Nine Similar Behaviors That Have Different Consequences for Men and Women by Caryl Rivers and Dr. Rosalind C. Barnett

17707613 book coverWomen who want to be successful are often urged to act like their male colleagues. But new research says this strategy often backfires. When they behave they same way, women and men are often judged very differently, leading to consequencesthat are poles apart.

This problem is part of what we call “The New Soft War on Women.”

The direct, in-your-face gender discrimination of the past has faded, but cutting- edge new research finds that bias hasn’t vanished. It’s just gone underground and is gaining strength, based on stubborn stereotypes about what women can’t do.

It’s why both men and women too often judge the same actions very differently,when they are taken by one sex or another.

For example:

Caring and showing empathy

Men at work are richly rewarded, and are seen as heroes when they step out of the macho stereotype to offer a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on. They get heaps of praise. (Oh, what a wonderful guy!) When men are helpful to others, they are given high performance ratings and they are seen as likely to succeed.  In contrast, when men don’t help, they suffer no consequences. They are just being “guys.”

Women are expected to be caring. Such behavior is taken for granted– and ignored. Women get no credit for caring, because that’s what they are “supposed” to do. But unlike men, when women violate the “caring” norm, they are harshly penalized. They are seen as unlikely to succeed or advance in their company. Moreover, they are judged as nasty, selfish, manipulative, and unworthy of promotions. So it’s a lose-lose for women. They get no benefit for caring, and they get slammed if they don’t care.

Taking risks

Men are seen as leaders and rightfully ambitious workers when they take risks. If he fails, his superiors dust him off and say, “It’s not your fault; try again next time.”  There’s little downside when men take risks.

Women who take risks are looked at with skepticism and are carefully scrutinized. Because of this wariness, women are hesitant to take the kinds of risks they are told they need to take in order to succeed.  Moreover, women who fail don’t get second chances. No one’s there to dust them off.  Risk-taking is a high stakes strategy for women.

Displaying competence

Men who are competent are seen as forceful, worthy of promotion and likely to succeed. It’s all a plus.

Women who display competence often pay a price. They are seen by both men and women as unlikeable–unfeminine, aggressive, conniving and untrustworthy— as “downright awful.” Such perceptions hurt them on the career ladder. Who wants to work with a “bitch?”

Less competent women are seen as more likeable, but not very good at their jobs. Another lose-lose for women. Be very competent, and you’re seen as a bitch. Be less competent, and you won’t move up or you’re out the door.

Working in a mixed-sex team

Men who work with women in a team automatically get credit for the team’s success. The man is assumed to be the leader, even if the woman has actually done most of the work and made most of the decisions. Often, he is promoted while she is not.

Women in a mixed-sex team are seen as relatively less competent, less influential and less likely to have played a leadership role. They do not get credit, even when it’s due.  As a result, women are less likely than men to be promoted.

Speaking at length

Men who dominate the conversation are seen as powerful and forceful.

Women too often find that silence is golden.  Both men and women judge females to be more competent when they are quiet and less capable when they talk more. If women speak up at some length, even if they are in a senior position, they are seen not only as gabby but also as incompetent.

Becoming a parent

Men do not experience any roadblocks in getting hired just because they have a child.  In fact, they enjoy a “fatherhood bonus” and often make more money than non-fathers. Fathers are seen as hardworking, striving for advancement, and reliable.

Women pay a price if there’s any hint in their resumes that they might be mothers. They may not even get inside the door. In one study, managers who had the power to hire and fire were sent resumes identical except for a hint that some women were childless and others were mothers. Managers called back the childless women twice as often as the equally qualified mothers.

Women employees experience a “motherhood penalty” that can be as high as a million dollars over a lifetime.  Mothers are viewed as having divided loyalties, as unreliable, distracted, and therefore are less likely to be hired or promoted.

Having an MBA or other advanced degree

Men with advanced degrees get substantial raises and promotions.

Women earn more advanced degrees than men but   get a far lesser payoff. Female MBAs earn, on average, $4,600 less than male MBAs in their first job out of business school. Male chief financial officers are paid an average of 16 percent more than their female counterparts of similar age at U. S. companies. The Sloan Foundation reports that Women lead in college but not in the workforce…Women’s earnings, relative to those of men, have not kept up with their gains in educational attainment.”

Working hard

Men are expected to be hard workers and they reap the benefits of their efforts. Hard work pays off for them in higher pay and frequent promotions.

Women are not expected to be hard driving and ambitious. When they are, they are seen as unfeminine and uncaring. And they pay a price for their non-traditional behavior. Over a lifetime, women with a bachelor’s degree will earn a third less (estimated $700,000) than a man with the same degree.

Expressing anger

Men who express anger at work are judged by males and females as committed to their jobs, powerful, competent and worthy of a high salary. Blowing your stack is not a problem for a man.

Women who express anger, in contrast, are seen much less favorably. They are viewed as out of control, irrational, incompetent, weak and unworthy of a high salary. Only if women can demonstrate that they have a reasonable, non-emotional reason for their anger will they avoid being labeled.

Simply being male or female

Men benefit from the male stereotype–forceful, competent, assertive, a leader. Unless they demonstrate otherwise, the stereotype helps them.

Women suffer from the female stereotype–passive, incompetent, non-assertive, a follower, not a leader. They have to actively prove they don’t fit these categories before they can escape the female stereotype.

Women need to be aware of these traps to avoid stalling out in the workplace. But women can’t do it alone. Companies need to mean it when they say they want gender diversity. New research finds that while ninety percent of companies about the globe have such policies, too often these programs lack clear goals, evaluation and enforcement, and less than half have criteria that allow for them to be evaluated. There’s little commitment to the programs in the C‑suite, and it gets weaker as you go down the organizational ladder. At lower management levels, a paltry 17 percent of managers support diversity programs. It can be disastrous for a young woman if early in her career she runs into a manager whose mind-set, conscious or otherwise, is that women don’t have what it takes.


Caryl Rivers is a professor of journalism at the College of Communication at Boston University. A nationally known author and journalist, she received the Helen Thomas Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Dr. Rosalind C. Barnett is a senior scientist at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University. Her pioneering research on workplace issues and family life in America has been sponsored by federal grants, and she is often invited to lecture at major venues in the United States and abroad. Dr. Barnett has a private clinical psychology practice and is the author of scholarly and popular books and articles.

Women, Careers and Risk: Lessons from the Improv Comedy Stage by Kathy Klotz-Guest

Kathy Klotz-Guest head shot pic1Research today illustrates that on average women do not take the same career risks that men do. Why? The reasons are complex but they all point back to a very important subject – how women perceive, manage, and act on risk. Despite gender differences, however, the fact is that anyone can increase the confidence required for smart risk-taking.

As a marketer and business owner, I’ve seen women take far fewer risks in the workplace. I’ve also seen that same fear of failure mirrored in my almost 20 years doing comedy. I’ve seen women come and go – quitting before they reached the prize of confidence, acceptance and the ability to take risks and handle failure. The ability to take risks and to see failure as learning are critical for career growth, innovation, and yes, for comedic success.

Today, I perform regularly with a group where the percent of women ranges anywhere from 10% to 25%. At one time, in a group of 14 players, I was the only woman. My stand-up days were more polarized; I’d often be 1 of 2 women on open-mic nights out of a lineup up of over 15 comics. The good news is I think the gender ratio is changing, at least in improv. In my experience, there are more women in improvisation than in stand-up comedy.

While I am sure there are many social and cultural (as well as family) reasons that contribute to this situation (and because many women aren’t nurtured to think they are funny), I also know the rewards that come from improvisation. Improv isn’t just about being funny. It’s so much more than that: it strengthens our ability to make choices, to take risks, and to trust our gut because it increases confidence. These are the same qualities that have facilitated some bold and successful career moves in my life. No guts, no glory – of course, women don’t have to bet the farm to succeed. They just need to reach beyond where they “think” they are just capable enough. That’s what men do. Statistically, men fail more, and they also succeed more. That’s because they take “bigger” chances where the downside isn’t all that bad, and the upside is substantial.

The bottom line is that “risk” matters, especially in careers and comedy. This lack of bigger “game” risk-taking has longer-term economic implications for women and explains, in part, the gender wage-gap that still exists today (about 21% for equal work according to the Department of Labor). Yes, women are more likely to take time out from the workforce to have and raise children than their male counterparts, and this accounts for some of the gap. However, research also tells us that women are also less likely to take risks in negotiating pay, better benefits, and promotions, and in taking “risky” projects that also come with high visibility in the organization. In the end, less risk-taking in a woman’s career leads to a lifetime wage and career gap estimated to be greater than $500,000. And more than money, it means too many women are ‘settling’ for careers that don’t match their potential or desire.

Women and Risk-Taking

In his book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell explores the concept of 10,000 hours: it takes approximately 10,000 hours of practice and experience to reach virtuoso status in an area of expertise – music, software programming, painting, innovating, and comedy. Of course, part of those 10,000 hours will involve failing if you are doing it right. You can’t achieve expert status without trying, failing, taking risks, and learning from those choices. There are also various degrees of risk and it’s important for women to recognize that many of these choices involve “recoverable” risk where no one is hurt, besides maybe a bruised ego here and there.

Research also points out that men and women, on average, deal with and process failure in different ways. Men, for instance, on average look at failure not as a personal flaw, but rather, as a situation outside themselves that just didn’t work out. You win some, you lose some, you move on. Conversely, women are more likely (on average – yes there are individual differences) to personalize failure and view it through the lens of some shortcoming on their end.

Whether it is comedy or career, the same risk-taking is needed to grow to the next level. Just as men take bigger career risks, they also tend to take more chances in comedy. That begs the question – what can women be doing to strengthen their ability to take measured risks and to see failure as learning rather than personalizing it? Moreover, “failure” isn’t bad – it’s part of growth. You are expected and encouraged to fail or you’re not trying hard enough.

Of course, some of this difference between the genders can be explained by physiology. Men are wired to take more risks because they have traditionally been the “hunters.” Yet, the good news is that much of this difference has to do with skills and behaviors that can be learned.

The “Yes, and!” Concept

One of the best ways for people to learn to trust their instincts, take small risks that lead successfully to bigger ones, and learn to see failure as learning is through improvisation. Improvisation is based on a positive framing – “Yes, and!” mentality that accepts offers from others, builds on other suggestions, allows people to stay focused on the present and to fail good-naturedly with small risks. Improvisation strengthens decision-making skills by making it OK to fail. You have to fail to know what works! Without the risk-taking, there is no success.

Improvisation creates a safe environment where failure is encouraged because it means you are taking changes, pushing the envelope and exploring to see what works. Over time, your instincts are strengthened and risk-taking becomes less scary. There are no “wrong” answers in improvisation; there are many choices and alternatives. Improvisation strengthens our ability to react to the situation at hand – to respond with our own solid choices that accept and add (the “Yes, and!”) on to “offers” presented to us by others. Little risks (with low stakes) taken over time lead us to make bolder and bigger choices as we grow in our confidence. This permeates others aspects of our lives including our careers.

While improvisation won’t change the overall salary gap or underrepresentation on corporate boards or the C-suite over night, it will strengthen women’s confidence in their own choices, in their risk-taking and will help them learn that “failure” is not personal. Nor is it something to be feared. It happens, you learn and grow from it, and you move on. And sometimes you get it just right, and get a “win.” Like when you negotiate for better pay or a more visible position. And it’s those little individual wins that, in aggregate, will lead to real change.

After all, ladies, we’ve got nothing to lose by trying. It’s the high cost of failing to take smart risks – the lack of pay equity and loss of bigger careers – that we should fear.


Kathy Klotz-Guest, A marketer and storyteller, helps clients tell compelling stories that get results. The founder of marketing strategy and communications firm, Keeping it Human, she also performs improvisational comedy and kicks jargon’s butt.

The Female Entrepreneur – Unstoppable Passion By Bonnie Ross-Parker

brp portraitWho is this woman?  She is empowered, enlightened and enterprising.  She exudes energy, enthusiasm and confidence.  She has chosen to embark on a journey and create a mission only she can fulfill.  The female entrepreneur is a risk taker.  She connects.  She collaborates and she gives back and she will not be denied.  She deserves success and takes pride in her accomplishments.  She knows that her gifts matter and strongly believes in her journey.  This strong willed, focused woman must live her destiny by sharing her talents with the world.  She sets the standard of excellence in all that she does and in all that she is.  She endures even under the toughest of challenges and naysayers.

The female entrepreneur is unstoppable.  She does it all.  She creates.  She markets.  She promotes.  She shares resources.  She supports other likeminded individuals with her ideas, her time and knowledge.  It requires courage to be an entrepreneurial woman in today’s marketplace.  There’s no fall back.  No guaranteed pay check.  No employee benefits.  No paid vacations.  It’s you, your products and/or services that are vying for consumers in an already established economic environment.  This individual possesses the fortitude to differentiate herself from everyone else by finding a unique way to be memorable.

When I decided to leave the teaching profession after 12 years in the classroom, I was ready to pursue what at that time was a dream to become an entrepreneur.  That was over 30 years ago!  I bought a franchise.  Everyone thought I was crazy.  A typical comment was, “How can you give up your career, vacations, benefits, etc. to owning a retail business?  You’ll have to work year round including weekends!”  No one and nothing could persuade me.  It was time and I as ready.  I was determined.  I was tired of someone else directing my life.  I wanted control even if that meant long hours, hard work and an unknown future.  Twelve years later I owned 6 franchises and became the company’s Regional Director with responsibility to oversee 22 other stores.

I look back on those years with huge satisfaction.  I went from school teacher to entrepreneur.  I went from a single, dependable pay check to multiple streams of income.  I proved to myself and those who doubted my unstoppable determination that I could meet the challenges and survive.

I know firsthand what it takes to break away and go out on one’s own.  I know the amount of faith it requires.  I also know the rewards that come from doing what you really want to do even if that requires following unfamiliar roads to travel an uncertain journey.  The female entrepreneur is doing better than surviving.  She’s thriving.  She’s unique.  She’s a gift.  She’s a person who endures.  It serves us all to pay attention to and support her economically.  She takes her tasks seriously, often over delivers and shows us what is possible by her example.  If you are a female entrepreneur, congratulations.  If you are considering ‘stepping out on your own’, go for it.  When you believe in yourself, others will believe in you. Be unstoppable.

Bonnie Ross-Parker, America’s Connection Diva, is a high energy, enthusiastic, successful businesswoman and solo-entrepreneur. She is a speaker and author who is passionate about teaching individuals how to step up their game in any networking situation.
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We Move Forward By Janeen Halliwell

WMF 2012 Janeen & FloraThere are milestones that we, as women, share.  We can collectively roll our eyes, laugh or cry at the memory of buying a first bra, going on a first date, having a first kiss, getting married (or not), deciding whether to have kids (or not), and being a mom, a single mom, or stepmom.  We’ve all faced decisions about whether to work our way up the ladder, further our education, step out and start our own business or to take a different route altogether.  Eventually we all change roles as we go from daughter to caregiver, supporting our ageing parents and eventually letting go once they are gone.  After each of these milestones is reached, we are faced with the same question – “What is next?”  The answer lies in taking stock of your ‘You Are Here’ location on your life’s journey, and being mindful of the direction you want to head next.  And then you move forward.

With Every Ending There is a New Beginning

At 48, I’ve done my share of moving forward.  I’ve held the titles of student, wife, divorcee, wife again, and stepmom. I’ve owned businesses, completed a graduate degree, worked on four continents, travelled to 33 countries and sailed 9000 sea miles.  I’ve worked hard and truly lived.  But even with all those experiences under my belt, I was not prepared for how difficult it would be to move forward when I lost my father to pancreatic cancer. The grieving stopped me in my tracks.

In the summer of 2010, my father was failing. After a heartbreaking visit to his doctor where he was told, “Scotty you are dying,” I witnessed hope fade from my dad’s eyes and leave his frail body. I put my work as a consultant and trainer on hold and moved in with my parents.  A visit to Victoria Hospice followed, at which time the inevitable became our reality. My dad moved in a few days later.  And, at 1 a.m. on July 26, 2010, he breathed his last breath, with me and my mother holding him as tightly as we could.

The months that followed were rough.  My mother went to Isla Mujeres, the Island of Women, Mexico, to heal, as it is known for its magical qualities that mend people’s souls.  I visited my mother there in March 2011. I was still grieving and finding every day to be difficult.  It was during this trip that I had a vision: I will host an International Women’s Day conference and celebration on the Island of Women!  It was time to take on a project that would ignite my soul, and that had an element risk, as risk-taking is something I espouse through my work.  The conference needed a name.  I called it We Move Forward because the 3-days were about women re-energizing all that makes them whole, body, mind, and soul, and steering their life in the direction of their passion and purpose.

It would be different from other women’s conferences.  Inspirational speakers would go far beyond just giving a canned talk and then leaving, they would participate in the full 3 days.  Group discussions and activities would have women shifting inspiration into action.  We Move Forward would create positive change and it would include local women through sponsorship.

Believe and Create

I felt passionate about my vision, and set out to create it.  I had a snazzy website developed,  booked a conference space, and approached potential sponsors. I got on a bus in Mexico and visited international women’s clubs in Cancun and Merida, encouraging women to join me on ‘Isla’ in March 2012.  I made my voice heard on television, radio and social media.

I had never taken on something so big and so full of promises – promises of inspirational speakers, promises to pay these speakers, and promises of an experience of a lifetime to registrants – that is, if there were registrants.

You see, registrations didn’t take off as I had hoped.  They trickled in.  Consequently, some of the people who were eager at the beginning of the project began to lose interest.  Many dropped off.  It didn’t look like a money maker after-all.  I crawled forward.

The Show Must Go On!

In January 2012, I sat down with my registration sheet that contained 21 names, my project plan and calculator.  I needed 63 registrants to pay for my promises.  If 45 women registered, I would lose money, but still be able to run the conference.  But at 21, I was deep in the hole.  Do I quit or do I move forward, I asked myself?

I reflected on why I wanted to see We Move Forward happen, and the scrapper in me pulled herself up by the bootstraps and took a broad step forward. And, on March 8, 2012, 81 women gathered on Isla Mujeres to celebrate International Women’s Day.  The 3-day conference surpassed everyone’s expectations with women calling it “crazy amazing”, “life-changing”, and “a MUST for all women.”

I am thrilled to say that We Move Forward is heading into its 3rd year.  The WMF community continues to grow in numbers, with many women returning again and again.  The WMF experience continues to propel women in one direction – forward.  From March 7-9, 2014 women will celebrate their accomplishments and how they have moved up, over and around life’s challenges, in the company of women just like them – ordinary women that are capable of extraordinary things.  That is the essence of We Move Forward.

“We are all ordinary women that are capable of extraordinary things.  Taking time out to get clear on our desired future brings us closer to experiencing it.  Surrounding ourselves with like-minded & hearted women is the perfect environment to build our confidence to take our next step forward.  Believe in yourself and pay attention to those who believe in you too.”

Janeen Halliwell, Founder & Director, We Move Forward, Island of Women, Mexico and Principal, Consultant & Trainer, People Minded Business Inc.

Twitter: @janeenhalliwell

Caring for You and Your Family During the Flu Season by Arti Jain, M.D.

images (1)What is the flu?
Influenza (the flu) is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs caused by influenza viruses. There are many different influenza viruses that are constantly changing. They cause illness, hospital stays and deaths in the United States each year.
The flu can be very dangerous for children.

How serious is the flu?
Flu illness can vary from mild to severe. While the flu can be serious even in people who are otherwise healthy, it can be especially dangerous for young children and children of any age who have certain long term health conditions. Children with chronic medical conditions and those receiving long-term aspirin therapy can have more severe illness from the flu.

How does the flu spread?
Flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might get the flu by touching something that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or nose.

How long can a sick person spread the flu to others?
People with the flu may be able to infect others by shedding virus from 1 day before getting sick to 5 to 7 days after. However, children and people with weakened immune systems can shed virus for longer, and might be still contagious past 5 to 7 days of being sick, especially if they still have symptoms.

What are the symptoms of the flu?
Symptoms of the flu can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. Some people with the flu will not have a fever.

How can I protect myself and my child against the flu?
To protect against the flu, the first and most important thing you can do is to get a flu vaccine for yourself and your child.
• Vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months and older.
• It’s especially important that young children and children with long term health conditions get vaccinated. (See list of conditions under “How Serious is the Flu?”)
• Caregivers of children with health conditions or of children younger than 6 months old should get vaccinated. (Babies younger than 6 months are too young to be vaccinated themselves.)
• Another way to protect babies is to vaccinate pregnant women because research shows that this gives some protection to the baby both while the woman is pregnant and for a few months after the baby is born.

Is there a medicine to treat the flu?
Antiviral drugs can treat flu illness. They can make people feel better and get better sooner and may prevent serious flu complications. They work best when started during the first 2 days of illness. These drugs can be given to children.

What are some of the other ways I can protect my child against the flu?
In addition to getting vaccinated, take – and encourage your child to take – everyday steps that can help prevent the spread of germs. This includes:
• Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Stay away from people who are sick.
• Wash hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
• If someone in the household is sick, try to keep the sick person in a separate room from others in the household, if possible.
• Keep surfaces like bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, kitchen counters and toys for children clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant according to directions on the product label.
• Throw tissues and other disposable items used by sick persons in your household in the trash.

What can I do if my child gets sick?
Talk to your doctor early if you are worried about your child’s illness.
If your child is 5 years and older and does not have other health problems and gets flu-like symptoms, including a fever and/or cough, consult your doctor as needed and make sure your child gets plenty of rest and drinks enough fluids.
If your child is younger than 5 years (and especially younger than 2 years) or of any age with a long term health condition (like asthma, a neurological condition, or diabetes, for example) and develops flu-like symptoms, they are at risk for serious complications from the flu. Ask a doctor if your child should be examined.

What if my child seems very sick?
Even children who have always been healthy before or had the flu before can get very sick from the flu.
Call for emergency care or take your child to a doctor right away if your child of any age has any of the warning or emergency signs below:
• Fast breathing or trouble breathing
• Bluish or gray skin color
• Not drinking enough fluids (not going to the bathroom or making as much urine as they normally do)
• Severe or persistent vomiting
• Not waking up or not interacting
• Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
• Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
• Has other conditions (like heart or lung disease, diabetes, or asthma) and develops flu symptoms, including a fever and/or cough.

Can my child go to school, day care or camp if he or she is sick?
No. Your child should stay home to rest and to avoid giving the flu to other children or caregivers.

When can my child go back to school after having the flu?
Keep your child home from school, day care or camp for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone. (Fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
A fever is defined as 100°F (37.8°C) or higher.


Dr. Arti Jain – Doctor Jain is a very caring pediatrician practicing in the Santa Clara County California area. You can contact her: Tel (408)-378-6171 or email her:

The Price of Leaning In by Natascha Thomson

Natascha and 2 friends 2013_9_12A Review of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.

“I am surprised how often we don’t ask the most basic questions – what do we want, what do we have to do to get it, and can we pay the price – in marriages, families and the workplace.” ~ Marc Lesser in Know Yourself, Forget Yourself

Personally, I find it extremely encouraging that the discussion about emancipation has restarted and is getting significant publicity. Partially, this is thanks to accomplished women like Sheryl Sandberg who have thrown their heads into the ring with books like Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.

Interestingly, when I ask female friends if they have read Lean In, many of them respond that they don’t think they “need it”. They feel that they have things under control, are already strong, and can make it on their own. If this is true, why are less than 20% of women in leadership positions in Silicon Valley?

While I would consider myself a strong woman, I took away many good insights from the book, including tips on how to negotiate my salary, how to avoid blind spots as a manager, and why it is so important to lean in as a woman.  But I also enjoyed the tales about the early days at Google and the present day at Facebook.

While the book is, no doubt, also a PR vehicle for Ms. Sandberg, she appears to open up for the sake of giving other women courage. She confesses that she still sometimes feels like an impostor at work, worried that she might fail. Many women can relate to this feeling and might be surprised to hear that somebody at the top is not immune to it. The message here is: push through your fear. Or as they say “if it’s not scary it’s not brave”.

How has the discussion changed?

In the past, discussions about women’s equality often focused on what women did NOT have and how men were holding them back. This made the only obvious solution that men had to change.

In this new wave of women’s lib, the discussion has a stronger focus on what women CAN do to overcome the current inequality; what steps women CAN take to get what they want and deserve, despite existing obstacles.

Societal expectations

Lean In, the much-discussed book by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, is a brave and educated contribution to the gender equality discussion.  Ms. Sandberg has been most faulted by critics for focusing on well-educated women with high ambitions as opposed to women from all walks of life.  As her book fits into the genre of management and career advice, it’s not clear to me why she would be expected to write a book about society at large.

Yet, Ms. Sandberg, herself, preempts this criticism, in the chapter where she talks about the fact that women are expected to act “communal”, i.e. in the interest of all women and society, while the same expectation doesn’t generally exist for men.

She provides an intriguing example of a societal double standard for women from her time as a student at Harvard. When reviewing an HBR case study, half the class was made to believe the key player in the study was male, while half the class was told the protagonist was female.

The result was telling:  when the protagonist of the study was assumed to be male, he was commanded for his behavior. When the students assumed it was a woman, they disliked her and disapproved of many of her actions.

The career penalty

Ms. Sandberg makes the bold statement that the most important career choice for a woman is picking the right husband (or partner). Will the partner share housework, childcare, elderly care, and all other chores of daily life?  Having a job and children is a balancing act at the best of times, but staying at home, Ms. Sandberg says, carries a high career penalty. It can be difficult to get back into the game, and limit a woman’s ability to climb the corporate ladder.

Consequently, Ms. Sandberg advises women who are planning a family NOT to scale back too soon and NOT to tame their ambitions. Her rational is, that if women don’t pursue promotions or better job opportunities while they are getting ready for a life with children, the career penalty will be compounded.

Not only do many women get punished for taking a child break, says Ms. Sandberg, many already compromise their professional future even before they have to take time out, by cutting back prematurely. She recommends going as far as you can before the break.

Different comfort levels

I have discussed this advice with two career women who are planning to have children soon and only one of them agreed. The other, while she did not like her current job and saw no path for advancement, felt that she had “earned her stripes” at the company. Consequently, she would be able to juggle work and being a mom much more easily than if she had to prove herself all over again in a new environment.

Can we pay the price?

In conclusion, I enjoyed the book tremendously and recommend it highly. Yet, something about it does not sit well with me.

While Ms. Sandberg writes extensively about how she and her husband have created a supportive relationship where they share all responsibilities of daily life – and she freely admits that her resources afford her luxuries like housekeeping and child care that others might not have – something is missing.

Is this the message of the book?

To be a successful woman in corporate America, you have to give up time with your husband and time to take care of yourself?

Living in Silicon Valley, I see the rat race every day. Many people are asked to prioritize work over their private lives, while research clearly shows that human beings need breaks and diversions to achieve their full potential and creativity.

Ms. Sandberg is very clear in her book that she is not judging individual choices and  believes that every woman needs to decide for herself if she wants to be a stay-at-home mom or a career woman.

I want to be a high-achieving career woman who has a stimulating job that makes an impact and also have enough time to stay healthy and socialize. Some people tell me this is a pipe dream. I don’t want to believe it.

What price are you willing to pay?

ABOUT the AUTHORNatascha Thomson is the Owner & Founder of MarketingXLerator – a B2B Social Media Marketing Consultancy – with a focus on using social media to connect people for business impact. She is also a co-author of the book 42 Rules for B2B Social Media Marketing.

How a Local Pediatrician Is Caring for Your Children by Arti Jain M.D.

images woman doctorNo matter what grade your child is about to enter, there’s the yearly back-to-school  checklist of to-dos: shopping for school supplies, filling out permission forms, and the pediatric checkup.

While it may not seem as urgent, a yearly physical exam by your family’s pediatrician is an important part of your child’s health care. The back-to-school season is a convenient time for putting the exam on your family’s schedule.

The annual physical gives the pediatrician a chance to give the child a thorough physical exam. It’s also a good chance to address important questions that you cannotNo matter what grade your child is about to enter, there’s the yearly back-to-school checklist of to-dos: shopping for school supplies, filling out permission forms, and the pediatric checkup.

While it may not seem as urgent, a yearly physical exam by your family’s pediatrician is an important part of your child’s health care. The back-to-school season is a convenient time for putting the exam on your family’s schedule. The annual physical gives the pediatrician a chance to give the child a thorough physical exam. It’s also a good chance to address important questions that you cannot address during a sick visit e.g. growth, development, behavior, speech and socialization, learning issues etc. This is the time to make sure that your child is up to date on his/her vaccines, get hearing and vision screens etc.

This is the ideal time to address ongoing issues like weight management, asthma, allergies etc. Do not forget to update your pediatrician about any change in family, social or interval history. Remember to visit your dentist in order to address oral health concerns.

The continuity of regular physical exams is invaluable. Having a long-term history with a child or adolescent gives the doctor the awareness of the child’s progress and development over time. This helps the doctor detect emerging problems, as well as being informed by the detail of the patient’s history, such as important past illnesses or injuries.

Whatever the child’s interest — sports, academics, the arts — we want to be sure that the interest is a healthy one, and that it’s balanced with the other aspects of the child’s life. A healthy childhood and adolescence calls for balancing home life, school, social activities, sports, and extracurricular pursuits. This is not easy, especially during a time when the child is passing through the years of growth, learning, exploration, and emotional and physical development. This is all the more reason to set aside one day during each of those years for your child to see the pediatrician.

Dr. Arti Jain’s Philosophy

As a Pediatrician, my goal is to improve the health and lifestyles of my patients. I believe that this goal can be achieved by emphasizing on health education and promoting preventive medicine. Healthy kids translate into healthy adult, a very gratifying achievement. This process starts with establishing a trusting relationship with kids and their parents. The process continues with helping them to achieve healthy lifestyles changes. Just like in any other aspect of life, in health care too, one size does not fit all. That is why, it is very important to align the treatment philosophy with the family’s circumstance and philosophy. I believe in establishing a trusting relationship and educating and communicating with the patients and their care takers.

I am a firm advocate of practicing evidence based medicine. Evidence based medicine is practicing medicine based on evidence from valid research studies and applying these results and conclusions to give the best possible care to patients.

What I enjoy most about being a pediatrician are the interactions I have with my patients and their families. Medicine is one of the few careers in which I can learn something new and teach something new on almost daily.

My patients are my teachers and I am theirs. I chose to be a pediatrician because I wanted the opportunity to work with patients from infancy, to childhood and adolescence. I enjoy being a part of that transformation and in being their guide.

I offer you an opportunity to focus on your child’s health whether to address an immediate need or for long term health enhancement and preventive care. I firmly believe that addressing mental, emotional and social concerns is an essential component of delivering excellent and holistic health care.

Medical Degree from UHS, Andhra Medical College, Visakhapatnam, India
Residency training in Pediatrics completed through University of Illinois, Chicago
Board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.

I have a wide range of experience in primary care setting, urgent care and as a hospitalist in Northern California and Colorado since completing my residency in 2002.

Hospital Affiliations
El Camino Hospital, Los Gatos and Mountain View, CA.
Good Samaritan Hospital, San Jose, CA.

She speaks: Hindi, Telugu, Bengali, Medical Spanish.


Dr. Arti Jain – Doctor Jain is a very caring pediatrician practicing in the Santa Clara County California area.  You can contact her:  Tel (408)-378-6171 or email her:

Chapter One of the NINE YEARS UNDER book by Sheri Booker


Gotham_Nine Years Under_author photo_credit Alvin GrayThe custodian who controlled the thermostat for Baltimore’s summer heat was a smug son of a bitch—relentlessly unleashing lethal doses of sweltering humidity and dampness into the inner-city air. There was no way to dilute the blazing mixture.

Fired up like an open rotisserie, it roasted the skins of innocent bystanders—gravediggers, policemen, and outdoor merchants—until they were a golden-brown delight. Those who could tolerate the unbearable heat were desperate for any sort of hydration—a fire hydrant, a frosted bottle of water from a street vendor—or for God to at least have enough mercy on the city to let it rain.

I had stopped petitioning the heavens for miracles four days before, when my aunt Mary’s light went dark. My mother discovered her slumped figure just in time to see it gasping for its last taste of oxygen. We were now en route to see her remains for the first time since she was taken from me, and in just a few moments, I would be standing inside a building designed to transition corpses from lifeless organisms into living memories.

None of us should have been surprised, but eight wide eyes stared at Great-Great-Aunt Mary’s unresponsive body that horrible night. My parents, my sister, and I hovered around the bed where she lay slouched in an eternal slumber, her eyes shut tight and her body completely still. My father knew CPR; he was a policeman. And my sister had been certified in CPR for the camp where she worked that summer. But no one moved. As I stood there, the plush carpet shifted like sand beneath my bare toes and the walls of the room felt like they were closing in on me.

My home had felt foreign for weeks. The hospice nurse stacked the shelves with medical equipment, a few weeks’ supply of Depend adult diapers, morphine patches, bandages, and gauze. People were in and out all the time: nurses, visitors, and ministers back-to-back. If Aunt Mary had been in her right mind, she would have called it “signifying or meddling in her business,” but she hadn’t been coherent for a while.

We watched her shrivel and shrink as the cancer consumed most of her body. The hospice nurse warned me to savor every moment because time was running out. She gave me a purple double-pocketed folder with booklets about preparing for death and what to do when your loved one has a terminal illness, but I shoved it into a drawer after her shift was over and didn’t look at it until weeks after the funeral when we were cleaning out Aunt Mary’s room. Neither flowery folders with colorful brochures nor compassionate nurses can prepare you for the inevitable.

After weeks of hospice care and enough meds to tranquilize an army, Aunt Mary slipped through our fingers like twenty thousand dollars on a gambler’s bad day. No little girl wants to stand by and witness her hero surrender. I wish someone had told me back then that hospice care was the beginning of the end. Then I wouldn’t have blamed myself for not doing enough. I wouldn’t have felt ignored by God.

Excerpted from NINE YEARS UNDER by Sheri Booker. Copyright (c) 2013 by Sheri Booker. Reprinted by arrangement with GOTHAM BOOKS, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © SHERI BOOKER, 2013.


Sheri Booker: Ms. Booker accepted a summer job at the Wylie Funeral Home in West Baltimore the age of 15, she didn’t realize she was also signing up for a wild nine year-long ride during which she witnessed the funerals of gang members, AIDS patients, cancer victims, young, old, and everyone in between. NINE YEARS UNDER: Coming of Age in an Inner-City Funeral Home (Gotham Books, June 2013, Hardcover, eBook) is the compelling story of how working in a funeral home, so close to death, changed Sheri’s perspective on life, as she recently discussed on NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered.

Branding U by Mari-Lyn Harris

ml_fresh2 copy

One of the things I still come back to is know it’s a client magnet. A few years ago my partner and I were getting ready to launch a series of workshops and then do a Blog Challenge. The idea was to empower more people to use blogging as a way to brand yourself, and your business that you want to be known for.

My partner at the time after a year began to attract attention to himself, he wrote about something very specific, something he loved to write about, soon news magazines asked him if he would write for them. His audience got up to 22,000 visitors per month. This was his tipping point for success for him. (everyone is different) over time it increased to 200,000 visitors.

I’ve been blogging since 2004, my first blog was about Love and Kindness..with 5,000 monthly visitors a month and growing steadily. This helped me to develop Heart@Work as a company, producing conferences about Kindness, workplace wellness and getting media attention. A local paper picked up, what I was doing and wrote a whole page in their paper about Heart@Work. I got this for free, I would’t of been able to pay for this..this paper went out to thousands of businesses. Other people started to contact me for projects. All from a passion I had about “Kindness.” and blogging about it.

What I know for sure is that Blogging really works. It’s an inexpensive way for you to Brand U. Now, it will be easier to develop readers or an audience, than what it was for me from 2004 – 2008. Back then, there weren’t that many people online. There were enough people to say, YES! I want more kindness in my workplace. YES! How can it be made better?

There are many things you can do to Brand U, get yourself known, from social networking, face to face meetings, workshops etc are all very important things to do. One really, really great thing you can do right now, is to get started and Blog. Building your social capital and network is about building up people, reciprocating, collaborating, exchanging ideas with each other. Check in once in while with people in how you can help them. What you do, what you stand for and what you say will create your Brand.

If you have read Christine Comaford-Lynch’s book “Rules for Renegades” she talks about how sometimes you just need to find another way around to get things done. One of her chapters is “Build Power Rather than Borrowing it.” It’s time to build your own Power..this is what Scrappy Women do, we help each other, break the rules. We become a Renegade. I really enjoyed reading her book.


Mari-Lyn Harris is a Business Coach, She’s been coaching new startups since 1996. She’s been called “The Catalyst.” Loves to work with Women Entrepreneur Bloggers. Let’s expand your social networks, learn how to Brand U through a Blog Boutique. Heart@Work T: 510-564-7880

Ten Truths about the New Sales Professionals by Linda Holroyd


You hear us speaking on marketing and leadership and the age of personalization all the time. This newsletter will include our monthly top ten rules of marketing blog, as well as our new top ten rules of leadership blog. To better follow and report on the trends around personalization, we have created a Scoop.It blog, which captures articles and information on the blend of marketing, leadership and personalization.

FountainBlue’s monthly top-ten rules of marketing are designed to guide our client entrepreneurial tech companies and the community in general on marketing practices that clearly communicate and connect, thereby generating momentum for people and organizations. This month’s top-ten-marketing rules topic will be on the ‘Ten Truths about the New Sales Professionals’.

The sales heroes of the 80s and 90s often left me with a sense of oil and grease – to me, they were people who were more slick and connected wheeler-dealers than consultative, customer-oriented providers. No longer are we in an age of buying-what-you-don’t-need, with money-you-don’t-have, to impress people-who-don’t-care.

The economic meltdown precipitated both the aftermath of Y2K (no disaster, reduced IT spending) and 9/11 (which created a global culture of suspicion and caution) coupled with the empowerment of the user (through Google and Yahoo with its search, through Oracle and IBM and its big data solutions, through FaceBook and LinkedIn and Twitter with social media, through consumer-based e-commerce solutions like Amazon and eBay) is driving the age of personalization, and revolutionizing the sales process.

As marketing professionals and leaders, we need to understand and support the next generation of successful sales professionals:

They will be more customer-oriented, so help them profile their customers and prospects, and communicate with the team in delivering what the customers want.

1.   The new breed of sales professionals will truly and genuinely understand the current and anticipated needs of the customer, and great leaders will reward them for doing so.

2.   Indeed, they will consider the needs-of-the-customer above their own immediate needs, even if it means walking away from a sale or even directing them to another, even competitive solution. The old type of successful sales professional will have a difficult time adapting to the concept, and the new sales professionals will not look and feel the same as successful sales professionals of the past.

They will be more tech-savvy, so develop the tools to help them do their job well.

3.   The new generation of sales leaders will increasingly better understand enough about databases and software to know what can be efficiently customized.

4.   Indeed, they will understand the types of solutions which can leverage technology to be personalized, and the types which would be difficult to make efficient, seeking scalable, customizable solutions for their customers. They may be a current sales professional who sees things differently, or someone from another field who gets-the-tech, and wants to apply it to address specific customer problems.

They will astutely leverage social media to spread the word and reputation, and it will take a successful partnership between sales and marketing to make this work!

5.   The new sales professionals will proactively leverage social media and reputation management solutions to credibly spread the word about company offerings.

6.   Indeed, the more experienced and savvy professionals will recruit and incentivize ambassadors to spread the word to identified niche audiences.

They will be more collaborative, at least the successful ones will be, and it’s a great opportunity for marketing and sales to bury the hatchet and find a path forward, together.

7.   The new sales professionals will work with product marketing, development and marketing to ensure that the company understands and delivers precisely what the customer needs in the short term, and even anticipates what the customer will need in the longer term.

8.   In fact, they would willingly mentor others sales people to better deliver solutions to customers, and understand the value of doing just that. This is a new-world-order way of looking at sales, and goes against the grain of sales-professionals-of-the-past, who covet and protect their leads, their territory, their knowledge and skills so that they can reap rewards beyond their peers.

They will be more proactive, and let’s hope partnering with marketing leaders to deliver all of the above.

9.   The new sales professionals will follow the trends and manage and even anticipate the evolving needs of the customer, and proactive approach customers about how trends would impact their business and offerings and what they can do to address these shifts.

10.  Indeed, they will learn from the needs and deliverables for one customer/company/industry, and be able to generalize offerings to others while optimizing customization and while conducting business at the most ethical levels.

The bottom line is that the new successful sales person is someone who is intelligent, articulate, genuine, collaborative, informed, proactive and tech-savvy, and they may or may not be in sales now. They are someone you would trust implicitly to put your company first. Where do you think we should find them? How can we groom them? Your thoughts are welcome. E-mail us at See previous ‘Ten Rules of Marketing’ posts:

Visit and follow us at Your comments are welcome.


Linda Holroyd is the CEO of FountainBlue, a Marketing and Strategy Adviser Company for many Tech Companies.

The FountainBlue’s monthly top-ten rules of leadership article is designed to guide Linda’s clients, entrepreneurial tech companies and the community in general on leadership best practices for themselves, and for their teams and organizations. Launched in December 2012, the questions and stories raised and the advice given has been mentioned before to individual members, and compiled and gathered to benefit the larger community. This month’s top-ten-leadership rules are on ‘The Top Ten Tips for Sharing Your Stores’.

She invites your questions about your marketing and leadership successes and challenges.  Please E-mail her at if you have your suggestions on her marketing and leadership topics.  You might want to ask for her help with your own marketing or leadership opportunities or questions.

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