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New Attitudes About Gender, Work, and Family — Kathleen Gerson and Jerry Jacobs

Work and Life is a radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by Wharton. Every Tuesday at 7 pm EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community, and the private self (mind, body, and spirit).


Jerry Jacobs is Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and Founding President of the Work and Family Researchers Network, an interdisciplinary and international scholarly association that focuses on work and family issues. His research with Kathleen Gerson was honored with the Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research in 2002, and led to the publication of The Time Divide: Work, Family and Gender Inequality, published by Harvard University Press in 2004.

Kathleen Gerson is Collegiate Professor of Sociology at NYU, where she studies gender, work, and family change. Her most recent book, The Unfinished Revolution: Coming of Age in a New Era of Gender, Work, and Family, is an award-winning study of how new generations have responded to the gender revolution of the last several decades. She is now conducting a study about the challenges facing today’s adults, who must build their work and family lives amid the increasingly insecure economic climate of the new economy.

The following are edited excerpts of their conversation. Full podcast.


Kathleen Gerson: kathleen gersonOur findings seem to provide one more piece of the puzzle of how dramatic change has been. Jerry [Jacobs] and I continue to be baffled that so many people are skeptical that these changes have occurred. I think in some ways our private lives have moved forward in a way that public discussions about them simply haven’t caught up.

Stewart Friedman: Can you elaborate on what you mean by that?

KG: There’s a bad news orientation in the media and, to some extent, in our political discourse, in which people tend to be quite skeptical about social change. If I were to sum that up, I would say two opposite arguments are being made. First, nothing is really changed, we’re going back to the old ways, women are still facing these huge barriers and men continue to be resistant to these changes. The other side of the story, which ironically or paradoxically presents the opposite picture, is women have changed so quickly that men are being left behind and this is not good for society and men and women are unhappy about this reversal. What Jerry and I have found is that neither of those stories is true. In fact, what’s happening is men and women are converging in terms of not only how they want to live their lives and what they want to get done in their lives, but also in terms of their views about what other people’s choices should be, and how we as a society should allow people to make those choices. Even though the political discourse is very contentious, what Jerry and I have found is that ordinary Americans, across a very broad spectrum of demographic and social categories, support the idea that gender, in fact, should not be the primary driver of who does what, at work or in the home. These decisions should be driven by what people want, what people prefer, and what’s best for their families, and how they can do the best in a very increasingly uncertain and difficult situation.  What we really need is to relieve the difficulties that families are facing to allow them to develop the strategy they prefer.

SF: To produce greater human freedom, after all, right?

KG: I would underline the world human.  It would be nice if we could move beyond these categories of women and men, and talk about human beings, parents, workers.

SF: Creating options and choices for people, then produces the kinds of roles they want to create with the support that they need.  But there’s so much here to unpack.

Jerry Jacobs: Jerry JacobsBut before you unpack, let me explain a little more specifically what we did. There’s a body of research that talks about gender role ideology, and it shows that a lot of people are much more flexible in terms of their views on what women’s and men’s role should be. It also shows there’s a substantial minority stuck in the old ways, committed to traditional, standard gender ideology.

SF: That is, of course, the model of the single-earner dad with a mom at home taking care of kids;  caregiving and breadwinning split by men and women doing one or the other roles.

JJ: Our concern about this research is it doesn’t really say very much about situations and specifics. One of the motivating factors behind what we did is we asked ourselves, if we give the average person, respondents chosen at random, a national random sample, if we give them specific stories, specific situations regarding men’s and women’s choices, what will turn out to be more important: the situations or commitment to gender ideology? The question is are people stuck in a set of blinders that basically say women belong in the home no matter what, or does it depend? Does it depend on if she likes her job? The other thing we specifically looked at was whether her family depended on her income. We have remarkably powerful evidence to suggest that situations are more important than anything else, than whether you’re a man or a woman, whether you’re single or married, it’s not that the patterns are identical for fathers and mothers, but the situations were more important than gender.

SF: Why is that so important, as an observation about our society? I think most of our listeners are less interested in sociological literature, but of course those two are related, what’s the so what there in terms of what people in business as well as public policy makers ought to be thinking about as a result of what you observed?

KG: it’s important because what it tells us is is that ordinary Americans, women and men across ages, races, and situations, are far more sympathetic to the particular situations that individuals families are facing and are far more flexible in their views about what women and men should do than either our political discourse or our public policy or our workplace policies, even for private workplaces, recognize. If both our government policies and employers would pay more attention to this, then I think that would not just improve the way we talk about these issues but could make a real difference in the lives of men and women, mothers and fathers, and children.

JJ: If we could make childcare more affordable and higher quality, our data suggests that more people would support women working, or more people would support mothers of young children being in a labor force.

SF: How does that equation work? Why is the advent of a greater daycare support going to lead to greater support of women in the workplace?

JJ: One of our key findings was that when mothers are satisfied with the childcare that they’re getting, people are more supportive of her working. They’re much more skeptical of mothers’ employment if there’s a feeling that the childcare that they have access to is inadequate or unsatisfactory.

KG: Another finding is that if women can earn enough to support their families, there’s enough support for fathers staying home with their children, especially if those fathers are dissatisfied and unhappy with their jobs and their families don’t feel they have adequate childcare. In a sense, the implications for public policy are both about the childrearing and family side but we need more support, both for employment of mothers and fathers, and also for gender equity at work.  If mothers and fathers have access to well-paying and secure jobs, it gives them more options about who can do what in the home.

SF: It’s clear that the more men lean in at home, the more women can lean in at work and enjoy the fruits of their productive output in the labor market contributing to society through their work.  But it does mean that men need to be not only supportive but really given legitimacy in the role of caregiver. It sounds like your evidence suggests that the legitimacy is out there.

KG: I think that was one of the more uplifting and surprising findings. It’s not really surprising to find out that people support single mothers working, for example, and it’s even less surprising that they would support married mothers with good jobs and good childcare working.  But I think it is definitely worth noting that they also support fathers who don’t have good childcare and aren’t happy with their jobs and aren’t providing necessary income, that they support those fathers being more involved at home and being the primary caretaker.

SF: I, too, find it uplifting Kathleen that men be seen as legitimate in the role of caregiver, that is something that we found in our study comparing the Gen Xers with the millennials here at Wharton and that men’s and women’s roles are converging and how they think about what’s valid and true. I also got an email yesterday from someone who attended one of my workshops on leadership from the point of the whole person, where people look at what’s important to them, who is important to them, and they make creative changes based on those diagnostic analyses and here’s what she wrote to me:

While doing the exercises in the book and discussing with my coaches we discovered a great way to improve my whole self and my life has dramatically changed. Prior to this change, I was working 26 hours and my husband was working 40 hours in a job he disliked that was too far from home. We discovered a solution that led me to coming back to work full-time with a flexible schedule and location and my husband now doesn’t have a paying job; he takes care of the house. If nothing else, I’d like to thank you for putting this information out there and let you know that you helped me change my life for the better.

Of course, I hear this type of thing all the time from students, but they don’t necessarily thank me, but I hear these issues a lot. You’re finding research evidence that this is common, that people are making choices on the basis of economics, the need for childcare, and not whether it’s the man or woman doing the caregiving at home.

KG: I think one thing that is important for us to point out is that this study was really asking people what their opinions and beliefs and attitudes were, but we shouldn’t gloss over the fact that implementing those beliefs may be a lot harder than having them. That’s where I think we’re lagging behind and not giving people real options to implement those beliefs, rather than having them but not feeling they’re socially legitimate or even logistically possible.

SF: It’s something that’s at issue in the presidential campaign. Some of the people who are wanting to be our president are talking quite strenuously about this issue and I think it’s going to be one of the platform issues that’s going to draw a lot of attention, because it will be a stark contrast between the Democrats and Republicans, right?

KG: It’s certainly something that Obama has put on the agenda in the last several years of his presidency as well.

SF: What you two have done here is to advance the knowledge about what is fundamental to any kind of real change and that is the legitimacy of this shift and simply acknowledging that people’s attitudes really have changed, and that’s very powerful. What’s been the reaction to this work?

JJ: There’s been a lot of interest, and we got some very interesting feedback in our New York Times piece. Among our colleagues, there’s a lot of engagement in these issues and trying to see how we can probe further into the aspects of work that are most essential and the aspects of family life that are most important. In a sense, this is a first step in that area, but the feedback we’ve been getting is very positive.

SF: What are people saying?

KG: One of the more important reactions has been not simply about the findings themselves but also about the way we went about asking the question, because part of the problem, as Jerry pointed out earlier, is I think we’ve been asking the wrong questions up to this point. We’ve been asking questions like is it alright for a mother to work and will their children suffer and those questions already start to presuppose an answer, you almost have to disagree with the assumption of the question, which is hard for people to do to give a more accurate answer, but they also focus only on women and mothers. If we have any larger effect on even the way that these questions are phrased, I think that will be important, not only because we’ve included fathers as well as mothers.   And we’ve also taken account of the fact that not everyone is married and there are all sorts of family forms and patterns these days that were not prevalent 30 or 40 years ago.  We’re asking people not just a global question, but rather given this particular situation where these parents are facing these constraints and these opportunities, what do you believe is the appropriate action. That’s very different from just saying this blanket statement about whether or not it’s good for mothers to work.

SF: It seems so obvious that we should have been doing that all along, so how did you come up with this better method?

JJ: It’s an experiment. We had an opportunity to do a controlled experiment in a survey setting, which is kind of unusual.  A number researchers around the country and around the world are thinking about how they can replicate what we’ve done, extend what we’ve done, and that’s always exciting.

KG: We had this opportunity to use this method where you’re actually setting the stage before you ask people questions and then seeing how people might respond differently depending on how that stage is set differently. We’re able to add all these different situations, which is very hard to do if you’re asking everyone the same questions. Part of what happened is we began to realize from our own research how misleading some of these surveys that were asking questions formulated 30 years ago were. Because we know 40 years ago most people lived in a particular kind of family and a certain set of beliefs were prevalent.   But we’ve gone through a revolution since then and we began to ask ourselves how we can begin to formulate questions for the 21st century that don’t make the assumptions that might have been reasonable to make in the 1950s. For example, if someone is faced with bad childcare, and this is something else we looked at, they have a set of choices. They might stop working, but they also might decide to get better childcare. Same with a job. If you were unhappy with your job, one option might be to pull back from work but another option is to look for a different job. We wanted to give people realistic options rather than forcing them to give answers that really didn’t fit with the realities Americans face today.

SF: Randy is calling from Texas. Randy, welcome to Work and Life. What’s on your mind?

Randy: I was thrilled when I heard this topic. In my family, my husband and I had a very heated discussion about this exact same topic over the weekend. It seems like the research is focusing on do we think it’s okay, is there a societal shift in the belief that it’s okay for men and women to do something that’s not sticking with a gender stereotype. My question is was there any look at a non-binary question so is there an impact if you choose a non-gender-specific role, do you face consequences in the workforce, specifically thinking about men who choose to make family a larger priority than work, are they then experiencing negative consequences in the workforce because we aren’t willing to accept it in practice?

JJ: We work with companies all the time and talk to corporate leaders and try to encourage them to promote workplace flexibility and to give working parents the option to work less to pursue lots of different creative choices. You’re absolutely right that there’s a reluctance with many people because they’re concerned that there are real consequences. There is often some income loss in the short term, but I think people worry even more about the long-term consequences for their careers, and that’s both men and women. I think you may be right that there’s still more of a sales job that’s needed for men to convince everybody that this is a legitimate choice.  Kathleen and I are arguing that we’re moving toward convergence. Neither of us feel that we’re there yet. I think there’s an understanding that there are costs for both male and female employees, and that’s one of the reasons we want to move toward more explicit, systematic policies like paid leave so that it’s more institutionalized and accepted.

SF: And available for both men and women. It’s clearly not just a women’s issue anymore. Your research really helps to move us past that debate of is work and family a women’s issue. It’s a human issue, as we said earlier.

KG: There is research by others that does show that there is a stigma attached to taking advantage of the family leave policies that companies offer, and ironically I think to some extent, is greater for men than for women, because we still have a ways to go in terms of thinking about these as issues that men and women both care about and face.

SF: The data from that research is probably five years old now.

KG: Let’s hope that current and future research shows that’s declining. The more we talk about it, I think the greater chances are that it will. In the past, I think we’ve talked too much about the clash between women and men and perhaps the way we need to start talking about this now is the clash between workers’ needs and workplace policy. That will help us begin to reduce the stigma and actual career and long-term economic consequences.

JJ: Randy, what kind of choices were you considering —  cutting back or opting out of the labor force for a spell?

Randy: For the longest time, we were both equals and we had a nanny, which was wonderful. Through changes in the economy and one of our companies closing, we had the opportunity for one of us to stay home. It was me, and that’s what we decided to do. There’s a whole host of issues with that for me, but for my husband, career continues to go up and mine doesn’t go anywhere. Part of that was it’s socially acceptable for me to opt out for period. It would be harder for him to opt out even when we were both equals.   But if there was push-comes-to-shove with a family requirement, I was always the one that figured out a way to make things work because it’s okay if I leave to take someone to the doctor and not okay if he leaves to take someone to the doctor.

JJ: I do think the world is changing. Mark Zuckerberg was very public about taking paternity leave. I think there are lots of men who get points for going to their kids’ soccer games and taking off for their kids’ softball practice.  I think as more and more examples become known, I think we’re chipping away with this. The other thing I want to add is we are also very interested in re-entry ramps, trying to make it easier for people to come back into the labor force.  Stay-at-home dad is not a perfect situation. It’s not as though dads are staying home for 16 years or 18 years, they’re often doing it for six months or a year, or a lot of times they’re just cutting back to part-time. It’s not that different for women. A lot of women opt out of the labor market at some point. A lot of times it’s not their choice, things happen at work, the company closes, the office moves to a different location or whatever, and one of things that we need to do is to facilitate the re-entry of people who developed tremendous skills and abilities and are able to contribute significantly to our economy. We have to create an economy for settings where it’s easier to get back in.

SF: To off-ramp and on-ramp and to use the assets that you obtain in the parental role. There are things that you learn as a parent or by managing a household that make you more effective in the workplace; it’s not that it’s down time. Jerry, you just mentioned Zuckerberg’s very visible paternity leave.  One of the things I didn’t like about his announcement on Facebook was that he talked only about benefits for his child, which is lovely of course, citing the importance of fathers in child development, but what he didn’t speak to were the business benefits of his doing this, and I’m sure he’s thinking about them. How do you see the argument unfolding in terms of these high-profile examples but also the shift in attitudes in America about the need for support for parental leave, whether paternity or maternity?

KG: It makes a great difference, especially when the leaders at the top set the example, because that sends a signal to the people below them that they’re not going to be penalized, and if they are, it would be completely illegitimate. I think the best example I can provide is from Norway. There, they develop a use-it-or-lose-it policy, which means all parents have the right to paid parental leave for six months, but it cannot be given to the other parent. If a father doesn’t use it, then he relinquishes it and the family loses that option. Surprisingly, what that’s done is up the percentage of fathers who take it to the point where that’s the predominant pattern. What’s interesting to me is the cultural spillover effect of that change. Now, the norm has generally shifted so if a father doesn’t take leave, that’s considered strange and that requires an explanation, as opposed to the situation here where if a father does take leave, that’s considered strange and has to be justified.

SF: And that’s all as a result of social policy change.

KG: It’s not just that cultural change can lead to policy change, policy change can cause cultural change as well and we need to keep that in mind when we talk about things like Zuckerberg providing a good example for his company. If he provides an example, it also means that it changes the signals that other men and fathers and mothers receive and it gives them rights they may not have thought they had before.

SF: It might also spur people to try to push for changes in policy.   We’ll probably not see a policy like Norway’s in our lifetime. Aside from knowing that attitudes are changing and there are these outcroppings of real progress in the corporate world and a push for changes in social policy that we’ve talked a lot about on this show and that we’ve been active in, what can an individual do based on your findings in this study? Are there any implications for fathers and mothers out there listening?

JJ: Kathleen and I had the great privilege of attending the White House Summit on Working Families. Not only were the president and Michelle Obama and the vice president and Jill Biden there, they were all speaking very frankly and from the heart about their own work/family challenges including Vice President Biden commuting back and forth everyday from Washington to Delaware on Amtrak when his kids were very young. Those were incredibly powerful stories, and talk about taking leadership from the top, their commitment to these issues I thought was very powerful.

SF: I was there, too, and it was truly moving to hear all four of them and so many others speak about this issue from the heart and from real experience just like the rest of us.

JJ: Getting back to individual choices, in job interviews, this is information to be asked about. What are your work/life policies? That’s something that people need to find out about. Many corporations are increasingly flexible, and technology is making some of that more possible like working from home one day a week or part of a day. Having flexibility, again that doesn’t work for every job, but it works for a lot of jobs. Having technological opportunities, they’re increasingly common workplace practices and this might sound optimistic, but there is some beginning evidence that we’re going to be facing a tighter labor market as unemployment declines and specifically for certain occupations that are increasingly in demand. Employers are going to be seeking out employees.

SF: This is what’s happening out in Silicon Valley. Kathleen, I know you were researching that. Jerry, as the Founding President of the Work and Family Researchers Network, what are these researchers doing?

JJ: The Work and Family Researchers Network brings academics and policy-makers and corporate HR practitioners together to discuss a very wide range of issues. We don’t only talk about sick leave policy and family leave policy but also about stress, eldercare, childcare, sleep, workplace productivity, and workplace flexibility. We have over 1,000 members from 40 countries around the world and we’re going to be convening again in June in Washington, D.C. Anyone who’s interested in learning more about our organization, we’re at workfamily.sas.upenn.edu. We have a website and we’d love to see some of your listeners join us at the conference.

SF: Kathleen, I understand you’re doing some work on changes in the technology world. What is it that you’re discovering or pursuing in that work?

KG: Let me follow up to the question about what you can do in your lives. I’ve been doing research in the Silicon Valley area and the New York metropolitan area, especially among people who are in technology and new economy jobs. The first thing I would say to everyone out there is you are not alone. The momentum is growing and I think we’re almost at a tipping point where the majority of people are wanting and pushing for the same thing, and don’t be fearful to speak up because you’re part of a much larger movement of people and the more we express these needs, the more they will be acceptable and legitimate. The second thing is we’re also in the midst of an enormous change in our economic fortunes and the nature of work. Increasingly, work for everyone, men and women alike, especially in these growing sectors of the labor market, is not so much about joining a labor organization and moving up the ladder and proving your loyalty, it’s really about managing your own career and integrating that with your other values and family life and private life. Therefore, it’s on employers to pay attention to that and it means that while uncertainty or change is always scary, it also provides enormous opportunities to build the kinds of lives we want to build. To think about it, but be willing to take the risks that matter to you to build the life you want, I think the more that happens the more that we will not only have support for the social policies we need but also for the workplace changes that employers are going to have to make in order to keep up with this new labor force.

SF: And to be competitive in the labor market. We’ve been saying this for years in the world of organizational psychology and sociology, but it really is happening now. If you come to the Wharton campus and you listen to the recruiting pitches, students are asking these questions and very much upfront, and companies are saying come to work at our company, have a whole life, have meaningful work, have a positive social impact, all the things that new entrants are claiming as rights. The companies that are going to be able to attract and retain those people are going to have to be able to adjust, and they are or at least saying that they’re trying to. Whether they are actually is really the rub, but it’s a long, slow process.

KG: Assuming we’re able to make these changes, let’s try to make them for everyone, not just those people that have the skills that are so desirable, but for people up and down the economic ladder who have less control over their work. We can institutionalize these changes, and everyone will have the power to create the lives they want for themselves.

Pioneers in New Roles for Men and Women — Cathy and Jeremy Schlosberg

Contributor: Andrea Yeh

Work and Life is a radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by Wharton. Every Tuesday at 7 pm EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community, and the private self (mind, body, and spirit).

On Work and Life, Stew Friedman spoke with Cathy and Jeremy Schlosberg, work/life pioneers of the “role-reversal” family.  Jeremy was a stay-at-home dad and a freelance writer and editor.  Meanwhile, Cathy was the family’s primary breadwinner and a high-level executive.  She is the Vice President of Marketing and Channel Growth in Education at Aramark.  Together, Jeremy and Cathy have three children, ages 20, 24, and 27.

The following are edited excerpts of their conversation.

Stew Friedman: We’ve had guests talk about changes in the roles of men and women in society, including the rise of stay-at-home dads and the trend toward many more women serving as the primary breadwinners in their families.  You two, however, started as pioneers in this movement more than 20 years ago in the mid-’90s.  How did this start for you?  Was it always your plan to work out your family relationships like this, or did it happen by accident?  Jeremy, could you give us the history?

Jeremy Schlosberg: I think it falls somewhere in between those two poles.   I don’t think it was completely an accident, but I also don’t think we sat down and had a big written plan.  I think it just naturally evolved.  I was a freelance writer, so I was working from the home anyway.  Cathy already had a trajectory of having a corporate job, and I vaguely remember that we said at one point that it seems like it would make sense if I stayed home and watched the kids or the new baby.

Cathy Schlosberg: Cathy SchlosbergThat’s right.  Ever since I got out of college in 1980, I have been working in a corporate setting pretty much all the way through.  In 1987 when our first son was born, we both determined that Jeremy was temperamentally suited to work from the house, and I was temperamentally suited to be in a corporation, so we evolved into it.  We had some daycare help, but it was only four hours per day for four days a week at the time when our oldest was three months old, and I had gone back to work.

SF: So Dan’s arrival meant you had support in terms of childcare?

JS:  Yes, we figured out a minimal amount of time that I could feel like I was able to get my writing done uninterrupted.  The joke was that I would work two 9-to-1 shifts: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. when he was in daycare and 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. when everyone was asleep.  I could get 8 hours that way, and it kind of worked.  I think I was also temperamentally suited to the role.   I was naturally nurturing and felt comfortable in that role emotionally.  It was awkward logistically at the time because in 1987 you didn’t see dads pushing strollers around the neighborhood or carrying kids on their backs, so it took a while to get over the feeling that I was only doing parenting. I felt self-conscious about it at the beginning.

CS: When your kids are young, you want to be together with other families with kids of the same age, so when Jeremy would be around during the week, he would pretty much be doing playdates with other kids along with their mothers.

JS: One of the things that gave me a foothold was that in our original neighborhood where our first son was born, there were oftentimes other dads in the playgroup.  I think that one week in particular, four out of five parent caregivers were dads.  There were some people living a little bit of the alternative lifestyle along with us.  That wasn’t common at all at the time, and, most of the time, people would think that I was babysitting when I was with a small child.  But in that playgroup, everyone was warm and welcoming, and it felt more like family.  It felt like a grounding place where I could feel less unusual.

SF: On this unusual day where there were four out of five fathers there, did you guys talk about what it was like?  Do you recall that day?

JS: There was often one other father because there were a few freelancers in the mix and others running their own businesses.  We probably commented on how there were four dads there, but I don’t think we got into a big session about what it was like.

SF: There was a time when you must have had to decide that it was okay and that you were going to be doing this.  What was the conversation like that led to your family resolving that this was a good way for you to be?

CS: Somewhere along the way we realized that this was just what we were going to do.  I was the primary breadwinner, and, as a result of that, we were both able to enjoy the careers that we wanted—Jeremy as a writer, and me in a professional setting.  We were getting some care and feeding from our careers while at the same time being able to do that juggling act that we all know is challenging in a dual-career household, regardless of what the situation is—balancing those quadrants of your life, which are work, your children, your marriage, and yourself.   After figuring all of that out, we just evolved into a place where it seemed like this was working okay.  We also had a good division of other labor in the household.  Jeremy always cooked.  I always did the laundry and most of the finances, except the checkbook.  It seemed to evolve into a place where—without a lot of conversation, without a lot of debate, and without a lot of argument—we both felt like we were doing okay.

JS:  Yeah, it never was really much of an issue.  It just seemed to be working.

CS: Prior to coming on today, we did end up asking our three children what their take on this was.

SF: So tell us; what did they say?

JS: They all pretty much had the same view.  It didn’t strike them as that unusual because by the time they got to a certain age, there wasn’t really a traditional model.  They didn’t feel like there was a “normal” that they were diverging from because everyone has something different going on in their house.  They realized that it was different, but it was really a non-issue for them.

SF: But you experienced something very different in the world outside, right?

JS: My biggest problems were in the earliest days when the kids were little.  By the time everyone was in elementary school and getting into middle school, I was pretty adapted.  There would always be situations where I was the only dad, but it stopped being an issue for me.

SF: But your kids didn’t experience that?  That’s what is so discordant here.  They didn’t feel that it was strange, yet you were feeling it, and Cathy, you probably were too.

CS: Right.  There were times when I would say to Jeremy, “Wow, wouldn’t it have been cool to have felt like I had the choice to stay at home?”   But it never really was a choice, and in the end it really seemed to work well for us.  I think it felt very natural for our kids because it felt very natural for Jeremy and me.  There were really no points of argument.  One of the things I tend to have a lot of strong opinions about was regarding how we raise our kids, but since Jeremy was taking care of the household, I essentially said to myself I was going to cede primary decision-making to him.  Where we had difficulties, we were going to talk about it, but I was not there, so I decided that I was going to let him run his show.

JS: It first started being something that was even being considered when there would be a movie like Mr. Mom.  You would see this ridiculous dad who was so clueless from start to finish—and yet, that had nothing to do with my experience.  It’s not really rocket science to do some of this stuff.   You have to be paying attention and be sensitive, but it wasn’t like the cliché that Cathy would go to work, and she’d come home to a mess.  As Cathy was saying, it felt like the household was working in a fairly ordinary way.  Maybe that’s what the kids ultimately felt.

SF: What else did you hear from your sons about what it was like for them?

JS: For the two older ones, it was even more in their distant past, so they really said that it seemed like a non-issue.  Our youngest did have some memories of when it first started to occur to him that it was somewhat different.  He did say that early on he might have felt uncomfortable talking about it because he didn’t want to seem different, but he mentioned that since he got into high school, he really took it more as a point of pride.

SF: So he wasn’t embarrassed or ashamed that his parents were different, but rather he saw this as a source of pride.  What was he proud of?

CS: I think it might have been pride in the unique situation and having come through being a part of that.  I used to worry since we raised our kids in a different way.  I would wonder: Are our kids going to be fine?  Are they going to be normal at the end of this?  Are they going to be able to make their way on their own?  What are their attributes going to be?

I have since talked to a lot of young women that I mentored in their careers.  When women now are facing the decision of whether they should work, stay home, or work part-time, I, having been all the way through this, am able to say that I took only three months off with three pregnancies and basically worked my entire career.  I have three kids (20, 24, and 27), and, if you have a supportive family situation, that model is very doable.

SF: What do you say when they say, “Well yeah, you had your husband?”

CS: I would say that ultimately every couple and person needs to make their own decision.  I think they have to weigh the pros and the cons.   I can only speak from my own experience, but I know that the secret to my ability to have peace of mind in my career and work was the fact that Jeremy was there and that he wanted to be there.

SF: So maybe it was luck.  Maybe it was that you chose each other wisely or that you had conversations about this as it was evolving in terms of what was working and what adjustments you needed to make.  What was it like for you at work back then, Cathy?

CS: It’s really interesting that you bring that up.  I think that back in the day you would say to your management that you were coming back right after having the baby and literally they didn’t believe you.  In fact, I didn’t tell my office that I was pregnant with my first son until I was five-and-a-half months pregnant.  I kept it to myself for that amount of time because the environment was such that you might get put on a different track.

SF: The slow track.  So it was in your professional interest to keep it secret?

CS: That was my perception.  It may not have been the reality, and, in fact, it didn’t turn out to be the reality in my career once I showed back up after I had children and demonstrated that it wasn’t interfering with my ability to do my job with excellence.  I found that the companies I have worked with throughout the course of my career have been highly supportive of family.  The balance issue is not just a female issue though—it’s everybody’s issue.

SF: Were there particular issues that you had to face because you were in an unusual family structure the given the political and cultural environment.

CS: I don’t think so.  I think once I demonstrated that when I was at work I was focused on work, the companies I worked for were very supportive.  It was no different than if I was the husband at work.  I had the same situation at home, so it was accepted.  I find that now many different women who have raised children and have two-career families had to have very good support systems at home to reach senior levels in an organization.

SF: Yes, of course that’s necessary, however you structure that.  So you didn’t face any stigma of having a stay-at-home dad as your partner back then?

CS: No, I don’t think so, but when we would go to the holiday party for the company, there might be some joking around about that.  Do you have any memories of that, Jeremy?

JS: My memories are just vaguely not liking to go to these gatherings.  The concept of the stay-at-home dad wasn’t even a phrase back then.  I would talk about my writing, and it was only when my kids were almost in college that I realized that this is what I do.  At the same time, I started getting some more positive feedback on my professional work, so I was able to embrace that uniqueness three-quarters of the way through my stint as a stay-at-home dad. If I had gone into these things with more confidence, I’m sure I would have been fine.

SF: Reflecting back on this experience, what advice do you have for young people when they’re facing questions like these? Cathy, reflecting on your personal experience, what’s the big idea in terms of lessons learned that people can use now?

CS: I feel that I’ve been extremely fortunate to have had Jeremy.  It’s really a gift that he’s given to me, and, Jeremy, hopefully you feel that raising the kids and being the primary caregiver was a gift to yourself as well ultimately.   What I would say is that when you have children, you have to forge a new approach to how you’re going to manage that within the context of your relationship and your career.  And my situation would not be everybody’s situation.  We always said to one another that we didn’t want to have our children with other folks for 40 to 50 hours a week.  So when I was home, I was fully present, and when I was not, Jeremy had them at home most of the time.  My advice is just to know that a number of different situations can work if you’re both committed.

SF: Committed to whatever it is that you decide to do together?

CS: That’s right.  There are many different scenarios, but it should be a discussion between a couple regarding how you want to do this.  I think it’s important to have that conversation and to continue to check in about how it’s going throughout the course.

SF: Jeremy, how about you?  What’s the upshot in terms of your wisdom now with a little speckle of gray in your hair?

JS: Now I don’t feel that people need as much advice.   The networking and camaraderie and even the community of stay-at-home dads seem to be much more present—things which I certainly did not have at the time.  I think that the retrospective advice speaking to myself would have really been to just embrace it.  Most of the time I was pretty good at this, but it’s really true the whole childhood goes by really fast.  So when you’re in it, be in it—don’t be elsewhere with your mind and elsewhere with your intentions because it’s a precious time.

I look back and mostly feel okay with having been present, but I wasn’t as embracing of the role as I could have been to give myself more comfort.  I didn’t grow into it as quickly, and I wasn’t able to own it as early on as I might have.  I don’t think it’s as much of an issue for people now because it all had to do with feeling that it was a little too unusual. It was only when I had done it for about fifteen years that I realized that the writing really was only a part-time job.  I always thought that it was my full-time job, but it really wasn’t.

SF: But you still felt like you had to cover?

JS: Yeah, that’s an important point.  There was that pressure to be productive in the eyes of the world.  Now I don’t think it’s a problem as much.

SF: We are in world where there is greater freedom and in part thanks to pioneers and great role models like you.

Join Work and Life next Tuesday at 7 pm on Sirius XM Channel 111.  Visit Work and Life for a full schedule of future guests.

About the Author

Andrea Yeh Andrea Yehis an undergraduate junior majoring in Operations and Information Management and in International Relations.



Breadwinning and Caregiving: Liza Mundy on Work and Life

Contributor: Liz Stiverson

Work and Life is a weekly radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by The Wharton School. Every Tuesday from 7 to 9 PM EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community and the private self (mind, body and spirit).

On Work and Life, Stew Friedman spoke with Liza Mundy, award-winning journalist and author of The Richer Sex: How the New Majority of Female Breadwinners is Transforming our Culture, about how breadwinning and caregiving roles have become gender-neutral and shared by all Americans, and the barriers to men and women embracing the roles that fit them best.

The following are edited excerpts of their conversation.

Stew Friedman: Tell us about your primary responsibilities at the New America Foundation.

Liza Mundy: Liza MundyI started at New America after receiving a fellowship from the Foundation to write my last book; it was a real source of intellectual stimulation and support and a wonderful community. Now that I’m taking over as Director of our work and family program, Breadwinning and Caregiving, the aim is to continue to reframe the conversation. I think this is a really interesting moment for these issues – there have been some significant books and articles, and a stream of research in the last several years. The more we can talk about work and family and bring these issues into the public domain, the more we can help people understand that we are all breadwinners and we are all caregivers at some point in our lives. Those two responsibilities are shared by every citizen, and I think it’s fair to say that our laws and policies haven’t changed to enable people to fulfill both sets of obligations, and the workplace is changing in ways that in some respects make it easier and in some respects make it harder to play both roles.

SF: A central question is, Who are the breadwinners and who are the caregivers?  You’re saying we are all breadwinners and caregivers. That’s a radical idea, to construe these roles in society as gender neutral. What do you think are the main barriers to people feeling a greater sense of freedom and opportunity to take up the roles that fit best – breadwinner or caregiver, whether man or woman?

LM: I’ll begin with one that may not be obvious – family members can be a real barrier. For my book, I interviewed any number of couples where the woman had emerged as the primary breadwinner and the man was taking a secondary role in terms of earnings. In many couples, this was working out extremely well, and allowed both partners to fall into patterns that were comfortable for them as a couple. And yet, they were met with a lot of resistance from in-laws who sent powerful signals to the husband that he is, in the words of one man, a parasite – not fulfilling the household role he should. These were often situations in which the grandparents were very proud of their daughter, but unable to see that one of the reasons she is able to be so successful and productive is her supportive partner. After my book came out, I found myself in many conversations with people who were parents of young adult children who were really troubled if, for example, their son made a career concession like moving to another job in another city for the sake of his girlfriend. It’s natural for parents who raised their children – male and female – to be super-performers to have a hard time when one of those children decides to be the lower-key member of a couple. And stigma doesn’t necessarily come only from in-laws.

It wasn’t that long ago that marriage was the only available avenue for women to feel like they had been successful; one way for a woman to telegraph her success was to say what her husband did. I interviewed a really successful young woman, an engineer at Georgia Tech, whose salary one year into the workforce exceeded that of her father, who was a construction worker, and who also made considerably more money than her boyfriend. Her boyfriend had taken the only job he could find that would allow him to be near her, as the manager of a fast food franchise. She told me that when she tells people what her boyfriend does, she doesn’t know quite how to say it. She kept telling me she wasn’t embarrassed, but she said she wasn’t embarrassed so many times that it began to signal that she actually was a little embarrassed by his job.

Women can be offenders in this regard and can perpetuate barriers. I also spoke with a gay man who worked as general counsel in a company and was a father who told me that when he adopted his son and took paternity leave, the women in his office threw him a baby shower and celebrated his leave, but a couple of days into his paternity leave, were calling him and expecting his help. They did not respect the boundary of his paternity leave the way they might have respected a woman’s maternity leave.

SF: What else did you discover in writing your book that you think listeners should know about?

LM: I try to make the argument – not everyone buys it – that young women today have a new opportunity to be the lead partner in their relationships – to be the primary earner, the person who moves to take a new job. I think there’s a willingness on the part of some young men to move for the sake of their girlfriend’s career, or to put their wife through law school with the understanding that she’ll be the lead earner going forward. Those are things women have traditionally done for men, and the fact that we are in a time when some men will put their female partners’ careers first is something women should be happy about. I asked a number of young women, “Would you consider marrying or partnering with someone who didn’t go to college or doesn’t have the same level of education you do?” And they were generally very resistant to that idea. They would often say, “I’ve got to marry a guy who’s on my level,” by which they seemed to mean equally driven and ambitious. That can work, but many women who marry someone they meet in law school or especially business school find that his career ends up taking precedence. In an ideal world, no one would have to work too hard, and we would all share responsibilities, but there is a new opportunity for women willing to seize it to enter into relationships where they will be supported and their career will come first.

Liza Mundy’s most recent book, The Richer Sex: How the New Majority of Female Breadwinners is Transforming our Culture, was named one of the top fiction books of 2012 by the Washington Post and a noteworthy book by the New York Times Book Review. She is also the author of Michelle, a biography of First Lady Michelle Obama, which was a New York Times bestseller. Liza Mundy writes and podcasts regularly for New America and other publications; visit New America for a list of her most recent work, and follow her on Twitter @lizamundy.

Join Work and Life next Tuesday, July 15 at 7 pm on Sirius XM Channel 111 for conversations with Ellen Bravo, Director of Family Values @ Work, and Dave Lissy, CEO of BrightHorizons Family Solutions. Visit Work and Life for a full schedule of future guests.


About the Author

Liz Stiverson Liz Stiversonreceived her MBA from The Wharton School in 2014.

Youngest Woman CEO Pursues Four-Way Wins — Julie Smolyansky

Contributor: Alice Liu

Work and Life is a two-hour radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by The Wharton School. Every Tuesday from 7 to 9 PM EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community and the private self (mind, body and spirit).

On Work and Life, Stew Friedman spoke with Julie Smolyansky, President and CEO of Lifeway Foods. Smolyansky became the youngest female CEO of a publicly held firm at the age of 27. She spoke about how she became CEO of Lifeway Foods and how she implements Total Leadership concepts to integrate the different parts of her life.

The following are edited excerpts of their conversation:

Stew Friedman: Tell us the story of how you became the CEO of Lifeway Foods at such a young age.

Julie Smolyansky: Julie SmolyanskyMy family immigrated to America from the former Soviet Union in 1976. We were refugees and settled in Chicago. Through their entrepreneurial spirit, my parents founded a Russian food deli that eventually led to Lifeway Foods. They took the company public in 1988. For them, there was no work-life balance. I think it’s a nice luxury to be able to talk about it when you have all the resources and networks like we do now, but for an immigrant family it’s a little bit of a different conversation. My dad worked seven days a week. There were times when I really didn’t see him for months on end, because I’d go to sleep and he’d still be working, and I’d wake up and he’d already left for work. I saw my parents sacrifice quite a bit.

After I graduated college, I was in graduate school planning on being a psychologist. I had a bad experience in the field, so I asked my dad serendipitously for a part-time position in the company so I could finish grad school and reevaluate what I wanted to do. I saw how he was empowering people. I fell love with what he was doing. I left grad school after the first year and came to work for him full time in 1998. After all the years that I hadn’t seen him, I was reintroduced to my father as an adult, and it was really wonderful to establish a relationship with him.

Unfortunately on June 9, 2002 my father died of a sudden heart attack. It was a really traumatic experience for me. Not only was I mourning the loss of my father, the company at that point was earning about $12 million in annual revenue. We had about 70 employees and nationwide distribution. I knew that this was my father’s complete passion and everything that he had spent his life working for. I made a promise to him that I would do everything in my power to make sure that Lifeway not only succeeded, but that it thrived. The day that we learned my father had passed away, a handful of his friends were standing around in a circle within my earshot saying, “Sell your stock. This company is done. There’s no way that a girl can run this company.” That really pissed me off, to be honest, and it still fuels me every day.

SF: Earlier in the show I shared a story about how Daniel Murphy, the second baseman of the New York Mets, faced a great deal of criticism for taking paternity leave for the first few days of the season while his wife gave birth to their first child.  What are your thoughts on this?

JS: We need to redefine what it means to be man in society. I think we need to raise boys to be empathetic so that they can be good partners and so that we have a balanced, fair society. When a father and a son are throwing around a baseball in the front yard, and you hear the father say, “Hey, you’re throwing like a girl,” what message is that sending to the boy, and what message is that sending to the girl next to him? When I had my babies, my husband was with me the entire time that I was in the hospital, and he really bonded. He not only was with me through that, but he left his family business to raise our children full-time so that I could continue to scale everything that I’m doing. I think it’s great that moms and dads and other kids see him in the hallways as much as they see me in the hallways at school.

SF: How did the change in the definition of your husband’s role change your family and your business?

JS: We had to make the decision of whose career we would propel forward, and we were at a point when Lifeway was really exploding, and he said, “You’re really good at what you’re doing. Keep doing that.” I have daughters, and we both thought it would be a really good thing for them to see this change in role models. The fact of the matter is that, like myself, he also missed his parents growing up when they were building their business. He said it’s been the joy of his life to be able to raise our daughters and be there for them. Again, when we talk about redefining what it means to be a man, he is living proof of that.

SF: What are some of the most useful strategies that you’ve discovered as the CEO of your company for how you can be truly effective in the different parts of your life given the pressures that you face?

JS: One of the greatest things I did was read your book Total Leadership, and I spent a day and a half with you five years ago when we were starting our family. One thing that really hit home for me was the idea that we should not be striving for “work-life balance” per se, but that instead, we have to integrate our careers, our selves, our families, and our communities into one overlapping circle. I’m not perfect at it, but I think about it a lot. I sometimes get three out of four integrated, and I’m happy with that.

SF: What are some of the things that you do?

JS: For example, it’s important for me to be fit and healthy. I’m a better leader when I’m able to run, so I run marathons. Not only do I run marathons, but I also talk about them in my work, and I try to lead by inspiring my team to take the time to invest in their own health. I also raise money for an organization called Every Mother Counts, which advocates for better maternal health. I integrated that messaging throughout the company in a campaign where we donated money to the foundation every time a customer bought a bottle of our Kefir. I did all of that in the workplace, and I was also running with the stroller. That was my time to share with my kids and show them the importance of exercise. Through running, I’m working and raising awareness on the campaign we’re building at Lifeway, and I’m working on my own health and myself.

SF: That’s what I call a four-way win. You’re hitting on all cylinders. You’re making things better for yourself, your family, your community, and your business all at once.

Smolyansky candidly discusses her viewpoints on paternity leave, the role her husband plays at home, and her strategies for integrating work and life as a female CEO. She also speaks about how discussing work-life integration is a luxury her parents never had as they tried to build their business when they first immigrated to America. Do you, your parents, or someone you know have an experience similar to Smolyansky’s parents, or do you think work-life integration is a “luxury” accessible to only relatively wealthier families? How do you think first-generation immigrants can achieve work-life integration amidst the sacrifices they must make to establish a life for their families in a new country? Join us in the comments section with your thoughts and experiences.

Join Work and Life next Tuesday, May 6 at 7 pm on Sirius XM Channel 111 for conversations with Peter McGraw about the role of humor at work and with Cali Yost whether telework is a concept that can work. Visit Work and Life for a full schedule of future guests.


Alice LiuAlice Liu is an undergraduate senior studying Management at The Wharton School and English (Creative Writing) at the College of Arts & Sciences. 

Dads as Primary Caregivers – Breaking Down Stereotypes with Matt Schneider on Work and Life

Contributor: Kate Mesrobian

Work and Life is a two-hour radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by The Wharton School. Every Tuesday from 7 to 9 PM EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community, and the private self (mind, body and spirit).

Matt SchneiderOn Work and Life on Sirius XM’s Business Radio Powered by The Wharton School, Stew Friedman spoke with Matt Schneider, co-founder and co-organizer of NYC Dads Group, about the rise of stay-at-home dads and new choices for men and women in work and family. NYC Dads Group exists as a meet-up community that gives stay-at-home fathers the opportunity to socialize and support each other in their role as primary caregivers.   Matt Schneider spoke about breaking down through new marketing, social media engagement, and work place innovation.

Following are edited excerpts of Schneider’s conversation with Friedman.

SF: What were the things Dads cared most about when you started meet-ups with other stay-at-home dads?

MS: We cared about the same things any caring parent would care about. We had meet-ups about what dads were feeding their kids, potty training, choosing a preschool… Being good parents was first and foremost a priority.

SF: This was not something you were trained in your early lives to pay a lot of attention to, I imagine.

MS: I would say few of us, men or women, train to be parents or homemakers. We had caring parents as role models, but growing up in the 70s and 80s, women weren’t trained to be homemakers, either. There was simply an expectation that they could fill that role. Men and women are both scared as they jump into this thing called parenting. Our philosophy is: We’re all in this together. Let’s learn together how to be good parents, and make sure that neither one of us takes on too much of the role and pushes the other out.

SF: What else was on your minds when you got together as dads in the role of the primary caregiver?

MS: We thought of ourselves as a community. It was crazy to think that men could get together to talk and share ideas. Men don’t get together anymore. Developing community became important to us. We also have a lot of working dads who want to re-enter the work force.

SF: So this is not just about stay-at-home dads, this is about dads as primary- caregivers or equal partners in caregiving.

MS: Exactly. According to the Census Bureau, as of last year there are about 189,000 stay-at-home dads. But the Census defines stay-at-home dad as someone who does not make a dollar over the course of the entire year. The reality is there are a lot of dads out there that have part time jobs, so the number of a stay-at-home dads is much greater than one thinks. We have a wide range of dads in our group.

SF: What do you see as the primary driver for why society is changing in the way that it has with respect to the role of fathers?

MS: I think it has changed in some ways, and in some ways it hasn’t. The great news is that mothers and fathers who are making these decisions together are making good financial decisions. They are not being held back by gender stereotypes from the past. They decide whose career to rely on to provide for the family and who should step back. Today, there are a lot more dads who are thinking of themselves in a secondary bread-winner role because women have increased in the work force.

SF: What do you mean by a secondary work role? Secondary with respect to what?

MS: I now consider myself a work-at-home dad, but my career is secondary to my wife’s career. Every day I work a certain number of hours. The rest of my time is spent taking care of my kids, doing laundry, planning meals, shopping for groceries, and all that type of stuff. My wife and I made that plan before we were married. You should have this conversation before marriage. I was never forced into the situation; I was the one interested in the situation.

Caller from Denver: I love what you have founded, turning a simple meet up into a large organization. What advice or suggestions do you have to bring what you’re doing to other places?

MS: There are great groups like ours across the country. There’s a national organization – National At-Home Dad Network that has a listing of all the “dad groups” across the country

SF: How do you respond to stereotypes?

MS: Pop culture has been a big part of the problem for so long. Guys have been portrayed in the movies, TV, the media, as buffoons: duct-taping diapers together, wearing a gas mask until mom gets home and saves the day. We hear from moms all the time that they want a partner, not a husband portrayed as a buffoon. Many brands are recognizing that dads are a big part of the equation.

SF: And you’re helping some of these brands, aren’t you?

MS: We are. We will have meet-ups across the country this year where brands get to meet our dads directly. Our dads will use their products, tell them what we think, and share our thoughts over our blog and social media.

SF: How have you used social media?

MS: Other men now have license to say, “Wow, I can be the one holding our baby, pushing the stroller.” To me, the term “manly” is so weird. I think it’s manly to do what makes sense for your family. In so many cases it makes sense for both to jump in. I know my wife could not do the job she does if I weren’t at home with our children. I don’t want to take credit for her talents and success. She works in private equity and real estate. She worked at Goldman Sachs. These are very demanding, work-oriented environments. These are not people who prioritize work/life integration. She has had to devote herself to her career, and our joint decision for me to stay home has enabled that.  So for good or bad she has been able to be very successful, and together, we have created the life we are looking for in New York. That’s not to say she isn’t an excellent mother as well. She jumps right in to parenting. And who knows? She might have to take a step back from her career. We talked about it before we got married. If it wasn’t working for me, we would talk and change.

SF: You set aside time to talk about these things regularly?

MS: With all decisions – financial, parenting – we talk. We are by no means perfect. We argue. We fight. But we try to make these decisions together. I actually don’t think there’s anything special in the way we communicate. The same kind of communication should happen with stay-at-home moms and bread-winning dads. We teach classes for expecting dads, and the first thing we say is don’t allow yourself to get pushed out of that parenting role. It sounds like a great short-term, easy solution to get diapers changed by mom. But it turns out that those moments of changing your child’s diapers are pretty special. That’s when your relationship develops. It’s the day-to-day moments we need to be a part of, and we encourage dads to get in the game. It’s rewarding to be an involved, active dad, and necessary from a parenting and partnership perspective. Both of you need to be capable of getting the stuff done.

Matt Schneider, a former public school teacher, is an at-home dad who lives with his wife and two boys in New York City. He is the co-founder of NYC Dads Group.  He plans workshops, screenings, and lectures with parenting, family, and education experts on behalf of the group. Matt has written for New York Family magazine, Huffington Post, Big Apple Parent, Role/Reboot, and The Good Men Project. For more information about being a stay-at-home dad and for ways to connect with other stay-at-home dads, visit NYC Dads Group online or refer to the National At-Home Dad Network.

Join Work and Life next Tuesday February 4 at 7 PM on Sirius XM Channel 111 for conversations with Marci Alboher (Penn ’88), on finding purpose and meaning later in life and Katrina Alcorn, on strategies to manage the stress that comes from trying to have it all. for a full schedule of future guests.

About the Author

Kate MesrobianKate Mesrobian is a sophomore in the Huntsman Program in Business and International Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.