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Recently in Thought Leadership

Dispatches from the Women's Networking Circuit: Temporal Flexibility

Spela Trefalt and Emily Heaphy spoke about "temporal flexibility" or how working people can have some control over their time, so they can manage the many demands at work and at home. Both presenters are wives, mothers, and full-time academics, so they live this every day.

They talked with a group of consultants about work/life balance, and discovered that what they really want is the ability to adjust their schedules to accommodate their needs and interests outside of work. That could look like compressed work weeks, shifted work hours, or even ad hoc accommodations. Part time work wouldn't be considered temporal flexibility.

Dispatches from the Women's Networking Circuit: The Hidden Power of Context

situations matter.jpgSam Sommers from Tufts University spoke this week at the HR Leadership Forum on The Hidden Power of Context (in your work and your world). This program particularly resonates with me because at Simmons we pay a lot of attention to understanding and responding to context.

Sommers' thesis is that if we can learn to do a better job of fully appreciating our context and acknowledging how our environment shapes our thoughts and actions, we can be more effective. Here's his argument:

Dispatches from the Women's Networking Circuit: Women Moving Millions

Jacki Zehner, the Chief Engagement Officer & President of Women Moving Millions, gave an inspiring talk at the Boston Club earlier this year. She believes that at that heart of gender inequality is a dominant belief in a "properly working meritocracy" but that the reality is that the current system heavily favors those who fit a particular mold. She talked about the slow pace of change to date, and why she thinks that today we are on the brink of major change:

Closing the wage gap in Boston

Opion Piece in The Boston Globe By Victoria A. Budson, Dean Cathy Minehan and Alison A. Quirk

Boston has taken a major step toward Mayor Tom Menino's vision for the city to become the best in the United States for working women by closing the wage gap: Business leaders gathered earlier this week to sign 100% Talent: The Boston Women's Compact.

SOM Dean Cathy Minehan Quoted in The Boston Globe on the Mayor's Women's Workforce Council

Simmons School of Management Dean Cathy Minehan was quoted in The Boston Globe on Mayor Menino's Women's Workforce Council's efforts to make Boston the number 1 city for working women by eliminating the gender wage gap. The Mayor plans to announce this initiative on October 31, when he rolls out a compact signed by 38 employers.

Why Janet Yellen is the right choice for Fed chair

President Obama's nomination last week of Janet Yellen to be chairman of the Federal Reserve System should be welcomed by our nation.

As a former colleague for a decade on the Federal Open Market Committee, I can say that Yellen brings enormous strengths to the role. She is deeply knowledgeable about both economic theory and how it plays out in the real world. She is firmly committed to the goals of the Federal Reserve -- price stability, economic growth, and, importantly these days, financial stability. She is more than tough enough to stay the course in pursuing those goals. She is also a terrific listener and consensus builder and is adept at that new required skill of Fed chairmen, communication.

Two Voices, Forty Years, Same Problem

As the founding and current Deans of the School of Management at Simmons College, we have both been asked many times why the only MBA program designed for women in the US (and we suspect, the world) was at all important.  Don't women have to work with men in organizations? Doesn't it make sense for men and women to learn management skills together?

Our faculty, our students, our alumnae, and some enlightened corporations understand what makes the SOM programs so important, but it is usually more difficult to translate that understanding to people who believe that women's success at work is just a matter of working harder.

Dean Cathy Minehan Discusses the Economy on This Week in Business


Dean Cathy Minehan, former president of the Federal Bank of Boston, shares her perspective on the economy and discusses her role in the city of Boston's work on eliminating pay disparities between women and men on This Week in Business. Who will be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank? Is it going to be a woman? Watch the video to hear Minehan's prediction.

Are you doing invisible work?

Leadership Conference Attendees

Recently, the Women's Initiative Forum hosted a fascinating discussion with Dr. Joyce Fletcher on the subject of Invisible Work. Her article Invisible Work: The Disappearing of Relational Practice at Work can be downloaded here.

Dr. Fletcher started the discussion by stating that relational skills are needed in today's workplace, and women are well positioned to operate in that way in the global economy. Unfortunately there is a disconnect - there is acceptance that those skills are needed, but in practice they often aren't seen as work, and are therefore invisible.

Her research showed that:

End of Summer Reading List

Decisive Bookcover

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. Recommended by Elisa van Dam, Director of Executive Education. "As a big fan of the Heath brothers and books on decision making, this was right up my alley. And the authors don't disappoint - they provide a very practical approach to making better decisions in their highly readable and memorable style. » View on GoodReads

Lean In Book CoverLean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg. Recommended by Nancy Leeser, Director Corporate Relations & Business Development, SimmonsLEADS. "There has been so much written about Sheryl's Sandberg's book Lean In that I found myself forming opinions about her and her book before even reading it. After hearing her speak and then reading the book, it is clear that most of what has been written doesn't really represent what she is trying to convey. While I wish that in 2013 a book like this did not need to be written, that fact is that it does and that both women and men need to read it." » View on GoodReads

Read more reviews and discussions of"Lean In" in our "Lean In" Round Up.

Lean In Book Cover


My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor. Recommended by Linda Schuller Wolf, Simmons College Librarian. "One of my recent favorite memoirs, a story of a very courageous and tenacious woman." » View on GoodReads