Serena Williams, Muriel Bowser, NYSE’s First Female CEO: Broadsheet for May 23rd
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Mary Barra’s steering GM into the future, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser becomes a mom, and both the NYSE and NASDAQ are now being run by women. Have an excellent Wednesday.
• Barra's a boss. Our new Fortune 500 issue includes Rick Tetzeli's fascinating in-depth feature on General Motors, the No. 10 company on the list and the highest-ranked led by a woman—Mary Barra. Below, some excerpts that explain the scope of the challenge that lies ahead of the CEO and—at least for me—affirms her No. 1 spot on our list of Most Powerful Women:
"For almost a century, GM has engaged in a single process: building cars and selling them to individuals. It will continue to do that in the short term, but the long term is much less clear. Predicting the ultimate shape of this evolving mashup of auto manufacturers, chipmakers, ride-share network operators, and autonomous software providers is immensely difficult...One thing that everyone acknowledges, inside and outside of GM: The 110-year-old automaker’s halcyon days are long gone, and the future is up for grabs."
"Enter Mary Barra, who took over as CEO of GM in January 2014, becoming the first woman to run a U.S. automaker. Barra has GM in her bones. She was born just outside Detroit and graduated with a degree in electrical engineering from what was then called the General Motors Institute, a co-op university program that fed graduates into the company. Her father, Ray Mäkelä, was a diemaker who worked for 39 years in a Pontiac factory.
Now she must prepare the auto giant for a radical lane change. Barra’s challenge is to reinvent General Motors as a leader in the rapidly evolving transportation world, while simultaneously delivering great profits by doing what GM has always done—only better than it ever has. To use a term that is much favored by the company’s leaders and by management gurus, GM must be ambidextrous. On the one hand, Barra must help the core business to excel and continually improve; that’s where 100% of the company’s revenues and profits come from. On the edge, however, she must accelerate and invest in GM’s effort to develop autonomous electric cars..."
Read the full story: Fortune
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Wins on wins on wins. A number of Democratic women won their respective primaries yesterday. Highlights include Stacey Abrams, who is running to become governor of Georgia (and the first African-American woman elected governor in U.S. history). In Texas: Gina Ortiz Jones won the runoff in the 23rd Congressional District and former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez won the gubernatorial primary. Meanwhile, retired Marine Lt. Colonel Amy McGrath won her primary in Kentucky's 6th Congressional District. NPR
• Exchange dames. For the first time in its 226-year history, the New York Stock Exchange is going to have a female leader. The promotion of the NYSE's COO Stacey Cunningham comes about a year and a half into Adena Friedman’s tenure as the first woman CEO of Nasdaq, meaning two of the world's most prominent stock exchanges will be led by women. Fortune
• Muriel's a mom! Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced on Monday evening that she had adopted a newborn. In so doing, she has become the first single mother to run D.C. "It is with great joy and excitement that I share with you that late last year, I decided to begin the adoption journey,” Bowser wrote on Twitter. “I was not sure how long it would take, and to my delight, it advanced much sooner than I expected. So today, I am proud to announce that I am a mom!” Fortune
• Time's Up walks the walk. It looks like Time’s Up, a group created to help women combat sexual harassment in the workforce, is starting to make good on its promise to focus on women outside of Hollywood and broaden the #MeToo movement. First up: sexual harassment lawsuits against Walmart and McDonald's on behalf of hourly workers.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• On the mommy track. The organizers of the French Open have announced that they will not seed Serena Williams—even though the tennis star was ranked No.1 when she left for maternity leave in January 2017. Without a seed, Williams' current rank is 453—meaning she is likely to face an uphill battle as she plays against more experienced players earlier on. Fortune
• Ward wants a wall. Kelli Ward, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Arizona, pens an op-ed for Fortune in which she explains her belief that the U.S. needs a border wall. Referring to the opioid crisis, she argues that "we cannot make serious progress in countering this public health emergency without reasserting American control over our borders." Fortune
• Susan Fowler redux? Former Uber engineer Ingrid Avendaño is suing the company for what she calls an “intolerable” work environment. She says she was subjected to sexual harassment and paid less than her male and white counterparts, with little action from the company to remedy those issues. If this sounds familiar, that's because it is: Avendaño and Susan Fowler (author of that viral blog post) worked in the same department within Uber’s engineering arm and with many of the same upper managers. Recode
• The first girls. In the years before and after the Supreme Court struck down school segregation with its 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, a number of African-American children volunteered (or were drafted) to be the first black kids in all-white schools. Most of these children were girls. ("The first thing you need to have for a desegregation lawsuit is total commitment,” says historian Rachel Devlin. “The second is skill in dealing with white adults. Girls had both.”) Smithsonian takes a look at where those girls—now women—are today. Smithsonian
ON MY RADAR
Dovey Johnson Roundtree, barrier-breaking lawyer, dies at 104 New York Times
There’s an official Melania Trump orchid, and it’s winning awards Bloomberg
LeBron James’ 3-year-old daughter Zhuri is a basketball genius Slate
Charlize Theron to play Megyn Kelly in movie about Fox News and Roger Ailes People