The rise of the “highlancer”: Working moms eschew the C-suite for flexibility

It’s often said glass ceilings and the old boys’ club keep successful women from reaching the corner office as the pinnacle of their careers.  But do today’s working moms want to be a CEO?

For many women, the grueling years that are most critical to reach the corner office overlap with the years to start and raise a family.  Frequently, trying to accomplish both leads to feeling stress and lack of fulfillment in both arenas.  Choose your career and compromise on your family time; choose your family, and you’re likely to be passed over for executive growth.

A subset of today’s working moms – who had previously chosen the C-suite path toward the executive chair – are creating a new conversation about what it means to have it all.  A recent Harvard Business Review article reported today’s working women want more meaningful work, more challenging assignments and more opportunities for career growth, but cited job titles and similar status concerns – such as being in the C-suite – as less relevant. Read More

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Why I Followed My Personal Calling, Even When It Led Away From A Great Job

I realized over 10 years ago that I have a calling that cannot be ignored — a calling to create opportunities for the next generation of leaders in under-represented communities. After years as a corporate communications executive, I saw an opportunity for my employer to be a more socially responsible company, generate positive news stories, and support public policy goals by creating partnerships with leaders of under-represented communities. After all, these growing communities are the users, customers and supporters of the companies that serve them. But the notion of working closely with them was unfamiliar to leadership primarily because they are not represented in decision-making roles.

As an executive at a Fortune 500 company, I created a new role focused on developing a network of relationships and partnerships with under-represented 
communities. The idea was supported and after several years, there were tangible outcomes for the public policy, human resources, and diversity teams and noted benefit to company value. There was also significant progress in the community as a result of our collective work together. At last, I was able to fulfill my personal calling while contributing to the good of the company. This calling eventually led me to Facebook. Read More

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Who Wins in the Gig Economy, and Who Loses

The winners and losers in the U.S. economy have traditionally been easy to identify. If you had a full-time job, you won. A full-time job provided the steady income needed to support our traditional version of the American Dream: the highly leveraged, high-fixed-cost house; the cars; the latest consumer goods. A full-time job was also the only way to access important employer-provided benefits, such as health insurance and a pension, as well as protections against workplace injuries, discrimination, and harassment. Without a full-time job, a true sense of security was elusive, benefits were inaccessible, and you were more likely to be stranded on the fringes of the labor market, observing rather than living the American Dream. Read More

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The Age of the Freelancer

Last month, I attended Denver Start-up week’s the “Age of the Freelancer”; I arrived to a standing room only packed house at Craftsy’s downtown conference space to hear Aspenware’s Rob Clark speak about the following:
People are turning to freelancing in droves. Fast Company reports that the number of 1099s received by the IRS grew from 82 million in 2010 to 91 million in 2015, and according to ColoradoBiz Magazine, half the workforce could be location-agnostic by 2020. Why are companies using more blended teams and freelance talent, and how can tech freelancers take advantage of this ripe market? Read More

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Confessions of an Accidental Free Agent

There is a lot of chatter about the gig economy -- independent contractors, self-employed consultants, on-demand workers, e-lancers, high-lancers -- and whatever new terms come out tomorrow that describe this shift in the way people are earning a living. It is usually described in the context of highly capable people choosing a different path, intentionally blazing their own trail, and embracing the American entrepreneurial spirit.

I have a confession. I’ve been an independent consultant for seven years now, and I feel like one day I tripped, tumbled down the proverbial rabbit hole, and ended up in freelance wonderland. Here is the ironic part. Most of the work I do involves advising clients on being intentional and structured in the way they drive their business forward. I help them create strategic business and marketing plans to grow in a deliberate and measurable way. But when it comes to my own consulting practice, it began a little less…deliberately. Read More

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The professional on-demand workforce includes all generations

Older, more experienced independent professionals between the ages of 35-55 are the ones most sought-after by today’s businesses for on-demand assignments. This makes sense, given businesses’ emphasis on proven skills and experience (See previous post). Mid-career professionals satisfy this need.

Not only does this arrangement work well for employers, it works well for on-demand consultants as well. A professional woman in this age group is often stressed out by balancing career goals with the challenges of caring for a growing family. On-demand work provides her, too, with a good solution. Read More

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Is This Wildlife Conservation PhD The Steve Jobs Of Impact Investing?

Did the people who met Steve Jobs in 1976 have any inkling that they were talking to the person whose name would for a generation be synonymous with “entrepreneur”? More often, people have believed to have found the next incarnation of Jobs only to be disappointed. Perhaps you can help me determine if the subject of this article could become the Steve Jobs of impact investing.

From my perch in Salt Lake City on the west side of the Rockies, over the last few years I’ve been hearing rumblings from the other side of the mountains. In Denver, Dr. Stephanie Gripne has created one of the most dynamic centers of impact investing and social entrepreneurship in the world. With a goal to catalyze impact investments of over $1 trillion and a plan to get there, it is about time that people outside the Rocky Mountains took note.

Dr. Gripne founded the Impact Finance Center as a partnership between the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business and the Sustainable Endowments Institute, a special project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. Read More

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But you have a law degree…

I just completed the Intellectual Property LLM degree program at University of Washington School of Law…and the first question I get asked is always: Why aren’t you practicing law? It’s natural to think that after spending 3 or more years in law school, one would then go on to practice law, which I did for several years after receiving my JD from Northwestern University School of Law. But as most law graduates know (whether they practice or not), law school and practicing can lead to so many more opportunities. I’m excited that my next opportunity is Canopy Advisory Group Seattle! Read More

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Nearly all U.S. companies use flexible, on-demand talent

In 2015, an impressive 88 percent of U.S. businesses of all sizes relied on on-demand workers as part of their workforce. More than 40 percent of these companies used on-demand professional as more than 30 percent of their overall workforce.
Not only are businesses planning to increase their use of independents in 2016, it appears many of them are already taking advantage of this new class of “free-agent” talent. This may suggest that these independents are proving their worth and are able to integrate well with their full-time counterparts.
The most common reason the surveyed companies gave for using on-demand professionals was increased flexibility. Using on-demand professional talent allows businesses to respond to opportunities with more agility, scaling their workforces as conditions require. Read More

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Starting Your Own Midlife Internship

“Let’s take some time off.” That’s how Susan Corvino of Pasadena, Calif., remembers her husband’s reaction when her communications job was eliminated four years ago. At the time, her husband was working long hours, so they agreed she would stay home with their three young children.
But returning to work two years later when her youngest daughter began preschool wasn’t so easy. Interviews in her field led nowhere, particularly when she asked for a flexible schedule. Read More

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