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Broad Strokes for September 9, 2016: Gretchen Gets An Apology and You Meet Fortune's MPW

September 09, 2016 00:00 AM UTC
- Updated May 12, 2020 16:28 PM UTC

We're talking Gretchen Carlson's huge settlement with Fox News and introducing you to our favorites from 2016's MPW list. Check it out!

[MUSIC PLAYING] On this week's Broad Strokes, Fortune show where we talk about the news that matters to women, we have a ton of ground to cover. Fortune released its new list of the most powerful women in business. There's a new study out that looks at the ways that men and women respond to feedback differently. And Fox News announced that it's settling with Gretchen Carlson. So let's jump right in. On Thursday, Fortune released our annual most powerful women list, which is a big time for us. This year's list was really interesting. I mean, on one hand, you have Mary Barra, the CEO of GM, repeating at number one. So some things remaining the same, but also some really big shifts. I mean, we saw the number of female CEOs drop this year. And we also lost some names that have been there year after year. Marissa Mayer from Yahoo is one example. Now speaking of Marissa Mayer, you know, she's one of the few female CEOs that most Americans can probably name. You know, there's Marissa Mayer. There's Indra Nooyi, Meg Whitman. I think beyond the top 5 or 10 women on our list, I think a lot of people don't know so many of these other incredible women that are running huge businesses for huge corporations, but you know, because they're not at the very top, don't get that much media attention. You know, there are women like Diane Bryant, who runs a data center for Intel, who literally came from nothing. You know, she used to be homeless. She has an incredible story. There is Sheri Ballard, who started as an assistant manager at Best Buy and is now running 1,400 of their stores in North America. We hear a lot of criticism. We hear a lot of comments like, why do you need to separate women? Why do they need their own list? But I think having women like Diane and Sheri kind of goes to show the need for this list and to show that there are role models out there, and that it's not just about Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer. Yeah, I mean, I think that's an excellent explanation of why the list matters. Another point that's come up is should we be ranking these women in a list? Last year, the Hollywood Reporter that does a list of sort of power women in Hollywood came out and said, we're going to stop ranking. We want this to feel collaborative. We don't want the women to feel like they're in competition with each other. But to me, business is competitive. These women are competitive. There's no way they would have the jobs that they have now if they weren't, so I think they can handle being ranked by a magazine. Last week, a study came out that basically showed that men and women respond to feedback super differently. For women, when they hear a negative piece of feedback, they completely take it to heart. They change their perceptions of themselves. And it really has a tendency to affect their confidence. For men on the other hand, you know, they might tweak perceptions of themselves a little bit, but overall, they don't really think of themselves very differently. Yeah, I mean, I have to say this really hit home for me. I've had so many conversations with female friends, with female coworkers, and you know, with myself about the fact that sometimes it's really hard to hear the positive things that are being said to you. If there's any piece of negative feedback in there, you will find it and latch on to it. But I think it's worth noting that this isn't all bad for women. I mean, it also means that women are more likely to seek out mentorship. They're more likely to seek out new skills and actively try to get better in their careers. But on the flip side obviously, how can this not affect your self-confidence. Yeah, I mean, there's so much that managers can do about this. One really interesting tactic that I've heard is called the feedback sandwich, where basically you say something really positive about a person, then you say the negative piece of feedback, and then you bring it back to the positive. This isn't rocket science. It's not that hard to do something like this. And you know, people respond way better to this than direct negative feedback. So the Fox News saga continues. This week, they came out to say they're settling with Gretchen Carlson. They're paying her $20 million and they also issued a public apology. So this was really shocking to legal experts. They were surprised by, first of all, how fast it moved. She only filed her case two months ago. The size of the claim, which for a reported individual claim is the largest one on record apparently. And also just the fact that they had this public apology, which all the legal experts were totally shocked by that. You know, I think a big reason why Fox moved so quickly, and settled for so much money, and issued this apology is just the fact that Gretchen Carlson, Megyn Kelly, Andrea Tantaros-- all these women are high-profile public figures that Americans know, that Americans trust. You know, these aren't no-name women in the cases that we've seen previously, like in the Anita Hill case or in the Bill Cosby case. So I think that having these women who have such a high profile, in my opinion, definitely kind of expedited this process. I also think that Carlson herself played this really smart. You know, she sued Roger Ailes directly and not Fox, which meant that this case didn't have to go into arbitration per her employment contract. And also she videotaped Roger Ailes harassing her for over a year. Yeah, I'm really happy that this case has been so prominent, and now it's been settled so publicly. I hope it encourages other women to come forward. I hope it makes things easier for the next woman. I'm also really excited to see what Gretchen Carlson does next. But I want to return to your point about her decision to sue Roger Ailes, not Fox News. Now, Fox News is the one paying this settlement. And they made that decision, I would imagine, because they want this out of the headlines. They want to move on. And I just think that's something we should keep in mind when we think about their apology and the reasons for that apology. However, you know, perhaps the culture is changing there. We don't really know. We'll just have to wait and see. That's all the time we have this week for Broad Strokes. Come back next Friday for another episode on [MUSIC PLAYING]