Category: Gender

Commonwealth School Graduation Speech

  The Commonwealth School is an academically rigorous, independent, co-ed day school of about 150 students from grades 9 through 12, located in Boston’s Back Bay. I was invited to speak at their graduation and spoke about life, “a-ha” moments, and keeping a sense of humor.   Hello, I am Karen Firestone, Chair of the Board…

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Does Having Grandchildren Persuade Women to Retire Early?

I am a grandmother. I don’t just admit it, I am proud of it. My first grandchild was born when I was fifty five, which is relatively young for American professional women, but I had four children by age 30. I also run an investment firm. You can imagine, then, how interested I might be…

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Family Leave: How time off can bolster workers and businesses

This is an article by Robert Lerose on maternity/paternity leave and how it can affect small businesses. My comments on the issue are included in the article about the ability for small businesses to be flexible with employees and encourage them to use their leave to bond with their child and support their wives or partners….

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How to Handle Losing a Major Client

You never want to receive an unexpected email from a very important client that reads “I need to talk to you at 2:30 today.” Particularly if he’s never sent you anything like that before.  But one morning last month, that was the message that landed in my inbox. My heartbeat quickening, I replied, “Of course,…

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How Hard Do Company Founders Really Work?

 After the piece I wrote last year about never going out to play golf with clients, colleagues or friends, and deciding that I should do that once every few weeks this summer, I realized that I only left work early once, at 4:00, to play 9 holes after work. I began to think about why…

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NPR “All Things Considered” Interview: Fifty Years Later, A Look At How Harvard’s Women MBAs Have Fared

I was recently interviewed for “All Things Considered” on NPR, by Tess Vigeland along with Professor Robin Ely from Harvard Business School.  The topic was the study she co-sponsored and wrote about for the Harvard Business Review in which thousands of  HBS graduates, both women and men, responded about their careers and personal lives.  The…

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Would You Play Golf on a Weekday Afternoon?

Last summer, I was invited by a few friends to meet at 4 o’clock on a weekday to play a few holes of golf on a sunny afternoon.   As I got out of my car, a guy I know waved and said, “Hey, great to see you, but don’t you still work?”  (Yes.) Over on the driving…

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When He Retires and She Still Works, What Happens?

My generation – the Baby Boomers – are beginning to retire, particularly the very successful ones who can afford to retire earlier.  They have stayed at work late, risen early, traveled more than they wanted when their children were young, survived under different bosses, ascended through the ranks, and attained ever increasing responsibilities.  Now, many…

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Who Dares Bake Cookies for the Office?

Recently, I asked one of my partners, a big, strong father of three, what he had done over the weekend. He explained that while his wife was out one rainy afternoon, he and the kids baked blueberry crumble, then assembled a confection known as an “ice box cake” and also tried a new multi-step red…

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Look Who’s Distracted Now

When acclaimed hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones revealed his opinion that women become much less effective as stock traders or investors once they have children, he was, in a sense, suggesting that the distraction of motherhood—a distinctly feminine condition—exceeds that of other attention-siphoning activities. I was reminded of how, almost thirty years ago, I…

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