Skip to Content

The Broadsheet: November 7th

Happy Friday, Broadsheet readers. Two of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women in Business are now dealing with huge disruptions at their respective firms. Read on to learn why the newly-appointed board president of the Girl Scouts is optimistic about the state of corporate America. Have a great weekend!


 A long road to the top. For most female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies, the path to the C-Suite wasn’t a hopscotch route from elite college to elite business school to a variety of jobs at investment banks, consulting firms and big companies. Instead, over 20% took low-level jobs right out of school at the same companies they now run, according to new research from the Harvard Business Review. Also, only three Fortune 500 female CEOs had a job at a consulting firm or bank right out of college. The finding suggests it may be time to rework the case study for young women with executive ambitions. HBR


Meet J.P. Morgan’s biggest nightmare. Securities lawyer Alayne Fleischmann blew the whistle on J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. after what she describes as “massive criminal securities fraud” in the bank’s mortgage operations. As legal action gets underway, Fleischmann told Rolling Stone that “I could lose my license to practice law. I could lose everything. But if we don’t start speaking up, then this really is all we’re going to get: the biggest financial cover-up in history.” Rolling Stone

 ADM’s new CEO. Pat Woertz, CEO of Archer Daniels Midland and No. 8 on Fortune’s Most Powerful Women list, is retiring in January. The $90 billion agricultural giant soon will be led by Juan Luciano, ADM’s current president and chief operating officer. Chicago Tribune

 Nooyi’s second big loss. PepsiCo President Zein Abdalla, a favorite to succeed CEO Indra Nooyi, announced he is leaving the company just months after another possible successor, Brian Cornell, departed to become CEO of Target.  WSJ

 Best companies for women. Ranking firms on upward mobility and a culture of support for women and their families, Daily Worth found Key Bank and are among the top workplaces for female talent. Key Bank is led by CEO Beth Mooney, while is led by CEO Sheila Marcelo. Daily Worth

• Hungry after getting fired. Nina Jacobson, the producer of The Hunger Games, was pushed to start her own production company after getting unexpectedly let go as president of Walt Disney’s Buena Vista Motion Picture Group. With just seven employees focusing on one to two movies a year, her company still brings in large box office numbers: The first two The Hunger Games films brought in $1.85 billion on a total budget of $210 million.  Fortune

Diversity at Dropbox. Women make up about one-third of the company’s workforce and nearly 50% of non-technical positions. The ratios are similar to those of other large U.S. tech companies, but Dropbox CEO Drew Houston said the company is working harder on the issue than the numbers show. “You can’t make it 10 times better in 10 minutes,” he said. USA Today


Girl Scouts board president: ‘We are on the precipice of major change’ 

Positivity comes naturally to Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, the newly-appointed board president of Girl Scouts of the USA. Hannan, who also is national managing partner of diversity and corporate social responsibility at KPMG, not only is optimistic about the future of the Girl Scouts, but also about the future of women in corporate America. In an interview with Fortune, she explained how her “capacity building” nature got her to where she is today.

Edited excerpts:

Why do you think the 102-year-old organization is still important?

Everything for me is about how can we make the future better by investing in diverse talent. Today, more than ever, it is important to be investing in our girls. We underwrite our girls and the future of society and the Girl Scouts has always had, historically, very strong principles of girls and servant leadership. Our organization is the largest volunteer organization, so we are empowering girls from many different perspectives. There is a beautiful synergy there.

What was it like starting your career in the once male-dominated field of accounting?

I have been at KPMG for almost 30 years, and I’ve always felt like I was treated like my voice mattered. I never felt that I was different. It wasn’t until I went to my first partners meeting (in the early 1990s) that I realized that there were barely any women. That was an “a-ha moment.” We have a beautiful tradition at KPMG with a formal black tie event and I remember coming out of the elevator in my ball gown and seeing this sea of penguins with only a splash of color here and there. I realized that maybe not every woman had the same opportunity that I did. I wanted to do more within the firm to help my fellow women. I learned that women were leaving because they didn’t see the possibilities and they were not asking the right questions.

What are your thoughts on the shortage of women in leadership positions in corporate America?

We are on the precipice of major change. I don’t have rose-tinted glasses, but this is our defining moment. The men I speak with today truly get it and they are investing an incredible amount of time in trying to understand the issue and many of them are getting far more engaged in the dialogue. I think in the past it may have been about the issue, but not engaging the men that we need to engage men. Today, there is a better understanding of the changing demographics of the workforce. No one can run away from research, and there is a lot out there. It is a different work environment where men have daughters with big jobs.

Click over to to read my full interview


• Quitting only to succeed. Melody McCloskey, the founder of an online booking platform for salon professionals, quit a tech class in high school after getting discouraged by her male peers. She didn’t study STEM in college, but became immersed in the tech startup scene after graduation. Now her company, StyleSeat, has raised nearly $14 million in VC funds. Young girls face discouragement that is far more subtle than “take away the calculator and give them a Barbie,” she said. NYTimes

No work until 2015. Danish unions representing more than 1.1 million private and public employees are suggesting female members stop working until next year to protest a 17% pay gap between the genders. Bloomberg

• Where are all the women? Earlier this week at an elite, invite-only gathering of Indian business and political leaders, only 13% of the 700 participants were women.  Quartz


Frozen’s Elsa wins in retail, but Anna is the real leader  Fortune

1 reason women in tech earn less than men  Fortune

Girls Who Code founder and her ambitious plan for tech WSJ

Showing vulnerability makes you a better leader  Fast Company

Meet the all-female wine team at Del Frisco’s  WSJ

What happened to women in computer science?  Bloomberg


You cannot generalize a female against a male; we are all different. People say: You must be better at multitasking in the car. Because I'm a woman? No. Ultimately the guys who are winning races are fantastic multitaskers. I don't like to generalize so much on gender. I think it has more to do with your personality and character.

Susie Wolff, the first woman in 22 years to drive in a Formula 1 race, tells Bloomberg.