A blog worth reading


Tumblr_l710j21TLX1qzz3h1 I find myself more and more involved with women and am loving it.  I went to an all-girls college and in many ways had a visceral reaction to it instead of jumping in and embracing women.  I could spend hours analyzing that but I won't.  I believe I will find myself more involved than ever with women start-ups and women changing the work place in the next year….and I am really excited about it. 

I had the pleasure of meeting with Tereza Nemessanyi this past year.  Her blog is a worthwhile read as she is passionate on the topic of women and the workplace. 

Here is a small piece of a post she just did just to whet the appetite.  Click through to read the rest and then scroll down and read the rest of her posts.  All her posts make for great conversations about the future of women in the workplace. 

1. Corporate America, as a career path, is broken.

It never worked for women anyway. And it’s as broken as the funding
path for women-led venture-potential companies. It cannot be viewed as a
panacea vis-a-vis where women should go in lieu of entrepreneurship.

The rubber hits the road on this argument when you start looking at
professionals who become mothers. I’ve led strategic planning for a $6
billion company, spent 8 years directly in a massive company and worked
with dozens over 15 years. I was part of task forces at the highest
levels, seeking to get at the root cause of diversity issues — to
“change the ratio”. We did surveys and looked at tons of data.

We asked, for example:

Q: Why is it that we bring in 50% women just out of college, but
almost all drop out when getting ready to hit the executive level (at
appr. age 30)?

A: It’s the biological clock. The years when men are running up the
ladder, and even scale the glass ceiling, are our prime childbearing

My colleagues surveyed women who’d left, to learn what they were
doing now. Many left because they were pregnant. We assumed they were
staying home to take care of their kids full-time. It turns out this was
a HUGE fallacy. Most professional women get back to some sort of work.
In fact, as many as 75% of U.S. moms work.

Yet at the same time, there are almost no “on-ramps” for professional
women to return to corporate jobs after they’ve had kids. Especially
for the good jobs with career path potential. Those who do go Corporate
America, overwhelmingly take a demotion or a “support role” to get back
in the door. We learned a huge proportion re-entered by doing their
own thing, starting companies.

Parents seek some modicum of flexibility. Corporate America is, on
the whole, unable to provide it. Exceptions exist, but they are edge
cases and not available at any scale. Before I had kids, this
“flexibility” requirement rang hollow with me, I didn’t get it. Now
that I have two kids, it has so much more meaning. Every dad I know
gets it, too.

Our schools demand parent participation, our kids get sick,
parent/teacher conferences…being able to get something done that matters
to our kids, tucking them in, and getting back on line at 8pm until
2am. That’s the schedule of most startup parents I know. We put in all
the same hours, but at different times of day.

Comments (Archived):

  1. andrewwatson

    that 8pm to 2am shift is a monster. “burning the candle at both ends” doesn’t even do it justice as a metaphor anymore.

    1. Gotham Gal

      It is a monster.

    2. Tereza

      Yes indeed it’s a bear. I’m just a puddle of hot wax. Or running on fumes?Don’t know…pick your metaphor.But the thing that really fuels me is that i’m doing what I love. Then the rest of it somehow gets done.And dark circles under my eyes? That’s what concealer is for. 🙂

  2. atryon

    I love how much I’m hearing about female entrepreneurs and alternatives to traditional business careers lately – perhaps because I’m listening more carefully as I consider my own next steps. I look forward to reading more from you Thereza. Here is a link of women as consumers of media these that reminds me how many markets there are out there to tap: http://blog.comscore.com/20

    1. Gotham Gal

      When you read Tereza’s blog, scroll down and the points to Comscore.

    2. Tereza

      Thanks so much, Alexis (love your handle, BTW)!Isn’t that a terrific study? It’s a must-read and I’m pointing everyone I know toward it.And I had the privilege of meeting Linda Abraham, the study’s author, by phone and can’t wait to meet her in person.She’s a mom and a super-driven, data-driven, whole-life kind of woman and has been swimming through all dimensions of this a long time.Put her on your blogroll, too!

  3. RichardF

    woot woot……nice shout out for TerezaI know from my own wife’s experience that returning to work after having children is really tough. I don’t think I ever really appreciated the need for flexibility until we had our own child.I think it’s great that Tereza is blogging about women and the workplace but more than that I know that she has the determination and drive to be a successful entrepreneur and those are the qualities that are going to help shape her success regardless of her parental situation.

    1. Tereza

      Awww thank you so much Richard! I am humbled.Hey, are you in London this Tues thru Thursday? I’ll be there!

      1. RichardF

        TerezaI am on a Dad’s camping weekend with my son (it’s his and my first and needless to say because it’s the UK it is pouring down with rain) but I am around and it would be great to meet up. I will email you when I get back.CheersRichard

        1. Tereza

          Hope you can stay dry in that tent!Will love to make it work if we can.How old is your son? I’ll have my kids with…girls age 3.5 and 7. Depending on time/place and my husband’s mood I may or may not have them in tow.

  4. Tereza

    Holy Superbloggers, Batman! I’ve been re-blogged by @thegothamgal!!!I am humbled and so thankful.Since Fred and Jerry gave me the nudge to start blogging, I can honestly say it’s changed my life.I have always been blessed with wonderful friends. That circle is getting bigger and more amazing by the day. I am one happy girl.Now…off to change the world — all of us!

  5. Mark Essel

    Very kind words about a superb entrepreneur and enthusiastic voice of change. Hope to meet Tereza soon to discuss how she sees the future.

    1. Tereza

      Mark, you’re a total mensch. When I started commenting, you welcomed me from the start.I want to see your own business take flight. I look forward to sitting down and ideating on how we’ll move the needle for you. You’ll make it happen, I know it.

  6. Erin Newkirk

    Joanne, we love working with you, too. And Tereza, great post! We’ve only emailed to date, but I look forward to meeting face-to-face soon.As for the start-up schedule…one of the reasons I founded my own company was to create a business that thrives in a flexible, creative environment. Not surprisingly, everyone at the company loves it. Those with kids, those without. And happiness breeds productivity. I have no doubt our team is one of the hardest working teams around.It’s worked for us!Erin | RedStamp

    1. Gotham Gal

      Believe me, the feeling is mutual to all of you. I am only cheering fromthe sidelines.

      1. Erin Newkirk

        Cheering from the sidelines? No way! You are on the field.

        1. Tereza

          HA! She is SOOO on the field!

    2. Tereza

      Erin I am so excited to meet you in person….hopefully we’ll make it happen in September, right? <fingers crossed=””>

      1. Erin Newkirk


    3. rebeccastees

      Yep! I chose “flexible, creative environment” and happiness, too.

  7. ShanaC

    I truly love Tereza> I also don’t mind saying that there are days where I don’t relate, and there are days where I do- and one of the questions I really wish were answered by all of this disucssion (and which I also sometimes see on this blog too) is what to do when you are young to prepare yourself for what to do when you get older. It seems like even knowin g about the difficulties makes the situation both harder and easier. I sort of wish the most productive piece opf information coming out of this was a vague sense of life map, now that we know X, Y seems like a better idea if you will have a child someday.Just youth talking though. I do think about some of th eissues she talks about for a future sense of self- but not all. Too young for that.

    1. Gotham Gal

      You have hit on a big issue. How does each generation get better at being able to navigate the career with the children thing early on. Freelance is one way, working in smaller companies that have more flexibility is another.I do believe that the generation of young 30 year olds (particularly in the tech area) are creating lifestyles for themselves around work that will translate easier when they choose to have children. Its about quality not quantity.Its not easy.

      1. ShanaC

        I see it mostly because I went to a high school that pushed early marriage and early fertility, as a result, a ton of people I went to high school with have kids. I turned 24 in may, and just graduated college. It means a number of people I know were getting married during college, just after graduating, and having kids quickly.Plus, the economy is slamming everyone. I hate the jealousy of friends who have jobs, but apparently there is something like a 40% unemployment rate of my cohort.Prepping makes it slightly easier. Community involvement, again, slightly easier. But the big delay for kids in the first place was to earn income, and now you are seeing reports of only 1 kid.

    2. Erin Newkirk

      You are so smart to be thinking ahead, Shana. I was that way, too. Which is why I was determined to get an MBA and Fortune 500 experience pre-family. My thought was that I could always apply that pedigree as a consultant when I wanted/needed flexibility. Turns out, I fell in love with starting and running a business and decided to do that instead.Along the way, I developed friendships and mentors with amazing minds and powerful people. This has been invaluable. For both parties.However, I wish I would have networked with women entreprenuers more before I became one. Lunches, coffee. My experience building brands in Corporate America totally carries over to the start-up world. I could have helped more and learned before doing my own thing. Or I could have found a position working at a start-up, or freelancing, or consulting if starting my own company wasn’t what I wanted to do.Of course, I can only speak to my experience, but I have never regretted my time in Corporate America. The training is unbelievable. The bonus was I really enjoyed my time there, too.

      1. Tereza


      2. ShanaC

        I can tell you as a new graduate looking for that sort of Job-miserable

        1. Erin Newkirk

          Oh, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t mean it was easy. I was a new grad in the early 90’s and no one was hiring then either. So, I interviewed everywhere {I mean…everywhere} and finally landed a minimum wage job at a small regional office of a huge corporation and worked HARD to prove myself. The key was starting in a small office where I could stand out + finding a company that had regional and national job opportunities. There are always opportunities. You just have to be creative to find them.

          1. ShanaC

            Doing, doing, just hating that people put me in a hole about writing and creative. Bleh.

  8. Lisa Duggan

    Coming late to this post, but wanted to say thanks for your thoughts. I’m done waiting for corporate America to adapt to the needs of families. My partner – a SAHD of three – and I are building a company that, from the start, acknowledges the reality of 21st century families. And, quite frankly, copies what many European nations have been doing for decades. We intend to harness the collective power of those off-ramp moms & dads, knowing they are the most focused and highly motivated workforce on the planet.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Good luck and congrats on the company.Again, highly motivated workforce does not equal 9-5 with littleflexibility.