Life is all about decisions


Mondays is the day that I always write a post about a woman entrepreneur.  Since I am on vacation, I am going to take the week off and instead write about a topic about women that has been making its way around the internet last week. 

I read the article in the Atlantic that Anne-Marie Slaughter wrote as many others have.  I was thrilled to see the honesty and transparency of how difficult it has been for her in the push pull between motherhood and the working world.  It is hard on so many levels and very few people are honest about it.

This past week I was on two lists.  One was in Business Insider, New York's Top Early Stage Investors and Fast Company, 60 Influencers Who Are Changing The World.  I was certainly surprised to be on either of the lists but the one thing that I found irritating more than anything else was under my name in Business Insider it had to mention that I was married to Fred Wilson.  Really?  It certainly did not mention under Fred WIlson's name that he was married to Joanne Wilson.  Just to add insult to injury, this week there was an article in the Daily News how Fred WIlson is bank rolling as well as it was his concept to create the Academy for Software Engineering.  Really?  Actually we are bank rolling it and I have been involved in the world of education since the mid-90s and we have been discussing the important of education, STEM and how we need to do something to make NYC the best place in the world around our kitchen table for ever.  Why do I bring this up, because I read Anne-Marie's article about how she was at an event with the leaders of the world shaking hands but actually thinking about her 14 year old son. I so get it.

Life is about decisions.  We are a country that does not embrace women the same way we embrace men.  I see it first hand every single day.  That is one of the reasons I invest in women.  Not all my investments are women driven but I'd say about 85% of them are.  It is more difficult being a woman than a man because if we have children we think about our 14 year old being home and agonize over it in a way that most men that I know do not.  No offense to men, it is just not in the forefront of their brain. And if we aren't married and choose to not go that route, we are looked at in a different light too.

Women ask me all the time about having children and balance as an entrepreneur.  My advice is consistent, just do it and you will figure it out.  It won't be easy but you can't prolong youth.  There is something to be said about having your children when you are young.  I had our first at 29 years old and perhaps that is why I have been able to re-enter the work world, per se, and quickly make up for lost work time.  I made many decisions when the kids were younger to be present in their lives, I was able to get off the train and be home with them.  We were barely making ends meet because I was the bread winner many times over when I got off that train. It was not exactly the most healthy decision for my brain or ego but in the end, it all worked out.  I am a big believer that things always work out for a reason. 

The system needs to change in the US if women and men will be treated equally based on everything and anything.  Do i actually believe that men will think about their children and their playdates, clothes being in their closet, that their homework is completed and that they show up to everyone of their sporting events like women do, perhaps.  If society changed things up so that the hours of school or the events for kids were coordinated around a working persons life….and companies were more flexible for parents then maybe things would be different. 

Women make many more choices and decisions that men make.  If the curtains were pulled back and women were honest with other women about the choices they made and repercussions from those choices they made it would be a helluva lot more empowering.  Getting up at 5am to go to work and then coming home at 9pm when your kids have nothing to say to you does not mean that you are going to have a fantastic relationship with your kids and that is ok if that is the choice you make.  If you look amazing every day when you go work and it is because you hire someone to dress you and fill your wardrobe every six months that is ok too.  If you have 3 assistants and 2 nannies because that is the life you chose for yourself because that is what you want and need that is ok too.  If you chose to stick your kids in daycare because your salary made up the rent and you loved your job then that is ok too.  If you chose to get off the corporate ladder and bake cookies everyday and run the family finances instead that is ok too.  I think the key to women feeling ok with their decisions be it running a billion dollar company to running the PTA is all about honesty and transparency with other women.  Any choice you make is ok because it is yours.  Yet we should be honest about our decisions so other women coming up the pipeline who are 20 or even 30 understand that life is all about decisions and each decision has repercussions.

There is frustration among women who don't have families too.  In many ways we have to redefine feminism.  Women deserve the same opportunities as men to climb the ladder yet there is no doubt an underlying feeling of discrimination against women. I might be subtle or subconscious but it is there.  I saw it first hand in my career.  There is a reason I am a huge fan of women entrepreneurs it is because if you own your own business, you get to own your own life.   You can create environments that work for you.  Women need to create their own clubs, per se, and be champions of each other. 

You know what, when I was 18 I thought I would grow up to become Fred Wilson.  Ended up I married that guy who had no idea what he was going to do even at 23.  I was driven from the moment I came out of the womb but kids, life and the real world got in the way.  He didn't see the light for years but in the end I made the choices I made because life happened.  I have a great relationship with my kids and maybe i would have no matter what choice I made but it doesn't make a difference.  What makes a difference is that I am honest about why I made those choices when I did.

Does it piss me off that it is all about Fred the majority of the time, sometimes but unfortunately in this country, whether we like it or not, it is still a mans world.  I hope that women write more articles like Anne-Marie because that type of honesty is what will truly make a change in our country as more women who have lived through the reality of those decisions need to speak up and be heard.  Truth of the matter, it is the women running this country but they are the wizards behind the curtains.  It is time for women to come out from behind the curtain. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. Rohan

    Just so you know – as someone who’s met and known the both of you in a similar sense, I love Fred and respect him for his success as an investor as well as for the environment he’s built on AVC.But, I’m a Joanne fan through and through.Reporters always crave a headline and headlines are always far from the truth. We, as a race, hardly ever care for the truth. That’s life.So, I hope you ‘Keep fighting the good fight’.. as Petrus the wise in ‘Pilgrimage’ (a book by Paolo Coelho) says..PS: Didn’t hear from you on the gift. Hope you liked it too. 🙂

    1. Gotham Gal

      Thanks Rohan. I totally agree with you. One if the reasons I write about women entrepreneurs is they are definitely not given their fair and well deserved attention in the press.As for Fred. The smartest man I know

      1. Donna Brewington White

        What a wonderful thing to hear a wife say about her husband.

  2. Deirdre

    Great post! Great perspective as usual. I particularly appreciate your comment about women who choose to be single, not married, no families. While I have a family, I was single for a long time. If you are, as a woman, it just “feels” as if people think there is something wrong. You can just feel it, even if people don’t say it directly. A single man (older than 38, say) is generally considered a romantic “bachelor”, a single woman at that age is either a “cougar” or “an old maid”. Pretty bad.As for the work/home choice, your message about being transparent AND supportive of each other, as women, makes perfect sense. I love the article in The Atlantic… saying that we can have/do it all is a notion that really warrants re-examining.Always appreciate your support of women entrepreneurs and the choices that we make. It helps to know you’re out there as we keep trying to make it all work.

    1. Gotham Gal

      The romantic bachelor vs the old maid is definitely still out thereI worked with a woman who was divorced young with a child. She never had any interest in getting married again. Was a real biz woman. She always said that she was born in the wrong generation. Glad that she felt that in 2012 it was easier to choose to be a single biz woman but I still think we have a way to go

      1. Deirdre

        Agree completely. We have a long way to go on all of these fronts.

      2. JamesHRH

        Seriously? Single guys in their 40’s chasing women half their age +7 are ‘romantic’ in a pretty small slice of society.George Clooney is a self parody to most people – dreamboat or not. No one with any emotional depth gets close to someone like that, regardless of gender.

  3. John Best

    Hi Joanne, I’ve sent you a big missive on this which was probably too personal to post here. By way of a small contribution here, one thing that bugs the hell out of me is the suffixing of ages after women’s names in articles (but not men’s). Why should their age matter, unless the achievement is remarkable for someone of that age?

  4. reece

    great post, Joanneagree that the language and verbiage around women is unfairly attuned to their gender and it perpetuates the issues, but love seeing examples who plow through that and break down walls (yourself included)

  5. missrogue

    Lovely follow up to Anne-Marie’s post and amazing personal story, Joanne. I, too, had my son young which allowed me to “come out from behind the curtain” at a younger age.

  6. Helene Rosenthal

    i, too, loved ann-marie slaughter’s article (shock). her point about american businesses needing to change not only to enable more women to participate but to elicit the most innovative and creative thinking– i thought was super fascinating.

  7. Paolo

    For what it’s worth, the Daily News and Business Insider aren’t exactly bastions of respectable journalism. They both have a large readership, but that hardly makes them authoritative.

  8. JLM

    .What an interesting and thoughtful read or maybe, rant? I love a good rant particularly when it forces one to think.I agree completely with much of what you say and chuckled at your observations as it relates to the linkage between your endeavors and those of Fred Wilson. He is a likeable guy, no?That is just the unthinking shallowness and stupidity of the world.In the quest to have it ALL, the big question continues be what is the definition of ALL?I once spent 3 years playing Mom — absolute, complete, full time, no job Mom. I loved it.I drove the car pools — truth be known the other Moms took advantage of me because I was so willing to help — and I coached every sport and attended every field hockey, basketball, football, baseball, softball game ever played, home and away.It was fun and it was a scheduling nightmare.The world will keep changing but I do want to make one little obnoxious Boys Club observation: The World will not give you what you want, you have to TAKE it.When you write with an edge — as you have done today — you are grabbing life by the throat and negotiating your own life. In the final analysis, we are all responsible to manage our own lives.Cheers and well played!.

    1. Gotham Gal

      The World will not give you what you want, you have to TAKE it. great comment.btw, i coached and ran the soccer league when i was the “stay at home” mom too. it was quite an experience being the only woman in a world of soccer dads.

  9. Katie Covington

    Thanks for writing this Joanne. We started our company after realizing that as designers we didn’t have any examples of women 5 and 10 years older than us that were making it work. They are either working 60-80 hour weeks (including lots of travel) or they were freelancing in very minimal roles. You are either on the fashion train or your off. After reading about and speaking with so many women in the tech community we realized we could make our own train. It’s not exactly a smooth ride but it’s ours and we wouldn’t have known we had other options if women like you weren’t vocal about it women entrepreneurs.

  10. Tereza

    Love hearing your take on it, Joanne. I totally agree life is about decisions…and emphasis on the plural. Because it’s not one decision, it’s really a million decisions every day, and year on year different decisions present themselves. We do the best we can, and we’re not perfect.There is science that says there is tyranny in too much choice. And some people are quick to judge our choices (whatever end of the spectrum they are). A lot of people lose a lot of time with coulda-woulda-shoulda, questioning decisions they made. And I think women are more prone to that than men.We can’t care so much about what other people think. It’s a lot of psychic weight in our backpacks that does not serve us.Typical decision: i decided to save money and put my kids in the town camp, but it rained today so swim team is cancelled and camp is half-day at the school instead. Hmph. Bad decision? Or just temporarily crummy luck. Dunno. But at the moment I’m really annoyed. And my mom sent me to the same camp under the same circumstances but there was no choice involved because she couldn’t afford any other camp. So she accepted it and made it positive. So I need to make the here + now work, and if I can’t, change it.The biggest surprise for me in life has been how much happens that is totally unexpected that can fundamentally affect your path and the decisions available.So maybe a woman has her mom around who can be really active helping with the kids for free while she’s plowing through her career. Or maybe her child is special-needs so there’s really no question the child needs a full-time parent advocate. Or maybe she never wanted kids. Or maybe the right life partner never materialized. Or maybe she picked the wrong partner and it’s unraveling. It’s all FINE. There are a million paths to a great life. We can change our lives 100 times. We have to accept and celebrate each others’ decisions.We need to get off each others’ backs and trust each is busting her hump. And when someone needs a hand, and you have one free, offer her yours. You just never know when you’ll be the one who needs it.

    1. Deirdre

      Tereza! So thoughtful as usual:Love this:”There are a million paths to a great life. We can change our lives 100 times. We have to accept and celebrate each others’ decisions.We need to get off each others’ backs and trust each is busting her hump. And when someone needs a hand, and you have one free, offer her yours. You just never know when you’ll be the one who needs it. “

    2. Gotham Gal

      kudos for all you wrote tereza. there a million decisions to made and many paths to take to a fulfilled life. let’s celebrate all of our decisions.

    3. Erin Newkirk

      So true! Re. the million decisions…my mom friends and I {some stay at home, some part time out of home, some full time business owners} all talk about our days in terms of %age. Like…it’s an 80% day. It’s a 20% day. Meaning the % of the day we actually have planned/solved before we dive in. I think most women plan their days as they go. Rained out camp, multiple/simultaneous pick-ups, sick caregivers…Even a 90% day becomes a day with one hundred decisions. The 20% days are the days that you have no idea how it’s all going to get done. And, yet, the day passes and you get through it. Personally? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    4. Sharon


    5. Guest

      I always love hearing what you have to say Tereza! Well said… again! 🙂

    6. Donna Brewington White

      You go, girl. (Turning your favorite compliment back on you.) And I know I owe you a communique.

  11. rachelsklar

    Thank you for your bluntness, Joanne. And for your Mondays.

  12. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I really loved this open honest post. I love hearing your story! Very inspiring.More than once I’ve seen you described in writing as “Fred Wilson’s wife.” I wondered how you felt about that, and now I know :)Maybe, in the not so distant future, we’ll be describing Bill Clinton as “Hillary Clinton’s husband,” ha!Our society does need to change to support families. Maternity/paternity leave is a joke – no, an insult. Why should anyone, male or female, feel they have to choose between work and family? It makes no sense. It seems like somewhere along the line we decided that if people are allowed to have balance in their lives, the U.S. will lose “the race,” that our edge lies in neglecting our families.My husband is the stay-at-home person in our tribe. Watching him with our kids has proven to me that men have the nurturing instinct every bit as much as women (and, FWIW, we’re talking about a wrestler, rugby player here – the stereotypical “man’s man”). I think it’s the societal setup in the U.S. that disconnects men from their children. If you take the man out of the setup, his outlook and actions change.

  13. Greg Marcus, Ph.D.

    Joanne,Thanks for sharing your story. I couldn’t agree with you more on most of what you have to say. I have seen the amazingly difficult job my wife does balancing work and life. And she has sensitized me to the different ways that men and women are portrayed in the media. A recent New Yorker article about two MIT scientists called the man a professor and the woman a researcher, making it sound like she was a technician. She is also a professor, and a far more senior one at that!I would like to respectfully point out that men can be prisoners of societies expectations as well. A society that diminishes the role of women as professionals also diminishes men who choose to put family first. I left the corporate world three years ago to be a stay at home dad, and let me tell you it was threatening to both men and women who have been putting their careers first.

  14. Sean Mc

    Hi Joanne, I like your passion for equality. You wrote, “Does it piss me off that it is all about Fred the majority of the time, sometimes but unfortunately in this country, whether we like it or not, it is still a mans world.” I agree since most corporations. countries, etc are run by men. However, this specific issue has to do with substance and popularity. Even if Fred was married to another man.. Business Insider would mention Fred’s name. I’m not saying you’re not popular 🙂 I truly believe that both men and women should focus on substance. The most important aspect of any position is having the right person no matter what gender, sexual orientation, etc. It’s about trust and results.

  15. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    So maybe it’s time for the expression…- Behind every Great Woman there’s a Man” – But its not always the case , so now – I’m trying to work out how many groups that would offend !In the standard form the phrase is *perhaps* patronising to the “little womenfolk” in our *Thumps chest in Gorrilla-like manner* MANS’ world of business.So why doesn’t it offend – or does it – are we inured ? – or scarred – Or SCARED !So we get away with it as we always have – thoughtlessly .So Joanne – Nice call.Conclusion – And I believe safe – Behind the greatest of Individuals – there is often un-reckoned power of valuable support. And when that’s the case – the enlightened call it for what it is.A Team.All Teams are great !

    1. JamesHRH

      This quote already exists – ‘noone does it alone.’

  16. JimHirshfield

    Wow! An impressive read. Thanks.

  17. Erin Newkirk

    “It is time for women to come out from behind the curtain.” Yes. Absolutely. Great post Joanne.

  18. Melissa

    Part of the problem is we still define (and judge) men and women primarily by their careers. I’m amazed how often in the newspaper when there is a story about an older person–often someone who has been retired for a decade or two–they still note their career/job–even when it has nothing to do with the story at hand.When we meet someone new at a social event, how many seconds does it take them to ask you what you do (and they mean for a living)?We may value our families, friends, volunteer work, and the like, but if it doesn’t have a monetary value attached to it, it seems to count less.We can and should change a lot about the workplace, school system, and our communities, but until we value men and women for what they contribute that does not earn money as much as what they do to earn it, it is hard to see how we resolve this issue.

  19. mariaseidman

    Really great post. Recognizing and talking about the fact that not every decision is one size fits all is paramount to women feeling more empowered and happy in their career and family choices. Other women’s stories should not be prescriptive — they should be another opportunity to learn and reflect on your own path ahead. Thank you for the honest perspective Joanne!

  20. LE

    You know what, when I was 18 I thought I would grow up to become Fred Wilson. Ended up I married that guy who had no idea what he was going to do even at 23. I was driven from the moment I came out of the womb but kids, life and the real world got in the way.Absolutely fucking amazing post. (And if you read my comments on AVC you will know that I don’t say things like that).The only thing I would add is that Fred doesn’t realize how much of his success is because he is married to someone who “was driven from the moment I came out of the womb” such as yourself.He can’t because just like I haven’t raised my children (and don’t have a seat of the pants feel for what that entails) Fred hasn’t been married to the wrong person.The contribution (which you don’t get credit for not to mention the examples that you highlighted, the press examples you gave) can’t be appreciated unless someone has spent time either a) observing men married to the wrong woman or b) having been married to the wrong woman and seeing what that does to your ability to fulfill your dream. Spouses, either men or woman can hold someone back, encourage them, or make it easy for them to fulfill their dreams.Growing up, my Dad even had a way to describe this. When he met a meek man (say a kuni lemel) (not saying Fred is by the way) and an aggressive woman he would say “she pushed him” acknowledging the reason for his success. I guess in retrospect since that was dropped into my head at an early age that is why I always viewed woman differently then other men (boy could I tell you stories..)

    1. Gotham Gal

      nice one from dad. fred would probably be spot on honest that i have been the wind behind his sails.

    2. AG

      Such an interesting take. Never thought about this in this regard, but believe it 100%.

    3. Guest

      I agree completely. The most important career decision I ever made was marrying a husband who fully expects to contribute as much to our family as I do. When I go back to my universities or speak on career-oriented panels to young people, this is the most important piece of advice I provide.

  21. Mac

    Isn’t it more complicated than just the male / female thing? Doesn’t Fred’s (objectively defined) success drive a lot of this? You can’t read an article about Dave Goldberg without it pointing out that he’s marreid to Sheryl Sandberg and the opposite is definitely not true. We’re obsessessed by success, stars, prominence, people-brands … and definitionally that works against someone who has first pursued a different path (stay-at-home parent) and therefore has a different history

    1. Gotham Gal

      good point.

    2. JamesHRH

      I have never heard her mention her husband’s name in public, not that I follow her closely…..

  22. Carolyn Allen

    Womanhood is a lifelong adventure that changes with every new phase in life and every new challenge undertaken. Young mothers face unique challenges… mothers of teens… empty nesters… and those with a few gray hair! Try being a high-growth entrepreneur at 62 🙂 That’s a challenge in today’s Male – Youth – Professional world … but it’s another glass ceiling to crack and find a graceful and engaging way through. Thanks for your thoughtful insights! Carolyn

  23. sara fenske bahat

    a couple of months ago, i actually told fred that i have a girl-crush on you. it just got bigger. i relate in so many ways– please keep it all coming!

  24. Jocelyn

    Yes. Thank you for adding your voice to this, for acknowledging the complexity of choices women are faced with, and for your general attitude of tolerance and acceptance of the multitudes of choices that women must constantly make.

  25. Meredith

    I really really loved this post. I’m 26, nearly 27, and I just spent the weekend with my four best girlfriends from college. We talked a fair amount about what we’re hoping for in life generally and what immediate next moves are feeling ‘right’ for each of us right now. I just sent this to all of them, since you summed up what we were getting at perfectly. Thanks.

  26. Marian Mangoubi

    Thank you, Joanne, for weighing in on this conversation. It is definitely one that needs to be discussed in an open and honest manner. This is the only way, we, as a society, can make the changes you rightly call for. We also need to take Tereza advice and ” …get off each others’ backs and trust each is busting her hump. And when someone needs a hand, and you have one free, offer her yours”

    1. Gotham Gal

      Totally agree

  27. Maura Rodgers

    Hurrah Joanne! Your honesty is so refreshing. I am a woman entrepreneur, married to a male entrepreneur. We work closely together, have started companies together and have children together. I struggle everyday with all of the decisions I have in front of me and where to invest my time. I know my husband would prefer me to be home more but I LOVE what I do and I share that love with my kids. Luckily, I have a great relationship with my kids and I hope to inspire them to do what they love.While there may be more challenges for women, I believe you just have to get out there, do it and deal with obstacles as them come. I was an entrepreneur before I had kids and while I said “things would not change after I had a baby” – they sure as hell did. Startups + kids are hard work. I can’t travel as much or be at the office until my legs give out. And that is OK. I work just as hard but now I have to juggle pick-ups and baseball practice with meetings and deadlines. The people I choose to work with are talented, humble and respect my position/schedule.I am supportive of both female/male entrepreneurs but recently (under the urging of a woman colleague), I started an intimate tech women founder’s group in Vancouver to support and celebrate other women entrepreneur’s/executives. It is small so we can understand each other’s businesses, share our networks and do our best to help each other succeed. We are able to talk about the things you mentioned openly and honestly and share real challenges. It’s off to a good start and I encourage other women in different areas to do the same.Thanks again for sharing your thoughts, Joanne.

    1. JamesHRH

      Why are there ‘more challenges for women’?

  28. bfeld

    Joanne – this is the best thing I’ve read all day. Fantastic.You and Fred are each amazing. Separately you are awesome. And your relationship is amazing. You build off each other, help each other, make each other better. It’s so obvious from anyone who knows you. And your individual identities are so powerful.Amy and I were talking about this yesterday. As you know she never changed her name to Amy Feld. I can’t imagine how crazy it would make her to be Amy Feld, who is married to Brad Feld, as though that defined her identity and accomplishment. It makes me want to vomit every time someone refers to her that way.Every day, another man realizes the women are running not just this country, but the world. It’s happening one by one, and it’s important that women continue to shout this from the rooftops. And men also.So THANK YOU for being a leader here.As a cute aside, we usually get mail from Wellesley that says “Brad and Amy Batchelor.” I love that. I’m thinking of changing my name to Brad Batchelor.

    1. JLM

      .I don’t get why someone down votes this comment. Explanation anyone?Just curious..

      1. Pete Griffiths

        Good question.

      2. ttenneson

        because he means it to sound “cute” that anyone would address something to Brad and Amy Batchelor. It’s “normal” not even thought provoking when a woman takes the mans name. Yet here is this guy who makes a joke, a sweetly intended joke, but a little joke nonetheless, that he’s thinking of taking her name. It’s why it’s hard to make progress.

      3. kidmercury

        lol i was wondering about the down votes too…..although i don’t really like downvoting in general. i’ve never seen it effective in voicing dissent, filtering content, building relationships, or much of anything.

        1. Dale Allyn

          I agree, KM.

      4. ShanaC

        Because some people are annoying.

      5. JamesHRH

        @ttenneson hope you see this, as I meant to reply to you but Disqus is fighting with me….’Normal is not the issue’. Actual is the issue.It is actually not cute to a lot of people that Wellesley assumes that all of their alums take their husbands names, when the reality is far from that case.@bfeld is obviously well intentioned (if you know him at all) but pretty off the mark here.As an aside, my wife took my name because she wanted to have the same name as her children.Many less accomplished women we know gave her a hard time, at the time. The people who worry the most about preserving their identity are not doing enough that is clearly identifiably them – ‘only results matter’ is my wife’s motto too.If people focused more on results & less on labels, status and their feelings (i.e., were more confident in themselves as ‘winning on the inside’ @fakegrimlock), this would go away.

        1. falicon

          “As an aside, my wife took my name because she wanted to have the same name as her children.”How much did you guys as a team discuss and think about you, and the eventual kids, taking her name?I’m not saying you should have or that you need to…but the very fact that it’s just assumed the options are we keep our own names or you take the man’s is a bit odd and honestly dated.The reality is though, the issues are very deeply tied into our society at the moment…when you stray from the ‘tradditional’, it’s not just the ‘working men’ and corporations that look at you, and treat you, funny…I can’t tell you how many times I get mentions and ‘credit’ from the moms of all the other kids for showing up to help with library (or some other random school activity) at my kids school…they are trying to be nice, supportive, and friendly…but really I find it fundamentally wrong that they assume I should be ‘too busy’ or ‘at work’ and that my wife should be the one with the obligation (who btw, does her own fair share of showing up and participating in all the stuff too — sometimes we even do it together [when we can]).Anyway – sorry rant a bit…just saying, the truth is society has a long way to go when it comes to gender blindness (especially as it relates to relationships).

          1. Gotham Gal

            society has a very long way to go but the fact is that we are having those conversations so in essence we have actually come a lot farther than you think.

      6. leigh

        dunno just made me up vote it 🙂

      7. Mark Essel

        Hmm, that’s kinda interesting.

    2. Robin Bordoli

      Brad, a good friend of mine did indeed change his name to his wife’s name. She was one of three sisters and so the name was not going to survive. A simple but powerful action.

    3. David Smuts

      Brad Batchelor! there you go mate! All of the married guys should do that, at least for women’s day, or even a bit longer.

    4. Chris Yeh

      Two interesting examples:One fellow I know had the last name “Punis” and his fiancee had the last name “Hill”. When they got married, they both changed their name to “Punishill”.Another couple I knew from my Stanford days had the last names “Smith” and “Kramer.” When they got married, they decided to both change their last names to “Tate” (I forget why–I think it was one of their middle names and they liked it).My own wife uses her family surname “Bermudez.” Does it matter to me? Heck no. As her spouse, I should care about her happiness, not about her name.

  29. JLM

    .This blog is really good. If I didn’t know better, I would think this was Fred Wilson’s ghost writer.You know, Fred Wilson, that guy with the blog. Almost as good as this stuff.Hey, it’s 108F in ATX on 25 June and they just announced the mosquitoes have West Nile Virus. So I am in a bad mood.My AC units are talking about a collective bargaining agreement and want some work rule modifications.So, yeah, don’t provoke me. Just kidding..

  30. Erika Napoletano

    “Mona Lisa Smile.” A fun Julia Roberts movie by itself, but set in the 50s at Wellesley, it’s enough to set a kid born in the 70s on her heels when exposed to the day’s “norms.” My favorite, most personally humbling moment in the entire film was when Julia Robert’s character showed up at one of her student’s houses — the one she helped get accepted to Yale Law — and realized she’d gotten married. The student’s response? This — marriage, a family, that VISION — was what SHE wanted. Law school was what her teacher wanted, and couldn’t her teacher just be happy that she was happy with her choice?Life’s a series of choices – a glorious Choose Your Own Adventure book. And if we’d just remember that the pages are OURS to turn and no one else’s, I think we’d all be on the way to writing the autobiography of a lifetime. Turn your own damned pages – man, woman, or giant purple hippopotamus. And if you have the time to stick your fingers in someone else’s book, maybe you’re not doing *your* book justice.We’re due as a species for a healthy dose of respect — for ourselves AND for others. When we lose that is where judgement falls in. Go ahead – judge me. I’ll just be over here being the one thing no one else can be: myself.

    1. ShanaC

      Look, that movie exposes the weakness of choice architecture in feminist discourse. One of the really brilliant things about Anne Marie’s article is that although it never explicitly says so, she basically is explaining that “choice=feminism” is a total failure.We should be moving away from that sort of language and the culture wars that come from it. The one super irritating thing about that article is that she never comes out and says “we as a society are screwed unless we start putting childcare and healthcare first so we don’t force people to make economically poor choices”

      1. Gotham Gal

        The one super irritating thing about that article is that she never comes out and says “we as a society are screwed unless we start putting childcare and healthcare first so we don’t force people to make economically poor choices”YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.

      2. Erika Napoletano

        I’m not really bright enough to know what choice architecture means. I’m also not a feminist by a long shot. What I loved about the message in the scene I called out was that there’s a lack of respect for the choices of others and we penalize others for making choices we would not have made. How dare people NOT operate on OUR agendas?And I completely agree with regards to child and health care — the current state is a total pox on our culture.

        1. ShanaC

          I am a is the overriding issue with choice:http://femsacrossthepond.wo…If we turn feminism into a discussion about choices (which is in part the discussion going on in Mona Lisa Smiles) you end up in a situation where we’ve now disinclined people to talk about actually empowering choices. The fact one can make choices is feminist, but only for a limited group who have that ability. Hence, culture wars.getting over that hump means not talking about choices but rather the realities of life and how to make life work better…pretty much it

          1. leigh

            I’m a feminist too. I have no idea why women say they aren’t and fear it. wrote a post on that a long while back you’ll likehttp://leighhimel.blogspot….

          2. ShanaC

            they fear culture wars? Beats me.

      3. Guest

        Right you are…..Many political and social groups like to talk about ‘family values’ and ignore the economic impact of uncompensated caregiving and the financial sacrifices that women have made for centuries to care for their families. What is disconcerting is that the same groups seem to be the ones promoting a confluence of policies designed to invite women to step right back into the box that we are just beginning to exit.

  31. Rachel

    I swear the day I knew I was pregnant I started agonizing over just about everything! It is a woman thing and I really do think it makes the world go round. I relate to you in so many ways and really thought I’d be CEO at 30. Now that I realize how amazing hanging with a 2.5 yr old is, my CEO position can wait!

    1. JLM

      .Truth be told, you are hanging out with a 2.5 yr old CEO.Not a bad job, really..

    2. Donna Brewington White

      My best negotiating practice was with my 4 y.o. Nothing a client could throw at me could top him.

  32. JamesHRH

    Joanne – I don’t know what’s in my coffee this month, but I don’t agree with big parts of your post (i’ve been against the grain a lot on someone else’s blog, one that I frequent).Fred gets top billing (or sole billing) because of the Benjamins.The ‘public’ perception of Fred is “he’s loaded, he’s the Twitter guy’. Media people are lazy – they are going with the easily perceived generalization. If you had gone into VC, it would be you.They are not going to break out how you have an actual adult partnership and that he married you because he was planning on listening to you and building his entire life with you.Or that there were forks in the road that led to outcomes.Explaining that is like work – media people don’t do work ;-)As for Anne Marie, who has time to read that article? No wonder she has work life balance issues (I kid here). Her honesty is required dose of solid advice for all ambitious young people – of both genders, IMO.I think it is important to remember that men never wanted it all. And, that they never had it all.The world is a lot better off via equality. Feminism played a part (I have never taken the time to parse it) but its over now.As for Ms Sandberg, she is missing a key principle of media training. The most negative aspect of what she does is what will stick, because she is wildly successful. Or, in other words, she will end up being known as The Complaining Billionaire.I do agree with you on one vital point (with one addition) – make your choices, put your head down, it will work out (quit your bitching)!Oh, one more – family businesses are fantastic ideas, regardless of the gender of the founder / CEO, for all the reasons you list. They also tend to perform financially at a high level, as well.

  33. Danielle Lanyard

    what an inspiring tour de force of a post. your words resonated with me, as i just turned 33, single, female, doing my first capital raise. with potential investors and team members, i have been asked multiple times, unsolicitedly, if I plan on having children. the question rubs me the wrong way because there is no right answer. if i say yes, then this is a risk to my commitment to the startup. if i say no, i’m looked at the way society looks at unwed women who don’t want to children (read spinster, not bachelor!). the irony of the question is that i became an entrepreneur at age 27, and in the lead up to the recession. the risk has yet to pay off, and one of the real sacrifices i feel i made by becoming an entrepreneur is that i have to put off having children until i am in the professional and financial position to afford to raise children in new york. a small price to pay to live out my dream, but still. bottom line: i feel that posts like yours help us all grant ourselves the permission to openly discuss these things, and to then change them as a result. thanks for going out on this limb with your truthiness 🙂

    1. Erika Napoletano

      I believe the right answer to the unsolicited question on whether or not you’re planning on having children is, “None of your goddamned business.” If raising capital from people who don’t believe in ALL of your goals prevents you from celebrating and sharing ALL of your goals…then perhaps they’re not the right investors. Or team members. Life’s too short to do business — or sell a part of your business — to people who only want part of you. There is an incredible network of women-centric investors out there — and you shouldn’t seek them out solely because they’re women-centric. You should seek them out because this is YOUR company, they’re smart, and you owe it to yourself to honor your goals with people who respect those goals without questioning this odd little thing we have called a womb. Funny — everyone came out of one and there are people terrified of seeing a woman with something *in* one. Just my out-loud and possibly quite unpopular opinion. Enjoy the entrepreneurial adventure — it’s meant to be enjoyed!

  34. Kathleen Barrett

    This is such a fantastic post & perspective. As a woman approaching her late 30’s I have thought about all of these challenges since I entered the work-force full-time. I left a career at an investment bank moving in the direction I thought I’d always dreamed of (managing director one day? success in my career? financial freedom?) and decided to leave the path before I got too caught up. Everyone thought i was crazy to leave something I had worked for but I knew I had to build my own career and experience so that I would be fulfilled both professionally AND personally. I want to raise my kids one day and not miss soccer games. I know at 27 that sounds like a crazy reason to leave well-paying job but these things take time, everything is a journey! Thanks for your insight and congratulations on being able to find some sort of balance here. I hope more women really push for that and don’t just talk about it as something that is easily achieved and obvious.

  35. Jennifer McFadden

    Really great post. I consider myself lucky to have a pretty attentive husband who is a great dad. However, I’m still the one who spent time researching summer camps and building out excel spreadsheets to make sure that the kiddos have some balance of fun/engaging stuff to do this summer, as well as just some downtime. I’m still the one who has to figure out what we should do now that our high-school-aged sitter has decided to bail out on us on Wed/Thursday of this week (when I have a shit-ton of meetings already scheduled in NYC). I’m still the one who bought bathing suits and beach toys so that they’d be ready to go for the summer. I’m still the one who works from home 2-3 days per week and has to pick up after the sitter has been here with the kids all day.Despite all of the “progress,” there is still this over-riding assumption that we’re going to be the ones that get the shit done…and, I mean all of the shit–the babysitters, the house cleaning (or, organizing of housekeepers if you’re so lucky), the carpools, the clothes buying, the activity organizing, etc., etc. ad infinitum. It’s freaking exhausting…particularly, if you’re like me and have not just a day job, but a start-up that you’re trying to get off the ground as well.And, I should add, that we are not living in a state of type-A perfection in our house. It is usually a zoo–with kids coming and going between conference calls or coloring next to me on the floor of my office while I wait for the sitter who might be 2 hours late. There are still kids wearing cleats that they’ve outgrown because I didn’t have time–or, more likely, just completely freaking forgot to buy new ones before the first practice.You just don’t hear guys at cocktail parties or the park or the soccer field talking about this crap because, frankly, it’s still not in their domain. And that sucks. Sorry to say it and come off as sounding a bit bitter, but it sucks.And, yes, I recognize that this is my choice. And, there are certainly easier choices to make. Entrepreneurship certainly does supply some flexibility with your schedule; however, that flexibility often comes at the expense of sleep or free time (even for those people without kids!!).The issue that I have is that this balancing act–if that’s what you want to call it–is still largely misunderstood by most men (not all, most). I was watching shark tank with my kids the other night (somewhat random, we happened upon it!), and Mark Cuban actually asked one of the female founders, “if it was your child’s birthday and you had to choose between going to your child’s birthday party and having a meeting with a CEO of a major company that you’ve been trying to pitch, what would you do?” Come effing on already? Are you serious? That is just not something he would have asked a male founder. The amount of stuff that the average female founder (or, high-level exec) has to deal with on the home front every day in addition to their regular work is amazing. And yet we still do it. We just don’t get any credit for dotting all of the i’s, crossing the t’s and making sure that the fridge is stocked and the shoes are tied.The reality is that this is the path that I’ve chosen–and, that thousands of other women have chosen. And, with good reason. It is incredibly rewarding to build something, nurture it, see it through the highs/lows, and (hopefully!) reap the financial rewards of all of your efforts. There is something empowering about having control over your financial future and knowing that even without your spouse you can survive and take care of your family.It would just be awesome if there were better systems in place for all employees to work around the life that inevitably happens–whether you choose to have kids or not. And, it would be incredibly awesome for the guys to realize just how much we rock!

    1. LE

      and Mark Cuban actually asked one of the female founders, “if it was your child’s birthday and you had to choose between going to your child’s birthday party and having a meeting with a CEO of a major company that you’ve been trying to pitch, what would you do?” Come effing on already? Are you serious?I saw that episode the other night that you are referring to. The truth is if you are investing in a company you do need an idea of where the founder (or your partners) head is at and what their other obligations are. I don’t think that it is wrong that Mark asked that in the sense that he could have easily asked a similar question with a man (that didn’t involve children) to gauge the seriousness of the founder and their commitment. Although I can’t point to a specific episode I have seen Mark make comments about a person’s time that they have available to the business. (It might have been a single dad..)People might of course assume wrongly that a man always has his head to the grindstone and a woman might miss an important event for a birthday party. I wouldn’t. I would want to know the level of commitment from anyone I am investing in or becoming partners with.

      1. Gotham Gal

        I am not so sure I agree that the question is going to confirm anyone’s level of commitment. I am interested in someone who is committed to the success of their company. I’d rather invest in an entrepreneur who knows when to put family first (pretty much always) and how to balance their life. I’d hope that a smart entrepreneur would own their own schedule and make sure that they can do the party, and the meeting.

        1. LE

          I think it would be fascinating to put together a panel discussion in NYC regarding these issues and what has been raised in this post. It would certainly draw more attention to the topic. Time permitting I would be glad to lend any assistance that I can.

          1. Gotham Gal

            it would be fascinating.

          2. Donna Brewington White

            That’s a great idea @domainregistry:disqus

      2. ShanaC

        You know, my mom once missed by birthday for a code push. Apparently I was very upset (I was in like 1st grade and I don’t remember this happening)I don’t think he realizes how tough that question is. Especially for the parents. It does border on inappropriate, mostly on the assumption that those sorts of meetings should be calendared out in advance!

        1. LE

          “meetings should be calendared out in advance!”The most important thing for children is to have stability. Stability takes money and a secure job. Jobs and business are mercurial and your fortunes can change at a moments notice. In the case of the birthday obviously that is something that can be scheduled but the point is what is the harm of missing a birthday party vs. an important date or meeting? Each situation is of course different. In retrospect it is easy to see what was important (on the deathbed) but not when the event is happening.As I like to say “you never know the thing that leads to the thing”. Success (and forgetting success not failing) requires tremendous effort (unless you have some big advantage of course).I once saw a Dr. Phil show where he was counseling a man whose wife complained that he was spending to much time on his new contracting business (this was during the boom). Dr. Phil strongly sided with the wife in this one. In his opinion the husband could afford to spend less time on the business. Dr. Phil of course never ran that type of business so he has no clue what goes on in that industry.Running a small contracting company is not like working an extra shift at a retail store where you get paid a fixed rate and you can decide to work less hours and make a little less but that is the only thing you loose. Business is boom and bust. You have to store things up for when things are lean. (As happened in the early 00’s). Dr. Phil became a big mahoff because he managed to get hooked in with Oprah (which he earned I don’t dispute that).Making a decision to spend time or not spend time on family things is not clear cut just like taking a drug is not clear cut. There are always side effects from actions you take. You just have to decide to accept some negative in exchange for something positive and weigh the pros and cons in each particular situation.My dad did much worse then missing a birthday (he never missed a birthday but I’m saying he did other crappy things like parents back in the day did). But he is financially secure (enough) and not a burden on me now and did well enough to send me to a private school and Wharton. What’s that worth? Sure there were drawbacks but he did what he thought was right to provide for us. (My mom also worked once we were a little older as well and still did everything in the house.)

      3. Dale Allyn

        The answer to Mark should have been quick and confident: “I know my child’s birthdate and the event would be scheduled on my calendar that I am not available at that time for a meeting. I can meet before or after the commitment if I have openings in my calendar (or can make reasonable adjustments) when the time comes.”I saw the episode and found the remark insulting and misguided. I understand the point of needing to know how much an investor is getting in terms of commitment, but what is the quality of that commitment if the person is distracted or guilt-ridden, or worse, ends up with other family issues which complicate things, all because of putting that meeting before family? I experienced this as one who has always been a work-aholic and often placed business before family… then I grew up.IMO Mark was wrong in the premise of his question, but in another way it could have been clever – if to him, the correct answer was that the CEO of the major company can have the meeting at a different time. That’s the person he should look closely at as a possible investment, so long as there’s an intelligent balance.Sometimes it’s best to say No Thank You… for Your Investment. An investor must make money to stay in the game, but if s/he is not interested in the person in whom they’re investing, and qualities which contribute to long-term success, then it’s best to walk away.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Well said, Dale.

    2. Donna Brewington White

      I completely relate to this. Completely. The amount that I get done is inhuman. Building a business and raising four kids in a fairly complex part of the country for raisng kids.Even though my husband is more involved than the “typical” dad and is a fantastic father he doesn’t have a clue what sizes our children wear and he does not keep a calendar. He is not thinking about colleges.Of course, I don’t sleep. And sometimes I wonder if I will live to see old age. But you know what, we are freaking amazing. It is always encouraging to realize that I am not alone, that there is a club out there of the “freaking amazing.”

  36. AMT Editorial Staff

    Enjoyed this. 3 points. 1. The media rarely embraces anyone…imagine being a politician. It creates a vacuum for talent. 2. You can preserve youth, that is what Bikram Yoga can do. 3. Our ME also thought she’d grow up to be Fred Wilson. But being Joanne Wilson is more like it!

  37. Pamela

    Thank you Joanne! I read an article once asking a successful women about balance. She responded “there is no balance, I just do the best I can”. As a working women some weeks you wonder how you will get the job done with the school play and the sporting events. Other weeks you are traveling and don’t see your children at all. I don’t believe there is an easy answer or that any working women feels either role is done perfectly. What upsets me is that women are viewed as weak because of the choices they make. We do need to speak up and be strong.

  38. Jessica Obermayer

    Joanne:Thank you for this – breathtaking. Real. And a topic usually danced around: How do we openly come out and share the pain of our choices? There are no ‘perfect’ choices for women – and, until we become more accepting of those women who don’t choose what WE chose – we won’t share openly. There will not be an open understanding of what the choices and costs are for the young women to understand.The decisions we make… are so difficult and, for some of us, baggage we carry for years: All the should-a, would-a, maybe-if types of back-and-forth….And your other topic – the nonsense we continue to endure that it’s the guy who is the source of all the wonderment and brainpower and whatever – well, of course it’s him. Right.A book I read on Elizabeth I, the queen, explained how she would not marry – categorically refused to do so – because she knew that it would detract from her power. Interesting, no? Ironically enough, one doesn’t have to marry in order to have one’s power taken away – but, regardless of whether one is married to the guy or not, the end result is the same. AND, it’s not the guy who does it: It’s the people around us who do it. Why is that? Thank you again, Joanne. Your post really touched a nerve – judging from the number of comments already – for many of us!Jessica

  39. Grace Ng

    Joanne, thank you so much for your inspiring and honest insight as a driven woman, especially sharing the repercussions of your decisions. I experience many of these difficulties in decision-making as a female entrepreneur and it’s nice to have others to look up to in this.

  40. Cam MacRae

    Awesome post, GG.I found Anne-Marie Slaughter’s riff to timely and thought provoking – steeled my resolve to do better next business.

  41. AG

    I have been so inspired by you and this blog and only wish I had someone with your wisdom to turn to for guidance as I begin making these critical decisions and embarking on my own career path. The things you do to support women and blaze a trail that was not there for you needs no qualification or refernce to your husband for credibiliy’s sake. In my opinion, women like you who are not only successful, but who are also acutely aware of their ability o give back in powerful ways that honor their strengths and talents, are true role models. So thanks for that.

  42. Lally

    I am running at 300% these days so I gave myself 10 minutes to read just one blog post. I’m glad that I read yours because you made my day! Keep in going in our behalf, Joanne. I and some other women will catch up with you soon.

  43. melissam

    What a great article! Well-times in my life. RYou’re perfectly right when you say that women need to be transparent. I realized how much so when I had my baby daughter. Women of thr workd speak out! Thanks for sharing this!

  44. Pete Griffiths

    This is a great post.I just heard the Anne-Marie interview on NPR and found it inspirationally honest and this is a wonderful continuation of the debate.I have a 22 year old daughter who has deeply considered these matters at her young age. As you say, women have to make more decisions and they have to take responsibility for their personal lives earlier than do most men.Funnily enough most people don’t yet know that the single most valuable thing you can do to increase the effectiveness of a team is add women to it. This has been studied and the result is consistent. It is something I have observed throughout my career and I love hiring women.I totally agree with your approach of supporting women entrepreneurs. If they are in charge they will find a way to make compromises that work for them and their family. Sp people like you giving them the chance is incredibly important.So I say – thanks for the post and please do keep up the good work.

  45. David Smuts

    Trying to get a culture shift in our world to move away from our “male” fixation is like trying to move a mountain! Just a small example, but a powerful one here; when women marry they lose their name, they take their husband’s family name. So, “Mrs Wilson” the name, will always, in some way or other, denote ownership by Wilson, even before anyone has got to know you or hear your voice.GG, have you ever thought about going by the name Solomon? or Solomon-Wilson?D

  46. rcaccappolo

    just want to say “thanks” for sharing such an honest, important, and thought-provoking post – for both sexes

  47. jimmystone

    Great post. Your writing is fearless, intelligent, and inspiring.

  48. ShanaC

    At this point, I’m just glad that you and her are blazing new paths so I don’t have to think about this issue as much.And I wouldn’t be surprised if what she writes becomes a flashpoint in one of the upcoming election cycles

  49. Sophia A.

    Thanks for writing this-best thing I read all week. Did you see this response in the HBR blog to the Slaughter piece-

    1. Gotham Gal

      I did. Love it!

  50. TheresaSzczurek

    Joanne — Thanks for your great message. From a female entrepreneur and CEO (Radish Systems), wife, and mother juggling it all like so many women, I want to recognize the support system (the wind under the wings) that helps make the juggling act possible. For me that supports includes my business partner and husband Richard Davis. What I would love to see are more angel and VC and institutional investors supporting female entrepreneurs with good business ideas. Female entrepreneurs only attract a small fraction of investment funds. That is why @SpringboardEnt and @Astiaglobal are helping women entrepreneurs succeed.

  51. JinalShah

    Thank you for writing this. I am 29 and don’t have children yet but it is a thought that plagues my mind every day. It feels like a train ride.. that if I get off at this stop, I’ll somehow miss getting to the destination or will arrive there much later than everyone else. In fact, my boss (who is also a woman) jokes with me and has commented a few times that I shouldn’t have children yet. It is a joke, but it isn’t really. I work in a man’s industry and I know my boss has had to fight to be where she is right now. Her intentions are wise, but does it have to be that way? I don’t want to be known as my husband’s wife. I didn’t change my name after marriage because I want to be my own person and have my own career path. Decisions..decisions…I want to hear more about your struggle as a family and as a woman. It is an inspiration. Thank you again.

  52. Dale Allyn

    A lot has been said (and I’m a bit late) so I’ll just add my “great post, Joanne”. Excellent comment thread as well.

  53. Brookman

    Thank you for being an inspiration for women with entrepreneurial spirits to value their contributions — in whatever form they take — and to own them as valuable first so that others may as well. You are forging the way for the younger generation and, as a 28 year-old at the very beginning of my own career as an entrepreneur, I hope to do the same in time!

  54. LE

    but the one thing that I found irritating more than anything else was under my name in Business Insider it had to mention that I was married to Fred Wilson. Really? It certainly did not mention under Fred WIlson’s name that he was married to Joanne Wilson.I thought about this a little more.If you were married to a politician or celebrity (or head of some important department at New York-Presbyterian they would have mentioned that as well since the public would find that interesting and it would add color and perspective. Fred is a visible person in the startup community so it makes sense to mention that. Unless something is super obvious (nobody needs to mention who Hilary is married to anymore..)As far as “It certainly did not mention under Fred WIlson’s name that he was married to Joanne Wilson.” that is because you are not that well known. You aren’t a member of a VC firm and most people who don’t know Fred don’t know much about you. So the press isn’t going to talk about that.Your about page says only this “continue to be involved with start-ups by investing money and time.” and the rest really isn’t related to business or investing (it mentions things you’ve done in the past or your hobbies, right?). It’s personal info about you and would be hard for someone (a writer) to grasp and give credit to you in the way they should. I’m sure that’s intentional on your part and that you probably didn’t think you really cared or that it mattered.As far as this ” I have been involved in the world of education since the mid-90s and we have been discussing the important of education, STEM and how we need to do something to make NYC the best place in the world around our kitchen table for ever. ” Fred’s post in January on AFSE mentioned your involvement as such “The Gotham Gal and I have provided the initial financial support to hire a new schools team and recruit a top notch Principal.”. So anyone reading that would in no way know of your involvement. It seems as if you have joint assets and you approved and supported this. In no way would someone know of your involvement as you have stated above very clearly.It was apparent to me from Fred’s post that he was trying to be humble and deferential in thanking Bloomberg and the teacher and in turn perhaps forgot to thank the person who was most responsible for the school.Conclusion: It’s mostly Fred’s fault! (Seriously I’m sure this isn’t going to happen again..)Added: It’s probably a good idea to put a link on the the top menu bar to your investments and work the words “angel investor” into the top part that says “Joanne Wilson loves food…” along with a link (again) to the investments.

    1. Gotham Gal

      who i am married to when i am written about is irrelevant, period.

      1. Anne Libby

        As well as what you’re wearing, whether you’re wearing mascara, etc…

        1. Gotham Gal

          ha. exactly

    2. Donna Brewington White

      Good points, LE

  55. Janet Hanson

    Joanne,Your rocked this one. Here’s what I think (reading between the lines) — you were so amped up at such a young age that Fred was able to feed off of your energy — you know that trite old expression– “behind every great man is a great woman.” In your case this happens to be FACT. What is too freaking cool for words — Fred sees you as an equal partner in every aspect of your lives. So don’t worry about the people who don’t get that or see that — the only person who matters is the man you’re married to because HE GETS IT. Celebrate how lucky you guys are to have such an extraordinary partnership — that you’ve tripped the light fantastic together — that’s what your kids see – it’s their “lens” that matters — f*** everyone else!Your Copenhagen pix were incredible. By the way, this was one of your best blogs ever.

  56. Donna Brewington White

    I love this post. I am going to dub you the women’s liberator because you say things that are so freeing.But, in terms of being married to Fred, he has become something of a celebrity — maybe even a brand (and I’ve spent enough time at AVC to believe that he would shun those designations). I imagine that it would be hard for the world to ignore that you are married to him. Of course, people are going to assume that some, if not much, of your success is based on his. Those of who have heard the story know that he attributes much of his success to you.

  57. ellen

    This post really resonance today. My friend’s daughter just got a tremendous opportunity in business. This opportunity can be very stressful and tiring. It would occur almost immediately and she is newly pregnant. Health of baby vs. business opportunity. Now men don’t have this problem.

  58. Mark Essel

    Anyone with sense knows how much the women in their life juggle professional and private life. I’m thankful every day I get to spend in the company of my vibrant wife Michelle. We share an avatar on Disqus because her presence and energy is hard wired in the back of my mind.Hope media doesn’t get ya down

  59. Jacqueline Wilde

    Joanne – glad I finally got around to reading this post. totally agree with you that it’s all about making decisions. It’s not about sacrifices, and maybe some trade-offs are involved, but however a woman decides to approach her career, family and personal life is a choice.We don’t need to wait for the macro system to change to give us more control – already we inherently have the control to make the choices that are best for us. Sure, there are roadblocks in certain industries, and there are social norms that may make a woman’s path a little more challenging. But we can’t wait for our environment to change. All we can control are the choices we make to bring us closer to what’s most important to us. Ultimately these choices are driven by a desire to be happy. That definition of happiness is different for every man and woman. Happiness to me is making time for the people I care about most, staying active and healthy, and doing work that serves a higher purpose. I myself am an aspiring female entrepreneur and chose this path for the exact reason that Marie mentioned in her article – having more control over my own schedule than your typical 9-5 office job. In the end, this path helps me to do more of what makes me happy. :-)- Jacqueline

    1. Gotham Gal

      it is all about being happy. if you are happy, your kids are happy.

  60. laurenwick


  61. William Mougayar

    Wow, I had missed this blockbuster post/comments while I was on vacation and tried to disconnect a bit. Your passion, authority and clarity come across in a strong and convincing way.Yes, the world needs more women role models like you and the other women on these lists. I was so wishing for Hillary Clinton to have become President 4 years. I think it would have been a game-changer.

    1. Gotham Gal

      i was for hillary too. am a huge fan.