Skip to Content

The Broadsheet: December 2nd

Good morning Broadsheet readers. Today is the first day of the inaugural Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit. To kick off the event, Fortune editors will speak with Ellevate chair Sallie Krawcheck, Orange is the New Black author Piper Kerman and Ariel Investments president Mellody Hobson. Follow the conversations on Twitter with #FortuneMPW starting at 3:45 p.m. PST. Now, on to today’s top stories. I hope you have a productive Tuesday!

EVERYONE’S TALKING

• Pregnant workers on trial. The Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear the case of Peggy Young, a former UPS driver who is suing the company after her manager refused to grant her, when she was pregnant, a temporary job that did not involve lifting heavy packages. The refusal to accommodate Young’s pregnancy forced her into unpaid leave. With the number of U.S. pregnancy discrimination cases on the rise, the decision will have major implications for American working mothers and could impact the types of adjustments employers must provide for pregnant workers in the future.  Fortune

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

• What to expect from MPW Next Gen. Today and tomorrow, more than 250 rising star women in business and other fields will gather for our inaugural event to connect and inspire the next generation of women. Fortune’s Leigh Gallagher breaks down who she is most excited to hear from, including Sam’s Club CEO Roz Brewer, the CEO and president of Sam’s Club, and Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes.  Fortune

• Once is enough. Janay Rice told Today’s Matt Lauer that her husband Ray had never hit her prior to knocking her unconscious in an elevator in February. Janay also shared that, after the incident, she felt people forgot that Ray and she are “human.” She told Lauer, “Everybody makes mistakes. After this whole situation, you would think we lived in a country full of people who never made a mistake.” Time

• Yellen pressured. As Republicans assume more authority in both the House and the Senate, party leaders will put more pressure on Fed chair Janet Yellen to be more transparent and more accountable to Congress for monetary policy decisions. On the other side of the aisle, Democrats will continue to pressure Yellen to increase regulation of Wall Street. “She faces the enormous risk of being the one who has to say ‘Well, I’m sorry, we did what we thought was best, but the economy went to hell in a handbasket, anyway,’” Bob Eisenbeis, chief monetary economist at Cumberland Advisors, told Politico. Politico

GE goes new age. The 122 year-old company is embracing new types of advertising — including “branded content” partnerships with Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and Vine — thanks largely to the work of chief marketing officer Beth Comstock.  WSJ

• The woman who helped Lenovo go global. Gina Qiao, senior VP of global human resources at Lenovo, knew less than 100 words of English before moving to the U.S. in 2005. “The best way to learn is to learn from your mistakes. The best way to learn is to expand your comfort zone,” she said.  Fortune

• Resume update: Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin’s VP of aeronautics operations, will become the company’s SVP for corporate strategy and business development.

BROADVIEW

The scary word that determines success

Hearing the word “no” isn’t easy. In fact, for a lot of people (myself included) getting told “no” by a boss, colleague or even a friend is an extremely unsettling experience. It makes you feel rejected, worthless and small. Yet learning to take no in stride just might be exactly what determines entrepreneurial success.

On Wednesday during a panel discussion at MPW Next Gen, I’ll speak with three entrepreneurs who might as well have Masters’ degrees in rejection.

  • Susan Coelius Keplinger is co-founder of online ad platform, Triggit. She says she was told “no” by hundreds of investors before getting her first round of funding.
  • Meredith Perry, the 25-year-old founder of uBeam, a wireless-charging platform, said last year that she initially was rejected “by literally hundreds of investors — maybe not hundreds, maybe not literally — but lots of investors.”
  • Rachel Shechtman, the founder of the innovative New York boutique STORY, is a fourth-generation entrepreneur. She still had to cobble together money from two friends to build her company before attracting major investor interest.

In the face of adversity, it would have been easier for these women to simply quit (as I am sure many entrepreneurs do). But they didn’t. “I literally feel like I’m bipolar, like, every single day,” Perry once told the New York Times, explaining the pressure. “I’ll go from an extreme high, thinking, ‘this is going to be a billion-dollar company,’ to thinking, ‘this is totally going to fail,’ a half an hour later.”

Today, all three founders are running companies that defy traditional norms and disrupt their respective industries. They got there only after industry experts, executives and analysts told them they would never succeed. “Learning how to be comfortable with risk and failure is really important,” Keplinger told me. “If you are not comfortable with failure, it can really be so scary.”

To be sure, touting the benefits of learning from failure is not new. In fact, an annual conference for startup founders in Silicon Valley on this very topic (aptly named FailCon) was canceled this year because the organizers thought the subject was passé. But if we all “know” that hearing “no” is an inevitable detour on the unpaved road to entrepreneurial success – why do we all still find it so scary?

That’s one of the questions I hope to explore on Wednesday when I speak with Keplinger, Perry and Shechtman about their respective experiences scaling a business from the ground up. If you have any questions for my panelists, email me at caroline.fairchild@fortune.com and be sure to follow our conversation on Twitter with #FortuneMPW. Our session is Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. PST.

Want to share The Broadview? Click here. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

• Anti-stress regulation? Germany’s Labor Minister is moving forward with legislation that could ban employers from contacting employees after working hours and while they are on vacation. Some German employers such as Volkswagen already have such rules on the books. Although Germans get, by law, at least four weeks of paid vacation and work only 35 hours per week on average, residents are complaining that their managers are contacting them at all hours of the day. Sound familiar?  NPR

 A peer group for female entrepreneurs. Her Corner, a nationwide business consultancy group run by Frederique Irwin, brings women business owners together to share advice and swap tips. “I was really mad because every single woman I’d ever met who owned her own business wanted to make more money, but she didn’t always know how,” Irwin said about her inspiration for starting the for-profit business in 2011.   WaPo

• Kathy Griffin takes over. The comedian will replace Joan Rivers as a co-host of Fashion Police on E! “These are some big shows I’m going to fill,” Griffin said in a statement.   Time

ON MY RADAR

9 inspiring female leaders on Reddit   Fortune

The case for NOT wearing an engagement ring  Daily Worth

5 ways a thank-you note could lose you the job  The Muse

Scientist, museum director and mother of two   The Atlantic

The perils of being pregnant and not famous  NYTimes

QUOTE

Here’s a real 'break the Internet' moment.

Girl Scout USA CEO Anna Maria Chavez tweeted this message out on the heels of an announcement that you can now buy Girl Scout cookies online.