People are at the heart of business, yet not all people are treated the same. Best-selling author and journalist Joanne Lipman will share how men and women can work together to create more inclusive cultures and close the gender gap. Don’t miss her session at the HR People + Strategy Strategic HR Forum, October 27-29 in Boston, on “After #MeToo: What Next?” at 10:30 am on Monday, October 28.
HRPS: How did your life and career experiences lead you to becoming a best-selling author?
Joanne: I'm a long-time journalist. I spent the first two decades of my career at the Wall Street Journal, starting as an intern, then a reporter and ultimately becoming the deputy managing editor. I was the chief content officer overseeing 110 newspapers, as well as editor in chief of USA Today. Throughout my journalism career, I worked in very male-dominated organizations in a male-dominated industry. When I would get together with professional women, the conversation was always the same and it was about the issues that are common to women in every industry, namely being taken seriously and pay equity. If we want to solve the issues before us, we need men to be part of this conversation. I worked with many men who could and should be part of the solution but weren’t aware of or invited in to the discussion.
HRPS: What lessons from your background in journalism apply to the world of HR?
Joanne: In journalism, the bottom line is that it’s all about people. One of the first things I learned at the Wall Street Journal was companies don't do anything, people do things. Every article you read, every story, every business issue revolves around the people so you need to understand people's motivations, context, and interpersonal dynamics. This is applicable to the world of HR.
HRPS: How do you see the world of work changing? What does the future hold for men and women in the workplace?
Joanne: I'm optimistic even though sometimes it's seems we take three steps forward and four steps backwards. I do see more men engaged in this conversation. There's a growing awareness that this is not a side issue, this is front and center. When the book came out, men at book signings would request one for their daughter. Now men are requesting copies for themselves—that is progress. The awareness levels are going up.
HRPS: Can you give us a preview into your session at the Strategic HR Forum?
Joanne: I love the opportunity to see how multiple companies and multiple industries operate when solving problems. Working with organizations that have their own specific culture and their own specific issues is an interesting challenge and expands my brain in a great way. Those are some of the things we'll be talking about in the session: the state of corporate America in this post #MeToo era and what are the best practices to close the gender gap. We can leave the session with fresh ideas about how to move forward and how we can all work together to close the gender gap.
Hear more from Joanne in her podcast.