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APPLYING PRACTICAL INSIGHT TO
COMPLEX FINANCIAL CONCEPTS

Karen Firestone has spent over thirty years honing skills applied to
the investment world, while at the same time navigating a path through the work/familyscape. She considers many issues from an unusual angle, including stock market movement, factors facing professional women today, and how to think in simple terms about some complex financial structures. Karen shares her observations in posts that also appear in the Harvard Business Review and Huffington Post. As the CEO of Aureus Asset Management, a former fund manager at Fidelity Investments, and the mother of four grown children, Karen has a rare perspective into which she injects humor and some irreverence.

Why Won’t My Employees Admit They’re Going on Vacation?

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As another summer comes to a close, I find myself noticing once again that my co-workers and employees have been very reluctant to both commit to a vacation and to communicate that time off to everyone else. As CEO, I find this frustrating — it’s a waste of time to set up a client visit…

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What to Do When You Almost Have Inside Information

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I have spent my career in the investment business and have participated in thousands of meetings or calls with managements of public companies. A few times, I have received inside information, and I guarantee that you know when you’ve got it. When I worked at a large mutual fund company, we had ample instruction on…

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The Risk of Following Caitlyn Jenner

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I am 100% supportive of Caitlyn Jenner’s journey of self-actualization, as well as anyone’s effort to “follow their passion” or “trust their instincts.” However, from the moment of Caitlyn’s unveiling, I have wondered whether any of the media, drooling in anticipation of a new quote from the former Bruce Jenner, would describe the risk of…

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Commonwealth School Graduation Speech

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  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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New Hires Create More Anxiety at a Midsized Company

My company keeps growing. We add clients, revenue, profit, and of course, we need to add people when some of us are too busy to handle the added workload. But I’ve noticed a pattern over the past few hires: the very people who would benefit most from additional help at first resist the idea of…

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When to Tell Your Employees to Stay Home

When I sat at my computer last week, trying to write out a policy explaining under what extreme circumstances we might need to close our office and how we would define our work schedule on days when people might not be able to get to the office, I thought back to a situation several years…

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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?

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 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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