Adding More Women To The U.S. Workforce Could Send Global Stock Markets Soaring
PowerToFly Partner, S&P Global, Releases New Report
Below is an article originally written by PowerToFly hiring partner S&P Global (Jodie Gunzberg, Beth Ann Bovino and Jason Gold) and can be found here. Go to S&P Global's Page on PowerToFly to learn more.
The global bull market in stocks has been long. Historic, even. Will it end? Sure, someday, just as all such runs do. But S&P Global has found an underutilized source of growth that could send global market valuations soaring—to the tune of an extra $5.87 trillion over the next decade. On the heels of our 2017 paper, The Key To Unlocking U.S. GDP Growth? Women, we decided to see what adding more women to the American workforce would mean for an aging bull market, in the U.S. and abroad. The results astounded us.
- Acceleration in U.S. GDP growth under increased female labor force participation could add a whopping $5.87 trillion to global market capitalization in 10 years.
- For every 1% of GDP growth, the S&P 500 returns 3.4% on average annually. An additional 0.2 point of GDP growth would therefore boost the S&P 500 another 0.7%—and could increase U.S. market capitalization by $2.87 trillion in a decade.
- Around the world, each additional percentage point of U.S. GDP growth has also translated into a 4% jump in equities in Germany, 6.2% in China, and a whopping 9.3% in Korea—even more than the gains we can expect in the U.S. itself.
- An increase in women's participation to that of other advanced countries would add an average of 0.2 percentage point annually to U.S. GDP in the coming decade—or a cumulative $455 billion in output above S&P Global's baseline forecast.
Beyond the benefits that additional workers—and, therefore, additional disposable income—would have on an economy so heavily reliant on consumer spending, we can draw an unswerving line from increased U.S. GDP growth to increased market value in not just the U.S. but in a number of other countries and regions. Specifically, based on the historical sensitivity of stock markets to economic expansion, an acceleration of U.S. output at the pace we calculate under increased female workforce participation could help extend a historically long global bull run in equities (see Chart 1), adding a whopping $5.87 trillion to global market capitalization in the next 10 years.
The U.S. is the most significant economy in the global market, making up more than half of the S&P Global Broad Market Index (BMI). Nearly 25% of U.S. equity market revenues come from overseas—mainly from the Asia-Pacific region and Europe.
One way to measure the sensitivity of stocks to U.S. GDP growth is by using the "up-market capture ratio," which gauges the average historical annual stock market return per 1% of growth, and shows substantial gains from even a modest acceleration in the U.S. economic expansion. With the U.S. bull market embarking on its 10th year—and now the second-longest in history, just three months shy of the October 1990-March 2000 stretch (see Table 1)—an extra jolt could comfort those investors who are on the lookout for bearish signals.
While it's often said that bull markets (and expansionary periods) don't simply die of old age, among the signs that have historically augured market slumps are: fast-rising interest rates, slumping consumer confidence, and fear of recession.
The increasing likelihood that inflation will move up to the Federal Reserve's 2% target by the end of this year lends justification to S&P Global economists' forecast for four rate hikes this year as the central bank takes further steps along the path of monetary-policy normalization. U.S. equities markets seemed to buy into this view when a stronger-than-expected jobs report in late-January fueled investors' fears that borrowing costs would soon climb faster than expected. This kicked off a market correction (commonly defined as a 10% decline from recent highs), with the S&P 500 index dropping from its all-time high close of 2,872 on Jan. 26, to 2,581 on Feb. 8. (The benchmark index has recovered and was up 1.83% year-to-date through May 16.)
Since then, the yield on the 10-year Treasuries, an important benchmark for borrowing costs such as mortgage rates, recently topped 3% (albeit briefly) for the first time in four years—even as the yield gap between the two- and 10-year notes remains about as slim as it was before the Great Recession. This has led some market watchers to suggest the yield curve could soon invert. (While an inversion doesn't guarantee a recession, the past three economic downturns were preceded by a flip in yields on two- and 10-year notes.)
On another front, U.S. consumer confidence, while still strong, declined in March amid tempered optimism about the economic outlook. The Conference Board's measure of consumers' views on current and future economic conditions fell to 127.7, missing economists' expectations of 131—although, that comes after the index reached a record high in February.
Meanwhile, S&P Global expects U.S. real GDP growth of 2.9% this year and 2.6% in 2019, helped by a boost from the recent tax package and increased government spending. Additionally, our quantitative assessment of recession risk in the next 12 months is less than 10%, and our qualitative assessment, which recognizes hard-to-measure policy mistakes, remains at 10%-15%. While few economists see a recession on the near-term horizon, it's important to note that, as a leading indicator, the stock market typically slides before the onset of an economic slump, rather than the other way around. In fact, bear markets have historically preceded recession (defined as consecutive quarters of contraction) by more than half a year, according to investment research firm CFRA.
Fear of recession is difficult to measure, but there has been a dramatic increase in stock market volatility, reflecting uncertainty—or higher risk. The current annualized 90-day volatility of the S&P 500 is 18.4%, and it's 12.4% for S&P Global BMI (see Chart 2). That's a respective 1.8 and 1.5 times higher than the levels at President Trump's inauguration. Current volatility is also 3.4 (U.S.) and 2.6 (global) times higher than the lows at the end of 2017.
Why Women Are the World's Secret Weapon
Against this backdrop, S&P Global believes an increase in the female labor force participation rate (LFPR) in the U.S. can help.
As it stands, less than 63% of the working-age population (defined as 16 and older, with no maximum age) in the U.S. is employed or actively seeking a job—hovering near the lowest level in more than four decades. For years, the surge of women entering the workforce largely offset the slow attrition of male labor force participation. But since the turn of the millennium, women's participation has also declined, to just 57%, from roughly 60% in 2000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
True, having nearly three in every five U.S. women in the workforce is nearly double the rate of the years immediately following World War II (when many working women left to make way for returning soldiers). But it compares unfavorably to the strong gains of the 1960s-1990s, when such things as advances in household-appliance technology, the advent of the birth-control pill, and (perhaps most importantly) evolving attitudes about societal roles gave women greater freedom to work outside the home.
And it wasn't that long ago that the U.S. was among the global leaders in women's workforce participation. As recently as 1990, LFPR among prime-age American women was near the top of advanced economies in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In 1990, LFPR for women of prime working age in the U.S. reached 74%. Since then, that rate has stayed roughly stable while increasing steadily elsewhere, pushing the U.S. down to 20th place among 22 advanced OECD economies by 2016.
So, why the focus on women and not some other cohort of workers?
In the U.S., the biggest obstacle women must hurdle to fully engage in the labor force involves children—in large part because the U.S. is the only country in the OECD that doesn't provide income support during maternity or parental leave by law. Moreover, a 2012 OECD report showed that full-day care for an infant eats up 41% of single mothers' median income, and a 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center found that 39% of mothers had, at some point in their careers, taken off a significant amount of time to care for a child or other family member. More than 25% had quit work entirely to do so; just 24% of fathers had taken a significant amount of time off to assume these responsibilities.
These trends take on greater importance when we consider that the median age of baby boomers is now 63. This means that more than 74 million people are at, or approaching, a time when old age goes from some far-off future state to a day-to-day reality. And, as we've seen, the responsibilities of elder care are out of balance from a gender perspective.
This holds true not just for the U.S., but in many other advanced economies—and is particularly important as the aging of societies as a whole adds to their economic burdens. According to a 2014 report from the Pew Research Center, the "old-age dependency ratio"—that is, the number of people 65 and older per 100 people of working age (15-64)—is rising around the world, particularly in Northeast Asia and Europe. The report suggests that by the middle of this century, the old-age dependency ratio in South Korea, for example, could soar as much as 51 percentage points from 2010, to 66. In other words, for every three working-age Koreans, there will be two in old age. Similarly, Spain's old-age dependency ratio may jump 42 percentage points, to 67, and Italy's may rise 31 points, to 62.
How To Possibly Add $2.87 Trillion To U.S. Market Value
S&P Global believes that a concerted effort to increase participation and foster retention of women in the American workforce, particularly in those professions traditionally filled by men, represents a substantial opportunity for growth of the world's principal economy. (See "The Key To Unlocking U.S. GDP Growth? Women," published Dec. 5, 2017.)
We calculate that if the U.S. were to increase women's LFPR to that of other advanced countries, it would add an average of 0.2 percentage point annually to GDP in the coming decade—which translates to a cumulative $455 billion in output above S&P Global's baseline forecast for growth. Even for an economy now exceeding $20 trillion, an extra few hundred billion dollars goes a long way.
Similar to the way the returns on increased government infrastructure spending, for example, can exceed the investment through the so-called "multiplier effect," a boost to annual GDP of 0.2 percentage point would typically translate to even greater gains in equities. In fact, for every 1% of growth in GDP, the S&P 500 returned 3.4% on average annually, from 1990. An additional 0.2 point a year of GDP growth would therefore boost the S&P 500 an additional 0.7%. All else being equal, the additional estimated economic expansion would increase U.S. stock market capitalization by $2.87 trillion in a decade (see Chart 3).
In the U.S., the technology sector might be the biggest beneficiary of this extra jolt, given that it has the highest up-market capture ratio, at 5.6% per percentage point of GDP growth. An additional 0.2 point of growth could therefore add 1.1% to tech shares. At the other end of the spectrum, the sensitivity of utilities stocks to GDP growth is just 2.2-to-1, and so an extra 0.2 point of growth would add just 0.4% to shares in this sector (see Chart 4.)
Given stocks' sensitivity to economic expansion, it makes sense that accelerated growth in the U.S. would boost equities around the world—especially when we consider that the U.S. accounts for slightly more than half of the global equities market capitalization of $54.8 trillion. Still, the "multiplier" effect that U.S. growth has on specific countries' stock markets is, in some cases, surprisingly large.
The mechanism for this is fairly simple: Because the U.S.'s "trade elasticity" is such that the country's imports tend to increase at a faster pace than GDP growth during expansionary periods (while shrinking at closer to a 1-to-1 rate during times of economic contraction), manufacturers and other exporters to the U.S. enjoy outsized benefits when the American economy expands.
S&P Dow Jones Indices calculates that, for example, each additional percentage point of U.S. GDP growth has translated to a 4% jump in equities in Germany, 6.2% in China, and a whopping 9.3% in Korea—even more than the gains we can expect in the U.S. itself (see Chart 5).
When we add in the boost to U.S. GDP of increased women's LFPR, the numbers become even more impressive. Equities in Korea would enjoy an additional 1.9% bump, and those in China would gain another 1.2% (see Chart 6).
The notable difference in the up-market capture ratios of, for example, China and Japan—the Nos. 1 and 4 U.S. trade partners among single countries—can be explained in part by the amount of trade the countries conduct with the U.S. relative to the size of their trade surpluses with the U.S. and their annual output, as well as where the countries rank in total market capitalization.
In dollar terms, China exports almost four times as much to the U.S. as it imports in American goods and services, with exports to the U.S. accounting for 4.2% of the Chinese economy. For Japan, exports to the U.S. are roughly only twice its American imports, and exports to the U.S. account for just 2.8% of Japanese economic output.
Further evidence that this dynamic is at least partly responsible for the disparity includes the fact that South Korea—the U.S.'s sixth-biggest trade partner and No. 11 on the list of national economies—sends just about a third more to the U.S. than it receives, but those goods and services make up a substantial 4.6% of Korea's GDP.
Meanwhile, Japan's market cap, at $4.92 trillion, puts it at No. 2 in single-country rankings (although a distant second behind the U.S.'s $27.7 trillion). The dollar value of stocks traded in Japan is also roughly equal to the size of the country's economy, which is the world's third-largest. On the other hand, China's market cap, at $1.88 trillion, is much smaller than its island neighbor's and is less than one-sixth the size of the country's $12 trillion economy.
The Potential to Create an 'Extra' $5.87 Trillion in Market Value
Things get even more interesting when we consider the dollar values that could accumulate to various countries' market capitalizations. Most notably, Korea, which currently has the smallest market value of the countries in our forecast, could benefit so extraordinarily from U.S. GDP enhanced by increased female LFPR that it would jump to No. 3, just behind Japan and the U.S. in the 10 years we examine (see Table 2).
In total, global market cap could surge by $5.87 trillion in a decade given an acceleration in U.S. GDP growth at the pace we calculate under increased female workforce participation (see Chart 7).
All told, if the U.S. were to follow the lead of many other developed countries and implement policies that encourage women to enter and remain in the workforce, the effects could reverberate globally, supporting a stock market boom far greater than the economic growth itself. Given the sensitivity of historical stock market returns to U.S. GDP growth, the result of adding more women to the workforce could boost U.S. stock market value by an additional return of 0.7% annually in the next decade, translating into an extra $2.87 trillion of market value. What is perhaps more impressive is the sprawling power that U.S. growth has globally, with an incremental return of 0.6% to the global stock market translating into $5.87 trillion of added market value.
According to a recent study, anti-Asian hate crimes have risen 150% since the pandemic started. But these acts of violence are not new — they are part of a much larger history of anti-Asian racism and violence in the U.S.
That makes celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (which was named a month-long celebration in May by Congress in 1992 "to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants on May 7, 1843 and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869") this year all the more important.
As we reflect on recent events and how they fit into a much larger history of discrimination, we're also taking time to celebrate and acknowledge the many achievements of the AAPI community.
We asked several of our partner companies what they're doing to honor AAPI Heritage Month at work, and we were inspired by the range of responses, covering everything from campaigns to #StopAsianHate to educational events on AAPI history.
Here's what they're doing, in their own words:
Empowering authenticity - LogMeIn
"Our theme this year is AIM to Be Real. We are embracing our new company values and celebrating those who bring their authentic selves to work, who help create space to celebrate diversity of thought, and who give back to the API community. Our Asian ERG, Asians in Motion (AIM), is hosting several events: a discussion about bringing your authentic self to work with Jerry Won (Dear Asian Americans podcast); a refugee-led virtual cooking class; ERG Movie Club discussions featuring Bollywood films, and a virtual volunteer event where we will offer career development mentoring for young women across Asia."
Learn more about LogMeIn here.
Educating on current events — Raytheon Technologies
"Raytheon Technologies is honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with an enterprise-wide global town hall event – Real Talk: Building CommUNITY Together. Organized by the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) employee resource groups across the company, employees will share their personal experiences and discuss ways to support Asian American Pacific Islander communities. The event will also feature prominent leading advocates from renowned civil rights organizations to provide insight into the national context surrounding recent events. We will also feature AAPI employees internally and on our social media channels."
Learn more about Raytheon Technologies here.
Encouraging awareness, growth, and learning — Moody's
"Moody's is encouraging awareness, growth, and learning during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with the following activities, led by our Multicultural Business Resource Group and DE&I team:
- Weekly newsletters featuring AAPI employee profiles and cultural resources
- Video screening and small-group discussions supporting #StopAsianHate
- Cultural panel discussion featuring employee stories
- Professional development activities
- External speakers speaking about Asian leadership"
Supporting professional development — Freddie Mac
"Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month at Freddie Mac – Together, We Are Stronger
Freddie Mac supports the professional development of Asian and Pacific Islander employees while promoting an increased awareness of the value they bring to the organization and our local communities. Our InspirASIAN Business Resource Group is hosting various activities throughout the month such as:
- Personal development session on empowerment led by a coach from our Employee Assistance Program.
- "Stop Asian Hate" lunch and learn geared toward discussing the hurdles facing the AAPI community.
- Fireside chat about racial injustice with leaders from our InspirASIAN and ARISE (employees of the African diaspora) BRGs."
Fostering inclusion, learning, and belonging – Nestlé USA
"At Nestlé USA, the Pan Asian Network (PAN), one of our many employee resource groups that support our Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion initiatives, will host a variety of events to honor and acknowledge Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. These activities will foster greater inclusion, enhanced learning, and belonging for the AAPI community. PAN will highlight women's development in Asian cultures, Asian leadership and what their culture means to them, culinary innovation of Asian cuisine, intersectionality of LGBTQ+ and Pan Asian community, as well as an enhanced learning watch party of the PBS movie 'Asian American.'"
Learn more about Nestlé USA here.
Promoting cultural literacy – Relativity
The Community Resource Group at Relativity
"For Relativity, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is an opportune time to not only celebrate the rich AAPI cultures represented within our company, but to also foster awareness and allyship amidst the current rise of AAPI hate. RelAsians, our internal community resource group, has organized a few activities for May: a book club focused on AAPI heritage—because we feel it's never too early to gain cultural literacy, a weekly spotlight on AAPI Relativians, and a virtual event that takes attendees on a tour through an Asian grocery store, introducing native vegetables and staple ingredients for traditional home-cooked Asian recipes."
- Contribution from Neha Pant, Sr. Performance Engineer & Angie Ocasek, Sr. Specialist, Partner Enablement – Co-Chairs of the RelAsians Community Resource Group at Relativity
Learn more about Relativity here.
Creating transformative experiences – Facebook
"At Facebook, our APIs employee resource group's mission is to create transformative experiences for all APIs at Facebook, Inc through key cultural awareness and engagement highlighting the API community. To kick off APIHM, we will host a series of events and conversations for the community and its allies designed to support the API community around the theme, The SUM of Us, including:
- Letting Others In: a mindful discussion series that privileges intersectional voices, storytelling, feedback, and vulnerability as tools for building empathy and inclusion amongst organizations.
- Racial Healing Learning Session: specific to the API Experience focused on naming of experiences and emotional responses, understanding the body's responses to racial trauma, what the audience can do in the moment for self-care, and long-term strategies to overcome the effect of the traumatic experience.
- Bystander Training/self Defense Workshop"
Learn more about Facebook here.
Extensive and exciting programming — 2U
"At 2U, Inc. we'll be honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with extensive and exciting programming coordinated by our employee-led Asian Pacific Islander Network (APIN). In a year marred by exceptional challenges APIN has centered activities around the ameliorating themes of joy, culture and wellness. Be it delighting in a ukulele mini concert, reading an interview highlighting an API coworker, winding down after too much screen time with a somatic healing session or engaging in a panel discussion with API tattoo artists, we have a packed month ahead with opportunities to support oneself and the API culture! Follow along @Lifeat2U on Instagram for more!"
Learn more about 2U here.
Amplifying voices and educating others – Smartsheet
"During APAHM, the API at Smartsheet community will be hosting several events and activities to educate others, amplify AAPI voices, and celebrate the AAPI community! We plan to kick off the month with a documentary viewing and discussion to learn about AAPI history, and hope to share personal stories from our AAPI employees throughout the month. We'll end with an opportunity for the community to celebrate itself by gathering together for fun and games, while eating food from local Asian-owned restaurants."
Learn more about Smartsheet here.
Rising together in sports and culture – NBA
"For Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, APEX is proud to present a multitude of celebratory activities, headlined by an NBA Family Virtual Town Hall and, with the NFL and MLB, an Asians in Sports & Culture Symposium themed "Together We Rise" featuring prominent Asian personalities from the sports world. We are also launching a PSA with an NBA star, honoring Eid-al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan, offering a bystander intervention training led by AAJC, and – because the celebration wouldn't be complete without food – hosting a sushi making class for our members."
Learn more about the NBA here.
Creating courageous conversations – Commvault
"This May, we are celebrating all our Asian/Pacific Islander employees, not just Asian Americans. We will spend the month learning about and celebrating the diverse cultures of Asia through weekly events and activities led by our Multi-Culture ERG. Vaulters and external guests will teach us the history of practices such as yoga, origami, and Asian cuisines. We will also discuss topics like the rise of hate crimes against Asian people and the recent spike in COVID-19 in India. These activities and courageous conversations will engage our workforce and create support for our Asian and Pacific Islander communities around the world."
Learn more about Commvault here.
Honoring history through virtual events – Collins Aerospace
"Collins Aerospace supports our AAPI colleagues not only in May, but all year. Our parent company Raytheon Technologies hosted a virtual Town Hall last month to provide a safe space for open dialogue about recent events targeting Asian Americans in the U.S. In addition to this entity-wide event, our Asia Pacific ERG at Collins is hosting events that educate and honor the importance of Asian Pacific American history such as virtual Lunch & Tours spotlighting South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, and India; and Thoughts & Support sessions. Site-specific events include virtual cooking class, and viewing PBS docuseries Asian Americans."
Learn more about Collins Aerospace here.
Highlighting new perspectives – MongoDB
"MongoDB will share daily historical facts, highlights of Asian American pioneers, and perspectives from our AAPI employees in a dedicated Slack channel. We will also be providing access to an Asian Pacific American Heritage Month webinar, organizing a trivia night, and holding Processing Together sessions for our internal AAPI community due to recent hate crimes happening across the globe. These sessions are a safe space for employees to share their stories and sentiments of what it is like as an Asian American in America today. (Read MongoDB employee Monica Lu's story about being an Asian American woman in tech here.)"
Learn more about MongoDB here.
Spotlighting diverse communities – Bumble
"At Bumble, moments like heritage month celebrations are often our anchor to ensure we are spotlighting diverse communities. In alignment with AAPI Heritage Month in May, Bumble is rolling out a series of thoughtful programming to encourage internal education and around how to support the Stop Asian Hate movement and better serve the Asian community globally. The lineup of initiatives include:
- BuzzWord DEI Discussion Series with featured guest speakers: This conversation will focus on the Asian community within the context of larger cultural issues such as dating app experiences, fetishization, masculinity, and representation.
- Bumble will be inviting employees to join a virtual Vietnamese coffee-making class. Created in partnership with Phin Bar, an urban brew-bar that offers Vietnamese-style steeped coffee combined with house-made ingredients, Bumble hopes to facilitate a deeper cultural learning and community bonding experience for the team.
- Bumble will also be activating channels across social media and our product to educate our community about bystander intervention and raise awareness around the importance of supporting the Stop Asian Hate movement."
Engaging in daring conversations – Procore
"In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month in May, Procore recently organized an internal event to recognize and support the AAPI community. The event was hosted as part of our ongoing internal speaker series, 'Daring Conversations & Allyship,' to create space for an open dialogue around diversity, inclusion, and belonging. All employees were invited to tune in as employees from our AAPI communities shared their unique experiences, addressed anti-Asian hate, and discussed actionable ways to support our AAPI community."
Learn more about Procore here.
Taking action to foster change – SeatGeek
"This month the POC ERG will be meeting and hosting different activities to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This includes creating a safe space to discuss current events, and what actions our communities can take to foster change, sending out a newsletter which will highlight the Asian community in every aspect, and lastly, we will be hosting a guest speaker.
We hope with these planned activities and meetings, we can highlight, and uplift the Asian/Pacific American community, as well as bring awareness to the horrible ongoing attacks they are facing."
Learn more about SeatGeek here.
Uplifting and inspiring the community – Okta
"Okta's People of Color (POC@Okta) ERG is planning to commemorate AAPI Month with a series of fireside chats and iconographical facts posted internally in the #poc and #all diversity Slack channels! These chats will feature Dion Lim of ABC7 News and Comedian/Actor, Ronny Chieng. We will conclude the series with a partnership with Pride@Okta featuring supermodel, TED speaker, and transgender advocate Geena Rocero. The goal of this series is to educate, uplift, support, and inspire! The Okta leadership supports its AAPI employees, customers, and community."
Learn more about Okta here.
Empowering cultural diversity and leadership – Quip
"Salesforce will be celebrating through multiple virtual events, such as a leadership panel on the power of cultural diversity, a tea tasting, a tai chi class, a haka workshop, and more! Members of the Quip team have also compiled an extensive list of resources to support AAPI communities, including ways to donate, take action, and learn more."
Learn more about Quip here.
Focusing on lived experiences – Mindbody
"The Mindbody United ERG focuses on a different heritage or history each month, with May devoted to Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This ERG seeks to provide a platform to both celebrate and learn together. This will manifest in two ways: As a newsletter and a Zoom meeting. The newsletter will feature contributions directly from team members, while the meeting will feature Assembly member Evan Low as our speaker. It is our goal to focus on the lived experiences of the AAPI community, address discrimination, and how to chase after the part of the world we can make better."
Learn more about Mindbody here.
Promoting harmony and unity – T. Rowe Price
"T. Rowe Price is aware and appalled at the recent spike in hate crimes against the Asian community. In response, the firm will center Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month efforts around harmony and unity, in alignment with the Hawaiian value, Lōkahi – Forward as One. To share best practices, successes and areas of opportunities, T. Rowe Price will co-host a Leadership Panel on Asian Leadership Challenges with Baltimore Asian Connect, a consortium of Asian business resource group leaders at local corporations. The firm will also host a book club and restorative listening circles for Asian American associates and their allies."
Learn more about T. Rowe Price here.
Celebrating Asians globally
"May is Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month. Although traditionally a US celebration, at Autodesk we are celebrating Asians globally. The Autodesk Asian Network is hosting Innovative Leaders, including Lori Mukoyama and Jonathan Zee. Lori Mukoyama is redefining experience-driven design globally at Gensler. Jonathan Zee has an extensive portfolio of buildings that are helping to shape cities around the world at Goettsch Partners. Lori and her husband Jonathan combine design, architecture and engineering in their work while simultaneously manage a family together during this pandemic. This event is hosted by AAN, as part of a monthlong series of APA Heritage Month events."
Learn more about AutoDesk here.
If you told Paula Manchester that you weren't good at math, she wouldn't believe you.
"That's a global indictment," she says. "'I'm not good at math' implies that you don't have the ability to nurture that muscle. And then I'd ask what kind of math? There's a lot to math."
Instead, she'd introduce you to a growth mindset perspective: "Try 'I have not yet been exposed to differential equations. Let me open the book and start studying, let me get access to teachers and tutors who can help me understand this, let me begin to practice,'" she says.
"A growth mindset says, 'There's nothing that I can't do. It's just that I need to learn how to do it, I need to practice doing it, I need to have the right circumstances in order to achieve this goal.'"
Throughout her long career as a leader in healthcare and pharmaceuticals, Paula has leaned on her growth mindset when approaching new challenges, expanding into new responsibilities, and understanding her mistakes. (Because yes, even an expert leader still makes mistakes, and cultivating a growth mindset means there's endless opportunity to learn from them!)
We sat down with the Senior Director of Global Commercial Development at global biotech firm CSL to learn more about how Paula's growth mindset shows up in her life and her work.
Determining her path towards growth
When Paula entered Stanford as an undergraduate, she thought her next academic stop would be medical school. She started down that path, taking psychology classes where she first learned about concepts like the growth mindset.
Instead, she got an MBA at Northwestern.
In between those two educational experiences, Paula determined what kind of life and career she wanted to have.
It was during an internship at a historically Black college's medical school that made her realize that she didn't need to be in the room with patients in order to positively impact their experience. "My eyes were opened to the ecosystem of healthcare," she says, "and I realized it would probably be a tighter match between some of my interests in terms of how people make decisions. I knew I could make meaningful contributions without necessarily going to medical school."
Following her interest in how patients were informed about their health, Paula pursued a career in marketing and communications, working at Merck and GSK before taking on her role at CSL Behring. Now she leads the marketing strategy in the transplant space, partnering with the company's R&D team to bring potential new therapies for those patients into the world as regulatory-approved products.
"It's exciting because it means that patients who have been through so much might not have to worry about losing their kidney, going back on dialysis, and maybe even having to go through years and years of waiting for yet another kidney transplant," she says of an investigational treatment in development that aims to address antibody mediated rejection of transplanted organs like kidneys. "The work that we do every day means that somebody can hold on to that very precious gift of life that they've been given. That brings me energy every day. It gives me inspiration. It also allows us to be very clear...there's no question—we know we're impacting patient lives."
Growing with others
Business school was the first time Paula really had to learn to be effective through others. "You learn how to drive performance under very tight circumstances in order to produce a high quality deliverable as a team," she says.
Those skills served her well in her post-MBA roles, and have been especially useful now that she's at CSL Behring.
She accepted her current role for two reasons: first, she believed in the company. "When I got a chance to come to CSL a couple of years ago, I was thrilled because of what this company stands for. A lot of companies talk about being patient-focused, but this company lives it; it's woven throughout our DNA," says Paula.
Second, she was intrigued because the role came with a whole new set of responsibilities—and a new group of people to work with and through. "I was attracted not only because of the work, but also the challenge of a larger remit," says Paula. "I knew that I could work across boundaries, not just in my particular swim lane of marketing expertise, but to be accountable for leading a cross-functional team."
She was immediately proven right: her new responsibilities were significant. "People will laugh and say, 'What you wish for, you get,'" says Paula, smiling. "I wanted a larger remit, and that came to me in spades. There's just so much to do, which has taught me a lot about prioritization and flexibility."
Paula credits her ability to stay calm in the face of so much change with her growth-focused outlook. "Every experience I have is an opportunity to learn," she says. "As opposed to setting up a particular decision or opportunity as 'either I will fail or I will be successful,' every event is an opportunity for success because it's framed as an opportunity to learn."
4 ways to incorporate a growth framework into your own life as a leader
Paula has specific tips for anyone interested in becoming more effective by approaching opportunities with a growth mindset:
- Learn to listen well. From being able to pick up on subtle cues in meetings to unlocking coworkers' participation by making them feel heard, Paula says much of her success in seeing challenges as opportunities—and helping others do the same—comes from listening. "Quite frankly, given some of the issues that we're dealing with in contemporary America, I think that there's probably plenty of room for increased listening skills, right?" says Paula.
- Get comfortable reflecting in the moment. "Part of the growth mindset is the notion of not being perfect," says Paula. "There's always an opportunity to get better and better. By reflecting, you can ask, 'How specifically can I get better?'" Paula often will do a quick debrief with herself after conversations and meetings to reflect on how she conducted the conversation, how she listened, how flexible she was, and what her outcomes were. "Reflecting can be very, very powerful," she adds. "As a Black woman in corporate America, it's especially important because of the pressure to be excellent in everything we do. But for everyone, especially in 2021, with what we've been through this last year—COVID, disparate access to healthcare, social distancing, working remotely, the global nature of all this disruption. There's an opportunity to think about what we just went through as a society and to ponder what the lessons are."
- Practice long-term reflection, too. Paula leads after-action reviews for her team each quarter where she asks four questions: what happened, what worked, what didn't work, and why. "It's not a complex tool, but it enables you to remove the emotion, and reveal more of the concrete data. You can leverage the observations of others to provide that perspective that you may not be able to see as a team member," she says.
- Read, learn, and share. If you consistently seek out opportunities to learn something new, whether in the pages of a book or in a classroom or just from a peer, and then you go out of your way to help others based on those new insights, you're well on your way to practicing a growth mindset, says Paula. "Open your eyes and look around—there's somebody who needs [what you have to offer]."
Interested in growing alongside Paula and her team? Learn more about CSL's open roles here or click here to join an upcoming virtual event with Paula and other women leaders at CSL this Thursday, May 27th!
When Emma Woods decided to take her children out of school for six months and homeschool them while traveling around Australia in a caravan, it wasn't the first time she found a way to balance personal and professional growth. It was just a more extreme version of the types of choices she had been making throughout her career.
Emma started her career in the world of telecommunications, moving from IC to team manager, then to contract positions when she had her children and needed flexible scheduling. Now in her current role as an Engineering Manager at payment platform Afterpay, Emma continues to find ways to manage her personal and professional growth, and her family's well-being.
Along with a successful career in engineering management, she's backpacked Europe, spent two months in Southeast Asia, done a post-grad degree in IT, and had three children.
Now, as a manager of a team of platform engineers at Afterpay, Emma helps her team work through their own unique sets of goals. We Zoomed into the Melbourne Afterpay Hub to hear more about how she accomplishes that, and how she stays focused on growth for herself and her team while working at the fast-growing BNPL fintech.
Defining what's important
Taking that six-month holiday was a calculated risk. While it meant Emma would be out of the job market and would have to find something new when she came back, it also would allow Emma impossible-to-replace quality time with her family. "You only have those opportunities when your kids are young," she says. "I've got teenage kids now, and they would not be interested in living in a caravan with their parents for six months!"
At the end of the day, Emma knew it was an opportunity she couldn't pass up—and that solid career opportunities would likely still be there for her upon her return. "I've never seen it as you cannot pursue things in parallel," she explains. "You can raise a family and still develop your career, you can take some time out and get a decent job afterwards. I think it's healthy to not be a hundred percent focused on any one thing and to have a balance, and that's always what I've wanted for myself. I make decisions around what's important to me at the time."
Having both a career and a family life has always been important to Emma. Even when she went down to two days a week at work, she was still happy to have it as part of her week: "By the time I'd paid for all the childcare, it wasn't even really worth it—but for me, it was, because I was keeping an interest in my career, keeping current in terms of what I was working on," she says.
To set herself up for a solid transition back into work after the caravan trip, Emma decided to document her experience traveling with her family and homeschooling her children, creating a website that highlighted their adventure and showcased some of her technical skills.
It also helped that she'd just finished a 12-month contract role at Afterpay before leaving, and had a strong relationship with her manager. When she came back, he offered her a role. "I was really interested in a leadership role in engineering management, and that opportunity had come up, so it was perfect," she explains.
Now, she works four days a week, leaving her an extra day to manage her family. "It lets me spend some time with them, but also not feel that I'm missing out on moving forward with my career," says Emma. "I have been lucky that Afterpay supports me working a four day week."
Four ways a manager can support their team's growth
Emma's career at Afterpay started when the company was gearing up to launch in the UK and the U.S., and ever since then, it's been a period of serious growth and momentum. Now, as an engineering manager, her favorite part of her job is the people she works with. "It's really satisfying to work with a team of really smart people to solve problems," she explains.
Here are some of the tips she has for how to set your team up for success:
- Back your team. "That's the most important thing I do in a day," explains Emma. "I see it as championing their projects, promoting their work, and raising the visibility of the projects they're working on, using my networks at the company to get that stakeholder buy-in."
- Evolve the way you communicate. Afterpay's workforce is expanding quickly, which means the practices that worked well when there were dozens of engineers don't necessarily work well with hundreds. Emma is careful about when she uses showcases, virtual or face-to-face meetings, and asynchronous communication to keep her team informed, motivated, and connected to their stakeholders.
- Focus on your core customer. As a manager, Emma's core customer base is her engineers—and their customers are the internal product engineers that build features on the platform that her engineers provide. Keeping those customers front and center helps when it comes to prioritizing growth goals. "You can't please everybody," says Emma. "You've got to learn how to prioritize, and that will mean sometimes saying no."
- Work to reduce silos. Emma is always looking for opportunities to combine succession planning with personal growth goals. When she sees that one person is siloed with a particular type of work, she makes sure to spread assignments of that type around to deepen her bench of talent and to keep each individual's plate of projects interesting and diverse.
3 tips for pursuing your own growth as an individual
Maybe you're not a manager of people. You still have your own career and personal goals to take charge of, though. Emma recommends:
- Set big goals. "Apply for jobs that you might think you're not a hundred percent qualified for," says Emma. "And when you get them, work hard. The networks I've established through my jobs have really helped me to keep growing my career."
- Stay competitive in what interests you. Emma went back to school when she realized she wanted to work in technology and needed a different background to support it. "I made a whole lot of new contacts from that," she reflects.
- Put your personal goals at the same level as your career goals. If Emma was laser-focused on her next promotion, she might've never taken that caravan trip—and she would have regretted it. "I've never been afraid of taking time out," she says. You can have that fear of missing out, that everybody else is building their careers. But when the trip was over, I was really excited to be heading back to work."
Tips from SeatGeek's Anuja Chavan
When Anuja Chaven turns on a fan in her house in Jersey City, she can't help but think about how every piece of it works.
"There are an extensive amount of things that have to go perfectly at the same time," says the former engineer (and current product manager at live event ticketing platform SeatGeek).
It was that interest in understanding how things actually worked that drove Anuja to study engineering—first electrical, during her undergrad in India, and then computer science, during her master's program in the U.S.
"I was always intrigued by the fact that with [software], you don't have to have a hundred people, or invest in a bunch of hardware that is costly, [but] you can still get things done and create things," she says.
We sat down with Anuja to hear more about her career, from her start as an engineer working in the banking sector to her current role as a PM at a fast-growing startup. She unpacked what it's been like to jump from the super-analytical side of things to the product management side—and gave us her best tips for PMs looking to connect with their teams (and vice versa!). Read on for her hard-earned wisdom.
From engineer to product management: the best of both worlds
Anuja's first job in tech was as a software engineer at a big bank, where she worked on solving technical problems and dealing with all of the bureaucratic red tape that came along with creating high risk tools while working in the securities lending department.
Four years and a couple of promotions in, she realized that her favorite part of any given project was the beginning, when she was scoping requirements. "I liked working to understand the business needs much more than I actually enjoyed developing technical solutions," she says.
When Anuja shared that realization with her friends in tech, they helped her see that product management might be the perfect fit for her, with its mix of analytical thinking and user focus. She took a ten-week PM course, but then faced the age-old chicken-and-egg problem when it comes to switching jobs or industries: how to get the experience needed for the jobs she wanted when all of the jobs she was seeing required that she already had experience?
A friend of Anuja's invited her to a SeatGeek event PowerToFly was hosting in New York City. Anuja went, loved the panel presentation (where SeatGeek engineers showed what they were really working on—a far cry from the closed-door siloed projects Anuja had come across in banking!), and hit it off with the recruiter. She applied for a PM role, was interviewed by a slate of people she was impressed by (including SeatGeek's CEO and CTO!), and accepted the offer when it came.
"The people I met were very, very smart, and it was such an inviting experience," she says. Now, after such a trying year, Anuja has become even more impressed by SeatGeek's culture: "They're so open about global awareness, about how you should treat employees, how employees should treat each other. They're walking the talk. It's not something that's put out and forgotten about; they're constantly working to empower and uplift those who identify with underrepresented groups." (You can learn more about this work here.)
Now, a few years into being a full-fledged product manager, Anuja is grateful for having started her career in engineering.
"Coming from that background fosters that mutual understanding of how things work. You speak the engineers' language," explains Anuja.
And that's just the beginning of the synergies.
5 things PMs should do when working with engineers
When Anuja asks her engineering team to add a new feature to a product, she knows that she's actually asking them to do a specific amount of technical work, which comes with tradeoffs and costs.
Her goal, then, is to help them understand why that work is important and let them know that she recognizes the effort required to do it well. And she does all of that in the 2-3 hours per day that she spends with her team in real-time, since most of SeatGeek's enterprise engineers (SeatGeek's business is broken down into two major units: their secondary marketplace and their enterprise business, where Anuja works, in which they build and sell a box office solution directly to clients like sports teams, venues, and theaters) are based in Israel and only overlap briefly with New York working hours.
Here are some other things Anuja does to create trust and respect between her and her team:
1. Keep engineers shielded from noise, not strategy.
Anuja spends a lot of time—up to 50-60% of her workweek, she says—in meetings. That's okay: it's her job to interface with the finance, marketing, and client experience teams that her engineering team's work serves, and meetings are part of that. Her team, however, doesn't need to have their days eaten up by endless syncs.
But that doesn't mean that Anuja keeps them firewalled away from the rest of the business. Just the reverse, in fact—she makes sure to plan several touchpoints where her engineers can get a good sense of the business strategy behind their workstreams. "You're not discussing just features, you're discussing why that feature," explains Anuja of the holistic meetings between various project stakeholders and engineers.
She also does regular stepbacks on the business's larger 3-, 6-, 9-, and 12-month roadmaps so that engineers' voices can be heard in the business planning process. "There are things that product may not be best positioned to foresee that engineering brings up, like scalability and system stability limitations," she says of their value-add. "Getting engineers involved early in the game doesn't hamper your progress but rather aids with them being in your story with you."
2. Use technical understanding to predict problems.
"There's this weird theory— a joke, really—of PMs being the dumbest person in a room full of experts, but I don't see that as being true, since you've got to ask the right questions at the right time to drive conversations between those experts," says Anuja. Not all PMs will have been former engineers, she recognizes, but a few technical skills go a long way. "Knowing the impact one team can cause on the other comes from engineer thinking abilities about problem solving, understanding issues before they actually become issues," she says. "Having that grasp on fundamentals lets you see prioritization problems quickly."
And beyond that, Anuja has had success leaning on her engineering background to build a relationship with her engineers of mutual affinity. "Having technical understanding in your back pocket creates overall trust from the engineer's perspective that you'll do what's right when push comes to shove," she says:
3. Unstick problems with other PMs before they impact engineers.
With 450 employees spread across consumer and enterprise teams, there are plenty of other PMs for Anuja to stay in touch with, and she prioritizes doing so a couple of times a week to discuss problems, talk blue-sky new ideas, and help coordinate workstreams before issues arise. "We have to be up to speed with what's going on in their world," explains Anuja. "If there's a need for something on a different team, it's helpful to be aware of it, whether you aid, assist with resolving blockers, or just stay informed."
4. Communicate visually.
"As a PM, communication is one of the best tools at your disposal," explains Anuja. "What most people may not realize is that visual communication has a much more profound impact on how strongly you can communicate to a broad, skill-set varied group of stakeholders, especially as a Product Manager."
Anuja uses systems diagrams, object diagrams, and component diagrams, among other forms of visual communication, to help get her team in sync. "Having some sort of pictorial representation of what's being discussed helps people make sure they're talking about the same thing, looking at the same vision," she says.
5. Ask engineers what their preferred choice of interruption is.
There are always going to be different types of engineers. Some may not appreciate interruptions with constant pings and Slack chats, while others might prefer real-time updates instead of having to wait for a scheduled call. "What I've been doing with my teams is just being open to asking them, 'What [interruptions] are you comfortable with? What are times that you're comfortable with?'" she says.
2 ways for engineers to collaborate better with their PMs
If the above section didn't apply because you're on the engineering side of the equation, don't worry—Anuja has advice for you, too!
1. Think of the big picture, and communicate that you understand it.
"It gives a product manager a lot of confidence if an engineer can think holistically," says Anuja. "When given a problem, try to ask about the edge case scenarios, the exceptions—that will get you into deeper discussions about how those things work."
Another great way to show that you're following is to repeat the requirement and confirm your understanding in engineering terms. "There are some tactical things you can do to improve your communication, and that's one of them," says Anuja.
2. Be open to explaining engineering concepts to your PMs.
"Don't assume your PM will never be interested in deeper details," explains Anuja, who suggests unpacking problems slowly so that both parties can be better informed the next time an issue crops up.
When it works, it really works
A few months ago, Anuja was working on one of SeatGeek's biggest projects to date: supporting the launch of schedule releases for several high-performing NFL teams. The project required that people across the entire global organization worked together to make the experience absolutely seamless so that fans could buy tickets, and so that our clients could achieve their desired revenue and fan experience goals.
"It was completely flawless—groundbreaking!" says Anuja. "Being able to see so many different streams work together and function properly was really fulfilling."
3 Pieces of Advice from Working Moms at Pluralsight
Being fully committed to work and family is a challenge that many working parents have to take on. It can be exhausting and thankless pursuing a fulfilling full-time career, while taking an active role as a parent. Achieving a healthy balance can help keep you motivated and productive at work, while allowing you to be fully present when you're home.
We recently chatted with working moms at technology skills platform, Pluralsight, about their best advice for striking that elusive work-life balance. Here were their key points:
Stop trying to be a supermom
You are a wonder woman. You do so much! Even with the most supportive spouse, there are so many things to remember, so many tasks to do, appointments, events, plans, work projects, meetings, etc. that burnout is looming at every turn. Have grace for yourself. It usually takes someone else to point that out when we've hit our limit, so we must do our best to prevent that and remind ourselves regularly that we are only human and can only juggle so many things at a time. Plan and set realistic expectations for yourself. Planning conservatively will help get prioritized things done on time. It will help you be more efficient so you can perform at work while being present at home too.
Integrations Engineer, San Diego, CA
Set realistic expectations and embrace change
Just like in any relationship, you must understand how valuable you are in order to maintain a fair agreement between you and your employer. Understanding how valuable you are will help you gain the confidence required to speak up and ask for what will make you a happy and productive employee. You don't ask, you don't get. Some employers already understand the importance of a work/life balance for their staff, but if not, you may need to set firm expectations and boundaries (i.e. long hours, weekend work, workload, etc). When you make it clear what you are willing to do and where your limits are, expectations can ensure employers plan accordingly and you get the time you need for family.
Integrations Engineer, San Diego, CA
At 12 weeks pregnant, I had already read half a dozen books and countless articles on pregnancy and childbirth. My bag was packed with a cute after-hospital outfit, the birth plan was written, and I was prepared.
When my twin girls arrived a month early, the birth plan was the first thing to fly out the window. The books hadn't prepared me for the messiness of childbirth. The cute outfit stayed in my bag. But none of that mattered– I was now responsible for these tiny beautiful human beings who had become my whole world. I was part of something bigger.
This first lesson of motherhood– to embrace change and never lose sight of what's really important– has become invaluable in all aspects of my personal and professional life. In my two-decade career as a software engineer and leader, I constantly find myself throwing plans out the window and adapting to new situations. Being a working mother of five has taught me to use those messy moments as learning opportunities. A greater sense of purpose keeps me grounded and grateful through all the change. At home, it is my family. At work, it comes from being a member of an amazing team and building products that make a difference.
Sr. Director of Software Development, Flow Visualization, Durango, CO
Drop the guilt and give yourself grace
I honestly never envisioned myself being a working mom. It wasn't until I landed in a career that I truly loved, that I thought about how I could pursue both dreams of being a mother and continuing to progress career-wise.
When I first returned to work, it was really challenging. I felt pulled in so many different directions for how I showed up for both family and work. I found myself stretched thin and worn out. Ultimately I didn't feel like I was performing well in any area of my life.
It wasn't until I learned how to prioritize my time, and honestly, say no when others asked for things I couldn't commit to without over-extending myself, that I felt like I really succeeded.
I received some great advice from a mentor about the importance of setting realistic expectations of how much time I can give. At the beginning of my journey of working motherhood, I always felt like I was missing out on work stuff when I had to drop off/pick up my son from daycare. When I was put on meetings that went outside of regular working hours, I felt this pressure to listen in to every word. It made things stressful for both me and my son.
When I finally decided that I was going to spend that commuting time interacting with my son instead of trying to find ways to keep him quiet so I could listen to meetings, things changed for me.
I ask team members to take notes they can share with me following the meeting. Or in cases where there are more details I know I need, I ask for recordings of the meetings. And you know what? I usually find that I'm not missing too much. The business carries on. I'm able to perform my job function well. And I don't feel like my team sees me as less committed for prioritizing my family.
Demand Program Manager, Utah
Only you know what is best for you and your family. Will you be a better mom and wife if you provide financially? Would you make more of a difference if you were a stay-at-home-mom? I tried to be a stay-at-home-mom after being a working mom, and let's just say my impatient personality didn't make for such a positive experience. Also, missing my kids while at work helps me look forward to seeing them and gives me the reset I need sometimes. Each choice has its challenges, and even if you do not have the luxury to choose, just know that whichever way you go YOU ARE DOING THE BEST YOU CAN and that is all you can do. You can feel guilty either way, so choose to do your best and drop the guilt.
Integrations Engineer, San Diego, CA
Learn more about Pluralsight's open roles here.