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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.

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?

Portrait of a muscular young woman in a gym holding a barbell over her head

 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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Why You Should Try to Save Your Security Guard’s Job

An American security or police officer smiling and happy.

Two weeks ago I found out that we were about to lose both our morning and afternoon security guards, who have worked for many years at our five story, 114,000 square foot downtown Boston office building.  The new owners authorized the management company to bid out all support contracts, including security, resulting in a different…

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A Small Firm’s Response to Higher Health Care Costs

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There are many reasons I love May – the flowers and leaves emerge, including those on the tree right outside my office window in downtown Boston; it’s light enough to play golf until 8PM;  and we banish our heavy wools to make room for light-weight clothes.  However, here’s what I hate about May – my…

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