voices in the family

Women and leadership


There’s been a lot of discussion about the new book Lean In by Facebook COO Sherly Sandberg. It’s part memoir and part self-help book with posits about women and leadership.

Dr. Dan Gottlieb and his guests advance the conversation about how women lead, what propels women or holds them back, and what leadership is. Dan’s joined by Bonnie St. John, Donna De Carolis, Beth Weinstock, and Autumn Bayles.

Bonnie St. John is the co-author of How Great Women Lead: A Mother-Daughter Adventure into the Lives of Women Shaping The World, which she wrote with her daughter Darcy Deane. In the Clinton Administration, she served as a Director for the National Economic Council. She is the first African-American to win a medal in The Paralympic Games as a ski racer and is CEO of Courageous Spirit, Inc.

Donna De Carolis, Ph.D. is the founding Dean of the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship at Drexel University.

Beth Weinstock is a Leadership Coach and Clinical Psychologist. She is part of the Resilience Group in Narberth.

Autumn Bayles is head of The Forum of Executive Women. She is VP of Global Operational Excellence at Aramark.



Share this story:




Share a comment:


Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow WHYY's terms of service; WHYY reserves the right to remove any inappropriate comments. See also WHYY's privacy policy.


  • http://www.leadersinsight.com Janet Steinwedel, PhD

    Dan, I enjoyed your show with Donna DeCarolis, PhD, Bonnie St. John and Beth Weinstock today. I look forward to re-listening when I can catch it all. I am an executive coach that works with groups, teams and with individuals and I study Jungian psychology. A couple of things struck me that have been on my mind for awhile: 1) While it can be a good message to “lean in” – the question for me might be, “What are you leaning in to?” There is a structural inequality in business just due to the fact that businesses are developed from a masculine point of view. That’s how we got the idea of the glass ceiling – a good metaphor showing how we bump up against a structure that can’t be seen but is clearly there. There’s much to be said about this and much to be done about it. I keep hearing we need more of the feminine (not necessarily females) in the workplace…it translates into things like more collaboration, more curiosity and concern about the human aspect involved in the work, more patience, more cultivation of relationships. This connects with more inspiring leadership that came up today. 2) While there are more stay-at-home Dads and more sharing of the home responsibilities, the majority of this still falls on the woman – it seems to be instinctual for the woman to think about children, family, parents more systemically or holistically…maybe just because of socialization…and so yes, change is coming. But, and the big “But” is, what is the impact on the children of mothers who are traveling 2-4 months after a child is born in order to keep up with the expectations of her job? We read again and again of the importance of the mother-child bond and the importance of the mirroring of the mother. Some psychologists believe there are abandonment issues for the child whenever parents leave them in the first year/s of life. What will be the outcome of growing globalization on the next generation? Some women can’t “lean in.” They’re just trying to hold on, and do the best they can by their families and to meet their personal interests and aspirations. Flying under the radar for these women is not about doing any less work, but about the guilt that comes along with having to do it in a way that satisfies the masculine (sometimes this is women) psyche.
    3) I agree that we have to start earlier in teaching leadership and especially emotional intelligence and how to collaborate, and how to work effectively with cultural difference. This is a real miss in our school systems.
    4) I think this voice inside our heads is very real and I would refer to it as the “Self.” I believe we do need to quiet down and spend a little more time listening to it if we really want to meet our potential and avoid derailing in ways that are insurmountable, or terribly devastating. Jung spoke of individuation…we can only individuate (become our most complete, fullest self) if we listen to that inner voice. Many of us will hit on tough times, disappointments, and even suffer along the way, If we can keep tabs on this voice and quiet down long enough, often enough, we can become all that we are meant to be…and we can lean in to where it will have an important impact.
    There’s much to discuss and consider in the messages you provided for us today through your guests. Thank you for this opportunity to be in the conversation.

  • http://www.bellahealthyliving.com Laurie Samuels

    Dan, I only heard a small part of your show yesterday, but it peaked my interest because as a health coach I often speak about self care. Hillel’s quote, ” If I am not for myself, then who will be. If I am only for myself, who am I. If not now when.” I think this is a good road map. Self care is like the foundation of a house or a bridge. You need a foundation to build upon. If the foundation is poor the house or bridge will collapse. I believe self care is imperative, I often relate it to making deposits in a bank, self care is the deposit necessary so that we can give of our selves. If you don’t make deposits in your bank account but you constantly take money out, soon there will be no money left at all. For people that means feeling depleted, we may keep giving, but then we feel weak and depleted, perhaps even depressed. We need to fill our own bank so we be the best person to all those around us. Self Care is not SELFISH, it’s imperative. As far as balance goes, I believe it is something to be aware of, I don’t know many people who have perfect balance all the time, but we strive to include many things in our life that make us more balanced people. So for example, good leaders work hard, spend hours at the office planning and implementing for whatever their business requires.In order to sustain that level of hard work, dedication, concentration, etc., one would need to have good sleep, exercise, nutrition, nurturing relationships at home or at work in order to keep up with this high level of excellence. If we are extremely out of balance we can’t continue to work at this level for a prolonged period of time, there will be a collapse somewhere. Perhaps your guests had an image of ‘perfect’ balance and they did not think that was possible, but surely balance is necessary, it will look different to different people and it could be different daily or weekly as well. I think the key is awareness. I look forward to hearing the rest of the program today on line, thank you for always having such interesting topics, and this opportunity to be part of the discussion.




You may also be interested in: