Maybe Sheryl Sandberg really is building a new feminist movement.
Following the Facebook (FB) COO's PR extravaganza around her best-seller Lean In, the first mega-mover and shaker to join the conversation about women and work was Warren Buffett. The Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) chief wrote an enlightening essay in the Fortune 500 issue, did his first-ever interview about women (with me), and joined Twitter to help spread his word globally.
This week, Sallie Krawcheck bet her own money on women--by buying 85 Broads, a community of businesswomen that began 26 years ago with alums of Goldman Sachs (GS). Krawcheck acknowledges the irony of her leaping on the female empowerment bandwagon. When she was at Citigroup (C) and Bank of America (BAC), she strived to avoid gender issues. But since dropping off the corporate jungle gym in 2011, Krawcheck says she has realized, "The numbers on women and diversity are so freakin' compelling." She contends that we're at a "tipping point" in terms of women's impact on the global economy.
And then there is Lynn Tilton. Via Patriarch Partners, her New York-based private equity firm, Tilton owns 75 companies--Rand McNally, Spiegel, MD Helicopters, and Stila Cosmetics, among them--and oversees 120,000 employees. Three weeks ago in California, Tilton was at a meeting of trustees of the XPrize, an organization that devises competitions to bring about breakthroughs to improve the world. Tilton decided on her mission: "I chose women and girls," she recalls, noting that she's fed up seeing women graduate from colleges at higher rates than men and then fall off corporate tracks far too often.
On an XPrize team that included former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, Tilton pitched an idea called "X2: Mother of All Prizes." Her proposal was to double the monetary award for any XPrize winners whose teams have at least 50% female leadership. The XPrize judges loved Tilton's idea and selected X2 as a grand prize winner. Tilton tossed in $5 million of her own money to fuel the concept.
"I want to light a match to start a bonfire," says Tilton, who counts just one female CEO among the chiefs of her 70 companies. "My businesses are very tough," she explains, admitting that she herself, renowned for her flashy attire and attraction to distressed companies, is not a typical female exec. "I think women are more mission-oriented than money-oriented," she adds, with a hint of sadness. "But I'm not going to cease to try to get more women at the top."
Christine Quinn, the mayoral candidate contending to become the first woman in charge of New York City, isn't shy about displaying her true self to the public. She proved that this week by disclosing that she battled bulimia and alcoholism for 10 years until entering a rehab clinic at age 26.
That revelation is stunning—particularly in light of what Quinn, 46, said on Monday at the Fortune Most Powerful Women dinner about learning MOREPatricia Sellers - May 15, 2013 11:24 AM ET
Last week's interview with Warren Buffett on Women and Work featured a lot of memorable moments. The legendary investor's first Tweet -- the Tweet heard around the world -- was just one.
The most special moment for me, Buffett's interviewer, came when he answered this question from a University of Nebraska student: How do you define success?
"If people whom you want to have love you love you, you're a success," said MOREPatricia Sellers - May 7, 2013 1:37 PM ET
How do you collect more than one thousand Twitter followers per minute?
If you're Warren Buffett, all you need to do is send your first Tweet:
Warren is in the house.
— Warren Buffett (@WarrenBuffett) May 2, 2013
Fortune (and I) ushered the world's most famous investor into the digital age on Thursday. During my live video chat with the Berkshire Hathaway CEO, he joined Twitter and then sent a followup Tweet to promote his MOREPatricia Sellers - May 3, 2013 9:14 AM ET
Warren Buffett called me last month and said "This talk about women and work just wont die!"
He was itching to publish an essay that he wrote. I'm happy to tell you that Buffett's first-ever piece of writing on women in the workplace advances this hot and timely topic significantly. His essay appears in the Fortune 500 issue, which lands on newsstands this coming Monday.
Go to Fortune.com to watch my live MOREPatricia Sellers - May 2, 2013 9:42 AM ET
Jacki Kelley, who is the CEO of North America and president of global clients for IPG Mediabrands, is one of 36 women participating in the Fortune-U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership. Launched in 2006, the program pairs rising-star women from developing countries with American execs who participate in Fortune's annual Most Powerful Women Summit. For the next two weeks, the international stars will shadow Fortune MPW at U.S.-based MOREPatricia Sellers - Apr 29, 2013 3:09 PM ET
Mindy Grossman was a rising-star retail executive, heading Ralph Lauren's (RL) Polo Jeans business and Nike's (NKE) global apparel, before she switched to TV and transformed HSN. By adding celebrity spark and digital dazzle to the once-dreary home-shopping channel, Grossman built a high-growth media-retail hybrid and multiplied HSN's stock price 10-fold from the dark days of 2008. For her unlikely success, she was honored this week at the Matrix Awards MOREPatricia Sellers - Apr 25, 2013 8:31 AM ET
NBC Universal's Bonnie Hammer has been doing what she does—building cable TV networks—for 26 years, which is long enough to know that at a point, the slog of a career can ease and work can turn energizing again. Hammer, who built SyFy and USA Network and recently moved up to chairman of NBCU's (CMCSA) entire cable entertainment group, talked about this notion of belated reward on Monday, when she accepted a 2013 MOREPatricia Sellers - Apr 23, 2013 12:50 PM ET
Here's the image that Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Marissa Mayer put up on the screen yesterday when she talked publicly for the first time about the HR policy that brought her worldwide controversy.
"I need to talk about the elephant in the room," Mayer said at the Great Place to Work conference in Los Angeles. In case you don't get her joke, the "WFH" on the pachyderm's back is the CEO's code MOREPatricia Sellers - Apr 19, 2013 5:34 PM ET
Chandrika Tandon, financial advisor (and sister of Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi), talks about her new album -- and work-life balance.chandrikaStephanie N. Mehta, Deputy Managing Editor - Apr 15, 2013 9:00 AM ET
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