Power Moms: How Executive Mothers Navigate Work and Life
Hello everyone, I am Rachel Sampson, Director of Key4Women, here at KeyBank and I want to welcome you to our program today.
We are still working through our programming to get set up with our featured speaker. We do see her online - her and her husband - so we are working to get settled here but before we get started and get into our program.
I want to congratulate the first 50 registrants of our program today that will receive an autographed copy of the book Power Moms: How Executive Mothers Navigate Work and Life, authored by today’s speaker Joann Lublin. I know you will enjoy it.
So, let's dive into today's program.
As a businesswoman, myself and mother of two children, I totally can relate to and understand the pressures that women face to meet the daily demands of career and family. And I'm sure, like many of you, never was I more challenged than in this past year. No longer was there separation between work, life, and home life. Our worlds collided and, in the process, we had to take on even more roles than our already crowded days. And it took a toll on many of us.
The scales of balancing career and family never felt any more impossible than it has during the pandemic. We saw women leave the workforce and record numbers putting their careers on foster care for their families, which will have a lasting impact on the progress of women in the workforce. And of course, a set back from the many gains that we've made over the past decades.
As difficult as the pandemic has been, there are silver linings. Our resiliency muscles are probably the strongest they've ever been, and we've had the opportunity to pause and celebrate the success of so many executive women who have worked extremely hard and were fortunate to thrive during this challenging time.
So how do successful executive businesswomen do it?
Is there really such thing as balance?
And what do companies need to do to retain top talent and level the playing field for women?
We are going to explore these questions and many more with our speaker and panelists today.
We invite you to use the chat box throughout today's presentation to enter your questions We’ll address his many as we can at the end of our program during our Q&A session.
Now it's my pleasure to introduce today's speaker panelists.
So, joining us today is Joann Lublin, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and former career columnist for the Wall Street Journal, who blazed trail for women in journalism during her nearly 47-year career. Joann received a Gerald Loeb Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018, the highest accolade in business journalism.
She is the author of two books; the popular 2016 book, Earning It: Hard Won Lessons from Trailblazing Women at the Top of the Business World and, of course, her latest book, which we'll discuss today - Power Moms: How Executive Mothers Navigate Work and Life.
Joann and her latest book compare two generations of women - Boomers and Gen Xers - to examine how each navigates the emotional and professional challenges involved in juggling managerial careers and families. She is a power mom herself, raising two children while rising through the ranks to Management News Editor of the Wall Street Journal.
Joining Joann today, I'm pleased to say, is Jerri DeVard, the founder of the Black Executive CMO Alliance (BECA), an alliance designed to champion corporate diversity and help build the next generation of C-Suite marketing executives. She is a former Executive Vice President, Chief Customer Officer of Office Depot Inc, an office supply retailing company where she also served as Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer.
Over the course of Jerri's impressive career, she has held senior marketing roles at the ATT Corp, Nokia Corp, Verizon Communications, Citibank, Revlon, Harris Entertainment, the Minnesota Vikings, and the Pillsbury Company.
Also, joining us today is Emily Chardac, HRwired founder, where she is reimagining the future of work. She is also a former HR executive at Guggenheim Capital, Square, Mazola and Spec. She has a 15-year career in the People HR function, partnering with leaders all over the world.
Jerri and Emily are just two of the 86 businesswomen executives Joann interviewed for her book.
So, thank you ladies for joining us today and, Joann, before we move forward with our panel discussion, I'd like to start with a few questions for you.
First, I'd like to dive in and talk about what inspired you to write Power Moms and what did you learn about generational shifts in women in the United States as they juggle their jobs and families?
Thank you, Rachel, for those kind words and organizing today's program.
I was inspired to write Power Moms by something that I discovered when I was writing my first book, Earning It, and that was those 52 executives that I interviewed for Earning It - 82% of them were moms. And among those who had become public company CEOs, and those were most of those women, the percentage was even higher. And given how successful those 52 women had become and how so many of them were mothers, I wondered - what was the secret sauce?
Equally important, given that all but one of those 52 women were from my generation, the Baby Boomer generation, it also got me thinking about - how have things changed for women who are now in their early 30s to early 40s? Is it still as difficult as it was for women in my generation to not only be considered to be acceptable individuals by being working women, but how about as being working moms? Is the juggle any less precarious? And this whole idea of having work-life balance, which seemed to me really untenable, but very difficult for the women I interviewed for that book was any different.
And so, when I interviewed those 86 women, they were roughly half of them were Baby Boomers and the other half were either Gen-Xers or Millennials, but most of them were to Gen-Xers. And they were people like in the Boomer generation - the CEO of Hershey, Michele Buck, the former CEO of DuPont, Ellen Kullman, and those in the younger wave were also I interviewed several CEOs – Jen Hyman, the co-founder of Rent the Runway and the former CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer. And what was striking and one of the reasons I think this book is so significant is that we have made great progress. There was a profound cultural shift the Boomers, for the most part, didn't have female role models. They didn't have family-friendly workplaces. They were afraid to do something as simple as display photos of their children or explain why they had to leave in the middle of the day to go to a kids’ event at school.
These younger power moms, of whom we have one representative here on our panel today, not only manage their work conflicts better, but they have lot more sources of support. They have much more supportive workplaces. They have workplaces where they have role models, women who've gotten to the top. They have more supportive spouses.
The third change was the technology has changed. It's why we're able to do this event today. We can work from home as the shutdown mandated by the pandemic has proven in spades. It is possible to be a successful person in your career and work remotely.
That's great, thank you. And you mentioned that work-life balance and that concept throughout your book and how so much has changed and how many women still struggle with that. But your book talks about a new concept about that work-life sway. How is that different from work-life balance?
Well, in writing that first book, one of the women I interviewed gave me the title for the one chapter I had in there about being a working mom. And the quote that made the chapter title was, “manager moms are not acrobats.” She was of the strong opinion that work-life balance is impossible and I couldn't agree more. It wasn’t until I started interviewing women for the new book and particularly women from the younger generation; I didn't know that there was something different and it's called work-life sway. And that concept is so unusual that when I turned in the manuscript to my book, the publisher rejected the subtitle.
The original subtitle was Power Moms: Secrets of Work-Life Sway from Two Generations of Executive Women and she said, “No one will know what you're talking about.” What work-life sway means is that we need to be 110% present for work, whether working from home or in the office, we give it our all.
But if life intrudes, if the water heater overflows or your three-year-old is having a crying jag because you're working from home, you move out of work mode and into life mode and give 110% to whatever it is your personal life demands at the moment.
I still found this concept hard to grasp until the woman who introduced me to it gave me an example.
She herself is an executive at Phillips, the big auction house, and lives and works in Manhattan. She was at work late one afternoon when she got a text. It was a video live video feed from her nanny and her firstborn toddler son was taking his first steps.
She was able to work-life sway out of the moment away from work even though she was still at the office and basically be present for her son even though it was over video and watch him take his first step.
She also immediately left work and went home to be there for steps number 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. It didn't give her a big guilt trip because she knew that when it was appropriate and when she had time, she would move back into work mode.
That is fantastic.
So, as we think about that work-life sway concept. Now that we are in this era of at home and remote work, as well as juggling our families at the same time. And excuse me if you hear something in the background. I am a working mom and on mommy daycare right now myself. So how has it become more important in the onset and how do you balance that now that our two worlds have really collided into one?
Well, I think it's very important in practicing work-life sway to also remember that we have to be able to set boundaries when necessary. And so last summer I revisited several of the younger power moms I had interviewed for the book. The book was already in production, but these were women who are working remotely before the pandemic hit and asked how their lives had changed to now. They were not only working remotely, but the children were under foot, which wasn't the case when I interviewed from for the book. And in one case this executive, who worked for a company where 100% of the employees work remotely pre-pandemic, she created a protective time period every day between 7:00 and 11:00 a.m. and let her company and her boss and her peers and her team know that she was MIA because that was her personal family and private time.
And there are companies that have also done that during the pandemic. They have encouraged or allowed or even formalized periods during the work day or a day during the week in which no zoom calls are allowed, or where individuals who are working from home get to say don't call me, don't text me unless the world is on fire.
That's awesome, I love that idea of unplugging and I'm excited to dig in with you and the panel today to hear this interesting discussion that we’ll have.
So, I'll turn it over to you at this time to begin that panel discussion with Emily and Jerri.
Thank you so much.
Thank you, Rachel and Emily and Jerri. Thank you so much for devoting your time to being part of this program. But equally to sharing of your hearts, minds, and experiences as a working mom.
Let me start with Emily.
When you were a top human resource officer at Guggenheim, you told me that you worked often so hard that you sometimes skipped lunch. And as the Millennial mother of three, you also didn't have time to exercise on the weekends.
I'm curious as to how this work-life imbalance influenced your decision to become an HR consultant working from home in early 2020 before the rest of us had to do the same.
It's true. Of all the grand decisions that I could have taken, becoming a self-employed consultant before the pandemic was probably not one of my more smart decisions. Listen, it took me 13 years. It took me awhile to realize what I was doing to myself.
What I was describing as motivation and loyalty and commitment was really translating to low energy waking and unhappiness. And it wasn't that I was occasionally skipping lunch, I was always skipping lunch so breakfasts were - oh, I'll have three cups of coffee - and lunch was a handful of stale pretzels. It's obviously some really bad habits that I had developed.
For me, what was contributing to it was I was arriving home depleted and my family was getting pieces of me, not all of me. Forget 110% as you were describing earlier, I was just completely wiped. So I became really good at hiding how I felt and I was feeling. I was aware I was numb, but I wasn't doing anything about it. So I reached a point where I decided I have to make a change and if I don't make a radical change, then nothing is going to happen. That's what contributed to the decision of leaving a Wall Street investment bank to be an independent HR consultant. I knew it was a leap of faith, but I figured I'm no good if I'm sick or worse.
So, I decided to take action in 2019.
And now that you are indeed pursuing this career of self-employment, what ways have you figured out to actually practice work-life sway and has it also reduced your working mom guilt, which I think it does.
Absolutely. The nagging pressure that maybe largely was in my head, but certainly quite present in any corporate environment I've ever worked in. It went away immediately, so I knew that any kind of pressure that I was feeling was self-imposed.
What I did to increase or manage my work-life sway was to put up some boundaries. So that includes eating a proper meal, not a cup of coffee or three cups of coffee and stale pretzels and replacing that with proper nutrition. I know that's the 101 of life, but it's something that I just didn't really consider, so I'm pleased to say that I'm prioritizing that and the movement or the exercise.
I'll confess that some bad habits have re-entered my life just because I enjoy work. It doesn't feel like work, etc. But what I now have is what I call sacred time and that sacred time are 230 minute parts of my day where I will not book over it, and it could be any movement of my choosing. It could be a walk. It could be yoga. It could be going to the gym and that's really helped how I feel in my life and in my body.
So, in the evenings now I feel more fully present and with my family it's just I feel enjoyment being with them.
So, it's so far, so good. But still a work in progress.
We're all a work in progress our entire lives, and frankly, that's the biggest cure I know of for working mother guilt. Accept the fact that we are all imperfect human beings and we will be trying to make ourselves better human beings in any way we can our entire lives.
Thank you very much, Emily, and more power to you.
Let's turn now to Jerri.
So, Jerri, the notion of work-life sway obviously did not exist when your daughter was born in 1989 and your son arrived three years later. Yet, you and your husband jointly aimed for work-life balance because you saw that each other you considered to be your partners in life. And what that meant was, for example, is it you vowed to never take business trips at the same time.
And I'm curious, how did you resolve one particular disagreement over a multi-night trip when you were working for Pillsbury and your kids were five and three years old? It was the rare time in which you both were supposed to go out of town at the same time and thereby violate that pledge you made to each other to be partners in life.
Well, first of all, hi Joann, it's good to see you and hi Emily. It's great to be on this panel with you. I've always found you to be very honest and authentic, so this is going to be good.
You know I'm gonna start out, Joann, by probably saying that I think that balance and sway have always existed. So even when my daughter was born in 1989, and prior to that and I think that this balance and sway exists for women and men; men that are really interested in being a good parent and being a part of their lives. But women we kind of take on the superwoman. I think all of us secretly have a t-shirt that says see Superwoman underneath because we do so many things.
I watch my girlfriends and female colleagues and what they do at work and then what they do at home and it's just amazing to me the amount of productivity and efficiency that women can, you know, kind of house in what they do. I'm always honored and learn so much from women that kind of seemed to be able to put it all together.
But the idea I liken it to working women - Power Moms, the beautiful book that you wrote, Joann, I'm so honored to have been a part of. It's like a tightrope or when you watch an amazing gymnast on the balance beam. There's always this sense of trying to steady yourself. Even the greatest athletes don't just stroll across the balance beam. The best of the Wallendas don't go through the tightrope. You're always trying to steady yourself and sometimes the left goes down a little bit more and you have to kind of move on to the right and get yourself there. And you can maybe take a couple of steps, but again, you're going to have to get that back into check.
So for me it was all of these steps of becoming who I would be. I didn't know the kind of professional I would be. I didn't know the kind of wife I would be. I didn't know the kind of mother I would be. Daughter. Friend. So I had to walk into this with some fundamentals about what was important and critical work before I had children and got married was very important to me. I wanted to demonstrate that I was capable of doing more. So, I put all my energy and my balance needs into that. And then when I got married, I wanted to be a great wife and figure out how I could make my husband happy and make myself happy and make my life happy. And that was balance of what was now I had to take into consideration someone else's needs on top of mine. And then children with work, it was really about sitting down and understanding what was important.
But I have to admit that I unfortunately had something that helped me in that process in that my husband and I lost our first child and my first child was stillborn and that was something that. I never knew it. I mean, I've heard about it, but I didn't know anyone that that it happened to. Everyone got pregnant. They went into the hospital. They came out. They had a beautiful baby and you know life went on. But when that happened to us, we were devastated, and it was only after that that we found so many people that said, you know, there's something similar happened to me, either a miscarriage or stillbirth. We had to support each other at the time.
Our grief was so intense that we didn't have the ability to go through therapy because we felt our burden is too much as it is, I can't take on someone else’s grief. So it brought us closer together and in bringing that together it forced us to understand what was really, really important in life and we decided that a family and each other were the things that we would prioritize. So, we said that we would have dinner every night as a family. That we would not travel, you know, at the same time and be gone, that was important to us.
Not that there was ever any judgment for people that had worked that out there. They could be gone and had a nanny or family member or daycare. But for us because it was so important for us to really cherish the blessing of being able to have another child, we didn't want to blow a moment of that.
So, it came. This moment we did have that one.
You did have that one instance.
Yes, yes, that one incident was where we were both had to be gone at the same time and it came down to both of us saying, “My meeting is important.” “Well, my meeting is important, too.” “Well, OK, well, but I've got to go.”
And so, it was really that. Where we sat down and said huh? So, these are now power dynamics. This has nothing to do with balance. It's like whose job is more important, who feels most at risk. Who thinks that they have the more most of the latitude. And so at the time because it was so critical to me and I felt that I had some leeway with my boss, I went to my boss and I said I can't attend that meeting. I have to, you know, I have to change that time or someone else has to go and he was fine with it.
But it really, I went back to my husband and I said, “OK? I've done that now the next time it's gonna have to be you.”
And so, it was, I'm sure.
And so it was.
And so you have another. You had another test of your work-life principles when you had a bout of insomnia because you had a very important meeting at work that conflicted with your daughter's appearance in a preschool play.
So how did you stay true to your work-life principles in that situation? Is that relevant to younger women today?
It's so important, Joann, I'm so glad you asked me about that one because this meeting was so important. I was presenting the strategic plan. It was my time on stage. I wanted to demonstrate that I was ready. The meeting date had been set and then all of a sudden, this recital came up and I thought Oh my gosh, OK Jerri, you know, what are you going to do?
And I sweated my sweated and I sweated and at some at one point in time I would say to myself I'm going to have to miss my daughter's recital that she'll understand there'll be many more. My husband can go in, film, and then I'd say no. I'm gonna have to go in there. I'm going to tell them that I can't make it.
I went back and forth and until the moment that I walked into my boss’ office and said that I'm going to have to, I won't be able to make the meeting. Can we change it? Is there something that can be done? I was in sweats.
Here's the thing though. Again, I was my own worst enemy. He said Jerri. Of course, your daughter's recital is important. We can change it, and from that moment on I said no one is going to advocate for you. But you say, if I had skipped my daughter's recital, you know they say she would have remembered that I would have always felt guilty and I never would have asked. So that was a big learning for me.
We have to stick up for ourselves and stick up for what we believe in.
Thank you very much, Jerri.
I now have another question for you, Emily, especially since we've now come through almost a year and a half of having to deal with work disruptions due to a horrible pandemic.
But I'm curious as somebody who knows HR so well, to what extent has COVID-19 exposed the persistent shortcomings in how US employers handled the needs of women in their workforce who have children?
Yeah, COVID-19 has really called all of us forward - employers, companies, executives, etc. It has exposed all of the things that were breaking, are already broken, to the forefront in a very short amount of time. And we all, I'm preaching to the choir, but we know how catastrophic COVID-19 has been to caregivers and parents. It's been absolutely awful.
So, shortcomings, I think, have really been around. Companies are still thinking about the way in which we work in terms of time, and this is really going back to the industrial revolution. You know, the 1940s and 50s when we defined what a typical workweek is. And in the United States, we say is 40 hours a week. And if you work more than 8 hours today or 40 hours a week, you're going to get overtime.
This way of thinking still exists.
So, Joann, to answer your question, I think the most profound shortcoming is we're still thinking about work in terms of time. We're not acknowledging that we have tools and tech to help us be more efficient. And people are far more educated and experienced in today's workforce than they were, you know, decades ago. So shortcomings would be - we can talk about work-life sway, but for caregivers and parents, the real issue is fatigue. And fighting the fatigue. And that's overstimulation, under-stimulation distractions happening all around you and I agree with Jerri, we are all collectively wearing a super woman t-shirt under our regular clothing and probably a cape there.
Without a doubt, I've seen women pull these magical, nothing short of magical outcomes and actions that they've been taking in their lives and doing it with a smile, gracefully and really unwavering.
So, employers. I think need to focus on no time versus impact or time versus key outcomes. I think we need to be thinking about productivity or peak hours of work. Not everyone is productive at the same amounts of time, so the example you gave around 7:00 to 11:00 this is the do not touch time.
I think all of us have our own peak time. Some of us are early risers, night owls, whatever. Whatever The thing is, so productivity, time and the last thing is - making it psychologically safe for someone to say I feel unwell; I'm tired without the story because the pattern of behavior that people have learned is to get the time off or to see the recital, or just to have a rest, we have to have a story or a sickness, or a really big thing happening.
No, you are good enough the way that you are.
So if you need some time off to hit pause, I think we need to normalize this kind of this kind of vocabulary in the workplace, so I would say those are kind of the three areas that I think are the biggest levers in the workplace right now.
All well-spoken Emily.
It reminds me this notion of us wearing these t-shirts that says Superwoman under our regular clothes of the introduction to an important report that came out late last year about shortcomings in how American employers deal with caregiving issues. And the author of the report put a little tiny personal note at the top and said this report was written despite the lead author being asked 7,000 times by a young child, Mommy, may I please have a popsicle?
As a human resource consultant, I wonder now that we are shifting to a hybrid work arrangement - What actions would you recommend that businesses take that would serve employed parents, men and women alike, who choose to not come back to the office full-time or who choose not to even come back to the office even part-time.
How can we make sure that those parents needs both as parents as well as employees with ambitions are better served?
Yes, I think this is the part where COVID forced our thinking in a really short amount of time in the pendulum is really just kind of wonky. It's swinging back and forth back and forth. So, I think right now we still don't have clear when I say we the collectively we in the workforce, we still don't have shared understanding of how the work needs to get done. And there are arguments on different sides of the equation around - you need to come into the office because this is how collaboration is done. Or you work remote because I'm more productive whatever side of the argument you're in, the meta conversation is really around - What is the work that needs to get done? Not how it gets done.
I think we are all again very experienced and educated about the how part. We've got that figured out. We've got enough life experience to be able to answer that. So, to serve parents again, I think it really gets into employers need to - this is not the time to lack imagination. This is not the time to lack empathy, and whether you're a caregiver or a parent, or maybe just a person who wants to have a life, maybe you don't have children or caregiving responsibilities, you don't want to leave those folks out either, but you know this notion. I read an article around extraverts are suffering in COVID and introverts are thriving. When have we ever read a positive anything about an introvert?
And I'll confess, you know, as a casualty of the job, I always thought I was in an extrovert because all day everyday I'm connecting with people in triaging all sorts of issues and problems. But in fact I found myself thriving in this environment because for the first time I wasn't, professionally speaking, wasn't overstimulated in the workplace.
So how can we serve parents in the hybrid situation? I think that employers need to empower people to be able to articulate what works best for them and where they're going to hit their peak productivity/ways of working, whatever that looks like.
I think I think that the notion around collaboration, that's something individuals and teams can co-create together and co-create meaning at the top of a project or when you start a job or when you made a new coworker or you have a new boss, you sit down with that person and co-create together how you want that relationship or how you want that project to work. So right out of the gate, you're setting expectations around.
I'm really productive in the morning.
I've got kids.
I'm not available from three to six.
That way, think of a racing model right out of the gate. You're helping set those expectations. I think again in the hybrid sense, I think this is maybe taking that work-life sway to the next level where we're integrating that more into our lives on what's OK and what's not OK. And if you all haven't read some of the work of Brené Brown, she does some beautiful work around what's OK and what's not OK, and it's one source of inspiration that's helped me a whole bunch in my journey.
Excellent. Thank you for all those cogent suggestions and I'm sure they will be well-heeded by many of those listening and watching this event.
Jerri, I have another question for you.
Now that you are a corporate board member, the founder of an Executive Diversity Alliance and let's hear it for Grandparenthood, a first-time grandmother, I'm curious how you’re practicing work-life sway these days.
Yeah, I think that the way you are and how you're oriented toward work does not change despite what it is you have to do. And so like anything else I am doing more on some things and not enough on others. I always find time though to acknowledge FaceTime and see my grandchild, which is another level of love that I had not even I've heard about, obviously, but it's something else to experience, so I love that.
But I think that it's founding an organization. I spend a lot of time on that I've always said that I've never worked so hard and so long for so little, which is nothing in my life. But I'm getting tremendous psychic dollars that no amount of pay could ever compensate for it because I'm doing something that I'm really passionate about that is legacy and helps me really understand the value of what I've learned; the mistakes I've made; the people I've met. And extending that network to others because what value is it for me to take a lesson that I learned the hard way and not share that playbook with someone else so they can learn it the easier way.
And so that that's very fulfilling for me in that. But obviously I find time. I say this to everyone they say, oh I didn't have the time. Oh, I'm sorry it's like you make time to do the things you want to do. That is always true regardless of what happens. Thing is, you have to understand what it is you really want to do and what it is you need to do, and that's something that we're always struggling with.
We also have to make sure that we're not always on.
This was one of the more striking differences I found between the Boomers and the Gen Xer moms I interviewed for the book. The Boomer moms understood importance of not being available 24/7. The younger moms felt huge amount of pressure to be always on to be tethered to their jobs constantly, and nowhere is that more pressure felt then when you are sleeping at the office because the office is home.
So now that you are working as hard as ever, do you keep your cell phone turned on or on mute next to your bed? Or do you actually turn off? And how can younger women not be always on?
Well, here's the problem with that analogy is that your cell phone is your life. It's not just work, I mean, but I do have a separate phone for work. That phone is turned off the I have a separate phone for that, so that's an easy answer and I always have a separate phone. I think just for my, I just didn't want to blend all of my personal information and contacts and texts with my work one, so that's it. But it's hard to juggle like OK, which phone number is so that? That's hard but for me. That was easy. And then that's something that's easy to do, but my phone is like everyone else is, it's always on and I'm always doing something with it.
But you know, I have rules about not it not ever being at the dinner table. If we're having family over friends, friends know that they can't whip out their phone and start texting. That to me says I'd rather be someplace else. And if you'd rather be somewhere else, I think you should do that. But so, I have rules about technology at the table, but it's an enabler and I think that Emily said that, well, it enables me to get a lot more done than ever before.
But we also have to remember that nobody ever said you had to be working 24/7, and to be always on because I interviewed women for the book who not only had only one phone, but they slept with it under the pillow. And either kept it on or kept it on vibrate.
That's not right.
Yeah, no it's not.
And it's the whole thing about self-care and understanding, not to be fearful. Sometimes it's out of fear, fear of Oh my God. What would happen if someone wants me and I'm not available?
You have to have that whole confidence about who you are and the value that you bring, so that's different, different topic. But yeah, there's that's a symptom of something else when you see that.
Excellent, thank you both.
I'm going to turn it back over to you Rachel.
Great. Thank you so much, Joann, and thank you Jerri and Emily for your insight, your vulnerability and transparency. What an awesome conversation. And there were so many topics as I was feverishly taking notes myself. And there's a few things that I just want to follow up on.
We've gotten a few questions in the chat as well that I'd like to ask, but before we do that, I want to have one final question to you, Joann. We talked about the pandemic and the persistent problems and thanks Emily for talking about what companies can do. We know that based on that Wall Street Journal analysis of U.S. government data that there are 1.5 million fewer women working moms in the workforce.
So, what would be your advice based on what you've learned over the course of your career, of how women can continue to advance their careers in this post, pandemic world, given all of the challenges. And how much has changed?
Well, I think it's very important to think about several of the issues we've been talking about here today. And that is - we know that companies are going to continue to allow work from home arrangements, whether it's full- or part-time, and that if you see this as a way to combine parenthood with advancing your career, you need to make sure that both are taken care of.
And so, like the mom I was telling you about who negotiated these protected hours during the workday every day - if you're going to be working remotely, predominantly, or even full-time, you ought to make sure you have protected hours.
But at the same time, you need to make sure that you don't get forgotten by your colleagues who are going back into the office and you need to learn how to practice remote networking. That might mean, for instance, having a virtual coffee with some of your colleagues who you know will speak up on your behalf who are going to be there in person at a meeting that is going to decide your budget or your hiring ability for the next year.
And a third thing, it seems to me, is really important if you want to be getting ahead in your career. In this post, COVID hybrid work environments is to update your boss frequently whether you're in their office or working from home on what is going on in terms of meeting your goals as well as how your personal situation is changing.
Sometimes bosses forget that that kid who was a baby last year is now starting nursery school or kindergarten because. Time flies, and what you might need in the way of a work schedule, you can't expect them to understand from osmosis.
That's great, thank you,
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So, with that Joann, I'm going to come back with one other question that we received.
So, you've wrote two books now Earning It about trailblazing women and now Power Moms focused on these career women.
Can you talk to us about your journey and talking up and speaking out on advocating for gender equality?
Where did you find that courage and how did that start and continue to inspire you today?
If I could package that courage and put a nice sexy label on it, I would probably be a very wealthy woman. I frankly do not know where I found the courage to stick up for myself. I guess it's how I was brought up by a very strong-willed mother and you know, equally strong-willed father, but she always inspired me to stick up for myself. And that's essentially what I did.
I worked for the Wall Street Journal for nearly 47 years. And at the point when I had my first child, there were a half a dozen or so women, all who declared their pregnancies at the same time who were reporters at the Journal but only one other came back to work and she wasn't in the Bureau where I was working in Washington. So it was a very isolating, lonely type of existence in which you did not have the internet. You did not have support groups. You did not have parenting employee resource groups. You certainly didn't have an understanding management because the management was mostly guys whose wives had never worked outside the home after having kids.
On the other hand, I felt very strongly that I wanted to be a good parent. So, when I was about ready to go on maternity leave with our second child, I proposed a four-day schedule. I didn't know anybody else at the paper who had such a schedule, although obviously there were people who work part-time, but by choice. In this case, I wanted to continue essentially working full-time, but at reduced hours. And so, I offered to take a 20% cut in pay and benefits and I was turned down.
And when I came back to work, I was struggling mightily. I had two kids under 4 years old, but miracles of miracles, things changed. We got a new managing editor who had a very feminist-minded working life, and he himself was a feminist. I got a new Bureau chief, a guy named Al Hunt, who is still married to Judy Woodruff, who we all know and love.
And essentially, I was asked to re-propose this idea and I was given this four day schedule without a cut in pay and essentially the only ground rules were that I could not work on the day I was off. And that's what my Bureau chief said. “If I find out that you're sneaking in doing some Wall Street Journal reporting, then you have to come back to work.” Later when I interviewed him for Power Moms, I asked Al Hunt, why did you guys give me this great deal? I was quite shocked. He said we were afraid that you would go work for one of our competitors. Which was not something I'd ever imagined doing and was part of this whole impostor syndrome.
I can't possibly. So wonderful that they would actually give me a four-day schedule without a cut in pay. Guess what? Women of the world, we’re better than we think we are, and we need to stick up for ourselves.
That's awesome, thank you so much for that.
And Jerri, we've got a question for you and you talked a lot about creating boundaries and setting that up. I'd love to hear you talk more about that. A question came in about loving that idea of creating boundaries. Time off which sometimes feels impossible. And as folks find themselves feeling guilty when other teammates are working long hours on weekends or not taking PTO, how do you recommend moving past that guilt of whether it's creating those boundaries? So how did you work through that and be so strong in staying steadfast with them?
Well, guilt as an emotion has a lot of triggers. I don't know since I'm not a therapist, how people deal with guilt. I mean sometimes guilt is irrational, but it stems from something else that may have happened to you earlier in your career/your life that makes you feel guilty about that.
I am I have always been a proponent of leading by example as a leader, so I made sure that I not only took vacation, but I didn't take any calls, emails, messages. I was very clear. I'm going to be on vacation. I will not be reachable. Here are the people that can help you.
And so that meant that the people that worked for me when they went on vacation, they felt the opportunity to just completely unwind and be in the moment of vacation. Because if I was on vacation, emailing and texting and following up then of course they were going to do the same thing and so vacation, I took it and I used it. And I also think that everyone works differently.
I'm working now with three interns, with the organization that I founded, and they all have very different strengths and very different opportunities to learn and I take everything as a teachable moment. I think what you have to do is you have to recognize the difference and the beauty of the people that work with you and for you and take in their strengths and help them build up the things that they need. You know, encouragement or advice a lot of times it's there. I believe that most people have what they need to be successful inside them and they just have to tap into that and have someone support them and tell them that they can.
And that's fantastic. As we continue to build those muscles over and over again in that shadow of a leader, I love that really setting the way in that example.
And Emily for you as we think about from as an HR expert and those that are working with companies love to get your ideas. We talk about asking for what you want, being unapologetic, and understanding that you deserve it and that you have value. When we think about how we negotiate for those things. Although we know we may have more availability than we've had in the past to get what you need to truly be successful or to get the salary that you think you deserve.
What are some negotiation tips that you'd recommend? Or what does that conversation look like to you?
So, if you don't remember anything that I tell you I want you to remember two things just two.
You’re worth it.
Ask for more.
That's it. That's all. That's my only advice.
Now if you want real, if you want real advice beyond you deserve it and just ask for more, it’s pay attention to what's telling you or what's making you hesitate. In coaching we would call that the inner critic.
I've named my inner critic. Her name is Carol. So, when Carol starts talking, I say not today. Pay attention to when you want to negotiate your salary. OK? So if your inner critic list is telling you something, just not today.
So things you can do to negotiate your salary, sometimes personifying can help it. When I was first learning how to do this, personally speaking what I would do is if I were a guy, what would he do in that conversation? He'd walk in there with swagger. He'd make a demand. He'd fake it till he’d make it. He's going to get more pay for experience he doesn't have, whereas I'm busting my, you know what off and I'm getting 30% less than what he's getting.
So, when I was first learning how to do this, that's the personification that I would take and just to get that myself, talked into it. Now I'm a bit more smart about it, so advice I would give you is know your data points. This is really helpful and there's a lot of open source compensation data out there. You can also ask colleagues to help you through; whether it's a former manager or colleagues who are in similar fields just to understand what the market is paying for a role like that. If you're below that amount of money, that's a great place to start because now you have a data point or data points to help you understand how to price yourself.
Another way to price yourself is to think through if I left, what would be the risk or cost to the company to replace me and companies do pay money to retain talent, so I'm telling you this kind of secret sauce HR style. There are some types of roles in some talent that companies will they'll pay it's called a retention agreement or retention bonus. Sometimes it's paid if you stay for a period of time. Sometimes they'll give you a three year one. Just really depends.
Other thing to look at are long-term incentives so long-term incentives would mean sometimes they're cash, sometimes their equity, sometimes their options. It just really depends.
So when you're wanting to negotiate your salary, know what you're worth just from a data point perspective. Psychologically and confidence wise, know that you deserve it and always ask for more. The last thing is, make sure from a hygiene factor that you're staying ahead of what you're worth in the market now.
There's data out there that says that we women we hit our earnings peak at age 40. For whatever reason, the data starts tanking. So that is to say, agnostic of wherever you are in your earnings potential. Just know that the data isn’t super favorable for us because we leave the workforce. We don't ask for more. We don't challenge the status quo.
So collectively, if we keep collectively challenging, the status quo will all benefit from that. Our daughters and sons in the future will, too.
If I can be helpful at any time talking through that, I'm happy to go into more detail. But like I said, if you forget all of the rambling, I just said you deserve it. Ask for more.
I love that and I love how you're talking about paying it forward. Similar to you, Jerri, as well. You know of thinking about not just yourself but the others behind you, the legacy that you leave, and the impact that we have on others.
And with that Jerri, I'm going to ask and I know that your mom was a power mom as well. And I’d love for you to kind of talk about that and I know that how much you value diversity, equity and inclusion and being a co-founder and increasing that. But I'd like to talk about some of those unique challenges.
We've talked about being a power working mom. What about a power working mom of color?
And how did you balance that and where were the challenges, especially given the timing of when you really were growing through your career in various positions? The second part of that is how can we all become better advocates for diversity in our companies as we think about our approaches in these unique challenges?
OK, yes, Rachael, and I wanna come back to just something very powerful that Emily said. I mean I have to clap on that you guys. Emily, in three minutes gave you a master class on how to advocate for yourself - the inner critic; you're worth it; ask for more. It's something that so many people, time and time again I have conversations with. So really, internalize what Emily said.
Emily, thank you for sharing the secrets. Because sometimes that's the playbook. It's like. How do you share the playbook of what you've learned?
So yes, my mom, Dr. Jean DeVard-Kemp is/was a baller. A certified ****** baller and I say that today because coincidentally yesterday she sent me the video of summer. My mom started out as a professor and then she was tapped by the Governor of Georgia to head up adult literacy for the state of Georgia. But four of her students sent her a video. This whole thing of sending someone their flowers while they can enjoy it, was a video of what she meant to them. They poured their hearts out about how she would take time and lift them up and give them hard feedback and coach them on how to win and believe in themselves and have the confidence to succeed and overcome the inner critics. And it was just beautiful to watch it.
I sent it out to all my friends to say see this is the stock that I'm from because what she gave me as a single mom, my mom divorced my father raised two children by herself, because my father did not think that she should go back to college. He felt that she should stay home and raise kids. So, I watched this fierce, determined woman get ahead and get the things that she wanted without money without nannies, without help, without a job; just on sheer brilliance. Just how her mind worked and she then went on to have a couple of husbands and two children and great jobs and retired.
So, I watched that, and I watched her overcome. You know, every -ism that there is. Every -ism you can imagine, and it's not like she sat me down and said this is less than number 452. It's just I watched her and I learned how to be that person that could advocate for yourself to have the confidence that, even if you made a mistake, that there was a way to come back from that. Because you're always pivoting this idea of pivoting to what you need and how you have to balance that and where you put your energy with something that I learned from her.
And so, she's still a busy body, she knows everything. Her recall is greater than mine. She will call and remind me of things. She had an insatiable desire to learn and when she learned, she wanted to pass that on. And I think that that's what's given me, being a black woman, and seeing too few people that look like me, that that go to where I've been and beyond made me realize that it was not someone else's obligation that it was instead of somebody how to do something about that. It was like, Jerri, what are you doing about that? How can you make your small dent in the universe that allows you to say that I have helped?
I have lifted up and I have done that in a way that was meaningful and significant. That was not rhetoric, you know, as we say, don't just talk about it, Be about it. I had to be about it, so the lessons from my mom, the desire, and the learnings that I've had, failures and successes and meaning feeling that it didn't mean anything unless I passed it on, is what has fueled me.
That's awesome, and now to the success of your own daughter following those footsteps, it's phenomenal.
So yes, she is. She's there. So yes, she works at Instagram. And when you were talking about those hours, so she doesn't have, she has a 9-month-old. He's actually 10 months old now. My beautiful brain is on my beautiful, beautiful grandson.
But she does not have, she doesn't take meetings before 10:00 o'clock because she's feeding him. She's playing with him. He goes down for his nap and they understand that. Those are boundaries that my daughter is the typical - she's got a side hustle that is a podcast and an amazing business that she does. In addition to being this always productive product marketer at Instagram.
So yes, I'm blessed, and I have a son that works at Viacom, CBS. So, it's you know family is important. We put the time in, and I just want them to be happy with what they're doing and how mom can help.
That is awesome. Thank you so much.
I know we are running down to the last minute.
So, Joann, I do want to give you the final thought as we close out. But I will say thank you all for joining us today. We hope you were introduced to some new approaches. Some new thoughts. I know I got chills several times listening to Emily, Jerri and Joann really talk about their experiences and sharing all of that. So, I hope it helps to support your success at home and work. And of course, incorporate that work-life sway, interior daily routines and feel empowered and fulfilled.
You can check out more of our programming, as I mentioned, and our Key4Women resources at key.com/women. We’ll share the recording with you today. And of course, you can join us at key.com/joinK4W.
With that, Joann, I'll give you the final parting words and I thank you all so much for being here today.
Well, I would like everyone else give you 3 tips.
Choose a life partner who shares your goals in terms of being a co-parent.
Choose wisely in terms of the employer that you go work for and if it turns out the employer is not a family friendly workplace, we're in an environment right now where you can go somewhere else.
Thirdly choose wisely in terms of your mentors and sponsors. You're going to need different mentors and sponsors at different times in your career. And unfortunately it's the way of the world, a lot of them are still going to have to be men.
If you want to learn more about Power Moms and me and my other book, you can go to joannlublin.com my website.
Have a great day. Take care.
Power Moms, the latest book from Author and former Wall Street Journal management news editor Joann Lublin, provides lessons and advice to help today’s professional women, their families, and their employers navigate the business landscape.
Joann will lead a multi-generational discussion with Jerri DeVard, Founder of the Black Executive CMO Alliance (BECA) and HRwired Founder, Emily Chardac on the trade-offs mothers are too often forced to make between work and family and the root causes, including the policies needed to make being a working mother easier.
- What’s Work-Life Sway? And why it works better than impossible ideal of work-life balance at restoring sanity to our crazy, crammed lives.
- The Generational Shift in ways that working mothers juggle career and family.
- The extent to which Covid-19 exposed persistent problems.
Joann Lublin, Author and former management news editor for the Wall Street Journal
Jerri Devard, Founder of the Black Executive CMO Alliance (BECA)
Emily Chardac, Founder HRwired