WBEZ | equality http://www.wbez.org/tags/equality Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Divas in the board room http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2013-03/divas-board-room-106148 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/5713143208_23aa89c808_z_0.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Sheryl Sandberg on the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek (Flickr/bizweekdesign)" />Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, and Marissa Mayer, COO of Yahoo, are arguably the youngest and most well-known females in corporate America today. In the male-dominated world of business, where only slightly more than 4 percent of Fortune 500 companies are led by women, Sandberg and Mayer are wunderkinds who achieved early success and rose to the top at a meteoric rate.</p><p>In both financial and feminist circles they are considered rock stars, trail blazers and gurus to be studied and emulated. And this dynamic duo has not been hesitant in word or deed to proclaim and demand a new set of rules for women in the workplace.</p><p>After 13 years at Google, where she was the twentieth employee hired and the first female engineer, Marissa Mayer left Google to become CEO of Yahoo in July 2012.&nbsp; Her first two challenges were obvious ones:</p><ul><li>she needed to address the company&rsquo;s declining ad revenues and stock prices</li><li>she was seven months pregnant</li></ul><p>The pregnancy issue handled itself, and on September 30, 2013, she had a baby boy.&nbsp;</p><p>The company&#39;s financial issues remain ongoing, and Mayer returned to work just two weeks after having the baby to give them her full attention. (She has managed to balance the financial dilemma and the demand of diapers by having a nursery built next to her office.)</p><p>Since then, she has done everything in her power to right the ship.&nbsp; And her most controversial decision to date speaks directly to how she sees and wants the game to be played.&nbsp; Starting this spring, &ldquo;working at home&rdquo; has been banned.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;We need to be one Yahoo, and that starts with physically being together&rdquo;, Mayer said.&nbsp;</p><p>Although Yahoo&rsquo;s new model has generated a considerable backlash, Mayer&rsquo;s message is clear: &ldquo;do as I do&rdquo; or move on.</p><p>Sandberg, in her recently published book <em>Lean In: Women, Work, and The Will To Lead</em> offers advise about how women can advance their careers, and at the same time, admonishes women for being part of the problem of why more women are not in more leadership positions. If you want to get ahead and make it big time, says Sandberg, women need to &ldquo;lean in&rdquo;, assert themselves more, put in more time, take on more tasks, be more ambitious.</p><p>Yes, she says, it is a male dominated world. So work harder. Believe in yourself. Don&rsquo;t doubt your ability to do it all.&nbsp; Make more demands. Take on more. Sandberg argues that women have to stop looking for excuses and reasons for failure or mediocrity. Success costs, and if you don&rsquo;t pay the price, it won&rsquo;t happen.</p><p>I&rsquo;ve got a daughter who is a business person, my wife is a COO of her firm and I like to think I&rsquo;m a card carrying feminist. But to tell you the truth, Sandberg and Mayer scare me. &nbsp;Or, perhaps more accurately, they confuse me. They want women to outwork the men. They are advocating putting in the big hours, and making the big compromises, so that they too can succeed on Planet Finance. But maybe they&rsquo;ve all got it all wrong. &nbsp;Maybe it really shouldn&rsquo;t be about the big job, the big hours, the big sacrifices. Maybe it&rsquo;s the system and not the players that is all screwed up. Maybe none of us, men or women, should be eager to &ldquo;lean in&rdquo; because the world we are being asked to &ldquo;lean into&rdquo; isn&rsquo;t, in the long run, humanly worth it.</p><p>Maybe our two C-suite divas are on to something more important than success at work. Maybe their&rsquo;s is a cautionary tale. Rather than &ldquo;leaning in&rdquo;, maybe all of us should start thinking about &ldquo;leaning back&rdquo;, and start trying to find success and accomplishments in other parts of our lives beyond our jobs.</p><p><em>Al Gini is a Professor of Business Ethics and Chairman of the Management Department in the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University Chicago.</em></p></p> Mon, 08 Apr 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2013-03/divas-board-room-106148 Why I'm on Team Nordstrom http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-10/why-im-team-nordstrom-103167 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP318316543424.jpg" style="height: 368px; width: 620px; " title="Nordstrom: Keeping department store shopping hip and relevant. (AP)" /></p><p>When my mom used to take me clothes shopping, we had a bit of a disagreement over where to shop. I would have preferred to go to individual stores like the Gap, Banana Republic or Old Navy (ignore the fact that those are basically the same store). But my mom preferred department stores like Bloomingdales, Saks or Marshall Fields (RIP) because they had good service, good quality, a wide variety &mdash;&nbsp;and because she had credit cards there. I didn&rsquo;t like the department stores, though, because they felt too old-fashioned to me. I felt like I rarely saw girls my own age the department stores. You didn&rsquo;t buy &ldquo;pants&rdquo; at department stores, you bought &ldquo;slacks.&rdquo; Department stores were staffed by disapproving older women, played fusty muzak, had headache-inducing lighting and were organized in confounding and monotonous ways.&nbsp;</p><p>I felt that way until I discovered Nordstrom. Nordstrom has everything that&rsquo;s good about a department store, I.E. everything under one roof, but somehow manages to make shopping a fun experience. I&rsquo;m not a consumer genius so I&rsquo;m not sure exactly what it is but I think it&rsquo;s a combination of their lighting (bright but not blinding), layout (open, without that never-ending college-library circular maze feel) and selection (wide but not overwhelming, like someone actually decided there were items they would not show or sell you).<br /><br />Good service exists at Nordstrom, too, even if you don&rsquo;t look all rich and fancy the way things often go at Neiman Marcus (AKA &ldquo;Needless Markups&rdquo;&mdash; haha, up here, high five!). I&rsquo;ve had Nordstrom salesgirls go above and beyond the call of duty to help me track something down, or find something I needed but couldn&rsquo;t articulate, or even suggest something I would have never tried before, but without making me feel like a chumpy walking commission.<br /><br />Most importantly: Nordstrom gives you cash for returns. There&rsquo;s something really wonderful about turning a piece of merchandise you don&rsquo;t want into some cash you actually need. It&rsquo;s like Nordstrom is the realistic, considerate wedding guest who knows the bride and groom could always use cash; if they want to spend it on boots, fine, but if they need to put it towards dog food, that&rsquo;s OK too.<br /><br />But now I have another reason to feel good about shopping at Nordstrom: The company has made a point of openly supporting gay marriage, stating so in <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-la-fi-mo-nordstrom-gay-marriage-20121015,0,7541326.story">a company-wide memo</a>.<br /><br />I admit I am not the most conscientious shopper when it comes to supporting or not-supporting organizations based on their belief systems (it&rsquo;s easy for me not to patronize Chik-Fil-A mostly because of the calories and tummyache). I would have continued to happily shop at Nordstrom had it failed to ever make a public announcement on its stance on gay marriage. But I admire the company president and executives for taking a public stance on equality, probably just because they really didn&rsquo;t have to. The store will undoubtedly lose some shoppers, and it may gain a few new customers, but I think more important are the consumers who probably never expected that shopping at a department store would make them think twice about marriage equality, the ladies who go to Old Orchard Mall on weekend afternoons or the teenagers cruising the Uggs collection. It&rsquo;s nice knowing that they might give this topic a second thought while they&rsquo;re pulling out their credit cards.<br /><br />So there&rsquo;s a new way that Nordstrom is keeping department store shopping hip and relevant. Getting cash back for returns is still probably my favorite thing about the chain, but taking a public stance on inclusion is pretty cool, too.</p></p> Wed, 17 Oct 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-10/why-im-team-nordstrom-103167