Rashida Tlaib, Mixing Business and Friends: Broadsheet August 9
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Women in politics and academia are making history, Asian American women face a unique set of challenges at work, and your fellow readers share their thoughts on mixing friendship and business. Have a delightful Thursday.
• Profits and pals. Last week, I asked you to weigh in with your reactions to Mallun Yen's Fortune op-ed about why women hesitate to do business with their friends—and how that can hold us back in our careers. To say that it resonated with Broadsheet readers is an understatement. Here's some of what you all had to say:
"I had never connected the dots until this story. I have built a strong network, connected many women friends and yet most of the 'business referrals' come through my male contacts. My female friends are more likely to support the 'soft' benefits: speaking opportunities, events and attendance at women-only gatherings. I recently reached out to a long time friend with a significant new position in my agency’s area of expertise—and felt awful afterward, as if I had made a massive social error. I apologized and yet still felt guilty." -- Jamie G.
"This reluctance by women to help each other build wealth is truly keeping us from advancing across the board....What is painfully obvious is that men (and I don't believe women need to be like men) know how to take care of each other in business, while being friendly. It's expected in a group of men....I get totally frustrated with the lack of the same support from my female connections. I know it is because women do not know how to help and they have not built the connections inside their companies to refer friends." -- Anne C.
For some, there seems to be a generational component to feeling uncomfortable when mixing friendship with business:
"I have been a woman business owner for many years and prior to that was a corporate warrior when there were less women present. Since not all doors were open to women from a business development perspective, all relationships cultivated were viewed as potential business relationships. As time has passed and more formal opportunities to engage in business relationships appeared for women, often with the focus on other aspects of being a women in business, a line appeared to be drawn, and it seemed it was in 'bad taste' to bring up 'doing direct business' with each other." -- Laura Y.
One thing that came up repeatedly is women's close relationships with their co-workers, many of whom ultimately become dear friends. Many readers reported that relationships that started in a professional vein, and then became more personal, are easier to blend:
"I've found that the friendships I've formed with my co-workers have become some of the most valuable and cherished friendships in my adult life so far.... I know I can turn to any of them with an idea for a client or even if I want to switch jobs and they'll help me run with it instead of shutting me down." -- Cara S.
A few readers offered tips for how to get better at mixing the personal and professional:
"One of the things I often keep in mind in business is to ask myself, 'Would a man do this?' or 'Would a man feel uncomfortable about doing this?' If men feel comfortable pitching to friends and if those friends can feel comfortable whether they say yes OR no, then I should be able to get to that mindset as well." -- Savana R.
"[If a friend and I] decide we want to work together or are interested in looking at how that might look, then we have a conversation about the problems we might encounter—dissatisfaction with something in our business relationship, always talking business and thus losing our friendship, for example. We agree that we can and will say anything and everything to ensure that the ‘space’ between us is clear. We have a process where we say, as a practice to switch our relationships, 'Ok, Now I am putting on my business (or in my case, coach) hat.'" -- Janet Z.
"I cofounded a woman’s initiative whose mission is to support the personal and professional success and fulfillment of women and offer resources to help women live empowered lives. An essential component has been to create an environment within which women actively support each other professionally. Recently I had this discussion about what I can do to help women network more effectively. I find that women need ice breaker tools to help them get more comfortable approaching other women. Ever since junior high we’ve been more exclusive versus inclusive. Maybe we can do a better job helping our daughters so we can break the cycle." -- Barbara B.
Clearly this is an important conversation to be having. As always, if you have something you'd like to add to the mix, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Buying in, not selling out. Rashida Tlaib narrowly won the Democratic primary race in Michigan’s 13th Congressional District, putting her in position to be become the first Muslim woman ever elected to Congress (she will run unopposed in November). The victory speech delivered by the Detroit native and daughter of Palestinian immigrants reportedly left the room in tears. “I want people across the country to know that you don’t need to sell out,” she said. “You don’t have to change who you are to run for office — and that is what this country is about.” New York Times
• Year of the Woman, take 2. The Center for American Women and Politics has made it official: 2018 has set a record for the largest number of female nominees for the U.S. House of Representatives (183) and governorships (11). The previous record was set in 1994. Axios
• Quad squad goals. On August 15th, professor Claudine Gay will become dean of Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences, marking the first time in the university's history that four of its schools have been led by African-American women. The other three are Michelle Williams (School of Public Health), Tomiko Brown-Nagin (Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study), and Bridget Terry Long (Graduate School of Education). Harvard Crimson
• No more Nikias. University of Southern California President C. L. Max Nikias has resigned after a string of scandals, including the revelation that a longtime gynecologist at the campus health center had been mistreating and abusing patients and that the former medical school dean had used drugs on campus and partied with prostitutes. Wanda Austin, an engineer and former CEO of The Aerospace Corporation, has been appointed interim president. She is the first woman and the first African-American to lead the university. New York Times
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Hearst Magazines has promoted Kate Lewis to chief content officer.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Dismantling the 'model minority.' This piece, titled "The Bamboo Glass Ceiling," digs into some of the unique challenges Asian American women face in the workplace, including dealing with the "model minority" myth. Slate
• Inside woman. Meredith Bodgas writes about how she convinced her employer, Working Mother magazine, to change its "stingy" maternity leave policy (and yes, she does address the hypocrisy of a publication that ranks the best workplaces for moms having such a lame policy). Working Mother
• Storm chasers. Lieutenant Commander Rebecca Waddington and Captain Kristie Twining just led a pretty cool first: piloting an all-female hurricane hunting mission for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. CNN
ON MY RADAR
Imperial pink? The Wing gears up to go global Vogue
Why this CEO makes everything she does transparent to all employees Fast Company
Argentina senate rejects bill to legalize abortion The Guardian
Stella McCartney talks designing Meghan Markle’s wedding reception dress The Cut