women in Business

In Memoriam Helen Thomas

July 21, 2013

“I was just part of a cabal, fighting the injustice of it all, of how women were treated in every field.” Helen Thomas reacts almost hesitantly when I suggest that without her, women journalists might not be where we are today. No, she is not a trailblazer, she says resolutely.

But to many of us female journalists, she was. For the past 60 years, she had been the tenacious award-winning grande dame of U.S. journalism, a straight-shooter, the dean of the White House Press corps. With wit, timeless candor and a razor-sharp voice and pen she has held an unprecedented ten presidential administrations accountable since beginning her career as a copy girl on the now-defunct Washington Daily News and then as a United Press International reporter in 1943. Thomas was the first woman officer of the National Press Club after it opened its doors to women members, and for many of us, she has become a role model and then some. In 2002, she won NYWICI’s MATRIX Award for her achievements in the field of newspaper journalism. But in light of all that, what is so striking about her is her unpretentiousness.

“I am not a woman. I’m a reporter,” is her credo. “You don’t delineate someone in the profession as to whether they’re a man or a woman, but what they do.” But when she embarked on her career, female reporters were the exception, and a woman reporter covering the White House was unheard of. If she could start all over again, would she choose the same profession, I ask her. “Absolutely! Without a doubt.” The answer comes without delay, and I can hear her smile.

And yet, isn’t journalism still a ‘Boys’ Club’? “No, I think it has become more and more a women’s club! Women have come a long way. They still have a way to go in terms of equal pay and recognition. And they should not give up the fight for equality. But times have changed for female journalists." Have they really? I probe. “Mostly beautiful, blond women make it in broadcast journalism,” Thomas once remarked wryly. Does she think that still holds true today? “I’ll give you the answer: Watch television! You have to be very attractive. That’s all I am saying.”
There are many past trailblazers like Dorothy Thompson, Martha Gellhorn, Pauline Frederick, Marguerite Higgins, Doris Fleeson and May Craig that Thomas holds in high esteem. But she won’t single out her own role models or mentors. If anyone, she says, it was her parents — who were illiterate, raised nine children and wanted everyone to be educated — who made the real contribution to her life.

Media realities are changing, but for Thomas, nothing can replace experience and real dedication to truth. “Young people often don’t react enough to what’s going on in the world. You got to have a conscience. I’d rather have my nose against the windowpane than be part of the crowd. Thank God for leakers and whistleblowers.”

What is the impact of new media and blogging on journalism and the public discourse, I ask her. “It is very effective. But I wish that newspapers would be read more. You get a much better air view of what’s going on from a newspaper than from blogging. Now everybody with a laptop thinks they’re a journalist. I don’t call them media. I call them individuals who are getting their point of view across.”

And then she thinks out loud, “I hope we’ll still have newspapers.” Will we? “Absolutely!” But the notion that the public doesn’t hold today’s media in high esteem irritates her tremendously. “I don’t give a damn! I know how I try to do my job.”

A slightly longer version of this article was published in NYWICI’s print newsletter CONNECT (Fall 2006).

* * * 

More about Helen Thomas:

Online: HelenThomas.org
Books: Helen Thomas has published six books. Her latest, Listen Up, Mr. President, was released October 2009 by Scribner.



Helen Thomas provokes White House Press Secretary Dana Perino:


May 2010: Helen Thomas asks President Barack Obama why the US is still in Afghanistan



July 2007: Helen Thomas asks George Bush about the Iraq war


August 2009: President Obama surprises Helen Thomas in the Press Room for their mutual birthday


And click here to see Helen Thomas on The Daily Show, June 2006. 

 March 17, 2010

Posted by: 
Tekla Szymanski

Fitness for Business

April 2, 2013

A preponderance of professional women considers fitness essential to their active, energetic, productive careers. And, companies use fitness to enhance well-being too!

For the health of brand affinity and in vigorous pursuit of strong nonprofit budgets, women are running this month in New York City and across the globe. 
She’s The First, the non-profit headed by NYWICI scholarship alumna Tammy Tibbetts, is using fitness to sponsor girls’ education in developing countries.
Through June, She’s The First allies can fundraise for the cause with fitness: Folks simply “sign up for a race [or similar event], then create your own fundraising page to join the Run the World campaign and send girls to school.”
On the topic of healthy fundraisers, if I may digress a bit, this week Tammy and She’s The First will be awarded The People's Voice Award from Diane von Furstenberg and The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation in recognition and support of  “women who are using their resources, commitment and visibility to transform the lives of other women. These are women who have had the courage to fight, the power to survive and the leadership to inspire.” 
Getting back on track: More magazine and Fitness magazine celebrate 10 years of races this month with their annual half-marathon event and a ceremony for 10 accomplished women to be honored with a “Women Run the World” distinction. (Read about one honoree in this piece from The Tennessean, Rep. Blackburn to receive 'Women Run the World' honor in New York.) 
Each woman honored will select a team of her peers to be revered as well; and if we extrapolate from there it’s not solely 10 women who run with world—exponentially it’s that Women Run the World! 
The More/Fitness Women's Half-Marathon is the largest women's half-marathon in the country. And, nothing bolsters brand affinity for these Meredith Corp publications like endorphins. Participant endorsements on the event site speak volumes:
“It’s so inspiring to be here with thousands of other women. This will be a memory I will cherish forever.”
These fitness-meets-business opportunities are a healthy indicator that astute companies know full-well that the work/life balance isn’t a hurdle but rather a starting line.
Posted by: 
Deanna Utroske

Rise of the Female Entrepreneur

July 1, 2012

Rise of the Female Entrepreneur

Rodeena Stephens is communications director for The Greater Allen Cathedral of New York and a marketing and social media consultant. She organizes and facilitates NYWICI's Twitter Chats at #nywicichat (every other Tuesday from 8 to 9 p.m.). Rodeena is also one of Aloud's new co-editors; this is her second post in that role.

Since the 1990s, women have had an increasing impact on U.S. business. According to the 2012 State of Women-Owned Businesses report commissioned by American Express OPEN, an estimated 8.3 million businesses in the U.S. today are women-owned. That’s a 54 percent increase in women-owned businesses since 1997 and amounts to 30 percent of all businesses in the U.S. – a number that continues to grow.
According to the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), self-motivation, innovation, drive and willingness to take responsibility are four qualities of a successful entrepreneur.
On Tuesday, June 26, I had the opportunity to moderate NYWICI’s bi-monthly Twitter chat. Our topic was “Rise of the Female Entrepreneur” and the chat was co-hosted by WPO. And while most if not all of the entrepreneurs who participated admitted to the ongoing challenges of owning a business, all agreed that the benefits of entrepreneurship are extremely rewarding.
From my own observation, many women entrepreneurs are making a difference in the lives of others. New York Women in Communications’ membership includes a diverse group of women entrepreneurs. The successful women who come across my path are empowered and seeking to effect change in all aspects of business — public relations, finance, television, technology and more.
Women are no longer settling for 14-hour days at the office. They are making the decision to leave their 9-to-5 jobs to launch their own businesses. One might ask why would anyone trade in a steady paycheck to start a business in such an unstable economy, but many women who have worked in corporations much of their careers now realize “they might be able to do it better on their own,” says Kirsten Wynn, the communications director for WPO. Women are taking control of their futures and leaving professions that make them unhappy and unfulfilled.
My own personal experience has taught me that most entrepreneurs are willing to share their secrets to success. During our Twitter chat, the entrepreneurs stressed the ability to focus.
“It is so easy to get distracted by opportunities; we can’t do them all,” offered one entrepreneur. Many women, by nature, want to help others and take on multiple responsibilities. However, this can often work against the female entrepreneur. Time management is critical to having a successful business, especially for the “mompreneur.” When asked why some women decide to launch a business, Kirsten said entrepreneurial careers “generally give them more control over their time, more power, more influence and they make more.”
For the established and aspiring female entrepreneur, below are a few tips offered by the Women Presidents’ Organization to help you launch or maintain your business:
  • Understand that developing contacts is a way of life. Be willing to speak up.
  • Develop your financial knowledge.
  • Take advantage of your communication skills. If used effectively, this can create opportunities.
  • Be steady with your business.
  • Recognize your accomplishments
  • Don’t mistake taking responsibility for blaming ourselves.
Successful women entrepreneurs have also recognized the benefits of having a mentor such as WPO to help guide them through the process of developing their businesses. Online resources are also useful. She Takes on the World is a great resource for women entrepreneurs; it's one of Forbes' Top 10 Entrepreneurial Websites for Women.
Women are taking innovative steps to create opportunities that will lead to entrepreneurship. Whether you’re a college student, working in an entry-level position or a senior level executive, believing in yourself, making a commitment to succeed and keeping a positive attitude will help you reach your professional goals.
Today, women-owned firms contribute $3 trillion to our economy; according to the Center for Women’s Business Research, this creates 23 million jobs. Statistics over the past 15 years clearly show that women-owned businesses are on the rise.  At this rate, in another five years, there will be more than 10 million women-owned businesses in the United States. This is an exciting time for women and aspiring female entrepreneurs.
Here are a few resources that every entrepreneur should have:
Posted by: 
Rodeena Stephens

Women Absent from Key Technology Positions

June 4, 2012

Rodeena Stephens is communications director for The Greater Allen Cathedral of New York and a marketing and social media consultant. She organizes and facilitates NYWICI's Twitter Chats at #nywicichat (every other Tuesday from 8 to 9 p.m.). Rodeena is also one of Aloud's new co-editors; this is her first post in that role.

When ABC Legal Analyst Dan Abrams kicked off Social Media Week 2012 earlier this year, he said in his keynote, “Social Media is not just a channel, it’s a fabric.” Considering the ever-evolving industry of social media, it is appropriate to think of social media as a fabric. It weaves together a community of online users worldwide. While social media continues to grow at record-breaking levels, the latest Nielsen report states that women dominate social networks.  However, women make up less than 30% of the tech industry.

And while Matrix Awards honoree Sheryl Sandberg is Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, companies such as Adobe, Zynga, Pandora and even Facebook have all excluded women from their boards of directors. Studies actually show that companies with women in executive positions exhibit more creativity and profitability for the company, so why are there not more women at the top?

The number of women in executive roles might seem grim; however, this number is slowly increasing. In April 2012, the Huffington Post released a list of the nine most influential women in tech, ranked by Peek You. The list includes Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, IBM CEO & President Virginia Rometty, Hewlett Packard President & CEO Meg Whitman and Dupont CEO Ellen Kullman, just to name a few.

Women continue to break new ground in technology and make a lasting mark in social media. The fact is that women bring in more than half of the income in United States households; women hold more advanced degrees than men; and as stated earlier, women dominate social networks including gaming. Women in technology are paving the way for the next generation and creatively use technology to be innovative in all aspects of daily life.

NYWICI recently released its newly redesigned CONNECT, “Working Social: How Social Media Are Impacting Communications.” The articles are a reflection of the way Social Media has become the “fabric” that knits together an online community — which includes billions. And it is evident in this issue of CONNECT that NYWICI has embraced technology and social media with open arms.

Women may in fact hold less than 30% of executive positions in tech but as women, we continue to influence the world one day at a time.  

For more information about women in technology, see:



Posted by: 
Rodeena Stephens

Celebrating National Business Women's Week

October 22, 2010

Today there are 7.2 million majority-owned, privately held, women-owned businesses in the United States. These firms employ 7.3 million people and generate $1.1 trillion in sales. Only 20 years ago it was still legal to require a woman to have a male co-signer before receiving a business loan. Fast-forward to today where at a press conference in March, President Obama said small businesses will drive the economic recovery, and we know women-owned business are going to be a major part of that. 

As a woman small business owner, I can’t help but be humbled by and excited about how far the women’s movement has come to help grow, nurture and support women in all facets of their careers. Granted, we still have a long way to go, but we have to keep pressing ahead.  

As we close National Business Women's Week® (NBWW), October 18-22, I want to reflect on how far women have truly come. This week has been a time to honor the contributions of working women and call attention to women entrepreneurs, facilitate discussions on the needs of working women, share information about successful workplace policies and raise awareness of the resources available for working women in their communities.

The concept of National Business Women's Week® originated with Emma Dot Partridge, Executive Secretary of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs from 1924 to 1927. The first annual observance of NBWW was held April 15-22, 1928, when National President Lena Madesin Phillips opened the week with a nationally broadcast speech. She stated that the purpose of the week was "to focus public attention upon a better business woman for a better business world." From this early effort, NBWW has grown into a nationwide salute to all working women.

President Herbert Hoover was the first president to issue a letter recognizing NBWW and the contributions and achievements of working women, and we haven’t looked back since! 

As a new business owner, I am so encouraged by the leagues of women business owners, executives, mentors and chief home officers that dream big everyday. There is strength in numbers, and as women we have to constantly support and uplift each other so we can walk on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. We have to unite, know our worth and help mentor the young women following in our footsteps. 

Take the time to celebrate and congratulate all the women around you — carpe diem!  

On the Links Part 2

August 6, 2010

Although it’s impossible to keep up with the endless Internet bounty of fascinating news about women and communications, we are doing our best to point out worthwhile reading. For example…

In a fun Newsweek post, Susanna Schrobsdorff wonders, "What if men everywhere had to conform to beauty standards set by women?" She imagines a world where "Sitcoms would feature couples where the men were tall, muscular and hot, while the wives are chubby and witty." She also suggests some beauty rules for men. Click here to find out what they are.

Richard Morgan is not a woman. He is a writer whose byline has appeared in top publications including The New York Times, Details, Discover, Fortune, Wired and New York. On The Awl, he explains how hard it is to survive the freelance life.

If you’re looking for information on gender equality around the world, the OECD Development Centre has just what you need — a brand-new, information-laden site called wikigender.org. Check it out here.

The New York Times offers a fairly depressing look at the lives of online journalists, who are often judged and compensated by their click-through rates. The title pretty much says it all: In a World of Online News, Burnout Starts Younger.

Hanna Rosin's lengthy and extensively researched article The End of Men for The Atlantic explores the idea that "the centuries-old preference for sons is eroding — or even reversing." She poses and attempts to answer a fascinating question: "What if the modern, post-industrial economy is simply more congenial to women than to men?" Click here to read and decide what you think.

Elena Kagan has finally been confirmed as our latest Supreme Court justice. Nevertheless, the issues posed in Why Elena Kagan's Looks Matter, Deborah L. Rhode's June post for The Daily Beast, remain salient. Rhode is the author of the recent book The Beauty Bias: The Injustice of Appearance in Life and Law, on the continuing bigotry of beauty in American society.

Finally, on Slate's DoubleX blog, contributor Emily Gould has a post titled Outrage World: How feminist blogs like Jezebel gin up page views by exploiting women's worst tendencies. Not surprisingly, the comments are as polarizing as the post.

Posted by: 
Michele Hush

On the Links Part 1

July 23, 2010

We've scoured the Internet for interesting stories and found a bumper crop. Here are 5 articles to keep you thinking until next week, when we'll post 5 more.

On Forbes.com's ForbesWoman Views blog, Carol Kinsey Goman writes about Ten Body Language Mistakes Women Leaders Make. The post includes a video and, unfortunately, you'll probably find yourself nodding along (mistake #5 "Nodding too much").

Inspired by the new Piers Paul Read novel, The Misogynist, Hannah Betts writes in the Guardian that "women are happy to let feminists get bashed." She notes, "it is a lamentable idiosyncrasy of feminism that, unlike other rights movements — the campaigns against prejudice based on race, class, or sexuality — its beneficiaries take their emancipation and run." She also asks, "How is it that misogyny somehow fails to qualify as hatred?"

Here's something unexpected but also long overdue: A new anthology, My Little Red Book, presents stories of women's first periods. Editor Rachel Kauder Nalebuff created it as a way to get those first, often awkward conversations going between mothers and daughters. The stories are written by both established authors — including Judy Blume, Erica Jong and Gloria Steinem — and women whose names are less familiar. And all the proceeds go to charities involved in women's health. Read the rave review on on the book blog Flying Off the Shelves.

Great news! The Wall Street Journal online tells us there's No Glass Ceiling for the Best Job in the World! Click here to find out what it is.

In early July, MetaFilter asked readers to nominate real-life female role models. The results are varied and fascinating — from Clara Barton and Josephine Baker to Dr. Sylvia Earle and Michelle Obama. People are continuing to post their nominations, so why not join in?


Posted by: 
Michele Hush

Reading List: Recent Articles About Women and Careers

May 25, 2010

Beyond Female Support Networks: In the May 12, 2010 online Harvard Business review, Sylvia Ann Hewlett, economist and founding president of the Center for Work-Life Policy (CWLP), writes about recent corporate efforts to promote more women to top positions. She acknowledges that "women's affinity groups — grass-roots, company-supported internal organizations" are important, but adds that many "offer support but won't leverage you to the next level."

What's needed, Hewlett says, are sponsors — corporate leaders who will adopt talented women executives as protégés and escort them into the inner sanctum of power. She points to new CWLP research (to be published in HBR in June) that found "89% of qualified women don't have a sponsor and 68% lack mentors." Now, says Hewlett, a few large companies — American Express, Deloitte and CIsco among them — are starting to initiate formal sponsorship programs. Click here to read Hewlett's article, "When Female Networks Aren't Enough," and learn what they're up to.

Avoiding Mentoring Mistakes: The May 24, 2010 online edition of the Wall Street Journal included an instructive article titled, "When Mentoring Goes Bad." After laying out common scenarios that sabotage mentor-protégé relationships — from personality conflicts to manipulative behavior and beyond — the article offers helpful tips on how to create a relationship that works.  Read it here

Women Who Out-Earn Men: Finally, a much-ballyhooed Bloomberg report on May 12, 2010 announced that female CEOs at top companies actually earn more than their male counterparts. The survey, which reviewed the salaries of 16 female CEOs of S&P 500 companies, pointed to Yahoo!'s Carol Bartz, PepsiCo's Indra Nooyi and Kraft's Irene Rosenfeld as examples of "overpaid" female executives.

Asked why these top-earning women are paid so well, Sheila Wellington, a professor of management and organizations at New York University, said, "These are the strongest, fittest and toughest who survive...They've had to negotiate all the way up the ladder." Click here to read the entire article.


Posted by: 
Michele Hush

Harvard Looks at the Gender Pay Gap

May 2, 2010

Two arms of Harvard recently have weighed in on the male-female pay gap.

From the online edition of the Harvard Business Review we have a short but powerful slide show titled “Investigating the Pay Gap.” This slide, for example, looks at the impact of education on income. As you can see, advanced degrees offer no protection — the gap actually widens as education increases.

Click here to see the complete slide show.

Then, from Harvard Business School, we have a 14-minute-long interview with respected Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, author of 18 books including the well known Men & Women of the Corporation.

At one point Professor Kanter discusses what she terms “one of the hidden sources of discrimination.” Describing a situation that will resonate with many women, she says, “There’s a discussion in a private conversation about, well, who are the people that we should put in certain positions and then it’s well, she isn’t really quite as dedicated or…we’re very family friendly, we don’t want to take her away from the family. And so they don’t even give the woman a choice.”

She also says, “The jobs at the very top…require a sort of 24/7 commitment, being always on, that makes it difficult sometimes for people who are juggling lots of other responsibilities to say…they really want those jobs, and then to put themselves into position to get them.”

The unanswered question, of course, is: why are men with working wives and kids not held to the same standards?

Professor Kanter offered what might be a partial explanation: “People trust the judgment of people who resemble themselves…there’s a preference for social similarity.” 

Unless — Victor/Victoria-style — women start disguising themselves as men, the only cure for that would appear to be lawsuits.

You can see the entire conversation here.




May 3,2010



Posted by: 
Michele Hush

40 Years of Matrix Awards, 40 Years of Change: College and Work

April 12, 2010

On Monday, April 19, New York Women in Communications will host our 40th Annual Matrix Awards ceremony. Throughout this month, Aloud will look at some of the changes in women’s lives in those four decades. Today’s topic: changes in women’s educational attainment and careers.

Education: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, college was an uncommon choice for women in 1970: only 8% earned degrees, compared to 13.5% of men. Today, many more people of both sexes are graduating from college and the percentages have evened up: 29% of women and 30% of men are college graduates. Women actually outnumber men in earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees, but we are still only half as likely as men to have doctorates.

Work: The changes in women’s workforce participation are even more dramatic. About 43% of women worked full time in 1970, most in “traditional” female jobs like nursing, teaching and secretarial work.

Today, more than 60% of women have jobs, and many of us have broken into nontraditional fields. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “In 2005, half of all persons employed in management, professional, and related occupations were women.” But as the BLS points out, the percentages vary widely by field: “6% of mechanical engineers and 32% of physicians and surgeons were women. In contrast, 86% of paralegals and legal assistants, and 95% of dietitians were women.”

For more information on these topics, visit the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“There are very few jobs that actually require a penis or vagina. All other jobs should be open to everybody.”
~ Florynce Kennedy

April 12, 2010

Posted by: 
Michele Hush
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