The Broadsheet: February 12th

February 12, 2015, 12:42 PM UTC
Fortune

Good morning, Broadsheet readers. A chorus is growing among media pundits who think Jon Stewart should be replaced by a woman, and Nextdoor’s co-founder explains why passion isn’t enough to launch a successful career. Read on to learn why female CEOs are staying quiet about the recent raid by activist investors. Happy Thursday!

EVERYONE'S TALKING

 It's not you, it's us. In an effort to gain seats on DuPont's board of directors, activist investor Trian Fund Management is claiming that it -- rather than CEO Ellen Kullman -- is responsible for the company's improving stock performance over the last two years. WSJ

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

 Where's Hillary? Tensions are growing among some Democratic Party faithful who thinks it's time for Hillary Clinton to officially announce her presidential ambitions. “Clinton things happen late. That’s the way it goes. The Clintons are both going to show up at their funerals late," a Clinton fundraiser joked with the Wall Street Journal.  WSJ

'I never felt the weight of that.' As a young actress, Goldie Hawn never thought about how she was paving the way for other women. "If you have a sense of yourself, your mission, your belief system, those things will lead you to success. If I did it to pave the way for other people, my intentions would have been clouded," she told the Harvard Business Review. HBR

 Jon Stewart's replacement? She should be a woman, writes Eliana Dockterman of Time. Comedy Central has made Stewart, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver and others "an indelible piece of comedy history. It’s time that they do the same thing for a woman." Quartz offers up a list of 13 women who could replace him, including Tina Fey, Chelsea Handler and Aisha Tyler.  Time

The sick leave battle. As President Obama continues to tout the economic benefits of mandatory paid sick leave, a countertrend to ban local governments from instituting their own paid sick leave is emerging. Eleven states -- including Georgia, Louisiana and Tennessee -- have moved forward with measures that ban municipalities from passing paid sick leave laws. Fortune

 Taking blame. Beverly Scott, the head of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, is stepping down. The decision comes after Boston's public transportation system performed poorly during the recent winter storms.  Boston Biz Journal

 MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Vanessa Wittman, the former CFO of Motorola Mobility, is now CFO at Dropbox. Alison Mass, previously co-head of Goldman Sach's financial sponsors group in the Americas, is now global co-head of the financial sponsors group.

THE BROADVIEW

Why female CEOs are staying quiet on activist investors

Do activist investors really see women CEOs as easier targets?

That's the question that has both media pundits and financial analysts buzzing, as six prominent female CEOs fend off pressure from aggressive activist investors. The latest example is GM's Mary Barra, who joins Pepsi's Indra Nooyi, Yahoo's Marissa Mayer, DuPont's Ellen Kullman, Mondelez's Irene Rosenfeld and HP's Meg Whitman.

With only 25 female CEOs in the Fortune 500, it's hard not to pause and question, as Fortune's Pattie Sellers did, if gender targeting is really going on. But rather than join the discussion on whether or not they think these activists are targeting them on gender grounds, all the affected CEOs are staying quiet. None of them have come out publicly on the issue (yes, we asked). Why?

Call it good common sense. Becoming the poster child for any "issue" when your company is under pressure to perform is the last thing any CEO should do, a group of experts told Fortune. Commenting publicly not only would put these women in a position of weakness, but could encourage activist investors to see their gender as a barrier to them being effective leaders.

"Chief executives are interested in maintaining both their power and reputation," said Davia Temin, the founder of crisis management firm Temin & Co. "There would be no benefit in acknowledging your gender. In fact, a lot of detriment could come of that. A female CEO doesn't need to remind anyone else that she is a woman seeking the very same leadership goals as a man."

To read my full story, click here

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Beyond passion. To build a successful career, Millenials need more than just passion for what they are doing, writes Nextdoor co-founder Sarah Leary. You also need experience, she says, which is why she encourages colleges student to pursue as many internships as possible while in school. "Don’t be afraid to take the hard jobs, put in the long hours and prioritize investing in yourself." Fortune

One dress at a time. "Girls shouldn't have to decide between dresses and dinosaurs or ruffles and robots," says the founder of Princess Awesome, a new line of dresses designed to shatter gender stereotypes surrounding appropriate prints for little girls.  HuffPost

 Everybody loves a walk-in. When looking for a new home, men are more likely than are women to rank having a walk-in closet as important to them, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors.  WSJ

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ON MY RADAR

Meet the super agent for the Internet  Fortune

Listen to your gut -- it could make you CEO one day Fortune

The Daily Show's funniest feminist moments  Slate

How to promote yourself without sounding arrogant  Bizwomen

QUOTE

You can't have it all. I don't, and I don't try to. People obsess too much about balance. A scale is only in balance for a brief second. Inevitably the pendulum swings. It's impossible to maintain.

Ivanka Trump