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The Ups & Downs of Being a Female CEO

Confession: I’ve cried in a business meeting

Accent Inns BC hotel chain CEO talks about crying

Confession: I've cried in a business meeting.

You do not know what shame that confession brings me.  My only consolation was that I was 7 months pregnant.  Well, the first time it happened.  The second time I have no excuse, other than being female, and in the corporate world tears are not  cool. And that brings me to my topic today:  the  ups and downs of being a female CEO.

I was recently interviewed by a journalist writing about woman in business and was asked, “What do you like about being a woman?”  At first I thought this was a ridiculously irrelevant question and wondered if a man would ever be asked the same question?  I gave some silly answer, but I admit I’ve thought about it a bit more since then.

Though my emotional side might be a downfall, it is also one of my strengths. The woman’s touch that I bring to the role of CEO places an emphasis on personal relationships be it with my customers, suppliers, and above all, my team.  I try to have a connection with each employee, writing personal notes on every pay cheque, working alongside them in the housekeeping department, or asking for the valued opinion.

As customers you may have received a hand written note from myself or my father over the years. I write thousands of personal letters each year which has my chiropractor and physiotherapist hopping, yet it is extremely personally gratifying
as it allows me to connect with the people so important to our success.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges I have of being a female CEO is switching gears from being the boss to loving wife to mother of two and then back to CEO again.  Sometimes on my way into work I have to make a serious mental adjustment, “I am the CEO, I am the CEO”.  I do, really! Home is home and it is so natural to be a mom, but the working world requires more fortitude.  I have to adjust my personality to be more assertive and if the situation warrants it, more demanding.

Aside from wearing sassy frocks (my answer to that journalist) I love being a leader; an inspiration to young women; getting that depressingly low percentage of women-on-boards number up; collaborating with my team to make Accent Inns better and I love it when I’m so moved by happiness or compassion that I get a bit verklempt.

So there you go, you’ve heard my deep dark secret.  What about you, have you ever cried on the job?

 
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7 Responses to “The Ups & Downs of Being a Female CEO”

  1. Trina Mousseau

    I applaud you for this piece Mandy!
    I haven’t cried on the job (yet!), but I have cried after the fact and it’s only because I care so much.
    Love your blog!

  2. Mandy Farmer President CEO of Accent Inns

    You are so sweet, thank you! May it be tears of joy that you shed on the job!!

  3. Terri Davies

    I have definitely cried in a business meeting. Lucky for me it was with people that know me quite well and I wasn’t too embarrassed about it. I have noticed that I definitely tend to use more touchy-feeling language like “I FEEL like we should do this” instead of the logical language of many more masculine business people “I THINK we should do this”. That language has gotten me criticized before, but we are sensory beings after all with 14 million bit of sensory information being sent to our brains every second. It makes sense to feel and think.

    Thanks for this thoughtful article Mandy!

  4. Mary Katharine

    Have I cried on the job? Oh gosh, yes! It’s a point of annoyance for me, because I just can’t stop the tears. It wasn’t so bad when our office was all women, but now that we have a couple of men, it’s a bit tricky. It usually happens when I’m stressed, working on way too little sleep and some poor unsuspecting coworker comes along and touches the wrong button. Hmmm, two deadlines tomorrow — maybe I should go to bed early.

    Thank you Mandy and Terri, for sharing.

  5. Adeel

    whoah this blog is fantastic i love reading your articles. Keep up the great work! You know, a lot of people are hunting around for this info, you can help them greatly.

  6. Liz Bonham

    Cried on the job – yes. While embarrassing, I discovered through that experience that nearly every woman has gone through the same situation. It is our emotions that help us to build stronger, more meaningful relationships, so I think we must embrace this and use it to our advantage in business.

    Mandy, thank you for sharing – your blog was recommended by Bev Booth. It’s a great read!

  7. Mandy Farmer

    Hi Liz,

    I completely agree! We can’t supress our authenticity, it’s what makes us who we are. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and comment. Your kind words are encouraging!

    All the best,

    Mandy

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