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."
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
Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett will join Fortune for a very social conversation on women, work, and more.
FORTUNE -- Warren Buffett is going social.
This Thursday at noon EST, before he commences Berkshire Hathaway's (BRKA) annual meeting weekend, the billionaire investor will sit down for his first-ever interview that incorporates social media.
The topic is new for him too: "Warren Buffett on Women and Work...and other Wisdom."
The billionaire investor is doing the MOREPatricia Sellers - Apr 30, 2013 10:27 AM ET
I had planned to be in Omaha for Warren Buffett's big weekend. But I'm in Pennsylvania with my very sick dad. Trading emails this morning with CNN's Poppy Harlow, I asked her if she would do a Guest Post for Postcards. Thank you, Poppy, for this terrific report on the Berkshire Hathaway annual festivities.
by Poppy Harlow, CNN Correspondent
This morning in Omaha, Warren Buffett welcomed some 35,000 Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) shareholders MOREPatricia Sellers - May 5, 2012 12:44 PM ET
What companies did Warren Buffett put on his wish list for Santa Claus?
The secret is out.
The Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) chief sent a photo of himself, perched on Santa's lap, and named several companies that he apparently believes will be great stocks to own in 2012.
Under the header, "Santa - 2011," Buffett listed Exxon Mobil (XOM), Wells Fargo (WF)--both companies in which he already owns shares--and Google (GOOG). No public records MOREPatricia Sellers - Jan 4, 2012 10:35 AM ET
What happens when influential women like Meg Whitman, Ellen Kullman - and a guy: Warren Buffett - get together? They share smart ideas and - forge unexpected new relationships.
FORTUNE -- Big topics -- the global economy, presidential politics, boardroom drama -- got plenty of airtime at Fortune's annual Most Powerful Women Summit in early October. Meg Whitman (No. 9), the new CEO of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), outlined plans for calming the waters at MOREPatricia Sellers - Oct 25, 2011 5:00 AM ET
As powerful and provocative women (Gloria Steinem, Chelsea Handler, Rosie O'Donnell...) have been swarming Warren Buffett to boost his so-called Buffett Rule--his pitch to tax the super-rich at higher rates, in line with the middle class--a lot of ordinary people wonder: How much money would this amount to, and what good might it do for America?
At the recent Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, the Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) chief executive laid MOREPatricia Sellers - Oct 20, 2011 10:11 AM ET
It's strange to fathom Chelsea Handler, Gloria Steinem, and Warren Buffett collaborating to reform America's tax code. But at the recent Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, the edgy late-night talk-show host, the feminist icon, and the famed investor united around the "Buffett Rule," his proposal to lift taxes on the super-rich and equalize tax rates across classes. "I couldn't be more pleased," says Buffett, clearly pumped about his new supporters. MOREPatricia Sellers - Oct 19, 2011 11:16 AM ET
It was a riot having Chelsea Handler at last week's Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. Handler, whose business is media (two talk/reality programs on E!, a primetime sitcom coming soon to NBC (CMCSA), a growing stack of best-selling books), conducted a sharp and funny interview with another well-known media entrepreneur: Arianna Huffington, the queen of content at AOL (AOL). Handler also met Gloria Steinem at the Summit and invited the MOREPatricia Sellers - Oct 14, 2011 1:05 PM ET
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