March 14, 2005
Excerpts: Mother Leads Best - Part III
Shelly Lazarus, the CEO of Ogilvy & Mather, said, It is certainly possible to be both a mother and a CEO. You learn how to set priorities, and you learn how to enjoy the ride. Shelly noted that this belief isnt necessarily shared by all women, as evidenced by a commencement speech she recently heard: I was startled because the speaker gave a speech that you cannot have both. These were young, impressionable women, and she was telling them not to believe it. It really bothered me. Theres enough evidence that you can do both.
No doubt, some women in certain fields and in specific companies will face roadblocks because they are moms. Balancing career and family certainly can be a challenge, but in the majority of situations, it is not an impediment to securing top corporate positions. In fact, the Leaders in a Global Economy Report suggests that motherhood is viewed as a positive rather than a negative quality when selecting candidates for executive positions. The tide is indeed turning. No doubt, organizations are recognizing that the qualities of maternal leadershipperspective, balance, nurturing, and so onare exactly the skills needed to manage a diverse workforce in turbulent times.
Therefore, when you think about your motherhood decision, dont beat yourself up because you chose to have kids and believe that you havent achieved your career goals because of that decision. Unless you work for a truly backward organization, this isnt the case. Similarly, if youre a younger woman trying to decide about becoming a mother, dont let this myth stop you from starting a family if that is what you really want to do.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.