Episode 18: The power of image

May 13, 2013

"I have people that come to me saying, 'I haven’t made partner in my law firm.'  And I have to say to them, 'Do you wear that much cleavage at work? Because if you wear that much cleavage at work, I'm not surprised you haven't made partner.'"

- Mrs. Moneypenny

Our appearance has an affect on the way others see us, whether we like it or not. Most successful women spend a significant amount of time thinking about the image they present to the outside world. Some even dare to flout expectations occasionally (see Hillary Clinton, below). And while there may be endless emphasis on women's appearance, it's not as if men don't have to worry about this too. The power of image runs deep.

This episode features Financial Times columnist Mrs. Monepenny (alias the impeccably turned-out Heather McGregor) and chemical company engineer Amy Johnson (right - forget the hairdo and makeup), with a fleeting appearance from McKinsey and Company's Joanna Barsh. 12 minutes.

Show notes: You can find the US version of Heather McGregor's book, Mrs. Moneypenny's Career Advice for Ambitious Women, here.

This is the column by Financial Times fashion editor Vanessa Friedman that got me thinking about this whole topic of appearance, and wondering why Sheryl Sandberg didn't touch on it in Lean In. It's called 'Sheryl Sandberg's Mistake'. 

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Episode 16: Leaning in

April 12, 2013

Finally, the great debate: The Broad Experience is leaning in. 

"I went into the book with very negative expectations. I had read...articles...that suggested she came from a privileged point of view and didn’t have anything to say to the masses. But I felt completely the opposite after reading it." - Yvahn Martin

"There are two people in this book who are not white. One is a Hispanic male and one is an African-American male...She never talks about how non-white women have totally different experiences on top of what she's described." - Stacy-Marie Ishmael

"She’s not risking a ton by writing this book…but once you realize this is not my best friend Sheryl telling me what she thinks, there’s some good stuff in there.” - Dora Chomiak

(Standing up, left to right: Yvahn Martin, Dora Chomiak, Stacy Marie Ishmael.
On sofa, l to r: Ashley Milne-Tyte, Gaea Freireich, Rebecca Jackson)

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's book 'Lean In' was famous - or infamous, depending on your point of view - before it was even published. Once it came out, it shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. This week six women from Generations X and Y gathered over a glass of wine to debate the merits of Sandberg's advice, and discuss how the book plays into the whole debate about male and female roles at work and in the home. Views are varied and unvarnished. 26 minutes (well you can't have six women in a room and edit it down to 15, can you?)

Squarespace sponsor offer: For a free trial, go to Squarespace.com/broad, and if you do decide to continue past the offer period, you can get a 10% discount on your account by entering the offer code 'broad4' below the pricing options.

Show notes: my guests were the intrepid Dora Chomiak, Gaea Freireich, Stacy-Marie Ishmael (who you may remember from episode 7), Yvahn Martin, and Rebecca Jackson

Here's Anne-Marie Slaughter's review of Lean In from the New York Times Sunday Book Review. And you might like to check out this male take on Sandberg's message on the Harvard Business Review blog. (In short, the author says women should *not* have to be more like men. I don't think following Sandberg's advice means they do, but that's another story. This piece is yet another example of how people read this book through an incredibly personal lens.)

And as I said in the podcast, for inspiring stories of women in science, check out Stories from the Field, from the Chemical Heritage Foundation.

Episode 15: Do we have to fit in?

April 1, 2013

"If you don’t have the courage to step out of your comfort zone, you will not lead. So I don’t view that as a male or female thing." - Kathy Caprino

This has become a big point of contention for many women - the idea that to do well at work we have to fit in to company culture, instead of the company bending to accommodate itself to the way we do things. In the first part of the show I talk to career coach and Forbes writer Kathy Caprino (above). I interviewed Kathy for a print piece more than a year ago, and as soon as I started doing The Broad Experience I knew she'd be a great guest. She's been through it all - the corporate job from hell (that she couldn't quite leave), complete with workplace drama galore, the reinvention-that-didn't-work - and finally found her niche as a career and leadership coach for women. We talk about whether women are really 'fixing ourselves' if we do things the Sheryl Sandberg way, and the extent to which corporations need to alter their inner workings (a lot).

In part two I meet a representative from one of those big corporations, the multinational consumer goods company Unilever. The company has just been honored by Catalyst for its progress in getting more women into its leadership pipeline all over the world - and believe me, it's doing this in some very interesting ways. Can you imagine a company attracting women in the west by cozying up to their parents? Tune in to hear all about this, and more. 17 minutes.

Show notes: Kathy Caprino's book on women getting their careers and lives back is Breakdown, Breakthrough. For more on women and the workplace in India, this recently published piece in the Harvard Business Review has some good information.

You can read more about the details of Catalyst's award to Unilever here

Oxfam's 'Behind the Brands' report can be read here