Friday, October 21, 2011

How Star Women Build Portable Skills

This Harvard Business Review article, "How Star Women Build Portable Skills" by Boris Groysberg, may be of interest to our readers. From the overview:

A star performer in one company will shine in another, right? Wrong....Except when the stars are women.

I find most men vs women debates counter-productive and typically patronizing. However, I do believe the typical man is different from the typical women - there are innate differences in behavior. This article explores how those innate differences allow "star" women to succeed from one job to the next.

Also from Harvard, two conferences that look interesting - and really pricey:

The Women's Leadership Forumdesigned for women who hold senior leadership positions in public and private companies and nonprofit organizations around the world. While I cannot afford the price tag ($9,250), nor do I fit the description, I would love to attend. Maybe in 20 years.

The next conference, A New Path, initially seemed more up my alley - until I saw the price tag. It is designed for women who are seeking to return to the workforce, recharge their careers, or take their professional lives in a new direction. At $6,500, it is also out of my price range - but again, sounds really interesting.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Kris Anne Gustavson's Career/Life Story

Kris Anne will be participating in the "Using Your Management Skills for Service" Panel. 

I went to BYU in 1970 and graduated in Recreation Education in 1974.  I met my husband, Paul Gustavson, my senior year in college and we married the summer of 1974.  He then went to graduate school at BYU and I worked to put him through.  After that we both took jobs at Amoco Oil Indiana in Chicago, Illinois.  I was an assistant to a chemical engineer, where I worked for 2 years, then when was pregnant with our first child, I quit to be a stay-at-home mom.  I essentially have stayed home since then, and have dabbled in the professional world in a few different ways.  When my husband started his own management consulting company in 1985,  I did all the office work.  We had an office in our home, (actually, in our bedroom, to begin with). I also did some Team Building/Outward Bound type workshops for some of our clients, using my Recreation Degree knowledge tied in with business principles.  I became aware of an organization that taught about the right brain/left brain and became certified in that, the Herrmann Brain Dominance Theory.  Then I began giving workshops around that, usually to my husband's clients.  We have worked together in many different settings throughout the last 25 years, me dealing with brain dominance and teaching and learning and team building.  I never worked 40 hours a week for a whole year, but was gone sometimes for a whole week at a time doing workshops across the country.  When my last child was in high school, I stayed home with him and didn't do much work during those 2 years.

When I was 20 years old, I wanted to be a stay-home mom.  I pretty much lived the dream, although that dream was just a dream and life gives you things you would NEVER dream of.  My mother helped my father in his career as a veterinarian doing the books, being the nurse, etc., so maybe that's why I ended up supporting my husband in his work.  I think more than that, we are a team in marriage and in life and it was natural to help him get his own company started and we have worked together ever since.  I also had a tremendous interest in his field of work and regret not applying for the same program at the same time as he did to get a masters in Organization Behavior along with him.

I found that doing part-time work was satisfying and still allowed me to be the kind of mother that I wanted to be, which has been the most fulfilling experience so far in my life.  I'm looking at my 8 grandchildren and thinking that this may be more fulfilling.

On the other hand, teaching is very fulfilling and as I have done workshops to help people understand their brain dominance, I delight in the times when life changing experiences happen to people.  Of course, teaching is a skill that can benefit the church in many different ways.  I also was camp director for 5 years at an amazing camp in the Sierras, Camp Ritchie.  My education and experience in the work field was invaluable in that calling.

In 2007, my husband and I were called on a part-time service mission to serve in the HR department of the church.  We kind of invented our mission.  The HR department wanted to use our skills, but we didn't want to charge the church our regular fees, so we suggested that it be a mission.  The mission department, our bishop and stake president didn't know how to handle the call and the paper work, as it didn't fit into their protocol.  But we finally got it all figured out and were soon working for the church for free, living in our home in California, serving in the Church Office Building in Salt Lake.  I did most of my work from my house,  doing telephone interviews with individuals who were applying for paid jobs at the church and did a few workshops for different departments.  Paul gave half of his working time to the church, mostly at the Church office building, but we did go to Germany, England, Russia, Nebraska and Hawaii for various reasons on our mission.  

Even though we are not on our mission any more, we still provide professional services for the church.  Some of it we are paid for, some of it not.  Most recently, we are developing a training program for the mission president in our area to help teach the missionaries skills he is concerned about. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Casey Hurley's Career/Life Story

Casey Hurley will be participating in the "Develop (and Determine) A Career Path Despite Uncertainty" Panel. 

I loved growing up in a big family and always wanted my own. As a single law student, I looked forward to the day when I would hang my diplomas in my kitchen and my 12 children would know that all my years of schooling had been dedicated to preparing for my ultimate endeavor: raising them. Of course I was realistic enough to know that I might never get married, so I studied hard to prepare for the fabulous career I would have if I stayed single. When I grew up I would become either a brilliant supermom or a wildly successful career woman.

After finishing a journalism degree at BYU, I attended the Wake Forest University School of Law in North Carolina. I was a little nervous about moving to a place with only about 4 young single LDS men in the whole city; but though the odds weren't great, I figured I couldn't really date any less than I had a BYU. A few friends in my ward found husbands in fantastically miraculous ways, but I didn't. After school, I accepted a position with a law firm in Portland, Oregon practicing corporate finance law. Working long hours to make lots of money turned out not to be especially inspiring, though I enjoyed many aspects of my work--especially the people. I started looking for more gratifying work, and felt called, really, to teach at BYU-Idaho. The week before I interviewed at BYU-Idaho, I attended my family ward's Enrichment Meeting where a police officer (not LDS) was the presenter. About a month later he was baptized, another month and we were married, one more month and we moved to Idaho where I began my teaching career.

It was five years later that our son finally arrived on the scene. I went on maternity leave for a semester; then returned to work on a 75% contract. I would have quit my job to stay home if I could have. When my son was two, my husband quit his job to stay home with our son and work on some schooling. I went back to a 100% teaching contract. My son turned three about the same time our daughter was born nine months ago. 

So I find myself with about 10 less kids than I'd hoped for, though the two I've got make up for it in cuteness and genius. I'm hardly a supermom: my daughter eats food and other soft items off my dirty floors while my son plays house with his stuffed animals whose lion mom always has to work on her computer before she can play with the lion kids. Meanwhile, I'm trying to talk to a student on the phone who is wondering why there are lions roaring in the background followed by baby screams. My job is challenging, rewarding, and quite flexible: I teach and meet with students on campus, but do my prep, grading, and emailing from home. But working at home while I mother means working whenever I'm not mothering to make up for the gaps in my work day. It generally feels like a crazy mess. At times I cry over the time I spend at work away from my children. Other times I wish I could give more undivided time to my students. But I occasionally get a heartfelt note from a student saying I made a difference, and I regularly get a hug and a kiss and a "mom, I love you" or "ma-ma-ma-ma." And I can't help but smile and cry a little just thinking about it.