Powered by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Posted: 4:33 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012

Women business leaders can have a job and a life, top executives say

By David Markiewicz

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The debate over whether women in high-level jobs can or can’t have it all came to Atlanta on Tuesday where three top women business executives offered hope that they can.

The executives spoke to a group of 300 mostly women at the eighth annual Fall Empowerment Event, hosted by Atlanta-based LittlePINKBook.com, a digital platform for career women.

The longstanding issue heated up earlier this year when a federal government official who gave up a demanding job to spend more time with her family wrote an article in the Atlantic magazine arguing that women can’t have it all. Observers furthered the case, pointing to data showing women still hold less than 20 percent of leadership positions in business.

But the three executives said that, while women with demanding jobs probably can’t have it all, at least not all of the time, they can get to the top without having to forever sacrifice everything else in their lives.

“If you aspire to senior leadership, you’re going to have to work hard,” said Julie Sweet, general counsel for Accenture. “That doesn’t mean you have to give up everything.”

Sweet, along with Teri List-Stoll, senior vice president and treasurer for Procter & Gamble, and Kate Quinn, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for WellPoint, said they give different aspects of their lives different amounts of time at different stages.

List-Stoll, for example, said she takes time for herself each morning with a daily run, during which she is able to clear her mind.

Each of the three executives has children and said having a helpful spouse, especially one who stays home, is an advantage.

Quinn noted, however, that even though her husband stays home with the couple’s children, she is the one who gets calls from their school when one is sick.

Women who want to rise in business should be themselves, rather than simply conforming, the executives said, and should look for mentors and sponsors to help them manage their careers.

They also need to trust in their skills and be willing to take on new challenges, even if uncomfortable.

“Have the confidence to focus on uncharted territory,” said Sweet. “Take chances.”

More News


Today on MyAJC.com

Bulldogs cruise to 34-0 win

Richt deserves credit for keeping Dogs together

Georgia sat at the rarest of sports’ intersections the past two games, losing its best player to a suspension, but flourishing in adverse circumstances and playing its best football of the season.

Most reliable vehicle brands

Photos: Most reliable 2014 vehicles

Consumer Reports’ list of most-reliable 2014 vehicles is out, with Toyota and its companion Lexus brand dominating several categories.

July 28, 2014

Supreme Court sets hearings for stadium challengers

Challengers to both the Falcons and Braves stadium financing deals have been granted hearings before the Georgia Supreme Court in which they’ll argue against local plans to issue taxpayer-backed bonds for stadium construction.

Comments  (9)  

Subscribe to the AJC on your device

24-hour Digital Pass: Flashback

See Flashback Fotos on myajc.com for only 99 cents. Visit the MyAJC archives for a historic look at Atlanta from Midtown in the 70s to Auburn Avenue and even life here before traffic jams on the interstates.

In your community

Annual Woofstock event in Suwanee

Volunteering in Atlanta

Learn how to volunteer in Atlanta and north Georgia, browse volunteer events and search local groups who need volunteers in the arts, community, food programs, housing, animal rescue and more.