Monthly Archives: June 2013

Do Women Support Other Women in Business? I Say YES!

Janet Hanson, 60, the founder of 85 Broads, started her organization in 1997.  She was originally a Goldman Sachs executive at 85 Broad Street (get it?)
 
Here’s how the 85 Broads website defines the organization:

“85 Broads is a global network of 30,000 trailblazing women who are inspired, empowered and connected worldwide.”

Recently, a well-known financial executive, Sallie Krawcheck, purchased the 85 Broads organization and was quoted as saying:

“For most of my career, I tried to avoid the topic of being a woman in business, vaguely concerned that talking too much about it would hold me back in some way.  But I have been thinking about it over the last year . . . a lot.  The research and business case for the economic advancement of women is so compelling in a world deeply in need of greater economic prosperity.”

Hanson will keep a stake in the company and become chairman emeritus, according to an article in Bloomberg magazine. “It is time to pass the baton to a younger person who has the energy”, she said when asked about her reason for selling.
 
I enjoyed the story — especially the part about not just leaving a company but SELLING it! More of us over 60’s are going to do that – hopefully in droves – and hopefully when I am senile enough not to be sick with jealousy. (Yes, a joke.)
 
What I love even more about this story is that it helps break the myth of “women don’t help each other” or “women do not want to see other women succeed”.  I think that’s bunk.  Maybe it wasn’t bunk in 1968 when there were only a few successful woman business owners and executives scattered here and there — something likely to make anyone paranoid. (And, as a funny friend once told me — “just because you are paranoid, doesn’t mean someone is NOT out to get you.”)

There have always been women who helped other women. Certainly not every business woman has been a supporter of other women, but in my experience it has been that way more often than not.  I would be NO WHERE professionally or personally without all the help I have gotten from women — including Cathy Green the co-founder of Fabulous Over 60.  Let me say again: Thanks Cathy!
 
I just got a copy of Stiletto Network: Inside The Women’s Power Circles That Are Changing the Face Of Business.  This book is HOT! It is all about women banding together and helping each other to improve lives and companies and to realize their dreams.  I am going on vacation and taking THIS as a beach book!
 
As “over-60’s”, we may feel a bit disappointed not to be in the forefront of this revolution, but we contributed through our efforts in the workplace to create what Deepak Chopra described as “the next revolution…. the rise of the feminine archetype”.
 
At this point I am probably a lot more interested in going to Deepak Chopra’s spa than attending power circles.  But what I plan to consider-is investing with these new women in some of their ventures that are out to change the world.  Now THAT is powerful and fabulous and makes good economic sense.

Apparently Lots of People Are Struggling to Get Along With Others

A close friend sent me a link to a website called SpiritLibrary, where a contributor noted that people were “pulling in” and often choosing only to be with those like themselves—the same politics, similar views on food, climate change, gay rights—or this that or the other issue. **(See link below if interested in this type of thing.) The observations make a good deal of sense to me—and perhaps may explain my own “drawing in” behavior.

yoga11

 

Being overly sensitive has always been a challenge for me. One reason I have pulled in and try not to “communicate” much with those whom I perceive to be totally different than I am is my attempt to stay calm and centered. The fallout of “discussions” led to some very tense moments—including a “flip out” on my part with some friends and THEIR friends—all of whom were stunned at my major meltdown after a political “discussion”. Good news is I don’t melt down much—bad news is when I do it is a mess—and I just don’t stop. Anyone else do that? Well sure—those of us that are extroverts can go crazy—you lucky introverts suffer silently—not good for you but a joy to others.

CoupleFighting

I recently got an email from a close friend—the husband in a couple we love. It included a blazing indictment of my team and its leader—and I mean blazing! It shocked me and hurt me. And yet I love this guy and know he is a fine person—just don’t love his politics. What to do? After MUCH writing in my mind, I decided to WRITE NOTHING.

Still guilty for not holding up my end of things in the universe, I am hoping that some very sophisticated and appropriate thing comes to mind so I can write a Dorothy Parker-like reply. Chances are I will simply pretend it never got to me and hope he doesn’t mention it in our next get together. With so much sharing you can claim you didn’t see any particular piece of shared information. To us fabulous women this seems like a blatant lack of consequences; to others it is just how it is.

Maybe the millennials are on to something. Just keep writing about yourself, sharing photos, short ideas or concepts that appeal to you. But, and this is key—do not expect any serious reply or long rejoinder (a word of the past). I always believe that the world is getting better and dislike talk of how the old days or older people were superior. But sometimes, I truly miss people’s consideration of others and how it made for closer, more in-depth and detailed conversation. I felt more so engaged and less like a voter on what’s good, bad, or who cares. Repeat 100 times: It is all good. Let it go.

**Referenced SpiritLibrary article

Being a Grandmother Without Being a Mother!

My dear niece Kelly was the daughter I didn’t have. Kelly was alone in that role till my step-daughter Courtney arrived in my life when I married her dad in 1998. Two daughters—but really two women I was/am Aunt to and now are my dearest and closest friends. I am thrilled to have them both and love to spend time with each of them. But, I wasn’t and am not their mother.
 
But to Reagan and Morgan I always was and always will be “grandma Patty”. I am not a step grandmother—thank God. Being a step anything stinks. You always feel second-class—with a sign that says ‘this person is NOT a real whatever—but rather she is a STEP whatever’—definitely the B team. We get to lose that dreary role when we start out with grandchildren who never knew you as anyone BUT their grandmother. Here’s why:

  • No time is wasted wondering how much they look, sound or act like me.
  • It is a new and fresh role for me—never did anything quite like it.
  • The focus is always on who they are as individuals—unique, always surprising. I did not raise their mom or dad and can’t compare them with anyone else.
  • I am not doing a “do over” from a great or bad job at parenting—this is a totally new job so I approach it with proper respect and sincere humility.

Some otherwise fabulous women feel uncomfortable being called grandma. It is as if a title like grandmother means you are an unsexed stay at home knitting creature who lives for babysitting and serving cookies. This thinking feels old-fashioned but also narcissistic—the most prevalent and sad affliction of our culture. My dad’s mother didn’t like being called mother or grandma—and had my mom call her Marie as if she were my dad’s sister. She wasn’t much in the grandmother role either – neither serving cookies nor enjoying babysitting for Wendy and me. I dreaded her yearly visits.
 
My dear Italian grandmother was a model of sorts—I did love her and enjoy our “tea dates”—but she was a classic stereotypical old style grandmother who did not speak English terrifically well and who never left the kitchen or her garden. Two places I can handle but do not consider my areas of expertise. I cannot fathom my grandmother in a sexy dress, suit or jeans—my frequent choices. She and I had genes and not much else in common.

grandma

So I have approached “grandmothering” like any new job–with an open mind, heart, ears and notepad/book/computer in hand. Listening tops my list of ideas being great at grandmothering — letting your grandchildren talk (or babble) for long periods of time trying to share with you. Do it with attention, at their level. Listening still is the best strategy for bonding and job success. For me, a woman who never heard mommy 100,000 times, hearing Morgan or Reagan say “I love you grandma”—does have a unique sweetness that feels new and fresh. Yes, I earned it like all good work I have done, but it sure beats “Pat—call me tomorrow so we can review how the call went and what’s next”.

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