Good morning, Broadsheet readers! We meet Essence’s ‘Woke 100,’ Theresa May readies for a snap election, and Shonda Rhimes says she’s ‘absolutely’ interested in joining a corporate board. Have a fantastic Tuesday.
• Queen of all media. Yesterday afternoon I attended an Amex panel featuring Shondaland founder, new Planned Parenthood board member, and Year of Yes author Shonda Rhimes—and grabbed a few minutes to talk to the media powerhouse when she got off stage. Here, a few of my takeaways:
She may have another board seat in her future. Rhimes told me that she took the Planned Parenthood seat because president Cecile Richards asked. “When someone who’s doing something amazing asks you to serve, you serve,” she said. While Rhimes didn’t comment on reports that Twitter reached out to her last year about a possible seat, she did say that she’s interested in serving on a corporate or startup board. “Absolutely. For the right one I would do that,” she said.
Sometimes it really is all about putting in the hours. Getting Shondaland off the ground wasn’t really about money, she told the panel audience. “I was willing to stay longer and work harder than most people,” said Rhimes. “You can have one show or you can have six—I thought, ‘Why not have six?'”
Building a mega-brand means caring about every little thing… Early on, the network started selling Grey’s Anatomy-branded scrubs. Rhimes wanted the scrubs to be worthy of her brand and got involved, naming and approving them. “I said, ‘let’s make plus-size, let’s put stretch in them.’ They became best-selling scrubs.” She says she sees every single thing she does as an extension of Shondaland.
…and learning how to delegate. You have to invest in the people who work for you, says Rhimes, adding that all new hires are indoctrinated in the “Shondaland way.” Hire people you trust and let them do their jobs, she says: “You can’t work in a hero-model company—or at least I can’t!”
Finally, I’ll leave you with Rhimes’ response to my question about how she balances her role as a business leader with her willingness to voice her political opinions on Twitter and in other public forums: “I don’t think my uterus is a political opinion.”
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Get woke. And speaking of Rhimes: The Shondaland boss earned a spot on Essence’s first-even “Woke 100,” a list of “women who are blazing trails for equal rights and inclusion for Black people in America.” Also on the ranking, Fortune‘s own Ellen McGirt, the woman behind raceAhead, a newsletter that examines culture and diversity in corporate America. If you’re not already a subscriber, check it out here.
• May calls for June. British PM Theresa May says she will call an early general election on June 8—an apparent effort to give herself more leeway in Brexit negotiations. It’s a major reversal for May, who has repeatedly said the U.K. needed stability during its exit from the EU.
• Mo’ money, mo’ problems? Refinery29‘s Ashley C. Ford, who says she earns significantly more money than her partner, polled 130 other millennial women who are the primary breadwinner in their homes on their feelings about the arrangement. She finds that, “the troubles they face can rarely be boiled down to the single issue of money. Like most relationships, the real problems are expectations and communication.”
• Moving south. First Lady Melania Trump and her 11-year-old son Barron will move into the White House this summer.
• Listen in. This week’s episode of Fortune Unfiltered features Joanne Lipman, chief content officer of Gannett and editor-in-chief of the USA Today.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: After the abrupt ouster of Arconic CEO chairman Klaus Kleinfeld yesterday, director Patricia Russo is stepping in as interim chairman at the metals manufacturing company.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Bleed and feed. This is op-ed, Chelsea Clinton weighs in on the importance of openly discussing breastfeeding and menstruation. “Far too many girls and boys alike are socialized to think these are shameful topics,” she writes.
• All day, every day. On the fifth anniversary of the Everyday Sexism Project, founder Laura Bates reflects on what she’s learned from years of asking women to document the sexism they experience on a day-to-day basis.
• All access pass. Shannon Donnelly, a columnist at The Palm Beach Daily News, has been covering Donald Trump since he bought Mar-a-Lago in 1985. And while the other journalists covering the president are often cordoned off when he visits the “Southern White House,” Donnelly retains an unusual degree of access.
New York Times
• Give til it hurts. Meet Abra Annes, an auctioneer who specializes in nonprofit fundraising, presiding over silent auctions and fund-a-needs, where audience members are “asked to make a donation in exchange for nothing but gratitude, albeit in a public forum.” Annes takes home fees of as much as $10,000 a pop, but says she can often double the amount raised by a benefit.
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