The Broadsheet: October 9th

October 9, 2014, 11:35 AM UTC
Fortune

Good morning, Broadsheet readers. I’m back in New York after an inspiring three days at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit in Laguna Niguel. Read on to hear what Melinda Gates shared about her latest philanthropic work, and to learn more about Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s warning to U.S. businesses. Have a great Thursday!

EVERYONE'S TALKING

 Melinda Gates' No. 1 priority. To improve the lives of women and girls around the world, access to contraceptives is essential, said the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-founder. Family planning, she said, can change the trajectory of a woman's life and the lives of her children. "We think... 14 million girls are married before the age of 18," she said, and the maternal mortality rate is still "huge around the world." Fortune

 

 

FROM THE MPW SUMMIT

 Commerce Secretary warns U.S. businesses. Penny Pritzker says any company doing work in China should have its "eyes wide open" to intellectual property threats. The Chinese have said that they are interested in a more "open and modern type of an economy, but the actions don’t match up with that right now," she added.  Fortune

 The CEO revolutionizing medical testing. "Fundamentally, the answers to our challenges in healthcare relies in engaging and empowering the individual,” says Elizabeth Holmes, CEO and founder of medical-testing company Theranos. To give people more information about their health, Holmes' company has developed a process to run a wide range of medical lab testing in a short period of time using only the smallest sampling of blood. Theranos is now valued at $9 billion, and was the subject of a recent Fortune cover story. Fortune

 The importance of the 'stay interview.' As managers think about retaining top talent from the millennial generation, support is key. “At GE, we need to make sure 38,000 managers do a great job at asking ‘How are you doing?’ ‘What is important to you?’ ‘What does happiness mean to you right now?,’” said Susan Peters, the SVP of human resources at GE. "Managers need to think more about the ‘stay interview’ instead of the ‘exit interview,’" she added. Fortune

 Entrepreneurs tackle scaling and failure. Members of Fortune's 2014 class of Most Promising Women Entrepreneurs spoke about the biggest challenges they faced on the path to success. Debbie Sterling, founder and CEO of GoldieBlox, which makes engineering toys for girls, said her biggest hurdle was getting people to believe there was market viability for her product. "I am trying to innovate and not rely on these old stereotypes," she said. Fortune

BROADVIEW

GM's Mary Barra on looking back while moving forward 

Just a few weeks after Mary Barra became CEO of GM in January, disaster hit. A defect in millions of the auto maker's vehicles caused a number of deadly crashes and tarnished the company's image.

The past nine months, as GM recalled more than 29 million vehicles, have been a “whirlwind,” Barra said Wednesday at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit. And while the CEO is adamant that her company never forgets the destructive past that led to the recall, she is hopeful for what the future will bring.

“I do think that it is something we never want to forget. There are tremendous opportunities to improve. We need to deal with it,” said Barra in an interview with Fortune Editor Alan Murray. “Just because you have been… in the industry for 100 years doesn’t mean you have the right to be here tomorrow.”

Barra believes that the auto industry will change more in the next five to ten years than it did in the last 50. Among the innovations that she is eager to pursue is autonomous driving. While Google [X] may be leading the way with its driverless car experiments, GM also is exploring options to implement the technology in its own vehicles. Driverless cars have the potential of reducing traffic and making driving more efficient, but Americans may not be ready for it just yet, she added.

Click over to Fortune.com to read my full story

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

Female execs says sports breed success. A majority of women executives say that a sports background can help accelerate a woman’s leadership and career potential, according to research released today by the EY Women Athletes Business Network and espnW. The majority of C-suite women surveyed (52%)  played sports at the university level, compared to 39% of women at other management levels.  EY, espnW 

Thousands head to Phoenix amid tech gender gap.  The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, a conference for female programmers that is now in its twentieth year, drew more than 8,000 executives, academics and students this year, up 68% from in 2013. “We used to beg students to go to Grace Hopper. Now they’re begging for funding” to attend, a source told Bloomberg Bloomberg 

Can watermelon squeeze into the juicing craze? Illinois farmer Sarah Frey-Talley has figured out a way to juice watermelons. "We took an inconvenient item that Americans like to eat anyway and we put it in a bottle," she told Fortune. She is hoping the trend catches on: "Otherwise I'll have to sell a farm." Fortune 

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Dr. Lisa Su, former COO of computer chip firm Advanced Micro Devices Inc., is now CEO and presidentVivian Schiller, former head of news for Twitter,  is leaving the company as part of a consolidation.

ON MY RADAR

How the Ray Rice scandal could factor into the midterm WSJ 

Men dominate list of doctors receiving largest payments from drug companies NYTimes

Is Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong in charge? CNN

Michelle Obama talks Spanx  NY Daily News

QUOTE

Do something you are passionate about and do something you love. If you do something you are passionate about, you are naturally going to succeed. There are so many choices you can make. Do something you are passionate about. Life is too short.

GM CEO Mary Barra's advice for The Broadsheet's young readers.