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    “Great graduation present!”

    Inspired to extend a helping hand to ambitious women working in corporate America, a veteran executive offers honest, practical, slightly irreverent advice about navigating companies that are run and populated predominately by men.


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    Jennifer K. Crittenden earned an MBA in finance and worked for over twenty years in the US and abroad, rising from financial analyst to chief financial officer. She is the author of five books, including the award-winning Discreet Guide for Executive Women. She offers professional development programs through her company The Discreet Guide.

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Mitt Romney’s “Women/Binders” Email

Dear Mac,

Well, by now you’ve probably heard the uproar about my saying that we had binders of women during the debate. Gosh, here I am trying to help them, and that’s the thanks I get. Sometimes I think you just can’t satisfy them no matter what you do.

What you may not know is what happened online with all the new-fangled internet things that they have now (I’m just learning all this stuff myself). Apparently, as soon as I said that about the binders, there were literally millions of comments about it. Don’t these women have anything better to do than sit around and scrutinize every little thing a guy says during a presidential debate? All this stuff online now is really something – they call it social media. But after I read some of those comments, I’d call it antisocial media (and they say I don’t have a way with words). Some of those comments make no sense at all, but some of them are downright rude. One woman said I was patronizing. Hey, no guy I know would ever attempt to ‘patronize’ a woman if she wasn’t willing, not if he wants to keep his manhood or doesn’t want to go to jail – ha, ha. But you know me Mac, I’ll just keep trying to do the right thing even if they don’t appreciate it.

It all started back at Bane Capital when Jerry (remember Jerry? Now there was a guy who got along with the ladies) said I should think about bringing a woman onto the board or as a partner. Not both obviously, no need to go overboard with this stuff. And I thought that could be a good idea. It might be nice to have a woman’s touch around the place. You know with those VC guys, it could lead to a lot of testosterone when they got heated up. Actually, it’s one of things I miss about the old days. Everybody in Washington is so PC I just get sick of it. So anyway, I thought getting a female partner could be good. I wasn’t that enthusiastic about getting a woman on the board. I wasn’t sure how that would work, you know, some of those meetings can go awfully late. And they can get rough, and I didn’t think that would be a good place for a woman (see, even then I was looking out for them).

So I told Jerry, did he have any suggestions because most of the women I knew could make a good pumpkin pie but might not be too handy with a calculator. Finance can get pretty technical with all the numbers and stuff. He said he didn’t but why didn’t I ask Sherrie to put a list together. Do you remember Sherrie? She was my secretary for years – now there was a woman who appreciated being treated well. I remember how grateful she was when I gave her a $100 Christmas bonus one year. As I recall, her husband had just left his job because of the big C, so they really appreciated the extra cash. And you know me Mac, I’m a sucker for a pretty face. 🙂

Sherrie did a great job putting the list together (she eventually turned it into a binder) so we could look at their backgrounds, photos (my idea, I thought that was important), and who they knew, if anybody. We passed it around at the next board meeting (with only a few inappropriate comments, I might add). We never ended up hiring one, can’t remember exactly why not, probably that’s when Jerry moved on and we had to deal with some serious issues. But that binder was something else. I tell you, there are some really talented women out there. See? Even after tonight, I’m still sticking up for them.

Well, it’s getting late, Mac, so I better sign off. Gosh, it sure is nice to be able to get all this off my chest with an old pal. You and I go way back, and trust me, I won’t forget you when I’m elected. Just call on me if you need anything, and that goes for all the fraternity guys. You know me Mac, I won’t forget my old bros.


Copyright © 2012 Jennifer K. Crittenden

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