What We Can Learn from the Response to Ken Fisher's Remarks
Not that long ago, Donald Trump's remark, "You can do anything... grab them by the pussy," was dismissed by many as locker room talk... and we all know how that ended.
Three years later, and two years since #MeToo swept the nation, another billionaire is finding himself in hot water for remarks about women that were, objectively speaking, not as aggressive as Trump's.
Furthermore, the billionaire in question—Ken Fisher—initially defended himself by saying, "I have given a lot of talks, a lot of times, in a lot of places and said stuff like this and never gotten that type of response."
So what happened, and why was he held accountable? Or simply put, what's changed?
Earlier this month, Ken Fisher, Founder and Executive Chairman of Fisher Investments, gave a fireside chat at the Tiburon CEO Summit. He made a number of questionable and arguably sexist comments, which prompted one of the attendees, Alex Chalekian (Founder and CEO of Lake Avenue Financial) to take to Twitter about what he heard. You can watch the video and read a transcript here.
An audio recording of some of Fisher's remarks has since been obtained by CNBC, including quotes like:
- "If you can't talk about genitalia, you can't really deal with the customers. I don't know if you get that or not."
- "Money, sex, those are the two most private things for most people... It's like going up to a girl in a bar … [inaudible] …going up to a woman in a bar and saying, hey, I want to talk about what's in your pants."
CNBC also discovered that it's not the first time Fisher's made remarks like these. In 2018, he spoke at a conference where he was heard saying:
- "I mean the, the most stupid thing you can do, which is what every mutual fund firm in the world always did, was to brag about performance, uh, in, in a direct mail piece, which is a little bit like walking into a bar if you're a single guy and you want to get laid and walking up to some girl and saying, 'Hey, you want to have sex?"
It should also be mentioned that in his video, Chalekian states that after speaking with other conference participants, he learned that this was not the first time Fisher has made highly inappropriate remarks:
- "Come to find out talking to others at the conference, this is just the tip of the iceberg, Ken Fisher is actually known for making these types of comments in and around the workplace with his employees. One of his past employees told me that he had made a comment to them talking about the fact that he thinks that slavery should have never been abolished... things that are just blowing my mind. "
As reported by CNBC, several investors (including the Boston Retirement System and the State of Michigan) have pulled their assets from Fisher's firm in light of these remarks. It's cost the firm $1 billion in assets, and counting—several investors, including Fidelity Investments, are still evaluating the situation.
After initially defending the remarks, Fisher issued an apology.
"Disturbed by these comments," vs. "locker room talk" — What's Changed?
So why were Fisher's remarks met with such a different reaction from Donald Trump's when they surfaced three years ago?
While many people were indeed horrified to hear of Trump's remarks to Billy Bush, the backlash was not severe enough to prevent his campaign from chugging full steam ahead. And yet, for remarks that seemed comparatively mild, Fisher's business is taking a serious hit. In the era of #MeToo, we've seen a number of men called out for bad behavior, ranging from sexual misconduct to sexual assault... but in so many instances, there doesn't seem to be any real punishment.
So why was this case different? Why did these investors literally put their money where their mouth was and cut ties?
- Was it because there was an audio recording? (Which wasn't enough in Trump's case...)
- Was it because a man (not a woman) was the first to report what happened?
- Was it because multiple attendees reported feeling uncomfortable?
- Was it because, as the Mayor of Boston, Martin Walsh opined in his letter to the Boston Retirement Board, "The statements made by Ken Fisher implicate not only his own judgment, but potentially that of the company as a whole." Which is to say, was it because they thought someone foolish enough to make such comments in a public chat would also be foolish with their money?
- Was it because Fisher has a demonstrated history of making these kinds of remarks, and that even more horrific remarks could yet surface, which could put them at risk down the line? (Again, clearly wasn't enough to affect the outcome in Trump's case)
Many of these questions will only be answered with time as more details emerge, but the fact that someone is actually being held accountable for their words and attitudes indicates a very interesting shift in how these matters are being dealt with.
As for my personal opinion, I think the reaction is the result of a few things.
First, that Fisher does have a reputation for making these kinds of remarks and investors are scared that fallback could be even worse down the line. In isolation, Fisher's comments comparing mutual fund sales to picking up women wouldn't be enough for investors to pull millions of dollars from his fund. But the content of his entire speech, paired with his reputation, seems to be more than enough to indicate that as Alex Chalekian said, "This is just the tip of the iceberg." The possibility that more people will come forward in the near future with horrific tales of racism and sexism is very real.
Second, that a man—Alex Chalekian—spoke out first. Unfortunate as it may be, men are more likely to listen to other men. When a man steps up and calls out another man for making inappropriate remarks, people stop and listen. "If another man even found the comments disgusting, then they must really have been disgusting!" It's sexist in and of itself, but it doesn't mean it isn't important for male allies to speak up.
Third, that other attendees came to the table to say they felt uncomfortable because they want the finance industry to do better. Chalekian was the first but not the last of the CEOs at the summit to come forward. Three attendees risked backlash themselves by violating the Summit's Code of Conduct, which prohibits sharing anything from the summit publicly, because they want the industry to do better. They weren't willing to tolerate the old status quo any longer. When a group comes together to say that they felt uncomfortable, it's easier to take on powerful people who might otherwise dismiss the issue as a case of "he-said/she-said" or hypersensitivity.
The lesson for folks with the power to create change in the workplace?
Speak up when something doesn't feel quite right, even if it doesn't directly impact you, and join together—there's power in numbers.
Perhaps the best thing to come out of this is to see so many members of the finance/wealth management industry coming out and saying, "This isn't us."
What would have been brushed under the rug just a few years ago has turned into a national conversation. Another one of the CEOs who spoke out, Rachel Robasciotti (founder of wealth management firm Robasciotti and Philipson in San Francisco), put it best, "If we want things to be different, we have to be different. And that means not condoning that kind of behavior."
If you want to create a more inclusive industry, the power really is in your hands.
💎 Are CallRail's engineering teams the right fit for you? Watch the video to the end to find out!
📼 Engineering teams at CallRail encourage collaboration, communication, and empathy. Ayana Reddick, Senior Software Engineer at CallRail, shares what they are looking for in candidates and tells you why you’ll thrive there.
📼Engineering teams want candidates who have a growth mindset, love to learn, and are really good at communication. They also value team members who are excited about solving problems and working collaboratively. If you think you have what it takes, don't hesitate to apply.
📼At CallRail, engineering teams use Ruby on Rails for their backend, Angular on their frontend, and PostgreSQL for persistent data. They also use Jira for creating and tracking tickets, GitHub for their version control, and AWS for many cloud tools. Get familiar with these resources if you want to join them!
Engineering Teams And Diversity - Company’s Culture
CallRail seeks to hire from underrepresented groups. They pride themselves in selecting from a pool of very diverse candidates. They value the work that people do over their resumes. They encourage people to take their authentic selves to work. And they strive to create a supportive and welcoming environment. For this, they have Employee Resource Groups, that give voice to, provide safe spaces for, and educate the company at large. Some of their ERGs include the Rainbow Coalition, Black and Brown, Women Circle, and more.
🧑💼 Are you interested in joining CallRail? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Ayana Reddick
If you are interested in a career at CallRail, you can connect with Ayana on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About CallRail
CallRail is here to bring complete visibility to the marketers who rely on quality inbound leads to measure success. Their customers live in a results-driven world, and giving them a clear view of their digital marketing efforts is the priority for CallRail. They see the opportunities in surfacing and connecting data from calls, forms, and beyond—helping their customers get to better outcomes.
We all have our favorite websites– the ones we frequent, bookmark, and recommend to others. You might even enjoy some website features so much that you’ve found yourself wondering why they aren’t more popular. Or maybe you’ve experienced times where you were frustrated with a website and wished you could add features or even design your own!
If you’ve ever found yourself intrigued at the prospect of designing and developing your own websites, then a career as a web developer might be just for you!
As a web developer you would be responsible for coding, designing, optimizing, and maintaining websites. Today, there are over 1.7 billion websites in the world and, in turn, the demand for web developers is on the rise. In order to figure out what kind of web development work best suits you let’s start with an introduction to the three main roles in web development that you can choose from.
The Three Types of Web Development Jobs
Front-End Web Development: The Creative Side
In addition to programming skills, front-end developers need to be detail oriented, creative, willing to keep up with the latest trends in web development, cyber security conscious, and geared toward user-friendly designs. The median salary for a front-end developer can reach well into the $90,000 to $100,000 range.
Back-End Web Development: The Logical Counterpart
While a house can be beautifully decorated, it’s incomplete without a solid foundation and efficient infrastructure. Similarly, a well-designed website depends on logical and functional code to power the features of that website. Back-end web development is code-heavy and focused on the specifics of how a website works. If you enjoy the analytical challenge of creating the behind-the-scenes code that powers a website, then back-end development is for you.
Full-Stack Web Development: A Little Bit of Everything
A full-stack developer is essentially the Jack (or Jill)-of-all-trades in web development. Full-stack developers need to be knowledgeable about both front-end and back-end roles. This does not necessarily imply that you would need to be an expert in both roles, but you should fully understand the different applications and synergies they each imply. In order to work in this position, you will need to know the programming languages used by front-end and back-end developers. In addition to these languages, full-stack developers also specialize in databases, storage, HTTP, REST, and web architecture.
Full-stack developers are often required to act as liaisons between front-end and back-end developers. Full-stack developers need to be both problem solvers and great communicators. The end goal for a full-stack developer is to ensure that the user’s experience is seamless, both on the front-end and on the back-end. In return, you can expect to earn a median salary of $100,000 – $115,000 a year for this role.
Taking the Next Step
Web development is both in-demand and lucrative! All three roles described above contribute to specific aspects of web development and the scope of each one can be customized to the industries and positions you feel best suit you. Regardless of which role you choose, all of them need a foundation in programming.
To gain the programming skills needed in each role, you can enroll in courses or learn independently. Coding bootcamps are a great way to boost your skillset quickly and efficiently.
Click here for some of our highly rated programming bootcamp options! Make sure to check out the discounts available to PowerToFly members.
“In my early twenties, I wasn’t the best at saving money. So, when I got the job at Nike and found out a financial coach was offered to me — for free! — I thought, ‘It’s time to be an adult. I should use this service to help me learn how to buy stock, tell me what I’m doing right with my money and where I can improve.’”
That’s Ashlee Bobb, Nike Media and Influencer Relations Manager, on the free, unlimited access to financial coaching offered to every U.S. Nike employee through EY Navigate™. EY coaches are trained on Nike’s benefits and programs, so Ashlee was able to work with her coach on a budget and savings plan utilizing Nike’s 401k match and Employee Stock Purchase Plan – all in one 45-minute session. She left the meeting feeling confident about what her next paycheck would look like and how her money would work for her.
“The EY coaches are really willing to come on the journey with you,” Bobb says, adding that hers was willing to work with the fact that, hey, she’s not going to give up take out, but still wants to save for the future. “The cool thing is I can see how this financial guidance could help me down the road when I decide to get married, buy a house, have a kid. Every Nike employee should take advantage.”Sound like the kind of company you want to be a part of? Check out our open roles on jobs.nike.com
Erika Morrison is a naturally passionate and encouraging leader. From leading her family in giving back to their community, to coaching adolescents in track and cheer, to managing her team at Light & Wonder during the pandemic, her experience is rich with lessons to share with up-and-coming leaders.
“I believe in motivation, positivity, inspiring, finding the good in everything, everybody,” she says. In addition to 30+ years in the tech field, Erika is a wife, a mother of two, an avid exercise lover, and has even been a small-business owner.
We sat down with Erika to hear about the experiences that have led her to her current role as a Software Engineering Manager at Light & Wonder, as well as three practical ways to lead with purpose.
Seeing Potential in Others
Erika has always been fascinated by the world of technology. Growing up, she loved cassette tapes, DVD players, phones, and whatever other gadgets she could get her hands on. When her dad brought home a PC Junior, it didn’t take long before she started programming on it. She designed her own trivia game, using what she learned in her middle school programming classes. “I was typing the questions in and programming the answers. I had a blast writing it and showing it to my family. I remember I wanted to show everyone what I made. That was my first real desire to get into programming.”
Erika followed that instinct into college where she majored in Business Administration and minored in Computer Science. The kickstart to her tech career came when she landed a computer operating job while still in school. She comments, “I was originally applying for a secretarial position at this company. But someone looked at my studies and experience and saw potential in me. I didn't think I was ready for that because I was still so young, I was still in school.”
Erika went on to work as a programmer analyst and software engineer for multiple major Casino based companies. During this time, she even started and ran a local event-planning business, which fine-tuned her skills in successful customer service.
Then, someone saw potential in Erika again. A former coworker reached out and offered her a leadership position with the company that would become Light & Wonder. Erika took on the role of Software Engineering Manager and says “it’s been opportunity after opportunity ever since.”
Managing Through the Pandemic
Erika believes that the best way to lead a team is to really get to know its members. “A lot of leading is knowing the people on your team,” she explains. “Know what each person needs — What may work for one person may not work for someone else. We have to take a little bit of who they are into consideration when attempting to motivate, to coach, to inspire because we're not all motivated by the same things.”
Prior to the pandemic, Erika and her team worked together in the office, which gave her the opportunity to do so. Once the pandemic hit, however, she had to pivot to incorporating virtual meetings to be able to generate that intimacy. She organizes bi-monthly check-ins with her team members where she intentionally asks for their individual preferences on communication and feedback.
“I have one-on-ones with each of my staff every two weeks. We go over the issues that they've had and then any questions or concerns or anything that they want to chat about. Sometimes it's business and sometimes it's personal. But, I feel like taking that extra time out just to have those conversations is extremely important.”
She also cohosts weekly remote Friday cocktail hours to cultivate her team’s relationships and check in on their mental health. “During the Friday cocktail hours, we would relax, ask some questions, or play some games. And it was nice to have that interaction again and connect with the team. It also allowed me to check in on everyone's mental health and make sure that if there was anything that we could do, we were here.”
Inspired to Encourage the Team
Erika is inspired by the example of her past and current mentors and their vision for her professional trajectory. She acknowledges that it was thanks to key people who saw her potential that she has been able to have these experiences. Erika’s own personal drive and passion for encouraging and uplifting others have led her to love her leadership position.
As a manager, Erika seeks the highest level of respect and excellence for her customers, while creating an encouraging work environment for her team. “I want to make sure that my team has everything that they need in order to succeed and get their jobs done the way they want to. I want them to have the level of success that they want.”
Erika ensures that her team members feel their significant contribution to the company and how they are serving with purpose. “We need to feel like we are part of something significant,” she says. “That’s my goal as a leader and for my team.”
3 Ways to Lead with Purpose:
Drawing from her experiences as a tech leader, business owner, coach, and community volunteer, she gives us three practical ways to lead with purpose in whatever context.
- Understand the “why”. “It’s extremely important to know the why of your company. Once you understand it from the company’s perspective, you can communicate it clearly to the team. And once you get that down, you’re able to help build a strong path for them to follow so that both “why’s” are in alignment. Knowing the why of your individual team members allows you to better manage, assist, and build a relationship with them.”
- Build consistency. “I think it’s very important that we are consistent and don't deviate from the why and the task at hand. Building consistency with others motivates and inspires people to give their best, even when we don’t feel like it. When dealing with a change or a huge transition, it’s extremely important to stick to the why’s, the steps we’re taking, and the right attitude."
- Remain positive. “You have to find positivity in everything because no matter what, it could always be worse. We can always find the negative things, but there are also always positive things. As a leader, I need to be empathetic, kind, and encouraging no matter what. It’s extremely important that I’m positive and involve my team members in the process.”