Women are now leaving the workforce at four times the rate of men. What needs to be done to alleviate this?
Low-wage workers and single mothers, many of whom are women of color, are frequently not in a position to be able to leave the paid workforce to care for their children. Instead, they must navigate their employment constraints and rely on complex childcare solutions to support their families. It’s important to remember that for many women, the ability to have any agency over whether one remains in the workplace is a privilege. Implementing a childcare infrastructure with subsidies could mitigate the sexism and racism inherent in workplace policies that cause some women to leave the workforce and others to remain in jobs due to lack of choice.
Who was your mentor and what are you now doing to send the elevator back down?
There were many times in my career when I stumbled. I found out later — sometimes much later — that the long arm of Kathryn West, a legend in the oncology advocacy world, had reached out to provide silent assistance. Sending the elevator down is critical, but what you do when you see that the elevator is “stuck” on the way back up may be far more important. While I actively seek to hire women at my company, I also actively monitor their career progression and intervene, where appropriate and necessary, to ensure that stumbles do not become derailers.
What is your golden rule at work?
Reflect then react.
How have you coped with the unique challenges of the past 12 months?
Consulting is an industry that inherently struggles with work-life balance, and the work-from-home requirements exacerbated that reality. Our team has had to struggle with balancing an approach that is right for them and their family while still meeting their clients’ needs. There could never be a one-size-fits-all answer to remote work. My goal was to let people know that they had the option to make choices that would work specifically for their unique situations. The only requirement was that each person communicate loudly and often with other members of the team.
What are the first things you plan to do when the pandemic ends?