Friday, July 30, 2004

Women finding their way. Doing their passion.

In Fast Company.

Readers of Fast Company magazine and members of Women in Technology International gathered to explore some of the issues affecting women in the workplace. Mary Lou Quinlan shares her advice on how she made the career transition from CEO of a big advertising agency over to founder of her own business. Here's one of three tips she shares:

... "At the end of the five weeks, I made two little lists: What do I love to do that I'm good at? And what do I hate to do that I'm not good at? The hate-to-do page was like a job description for a CEO of an ad agency. The love-to-do list led to what I do now. I came back in and quit. I started a company. Now I'm doing my passion. Women will find their own way. They need to live a conscious career, not an unconscious one. Ask yourself: Am I happy? You have the right to ask that question -- and then do something about it."

To read the interview, visit:
Women on "Women"

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Founding Editor of Fast Company, Alan M. Webber, Gets It: Women Are Leaving BIG Companies In Droves

"Firms will pay when workers make escape."

• According to a recent study by Spherion, a Florida-based recruiting and outsourcing firm, workers are already gathering at the doors of many company. The study found that 51% of the 3,000 workers interviewed wanted to leave their jobs, and 75% said they were likely to leave within one year.

• Take the example of Verizon. Last year, the telecommunications company offered generous early retirement packages for workers and managers, hoping to trim the workforce by 12,000 people. Instead, more than 21,000 people took the buyout package, including 16,000 managers who thought the company's offer was too good to refuse.

• C200's third annual leadership index report measured the influence women have in business compared with men. What it DID NOT say is how women are responding to their exclusion from the boys' club: They're leaving BIG companies in droves.

[Laurel here ... Alan has always been on the forefront -- or tipping point -- of trends and knows this is the next big revolution in the workplace.]

Read the entire article here:
USA Today Article Authored by Founding Editor of Fast Company

Enabling women to realize their maximum potential all over the world, including Zimbabwe and ...

giving them a legitimate place in society.

From Zimbabwe to America, the problems concerning the advancement of women remain the same. This article sums up some of the issues but here's a snapshot of a couple highlights:

• "This calls for deliberate policies and measures to ensure that women are recognised and given their legitimate place in society. Our Parliaments can only ignore the advancement of women at their own peril," he said.

• Women, Cde Mnangagwa said, constituted more than half of the population in the region and played critical economic, social and cultural roles in the nation as providers, caregivers, mobilizers and entrepreneurs.

• At a Press conference yesterday, Ms Mushelenga told journalists that the media should be at the forefront of advancing the cause of women. She said the media had a tendency of covering women’s issues in bad light.

Read the full article here:
The Herald Online

Monday, July 26, 2004

Clearly, a gender wage gap exists.

Employers must close gender wage gap -- or pay dearly.

The most startling statements are as follows:

• "Employer groups argue the discrimination may be only one reason for the wage gap. Other causes, they argue, include women taking employment breaks to have children and raise families, leaving them behind in experience to men. [Laurel here ... they can't be serious!]

"But the Census Bureau study refutes the argument by showing that when women are equal to men in age, education and experience, men still make more. Men even outearn women in traditionally women-dominated occupations. Female elementary and middle school teachers, for instance, make 87 cents for each dollar earned by comparable male teachers."

[Laurel here ... why oh why are women leaving Corporate America? This is only one of about a hundred different reasons.]

For the full story, read: HeraldNet: Employers Must Close Gender Wage Gap

Sunday, July 25, 2004

“To be an entrepreneur, you have to have a lot of guts."

Energy and persistence unite entrepreneurs.

A couple of interesting clips from the article published by Democrat & Chronicle:

• Certainly Harper followed a dream when SHE built an international chain of 500 hair and skin care shops in the early 20th century and pioneered the concept of franchise stores.

• “In big organizations, the more conservative, the more risk-averse point of view is common,” he says. “As that view becomes the dominant motif, people don't want to be a risk taker. The incentive to be more experimental is lost. Those who want to experiment or take risks go to places where it is more favorable.”

• Downsizing at Kodak and Xerox has released some people to pursue their new business ideas as entrepreneurs, Lacagnina says. The corporate cutbacks also have created opportunities for businesses to do work that companies now want to outsource, Navarro says.

To read the entire article, visit:

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Maverick trades in Japan’s aging business model and escapes Corporate Japan

Quotes from a Japanese woman entrepreneur:

... “I think my family trained me to be an entrepreneur.  Dad told me to never join a big company, but always work for a company with fewer than 50 people, even if they have to use a dog as a staff member. Why? Because big Japanese companies are all the same.  Why would they give a top job to a woman when there are plenty of men around?”  One obstacle was that many small companies were boring.  “I always thought I would train myself up in a company and stay for perhaps ten years before leaving to do something on my own.  But the chance came much sooner.”

... “For the first four years I really struggled to employ good people,” Matsuzaki says.  “Then one day a university student came along for an interview.  He had won a place at some big corporation, but said he wanted to be an entrepreneur.  University graduates are great.  They know nothing, but they do everything.  Every year we bring more of them into the company. Ten people joined in April and we will get more next year.  You take them straight out of university and they are making a profit for you within three months.  I like them aggressive, because this is all about sales.”

Laurel here ... even the Japanese are escaping from Corporate Japan!

To read the entire article, visit:,,8210-1189549,00.html

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Corporations have to begin thinking more like entrepreneurs.

A New Prescription for Transforming the Corporation.

Commentary by Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D.
July 22, 2004

A very important paragraph within his excellent article:

"To leverage these assets, businesses have to start thinking in a new way about creating long-term profitability and sustained competitive advantage. In fact, corporations have to begin thinking more like entrepreneurs, who exploit opportunities to create a new way of doing business, and who use what is termed “incongruous situations” to drive growth strategies in innovative, revolutionary ways. For businesses, this will mean fostering an intrapreneurial effort from within the organization, using the techniques and vision of entrepreneurs and driving change from inside existing corporate models."

Read the entire article published by The Washington Dispatch here:

More than 50 percent of the U.S. population is female ...

as referenced in the The Global Entrepreneuriship Monitor, a research consortium that assesses national entrepreneurial activity for its participating nations.

It goes on further to say, "... and [female] represents a great potential source of entrepreneurial activity," Minniti said. "More and better research on what drives women entrepreneurs and raising awareness of entrepreneurial opportunities through education is critical to narrowing the gap."

To read the full article published by the Kansas City Business Journal, visit:

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Wage gap contributing to women-owned business, entrepreneur says

Women-owned businesses are growing in part because of the continued wage gap between men and women, The Entrepreneur's Source in Des Peres, Mo., said Friday.

And just look at this folks:

Miller said recent data issued by the Institute for Women's Policy Research showed that women's average pay is about 44 percent of what a man earns in the same job over the course of their career.

"It's not surprising that women are turning away from the corporate world, where inequality persists, instead of opting for a bright future of an entrepreneur," said Miller.

To read the full article, visit the St. Louis Business Journal:

Monday, July 19, 2004

Martha: Helping Women Escape From ...

low-income and on to become entrepreneurs!

Yes, you heard it here first. Martha Stewart has long been renowned for teaching women the domestic arts but now, as part of an effort to reduce her presumptive jail sentence, she wants to teach women how to tidy other people's homes, and their hotel rooms.

To read the full article by Dan Ackman, visit Forbes: but here's a glimpse at some of the data presented on women-owned businesses:

• Of course, hiring women to clean is hardly a new idea, and neither is the idea of women starting their own businesses. According to a study by the Center for Women's Business Research that has been cited by President Bush and Treasury Secretary John Snow, women own a 50% or greater stake in nearly half of all privately held businesses in the U.S.

• Like the vast majority of male-owned businesses, 77% of women-owned companies are sole proprietorships with no employees, the study says.

• It also says that women-owned businesses are growing faster than small businesses generally.

• This pattern is borne out internationally as well. Women control 42% of all "startup" businesses, according to the 2003 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, an international study sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation. But when one considers "entrepreneurial firms," that is those who are likely to grow and add employees, the percentage controlled by women worldwide falls to 28%.

• As of 2004, the Center for Women's Business Research study estimated there were 10.6 million private, women-owned firms in the U.S. If Stewart's plea for community service works, there may be a few more. Without her help, there are likely to be a lot more anyway.

Watch out Corporate America: Women Entrepreneurs Are More Numerous and Powerful Than Ever ...

and they are becoming prized swing voters in the 2004 election.

I'll highlight just a couple of salient points made in the article:

• ... female entrepreneurship is one of the great success stories of our time. Women today control just under half of all the small businesses in America. In the past seven years the number of woman-owned firms with employees has grown by 28% -- three times the growth rate among all employer firms. Today woman business owners represent about 5% of the voting-age population -- more than all the registered voters in Florida and more than enough to select our next President.

• "Woman entrepreneurs are the wild card in this election," says Erin Fuller, executive director of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) in McLean, Va.

• Kerry said that women aren't getting "the recognition they deserve for the opportunities they are providing to millions of employees, the contributions they make to communities, and the overall strengthening of our economy."

• ... and a quote from one of my favorite people, Dr. Marsha Firestone, founder of the Women Presidents' Organization:

"Even though the Bush administration cut the Small Business Administration's funding by 25% and eliminated the SBA administrator's cabinet seat, woman small-business advocates feel that the Republicans have done a better job of reaching out to them lately. "Clinton would come to town and never call us," says Marsha Firestone, president of the New York-based Women Presidents Organization (WPO). "Bush always calls. We're at the table as small-business owners. " President Bush has given two major speeches to female entrepreneur audiences in the past year. In May his campaign launched a "W Stands for Women" initiative that stressed the economic contributions of woman business owners."

• ... woman entrepreneurs are an increasingly articulate and organized political force. "Building coalitions is something women are good at," says Fuller. Today an alphabet soup of nonpartisan advocacy groups -- NAWBO, the WPO, and Women Impacting Public Policy, to name just three -- are sponsoring voter-registration drives ...

To read the entire article, visit Fortune Small Business:,15114,654044,00.htm

Women, workplace, Dark Ages

A study concludes that modern business is stuck in the Dark Ages when it comes to accommodating women in the work force, and it makes several suggestions on how businesses can treat women more fairly.

When an organization has a nebulous name like the National Center for Policy Analysis, you can't help but wonder about its political perspective. But this nonprofit emphasizes its impartiality while espousing free enterprise and self-reliance.

If those sound like Republican code words to you, you might be surprised by a Web site that the NCPA has set up at The linchpin of the site is a study concluding that modern business is stuck in the Dark Ages when it comes to accommodating women in the work force, and it makes several suggestions on how businesses can treat women more fairly. You can also read articles from other sources or participate in polls about how different economic issues affect women. As for any hints of political bias: While some of the poll questions are phrased with a pro-White House slant, respondents seem more intrigued by presidential candidate John Kerry's ideas, reflecting the gender divide shown in many political polls.

Appealing to entrepreneurs

Watch out, President Bush: Women entrepreneurs may be your undoing in the White House. So says Fortune Small Business (July/August). "Women entrepreneurs are becoming prized swing voters in the 2004 election (whose views) are sharply divided from those of their male counterparts." A Fortune/Zogby survey found that female entrepreneurs favor Democrat John Kerry (50 percent) over President Bush (44 percent), while male entrepreneurs prefer Bush (60 percent to 33 percent). And some female entrepreneurs don't like Bush or Kerry. The message, says the magazine, is that "the candidate that appeals directly to this target group could gain a substantial edge.''

— Cox Newspapers (original posting St. Paul Pioneer Press, 7/18/04,

Friday, July 16, 2004

Boeing faces big sex-bias payout

Settlement of discrimination suit could cost $72.5 mil.

(Reuters) — Boeing Co. will pay between $40.6 million and $72.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by women alleging they were mistreated based on their gender, the No. 2 jet maker said Friday.

A Seattle judge gave preliminary approval to the settlement — including changes in the way Boeing evaluates workers for pay raises and promotions -- between the company and a plaintiffs group that could number as many as 29,000, Boeing said.

-> The case was first brought in February 2000 by female employees claiming Boeing tolerated sexual intimidation and improper advances in the workplace and paid women less than men doing the same jobs as far back as 1997.

"This agreement contains several enhancements related to performance evaluations, salary reviews, promotions and other employee relations practices,'' Boeing's Executive Vice President of Internal Services Laurette Koellner said.

The court will make a final ruling on the settlement proposal after all potential plaintiffs are notified and given time to file objections or to opt out of the pact.

Laurel here ... taken from our homepage: "It is our intention that if enough corporate executives track this blogger, perhaps they will "get it" and begin to make changes in the workplace to ensure we all live a more meaningful life."

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Escape From Corporate India?

What 's this you ask? Women striking out on their own in other parts of the world too? Yesiree. And more power to them. The following clips are referenced from the article, "Taking a giant leap," and published by The Hindu Business Line in India:

• Entrepreneurship is no longer a male bastion, as can be seen by the number of women entrepreneurs in the country. And this number is only growing.

• As any entrepreneur will tell you, the biggest hurdle that women entrepreneurs face is finance. But today, with the Government's emphasis on economic empowerment of women, there are a number of schemes to help women entrepreneurs.

• However, it is true that women have to work much harder to convince the authorities of their seriousness and capability to start and manage an enterprise.

• "There are basically three types of women we assist. One category is the first-generation entrepreneurs from poorer classes, who are uneducated but want to be economically independent and achieve something in life. The second category includes those who want to create more jobs and want to do something for society. The third and the last kind are the women who come from a family of entrepreneurs and want to continue the tradition and come to us for guidance and professional help," says Ramadevi.

This entrepreneurial trend is not just indicative of women in the United States but also holds true in other parts of the world.

To read the entire article, visit:

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Women business owners in the UK lack confidence?

• Today, The Financial Times published, "Start-ups surge but business failures are not far behind." The number of business start-ups has risen almost as fast in the past 12 months as in the five years leading up to 2002.

• However, the data also showed that 54 per cent more companies failed in 2003 than five years earlier, in part reflecting recent increases in interest rates. In 2002-03, the number of business start-ups increased 34.5 per cent to 392,189.

• In addition, research carried out by the British Chambers of Commerce published last month found there were only four women entrepreneurs for every 10 men running a business. This put the UK behind several countries including the US, Greece and Spain. The research by the chambers blamed a lack of confidence among women and a reticence to seek external financing.

Oh please. It's not the women, it's the system. The next thing you know, we will be seeing: Escape From UK to America!

To read the full article, visit:

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Some women find biggest rewards as entrepreneurs

Published by the Alaska Journal of Commerce, here's a look at what women had to say:

• "As time went on, I knew that if I chose a career track at a big company, I was going to run out of time," Shukla said. "Generally, I find that women have yet to make a sizable foray into corporate America as managers. That's cause enough to go out on your own."

• "Men have entrenched networks and tend to network better, I think," she added. "Historically, they've been able to climb the corporate ladder better. But I believe women share a higher responsibility when placed at the top of the company. You have to be twice as good, and if you have a family, you have to balance that in a way that a man does not."

• "We bring a different set of skills to the table," said McClain-Hill. "We are no strangers to obstacles, no strangers to the diplomacy it takes to navigate the corporate environment and society in general as gender perceptions still do exist."

• "There were 400 sales reps there and I was the only woman," she recalls. "You can imagine how fun that was. The atmosphere pretty much is what it is. You deal with the differences and the double standards, and you don't let it bother you."

• "Being a black woman, you have an added step on the climb up the ladder. Your credibility is called into question sometimes simply because you're not a white man," Woods explains. "And for me it became all about doing what I call my heart work -- the work I'm passionate about -- without being beholden to anyone."

• "Sexism wasn't the only reason, but it was one of the main reasons I started my own business," Fraser said. "I got tired of the 'honey this,' 'sweetie that' sensibility that you get sometimes in corporate America. I wanted to create my own workplace."

And here is one more interesting fact to remember from this great article: " ... a large reason for the growth of entrepreneurship among women is tied to the state of corporate America."

Sound all too familiar?

To read the full article, visit here:

Ouch, That Hurts: Morgan Stanley Settles Sex-Bias Suit For $54 Million

A couple of snippets from The Wall Street Journal (7/13/04) and The New York Times (7/13/04):

• Morgan Stanley (MS) agreed yesterday to pay $54 million to settle a sex discrimination case rather than stand trial on the federal government's accusation that it denied equal pay and promotions to women in a division of its investment bank.
• The settlement, which could cover as many as 340 women, is the second largest the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has reached with a company it sued and is the first with a major securities firm.
• Of the $54 million being paid by Morgan Stanley, $12 million will be paid to Allison Schieffelin, a 43-year-old former saleswoman whose repeated complaints of discrimination prompted the EEOC to file its class-action suit on September 10, 2001.
• Morgan Stanley agreed as part of a three-year consent decree to hire an outsider to monitor its hiring, pay and promotion practices for gender bias, field employee complaints and enhance its anti-discrimination training.
• As part of its suit on behalf of about 340 current and former female Morgan Stanley employees in the department, the EEOC claimed that women were systematically held back from promotions and pay raises, and that they had endured coarse behavior and lewd comments from their male colleagues and supervisors.
• It also alleged that women were excluded from sales outings with clients to golf resorts and strip clubs.
• Further, had the case not been settled, the EEOC was expected to present allegations including that some male Morgan Stanley employees ordered breast-shaped birthday cakes and hired strippers to entertain them while at work.
• Richard Berman, the judge in the Morgan Stanley case, described the settlement agreement as: "a watershed event" in "protecting the rights of women on Wall Street.'"

And we wonder why women are leaving Corporate America? Let's hear it for Allison Schieffelin!

Speaking of Success: Female Exec Leaves Corporate World For Entrepreneurship

In The Wall Street Journal's (July 12, 2004, for subscribers only) special Small Business Journal Report article, "Speaking of Success," consultant Gail Blanke -- formerly senior vice president of public affairs at Avon Products, Inc. -- talks about the pressure entrepreneurs face and how they overcome them. In particular, here are a couple of quotes from the article but as you read them, think about the mission of this blog: Why did Gail really leave Avon? What could Avon have done to keep her on board and nuture her entrepreneurial spirit?

Gail says:

• When I left Avon, where I was safe and secure, I described it as leaping off a diving board and inventing the water on the way down.
• I think we all have the stuff inside us to do it [start a business], but we get used to things being done in a certain way, like I did at Avon. I got used to having a lot of people working for me whom I could count on and trust. I got used to lots of departments I could access, like research and finance.
• Major corporations measure their success in terms of shareholder value, which is is appropriate. Small businesses measure their success in terms of identifying a unique selling proposition.
• The best people inside corporations have an entrepreneurial spirit, they are always looking for the new thing, a new way of doing it, a new way of seeing themselves.
• I think people want to leave a legacy, people want to do something good, create value they feel they can own and they can feel loyal to.
• We are looking for something bigger in our lives, some meaning, something to be a part of, maybe something larger than ourselves, and so I think that people who are called to be entrepreneurs are finding that spirit in themselves.

Why can't Corporate America fix this? Perhaps they should create a whole new concept for CEO: Chief Entrepreneurial Officer.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Wal-Mart suit turns spotlight on wage gap

Among many quotes referenced in The Seattle Times article by Stacey Hirsh, this one stands out:

"Women are called on and respond more than men do -- that's just the way it is," Goldin said of family matters. "This is the classic issue that corporate America has been waking up to for the past 15, 20 years -- that there are institutional details that have to be changed if they're going to tap into what is clearly now 50 percent of their talent."

To read the entire article, visit The Seattle Times:

Female Entrepreneurs: Why Women Rule

As published by Fortune Small Business (June, 2004), here is a snapshot of why women are starting their own businesses:

• To get control over their own schedule/hours.
• Frustrated with the "glass ceiling" at a BIG company.
• Saw a lucrative market niche and decided to fill it.
• Miscellaneous other reasons.

Why the surge in female entrepreneurship? The article purports it is due to:

• Women are now better educated.
• Women have more corporate experience than before.
• The squeaky-tight job market of the past couple of years has led lots of BIG companies to do away with "family friendly" policies such as flexible schedules.
• Limited opportunities women have for promotion.
• Instead of women complaining about the "glass ceiling," they are building their own houses!
• They spot a lucrative market niche and go for it.

Why are women's businesses growing faster than men's? Clues: Women are more tenacious, more goal-oriented, more fastidious budgeters and more frugal, to name just a few of the reasons cited.

To read the entire article by Annie Fisher, visit Fortune Small Business:,15114,654759,00.html

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Unacceptable Progress

Study shows qualifed women remain untapped for leadership roles.

Highlights from the article include:

... Although some companies are adding women to their top ranks, there are several big ones that have not, the survey showed. Aon Corp., CNA Financial Corp. and Household International Inc., to name a few, had no female executive officers during most of the six-year period the census measured. Two companies, Motorola Inc. and Illinois Tool Works Inc., did not have a female executive officer in the past six years.

... The Chicago Network's conclusion, based on its data, is that talented women are largely overlooked by management. This practice spurs more women to become entrepreneurs, switch to "family-friendly" employers, or seek jobs outside the traditional corporate setting.

... "We feel that the pipeline is leaking ... Women are going off to do other things where they feel they have more opportunity," says Erin McInerney, chairwoman of the Chicago Network Census Committee, which supervised the survey.

To read the full article, visit Crain's Chicago Business:

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Morgan Stanley and The Women

July 8, 2004, NEW YORK -- Does Morgan Stanley have a women problem, or does Allison Schieffelin have a Morgan Stanley problem? That will be the question for a Manhattan federal jury as the United States government begins its case on behalf of hundreds of Morgan Stanley's female executives who claim they were treated unequally.

Jury selection in the case was to have begun this morning. But that has been delayed until Friday, with opening arguments set for Monday. There was no indication of whether Morgan Stanley (nyse: MWD - news - people ) and Schieffelin were in talks to settle the case, which has been the practice for similar suits.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a U.S. government agency, filed its case on Sept. 10, 2001, which included Schieffelin, a bond trader who once earned more than $1 million a year, and more than 100 other mistreated individuals. The agency says there are 300 or more women who were treated badly, or at least less royally, than the men at the next station.

To read one of Dan Ackman’s first articles on this issue, visit Forbes:

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Welcome! Are you disillusioned by Corporate America? Let's hear about it.

This blog has been set up for businesswomen to voice their experiences working in Corporate America. Many women have expressed concern that Corporate America is actively pushing out its most talented women. Have you encountered something similar? What have you done about it?

Has the glass ceiling issue been a major reason for leaving your position? Are you thinking of striking out on your own to start your own business -- as a result of job dissatisfaction?

These are some of the kinds of issues that need to be openly discussed. If we do not challenge the system, no improvements will ever be made. Feel free to weigh-in with your comments. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks!

Friday, July 02, 2004

Another example of women leaving Corporate America to strike out on their own

I read "Escape From Corporate America" with much interest. It was very well done. I moderated a panel last weekend for the alumni organization of the seven sister schools on women as entrepreneurs. I actually introduced the subject with much of the same data you used in your article regarding the number of women starting companies and access to capital.

What I found interesting was a large portion of the audience (and some of the entrepreneurs on my panel) had all worked in large corporations and were looking for other alternatives. Some had been laid off in the last few years and were doing this out of necessity. Others accepted buyout packages to leave their downsized organizations with an eye to start something on their own. Very few of the women said they would go back to another corporate job.

Example of a business woman finding entrepreneurship more rewarding than corporate work

I found the article in the Conference Board about women leaving Corporate America very interesting. I was a NYC corporate lawyer and then at a Fortune top five company. I am now working to create my own business and finding it very rewarding. I do think there is something to the theory that women do not feel as valued as they believe they should be and thus move to do something on their own. Thank you.