The pathway to change…

Do we clutter our own pathway to change? I often wonder ho much we hold ourselves back from progress by working within the confines of what we have known up till now.   A couple of months ago I was going through some old office files and a page I had ripped out of a book back in the 90’s fell out.  Yes, the 90’s.  Just a couple of weeks later I was meeting a colleague who mentioned the book and the author… since then I keep thinking about it.   The book is the Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.  I can’t say I particularly loved the book but I did love this excerpt- so much I still the yellowing page 20 years later.

“Look,” said Roark.  “The famous flutings on the famous columns – what are they there for? To hide the joins in wood – when columns were made of wood, only these aren’t, they’re marble.  The triglyphs, what are they? Wood. Wooden beams, the way they had to be laid when people began to build wooden shacks.  Your Greeks took marble and they made copies of their wooden structures out of it, because others had done it that way.  Then your masters of the Renaissance came along and made copies in plaster of copies in marble of copies in wood.  Now here we are, making copies in steel and concrete of copies in plaster of copies in marble of copies in wood.  Why?”

Why?  How can we do it differently?  How much are our personal views confining the possibility for change?  Last night I was talking with a friend who is considering a job 2000 miles from her home, the concern is how can she be 100% in and bring change to the organization in an effective way if she is not there every day.   I asked them why they felt that the only way to do this was by physically being there… I get the view, I have lived most of my life thinking being present means also being physically present.  But now I am working with younger people every day and learning to use virtual meetings and IMing – I can even share my screen now at moment’s notice to anyone around the world.  And that’s just work…

Working mothers – what about the way we parent – so much of what our parents did is no longer applicable to the way we live today, change is everywhere.  We have two parents working, we have cell phones, tablets. We have crazy amounts of scheduled activities.  Our kids know how to access the world quicker than we do – we have a  TV in the house that only my 10 year old knows how to work.  Oh and the school work – they even learn math differently.  Given all this change why do we continue our effort to create the world in which we grew up in?

Read the quote – what comes to your mind first?


A Famous Working Mother – Sheryl Says ‘Ban Bossy’


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Ban-BossyLike many of the working mothers reading this blog, I too have a daughter.  She is in 6th grade and I am constantly worrying about the tipping point of self-esteem that not only do we read about, but I can vividly remember at her age.

I happened to watch a Ban Bossy campaign clip just after returning from a meeting with my daughter’s teacher.  This campaign was initiated by Sheryl Sandburg in partner with Condoleeza Rice and the Girl Scouts of the USA.  Wow – timing is everything! The purpose of the meeting was to discuss tactics to get my daughter to work to her potential  – yes, I am a finance person and we measured her potential through testing outside of the school, therapy for a later date.  During the discussion, the teacher commented on how she had just been telling my daughter, who we have nicked name Don Corleone (Godfather, more therapy), that she noticed that she is smiling more lately and that she has such a nice smile.   Think about that for a minute…

On the surface it is a kind comment, truly.  But what my eleven year old, and many of my working mother clan, heard was that she must not be normal if she doesn’t smile often.  It is one of the little seeds that begins our ‘I’m not good enough’ syndrome that follows us until we check into therapy or coaching.  And because my daughter really likes this teacher – the impact is all that more harmful.  I am a pretty serious looking person (thanks dad), and often can look angry even when I am not.  I can remember my mother telling me often – like a broken record – that “you look pretty when you smile” and on other occasions “you always look too serious”.  What I took going forward was that there was no beauty in seriousness, so what did that make me?  (And just in case my mother is reading this – I know you said this out of love, not knowing how my little brain was wired.)

After watching the clip and a couple of related ones, I really began listening to myself with my children, my son included.  What things could I be saying that could be planting little seeds that are growing weeds when I intended them to grow sun flowers?  Don’t get hung up on the title of the campaign, Ban Bossy, watch some of the clips and get to the root of it – or to the seeds of it, after all the root comes from the seed.

I urge you to watch this clip from ABC News and share your thoughts.  What kinds of things can we, working mothers and all working women, do today to help our young girls grow into confident leaders?

Wendy Davis…a step in the right direction


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Why Are We Talking About Wendy Davis’s Choices?

This post on the NY Times website by KJ Dell’Antonia gets to the heart of why Wendy Davis’ story is good for all of us – it takes us one more step in the right direction.  The final stop should be a world where we can make career and life choices without judgement based on our gender, and that includes the judgment coming from the voices in our own heads which are often the loudest.

Regardless of politics – thank you Wendy Davis for being brave.

Wendy Davis


Food for thought…

“Whether there are innately female leadership styles…is not really the right question. It is more important to ask why there has been so little attention paid to women leaders over the years as well as why the styles of leading more exhibited by women are particularly useful at this critical moment in history.”
– Charlotte Bunch


A Harvard Business Review Blog… food for thought


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A Harvard Business Review Blog… food for thought

When my son entered 1st grade in a new school, I was invited to a meet and greet with the teacher.  My assigned time slot was shared with another parent… who I came to learn later was an international attorney who specialized in Saudi Arabia.  After he asked question after question about the programs, the methodology of learning and much more that I tuned out, the teacher turned to me and asked if I had any questions.  Yes I did have one question, “Can you get my kid to second grade?”.

In our house I have a mantra – shoot for average, after that it’s all icing.  My husband isn’t fond of it… but I worry about the pressure on kids today to be ‘perfect’.  Well today, my coach who has been helping me establish my business on the East Coast, sent me this link to remind me to enjoy life just a bit more…in full disclosure, I needed that reminder, I have not been practicing what I preach lately.

To read click here and smell the roses!


What Does Jack Welch Know About Childcare? – A lot!


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Cover of "Winning"

Cover of Winning

Yes, I know I am probably years late in reading Jack Welch’s book Winning­­, but better late than never.  I am now a Jack Welch groupie – not only because his management advice is pragmatic (my middle name) but can be applied to making decisions throughout your life.

As I near the last pages of this book, Jack (remember, I am a first name kind of gal) admits he is not an authority on work-life balance.  In that very same paragraph he states “For forty-one years, my operating principle was work hard, play hard, and spend some time as a father.” I applaud him, not because he will ever get any father or husband of the year awards, but because he made a choice and he owns it.

Women and men I meet, so often leave the choices to circumstance rather than setting up their ‘operating principle’.   I have a workshop named (Life) Infrastructure 101…after reading this book I think Operating Principles for Work/Life would be a much better title.

Continue reading »



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English: A photo of a cup of coffee. Esperanto...

Today I visited a large appliance store looking at new appliances for our new house out east.  There were so many choices, two doors over one, two doors side by side, two doors side by side over drawers, and that was just the refrigerator.  As I left it began to rain and I remembered that I had wanted a built-in cappuccino maker – it’s always been my dream, the sign that I am truly spoiled.  And then I remembered my favorite cup of coffee. Continue reading »

More on Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead


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Books Sheryl SandbergI know you must be sitting on the edge of your seat, so let’s dish more about Sheryl Sandberg’s highly criticized book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead.  I wrote a brief post back on March 22 which highlighted points Ms. Sandburg discussed on a TED talk.  To recap, the main points were also in the book but let’s touch on them again.

Sit at the table:  this is my favorite one of Ms. Sandberg’s points.  This simply means that you should not stay invisible.  Speak up, ask questions, and share your ideas.  And on the occasions where this is done at a physical table, sit at the table and not at one of the chairs against the wall. I have been working with a client who treats herself as unworthy of “sitting at the table” even though on many occasions she is doing the presenting.   As we talk through her reasoning, it is plain and simple – she hasn’t given herself permission to be worthy.  Instead she has listened to the pessimism of all others who are too scared to sit at the table and over time she has let it apply to herself as well.  This person is well versed in her professional arena, has a great pedigree, amazing curiosity and a rare ability to openly welcome and hear everyone’s ideas.   Of course no one will tell her to sit at the table if they are too scared to do it themselves.  She simply needs to pull out a chair.

Make your partner a true partner:  Ok, this one is very hard for me to digest.  My husband recently told me about an interview where Michele Obama mistakenly referred to herself as a single mother and then stated that being married to the president is like being a single mother.  Duh! Gals, here’s the deal… IF you have a spouse and he happens to resemble June Cleaver that’s just great!  But for the remainder of us, creating your life infrastructure as if you were a single mother can be incredibly helpful and freeing.  We will talk about the critics who point to lack of money as a barrier to this below.  Continue reading »