Dear Old Boys of Augusta: What Did Ms. Rometty Know and When Did She Know It?
Well this is a fine mess you've gotten yourselves into.
"What mess?" you pretend.
Your failure, yes the "f" word, to extend IBM's CEO Virginia Rometty an invitation to join the august Augusta National Golf Club. Little did you know, although perhaps dear Ginni did, that several weeks after announcing the decision to adhere to your "No Women" policy, Ms. Rometty would be included among Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People. Darn. What to do now?
Suddenly our collective recall of Ms. Rometty's image appears more regal, jacketed in pink, head held high. She sits by the sidelines in her lawn chair, among other non-members, watching the Augusta National Golf Tournament. Meanwhile her fellow CEOs don green member jackets and possibly green foil party hats, as they host other corporate titans in special members-only cabins and party tents.
Yes, Mr. Warren Buffet, Mr. Bill Gates, Mr. Jack Welch, Mr. Peter Coors, Mr. T. Boone Pickens, et al. we know you are among the esteemed Augusta members. We also know, that despite the diversity flag many of you fly alongside your company banner, not one of you has taken a public stand for your colleague, Ms. Rometty. Perhaps I am mistaken in referring to her as your colleague. Could it be you do not think of her as "one of us"?
I am disappointed in you all, in IBM's board members, and in the company's former CEOs who are among Augusta's members, and in Ms. Rometty as well. Not a word in public. Not even a word about not saying a word.
My hope is that all along our Ginni (yes, the girls and I refer to her this way) who has navigated her way to the top, must have known she was about to be announced by Time Magazine as one of the world's 100 most influential people. Perhaps an inner smile lurked behind her pink jacket and head-held-high, as she pictured you eating your non-words of your non-invitation, a few weeks hence.
I suspect that several months from now, when enough time has passed so you think you've saved face, her invitation will be forthcoming.
I offer the following suggestion for your consideration. Apologize to Ms. Rometty, [Pause]
and when you do so, the girls and I will feel that you have apologized to us as well. And when a little more time goes by, perhaps we won't shake our heads at the sight of your diversity flag flying high alongside your corporate banner. Maybe we'll even invite you to the club for a round of golf. We can, after all, be forgiving, once the apology for being wronged is offered.
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Dates for the Diary
November 12th European Commission DG GROW
Informal talk on how to deal with sexism - 12.30 - 1400
November 25th Council of the European Union - Corporate Event
How to deal with sexism and harassment in the workplace
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