I met Tom last night when I spoke to a group of accountants who had been with their firm less than four years. Tom was one of the leaders in charge of these new hires, and his presence confirmed his value to the firm. Only the most high-potential leaders are usually invited to attend these events.
He asked what my speech was about. I told him I would show the group how each employee could begin to strategically partner with the firm to manage their unique work+life “fit” throughout the transitions in their life and career. “That’s great,” he said, “because it’s a struggle for all of us including me.” And with that he opened his laptop and asked, “Want to see my son?” Tom showed me pictures of his adorable child. “That’s my boy,” he said with a huge smile on his face. Then he got serious. “You know, it’s so hard to find time with him, and to be a help to my wife who is home full-time but still needs support. When I get home most nights at 9:00 p.m., I’m not seeing my son at all, and my wife is going to bed because she’s so exhausted. I’m glad to see you’re here because I wonder sometimes if there’s a place for me at this firm because my family is so important to me.” “Oh no,” I thought to myself, “not again.”
This past week I spoke on a terrific panel at the Executives Moms Spring Luncheon in New York City (www.executivemoms.com). The title of the discussion was “Over FULFILLED…(Or Never Quite)? What Lies Beneath the Complicated, Driven, Rewarding Life of an Executive Mom?”
The panel was moderated by Good Morning America’s weekend host, Kate Snow, who is the mom of two children under 3 years old. Joining me as a panelist was Barbara K (http://www.barbarak.com), a mother of one son, who sells the well-known barbarak brand of tools for women and will be appearing on her own home improvement show on the E! Network. And Lisa McCloud, the author of Forget Perfect: For Every Woman Who Has Ever Put Herself Last on Her Own Priority List, who is the mother of two daughters (www.forgetperfect.com).
This past week three of the country’s most high-profile women’s advocacy groups—National Organization for Women, Feminist Majority Foundation, and the National Council of Women’s Organizations—made headlines by announcing their plans to publicly protest the departure of Elizabeth Vargas from the anchor position of ABC’s “World News Tonight.” They sent a letter to ABC News President, David Westin, calling the move a “clear demotion,” and a “dispiriting return to the days of discrimination against women that we thought were behind us.” (Washington Post 5/29/06)