A Conversation with Caroline Fairchild, Editor at Large, LinkedIn News

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(37 minute podcast)

In this Hug the Curve podcast, host Steve Niesman talks with Shawnee Schauff, Marketing VP at itelligence, and Caroline Fairchild, Editor at Large at LinkedIn News, about diversity, women in the workplace, and what great leadership looks like.

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(Steve Niesman) Hello, and thanks for joining our latest episode of our Hug the Curve podcast. I’m your host, Steve Niesman. In today’s episode, my colleague Shawnee Schauff and I will chat with Caroline Fairchild. Caroline is the Editor at Large of LinkedIn News. In our chat with Caroline, we discuss some very cool and relevant topics in today’s workplace; namely, diversity, women in the workplace, management, and what does great leadership look like? And I’ve got to tell you, I was blown away at the insight and the great ideas shared by Caroline. So my hope is that you’ll learn as much as I did from this podcast and you really enjoy listening to Caroline.

(Steve Niesman) Our special guest today is Caroline Fairchild, the Editor at Large from LinkedIn News, who has an unbelievable background and exposure to our topics today, which are diversity, leadership and management. And in Caroline’s career, she’s been with LinkedIn, she’s been with Fortune, she’s been featured between her writing, her videos, her broadcasts or interviews from Fortune, to Bloomberg, to CNBC, to CBS This Morning. And I could go on for 20 minutes, but I’d rather turn it over to Caroline and have her introduce herself and tell us a little bit about your body of work and what’s a day in the life of Caroline Fairchild? 

(Caroline Fairchild) Well, Steve, thank you so much for that great introduction. You did a great job. So what you were saying before we started this broadcast, and Shawnee, it’s great to be with you as well. And hello to everyone who’s joining the broadcast.   

My name is Caroline Fairchild, and I’m an Editor at Large at LinkedIn News. And what that means is that I’m charged with bringing professional conversations to LinkedIn and make sure that those conversations are as diverse and inclusive as possible. My specific area of expertise is in diversity in the workplace. When I was at Fortune magazine, I started a daily newsletter there called The Broadsheet, which highlights female leaders across industries. And an average day for me is really getting to speak with business leaders, particularly right now during this pandemic, about how leadership and management is changing and the challenges that leaders are facing right now; particularly when it comes to making sure that they’re supporting their workers through this pandemic. So I host a daily live show on LinkedIn, and we bring on guests to have conversations around everything that everyone on the stream is dealing with right now: how to manage work and life, how to think about career right now during this pandemic. And I’ve been covering women in business throughout my entire career. But this time seems to be super critical in terms of how leaders are supporting women in the workplace. And I write and talk about that every day at work.  

(Steve Niesman) That’s awesome, Caroline. So you’ve just given me like 55 questions to go through. But let’s maybe start from a macro perspective, if we could. And just from your eyes and the thought leaders that you talk to, what’s going on in the workplace, just in general at a high level of diversity, what do you see happening and what’s happening with COVID to affect that and change it?  

(Caroline Fairchild) Sure. So what I would say about how COVID is changing how leaders are having to conduct themselves in the workplace right now, the first word that comes to mind is empathy. Before this pandemic, I think there was a movement to not treat your workers as if they’re robots, but to treat them as human beings who have lives outside of the office. People are talking about that and the importance of that when it comes to making sure that workers feel like they’re being set up for success and that they can bring their whole self to work. Similar to the pandemic, where now every meeting is happening from your home, it’s impossible not to see the kids that are in the background or the puppy who may be barking or the stressed-out partner that you see rushing behind the screen. And so our coworkers are really seeing our full lives. And the best leaders right now are diving right into that and allowing their workers to feel like that’s OK; particularly given all the stress that we’re under right now with this pandemic. And so that really to me is critical, that hopefully coming out of this pandemic, workers will feel like they can bring their whole self to work, because their workers have seen their lives, and in real time through all these Zoom meetings that we’ve been doing.

(Shawnee Schauff) And Caroline, I’m curious on that topic of COVID and people working differently and being more seen for who they are and the environment that they’re from, I’m also reading and hearing things — and I think you’ve written about this — how that’s impacting women specifically. And can you talk a little bit about what those challenges are and what the long-term effects of COVID could potentially be around women in the workforce?

(Caroline Fairchild) Sure. Well, this is a very timely time to be talking about this topic. Just this morning McKinsey and LinkedIn came out with their annual Women in the Workplace study, which they’ve done for the past seven years. And it’s the most comprehensive study of its kind, looking at how women in the workplace are doing right now. And one of the most startling findings from that study is that for the first time in the seven years that McKinsey has been doing this study, women are more likely than men to leave their jobs right now. And there are some terrible stats in there around how women are 1.5 times more likely than men right now to be taking a step back in their career. I posted about this on LinkedIn this morning, and I’m hearing from dozens of women across the industry who are sending me emails and posting on LinkedIn about changes that they’ve had to make in their career right now because of the pandemic.

And the trends behind that, Shawnee, I don’t think it’s going to be news to anyone on this podcast, but women are taking on an outsized role right now when it comes to both household chores that have increased during the pandemic, as well as childcare responsibilities. In many locations across the country, online learning continues to be something that families are having to deal with. And we know from surveys and we know from data that women are taking on an outsized role of that. So if you put yourself in the position of a female executive who is under a lot of pressure and now is doing more childcare, more household chores and say they’re in a position where they feel like they can’t succeed, we’re seeing more and more women take a step back.

The other thing that I’ll add, Shawnee, is that we know from LinkedIn data that Millennial women, think about that, Millennial women are the most likely to have young children at home right now. They’re applying to jobs at a slower rate and they’re getting hired a slower rate. So if companies don’t figure this out, it’s going to have a devastating impact on the slow but steady progress that we’ve made of having more women in leadership positions across industries. And so Sheryl Sandberg said — I was attending an online conference this morning — and she said, speaking about this report, if there was a panic button, we need to hit it. And so this is a really critical time for leaders, for managers, to really be thinking about how they’re supporting all of their talent, but specifically women.

(Steve Niesman) That’s really interesting, Caroline, so I’m going to take this analogy of the pandemic, and a really negative by-product is the stress and the added pressure and the stepping back, if you will, to a woman’s career.

So you taught us just a moment ago that empathy is a big piece of leadership. So all leaders of organizations in our audience today need to have that empathy.

Let’s take it a step further, maybe, and say, how do we build with this pandemic and the implications of the need to be empathetic, but what do we do to our culture? How do we become better leaders, to recognize this phenomenon or this reality, right, that’s happening, and what should we do to adjust our culture? How do we help and solve part of this problem?

(Caroline Fairchild) I think open lines of communication are probably the key to a lot of this. So if you put yourself in the position of a woman at your company who has young kids at home and is feeling stressed out right now, it’s putting the burden on her to kind of have that conversation is, I think, insurmountable when she’s already feeling like she’s not performing at the level that she wants to perform, given the extenuating circumstances that is this pandemic.

So I hear from a lot of business leaders who are putting it on themselves and making sure that they’re being proactive and having conversations with their direct reports about how they’re doing and making accommodations, as needed. I think coming out of this pandemic, what this has the opportunity to do –and if you think about specifically women in the workplace — the number one perk, if you will, that they were asking for before this pandemic was flexibility: flexible hours, more flexibility. And if you think about it, we have that flexibility now because of this pandemic, we’re all working from home. But the data is still telling us that women don’t feel like they’re being supported. And I think what that has to do with, Steve, is that, yes, we are working from home — that allows us to have a little bit more flexible in how we’re logging in, when we’re logging in, etc. But because that flexible working arrangement kind of happened overnight and in a crisis, a lot of companies haven’t thought through, OK, what does this really mean for the long term?

And so the short term of, OK, we’re all going to be on Zoom all day and in meetings; that is not working for a lot of workers, it’s not working for a lot of women. And so the conversations I’m having now with business leaders are around, this is the new normal. How are we going to conduct ourselves like this in a sustainable way? And one of the big, big issues with that is boundaries around working life. I’m coming to you right now from my bedroom, which is also my home gym, which is also … it’s very hard to separate when am I working out versus when am I sleeping versus when am I working? And if you’re not careful, you can be working all the time, because your office is now your home, is now your everything.

So I think that also is a critical conversation that managers need to be having. And LinkedIn, for example, has done a few concrete, specific things. They have made Fridays ‘no meeting days’ for a large part of the company as a way to kind of give that respite. And we didn’t have performance reviews this year. A lot of companies kind of put performance reviews on pause just to give employees that extra solace of feeling like they are really being supported. And not having performance reviews, that’s really a long-term investment, right, in your employee base. Saying this might hurt us in the short term, but in the long term, we’re investing in you and we want to make sure that you feel supported right now during this challenging time.

(Shawnee Schauff) So I’m curious. You talk about boundaries, and I think one of the common things that I’ve read when it comes to women working is we’re much tougher on ourselves than we probably need to be in most cases. I think that’s part of the issue sometimes, right? I read some statistics where women are less likely to apply for a job unless they check 100% of the boxes, where I think our male counterparts are willing to go for a job even if they don’t check 50% of the boxes. So let’s take that kind of mentality into what you’re talking about, where we’re always expected to be on. But these women are feeling forced into this position, like, well, I can’t do it all, so I need some respite. How do we have these conversations as leaders and how do we coach leaders within the organization to talk with their counterparts about giving that grace?

(Caroline Fairchild) I think the first thing is that it’s tough. I think the more that you as a leader, prior to this pandemic, I did a survey of working mothers, and one of the top reasons that they cited stress was that they felt like their male colleagues were not talking about the fact that they also had kids at home. And a number one solution for working mothers to feel more supported was just to have men talk about the fact that they have kids.

It seems like a simple thing, but pre-COVID that was what working mothers were telling me was really essential for them to feel like they could leave at 5:00 to relieve the nanny, or duck out for an hour in the middle of the day to deal with the childcare appointment, whatever it is. Putting that same finding into our COVID pandemic time, I think the more, particularly male leaders, are showing empathy, are saying, ‘Look, I’m not having a great day. Bobby is sick and my puppy is gnawing at the foot of my desk right now,’ that really opens up the conversation for women to feel like, oh, I can talk to you about this because you’re going through the same things.

You know, this is very gender stereotyping, but I think that sometimes it’s challenging for men to bring their lives into their work. And I think right now, given the circumstances, it’s a requirement of any great leader to really be transparent with their team about what’s going on. I don’t know about you, Shawnee, but I feel like I’ve learned so much about my colleagues throughout this pandemic and I know more about their families, I know more about their circumstances. And I candidly think that it makes us all work better together because of that additional context.

You know, in the old days, you’d walk into a meeting, and maybe Steve seems a little bit agitated, and you’re wondering, is that about me, and then you hold on to that for the rest of the week, like, oh, Steve’s mad at me. But if you just had that additional context of, Steve’s kid is sick — which we now have because of the new world order — it makes work conversations so much more transparent. And so I would say the more that leaders can kind of show what they’re going through and offer that safe space for direct reports to do the same, the more high-quality conversations we’re going to have in this kind of clunky, remote world. And also, I think just the better teams are going to work together.

(Steve Niesman) That’s really good, Caroline. As the man in this conversation, part of the takeaways that I’m getting from really good insights from you is that vulnerability, that transparency, the open communication that says I’m a man and I have this problem — and I’ll stereotype a little bit, but it’s backed up by research — generally, women are more open with one another and form more bonds, and that’s a strength of an organization. In this case, you’re giving me advice as a man in an organization, as leaders to be vulnerable, to show that transparency. And through that transparency comes trust, and with trust comes performance. And I’ll call it almost an improvement in your culture. Is that fair?

(Caroline Fairchild) Yeah, I think that’s great. And what I would add to that is, you know, like I said at the beginning, this is a tough thing for everyone to do, right? Shawnee just hit on the fact that when a lot of pressure on themselves, there’s so many data points in this McKinsey study that says that’s even worse during this pandemic. And so I think just us all acknowledging just what a challenging time it is mentally for all of us and trying to get work done is just if there’s a whole slew of challenges, I think the better off that we’ll all be.

(Shawnee Schauff) And I think part of this is we’ve been struggling to get that seat at the table to begin with. And now we’re in this position where we’re almost expected to be always on. But if I’m not always on, then is that seen as a negative? Because now I’m not going to be able to be at the late-night meetings that maybe other people that don’t have children are able to participate in, or if they’re going the extra mile, which isn’t necessarily always the truth, that they’re going the extra mile, just that perception to the person that’s not there that they’re missing out. And how do we come, I guess how do I say this? Is it better for our leaders to recognize, look, everybody can’t be here, so we should try to be more flexible and get things done during working hours when we’re not putting expectations on people with families. What is your thought on that?

(Caroline Fairchild) Yeah, I mean, there’s so much to unpack there. I think the first thing that comes to mind is this really gets down to what Steve was talking about in terms of the culture of the organization. I worked in a newsroom early-on in my career, and it was definitely a ‘butts in seats’ organization where there were definitely people watching when you got in and when you left. And there was a perception that those who were at their desk for longer were performing higher. And of course, that’s an absurd assumption, and we all know that’s not how work is productively done, but that was definitely a feeling that I had early-on in my career. And I’ve been in organizations who have that culture, and that’s the opposite of the culture that you want.

And thinking about this pandemic, if you have that culture in your company, you’re not going to be successful. And so I think high level, we have to really think about how we’re measuring performance. And it really gets into a lot of the unconscious bias that people have or unintentionally are saying, oh, you know — we use Slack for our chat communication here at LinkedIn — you know, Rodrigo is on Slack all day. You might unconsciously, as a manager say he’s working harder. We really need to look at the data and compare Rodrigo’s performance to Michaela’s. And if Michaela is working just as hard, but is able to do it in a shorter time span or in different hours throughout the day, then Michaela should be rewarded at the same rate as Rodrigo. But that’s this unconscious bias that we all have.

And so that’s really where you have to be clear about how you are rating employees and how you’re having these conversations with them. And I guess, Shawnee, for people who are joining this conversation and are having that feeling of pressure of like, oh, I can’t go to that meeting. Hopefully you can have a conversation with your manager about that and say, look, I can’t make this 9:00 p.m. meeting because that’s bedtime for my kids, or whatever it is. Here’s how I’m going to proactively prepare you for the meeting to be in my stead or I will watch it recorded, whatever it is. I think showing that I’m not being timid about saying I’m not going to be there because of this reason and this is what I’m doing about it. How does that work with you and having clear communication with your manager. Because if these things go unsaid, that’s really when the unconscious bias can creep in, because no one’s talking about it.

(Steve Niesman) So, Caroline, I want to take that a little bit further. So I love the conversation here on diversity, male versus female, really great insights. To that, at another level, what about the Millennial or the younger worker and the more mature worker? What is COVID doing to that dynamic? And what do managers and great leaders that want diversity and want to have a great culture, do we have a bifurcated approach to different age groups or different diversity, or is there a common way, a common language? What do you see in your experience today?

(Caroline Fairchild) Right. So I think the data that we’re seeing and surveys that we’re doing on LinkedIn, that age demographic that’s most stressed out right now really is our Millennials, because if you think about it, a lot of them are in a position in their career where they’re supposed to be skyrocketing, and this is when the promotions are coming, this is when they’re trying to move up. They are a few years into their careers, but they’re not necessarily established. And then this pandemic happened. And it’s just this crisis moment of, am I continuing to achieve at the level that I want to achieve, and how do I do that remotely? How do I get time with my boss, whatever it may be, in this new environment where we’re constantly in these video-conference meetings all day?

So what I would say is that I think definitely there needs to be some focus in on that. So if you have people on your team that may not feel very secure right now in terms of where they are in their career or how they’re progressing during this time, the open conversations are really important. So, yeah, I think that there definitely is an age element to this as well, because for people who are more senior in their career, they can kind of think like, oh, I can maybe not be as progressing as much as I need to be because I’m already at the top, or whatever it may be. And so there definitely is some age findings that we’re seeing on and off LinkedIn, as well.

(Shawnee Schauff) How do we become better coaches to these Millennials that need support and guidance, or at least for us to say, hey, we recognize you, we see you working hard, and bring that to the spotlight? I mean, that was a question that actually got brought to me recently. There’s people that are heavily contributing behind the scenes, it may not be in the spotlight. How do you bring that to the forefront so others see it and make them feel like they’re being recognized for their work? Do you have any tips on that?

(Caroline Fairchild) Yeah, here at LinkedIn, we do. I think they’re kind of corny, but I think they do mean a lot to people, we call them internal ‘crushing it’ awards, where we give opportunities to employees to basically nominate people that are on their team for these awards, and we present them, I think, on a quarterly basis. And that’s one example. But I think there are ways that you can just show your employees that you care via either internal awards — or just saw an article about how gifts that corporate gifts are on the rise as managers are trying to think about small things that they can do to show their employees that they appreciate what they’re doing during this time. I think those are a couple of things that can be done.

But speaking personally, I think just being overly communicative with your team about how they’re doing and if they are doing a great job, recognizing that. This is a personal note, but I remember last week, I hadn’t spoken to our editor in chief for, I think, like four or five weeks. I saw him in a group Zoom, and he just sent me a quick chat, just applauding my recent reporting. And I was — maybe this is a comment on my own mental health — but I was shocked at how much that meant to me. And I think it’s because we’re in this remote environment I don’t get that daily touchpoint with him in the office. And so just having him Slack me quickly that I’m doing a great job meant the world to me. And so I think if you’re a manager on the stream right now, just know that a small thing like that is going to brighten the day, the week, the month of an employee who is really stressed out right now and may not know that they’re doing a great job.

(Steve Niesman) Caroline, let me put an elephant in the room for our audience today. So you’re part of LinkedIn, you’re the technology industry, you’ve got Microsoft, you’ve got LinkedIn, you’ve got itelligence here. We’re talking today, we’re in technology. If you look at technology across America, at least, the percentage of diversity, and specifically women, in an organization and in the management is well underrepresented. What do we need to be thinking about as a collective organization and as a leadership team? How do we focus on this? What are best practices? Is it quotas, is it directions, is it a specific task force? How can we improve those metrics? Because at the end of the day, with the lower percentages, we’re underperforming and more underwhelming as organizations, and we’re all guilty collectively. What can we do better?

(Caroline Fairchild) Sure. And Steve, unfortunately, the data is bearing out that those numbers are going in the opposite direction during the pandemic. I looked into industry hiring rates a couple of months ago, and the share of women that are getting hired in the technology industry right now is vastly lower than it was last year, and vastly lower than pre-COVID levels. So unfortunately, this is a really big problem. And what I will say is that, you know, the business case is there for diverse teams. I don’t think that there’s a single CEO that I would sit down with who wouldn’t say that they understand that diverse teams perform better, as it’s bared out in the data time and time again.

What’s interesting, though, is that even though lots of leaders believe that, they’re not taking the steps they need to take to ensure that they’re bringing in diverse talent. And why is that? Because it requires more effort. It requires slowing down the hiring process to make sure that they’re bringing in not just Steve’s cousins or Steve’s uncle’s nephew for the job interview, but really thinking about, are we really widening the pool of talent that we’re looking for?

And I think a positive outcome of this pandemic, as we all are continuing to work remotely for the foreseeable future, there’s a geographical component that you could think creatively around where your talent is coming from. It used to be if you worked in tech, you had to be in San Francisco or in the Silicon Valley area if you wanted the top tech jobs. That’s no longer the case.

So how can you think about making sure that the talent that you’re bringing in is more diverse? Quotas, I think, you know, I was talking at another conference yesterday, and Mellody Hobson — she’s the founder of Ariel Investments — she’s a very prominent Black female leader, and she was talking about quotas and how just before the protests in this country against systemic racism started, she was really against quotas. And now she’s like, well, if nothing else is working in your organization and the numbers are continuing to be what they are, maybe quotas are what you need to consider, because at the end of the day, if you’re not making managers accountable or tying their business performance directly to how diverse their team is, this problem isn’t going to go away. If it doesn’t become a critical part of your strategy and how you’re measuring success, the numbers are going to stay the numbers, because it’s much easier to hire people who look like you and come from your background.

(Steve Niesman) You know, it’s interesting, I read that yesterday from Alan Murray, who wrote about it in your former organization.

(Caroline Fairchild) My former boss, yes.

(Steve Niesman) Love his stuff, and love the organization and what they write about. The takeaway for me in my role is: quotas, no quotas, there’s pros and cons of both, but at the end of the day, diversity and female participation in the workplace, both in all levels of management and leadership, is something that has to be on our agenda. It has to be focused on, it has to have attention, it has to be measured. There’s no other way around it. And to your point, and I didn’t know this, so thank you for this, that  COVID has actually put the numbers in the wrong direction, so it accelerates that importance of leaders in organizations.

(Caroline Fairchild) Yeah. And to speak more specifically about why the numbers are the numbers, I think there are two things going on. In a lot of companies, they aren’t hiring right now, right, and so there aren’t a lot of open positions. And so any diversity efforts that were within companies before are kind of stalled because, quite frankly, they don’t have open roles. But then also, as we know from my reporting and surveys that we’ve done on LinkedIn, a lot of women are being forced right now to take a step back in their careers. So they’re not going for the promotion or they’re not going for the next role. So the marketplace right now is not suitable to getting more women into male-dominated industries like finance, like tech.

(Shawnee Schauff) But I’m curious, because I feel like even when there wasn’t the pandemic, there was still a little bit of a struggle with getting women attracted as talent within technology, getting women to get more of a seat at the table within organizations. And this is everywhere across the board. But the number of C-level executives that are women is a very small percentage. And I think you mentioned earlier this unconscious bias that occurs. So how can we teach, and maybe it’s having a female initiative within an organization that’s helping leaders understand where to look, what kind of coaching can we provide, where can we enable that conversation to begin. OK, let’s say there is an unconscious bias, here’s what it looks like, here’s how we can start to work around fixing that.

(Caroline Fairchild) I think what I would say to that is, you have to be really critical about how you’re assessing talent and who is ‘a good fit’ for the open role or for the promotion. I did some reporting last year around women in technology, and some of the findings of that reporting were even women who are, say, within the marketing function of a technology company or in the communications function or that product management function, not software engineers, so that they felt because they didn’t have the technical software engineering degree, that they were not being assessed fairly for promotions because they didn’t have that background. Well, that background is not necessary for a marketer who is in a tech company to know how to code. But they felt like because they didn’t have that and they start in the larger umbrella of a tech organization, they weren’t seen as equals and were being passed up for promotions. So that’s really an unconscious bias. It’s not like the manager is like thinking, oh, Suzy doesn’t have a technical degree from Stanford, so I’m not promoting her. But that’s in the back of his mind when he’s thinking about who is better fit for the role.

And so that’s really where you have to think about what are the actual skills that are needed for this job, and is this a growth opportunity for them? Do I see potential for them to grow into this role? And that’s really the only way that we’re going to see more diverse talent into leadership positions is if we widen the net. If you think about a really high level, the lack of women that are on boards of directors right now, a big reason why that is, is because CEOs didn’t want people on their boards that weren’t CEOs. Well, 3% of the CEOs in the Fortune 500 are women, so if it’s a requirement to be a CEO to be on a board of directors, there’s not going to be very many female boards of directors. So now boards of directors are thinking more creatively around what are actually the experiences that I don’t have that perhaps others have that I can bring on to my team.

(Steve Niesman) Caroline, one final question from me. I love to ask people that are so connected like you — this question is a really simple one — but in your career, who have been mentors? You’re such a voracious reader, you’re so well connected. If you talk to your audience today, who are great mentors that could make our audience more diverse, more inclusive, better leaders? Who comes to mind, who works for you?

(Caroline Fairchild) Yeah. So I have also had the privilege of sitting on Duke’s Fuqua School of Business Board of Directors, and their Dean, Bill Boulding, I think, is a thought leader in this space. He is a white man, but thinks very progressively about all of these ideas, and he talks a lot about not just IQ and EQ, but what he calls DQ, which is, what is your decency quotient? And he wrote a book about this, which I recommend, but it’s, OK, IQ is how smart you are, EQ is how emotionally intelligent you are; both of those things are essential in the modern workplace in order to be successful. But his argument, and what he talks about a lot is, what is your decency quotient? How are you a good person? Do people want to be around you? And I think increasingly that DQ component is something that we’re all going to need to lean into. Going back to what I was saying earlier in this conversation about empathy is, if you’re not a nice person, I think the days of the mean guy in the room getting ahead or getting promoted, even if he’s not a nice person, those are way behind us.

And so I would definitely say in terms of remarkable female business leaders that I’ve had the privilege of being able to sit down with, Melinda Gates is amazing, and she writes a lot about this topic on LinkedIn, so I would recommend that you follow her. And, Steve, you also just mentioned Mary Barra, who is the CEO of GM, and she’s amazing and she’s doing some incredible work, as well. And then Mellody Hobson, who we spoke about earlier in the call, who I fortunately get to speak with later this month. I haven’t spoken with her in quite some time, but she is definitely someone to follow in terms of thought leadership and mentorship as well.

(Steve Niesman) Caroline, I just want to say maybe two words: Wow. Wow. The gift you’ve just given our audience was incredible lessons of leadership, management, diversity. And I’ve been taking copious pages of notes, because there’s a lot to focus on, a lot to learn. But with your permission, I’ll just replay some for our audience what you’ve left us with.

From what I call a leadership perspective, best practices, and COVID and all this craziness going on, both men and women need to lead with empathy. Leaders need to give their employees flexibility, whether it’s a child, whether it’s a parent, whether it’s COVID craziness and the separation of the bedroom from the workout. We need to give our employees flexibility so that they can thrive and perform. In the areas of just an individual, we all need to be more transparent, we need to be more vulnerable, we need to communicate to one another — and this is my word, so if I get myself in trouble, forgive me, but maybe sometimes men need to lean on more of the skill of women, which is generally — generally is the word here — they’re better communicators and they’re more open than men. If we can bring that to our culture, organizations will be better.

And then you told me — and I’m listening well, and I hope our audience is, too — the focus on diversity has to be on the agenda of every organization. It’s not going away. And diversity and those organizations that embrace diversity perform better. And I know the guests that you have on there, whether it’s Melinda Gates, and I could just go through all your powerful guests, the evidence shows that.

And then finally, I asked you some of the questions that’s important to me as a lifelong learner. Great stuff out on LinkedIn, right? You told us about skills for inclusion, the road ahead. I would be remiss if I didn’t say go out and subscribe to Working Together, get your weekly and we need to learn from you.

And then to the last point, which I absolutely love, DQ from the Dean at Duke, your decency quotient, treat you as a human. And I’m going to give a quote and leave it with you, on the newscasts I’ve seen many times on NBC, they conclude the broadcast by saying, take care of yourself and take care of one another, and I think that’s very important with COVIC today. So you’ve given our audience, including myself, just valuable content. Caroline, thank you so much for joining us today.

(Caroline Fairchild) Thank you so much for having me, Steve and Shawnee. It was great to be with you.

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