Fortune 40 Under 40, Office Romance, Mandy Ginsberg: Broadsheet July 19th
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! We meet Fortune’s new 40 Under 40, Match CEO Mandy Ginsberg still isn’t scared of Facebook, and we examine office romance in the age of #MeToo. Have a thoughtful Thursday!
• Office romance isn't dead. When [f500link]Intel[/f500link] CEO Brian Krzanich stepped down last month after his past relationship with another Intel employee came to light, it seemed to signal a new era for the office romance.
The relationship, by Intel’s account, was consensual. Yet the consequences were swift and decisive.
It reportedly took less than a week for the company to launch an investigation and deem the affair a violation of Intel’s non-fraternization policy between managers and direct or indirect reports that had been in place since 2011.
Krzanich’s resignation, of course, occurred against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement and former Intel employees have suggested in press reports that it played a role in the matter’s speedy reconciliation.
Beyond the Krzanich episode, the #MeToo movement that’s triggered a reexamination of inappropriate behavior and women’s marginalization in the workplace has indeed cast workplace relationships in a new light. While they may have been considered harmless in the past, the movement has revealed how damaging romantic or sexual intent in the workplace—especially between a boss and a subordinate—can be. Power dynamics can muddy the idea of consent, and the line between well-intentioned flirting and sexual harassment can be awfully thin.
So against this more enlightened landscape, I asked the question: Does the movement have the potential to kill the office romance for good?
“Oh no, I don’t think it’s ever going to die,” Amy Baker, an associate professor who studies workplace romance at the University of New Haven, told me. “Emotions are what they are at work.”
Yet there is some evidence that companies have tightened their rules for workplace relationships in the last few months. At the same time, employees are reporting less office romance from their end. That all may be good for workers, since there's research that suggests office romance can have a negative effect on the workplace.
But even Baker, who's conducted some of that research herself, doesn’t endorse a blanket ban on romantic relationships among colleagues.
So what’s the right solution in the #MeToo era, when allowing some workplace romance seems like a dubious prospect, yet an out-and-out ban is not practical?
Baker's advice: “Office romance in an environment that’s unfair, highly stressed, or political is toxic,” she says. “Look at the climate and culture that you’re building. Is it where employees feel respected?” That circumstance safeguards against office romance being seen as favoritism or someone getting an unfair deal.
You can read my full story on the topic here.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• 40 Under 40. Fortune published its new 40 Under 40 list this morning that recognizes the most influential young people in business. It includes some names you'll recognize like Stitch Fix's Katrina Lake and Backstage Capital's Arlan Hamilton, and will introduce you to some newer faces, such as Affectiva co-founder and CEO Rana el Kaliouby. Fortune
• Facebook face-off. At Brainstorm Tech on Wednesday, Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg reiterated her stance that Facebook's entry into the online dating world is not a threat to her $11 billion dating empire that includes Tinder, OkCupid, and Match.com. Her rationale? She's betting that mostly young love-seekers, who use apps like Tinder, don’t want to be dating on the same platform where their parents hang out. Fortune
• Spygate. Prosecutors are accusing Maria Butina, a suspected Russian secret agent, of being powerful—and not in a good way. In a case straight out of a crime thriller, they claim the 29-year-old pursued brazen efforts to infiltrate conservative circles and influence powerful Republicans while she remained in secret contact with Russian intelligence operatives. On Wednesday, Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson of Federal District Court denied bail for Butina, granting prosecutors’ argument that she was a high flight risk. New York Times
• Roby's runoff. Rep. Martha Roby won a Republican primary runoff election in south Alabama on Tuesday. The incumbent defeated a rival who accused her of being insufficiently loyal to President Donald Trump, a criticism that recalls Roby's 2016 avowal to not vote for Trump after the Access Hollywood tape emerged. At the time, she called Trump an “unacceptable” candidate. Trump ultimately endorsed Roby in her Tuesday contest; she'll face Democratic challenger Tabitha Isner in November. Wall Street Journal
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Uber has hired its first-ever privacy officer in Ruby Zefo, previously head of Intel's global privacy and security legal team. EY has named Marna Ricker as Americas vice chair of tax services. Penske Media Corporation has named Samantha Skey as CEO of SheKnows Media, making her the company’s first female chief executive.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Taking the floor. ESPN Magazine's new cover story (written by Fortune alum Mina Kimes) profiles Aly Raisman and the Olympic gymnast's fight to end sexual abuse that's pitting her against the very institutions she led to glory. “I know that I'm one of the few that are being heard," Raisman says, "so I just want to do right by people.” ESPN
•'Manning up, womaning down.' A new paper from the U.S. Census Bureau has reached a puzzling finding: when women earn more than their husbands, both husbands and wives lie about it, reporting earnings to the census that don't match their tax filings. In an opposite-sex marriage, women who earned more said they earned 1.5 percentage points less than they actually did, while their husbands fudged their income up by 2.9 percentage points. The authors have concluded that people think it's more socially desirable for men to earn more, with couples' answers reflecting these social norms. New York Times
• Working it. In 2015, preliminary results of a groundbreaking study found that the daughters of working mothers tended to perform better in their eventual careers than the daughters of stay-at-home moms. Now the full study is out, and it adds to that initial conclusion, finding that children of employed moms wind up just as happy in adulthood as the children of moms who stayed home. Harvard Business School
ON MY RADAR
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SuperShe Island: the holiday where men are banned Financial Times
More than 100 Nassar victims take stage in emotional ESPYs moment New York Post