Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed in interviews on our site are not necessarily the views of Beta Pleated Chic.
Katherine: Have you ever experienced problems at the workplace that you believe were gender related?
Wow that’s so aggravating.
How do you normally deal with that kind of thing?
It was only then that I realized that I needed to call the men out. So in that [the bathroom] situation, I did say, “I can’t go there, but if you’d like me to join you in the restroom I will.” So I just started to call them out on it when they said stupid things.
So you don’t think it’s a conscious thing, it’s just built in culturally?
When you decided to have kids was it any problem at all? Were you worried it might impact your career?
I’ve heard mixed stories about female mentoring. Some women say they have a female mentor that’s really helped them up, but I’ve also heard other women say that senior female colleagues can be quite competitive and actually less willing to mentor based on the attitude, “Well, I had to make it here on my own why should you get help?” Have you seen any of that?
So it has been a problem?
Did you have any female mentors or role models?
So you’ve been inspired by other women but never really had a female mentor?
What kind of advice do you tend to give to your younger colleagues?
In more recent years I’ve started telling more people about growing your root ball. In North Carolina, if you look out this window, and you look at the pine trees, the pine trees grow really fast and really spindly, and when a storm comes, they’re the ones that fall down. So if you just do one thing and try to rise as fast as you can, I feel like you’re easier to take down in a storm. Whereas people who like an oak tree, have a big root ball, may sway when the storms come but will stay upright. So the root ball is different experiences, different jobs. I’ve zigzagged through my career and I think its helped keep me upright.
It’s funny—I used to talk about that analogy all the time, but it was the opposite: reeds would blow in the wind but never fall over, while a rigid oak tree would fall and be uprooted.
The reeds are an analogy for personal flexibility not experience though, I think they’re both valid. Did you ever feel like your work life and family life were coming into conflict, or was it relatively easy to balance?
So how did you deal with that?
Do you do the same in business as well?
So one of the things you described, is when you had kids you actually went back to work early. One of the things I’ve heard from women a lot is that they always feel guilty: guilty at home that they’re not at work and guilty at work that they’re not at home. Do you ever feel that way?
Do you set a lot of goals for yourself and work towards them or do you just sort of take things as they come and do your best at them? How far out do you like to look?
I’m quite similar, but some people are like I have all these goals and I do them.
I think there’s a lot of different ways to succeed. What are some things you like to do in your free time for yourself, to relax? That aren’t family, aren’t work?
So you don’t feel like you’ve had that for a long time?
Do you have any interesting stories you like to tell about your greatest success or greatest failure?
Walking down the cafeteria earlier it seemed like you knew everyone in the building. Is that something you do on purpose? Is there a certain relationship you like to keep with people in the company?
I’m sorry, that’s really nice though, the woman by the elevators was really sweet as well…