Timing is everything. And for a little girl with a strong independent streak, being born in 1953 was pretty much perfect.
Princeton was just going co-ed as I was starting college, and I was lucky enough to be one of their first female pioneers. Then on to HBS, for another encouraging dose of professional estrogen. I've built a career using market research as the legwork for the strategic planning process, with 28 years' worth of clients across the technicolor spectrum of global corporate and not-for-profit organizations.
Why do I do what I do?
In 1985, I'd have told you, "because starting my own business means never having to ask permission or apologize."
By 1995, my response would've been, “so I can support my little boy on my own,” not adding that work was often done in the middle of the night while he slept down the hall.
Today, I'll tell you, "because it feeds my soul." It challenges me and keeps me learning. More importantly, it makes the world a better place – day by day, project by project, and client by client. I'm turning 60, and while my peers are retiring, I continue to do what I do because I still love doing it.
What would I tell my fellow woman leaders?
To do whatever you do with your head and your heart. When both agree, you'll seldom be wrong. Don't let anyone make you doubt yourself. And you can either have faith or fear, but not both. Always choose faith.