Good morning Broadsheet readers. I’m feeling inspired and recharged as I head home to New York after the Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit in San Francisco. Read on for a recap of our full day of programming, and why a lack of leadership diversity led to Airbnb’s biggest mistake last year. Have a great Thursday.
• Ex-Lululemon CEO: Why I left. Christine Day, who headed yoga retailer Lululemon until late last year, talked openly for the first time about her tense relationship with founder Chip Wilson. “You have to take control of your own life and say, ‘This isn’t working for me.’” She added that Wilson loved conflict: “That wasn’t who I was and that wasn’t going to work for me.” Now, Day is the CEO of Luvo, a healthy food company devoted to putting nutrition back in frozen foods. Fortune
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• From business to the stars. Anousheh Ansari, the first Iranian woman ever to go into space, said business, as well as the plight of Iranian women in STEM fields, fueled her space dreams.“Private enterprise brings a lot of competition,” she said. “If you compare how much technology has changed over the past 50 years to how much space innovation there is, there’s a huge gap.” Fortune
• A seat in the C-suite. Roz Brewer, the first African-American woman to lead a division at Wal-Mart, still has to describe what she does because people don’t typically assume a black woman would have such a high-profile corporate job. “There are still so many inequities in the workplace—I see it everyday,” the Sam’s Club CEO said. How did she get to the top? “I’ve never in my career emulated a man.” Fortune
• A seat on a board. For women in particular, gaining a board seat takes a lot of hard, targeted work, said Gerri Elliott, a director at Whirlpool Corp., Bed Bath and Beyond and Charlotte Russe. She and other directors advised at MPW Next Gen: Know your value and reach out for help. Fortune
• How to get Jack Dorsey as an investor. Build your networks, hustle like crazy, be confident and utilize teamwork, suggested Peek.com founder and CEO Ruzwana Bashir. Fortune
• More girls in STEM. General Motors’ Alicia Boler-Davis says we need to hone in on middle-school girls if we’re going to get more women execs in science and engineering jobs. “Something happens in middle school, that’s the critical point,” she said. Fortune
Airbnb exec on the company’s biggest mistake
A lack of diversity in leadership may have been the source of Airbnb’s biggest mistake in the last year, the company’s head of global operations said Wednesday.
Varsha Rao started working at Airbnb a year ago. She realized pretty quickly that the company wasn’t even thinking about venturing into Asia, she said at Fortune‘s inaugural Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit. Why is that a problem? Asia comprises 25% of the global travel market, Rao told an audience of 250 rising women leaders.
“We have been a global business from day one,” she said. “We started out in New York and San Francisco, but we never addressed the Asian market. I think for us as a company, we didn’t have the knowledge or expertise to build a market out there.”
That changed when Rao came in. A former SVP of international for LivingSocial and the former CEO of Singtel Digital Media in Singapore, Rao had lived in Asia for five years. She not only knew the market, but she had a deep understanding of its potential. Without listing specifics, Rao said that in the last year Airbnb has invested “a lot more in the area,” thanks in large part to her insistence to pushing the initiative.
“It is not that easy to invest and make decisions in areas that you’re not comfortable with. Making sure that you have a good diversity of experiences and voices is important,” she said.
Want to hear what Ellevate Chair Sallie Krawcheck said on the same panel? Click here.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Microsoft continues diversity push. After CEO Satya Nadella famously said that female employees should not ask for a raise, the tech giant is taking a close look at its diversity policies. Microsoft recently started ‘unconscious-bias training,’ Nadella said Wednesday at an annual shareholder meeting. Fortune
• Sony hack reveals inequality. A hacker group that calls itself G.O.P. claims that it got into Sony Pictures Entertainment’s system and stole massive amounts of data — including salary info of top execs. While 17 employees earn $1 million or more per year, only one of the top earners is a woman. Amy Pascal, the co-chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment and chairman of SPE’s Motion Picture Group, earns $3 million a year, according to the hacker group. Fortune
• How HR can fix the gender pay gap. Tying pay to the market value of the company, conducting an annual pay equity analysis and making someone directly responsible for monitoring the gap can go a long way toward narrowing the gender divide, writes Deborah Ashton, chief diversity officer for Novant Health. HBR
• More power for Roberts. Pamela Wheeler, head of the Women’s National Basketball Players Association since 1999, is out. She will be replaced on an interim basis by Michele Roberts, executive director of the NBA players’ association. Roberts, who took over the NBPA in September, is one of the few women in a leadership role in U.S. male professional sports. Bloomberg
ON MY RADAR
Tips for negotiating like Twitter’s general counsel Fortune
Women’s chance of promotion? Depends on the country NYTimes
7 things supremely confident people do Time
Independent advisor with $3.5 billion once lived on credit Bloomberg
9 great business podcasts you should know Fortune
When people say, I want to start a business, my question is always, Why? Because there’s got to be a mission—there’s got to be a reason you’re doing it so that no matter how hard it is, you want to keep doing it over and over and over again, because you love it. And if you know what it is you’re trying to do, then it’s a question of being very, very open to failure. We will fail over a thousand times till we get this thing to work, but we will get it on the 1001st time.Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and CEO of blood testing business Theranos, said Wednesday at MPW Next Gen.<br />