Female Executive Alert – Don’t Let the Matt Lauers of the World Offend You!

July 1, 2014, by , Posted in Blog,Leadership, 0 Comment
The other day, a male colleague asked if I had seen the Matt Lauer interview on the Today Show with GM CEO, Mary Barra. The first thing out of my mouth was “Oh please don’t tell me he asked her ‘how she handles being a CEO with being a mom”.  He went silent, and I immediately felt dumbfounded. I replied: “How can someone, especially one in journalism, be so ignorant in today’s world to ask that question of a female executive? He certainly would not ask that of a man.” He then replied: “I was waiting for her to put him in his place right there on national television, but she didn’t “.  Maybe because she has more class than he does. You can be the judge: check it out here and let me know your comments:   Mary Barra One On One with Matt Lauer

The whole thing makes me (and hopefully you) furious, as it did many online. Check this out: Matt Lauer Asks a Sexist Question of Mary Barra.

I had the same response toward my own father. On a visit to my home in Boca Raton, some twenty or so years ago, we were watching a news report on the US Sailing team – who had one of the first female sailors on board. The newscaster asked her the same thing Matt asked of Mary, though in a more offensive way – “Don’t you feel bad being away from your husband and children for so long while training and competing?” My father immediately yelled back at the television; “You should. You should be home taking care of your kids, not thousands of miles away ………”  Needless to say I jumped in, cut him off, and reminded him whose house he was invited into.

Though I did not excuse my own father twenty or so years ago; the world was certainly different then compared to now. Or is it? And that is why the female leaders of today have to step up and force a change; once and for all. But what can we do or say to anyone, not just men, who challenge a woman’s ability to have a full career and personal life?


  • Believe that you can!
    • There may not be any such thing as balance; sacrifices are a part of life, but you can integrate your career, business and life goals into your life.  It requires focus, determination, planning and communication amongst the most important people in your life; working together on each of your dreams and creating a win-win for everyone.
  • Don’t feel guilty for your goals!
    • You know for yourself how hard you work, how much study you have put into your skill and talent, and what pain, sweat and tears you have experienced along the way. You deserve and have earned whatever goal it is you have for yourself. Work to learn not to apologize for that.
  • Don’t allow anyone (including journalists) to challenge or refute your aspirations or ambitions.
    • Be steadfast and confident in your position, stand up for who you are and what it is you want. People are not mind readers, and when it comes to successful women, many go deaf. Remind them!
  • Coach, mentor and educate other women and your own children differently.
    • We all know children form life beliefs and biases at a very young age. Teach your children as well as those adult men and women around you, differently. Advocate for big dreams, equality, diversity, and the right to be anything and anyone they want to be; no matter what others may believe.
Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed.
If I fail, no one will say, “She doesn’t have what it takes.”
They will say, “Women don’t have what it takes.”
~Clare Boothe Luce
What are your thoughts on this?
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*Image provided by HollywoodLife.com

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