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Susan Rice’s Life Lessons: The Broadsheet

October 22, 2019, 11:30 AM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! EY offered female executives a stranger-than-fiction training program, the Bank of England’s chief economist thinks more countries should release gender pay gap data, and Susan Rice shares life lessons at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. Have a nice Tuesday. 


- Susan Rice's life lessons. Susan Rice headlined Day 1 of the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington, D.C., yesterday, and, in addition to taking jabs at President Donald Trump, the former national security adviser and ambassador to the UN served up some life lessons during the dinner conversation.

She touched on arguably the most controversial crisis of her tenure in the Obama administration: her handling of a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya in 2012. She appeared on Sunday morning talk shows shortly after the tragedy, armed with what later turned out to be incorrect information. She was lambasted for the misstep, ultimately withdrawing her name from consideration for Secretary of State. What did she learn from the episode? “Listen to your mother,” Rice said on Monday. Her mom had an "intuition" the TV spots wouldn't turn out well. Another lesson: “I’m not good at asking for help.” In Rice's estimation, had she been more willing to seek assistance—and to cultivate allies—she might’ve weathered the storm better. Rice also recalled onstage that her then-9-year-old daughter suffered stress-induced hallucinations after witnessing Rice live through the Benghazi fallout. That taught her that “the pernicious politics of personal destruction that is so common in Washington now is not cost-free.”

Rice also recounted her upbringing and her role as referee in the tumultuous marriage of her highly-accomplished parents. Even as a 7-year-old, she physically intervened in their heated arguments. The lesson there? Mediation skills, she said.

Her interview had lighter moments, too. Rice, a self-described "sore loser," said she learned she could beat President Barack Obama at tennis after watching him on the court. Did she ever play him? No, she said, “I didn’t need to.”

Read on for more coverage of the Summit’s opening day and tune into the livestream of Day 2 this morning.

Claire Zillman


- Engelbert's assist. What drew former Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert to the WNBA? It's the "perfect business problem," the league's new commissioner says. Engelbert is seeking more people to watch and attend games, more investment in sales and marketing, more support from businesses, and higher salaries for players. Fortune

- Raising funding, raising children. NEA venture partner Hilarie Koplow-McAdams has a compelling analogy for the effects of the big-dollar capital venture firms have thrown at startups: "Like raising children, if you have no limits you get a wide range of behaviors." Fortune

- WeHaveSympathy. Who feels bad for WeWork these days? Peloton CFO Jill Woodworth, for one. "When I look at how quickly the market sentiment can change and companies don’t live up to expectations, it’s absolutely gut-wrenching for management," Woodworth said on a panel with fellow CFOs. Fortune

- Supplying expertise. In the past 10 years, Starbucks's view of supply change has been transformed. Kelly Bengston, SVP and head of supply chain, shared with executives the full extent of what goes into making a Starbucks sandwich. Fortune 

- Companies with a cause. To woo millennials to their workforces, companies need social purpose. “You can’t go on campus and recruit without [it]—they want all the stats on how you’re doing environmentally, ESG investments, they want to know about diversity. It’s table stakes,” says Guardian Life Insurance CEO Deanna Mulligan. Fortune

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Angela Zepeda joins Hyundai America as CMO. 


- Waffle-brained. Just over a year ago, 30 female executives at Ernst & Young were told at a training program to have "good haircut[s], manicured nails, [and] well-cut attire that complements your body type" and not to "flaunt your body" because "sexuality scrambles the mind." The unbelievable training program gets even more stranger-than-fiction: "Women’s brains absorb information like pancakes soak up syrup so it’s hard for them to focus, the attendees were told. Men’s brains are more like waffles. They’re better able to focus because the information collects in each little waffle square." EY says the training course was under review for months and is no longer offered. HuffPost

- So, Canada? Despite his suffering popularity, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party held onto power in Canada's election last night. Jody Wilson-Raybould, the former attorney general who went up against Trudeau during the SNC-Lavalin scandal, held onto her seat as an MP in Vancouver; she left the Liberal Party because of the Trudeau incident and ran as an independent this time. Vancouver Sun

- Be like BOE. Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane thinks that more firms should report their gender and racial pay gaps and more countries should require it. The U.K. started reporting gender pay gap information in 2017. Bloomberg

- Consort out. Just a few months ago, Thailand's king conferred the title of official "royal consort" for the first time since 1932. Now the woman who was given the title—now known as Sineenat Bilaskalayani, no longer Maj. Gen. Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, which meant loyal to the king—has been stripped of the consort title and her military rank. She is accused of "disloyalty and trying to supplant the queen." New York Times

Today's Broadsheet was produced by Emma Hinchliffe. Share it with a friend. Looking for previous Broadsheets? Click here.


Fashion sourcing platform Zilingo designs $100 million push into U.S. Wall Street Journal

How much would you spend to have a baby? Refinery29

Northern Ireland to legalize abortion and same-sex marriage CNN

The FTC said Sunday Riley faked Sephora reviews for almost two years to boost sales BuzzFeed


"If it's not going to come on its own, sometimes a blunt instrument is necessary."

-TheBoardlist founder Sukhinder Singh Cassidy on why she supports California's law mandating public companies have women on their boards of directors. Cassidy spoke at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington, D.C.