Monday, March 29, 2010

Women's Management and Women's Philanthropy

Debra L. Lee, chairwoman and chief executive of the BET Networks

Is there a connection between the ways women manage in the corporate world and the ways women give philanthropically?  My colleague, Martha Taylor and I have always believed there is.  Research going back to Sally Helgesen's 1990 book, The Female Advantage, talks about why more women and needed in the corporate world because of their special qualities such as non-hierarchical, collaboration, listening skills and yes, even nurturing.

In the Sunday, March 28, 2010 New York Times, these same skills were listed by Debra Lee in an interview in the Business Section titled, "Sometimes You Have to Say 'My,' Not 'Our'" written by Adam Bryant.  Ms. Lee is very open about what she went through going from general counsel to C.O.O. and describes what most of us have found when doing so, "It can be lonely at the top."

But more than that, Lee talks about the differences between how women and men lead and says,  "...women listen more, are more consensus builders and less dictators, and more compassionate."  She adds that not all women or men are the same--haven't we all had bad and good experiences with both? But she points out there are, "...general differences, and we need more women as C.E.O.'s to prove that their way to manage is O.K.  Just what we think about women and philanthropy.  We need more women to show that their way of giving is not only OK, but "the way" of giving.

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