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Do Leaders Need A Penis To Be Effective? October 13, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in People.

Last week, I received an invitation to a Leadership Forum from the College of William & Mary.

The College of William & Mary, Wren Building (Wikipedia: in Public Domain)

* * *

Join us for the 2014 McGlothlin Leadership Forum!

Many of us talk about it, Jim McGlothlin does it.

Every year, Jim (W&M ’62, J.D. ’64, LL.D. ’00)  creates a wonderful and vibrant on-campus opportunity for our students to become fully enmeshed in thinking about, and discussing, leadership and what it truly means to be a leader. This yearly opportunity to elevate learning becomes exponentially important for our students – especially as they consider the role they will play in a global marketplace where the impact of business trends, international law and interacting cultural expectations create a constantly changing stage upon which they will be preforming.

It is my hope that you will join our impressive list of speakers, along with Mr. McGlothlin and the deans of our business and laws schools as we engage, as a community, in conversation and thought.

I hope you’ll be there,

Marilyn Ward Midyette
Executive Director of the W&M Alumni Association

The 2014 Forum will be a live Q&A on “The Challenges and Opportunities for Leadership in Our Times.”

The 2014 Fellows will lead the discussion:

Strauss Zelnick
James Sandman
George Tamke
Strauss Zelnick James Sandman George Tamke

When:     2 pm, October 22
Where:    Raymond A. Mason School of Business

Alan B. Miller Hall
101 Ukrop Way
William & Mary campus

Please RSVP to reserve your seat and join the discussion!

“The Leadership Forum will bring William & Mary students and the community in touch with the highest caliber leaders in business and law in our nation. ”

– James W. McGlothlin

* * *

What struck me right away ~> all three Fellows are fellows.  That seems rather skewed.  It is 2014 after all.

Before sending a reply to William & Mary, I checked to see whether previous Fellows were also all fellows.

The 2011 McGlothlin Leadership Forum Fellows:

  • David BoiesChairman and Managing Partner of Boies, Schiller and Flexner LLP

The 2012 McGlothlin Leadership Forum Fellows:

The 2013 McGlothlin Leadership Forum Fellows:

  • Sen. Evan Bayh, Partner at McGuireWoods LLP, Senior Advisor at Apollo Global Management, Former United States Senator from Indiana

So there you have it.
One woman.

One woman out of the past twelve fellows.

* * *

Enrollment at William & Mary’s Mason School of Business is close to 50% female:

Full-time undergraduate business majors enrollment: 437
Female: 49 percent
Male: 51 percent

Enrollment at William & Mary’s Law School is 53% female:

661 students
From 47 states, the District of Columbia, and 10 countries
Male/Female ratio: 47%/53%

Despite those numbers, the Leadership Forum Fellows for 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 have ALL been fellows . . . except for ONE token female.

* ONE out of 12 is dismal.
* ONE out of 12 is archaic.
* ONE out of 12 is sexist.

I e-mailed my concerns to Laura Doherty, Executive Director of Development & Alumni Relations.

She replied, inter alia:

We have spoken with this year’s Fellows about the need for diversity and are optimistic that they will select their successors for next year’s Forum with this in mind. You see, each year’s Fellows are responsible for recruiting the Fellows for the following year.

That’s unacceptable.

* Allowing Fellows to choose fellows to be next year’s Fellows perpetuates the “Good Old Boy” network.

* Having five men on stage (the Dean, McGlothlin, and 3 male Fellows) for three of the past four years sends a subtle and insidious message to students and attendees that there is no room for women at the table.

It’s 2014. Someone needs to send W&M that memo . . . and circle the date!

Aah . . . that’s better!

What do you think?  Do leaders need a penis to be effective?

Related posts:  From Dicks on the Dais to Dick’s Sporting Goods * Creating Bad Karma (NY Times)


1. Jill Weatherholt - October 13, 2014

Certainly not! I agree, Nancy, a memo should be sent pronto!

nrhatch - October 13, 2014

Since retiring as Master and Commander of the Universe in May, I have tried not to get riled up over This, That, and The Other Thing. But, when I received this invite last week, more than a few of my feathers felt decidedly ruffled.

I encouraged fellow alumni to speak up on behalf of Mary.

2. Val Boyko - October 13, 2014

I am surprised and disappointed. The fellows selecting the fellows …. hhmmm. 😦
I agree with you Nancy!

nrhatch - October 13, 2014

Lauras’ reply (“We . . . are optimistic that . . .”) seems a bit like “pie in the sky” hopes and Pollyanna-ish daydreams.

Perhaps a more strongly worded response is in order:


Val Boyko - October 13, 2014

Love this discussion Nancy. Its good to feel the blood boiling now and again! Injustice will do that. I do like the idea of Mary reformers leading the way. After all isn’t that what leadership is about? Bringing about positive change.
Val x

nrhatch - October 13, 2014

Exactly right! The day I received this invitation is the same day The Story of Stuff invited me to participate in the Citizen Muscle Boot Camp.

Synchronicity at its best!

3. Don - October 13, 2014

Very very sad. There is just no place for this kind of imbalance in our world today.

nrhatch - October 13, 2014

I watched clips from each of the past 3 forums. Rather than speaking to a packed house, the “leaders” faced a number of empty seats in the audience.

Perhaps “Mary” boycotted the skewed discussion?

4. Silver in the Barn - October 13, 2014

Bleary-eyed with coffee in hand, I open my reader to be greeted by your provocative headline. I woke up promptly. Why, yes, Nancy, you silly girl, of course you need a penis to be a “member” of this panel. Someday in the future we will have the vote and be able to open our own bank accounts and be paid equally for our work and have access to birth control. Just you be patient. I hear indoor plumbing is coming soon as well.

nrhatch - October 13, 2014

Your comment made me grin from ear to ear, Barbara.

Maybe Mary declined to sit on the panel . . . because SHE has better things to do with her time. We have come a long way,baby!

5. Pix Under the Oaks - October 13, 2014

I knew it was coming as I scrolled down to the pictures. Shocked but not shocked! Pretty sad.

nrhatch - October 13, 2014

When I looked at the invite, I thought, “That’s odd . . . surely not representative of similar forums from the past.”

So, off I went, to do some digging, certain that (just like rolling a dice), I would see a more representative number of females on the dais during past conferences.

Wow. Final tally: 1 out of 12. We’d have better odds at Craps!

6. Rajagopal - October 13, 2014

Nancy , what an irony in an institution carrying the name of william & mary…the marys must have their rightful participation…!

nrhatch - October 13, 2014

Yes! If this tradition continues, they’ll have to excise poor Mary from the College’s name.

7. Food,Photography & France - October 13, 2014

Where they all tall? I hope some of them were short…I see a dreadful imbalance in the world between the ruling “talls” who seem to win and have everything and the “shorts”…it’s not good, not good atall…oh damn, there they are again.

nrhatch - October 13, 2014

Ha ha! Your comment is profound with shades of Gulliver’s Travels tossed into the misty murky mix.

8. Allison - October 13, 2014

This is infuriating on too many levels to count. And this is just a microcosm of the entire society we live in. Action, action, action!

Bravo for this post and your action, Nancy.

nrhatch - October 13, 2014

Thanks for joining the rallying cry, Allison.

Perhaps the Fellows have tried to persuade Mary to join them on the dais with no luck . . . she’s too busy leading to sit around patting herself on the back.

Allison - October 13, 2014

Right on!!

9. William D'Andrea - October 13, 2014

When I saw the title of this article, I would have deleted it without going further; like some sleazy spam; if it wasn’t from your blog.

What you’re talking about is “Reaching the very top”. Very few people of either sex ever get to that position, or have any expectation of doing so.

What matters to me is how are the majority of us, male or female, doing in middle of lower positions?

I worked in a department store for many years. Most of the sales department managers were women, as were a number in executive positions; while the managers of the entire stor were mostly men. One woman was the Store’s Manager, and operations continued as always; no better or worse than before.

I remember one woman executive who complained to me about something that hadn’t been done the day before, which was my day off.

She told me, “You’re still responsible, whether you’re here or not.”

I asked, “How can I do that?”

“You’re not supposed to ask me that!” She said, “That means that you think I know what I’m talking about!”

nrhatch - October 13, 2014

Actually, I’m not talking about “reaching the very top.” Where would that be anyway?

I’m talking about William and Mary’s School of Business and Law School (both with enrollments that are 50% female) putting on a joint leadership conference with nothing but Dicks on the Dais. 😛

10. ericjbaker - October 13, 2014

Let’s also point out the lack of ethnic diversity as well.

For the ultimate old-boy network, look no further than the bunch of old, white, male congressmen who make decisions about women’s reproductive rights. Men shouldn’t even be in that conversation. Mr. X’s religious beliefs have nothing to do with Ms. Y’s body. You do not have domain over women’s bodies, Mr. X.

nrhatch - October 13, 2014

Are you talking about our PMS reps in Congress, mister?
Pale, Male, and Stale. 😛

ericjbaker - October 13, 2014

Haha. That’s them.

nrhatch - October 13, 2014

I borrowed that from one of my college roomies. 😎

11. Three Well Beings - October 13, 2014

Eegads! I think this is unbelievable. They certainly aren’t concerned about how it looks–which makes me think they haven’t given diversity (ANY diversity) a thought. I’m never really satisfied when women are chosen to “represent” and aren’t chosen for their professionalism, experience or expertise, but at least “token” offers a voice. To not even be concerned with having women speak to other women, well, rather unconcious of them, I’d say. I’m so glad you called them on it, and it would be interesting to know if any of the women currently enrolled in the in the School of Business or Law School ever speak up!

nrhatch - October 13, 2014

If I lived closer, I’d head over to the campus to talk to William AND Mary students about the WHYS and WHEREFORES of forums like this to see what they think.

Attendance numbers at the forum seemed rather negligible on the videos I viewed. Maybe the PR department is trying to transform a mole hill into a mountain.

12. Carl D'Agostino - October 13, 2014

Ain’t no more “good ol’ boys” in Miami Dade County. 85% minority 54% foreign born.But these groups have established their old good ol’ boy system and women very prominent too.

So I accept change. The only problem is the new system has no sense of meritocracy.

nrhatch - October 13, 2014

Change is good.

And even better when leaders are chosen or promoted based on talent and ability rather than class privilege or wealth.

13. NancyTex - October 13, 2014

You’re right, NH, it is NOT acceptable.
Women make up 52% of the world’s population yet still make up on a small fraction of leadership positions in both private and public sector. It is maddening, really.

p.s. Did you hear about the recent kafuffle from a women’s event that Satya Nadella (new CEO of Microsoft) spoke at? During the Q&A, one woman asked his advice on how women in the tech industry should ask for raises and he basically told her that they shouldn’t. That it was bad karma. That they should put their faith in the fact that the employer would offer a fair raise. To say that both Nadella and Microsoft have seen a huge backlash from this would be a massive understatement. 🙂 Shame though, because I actually found him to be one of the more forward thinking leaders when I worked there.

nrhatch - October 13, 2014

Excellent article, NT. Thanks for the link. Is Nadella also encouraging men to refrain from asking for raises? To place their faith in their employers?

Hmm . . . maybe it’s bad karma to work for Microsoft?

NancyTex - October 13, 2014

It certainly wasn’t great karma for my career when they made my role redundant in Aug 2011. 10 years of award-winning performance, dubbed a “high potential” and on the accelerated track to advanced leadership positions. None of this mattered in the least when a misogynistic little Irish troll joined my division and decided he preferred men on his leadership team. Karma bit him in the ass when he was fired a year later for “performance issues”. Should have brought me joy, but it only made me angrier that a transient employee, who happened to have a penis and a title senior to mine, had the opportunity to end a 10-year unblemished career.

nrhatch - October 13, 2014

Shame on MS! Misogynistic little trolls should not be given the power and wherewithall to swing their dicks around like that!

That is NOT a baton!

14. jannatwrites - October 13, 2014

It’s all about who you know, I guess. If they want diversity, they should look at all diversity- race as well as gender. I find it a little ironic that the response to your message came from a woman who seemingly supports the structure.

nrhatch - October 13, 2014

Agreed on both counts. The reason I focused on the male/ female dividing line is because that’s one of W&M’s bullet points in the enrollment stats they share.

Enrollment is 50% female. Having only 1 in 12 female fellows over a 4 year period is unacceptable.

I’m not sure that Laura supports the structure. Sometimes it’s easier for those “with out the walls” to speak up.

15. neverending1 - October 13, 2014

It seems for this school they do.

nrhatch - October 13, 2014

When prospective business leaders and lawyers choose to apply to other schools in lieu of W&M . . . we will have the last laugh.

16. thecontentedcrafter - October 13, 2014

Woo – I see you have struck a chord! The old boys network is alive and well and still running the world unfortunately. Kudos to you for this outing! In my part of the world it is known as the ‘Tartan Mafia’ and it fights tooth and nail to keep more than a token woman out of all seats of influence.

nrhatch - October 13, 2014

Makes me wonder what the Tartan Mafia might be hiding under their wee kilts. 😛

thecontentedcrafter - October 13, 2014

I have always assumed it to be very small penises [penii?] 🙂

nrhatch - October 13, 2014

Haha! I had to check on the plural . . . penises or penes.

17. JoAnne Simson - October 15, 2014

Great post, Nancy. Thanks! I may well link it in one of my future blog posts “on being a woman.”
BTW, didn’t realize that “penes” was an acceptable plural of penis. And I’m an anatomist! But I guess that fits with a Greek language origin.

nrhatch - October 15, 2014

I didn’t know either. I looked it up in my handy dictionary and learned something new.

18. JoAnne Simson - October 15, 2014

BTW, here’s a blog post I did a while back about brain wiring and gender differences. It includes a couple of prominent references to the penis. http://joannevalentinesimson.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/are-men-and-women-wired-differently-part-2/

nrhatch - October 15, 2014

Fantastic post, JoAnne. Thanks for sharing the link with me. Here’s to Freedom of Choice.

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