.

The good news:

  • Women are founding businesses at 1.5x the national average
  • Women-operated, venture-backed companies have 12% higher revenues
  • Companies with more equalized gender distribution in the upper echelons garnered 30% better results from IPOS

The bad news:

  • Only 3-5% of all women owned businesses receive venture capital funding
  • Only 16.5% of US companies have women on their boards
  • Only 25% of the tech industry is women

Read the rest and see the infographic at ForbesWoman

Mommy Wars: Hilary Rosen vs. Anne Romney. All Women Lose.

16 Apr
Photo of Hilary RosenI, too, am frustrated that Democrats can’t align behind their own and support Rosen, and make sure that the message about Anne not being the right person to relate to women’s economic issues got out. They should have slapped Rosen on the hand about her misstep (claiming stay-at-home mom’s don’t work) and moved ahead with the very valid message. Instead, they are contributing to the Mommy Wars by completely denouncing Rosen. It’s bad enough that women in this political campaign season have had to defend their personal  choices left and right. It feels like all of a sudden women are being slammed for everything they have earned over the last 50 years.  Want birth control paid for by health insurance? You must be a slut.  Want the right to choose whether you want to be pregnant or not? You must be a killer. And it goes on and on. I thought we fought these battles in the ’70s, and yet here they are all over again.

I hate that women can’t just stand up and be on the same team. We have fought so hard to be able to be where we are today, and then we attack each other. I feel like I’m back in middle school battling the “mean girls” syndrome. Why is it that stay-at-home moms and working moms have to discuss who has made the better choice? Why is it that when Rosen says something about stay-at-home moms not working, rather than being able to clarify and say “working outside the home,” it has to turn into a huge battle about respecting mothers? The fact is that most stay-at-home moms can NOT relate to Ann Romney. Because most women can’t relate to her. She and her husband are fabulously rich, and have had financial privileges  most families in the United States can’t even imagine. The issue at hand was whether Romney should help represent economic issues as they relate to women. Clearly the answer is no. It would be very hard for anyone to debate otherwise — yet that is not the debate which is happening. Instead, all working moms feel the heat for a working mom who mis-spoke.

Read the rest at ForbesWoman

Is Modern Motherhood Working Against Women?

11 Apr

Elisabeth Badinter has written a book, which is already a bestseller in Europe, titled: “The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women.” Now the book is poised to be released on April 24, 2012, in the US. Here is the description of her book on

Elisabeth Badinter has for decades been in the vanguard of the European fight for women’s equality. Now, in an explosive new book, she points her finger at a most unlikely force undermining the status of women: liberal motherhood, in thrall to all that is “natural.” Attachment parenting, co-sleeping, baby-wearing, and especially breast-feeding—these hallmarks of contemporary motherhood have succeeded in tethering women to the home and family to an extent not seen since the 1950s. Badinter argues that the taboos now surrounding epidurals, formula, disposable diapers, cribs—and anything that distracts a mother’s attention from her offspring—have turned childrearing into a singularly regressive force.

Just reading the description of the book fills me with anger. I am annoyed that Badinter is implying that the only way to be a “liberal” mother, and not only believe, but implement theories of attachment parenting, is if you are tethered to your home. Held back from actually perusing anything besides motherhood. I object. I am a working mother of 3 boys. I am the CEO of a tech company, so as a woman I am already the “odd man out” so to speak. I work extremely hard, but also believe in many of the theories of attachment parenting. And I don’t think that attachment parenting is tethering women. I think women are tethering women. In all my 8 years as a mother, and 3 kids later, the guilt I feel about being a working mother is 9 times out of 10 inflicted by another woman. I understand that there are some careers that make it difficult for any parent. But I think this is also a function of parents being afraid to speak out and ask for the flexibility that they need.

Read the rest at ForbesWoman