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Newsletter 12.6.19

"I will speak with decency and moral clarity and lead with integrity." – Kamala Harris 

This week, Kamala dropped out of the 2020 election campaign. Although she was doing reasonably well in the polls, she couldn't keep up with enormous campaign financials that put her at a major disadvantage to move forward. I've sincerely enjoyed watching Kamala advocate for herself and the issues she supports. Amidst the stress of it all, her poise and strength in debates will be remembered as the election and impeachment hearings go on.

This same week, Zoe Schiffer published a very unappealing report of Away, the billion-dollar luggage brand led by Steph Korey and Jen Rubio. Although Rubio is not mentioned in the exposé, Korey's work and communication style is openly expressed as hostile. I've been largely supportive of the brand and its founders and have admired their vision for the company to expand into making travel more seamless. However, this report disappointedly shows how 1) a company, whether female-founded or not, is only as good as its culture and 2) this is one part of the story. It's important to give them the benefit of the doubt with the hope that an exposé like this will lead to improvements within the company.

As Kamala has done, she has approached her circumstances with the will to succeed in the long term. Steph Korey, Jen Rubio, along with many other women can look to her as a source of inspiration to continuously lead with integrity, respect, and morality.

To what's to come,
Maya Frai, Founder of Let's Hear It

The latest news on women.
Greta Thunberg’s ‘How Dare You’ climate rebuke literally just melted in Miami
Never before have three words so furiously and effectively pierced through the fog of failed climate policy. Spoken by 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg at the UN Climate Summit in September, the phrase quickly ricocheted around the world, echoing the moral indignation of a generation that will face the worst consequences of an intractably warming planet. FastCompany, December 4, 2019
Emotional Baggage: Away's Toxic Work Culture
Korey often framed her critiques in terms of Away’s core company values: thoughtful, customer-obsessed, iterative, empowered, accessible, in it together. Empowered employees didn’t schedule time off when things were busy, regardless of how much they’d been working. Customer-obsessed employees did whatever it took to make consumers happy, even if it came at the cost of their own well-being. The framework echoed the tough company culture at Amazon where employees are taught to forget old habits and embrace a new set of ideals.
 The Verge, December 5, 2019
Pelosi Says House Will Draft Impeachment Charges Against Trump
“His wrongdoing strikes at the very heart of our Constitution,” Ms. Pelosi said in a formal address delivered against a backdrop of American flags in the Capitol. “Our democracy is what is at stake. The president leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit.” “This is about the Constitution of the United States and the facts that lead to the president’s violation of his oath of office,” she said sharply. NYTimes, December 5, 2019
Publication features on women and their careers. 
Photo: FastCompany.
Interview with Gabriela Cámara, Mexican Chef and Restauranteur 

“You have to be kind of crazy to embark on [this career]. And you have to be crazier to keep on doing it after 21 years, because it is completely excruciating. It is a full-full-full-full-full-time job. If you’re serious about what you do, you never stop thinking about it.”

In the full interview with Fast Company, Gabriela explains her role as an innovative chef and restaurant owner. Read more here.
Op-eds and letters on advice, experiences, and inspiration.

In high status, demanding careers, however, women (and men) are under pressure to be direct, assertive, and business-like and not to treat people differently because of their gender. Female executives are thus caught between the expectations of their workplaces and the expectations of other women, perceived as cold, selfish, hostile or antagonistic — while men who behave in precisely the same way are perceived to be simply doing their jobs.

Andrea S. Kramer, "The Persistent Myth of Female Office Rivalries" –– HBR

Alyssa Ravasio, Hipcamp’s founder and C.E.O., is not a purist. For her, camping is a leisure activity, an escape valve, a business opportunity, a wealth-redistribution system, and a political strategy: an avenue to environmental awareness, engagement, even activism. Exposure to the outdoors, she hopes, will catalyze interest in efforts like rebuilding the agricultural system, increasing biodiversity and soil health, and providing cleaner water. 

Anna Wiener "How Hipcamp Became the Airbnb of the Outdoors" –– The New Yorker

Hilary Koyfman, who worked on the early design, described the aesthetic as ‘like Mad Men – without the men’, but commentators on Twitter have offered different associations: Nathan Ma compared it to a ‘Katy Perry immersive Instagram experience’, while Moya Lothian-McLean deemed it ‘a Willy Wonka nightmare’. Or, consider the new London pop-up of US cosmetics brand Glossier, which is pitched as a ‘floral wonderland’.

Anna Wiener "The Wing: Where Maximalist Kitsch and Corporate Feminism Come to Play" –– Frieze

Eleven months ago at the launch of our campaign in Oakland I told you all: “I am not perfect. But I will always speak with decency and moral clarity and treat all people with dignity and respect. I will lead with integrity. I will speak the truth.” And that’s what I have tried to do every day of this campaign. So here’s the truth today. I’ve taken stock and looked at this from every angle, and over the last few days have come to one of the hardest decisions of my life.

Kamala Harris "I am suspending my campaign today" –– Medium

And that is what is most important, since the company Mr. Pichai now leads faces its most vexing challenges ever. They include struggling with the ever-louder voices of employees — whom Mr. Brin and Mr. Page reared to be very noisy — as they speak out about whom the company should do business with and how best to deal with sexual harassment, lack of diversity, hate speech and the manipulation of its platforms like YouTube.

Kara Swisher "Where Will Sundar Pichai Take Google?" –– NYTimes

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'Till next time.

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