Published on: January 29, 2015
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Hi, Kevin Coupe here, and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy ... coming to you this week from South Florida, where I've been lucky enough to miss the snow that has buffeted New England. (We are having a stiff, cool breeze though...which accounts for the fact that my cameras work is a little shaky. My apologies.)
I've been thinking a lot about leadership and management this week, mostly because of the time I've been spending with the Network of Executive Women (NEW) here. NEW is engaged, as I reported earlier this week, not just in a movement to grow the number of women in executive leadership positions, but also to remake the workplace. I think this is an important distinction - at a time when companies are demanding more of their people, and smart employees know that it is in their best interests to bring more to the table in terms of commitment, talent and innovative ideas, it behooves organizations to create a workplace that is demanding but also nurturing.
It makes sense for the workplace to not just feed the bank account, but also to feed the mind, the heart, the soul and the spirit. This will be absolutely necessary, I think, to attract the next generation of employees ... and, go figure, it ends up that women and millennials have pretty much the same priorities. They want a workplace that is more than just a place to go to work. Women leaders, the research also suggests, are better positioned to provide this, and therefore better able to create sustainable and profitable work experiences. And better work experiences tend to result in better consumer experiences, which, when you think about it, is the bottom line.
Spending some time in the car this week, I found myself thinking about women bosses I've had in my life - especially two women who, when I really thought about it, helped to make me the writer I am today.
The year was 1973, I had just finished my freshman year of college, and for reasons too complicated to explain here, I was miserable. A family friend, Father Richard Armstrong,was at the time running an organization called The Christophers, which had spiritual roots but was non-denominational and ecumenical in its approach: the slogan there was, 'Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness." Father Armstrong offered me a job on the weekly public affairs show, "Christopher Closeup," that was produced by the organization. I could be the show's first production assistant, he said. I could learn about television and writing. But I could only do it for a year ... after that, I had to go back to school.
That's where I met Jeanne Davis Glynn and Cecilia Harriendorf, who were the executive producer and producer of the show. Now, I knew how to write a little bit, but they schooled me and trained me to be fast and smart and focused. We worked on IBM Selectric typewriters, so it was in my best interests to organize my thoughts quickly and get things right in the first draft. It was like working without a net, except, of course, there was a net ... I never felt anything but supported and encouraged. They not only made me do my best, but they made me want to.
I haven't thought about Jeanne and Ceil in a long time, but now that I do, I realize that most of what they taught me I use every day here on MNB, and have used for my entire career. When I left The Christophers and went back to college - transferring to Loyola Marymount University - I was the envy of my friends there because I could knock out a term paper with my first draft, and I got the best grades of my life because teachers actually liked reading my papers. It is the gift that keeps on giving.
That's more than four decades ago. I did a little checking before doing this piece, and found that Dick Armstrong and Jeanne Glynn have passed away. But Ceil - well, it ends up that she worked for 30 years at "Christopher Closeup," and then retired ...and became a nun. She seems to be living a life of service with an enormous spiritual component. How cool is that?
I may have to look her up...
Thanks to the Network of Executive Women, I thought a lot about Jeanne and Ceil this week. Every man - every person - should be so lucky to have people like that in their lives and careers.
They were right at The Christophers. It really is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. I'm glad NEW lighted this particular candle for me.
That's what is on my mind this Thursday morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.
- KC's View: