In light of recent books about women at work, such as Own It, by
Sallie Krawcheck, there is great interest about whether women are succeeding in the job market.
A study released yesterday, published by Makeda Easter of the Los Angeles Times, shows that when women lead an organization, they provide twice as many jobs to female workers.
You can read the full article at this link:
If you live in the DFW area, the article appears on page 4D of the Dallas Morning News on June 25, 2017. Here is the essence of the article:
“Startups with at least one female founder wind up building companies where nearly half the staff are women, a new study finds.
With an average of 48 percent female workers, women-led firms have nearly twice the industry average and outpace some of the nation’s largest tech companies in gender diversity including Google (31 percent), Facebook (33 percent) and Uber (36 percent), according to the study by online startup investing platform FundersClub that surveyed 85 U.S.-based tech startups.
Alex Mittal, co-founder and chief executive of FundersClub, said startups are key to addressing gender diversity in the workplace because the ones that succeed might someday be massive companies. (The majority of startups surveyed had fewer than 20 employees).
The study also examined the effect of female tech founders on leadership and engineering teams. Women made up 38 percent of executives at firms with at least one female founder — 2.4 times the average at startups with no female founders. At women-led firms, females made up 23 percent of the engineering teams — 2.3 times the average at firms led by men.
The findings come on the heels of a monthslong investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination at Uber, which has elevated awareness of what long has been one of the tech industry’s biggest deficiencies.
Mittal said the timing was simply a coincidence. Women in the industry say the survey’s findings are no surprise.
“Top female talent is more attracted to work on a team where they can see themselves in leadership and know that is respected in the company,” said KJ Erickson, the CEO of Simbi, a service exchange platform.
Natalia Oberti Noguera, founder and CEO of Pipeline Angels, a network of women investors, said the survey failed to address the elephant in the room — race.
“How many of those women founders are white women,” she asked. “It would’ve been even more exciting if this report had included race and gender together.”
She recalls attending a Los Angeles gathering for women founders that attracted more than 200 women but few of color.
“There were only two black women and maybe four Asian women, the rest of women were predominantly blonde and very attractive,” Schulte said. “This is not representative of the people that are out there.”
Diversity — gender, race, age, among others — is crucial to being competitive in the startup world, Schulte said. It “can bring a richness to problem-solving that you can’t get if you have 10 people who are clones.”
I teach Speech Communication. One of the subjects we dwell on is “ethnocentrism.” It is a fancy, academic word, that basically means “I think that my group is better than your group, so I will focus on my group and, in some way or another, think less of your group.” There are a lot of variations of this “my group is better than your group” thinking, including gender bias, age bias, and, of course, racial bias.
And bias is the springboard for prejudice, and then discrimination – and then, sadly, verbal mistreatment, and even physical violence.
And, yes, sadly, racism is still a major problem in our society.
There are big society-wide initiatives that we need to take, and re-emphasize over and over again to combat this evil. But the diversity battles might just be won one incident at a time, in your workplace — in every workplace. And they have to be won by people who stand up and say “no!”
I thought of this as I heard the terrific interview on Fresh Air with Walton Goggins, who plays Boyd Crowder on Justified. (It’s starting back up – one of my favorite shows). Boyd Crowder is a backwoods, blunt, rough character. Here’s what Walton Goggins said about how he was willing, and not willing, to play the character.
You know, I’ve made four Southern movies. I’ve been in quite a few Southern films. And initially, when this was sent to me, I wasn’t interested in playing another Southern guy labeled as a racist.
You know, I think racism is a problem throughout our country, and it’s not confined to those states below the Mason-Dixon line. And for me, I did not want to perpetuate a stereotype. So I had them take out references to our president, Barack Obama, and I wouldn’t say the N-word, and I said I would do this if Raylan was able to point out that Boyd doesn’t necessarily believe that which he is saying, and that was very important to me.
“So I had them take it out.” I wouldn’t do it! This is the front-line in tackling discrimination and divisive stereotypes. Good for Walton Goggins.
And, for all of us, what can we do to stand up for diversity, for acceptance? The workplace will be a better place for us all if we take this challenge seriously.
You can listen to the interview with Walton Goggins, and read the transcript, here.
At the First Friday Book Synopsis, we have covered many books which have included a reference to “wisdom over knowledge.” And, there is a strong correlation between wisdom and age.
Maybe not! I thought a recent article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “The Search is on for Fresh Executive Talent” (April 11, 2011, p. B9) demonstrated otherwise.
The article highlighted two key picks across six industries: health care, high tech, retail, industrial products, financial services, and consumer goods.
The range in age was very tight: the youngest were Charles Scharf (age 45), head of retail-banking operations at J.P. Morgan Chase, and Dave Donatelli (age 45), an executive VP at Hewlett-Packard, while the oldest was Eric Wiseman (age 55), CEO at VF Corporation.
Here is the breakdown by age:
45 – 2
46 – 1
47 – 1
49 – 1
50 – 1
51 – 1
52 – 1
54 – 1
55 – 1
That is a mean age of 49.4 years. So, you do not have to be old have talent, and perhaps wisdom. That is promising.
What is disapponting? Nine of the ten are caucasian. Nine of the ten are men.
Maybe we have made progress on age, but if these are representative of the pool of “fresh executive talent,” we have not come very far on other aspects of corporate diversity.
What do you think? Let’s talk about it really soon!
People are different. And the more diversity between the people, the more differences there are.
So – here is the question of the day: Do you always hang out with the same people – the same kinds of people? If so, maybe it’s time broaden your circle.
This simple advice is a key part of the message from Yale’s President Rick Levin to the arriving freshman class. (I read this in this blog post by Arianna Huffington). Here’s a key excerpt:
Levin pointed out how the students “come from all 50 states and 58 nations” and urged them (and their parents) to go “entirely outside the range of your past experience,” and “stretch yourself.” “If the friends you make here are exclusively those who come from backgrounds just like your own and went to high schools just like your own,” he said, “you will have forfeited half the value of a Yale education. Seek out friends with different histories and different interests; you will find that you learn the most from the people least like you.”
I’ve read plenty of books that offer similar advice. Like this:
Sticking to the people we already know is a tempting behavior. But unlike some forms of dating, a networker isn’t looking to achieve only a single successful union. Creating an enriching circle of trusted relationships requires one to be out there, in the mix, all the time.
Set a goal for yourself of initiating a meeting with one new person a week. It doesn’t matter where or with whom.
Keith Ferrazzi, Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time (The Ultimate Networker Reveals How to Build a Lifelong Community of Colleagues, Contacts, Friends, and Mentors)
Seize any opportunity, or anything that looks like opportunity. They are rare, much rarer than you think. Remember that positive Black Swans have a necessary first step: you need to be exposed to them. If a big publisher (or a big art dealer or a movie executive or a hotshot banker or a big thinker) suggests an appointment, cancel anything you have planned: you may never see such a window open up again.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan: The Impact of the HIGHLY IMPROBABLE
In my own life, I am always learning from the wide array of people I “hang with.” I speak monthly at the Urban Engagement Book Club, which includes a true mix of people: non-profit leaders, business folks, some people who are pretty much in the homeless category, retired people… I have experienced no other mix of people like it in my lifetime.
And I teach at a local community college. There are people from multiple ethnic backgrounds, and all levels of the economic spectrum. My students teach me so much every semester.
And then we have the audience of business leaders who attend the First Friday Book Synopsis.
And I lead regular sessions (Current Events and reading/discussion groups) with retired people.
You put all of these together, and my life is a rich, diverse set of moments that represent genuine diversity.
But I need to become even more intentional about this – as, I suspect, you do. So, here some suggestions for us all:
1) Go to at least one gathering, on a regular basis, that is made up of people who are not all “like you.”
2) Read authors, and types of books, that are outside of your beaten path, and represent points of view that you disagree with.
3) Look for another “new” person, and some new event, regularly.
Diversity is good for us. But experiencing true diversity will not happen by accident. You have to get intentional about it. There are people to meet, ideas to discover, viewpoints to ponder.
Hanging with people who are not all just like you may be the most neglected learning discipline of them all.