Published on: November 13, 2014
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Hi, I'm Kevin Coupe and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.
Last week, I had the opportunity to travel up to Foxboro, Massachusetts, for a "learning event" hosted by the New England chapter of the Network of Executive Women (NEW). I was lucky enough to be a guest speaker for the conference, but that's not the reason I wanted to talk to you about it.
No, mostly the reason I wanted to bring it up is because of the single word I would use to sum up the attitude that seemed most prevalent among the attendees at the conference.
As much as at any conference I've ever attended, the folks from NEW genuinely seem to be happy in their work, to use the phrase uttered by Col. Saito in The Bridge On The River Kwai. There were folks from pretty much every New England food industry company in attendance, and from all levels of their organizations, as well as some college students who are being mentored by NEW members. And while I'm sure that they all suffer some of the same annoyances and encounter some of the same frustrations that we all do, there was something special going on in the room.
I think that's important.
Listen, I know that business - especially these days - is hardball. Or, to use football terminology since the meeting took place in the shadow of Gillette Stadium, where the New England Patriots play, it is full-contact, pads-on tackle … with the winners knowing how to play both offense and defense.
But there also was a sense in the room that they were all on the same team … that by making each other better, they raised the level of the game for the entire industry. That's a critical mindset to have, I think.
A couple of weeks ago, I used this soapbox to rail against the ravings of a crazy person who suggested that women forced to either look for legislative or judicial remedies to seemingly insoluble problems of gender bias were essentially the same as people who sleep their way to the top. I didn't mention it at the time, but this was the same person who, after I reported that Larree Renda was leaving Safeway after it is acquired by Albertsons, suggested that her role as head of the Safeway Foundation was a "make work job" developed to allow Safeway to fill some quotas. (Yes, I know - he's a moron. But if you think he's the only moron out there who thinks this way, you're sadly mistaken.)
I think it is more important to use this soapbox to talk for a moment about how important an organization the Network of Executive Women is … that it contributes something far more important and lasting that just creating a supportive, nurturing networking environment for woman in business. (And men … there were a bunch there beside me, and I think we all felt lucky to be included.)
To me, NEW allows and encourages people to think and see beyond themselves and their own roles in their own companies. It creates an environment in which people can get away from the daily task of putting out fires and thinking short-term, and focus on building something sustainable.
They're trying to see, if I may use the title of one of my favorite books, the big picture.
The bottom line: If you or your company have a chance to engage with NEW, do so. I've done other NEW conferences, and the one in Massachusetts only cemented my feeling that this is a special and smart organization with great heart and soul. And business can always use more of that.
That's what is on my mind this Thursday morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.
- KC's View: