Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Education

Female executives talk shop with USF business students

TAMPA — The next class of female CEOs donned crisp suits and gathered in the atrium of the University of South Florida's business school, their peers flip-flopping behind them on the way to class.

The business students were there to hear advice from the founder of a $40 million chain of lingerie stores called Intimacy. Susan Nethero, known as the "bra whisperer," had been on Oprah five times. She'd traveled, spent years making pressing business decisions and giving interviews. And she'd raised children.

Nethero's story sounded appealing to Samantha Broxton, a 28-year-old banker who is going for her master's of business administration with two kids and a husband at home. How, she asked, do you still satisfy the yen for a fulfilling family life? Where's the balance?

About 20 female executives spent Tuesday afternoon trying to answer complicated questions about life and work for 150 USF business students. Members of the Committee of 200, an advocacy group made up of women in business, talked about careers, bedtimes and boardrooms, choices and sacrifices.

They were presidents, managers, contract negotiators. They came from pharmaceutical companies, banks, food providers, media marketers. Some managed billions of dollars and were the only females in male hierarchies.

Nethero had worked first with Dow Chemical Co., Xerox Learning Systems and Time Life Video. Her daughters were young when she started her own business. She had help at every turn, she said, and simply weathered people's opinions.

"You can't be at peace in your mind if your children aren't taken care of in a way you feel comfortable with," said Nethero, 60. "In the end, a lot of people really thought that I was a terrible mom … I've got two strong young ladies and they don't think I did anything wrong."

Female executives are a minority. Catalyst, a nonprofit group that researches women in business, found females lead less than 5 percent of Fortune 500 companies and hold only 8 percent of the top-earning jobs. The number of women with executive officer positions has remained flat for three years.

USF president Judy Genshaft described her own rise. She set her sights on leading a research university from the start, she said. She asked powerful women for advice. They told her not to get bogged down in too many committees, not to skip important steps in academia.

"Persistence is so important," Genshaft said. "Don't get distracted … Don't forget when you are successful to reach down and help someone else."

The students branched into different rooms and seminars, listening to panel discussions from high-back executive chairs gathered around boardroom tables.

Women who are Leaders in a Global Marketplace

The Recipe of the Female CEO

Anti-fragility: Success Under Pressure

They took notes and tweeted. They tossed around theories as to why women executives lagged behind men. In her experience, private investor Antonia Shusta said, men were willing to take risks even if it meant falling down. Women were more aware of perfection, which might be unattainable in the end.

"There is no such thing as work-life balance if you want to go right to the top," she said. "It does not exist."

Women need to build on their strengths, the executives said, not know all the answers.

"We will continue to see it change," said Laurie Brlas, an executive with Cliffs Natural Resources. "Men also want to be home with their children more than they did 30 years ago … These are difficult and unique challenges. Some of it is time."

Stephanie Hayes can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3394.

Comments
Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is ‘Feminism’

Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is ‘Feminism’

NEW YORK — This may or may not come as a surprise: Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is "feminism." Yes, it’s been a big year or two or 100 for the word. In 2017, lookups for feminism increased 70 percent over 2016 on Mer...
Updated: 6 hours ago
‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

RIVERVIEW — As a foster parent with two sons of her own, Kayla Storey has learned all the tricks to get her kids out of bed and off to school every morning. But this year, Storey says she’s the one waking up every school day with a knot i...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

University of Central Florida Greeks won’t hold social events, serve alcohol for 6 weeks this spring

ORLANDO — University of Central Florida fraternities and sororities won’t host social activities or any events with drinking for at least the first six weeks of the spring semester, up from the two-week ban on alcohol that has been in place in the pa...
Published: 12/08/17
Amid reports of rapes, beatings, cover-ups, grand jury to probe juvenile justice abuses

Amid reports of rapes, beatings, cover-ups, grand jury to probe juvenile justice abuses

Disturbed by stories about the rape of teens by supervisory staff, a pandemic of sometimes savage force, brutal beatdowns ordered by youth care workers and policies that permit the hiring of violent offenders, Miami-Dade’s state attorney wants to kno...
Published: 12/07/17
Henderson: Some basic facts about Hillsborough’s teacher pay imbroglio

Henderson: Some basic facts about Hillsborough’s teacher pay imbroglio

Hillsborough County’s public school teachers are horn-honking, voice-raising, sign-waving, foot-stomping mad, and I can’t blame them. They are paying for a problem they didn’t create. About one-third of the workforce was expecting to receive a $4,000...
Published: 12/07/17
In Watershed Ambassadors Program, Pasco students learn about natural Florida

In Watershed Ambassadors Program, Pasco students learn about natural Florida

SPRING HILL — On a small wooden dock at the Cross Bar Ranch, Cynthia Brinker gingerly pokes through the trappings in her fishing net, plucking out a tiny creature to examine close up. "What the heck is this?" the Weightman Middle School studen...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Crognale named 2018 Hernando Principal of the Year

Crognale named 2018 Hernando Principal of the Year

BROOKSVILLE — For just a year and a half, Steve Crognale has been the principal at the Endeavor and Discovery Academies. But now, he’s been named the Hernando School District Principal of the Year for 2018. Endeavor serves students, most of them hig...
Published: 12/06/17
‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

RIVERVIEW — As a foster parent with two sons of her own, Kayla Storey is skilled at calming first-day-of-school jitters. But this school year, Storey says she’s the one waking up every weekday with a knot in her stomach.It’s been there ever since th...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Why do universities handle sexual assault cases, anyway?

Why do universities handle sexual assault cases, anyway?

News stories about campus sexual assault often get the question, "Why do schools handle these cases, anyway?"Readers often wonder how universities got tasked with handling these convoluted cases in the first place. Where, they ask, do the police come...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Hillsborough teachers keep the heat on after $92 bonus offer

Hillsborough teachers keep the heat on after $92 bonus offer

TAMPA — The second Hillsborough County School Board meeting in less than a month took place Tuesday against a backdrop of honking car horns, cheering teachers and audience members moving through the room in shifts.Dressed in blue union-issued T-shirt...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17