Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Wynn Resorts pays a fine in Massachusetts, the complicated case of runner Caster Semenya takes yet another turn, and a “touchy feely” Stanford b-school class heads to corporate America. Have a lovely Thursday.
• Crying it out in the classroom. At first glance, this Wall Street Journal piece on the expansion of a Stanford Business School elective is not obvious Broadsheet fodder. But give it a shot—I think you’ll find it has interesting implications for gender dynamics in the work world.
Technically called “Organizational Behavior 374: Interpersonal Dynamics”—though it goes by the nickname “Touchy Feely”—the course is intended to “instill in future business leaders the self-awareness to build more effective relationships and communicate more openly with colleagues,” according to the WSJ. It’s described as “quite emotional,” to the point that students in therapy are urged to consult with their doctors before enrolling, and it centers around feedback from classmates. (Apparently there is a lot of crying.) Long popular among b-school students, the class is now a mini-course for mid-career execs.
The story includes an anecdote from Siqi Mou, Stanford MBA and co-founder and CEO of skin care startup HelloAva, which may hit home for some. At one point, her class was asked to line their classmates up from most to least influential. A fellow student steered Mou toward the back of the line:
“Embarrassed, she followed him out of the room to ask why he didn’t view her more positively,” reports the WSJ. “She said he replied that her tendency to be diplomatic instead of confrontational made him feel less connected to her.”
Ouch. It’s easy to imagine how that moment must have stung—but also how such unvarnished insight into the way you’re perceived by others could shed much-needed light on the murky interpersonal politics that play such an important role in our professional lives. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Mou and her classmate are of different genders. Men and women do sometimes see the world (and each other) differently, and having the opportunity to speak plainly about those differences is rare.
There’s a stereotype that female leaders are more emotionally intelligent than their male counterparts—but the truth, I think, is we could all stand to improve. So, we don’t all need to sign up for a (very expensive) Stanford course, but it’s worth looking for opportunities to get more touchy feely in our own lives. WSJ
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Not a Wynn. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission fined Wynn Resorts $35 million over its handling of the sexual harassment allegations against founder Steve Wynn, before allowing the chain to open a location outside of Boston. The commission rebuked current CEO Matt Maddox for his handling of those allegations. Given the findings, you could be forgiven for asking why the commission would allow the company to operate in state. One possible factor: The WSJ reports that Massachusetts is projected to earn $150 million in tax revenue from the Wynn casino in 2020. Fortune
• Who gets to compete? A ruling from the Court of Arbitration for Sport determined that to compete in women’s races, female athletes cannot test above a certain level of testosterone, even if that testosterone level is natural. Runner Caster Semenya was at the center of the decision; she’ll have to take suppressants to continue competing. The ruling had some nuance to it, arguing that it was discriminatory to limit natural levels of the hormone, but “necessary” to preserve women’s competition. Here’s a column from the Washington Post on how the ruling “shows how far we have to go in understanding gender.” ESPN
• All it takes is a firing… The U.K. has its first-ever female defense (or defence) secretary in Penny Morduant, appointed to the job yesterday after her predecessor Gavin Williamson was fired over a leak about Huawei from a National Security Council meeting. Morduant was previously international development secretary; she’ll still be the U.K.’s minister on women and equalities. CNBC
• Hypocrisy down under. In Australia, sex discrimination commissioner Kate Jenkins has highlighted the hypocrisy between companies’—including Deloitte, PWC, Accenture, and Macquarie—public embrace of milestones like International Women’s Day and their reluctance to commit to waiving non-disclosure agreements for employees who experience sexual harassment. “It really told me how much our organizations rely on those settlements,” she says. New York Times
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Birchbox promoted VP of operations Pooja Agarwal to COO. The Vatican’s women’s magazine, Women Church World, which saw staff resign in protest after they said the Vatican tried to discredit them over coverage of nun abuse, has a new staff, including coordinator Rita Pinci. British fashion designer Anya Hindmarch again took over the luxury handbag brand that bears her name, eight years after she stepped down as CEO; she’s back as managing director. Alannah Weston was named chairman of Selfridges Group. Chrissy Teigen will co-host a new food show, Family Style, for Hulu.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Another kind of CEO. Alejandra Campoverdi, former Congressional candidate and Obama White House staffer, is on a mission to get women to become the “CEOs of their own bodies.” After watching her mother, grandmother, and aunts all develop breast cancer, she took charge of her own risk through a preventative double mastectomy. Los Angeles Times
• Imperial spotlight. The ascension of new Japanese Emperor Naruhito this week drew attention to the Imperial Palace’s treatment of women, from the first woman in modern history permitted to watch the ceremony (minister Satsuki Katayama) to the woman not permitted to attend (Naruhito’s wife, Empress Masako). This story looks back at the history of then-Princess Masako, a former diplomat and trade expert who suffered an unbelievable level of scrutiny when she hadn’t given birth to a male heir.
• A significant bestseller. Former Argentinean President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner faces charges of bribery, embezzlement and money laundering—but her new memoir is flying off the shelves. Her continued popularity is spooking investors worried she could run—and win—against Argentina’s more market-friendly current leader. Financial Times
ON MY RADAR
Are you a microaggressor? Fortune
Molly Ringwald’s surprising career path: Novel translator Wall Street Journal
LGBT households are now Nielsen families, and advertisers and producers get a valuable tool New York Times
Patti Harrison bucks transgender stereotypes, one joke at a time New York Times