Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Being First; not always a good thing!

Tiger Woods, who cheated on his wife with numerous women who have since last Thanksgiving sought their own 15 minutes of fame, is going to resume his golf career next month at Augusta National (“The Masters”), a club that has no women as members. Does anyone else find this amusing?

Augusta is, of course, delighted; hotels and restaurants will be full again and the city can use the revenue. Mr. Woods, in the embrace of an all-male environment, will be free to demonstrate his skills (as a golfer, I mean), and Billy Payne, who brought the Olympics to Atlanta, can chalk up another success.

Membership in Augusta National is by invitation; there are reported to be women on the waiting list and one expects one or more will eventually receive an invitation to join. In this environment, I’d hate to be first.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

International Women's Day 2010 - "And the Winner is . . ."

In Atlanta, we celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8, with a focus on international business and international careers for women.

Many of the women present had never been abroad; some had immigrated to the United States from . . . Canada, Germany, Haiti, Latvia, the Netherlands, Singapore, and a few had traveled abroad. Few had done business internationally and even fewer expected to have international careers. Nearly all agreed that “global” is here to stay and that we must become comfortable functioning in an interconnected world.

Permit me to share some highlights with you, in the event you were not there in person:

We talked about the status of women in the business worlds of Japan (serving) and China (leading).

The dominance of U.S. diplomatic influence in international business and law was touched on.

A fascinating insight was provided by an attendee who had in the near past attended a women’s leadership conference in Turkey, where women from twelve different countries had compared notes. Her conclusion was that while women in the business world all deal with the same issues, “balance” and equality among them, we all come to them from different starting points.

We talked about the fact that the U.S. is isolated between Canada, Mexico and two oceans, thwarting global curiosity, but the argument that “we are still a young country and still have a lot to learn” was countered by our immigrant from Singapore, who mentioned that her native country (46 years old, vs. the U.S.’s “old age” of 234) had already successfully figured it out.

Much emphasis was placed on the need to hire an employee or consultant who is intimately at home in the next country in which you want to do business.

Four attendees gave their input into “favorite country to visit” and named, respectively, Dubai, France, Italy and Sri Lanka.

Putting it all into perspective, this contribution came from the attendee who had been at the conference in Turkey. Another participant in the conference had been a business woman from Saudi Arabia, who had been hired by a firm that “broke the rules” (i.e. hiring a woman was anathema in this particular industry and in business in general) and who could not report to work for the first three months of her employment, because . . . contractors had to be brought in to add a woman’s restroom to the premises. Office complexes in Saudi Arabia, it was mentioned, are built without ladies’ rooms, because no business ever anticipates hiring a woman!

So, our award for IWD 2010, if there is one, goes to the Saudi Arabian company that broke precedent, recognized women (well, at least one woman!) as valuable contributors in the business world and trumped its peers! Way to go!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Karen Handel for Governor

The idea that I would ever support a Republican candidate for anything – even going so far as to write a check in order to contribute to a campaign – had never occurred to me until this year.

But look a the landscape: the choices in this year’s election for the next Governor of the Great State of Georgia will ultimately come down to a choice between (Democrat) Roy Barnes and the person the Republicans decide to nominate this summer. Roy Barnes, a “good ole boy” if there ever was one, has already been governor once (he was ignominiously deposed by that other “good ole boy” Sonny Perdue 8 years ago).

So, what is one to do? Support Karen Handel, of course! I first knew her when she was the President of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce. In 2006, as a candidate for Georgia Secretary of State, she graciously came to my “Crossing Bridges” international business women’s conference to welcome the conferees (Mayor Shirley Franklin was in China or some place at the time and nobody from her office was available . . . that says something, too, doesn’t it?). Over the years, Karen Handel has made an excellent impression on me, and on other women in the business world. Thus, I am happy to support her candidacy.

Others, apparently, are of the same mind. These are the current poll numbers, provided by Karen’s campaigns, in the race for the Republican nomination:

Oxendine 27%
Handel 19%
Deal 13%
Johnson 3%
Scott 3%
Chapman 2%
McBerry 2%
Undecided 32%

Comments from the campaign:

There are some conclusions to be drawn from the latest survey data:
The momentum is clearly on Karen's side as this is just the latest of several polls that have shown growth and movement for Karen's campaign.

Karen's message of reform, cutting spending and job creation is clearly resonating with the voters. While the numbers have stayed stagnant for the other candidates, Karen has shown tremendous growth over the past several months.

While Eric Johnson is widely perceived to be a top-tier candidate (largely because of his initial fundraising success) he is still languishing in the single digits with Austin Scott, Jeff Chapman and below the margin of error.

This poll was conducted before Congressman Deal's announcement that he will be resigning from Congress on Monday - an event that appears to be having a significant negative impact on his campaign. At this stage of the campaign it is shaping up to be a largely two-person race between John Oxendine and Karen Handel.

Can Karen Handel become the first woman governor of Georgia? I think she can, and I would sure like to see it come about!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Consumer Protection Legislation Needed

Not my first op-ed in a major publication, but certainly my first in The Hill! Yahoo!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Who Are You?

Far more people listen to Tori Johnson than read this blog, but she and I are on the same page when it comes to career advice.

On “Good Morning America” today, her advice for looking for a job included that networking should be about who you are and what your talents are, not be defined by your job – past or present. In other words, people will hear you when you say you are a sustainability expert and tune you out when you introduce yourself as the CSO of XYZ Corporation.

In my case, I am, at my core, a writer. I am also the CEO of The Oliver/Sorano Group, and the Founder & Principal of Atlanta Women in Business, but that’s not what draws people in need of my services to me. “Writer” does.

So, who are you?