Why HR leaders are hopeful that some good will come from a tough year

September 1, 2020, 12:38 PM UTC
Businesswoman consulting customer in office during Corona crisis
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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Hillary Clinton reflects on the 25th anniversary of her “women’s rights are human rights” speech, the U.S. Open begins, and HR pros share tips on leading through chaos. Have a lovely Tuesday.

– A resource for human resources. Last week, Fortune convened a group from our Most Powerful Women community for the inaugural event in our new Professional Councils series. These gatherings pull together women who work in similar roles across companies and industries, and we hope they’ll be a space for peers to talk candidly about the hurdles and opportunities they encounter every day.

Our kickoff event focused on CHROs and other human resources leaders, and—given the twin crises of the pandemic and the reckoning over racial injustice—it’s tough to think of a group facing a more complicated and urgent set of challenges.

But despite all that, the mood on the call—which included HR leaders from HP, Accenture, Levi’s, Electronic Arts, and Chobani, among many others—was surprisingly hopeful. Two big reasons for the positivity: 1. HR execs are working together and sharing information in an unprecedented manner. As HP CHRO Tracy Keogh put it, “that’s been a real bright spot for me.” And 2. Change, much of it long overdue is finally happening. “We have this opportunity to redefine how things will be done,” said Chobani chief people officer Grace Zuncic.

The execs spent much of the conversation sharing best practices—five of which Fortune’s Michal Lev-Ram breaks down in this recap of the conversation. I won’t walk you through all of them here, but I will leave you with the one that really jumped out to me. Here’s Kim Seymour, chief people officer, WW International, on moving your company’s push for racial equality from hashtag to action:

“First, you have to look at what you believe as a person, then you decide who you are as a company. And look at it as the business problem that it is. Use your metrics to show you where you are and set goals for where you want to go. The gap is where you set strategy. That’s how companies address business problems every day.”  

Kristen Bellstrom

Today’s Broadsheet was curated by Emma Hinchliffe


- Lasting legacy. In a piece for The Atlantic, Hillary Clinton writes about the 25th anniversary of her speech at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing—the one where she declared that "women's rights are human rights." Two-and-a-half decades later, she says the impediments to women's progress are no longer legal but are now cultural. The Atlantic

- Grand slam. The U.S. Open kicked off last night, and as Serena and Venus Williams take to the courts in front of empty stands, a Nike ad features a new spin on the story of their relationship; long positioned as rivals, the duo are instead depicted as a team, with their all-time tennis stats combined. On the first night of play, Naomi Osaka wore a face mask with Breonna Taylor's name on it before winning her match. 

-No more manels! In a quest to put an end to all-male panels (at least until speaking opportunities reach parity), All Raise, the group of funders and founders committed to closing the startup world's gender gap, has launched its own speakers bureau for women and non-binary people. Why concentrate on speaking opps? They're "a key piece of building a reputation in technology and investment circles," writes Fortune's Michal Lev-Ram. Fortune

- All about equity? Last month, Emily Kramer filed a lawsuit against the equity-management startup Carta, known for its report on the gender gap in startup equity, in which she said she suffered gender discrimination and was paid less than male executive peers. Now other Carta employees say they were pushed out or faced similar circumstances while working there. A Carta spokeswoman says the company is a "consistent, vocal and passionate advocate for gender equity, internally and externally." New York Times


- Retail no-deal. Beleaguered J.C. Penney, led by CEO Jill Soltau, hit a stalemate in its talks with buyers. The retailer was unable to come to an agreement with Brookfield Property Partners and Simon Property GroupNew York Times

- 'Morally bankrupt.' Former McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook, who was ousted over a consensual relationship with an employee—but who the fast-food chain later determined had lied during a company investigation—is asking his former employer to dismiss its lawsuit against him. McDonald's isn't having it, writing in a court filing that the request is "morally bankrupt." Easterbrook's lawyer didn't respond to request for comment. CNN

- 'You don't know her.' Mariah Carey's long-awaited memoir will be out later this month and ahead of its release, the superstar discusses some of the topics that will be included, from her racial identity to the time Ellen DeGeneres forced her to reveal a pregnancy on TV. (Carey later miscarried.) Vulture

- Pageant queens. Writer Lauren Collins wrestles with the legacy of Miss America, the "more demure" of the two national beauty pageants (and the one not once owned by President Trump). From scholarship money that requires its recipient to take time off of school to complete her pageant duties to criticism that has stayed remarkably consistent through the decades, there's a lot to unpack. The New Yorker


Myriam Sarachik never gave up on physics New York Times

Sima Taparia's matchmaking business booms in lockdown The New Yorker

Samira Wiley and Uzo Aduba still remember struggling New York Times


"[Viewers] can expect three iconic women—the Queen, Margaret Thatcher, and of course, Princess Diana."

-The Crown costume designer Amy Roberts on the Netflix series' upcoming fourth season

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