Almost anything can affect the success of a business. Economics, location ...Read More
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Through the Roof
RICE: No matter what gender.
GRAMMER-WILLIAMS: It’s difficult to put labels on it.
WOODBURY: I don’t think we are female men. I don’t think we are all the same. It’s important to look at what the differences are. You used the term “balance.” Definitely there are traits that are generally male and traits that are generally female, and together there’s a very nice balance. So you don’t want a business that is all women, I hope, or a business that is all men. The balance is really important.
Speaking on that age-old question, “How do you balance work and home life,” do you think the question is becoming irrelevant?
WOODBURY: It is extremely relevant and it always will be. Women have children. By nature we are the nurturers. Nature, nurture—I don’t know which it comes from, but there’s nature involved in that. So we always have to think about children and balance.
For me, I started my company when my children were grown. Prior to that I worked for other companies in the field that I’m in. But I could not have successfully started a company when my children were young, doing what I do now. It was a 24/7 thing and thank goodness I had a really good husband who was willing to take on everything at home, because I was immersed in business. It was all-consuming. I don’t think I could have done that and taken part in my children’s lives when they were young. Other businesses might be different, but in the field I’m in and the company I have had, it would have been very hard.
BECK: It’s interesting that you say that, because I worked for another recruiting company for seven or eight years and I was one of the top producers, always. And my boss would always say to me, “I just wish I had you in your prime.” And I was like, “What are you talking about?” But I was raising kids and running back and forth to basketball games or whatever they were in, but I was on my phone 24/7. And it was like, “She is ridiculous. I’m her top producer. What does she want?”
But when I started my own company I thought, “Oh, I get it,” because I didn’t have all the distractions of the kids because I did start my business when they were basically raised, so it has been a lot easier. When she was saying it I was just offended by it. And then when I opened my own business it was like, “She’s right.” I’m glad I didn’t give her those years.
TURNER: When I started my company, my youngest was three months old, so really I had very young children from the onset. Now that I see my sons who are now partners in our company, I love that they are so much more involved with their children, their upbringing. There is a more collaborative effort between husband and wife, mother and father that didn’t exist in those early years with me. As supportive as my husband was, I see it much more in balance now. I’m really pleased to see how much involvement they have.
BECK: I do see it in recruiting all the time. When I’m interviewing men, one of their big key issues is they want a work/life balance.
JACKETTA: I think it’s gender neutral now.
RICE: Does that go back to your question, “Is it relevant for women?” Does that perpetuate the notion that women can’t effectively manage? The CEO of Yahoo is 37 and pregnant. Are times changing?
TURNER: It’s important that she knew she could do the job—and so did they. They made the decision to hire her for that position. It speaks volumes.
GRAMMER-WILLIAMS: But the balance, too, is exactly right. Who is your partner at home? If you are balancing the challenges or the responsibilities in the home and in the workplace on an equal capacity, that is what I think we need to be focusing on. That’s not a gender issue, because obviously we are dealing with our husbands and whatnot. But that, I think, is a bigger priority.
It’s difficult for me, as a business owner, to see females that work for me and 100 percent of child care responsibilities fall on the female. I always say, “Where’s your husband? Why isn’t he being a part of this dynamic?” I understand that we, as women, want to be there when our child is sick. Absolutely. But I do believe there is a balance that needs to exist in the partnership at home.
What is the biggest obstacle facing your business today? Does anybody want to say?
McCULLOUGH: This also has to go with the life-balance conversation. I have been consulting for four years, and in the first two years it was all about the business. And then I realized that when women entrepreneurs were coming to me with a business problem, like with marketing, for example—if I could ask the right questions, within 10 seconds or less I would find out it was really a problem with their balance. They didn’t have time for the marketing.