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All the role-modeling I needed
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When Sheryl Sandberg wrote, “Lean In”, I screamed. The worst bosses I have ever had were women. Not all fall into the worst-boss category. But damn near most. I always wanted a woman-mentor boss. Someone who would buoy me up, help me to be a better me. Out of all of them, two float to the top. The first one, Blair. She recognized that I needed a change of scenery from the University of Chicago Business School. When she saw me flying back and forth from Chicago to California for a boyfriend, but also to experience the “outdoors,” she picked up the phone and called a friend, who knew of a job. And I took that job because I had the feeling that this new woman boss would be a mentor to me. Alas. That new boss, Joan. saw attributes in me that would allow her to leave the position she held. After I assumed my position at Stanford Law School, she announced her resignation a month later. She would have been a good boss because she was a teacher. And she knew how to delegate. And taught me things for which I would later receive compliments. I learned from her to hire people smarter than me. People who were better at the things I wasn’t good at. People who would make me and them look good. She taught me to think in terms of what if you get hit by a bus? She taught me to share knowledge with those who worked with me, not to withhold. When I hired people, I let them know that we worked together. That they were not working for me, but with me. And the greatest compliment I ever received was this: I know that Ana will never ask me to do something that she wouldn’t do herself. I taught those I worked with to think and dream big. That their ideas were their ideas, and their ideas would be acknowledged up the management chain. That boss, Joan, who left me a month after she hired me at Stanford, is still a friend. While she still feels badly about leaving me “in the lurch,” I like to think that the brief time I spent with her was all the role-modeling I needed.

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