Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!




Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! The Zehner family is heading to Mexico tomorrow where I hope to reflect, write, and spend quality time with the family. 2011 will be a very exciting year. I know it.... Blessings to all.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"Collective Impact" - Mark Kramer

A couple of weeks back (click here from FB) I was sitting on a plane catching up on my reading and read an article this article in Stanford Innovation Review. The article is called "Collective Impact" by John Kania and Mark Kramer. I was so moved by the article that we arranged a call and just spent the past hour on the phone with Mark to talk about how this thinking could be applied to the Women's Movement. The topic of the article - "Large-scale social change requires broad cross-sector coordination yet the social sector remains focused on the isolated intervention of individual organizations."

Here are my highlights from the article but PLEASE read it first!!!

- About isolated impact - "despite the dominance of of this approach, there is scant evidence that isolated initiatives are the best way to solve many social problems in today's compex and interdependent world."
-This point - "social problems arise from the interplay of government and commercial activities, not only from the behavior of social sector organizations. As a result, complex problems can be solved only by cross-sector coalitions that engage those outside the nonprofit sector."
- The FIVE CONDITIONS of Collective Success - love it!
- "The expectation that collaboration can occur without a supporting infrastructure is one of the most frequent reasons why it fails." !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- "Funders' reluctance to pay for infrastructure and preference for short term solutions."
- The Story of STRIVE - that has a $1.5 million annual budget but is coordinating the efforts and increasing the effectiveness of organizations with combined budgets of $7 billion." Refer to the upper point. Funders don't like to fund infrastructure and yet the leverage that could be created by funding infrastructure is HUGE. We need to fund this infrastructure in a this Collective Impact manner.

"Until funders are willing to embrace this new approach and invest sufficient resources in the necessary facilitation, coordination, and measurement that enable organizations to work in concert, the requisite infrastructure will not evolve." !!!!!!!!!!!! This is a call to action !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Rising Rates

Over the past few weeks US interest rates have risen dramatically. ( click here from FB) For example 10 year US treasuries have gone from a low of about 2.30% t0 3.32 %. That is a 30% rise!!! This is a problem for a country that is addicted to very low cost money. This has occurred despite hundreds of billions of purchases from the FED ( I cannot imagine how much money they lost). The FED's famous QE program met with much scrutiny, especially from free market players who see this as massively disruptive. The big question is what next? Further what are the reasons for the rise? Is it the economy is improving or that investors are demanding higher rates from the US because of concerns about lack of fiscal discipline? I have more questions then answers but when I step back what remains somewhat shocking to me is despite the rise, how low interest rates are. Despite this, despite it, we are not experiencing any real growth. Yes savings rates have gone up dramatically but we are still a country that is way to indebted. ( household and government) The corporate sector fairs better but investment on their part does not make sense unless the demand is there. How can there be demand when the consumer remains over-spent? I continue to think it will be a slow road to recovery for the US with the potential for some major bumps along the way.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

More Women on Boards

Happy Sunday! I have so much to write about TED, so much. But for now a quick hit on an important topic, getting more women on corporate boards. Read this in the New York Times from yesterday. Within a few weeks I hope to have a dedicated section on my web-site ( jackizehner.com ) that will feature a brief about why the time is now to move for the "Critical Mass Principle" - a voluntary goal for public companies to have a minimum of 30% women on their boards. That brief will feature the many research reports and arguements for why greater diversity on their boards is good business!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

TED - Women are Heros a film by JR

Last night at the TED opening I had the opportunity ( click here from FB) to see the documentary film "Women are Heros"- a film by JR, and the 2011 TED Prize Winner, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. It was an extraordinary film of a street art project come to life in the communities in which it was born. Click here from YOUTUBE trailer. I am off to a Women Moving Millions breakfast, a tour of the museum and by first TED conference. What a day!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Off to TED Women!

This is going to be a GREAT week. ( click here from FB) I am off to Washington to attend the first ever TED Women Conference. The line up is nothing short of spectacular and it includes a number of amazing women I know well. To name a few...

Halla Tomasdottir - co-founder of Audur Capital in Iceland.
Courtney Martin - Blogger, Writer and Internet Entrepreneur
Jacqueline Novogratz - Founder of the Acumen Fund
Lisa Witter - Chief Strategy Officer of Fenton Communication and writer

Other speakers include Madeline Albright, Eve Ensler, Donna Karan, Nancy Pelosi, Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf - President of Liberia, Ted Turner and it is hosted by one of my fav people on the planet - Pat Mitchell, President of the Paley Center for Media. The whole two days is available by WEBCAST - click here for more information.

If you have not heard of TED before this is what it is..
"TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences -- the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Oxford UK each summer -- TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Project and Open TV Project, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Women are more Generous!

It's official, women give more. ( click here from FB) This is the conclusion of a recent report by "The Center on Philanthropy" at Indiana University. They studied the giving behaviour of single men and single women and reached this powerful conclusion. Why does it matter? Because it highlights" that women play a distinct and powerful role and philanthropy."
To download the full report click here.
This finding is deeply connected to my work with Women Moving Millions, an initiative to encourage million dollar gifts to organizations that support, promote and include women and girls. Why? Because for the first time in history women are starting to fund women and girls and this report highlights the growing power of women to give and drive social change and all income and wealth levels. Look for more, much more, on this initiative on PursePundit.
on the report...
- WSJ reports on the study.
- blog post from the Case Foundation on why it matters.
- CBS news on the report.
on Women Moving Millions
- press release from The Women's Funding Network
- NYTimes on WMM by Lisa Belkin

Monday, November 22, 2010

Paycheck Fairness Act - Defeated

Last week this bill was defeated. (click here from FB) There were many articles written about this issue which frankly left me somewhat confused. Like many, I quote the statistic that women in the US continue to be paid 77 cents to the male dollar, and taken at face value, no one would say that is fair. But this is a complex number. Clearly some of the difference can be explained by the fact that women often opt for lesser paid jobs, often work part-time, require more flexibility, and often withdraw from the work-force for periods of time. That said many experts say there is still a hefty residual that cannot be explained by these factors.

This was from the White House - " Most economists agree, however, that no matter how many variables you control for an unexplained wage gap between men and women persists. For example, Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn did an excellent breakdown of the wage gap in 2007 and identified that 41% of the wage gap between men and women could not be explained by controlling for variables. Regardless of the precise percentage of the wage gap, we have a responsibility to ensure that no one in this country makes less as a result of his or her gender."

This from Valerie Jarrett's office - Click here. Lily Ledbetter pictured.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Financial Times - Women At The Top

The FT published a list of their top 50 women in world business. It is a fascinating list. Many of the obvious Fortune 500 Women CEOS were of course there, but this list is a global one, and it included many women I have never heard of. Of particular note were a number of young women business owners from China who founded billion dollar companies. Wow.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sylvia Ann Hewlett and The Center for Work Life Policy

I adore Sylvia and had the honor of serving on the board of The Center For Work Life Policy, an organization she started, for many years. ( click here from FB) The center does cutting edge research on human capital management issues and the Hidden Brain Drain Task-Force turns this research in to action. For a list of their research click here.

Thursday Sylvia had an OPED published in the Financial Times called "A Final Push Can Break the Glass Ceiling" on their newest Sponsor Effect research. It is an extremely well written piece and a timely one given the prior days announcement of a new round of GS partners.

Here is my summary of her article:

- Yes progress but women still hold only 15% of corporate board seats, make up less then 5% of top earners and 3% of Fortune 500 CEOS. Numbers are worse in the UK.
-Why? Talk of discrimination,work/family trade-offs, lack of the 'vision thing', nor ambitious enough. She says.. much more to it.
-Her new research - "women who are qualified to lead stall not for lack of drive, but for lack of push." It is about sponsorship.
-Why the difficulties in getting sponsors? Reluctance to give women feedback, fear of mentor ship either being perceived as or leading to more (the sex thing), and more.
- UK is pushing forward with a 'plan to take female representation on corporate boards to 50%."
- This week on Tuesday "a group of major companies launched a new "30% club" aiming to increase female board representation to 30% by 2015."

Personally I was blessed to have some amazing sponsors at GS, including a man named Mike Mortara who was my immediate boss and later the head of fixed income. There is no doubt that I would not have made partner without his intentional support and mentor ship. There were others as well and I could not agree more with Sylvia's findings and the importance of these strong relationships. Later when I worked on the partner selection process it was so clear that without a senior person pushing for the candidate, they were less likely to make it through. When push came to shove and it was one candidate versus another, the power and voice of who was in the room pushing for them made all the difference. It was also my experience that it was more likely that a woman did not have that voice in the room, and their road to partnership became much longer.

Thank you Sylvia for the work you do. It is truly an honor to be in your circle and connected to the work of the Center. If you have not already read it, I would highly recommend Syliva's book "Creating a Life: What Every Women Needs to Know about Having A Child and a Career," as well as her latest, "On Ramps and Off Ramps: Keeping Talented Women on the Road to Success." ( click here for Amazon)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Goldman Announces a New Partner Class


It is a big day for over 100 people who were named the new Goldman Partners. I remember getting the phone call in 1996 from Jon Corzine, as did my husband Greg, and it was special indeed. At the ripe old age of 32 I was invited to be part of a club, perhaps the club, and one of only a handful of women to be so named. Two years ago I wrote an oped about it, and in the words of Forest Gump - "That's all I have to say about it." Well.. maybe not all, but that is all I have to say for now.
Congratulations to all the new partners, and in particular the women partners. Use your position wisely and for the benefit of the women to follow. Though I cannot tell how many of the new partners are women one web-site said it was 10%, which if true, is disappointing. For a leader in corporate diversity my fingers are crossed that the numbers are much, much higher.
ps - I hope you all are still having that brunch.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Are Stocks Overpriced? Yes says Jeremy Grantham

"It [the Federal Reserve] wants us to go out there and buy stocks, which are overpriced because bonds they have manipulated into being even less attractive," (click here from FB) said Grantham, who is chief investment strategist of Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo, a Boston-based asset management firm, and a respected voice in the financial world. "So, we’re being forced to choose between two overpriced assets. That is not always a terrific choice to make because there is a third choice, and that is, 'don't play the game and hold money in cash.'" ( From CNBC)

I agree with the above, but would point out that the primary goal of 'manipulating' interest rates was to provide support for the housing market, as well as making money more affordable to support both business investment and private spending. The rise in equity valuations since late summer has been astonishing, and at these entry points, I am on the sidelines as well. Our favorite asset continues to be Gold. Jim Cramer was jumping up and down about it yesterday and is in words " talk to me about price when it is 5% of portfolios."

Have a great day.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Eve Ensler's List of Most Powerful Feminists

Eve Ensler was asked to create a list for FORBES ( click here from FB) of the the most powerful feminists. Cool. I wish I could say I know all these women, but only one, Pat Mitchell, do I now well. To see them all, click here. ( it is a slide show)

Eve would most certainly be on the top of my last of powerful and influential feminists. Eve is a role model in how you can leverage your skills, your passions, your platform to change the world. Big time! Her cause? To end violence against Women. I am a proud supporter of V-Day and I hope you are too! Violence is not a women's issue it is a human rights issue. I have had the pleasure of meeting Eve many times and she is the real deal.

Another amazing woman who has dedicated her life to ending violence against women is Jodie Evans of Code Pink. Jodie is a sister in the Women Moving Millions Movement, that I am honored to be a part of. I have only seen her wear PINK. Talk about wearing your values, again, totally inspiring. Spend some time on the CODE PINK web-site it is an amazing resource for all who care about human rights.

What is a feminist? Feminism refers to movements aimed at establishing and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. ( Wikipedia)

( Please note there is nothing in the definition about being anti-male or 'radical'. By this definition I truly hope everyone sees themselves as a feminist.)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Elections, Quantitative Easing and more....

Sorry for the lack of blog entries this past week. I spent Monday and Tuesday at a board meeting for the Women's Funding Network and spent the rest of the week trying to catch up! I really don't have much to say about the election results, except that it is going to be tough going in Washington. There are so many problems that need tough, thoughtful analysis and decision making and I doubt much will get done over the next few years. More in my realm of expertise has been the action by the FED to expand their balance sheet by another trillion. The Wall Street Journal has been doing some excellent writing on this including Wednesday's oped "High Rollers at the Fed." They say "this is a monetary mistake" which will have fiscal risks. The Fed's balance sheet is more than $2.3 trillion, including $1.1 trillion of mortgage backed securities. When you add in what is held by Fannie and Freddie is is mind blowing. The good news ( ha ha ) is of course that the FED has earned $76 billion by driving down interest rates, but the bad news is that there is no exit strategy. If mortgage rates were to rise 100 bps from 4% to 5% it is estimated they would love $162 billion. Honestly, I cannot even wrap my mind around this. It is unprecedented and I think extremely dangerous for our economy. For a detailed analysis Bill Gross' recent commentary is a MUST READ.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Gender Gap In Philanthropy Revealed plus the California Women's Conference

One my fav people on the planet is Lisa Witter. Lisa Witter is a Vice-President at Fenton Communications, working with organizations around strategic communications. She is also the author of "The She Spot: Why Women and The Market for Changing the World and How to Reach Them."

Yesterday she posted this article on Huffington Post on women's philanthropy. As a board member of the Women's Philanthropy Institute ( Indiana University ), I am sure she was instrumental in creating this compelling new report on women's giving. This is a must read study, full of facts and stats and insights. Big thanks to Lisa for highlighting the work of The Women's Funding Network and Women Moving Millions. I serve in a leadership role with both groups and my oh my, many good things happening in the next few months.

"The Women's Philanthropy Institute report is illuminating, not because it proves women are "better" than men because they tend to give more, but because it disrupts conventional wisdom about what a philanthropist looks like in terms of both gender and income." Yes Yes Yes!!!!

The Women's Conference - 2010! I would have loved to have been there but ....... I am however, looking forward to watching many of the sessions. Check out the fantastic speakers !!!!

October has been a HUGE month for conferences and gatherings for Women and Girls!!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fannie and Freddie and $259 billion

On February 25th, 2008 I wrote my first OPED about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (click here from FB)The piece was called Quickfixonomics, and appeared on the Huffington Post. At that time I criticized the government for increasing their loan limits as their balance sheets were already a complete mess. I cannot imagine how much THAT MOVE contributed to the $259 BILLION in total expected losses that were reported yesterday. $259 BILLION. Can you all please think about that number. This is not TARP, this is not WALL STREET, these losses are the result of government creating agencies to make homes more affordable for Americans. I have written dozens of blog entries about these two and it is truly just heartbreaking. Now what? is really the question. The truly sad thing is these losses will likely continue and go higher. They have no way to hedge their portfolio that I can think of against decreasing home prices and defaults. Given they own and guarantee trillions of mortgages, and home prices have decreased on average around 30%, it likely means this number is going to be much, much higher.

Now I really hate playing the blame game but this makes be angry. Years and years ago when Fannie and Freddie were printing money for their shareholders and bringing down mortgage rates it was all good, and so they kept expanding their portfolios because as a publicly traded company, that was what they were suppose to do. By buying trillions of mortgages they 'crowded out' other natural purchasers of bonds, perhaps forcing them in to investment strategies and products that were not optimal. ( think Alt A, subprime mortgages, and the like) I have done this rant before in one of my other dozens of entries on these mortgage giants but every time I see another headline about how much money they have lost I lose it. $259 billion. THIS WAS AVOIDABLE. The responsibility for oversight of these organizations was by people that are still in power today, like Barney Frank. I would argue that if Fannie and Freddie did not exist in the form they did, we would not have had this financial crisis. Were they the only players? No of course not. But go down the path of imagining the financial world, and especially the securitized world, without the likes of them, and I don't think you would end up where we are. Note that no other country has the likes of Fannie and Freddie, and they did not experience a financial crisis like the US did.

$259 billion and rising. It is all just so sad. Regarding this foreclosure mess. My gosh.. I don't even know where to start. I am really worried this will all lead to the next inning of financial market chaos.

For all the blogs I have written on Fannie and Freddie go to my web-site and search Fannie.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Closing the Gender Gap: The Business Case for Organizations, Politics and Society

Last week I had the honor of attending a conference (click here from FB) at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government which brought together over 100 though leaders to discuss the research that supports the positive economic value of gender diversity. It truly was a ‘who’s who’ of researchers in the field, including many of the people we quoted in out “Women in Fund Management” Study. A partial list includes:


Barbara Annis – Author, Leadership and the Sexes

Hannah Riley Bowles – Associate Professor Harvard Kennedy School, extensive research on gender in negotiations and the attainment of leadership positions.

Iris Bohnet – Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, extensive research on the role of gender in decision making.

Robin Ely – Professor at Harvard Business School, research on race and gender relations in organizations.

Morten Huse – Professor of Organization and Management of BI Norwegian School of Management, published widely on the topic of women and diversity on boards of directors.

Herminia Ibarra – Faculty of INCEAD, and expert on professional careers and leadership development.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter – Professor at Harvard Business School and listed as “one of the most powerful women in the world.” ( pictured left)

Mona Lena Krook – Assistant Professor of Political Science, Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. An expert in Quotas for women in politics.

Terrance Odean – Hass School of Business and an expert in behavioral economics.

Scott Page – University of Michigan, Professor of Complex Systems, Political Science and Economics.

My takeaways in brief:

- The evidence for investing in women and girls in the developing world is conclusive and compelling. Create and fund programs that provide for economic their opportunity and security.



- Quotas Quotas Quotas. I am absolutely in favor of quotas for boards of directors of publically traded companies. Representatives were at the conference from Norway sharing how almost no one wanted it, but they did it, and it is having very positive impact. ( they have a 40% law) So many other countries are doing it and it is THE THING we can do to create huge positive change.



- The benefit of gender diversity in groups is nuanced. It is not just add women and better outcomes; it is about creating an inclusive environment which leads to better outcomes. This is the main reason why diversity programs have failed to deliver. We are adding women without changing the culture. PS – an inclusive culture is better for men too!



- Change has and always will be about power. Women have so much more then we are using. We continue to be asking permission when we should be demanding change. The research supports that change is good business.



- Overall there is just a huge and significant amount of research that makes the business case for women. I knew that, but this gathering solidified it for me. Even where there was not absolutely conclusive research of a diversity bump, it does not matter. Show me the other research that says conclusively that excluding women or keeping them a minority leads to better outcomes. The fact that in 2010 we still have to PROVE that we deserve a seat of the table is crazy. I mean really?!? Really?



It was a joy to meet the researchers that do the work that fuel my arguments and my passion. Hopefully soon I will have an updated research list of all their work but for now many of their studies are listed or quoted in the resource section of my website.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

SPARK!! Courtney Martin and Geena Davis

I am a mother of a bright, kind, wonderful, beautiful 10 year old girl. (click here from FB) Thankfully she has zero interest in boys, has not asked to get her ears pierced, dresses like a 10 year old should, and has rarely watched anything more that a PG rated movie. That said I worry... I worry about the highly sexualized society we live in, and the pressure on girls to grow up way to fast.

I recently wrote to my friend Courtney Martin, a brilliant young feminist writer, about this issue, begging her to please do something !!!!!! Not surprisingly she said.. "we are" and directed me to SPARK.

"SPARK is both a Summit and a Movement designed to push back against the increasingly sexualized images of girlhood in the media and create room for whole girls and healthy sexuality. SPARK will engage teen girls to be part of the solution rather than to protect them from the problem."

They have an upcoming summit in NY on October 22nd, and I wish I could be there. Their keynote speaker is the most wonderful Geena Davis - Actor ( of course ) but also founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. I have had the opportunity to meet with Geena many times and I will tell you, this woman is the real deal. She is leveraging her celebrity to bring attention to these issues and I lift her up as someone who should inspire as all. If you have not signed up for the Institute's media alerts, do so now. It is an awesome service.

More on Courtney... (pictured)
"Courtney E. Martin is a writer, teacher, and speaker, living in Brooklyn. Her latest book Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists was just published to critical acclaim. Seal Press published her first anthology, co-edited with J. Courtney Sullivan, entitled Click: When We Became Feminists, last spring."

I am on a whirlwind trip to Washington ( for fun), Boston for the "Closing the Gender Gap Conference", then NY for a bunch of meetings. More next week.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

"Who Will Drive the 21st Century Agenda? Women" according to the CEO of Coca-Cola

I love it when men make the business case for women. (click here from FB) "According to Muhtar Ken (CEO of Coca-Cola)t, women already are one of the fastest growing dynamic economic forces in the world today, with assets worth $20 trillion worldwide. In the United States alone, women-owned businesses generate $4 trillion, he said, while women comprise nearly 14% of the entrepreneurs in Thailand, 12% in Argentina, 11% in Brazil and 10% in Chile and Mexico." Click here for the full article and video.

This week I will be attending a two day conference on this very subject in Boston. The event, called "Closing the Gender Gap: The Business Case for Organizations, Politics and Society," is a partnership effort between the Council for Women World Leaders, The World Economic Forum, and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. The list of people speaking is incredible. This movement is getting stronger and stronger and it is all very exciting.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Special on Goldman Sachs on CNBC tonight at 9 pm

Should be interesting....

The Lack of Women in Finance - A RANT!!!!!!

Women in Finance is a hot topic these days. (click here from FB) I can barely keep up with the articles talking about the lack of women on the street, pay disparities, lawsuits and more. Here is the most recent from BLOOMBERG filled with great stats:

- Women in Finance earn 63.9 cents for every dollar men made in 2000.
- Same stat for 2001 - 58.8 cents
- Biggest gap in any of the 13 industries surveyed by the Government Accountability Office
- Number of women in finance, banking and insurance in the US fell by 537,000 between the second quarter of 2007 and the second quarter this year
- Citigroup does not have any women on their executive committee - 19 men


The reasons as to " why so few" are many and the research paper "Women in Fund Management: A Roadmap to Critical Mass and Why it Matters" addresses this in detail ( click here ), but her is more of my personal take:


- Pipeline issues - Fewer women then in math, science and business programs. Fewer women choose to enter the field out of undergrad or graduate school. That said, when the environment is perceived as not "women-friendly", no wonder.


- Gender Discrimination and Bias - Wall Street and finance in general is still very much a 'boys club.' Some firms are better then others, but all the major institutions are governed by men and many of them bring their personal biases to work place and for some, bad behavior. When I began on Wall Street strippers still made visits to the trading floor in celebration of someone's birthday, and thank heaven those days are behind us. That said, it is naive to think that men who think that it is fine to stuff hundred dollar bills in g-strings of naked women at night, don't bring some of that to the workplace with them in terms of how they manage, mentor, co-exist with women in the work place. On the other hand I think some women bring too much of their sexuality in to the workplace and I have seen them use it as a tool to get ahead. It is a delicate balance and one that women, more then men, will have to manage. More relevant is the reality that we are more comfortable with, and confident with people that look and act like ourselves. If you are a man, that means men. In a male dominated work place it takes a huge effort to move away from that tendency and needs to be driven by a deep belief that talent comes in both genders, and all colors. Great new book on this - Laura Liswood "The Loudest Duck: Moving Beyond Diversity While Embracing Differences to Achieve Success in the Workplace."

- Problems with Diversity Initiatives and Programs - Despite a lot of good intentions and good programs, too many managers remain ill-equipped to manage a diverse population. Many firms have pages of programs, but the numbers are not changing and it is time to ask why. Too many firms are just checking the box with programs rather than creating accountability for their outcomes. Evaluate. Measure. Rewards positive outcomes.

- Fear of law-suits and the challenge in firing poor performers that are women and minorities. This is a big issue that is not being talked about. It is a chicken and the egg thing. Because there are so few women and minorites, if they end up not being good at their job ( and that may be because of bad management) it is hard to fire them. The are 'saved' as one manager said to me and this creates huge resentment by the manager and the team. The effect might well be that managers who have experienced this become reluctant to hire women and minorities unless they feel they are a "sure thing." It is just easier to fire men if they are not good, so why not hire just them to begin with? Think about this scenerio. You are a guy with good intentions who tries to hire the best talent for his team. Most of the hires are MBASs with no real experience and thus it is all about perceived potential. You have men and women candidates. They look the same. You had the experience with a prior hire, a woman, who proved not to be cut out for the job but despite your efforts to train her and HR would not allow you to fire her. You were told to pour more and more energy in to her success and it just was not working. Sure if she is great you get pats on the back and you have a great team member, but the downside is there. If you just hired the guy and he was great, great! If he did not work out, bye bye. It is at this level that we must think about as it is at the heart of WHY so few women I believe. We have to think hard about the personal and organizational incentives and disincentives around creating a more diverse workforce.

-Maternity Leave - Let's be real. This is a big issue. If you have a desk full of 20-30 year old women, they are going to have babies. As a manager if your employee is out on maternity leave, it means more work for the rest of team, likely without additional compensation. In an industry where all employees are worked to the bone, this is an issue. Again it is about incentives. Firms need to take a big look at this issue.

- Work-life Balance. This will always be more of an issue for women then men. Women have the kids and the pressures to be a 'good mom' are big. This may be the ultimate reason why we don't get to 50/50. That said, I have met PLENTY of women who choose not to have kids, have husbands with more flexibility and so on. This challenge can be addressed institutionally with more flexibility in roles, but the cultural issues remain. Men in finance have to want to be more then the funders of their families for things to really change. They have to want to be great dads in the same way that I think most women want to be great moms. It means being there for more then weekends and family vacations. I KNOW there are some amazing dads out there who are also senior organizational leaders, so this is a generalization. There is a win/win here for all if corporate America cared more about supporting families.

- CULTURE CULTURE CULTURE - First institutionally. I worked at Goldman Sachs for 14 years. Their culture prides itself on being a meritocracy. That belief is core to their being. I had this experience years ago at a management committee/partnerhship committee offsite on diversity. We were in a small group discussion about why so few women and minorities at the firm. At my table were 9 men and myself. I asked them "look around this room filled with our most senior leaders. Do you think this room is 90% white men because they are the best, the brightest, the hardest working?" They answered YES. They truly believed it. It was not long after that I left the firm. These are not bad people, in fact most of them are GREAT people. They do not know what they do not know and most of them walk around in the world as privileged, powerful, white men. ( I walk around as a privileged white woman)Most of them do not experience exclusion or discrimination and because of it they have no frame of reference for it. They are immune. They do not personally experience discrimination so it is easy for them to assume it does not exist. That classic well it did not happen to ME so I guess it does not happen at all. Catalyst did a GREAT report about getting men engaged in diversity initiatives and they said that the men most likely to be diversity champions have experienced BIAS PERSONALLY!!!

Our broader CULTURE. We still live in a world that values men and boys more then women and girls. This is the issue I will work on for the rest of my life. This manifests itself in a million different ways in our homes, in the media, in the workplace and in the world in general. We have focused a lot of energy towards building up girls self-esteem which is awesome. Increasingly the world recognizes the need to get financial resources in the hands of women, especially in the developed world. Again awesome. But.. we have a long way to go. We are talking about power and control and changing the status quo so it will be hard.

Bottom line is this. We all have to care about creating a workplace, a world, where access and opportunity is available for all. We have to digest that the world is not fair, and if we made it to a place of privilege we OWE it to others that they have their shot too. We have to recognize that gender discrimination is everywhere and we have to look for it so we can eliminate it. I believe with all my heart that a more gender balanced world is in the best interest of all. In that world there will be more women leading institutions and more men free to be in the home being amazing husbands and fathers. Men and women are suppose to be in it together.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Wonder Women TV SERIES!!!

News just in. (click here to read from FB) Wonder Woman is going to be a TV series by David Kelley. Though I want to say IT IS ABOUT TIME, part of me wishes the big scream version would hit first. If you are regular reader you know that I am a huge WW fan. I collect WW memorabilia (note Bday coming up and I can always use more!!!!) and fantasize about being the screenwriter for the eventual movie. (yes I have an idea) A woman has to write the screenplay. With all due respect to so many incredibly talented men, PLEASE GOD let the script be written by a fantastic, amazing, brilliant feminist woman. PLEASE!!!! The very strange thing is that 8 years ago I started thinking about a female superhero story. That story is playing itself out in real life, my life. One day when I decide to write another 'let it rip blog entry' you might just hear all about it. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Markets and the Economy - Who I go to

I am sure you may have noticed that I have not been blogging that much about either the economy or the markets. (click here to link to my blog from facebook) The main reason is because there is just so much exceptional commentary ( and free!) that says it better then I can. In general I remain quite bearish on equities, and bonds. (see Rosenburg's comments) So rather then going on and on about what I think, here is SHORT list of the people and places I go to for information:
1) David Rosenburg of Gluskin Sheff - formerly of ML. Click here to subscribe to his free daily newsletter. Great for the big picture!
2) Bill Gross of PIMCO - click here to acccess his monthly commentaries. Big picture plus bond market commentaries.
3) Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor - Robust, global economic and market commentary. Detailed analysis requires a subscription.
4) Michael Cembalest - JP Morgan. Again, not alot free, but put him on your google alerts.
6) Blogs/Aggregators - Naked Capitalism -check out their incredible blog roll.
HAVE A GREAT DAY!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Glass Hammer ...and the GS Lawsuit

Nicki Gilmour is the founder of the GLASSHAMMER and one fantastic young women. If you do not know of this site please subscribe and better yet contact her to find out more about her business.

Nicki had this to say about the GS Lawsuit. She too sees the downside of litigation. There is no doubt that the low numbers of women on Wall Street, particularly in senior leadership positions, indicate that gender discrimination is still alive and well. That said it is not the ONLY reason and I truly believe there are a lot of well intending people who want to do better in the hiring, retention and promotion of women. What is needed is some open, honest and constructive dialog on WHY diversity programs and policies have failed to deliver the intended results. For a resource on this topic please download the research paper from the National Council for Research on Women.

BBC - Women's Hour - GS Class Action Suit

Airing today is a segment where I spoke to the GS Class Action Suit. Click here to listen.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Clinton Global Initiative - Women and Girls, and the NEW Girl Effect Video

This is a big week in New York City! The Clinton Global Initiative is happening, otherwise knows as CGI, gathering leaders in business, government and philanthropy from around the world. Former President Clinton started this movement in 2005 in attempt to turn "good intentions in to action and results." Love it.

"Building on President Clinton's lifetime in public service, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) reflects his belief that governments need collaboration from the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and other global leaders to effectively confront the world’s most pressing problems. After attending thousands of meetings during his career in which urgent needs were discussed but no action was taken to solve them, President Clinton saw a need to establish a new kind of meeting with an emphasis on results."

I considered attending this year but just could not make it happen. Thankfully so many of the women I know and deeply respect are there representing the gender related issues I care so passionately about. In particular my dear friend and the most fabulous Lisa Witter, author of "The She Spot" was the leader in convening a WHISPER ROOM to talk about the following:

• jobs/economic development
• leadership/women as decision makers
• innovation
• a million “new” opportunities for women that might be a catch-all for a number of different issues.

The need to invest in women and girls is front and center at this gathering as it is now broadly accepted that they hold the key to economic growth and security for all. There were many sessions where a gender lens was applied, as well as this dedicated plenary to "Empowering Women and Girls" featuring Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. ( click here to watch )

Here is a list of what this incredible initiative has accomplished.

Last but not least. Jennifer Buffet, President of the NOVO Foundation is an amazing philanthropist and I am honored to call, a personal friend. NOVO "seeks to foster a transformation in global society from a culture of domination and exploitation to collaboration and partnership, empowering women and girls as the primary agents of change." I think they are the largest foundation dedicated to women and girls and they do incredible work.

Just released at CGI is this brand new GIRL EFFECT Video. If you have not seen it - click here.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

"Third Wave of Feminism Urged by Prominent Canadian Women"


"Influential Canadian women say the promise of equality that was dangled before them during the 1960s and ’70s has never been fully met and a “third wave” of feminism is needed to revive the drive." Go Canada! As a Canadian citizen living in the US thinks makes me extremely proud. Read the full article int he Globe and Mail here. The departing Governor-General MichaĆ«lle Jean convened 200 prominent women to talk about how to advance gender equality in Canada and from a first hand report from a dear friend who was there, she rocked it!!! This article got over 600 comments! 600.

Friday, September 17, 2010

"Goldman Bias Suit Offers Wall Street an Opening" - Jacki Zehner


I have much to say on this topic. So much. Bloomberg asked me to write something for them and here it is. I have received many incredible emails in response to it, from men in particular. Many men have shared with me their frustrations in trying to hire, retain and promote women. Further they point to the institutional challenges that exist and must be addressed if we are to move forward. I have written many times in this space how I think diversity efforts have largely failed, and I will write more on that topic.

Thanks to Bloomberg for inviting me to write this piece and to my very special, personal editor who challenged me to think about my intent in writing it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Class Action Launched Against GS

A class action law suit was filed today against Goldman Sachs. The entire suit can be found on this link. ( click here ) The details are below.

National Class Action Lawsuit in Federal Court Charges Violations of Federal and Local Civil Rights Laws
Business Wire
NEW YORK -- September 15, 2010
Goldman Sachs has engaged in systemic and pervasive discrimination against its female professional employees, a lawsuit filed today in federal court in New York alleges.
The lawsuit, Chen-Oster v. Goldman Sachs, Inc., Case No. 10-6950 (S.D.N.Y.), filed by three highly-credentialed women represented by Outten & Golden LLP and Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, accuses Goldman Sachs, a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm, of engaging in a pattern and practice of gender discrimination against its female Associates, Vice Presidents, and Managing Directors. The women allege violations of federal and city laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New York City Human Rights Law.
The case is pending before United States District Court Judge Leonard Sand.

According to the complaint, the ``violations of [Goldman Sachs'] female employees' rights are systemic, are based upon company-wide policies and practices, and are the result of unchecked gender bias that pervades Goldman Sachs' corporate culture. They have not been isolated or exceptional incidents, but rather the regular and predictable result of Goldman Sachs' company-wide policies and practices.''

``The gender-equality issues raised by this lawsuit are all too familiar – Goldman Sachs systematically undervalues the efforts and achievements of its female employees. This is an important step in our efforts to eradicate discrimination within the financial-services industry,'' said plaintiffs' attorney Adam T. Klein of Outten & Golden LLP of New York, New York.
``This case challenges Goldman Sachs' practice of treating its talented female professionals like disposable, second class citizens,'' said plaintiffs' attorney Kelly M. Dermody of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP of San Francisco, California. “By coming forward, the plaintiffs are working to ensure a level playing field across Wall Street.”
The complaint charges that, among other things, Goldman Sachs compensates its female professionals less than similar male professionals, disproportionately promotes men over equally or more qualified women, and offers better business opportunities and professional support to its male professionals.
Attorneys Adam T. Klein, Cara E. Greene, and Jennifer Liu of
Outten & Golden LLP and Kelly M. Dermody, Anne Shaver, and Heather Wong of Lieff Cabraser Heimann and Bernstein LLP represent the plaintiffs.
The case is Chen-Oster v. Goldman Sachs, Inc., Case No. 10-6950 (S.D.N.Y.).

So where do I stand on this as a former GS partner ( trader ), an executive who worked in human capital management for two years with a focus on diversity, compensation, lateral hiring, succession planning, performance measurement and more? I am working on that entry................. more soon.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Trust and Kindness

I am back from a 6 day whirlwind New York visit, my first since moving to Park City. I have so much to write about I cannot even stand it but tonight the post will be brief. I attended a three day retreat for Women Moving Millions and we had some very talented facilitators and some amazing speakers. ( more on that tomorrow) In opening the session they asked all the participants to do two things. The first - to look around the room, look at the faces present and imagine that you could trust every single person completely. Further imagine yourself as being completely trustworthy to others. Completely. She gave us time to digest that feeling and WOW. YOU think about that. Think about how your life, your actions, might be different if everyone you came across was completely trustworthy. In the moment and for ever more. Second she asked us to not be nice. Not nice. But she then asked us to make sure we were kind. Nice is telling someone they look like they lost weight when they haven't because you know it would mean a lot to them to hear you say it. Kind is helping them to in fact lose it. ( my example) This set the stage for the whole retreat and I am taking these two things out with me in the world. These are big ideas and I love them. The whole weekend was just such a gift. Such a blessing. Such a well of abundance and possibility. I will look forward to sharing more.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

On the road...

Sorry for the lack on entries this past week. The getting settled in to the new home thing is a heck of a lot of work! This week I am in New York for a road trip. Meetings with the team of SHEWRITES, Pat Mitchell of the Paley Center for Media, The Economist, Bloomberg and more. This weekend I will be at a three day Women Moving Millions retreat where we will be in strategy sessions around what next for this amazing group of women donors! Lots to write about when I get back. Have a great weekend.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Do Women Writers Get a Fair Shake? plus SHEWRITES

A controversy has broken out in the literary world about whether women writers get the attention they deserve? Read about it here on the HuffingtonPost.

Better yet however is read what Deborah Siegel has to say about it! Deborah is the not only one of my most favorite people on the planet, she is also the writer of one of my favorite books that every man, woman and young person should read. The book is "Sisterhood Interrupted: From Radical Women to Grrrls Gone Wild." It walks you through the history of feminism, bridges the intergenerational issues that plague the movement, and explains why feminism (and sorry if you really don't like that word ) is till relevant today.

Last year Deborah, and another totally fabulous woman Kamy ( pronounced Amy with a K ) Wycoff, started SHEWRITES.com.

"She Writes is a community and a workplace for women who write, with over 10,000 active members from all fifty states and more than thirty countries. Right now, emerging writers and established bestsellers are finding services, support and actionable advice on She Writes. In the future, the site will empower women writers further by connecting them directly to readers in a marketplace distinguished by its commitment to the production and distribution of high quality content. ..It is a mission-driven company, based on the belief that writing is life- and world-changing for women."

I am thrilled, honored, blessed to serve as an Advisory Board Member for SHEWRITES not only because of how much I adore the founders, but because their emerging business model is fascinating. Historically writers, and especially women writers, operate from a rather powerless position. They write something, and hope they can find an agent, a publisher, an audience.... SHEWRITES is trying to change that. It has created a powerful community of writers that are helping each other do all of the above and more. Love it.... If you are a writer, join and spread the word.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Women's Equality Day - Part TWO

A big thank you to all of you who read our "Women Call Obama to Act" opinion piece today in honor of Women's Equality Day. The piece was shared, linked to, and tweeted! A special thanks to Talking Points Memo and Politico.com for featuring the article. Also special thanks to Nick Kristof for the tweet, The National Council for Research on Women for the blast email, the many women's foundations who posted it.. and more. Of course thanks to Bloomberg for publishing it.

Someone asked me today, "Jacki - why are you so passionate about trying to create a more gender balanced world?" The answer is simple - I truly believe that if men and women more equally shared power and decision making, we would have a more just, equitable, peaceful and prosperous world for all. If you believe something so strongly and purely, then you have no choice but to act upon it. "Be the change you want to see in the world."

I was hoping to put together a whole list of fabulous articles in honor of today, but so far I have two... just not enough hours in the day.

Article on truth-out.org by the most fabulous Gloria Feldt - click here
Essay by Rita Henley of Women's ENEWS - click here

Special thanks to my co-writer Linda, and the most fabulous NINA.

Women's Equality Day. Reason to celebrate? Not quite yet...

Today is Women's Equality Day, the commemoration of women’s suffrage achieved in 1920. Is there a lot to celebrate? Yes and no. Yes there has been much progress since 1920, but no, as we are far from achieving anything close to equality in this country. Is it not time, I mean really, to ask ourselves why not? I can sort of see why it might not matter to men, but to women? To girls? If you think we have arrived, then please feel free to quote me the statistics to prove it. Yes women are over half the college graduates, but we still make 77 cents to the male dollar. Women are still so far from being equally represented in leadership positions and in elected positions. Far. We are way more likely to be poor, to experience violence, to be exploited. A better world for women is a better world for men too. It is not a win lose.

To commemorate this special day I wrote this article that appears on BLOOMBERG with the most incredible Linda Tarr-Whelan, author of "Women Lead the Way: Your Guide to Stepping Up to Leadership and Changing the World." We put forth a call to action -" We need a national conversation led by the White House to explore how women decision-makers can help achieve better economic performance and a more prosperous future for all. It is time." It is time to take the matter of gender equality in this country seriously. It is time.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Existing Home Sales Drop 27% plus tomorrow is Women's Equality Day!

WOW. Scary number. I mean truly scary number for the US economy. This is the lowest number recorded in the series history! The main reason it seems was due the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit. Without a financial incentive to buy a new home demand collapsed. It truly seems like the US economy is going to struggle in this second half. The employment picture continues to be grim as well. This all plays in to how much people have to spend. Expect retail sales to be soft which of course feeds in to corporate earnings. Stocks have reacted with the DOW well off it's recent (52 week) high of 11,309 to now below 10,000. Uhg....

I jumped over to the PIMCO to see if investment guru Bill Gross had a comment on the continued houseing crisis, and YUP, he did. Better yet he recently presented to Treasury a solution to the Fannie Mae/ Freddie Mac disaster. GO BILL! I like his plan, and if anyone knows alot about the mortgage market, it is Bill. I met Bill a very long time ago when I ran the mortage pass-through desk at Goldman, and he truly is one smart, and uber intense, cookie. ( can a cookie be intense?) I too recently went to Washington and had a meeting at Treasury and it is an incredible experience to walk in to that building to share ideas. It is awesome that Treasury is inviting the likes of Bill Gross to take part in solution building. Now will they listen? I hope so....

Tomorrow is a big day. Well yes, it is the first day of school in our new town for my children, but that is not what I meant. It is Women's Equality Day!!! I have co-written an OPED with the amazing Linda Tarr-Whelan, author of "Women Lead the Way" and former Ambassador to the UN Commission on the Status of Women. A MAJOR news source is publishing it!!!!! Go team. I will post it first thing. Please put on your girl power, Wonder Woman, or Rosie Riveter T-shirts and say, GENDER EQUALITY MATTERs and a more balanced world, means a better world for ALL !!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

"Bonds as Lemons" - And US 10 Year Notes at 2.5%

Below is a comment on why US Gov't 10 year notes are at 2.5%. As a reminder I used to be a bond trader, and were I still one, I likely would have had my face handed to be for shorting 10 years long before they hit 2.5%. This piece comes from David Zervos at Jefferies. I hope he doesn't mind the reprint.

"Suppose the Congress controlled the production of all the lemons in US. Then assume the Federal Reserve decided that it was going to use its balance sheet to buy lemons as a means of adding liquidity into the market when times were tough. While the government ramped up lemon production during tough times, the Fed not only bought most of those lemons, but sent out a clear message that it stands ready to buy a whole bunch more lemons if the economy falters. Finally, suppose that the government started changing the rules and regulations forcing financial institutions to hold more lemons rather than limes - as lemons were deemed the only safe fruit. What happens to the price of lemons? The answer is a 2.50% 10 year note!

These are not “market prices”. The Congress, Fed and Treasury are controlling the supply, demand and the rules of the game in the US government bond market. And make no mistake – lemon production is ripping higher. Eventually people will realize there are not enough Corona bottles to stuff those lemons into and there will be lemonade all over the streets. Until then, please remember that this will go down as one of the greatest examples government price control and manipulation in history. Maybe soon we will be lining up at 15th and Constitution in DC - at the doors of the Treasury on odd and even days depending on our birthdays - in order to buy limited supplies of those precious lemons!! There is a great book by two gentlemen from the Hoover institution -http://www.amazon.com/Doomsday-Myth-Years-Economic-Crises/dp/081797962X. The stories span 10,000 years but they all have one thing in common – when governments distort asset prices, bad things happen. It is an easy and fun read. I encourage you to grab a copy.

Finally, it has been a humbling summer watching 10 year rates move to these levels. I remain steadfast in the view that we are at least 75 to 100bps expensive in long term rates. But with the supply, demand and rules fixed by the Fed/Treasury/Congress Troika, I probably should have been more prepared for this – mea culpa. In any case, I’ll fall back on one of the better calls we have had and that is in MBS space where price manipulation is just as rampant. In fact, we can see that as the Fed has decided not to treat MBS like lemons anymore, they were quickly turned to lemonade. Once again my market screens are all red in MBS – days with 5yr futures down 5 tics and FBCL6.5s down 11 tics are amazing to watch. The 5.5/4.5 swap which peaked at 5-15 has fallen to 2 points since April. There is a lot of pain in the MBS world and it may be a good preview to what happens when government price manipulation schemes unravel. Good luck trading!"

David Zervos
Managing Director
Global Fixed Income Strategy
Jefferies & Co

As an add. US Treasury notes are a benchmark for all spread products. It you agree that these rates are low because of manipulation, then what is the right "spread" for anything? I argue that investors should be looking at absolute yield levels versus the risk of the bond and asking themselves, does this make sense? I don't follow debt spreads too closely anymore, but if I were an investor I would be careful. If treasury rates break down, so will spread product... bigtime.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

"How to Measure Your Life"


I woke this beautiful Sunday morning to find this essay in my in box, sent to me by one of my best friends. This is yet another example, to me, of how I know God is real. Two days ago during our 17 hour car ride home, my husband and I talked about the following:

- Are we living our priorities? If not, why not, and how do we change it. Further to that, we asked ourselves what we care about and is how we spend our time and energy in alignment?
- Is our work aligned with who we are and what we want to be in this world?
- We both have SO MUCH we want to do, so how do we not feel overwhelmed and stressed about it all the time? How do we live in the moment more?
- We have two children. Are we doing a good job parenting them? Now that they are 13 and 10 how do we stop using the tools of reward and punishment, and encourage independent decision making and choices? How do we help them become good and moral citizens of the world?

This essay by the most incredible Clay Christensen answers all those questions and more. Coming from a business background with an obsession for leadership development, it could not have been written better. I had the honor of meeting Clay years ago while at Goldman and thought him incredible then, and incredible now.

For Clay, in case this blog entry gets back to you ( and I hope it does). Thank you for this gift. I share your faith and it has been the guiding force in my life as well. Your decision regarding not to play on Sunday was the right one indeed. I will share this essay with all I know, and in particular my children. We will be praying for you in your transition and for your ongoing good health. Blessings....

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Market News not "Peachy"

It was a big week of market, economic and policy news, and none of it too positive. Here is quick summary:

- Quantitative Easing Continues - Federal Reserve to buy government bonds with proceeds from MBS. The FED has been on course doing exactly what they said they would do from way back. Money continues to flood in to the system seemingly with little effect. I continue to believe at some point inflation will be a problem.
- New foreclosure relief programs to help troubled homeowners announced – a few billion. ( $3 ?)
- Cash strapped states to get billions of federal funding.( $26 ?)
- Employment numbers not good.
- HUGE negative trade balance numbers.

Quote from David Rosenburg to finish up....

"The best way to describe the financial backdrop is that it is truly a meat-grinder market. The S&P 500 was at 1,090 back on October 14, 2009. It’s at 1,090 today. That means 208 trading days of doing nothing. Nada. While I am sure there were gems beneath the surface, we are talking about an entire asset class here — you were better off clipping coupons for the past nine months."

Sorry, not very perky. On a brighter note our peach crop is looking mighty nice so I thought I would include a photo from our orchard. (ABOVE) We are leaving BC and our beautiful orchard tomorrow to head back to the states to get geared up for school. Summer has gone by way to fast. Best wishes to all...

Monday, August 9, 2010

"The Time is Now For Women to Stand Up and Start up"


This is a great article about women and social media from the blog ComSCORE. Thanks to Linda Ambraham for the post.

"Now maybe this gender disparity is not particularly noteworthy or an issue even worthy of consideration. After all, technology has often been the purview of men, so doesn’t the composition of the start-up community merely reflect that fact? That may be the case. But it is only when you understand just how important women are to the fabric of the digital media landscape that you begin to see the opportunity for women in our industry – and why the time is now for women to stand up and start up."

Love that last line. I think we (the royal we) have been good about pointing out the challenges, barriers and inequities but Linda is right, ladies if we don't like the landscape, then it is up to US to help change it. Let's use our power to create positive change and break open the gates to opportunity and advancement for all. Gender balance. Shared power. Let's live it, breathe it, and act with that goal in mind in all we do.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Barbara............

One of my best friends, Barbara, will be undergoing Breast Cancer Surgery today at 12:30 EST in New York City. My husband Greg will be there with Barbara's husband, and I will be praying for her from BC. Barbara circulated a devotional this morning before being admitted that I would like to share in honor of Barbara.

"Hold my hand, and walk joyously with Me throughout this day. Together we will savor the pleasures and endure the difficulties it brings. Be on the lookout for everything I have prepared for you: stunning scenery, bracing winds of adventure, cozy nooks for resting when you are weary, and much more. I am your Guide, as well as your constant Companion. I know every step of the journey ahead of you, all the way to heaven.

You don't have to choose between staying close to Me and staying on course. Since I am the Way, staying close to Me is staying on course. As you focus your thoughts on Me, I will guide you carefully along today's journey. Don't worry about what is around the next bend. Just concentrate on enjoying My presence and staying in step with Me."

John 14:6

I wrote the poem below quite a few years ago and it is one that means a lot to me and has guided my faith. It is about realizing you are never alone. Never. It is the same message and I take it as a sign from God that the surgery will go brilliantly. Barbara I love you. The poem is called "Walk With Me."

I am walking outside alone

And I begin to shake

I stop a sec and look around

Am I dreaming or awake?

The air it seems way too cool

For this time of year

I begin to get a sense

That the cool is my own fear

I keep walking straight ahead

Knowing not which was too turn

Thinking of all I have left behind

And all that I have learned.

I see something ahead of me

A bench is on the road

As if put there just for me

To help relieve my load.

I sit down to rest and think

As I can no longer stand

Suddenly I’m scared and turn

For there is someone holding my hand.

Do not be afraid he says

I’m here to show you the way

I wake up, get out of bed

And get down on my knees to pray. (J Zehner 2002)

Bill Gross, Nouriel Roubini - The New Normal

The New Normal was an investment term first put out there by Bill Gross (picture left) of Pimco. ( Read Bill's most recent comments here.) Bill started talking about it a couple of years ago and it has developed in to a full investment thesis. Bill says - "Our New Normal, to repeat ad nauseam, is predicated upon deleveraging, reregulation and deglobalization, all of which promote slower economic growth and lower inflation in developed economies while substantially bypassing emerging market countries that have more favorable initial conditions."

This term was mentioned by another author, this time from one of the most well known economists, Nouriel Roubini, in his recent comments. I have met Nouriel and other members of his team many times and find them both thorough and thoughtful. Nouriel's website Roubini.com.

Roubini -"Since the end of 2009 we have been emphasizing that the recovery would be multi-speed—or at least two-speed—with much of the advanced world displaying a below-trend, anemic growth pace and the emerging world showing a more V-shaped recovery. Now, the global macroeconomic deterioration that we still see emerging in the second half of 2010 increasingly is becoming the consensus view. In much of the advanced world this low growth will feel like a recession even if these economies technically avoid a double dip. Meanwhile, emerging markets are showing that even their more robust recoveries are not insulated from the slowdowns and structural adjustments in advanced economies. We have never been subscribers to the decoupling thesis and believe that emerging markets also will have to partially adjust to a "New Normal."

I agree with this New Normal view and it will remain challenging to construct an investment portfolio with strong positive returns. Personally I remain very cautious on developed country equites and bonds. I think it will pay to hang out on the sidelines and see how this theory plays out. That said, for how to invest with this investment thesis in mind, follow or invest with PIMCO. They manage over $1 trillion in assets. Yes, $1 trillion. I am not sure how that is even possible with just over 1300 employees. I have had the pleasure of meeting many folks from PIMCO and it is one impressive shop.