Skip to Content

Elizabeth Warren, Karren Brady, Alva Johnson Trump: Broadsheet February 26

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Elizabeth Warren says no thank you to wealthy donors, a lawsuit accuses President Trump of sexual assault on the 2016 campaign trail, and there’s an important difference between men’s and women’s professional networks. Have a terrific Tuesday.

EVERYONE’S TALKING

• The network effect. We’ve long known that a strong professional network is one of the very most important tools for landing a great job—and one that gets increasingly vital as you work your way toward more senior, better paid roles.

But here’s something you may not know about the networks of successful women (I sure didn’t): they don’t look like men’s.

According to new research in Harvard Business Review by Brian Uzzi, a professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, the difference is not, as you might suspect, the size of the network. Instead, it’s about the types of connections.

In looking at groups of MBAs—analyzing both the makeup of the subjects’ networks and the types of jobs they found after graduation—Uzzi concludes that the men who landed roles with the highest levels of “authority” and pay were central to the MBA student network—”or connected to multiple ‘hubs,’ or people who have a lot of contacts across different groups of students.” Their female counterparts, meanwhile, benefited from being central, too—but only if they also “have an inner circle of close female contacts.”

The benefit of centrality is pretty clear cut: It offers quick access to a wide variety of job and company info. But what is it that those close contacts bring to women? Here’s Uzzi:

“However, because women seeking positions of executive leadership often face cultural and political hurdles that men typically do not, they benefit from an inner circle of close female contacts that can share private information about things like an organization’s attitudes toward female leaders, which helps strengthen women’s job search, interviewing, and negotiation strategies. While men had inner circles in their networks too—contacts that they communicated with most—we found that the gender composition of males’ inner circles was not related to job placement.”

Ah hah! Kind of sounds like a “whisper network,” right? While we tend to think of those informal channels as protecting women from harm, they can also carry lots of other useful information, including, it seems, how to nail the interview and land the biggest paycheck while sidestepping gendered hazards like an interviewer who might (illegally) ask about your plans to start a family—intel that seems to be less important to men than to women who “need to navigate male-dominated professions.”

While it’s unfair (if unsurprising) that women need to master two networking skills while men need only one, I’m a firm believer that simply understanding the dynamics of the kind of network you need puts you a step ahead of the game. And introverts like me will be heartened by some of Uzzi’s suggestions for building stronger professional ties, including “seek quality over quantity.” Harvard Business Review

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

On the trail… President Donald Trump has been accused of sexual assault during his 2016 presidential campaign. A former campaign staffer, Alva Johnson, filed a lawsuit in which she alleges that Trump forcibly kissed her before a campaign rally, in front of other campaign officials. Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied this allegation on behalf of the White House. Fortune

Bye, big money. We’ve heard about progressive candidates eschewing corporate dollars, but Elizabeth Warren is taking things a step further: she won’t even hold the usual private fundraisers and one-on-one meetings with big donors common among both Democrats and Republicans. “The wealthy and well-connected have been taught by politicians to expect that more money buys more access,” Warren wrote in an email to supporters, “and it too often closes out women and communities of color.” Fortune

• Trouble at Topshop. Philip Green, the Topshop chairman, has faced allegations of racist and sexual harassment for months in a case that went all the way to the U.K.’s House of Lords. Now, Karren Brady, one of Green’s right-hand executives, has resigned as chair of Taveta, the holding group for Arcadia, which itself includes Topshop, Miss Selfridge and other brands. Brady, a well-known personality from the U.K.’s The Apprentice, a career as a sports executive, and her advocacy for “strong female leadership,” faced pressure to speak out against Green. She still hasn’t done so, and as of two weeks ago said she was committed to staying on in her job. The Guardian

A notable replacement. Remember the saga over at the New York Review of Books? A refresher: editor Ian Buruma published and defended an essay by Jian Ghomeshi, a Canadian radio personality accused of sexual assault by multiple women, pontificating about how those allegations derailed his life. Buruma left the job; his replacements are new co-editors Emily Greenhouse and Gabriel Winslow-Yost. In the New York Times story announcing her lofty new job, Greenhouse is photographed while visibly pregnant, although it’s not mentioned in the piece—something that’s been moving women following this news. Who says women can’t start new jobs in the second or third trimester? New York Times

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Indra Nooyi joins Amazon’s board of directors. Michelle Scrimgeour will be chief executive of the investment management unit at U.K. insurer Legal & General. Hulu hires Barbara Fiorentino as head of talent and casting, a new role. Cambridge Associates promoted Ashby Hatch to head of global investment research.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Kraft caught in crackdown. An update this week on New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who was charged with soliciting prostitution as part of a crackdown on sex trafficking in Florida. Kraft is charged with two counts of first-degree solicitation; he was videotaped paying for sex at a massage parlor before the AFC Championship Game in January. The NFL says it will “take appropriate action as warranted,” with its personal conduct policies applying equally to everyone in the league.   ESPN

Inside baseball. What happens when a woman takes over a sports publication with some sexist baggage? It’s an ongoing question at Deadspin, now under the leadership of Megan Greenwell. Deadspin “has a disgusting past that can never be atoned for,” staffer Diana Moskovitz once wrote. Under Greenwell, it’s trying. Washington Post

Ruling on the front lines. An all-male military draft is unconstitutional, a judge ruled last week. The draft hasn’t been in effect since 1973—but now that women can serve in any combat role, it’s dormant rules are outdated, the judge said. Fortune

The new nonfiction. In Forbes, Susan McPherson writes about a trailblazer in nonfiction publishing: Julia Cheiffetz. Cheiffetz last year became publisher of a new Atria Books imprint, Signal Press. “Women edit the cookbooks. Women edit the parenting books. Women edit much of the fiction. Women are the publicists! Men are the CEOs and they edit a lot of the ‘serious’ nonfiction,” Cheiffetz says of gender bias in publishing—and how she’s changing things. Forbes

Today’s Broadsheet was produced by Emma HinchliffeShare it with a friend. Looking for previous Broadsheets? Click here.

ON MY RADAR

Sarah Cooper’s non-threatening leadership skills for women! The New Yorker

The sneakily retro politics of ‘brutally honest’ post-baby photos Jezebel

2019’s new books owe the most to these three women writers Vanity Fair

Who needs gender? Why men and women are dressing identically Wall Street Journal

QUOTE

I’m raising a son who has a mother who’s a CEO.
SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan on how being the only woman in the room will change in years to come. Whelan is featured in The Cut's 'How I Get It Done' column.