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

How Being a Mom Ruined Hunger Games For Me

26 Mar

Spoiler Alert: If you have not seen the movie and plan to, and have not read the book, then don’t read my post. My company went to one of the first showings of Hunger Games last Friday. We were celebrating one of our most successful apps, LivePlan, turning one year old.  In the past five years I had only been to movies created for young kids. The buzz everywhere last week was Hunger Games, and clearly it was THE biggest movie out in a long time. So I agreed that it would be a fun way to celebrate the LivePlan anniversary. We bought everyone tickets to the first showing Friday afternoon in the IMAX theater.

There are many things that were amazing in the movie:

  1. The casting was spectacular. Woody Harrelson, and Lenny Kravitz shined in their roles. Jennifer Lawrence was amazing. Rue, played by Amandla Stengberg was perfect. Stanley Tucci was delectably unlikable. Donald Sutherland played his character perfectly.  Elizabeth Banks couldn’t be more unappealingly and shallow playing Effie; a terrific performance.
  2. The costumes were divine.  They were vulgar and amusing and perfectly depicting the out-of-control world of the “haves” vs. the grim, drab, and bleak costumes from the people in the districts.
  3. The story and the cinematography are incredibly engrossing. You don’t want to leave your seat. You are not thinking of anything else except what is in front of you. You care about the characters and you are pained throughout the story.

Read the rest at ForbesWoman

Happy Birthday Twitter: Twitter Turns 6!

21 Mar
Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Today is Twitter is 6 years old. It is no longer the fresh new internet baby, instead Twitter can be jealous ofPinterest, the new internet baby darling. Some interesting facts about Twitter:

  1. Twitter reached 500k users 1 year and a half after launching
  2. Twitter reached 1 billion tweets shortly after 3 years.
  3. Today Twitter easily has more than 250 million tweets per day.

What I also find fascinating about Twitter, and internet technology in general is just how quickly new technologies change the way we communicate, find interesting and relevant information, and market our businesses. Even more interesting to me is how women use Twitter, and why many people say more women are using Twitter than men. Check out this excerpt from a fascinating Twitter infographic:

See the infographic and read the rest on ForbesWoman

Vanity Fair Solicits Votes For Sexiest Cartoon Characters: Fun or Inappropriate?

14 Mar
Disney Princess: The Ultimate Song CollectionOh, Vanity Fair. I really do like your magazine. I have been a subscriber for over 10 years. I have given the subscription as a gift to many, many people. I like your writing. I like your features. It’s one magazine I actually find time to read (as a working mother of three little boys, reading for fun does not make it high on my to-do list).  But I have to say I am appalled by this content. Here is the official poll on the Vanity Fair web site:Poll: Which Animated Movie Character Was Drawn with the Most Sex Appeal? And here is a tweet from @VanityFair  about this contest:

In a world where we constantly position women and girls as sex objects and expose girls to a plethora of inappropriate sexual images way too early in their lives, is this the kind of “fun” poll that a smart magazine like Vanity Fair should be supporting? I realize that they appeal to an adult audience. I also realize that this is not the first time they have content I think crosses the line between cool, fun, appropriate, and vulgar and inappropriate. I distinctly remember this cover because my six-year old asked me all kinds of questions I didn’t think should even be in his little six-year old mind when he saw it:

Read the rest at Forbeswoman

Oregon’s Angel Business Plan Competition Model: Coming to a state near you?

3 Mar
English: Great Seal of the State of Oregon Esp...

As someone very involved through what my company does,  in helping entrepreneurs and small businesses succeed, I have immersed myself in the start-up world here in Oregon where my company is based. Oregon has five major business plan competitions across the state. Throughout the year (most of them in the Spring) these competitions put together an LLC group made up of individual investors to create business plan competitions where the winner gets an investment (usually a convertible note) of anywhere from $150,000 to $350,000. The first angel competitions in Oregon were theBend Venture Conference in 2003, followed by Angel Oregon in 2005, then the Oregon Angel Fund (OAF) in 2007,  the Willamette Angel Conference in 2009, Southern Oregon Angel Investment Conference in 2010, and most recently the Gorge Angel Conference started in 2011.  All told in 2012 these conferences and the OAF (not a conference but an Angel group funded by the Oregon Government, with 1.5 million dollars in matching funds every year) will invest just under four  million dollars in to 9-10 companies. For the most part, all the companies will be Oregon companies (some conferences have official rules about where companies are located, some don’t).

Here is how the Angel Conferences and business plan  competitions work:

Read the rest at Forbeswoman

Pitching Your Business vs. Planning Your Business

29 Feb

I feel like recently, as the Lean Startup movement gains more and more traction (I love the Lean Startup principles) and there are more incubators, accelerators, innovation centers, etc. helping startups get off the ground, that I’m hearing more and more this idea:

“you don’t need a business plan, you need a great pitch”

While I absolutely agree that a great pitch is critical for any high growth startup thinking of pitching Angel Investors or Venture Capital firms, I am puzzled by this idea that you need a pitch but not a plan. When I talk to people  who run incubators and accelerators, they all give me the same song and dance. Full disclosure: as the CEO of Palo Alto Software, the developers behind LivePlan, a Software as a Service online planning solution, it is in my benefit to have every small business and every startup write a business plan. But nonetheless, I run this business because I truly do believe in the tools that we produce and truly feel that planning will make startups and small businesses more successful. So, back to this idea of a plan vs. a pitch and what a startup really needs to be successful in today’s landscape. Let’s make the assumption that you don’t need a plan. That what you need is a fantastic pitch. A pitch where you presumably need to talk about:

  • Your special sauce. Why your product or service is what this world needs.
  • Your team. Why you are the ones to make this happen.
  • The competitive landscape.
  • The market, and how you will reach it.
  • How much you will sell, (i.e. your forecast) over the next 12 months, and then the next few years.
  • How much it will cost you to sell (i.e., your Expenses).
  • Your implementation plan/timeline to implement.
  • How you will use the investment you are asking for (most likely it will match a Profit & Loss you have done).
  • What investors will get for giving you their money.

Read the rest on Forbeswoman

The Modern Business Traveler: Top 5 Things That Will Keep Your Travel on Track

7 Feb

In the past two weeks I have been traveling for my company, talking about our new product, LivePlan, and have unfortunately had to endure canceled flights, delays, and re-bookings on all my trips. Let me give you a quick recap of the issues I have encountered recently, as I think they are common to anyone who travels for business:

1. My trip two weeks ago was supposed to be a fast one nighter in Los Angeles, as I was speaking at an SBDC Development conference for about 100 people. I planned to fly out of Eugene at 5:00 p.m., land in Burbank at 9:30 p.m., drive to the hotel, sleep, do a presentation at 9:15 a.m., drive back to Burbank, catch my flight and be back home by 6:00 p.m. My flight was booked out of Eugene via San Francisco. It turns out it was cloudy in San Francisco that day, which meant terrible delays. I got to the airport and realized there was no way United was going to get me to Los Angeles that evening, and if I didn’t get in that evening, I would not be able to get to my speaking engagement on time the next morning. I was starting to panic when I saw that Allegiant Air had a direct flight that evening from EUG to LAX which was leaving in 50 minutes. I could get a one way for $160. Done I thought. Perfect. I waited for a United agent, and explained I just wanted to buy a ticket on Allegiant, as United was not going to get me to LA in time for my speaking engagement. She agreed that they were not going to get me there, but then told me that if I didn’t take the outbound flight, I would invalidate my ticket back.  I was NOT asking for them to book me on Allegiant, or even pay for the fare. I was simply asking for them to make sure my return flight was not canceled because I did not board the outgoing flight. Nope. She couldn’t help me. She suggested I call the United phone number. So, standing right in front of her, I called the phone number. I got an agent that understood what I wanted to do, but proceeded to tell me that my ticket, which cost $485, would need a $150 change fee, and then the difference between the one fare was $1,500.  So let’s recap:

  1. United could not get me out on time.
  2. Allegiant could, and I was willing to pay for the ticket.
  3. To keep from invalidating my return flight, I had to pay roughly $1,300.

I calmly explained to the agent that I was not asking for any money, and in fact all I wanted was to deal with my flight issue myself, and let United off the hook. The agent was smart enough to understand, and after a 15-minute hold time (where the minutes ticked by and I wondered if I would be able to make the Allegiant Air flight that was now taking off in 35 minutes), he came back and let me know a manager had approved the changes without any fees. I know that if I had been angry, screaming and yelling, he probably would not have talked to a manager. But instead I enlisted his help, explained the situation, and knew I had him on my side. I was able to buy my Allegiant Air ticket, contact Alamo rentals to change the pickup location for my rental car, and run to the gate. Problem solved. Had I not acted like my own travel agent and charmed the customer service agent, I would have missed my speaking opportunity.

Read the rest on Forbeswoman