Good morning, Broadsheet readers. A male CEO’s decision to leave his job is shifting the discussion about work-life balance. Read on to see why the first African-American woman to lead a top business school thinks it is a “do or die” moment for female leaders.
• CEO quits job to be a better dad. Max Schireson is making headlines for saying he is stepping down as CEO of database company MongoDB, in order to better balance the dueling demands of fatherhood and running a company. “Friends and colleagues often ask my wife how she balances her job and motherhood,” Schireson wrote in a blog post. “Somehow, the same people don’t ask me.” Moral of the story: The “having it all” debate is moving beyond gender.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Ex-Yahoo exec dishes on Alibaba deal. When it comes to Yahoo’s dealings with Chinese Internet giant Alibaba, the third time was the charm. Former Yahoo president Sue Decker writes that Yahoo learned “failing fast” was important, after multiple missteps down the road toward securing a partnership with Alibaba. Decker claims it was persistence and a constant rejiggering of strategy that allowed Yahoo to finally strike a deal with the tech giant that in 2005 was valued at $4 billion. When Alibaba goes public next month, the company may be worth more than $150 billion.
• American Apparel’s first female board member is ready for the challenge. Colleen Brown, a former CEO of Fisher Communications, knows that rebuilding the teen retailer will be tricky, but she is anxious to get started. “I believe that having a woman on the board is essential to being competitive in today’s world. Two is even better, and three is even that much better,” she said in an interview.
• Tesla adds a female board member. The electric car maker said Robyn Denholm will join its board. She will be the only woman in a senior role at Tesla and just the second female board member in the company’s history. Denholm is the CFO and EVP of networking products giant Juniper Networks.
• First ladies break party lines for women. Their husbands may disagree on many points, but Michelle Obama and Laura Bush are teaming up to promote women’s rights. At a forum sponsored for visiting African leaders during the U.S.-Africa summit in Washington, the first ladies talked about their shared experiences in the White House and their mutual desire to fuel the education and health of women around the world.
• Men and women are split on the future of the economy. Women are siding with Democrats on issues like the minimum wage and income inequality, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. Men and women also differ dramatically when it comes to viewing opportunities to succeed in the U.S. While a majority of men say that anyone can succeed, just 37% of women feel the same.
• MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Shelley Diamond, a veteran account manager at advertising firm Young & Rubicam, is now the company’s chief client officer.
Emory dean: It’s a “do or die ” moment for women in business
The fact that we can still identify most of the female business leaders in the U.S. by name is a problem, says Erika Hayes James, Dean of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.
The first African-American woman to lead a top business school, James sat down with Fortune on Wednesday to discuss her plans for Emory. James assumed the dean post just three weeks ago, but already she’s putting wheels in motion to leverage Emory’s brand to recruit more top-tier MBA candidates from outside the Atlanta area, where Goizueta is based. James says she plans to use her personal brand as well to level the playing field for women MBA candidates.
“As we have more and more female deans of top business schools, we need to coalesce and come together,” she says. “We need to be bold in finding ways to create greater access and make business in general a more attractive place for women.”
James views MBA programs as pipeline builders for upcoming female talent in business. Historically, business schools have been inhospitable to women, but she says that deans across the U.S, have a responsibility to make sure no unconscious biases exist to prevent women MBA candidates from excelling. With only 22% of American business schools led by women, James says that getting more women to lead top programs could help.
“We really have got to be strategic in how we develop talent and nurture talent,” she says. “Otherwise, you are just seeing the anomalies. Those anomalies will leave and you’ll have a dry pipeline again.”
On her way into Fortune‘s offices, James noticed our recent magazine cover featuring Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. While she says it’s great that women in business are getting so much attention now, she is working to ensure that soon a woman leading a Fortune 500 company isn’t so newsworthy.
“Once we are graduating enough women with a high level of confidence and competence, then I think it becomes commonplace,” says James.
How can business schools more effectively recruit female talent? Email me at email@example.com with your thoughts.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• France eases abortion restrictions. French women can now get an abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, no questions asked. Previously, a woman in France only could get an abortion if she was in a condition of distress.
• NFL boss refuses to testify on cheerleader pay. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is claiming he doesn’t know enough to testify in court about recent claims by cheerleaders alleging they were underpaid. Goodell’s lawyers called the request for his appearance in court “unwarranted and is, at best, a fishing expedition or, at worst, an improper ploy for media coverage.” I’m calling his response a cop out given that the problem now spans multiple NFL franchises.
• Nine West advertises shoes that will get you a “starter husband.” A pair of leopard peep-toe stilettos are great for “starter husband hunting,” according to new Nine West ads, whereas black booties are essential for the mom crying as she drops her kid off for the first day of kindergarten. You have to see it to believe it.
ON MY RADAR
|I don’t believe that history is going to spontaneously take us forward, so going towards more equality needs us to be politically proactive.”|
|-- France’s Minister For Women’s Rights Najat Vallaud-Belkacem on the law introduced in France to ease abortion restrictions.|